Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A letter to CNN....

Mr. Klein, a matter of some concern....


I understand CNN is hiring Bill Benett. I think this is a serious mistake and can only undermine CNN's credibility.

This comes hot on the heels of your recent hires of Glenn Beck and J.C. Watts.

Let's be frank. The rightwing voice is hardly underrepresented in America, and you and I both know the "liberal media bias" is a myth.

Right now, at this critical juncture in our nation's political development, what Americans desperately need from CNN are voices to speak out against torture, unbridled executive power, corporate plunder, and misguided wars, NOT more urbane versions of Jeff Gannon (see also this).

Your public is watching, sir. A lot more critically than you give us credit for.

Oh, and we buy from your sponsors.

Eric A. Smith

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Wall of Hate....

In case you didn't already know, the agenda of the Evangelicals, the religious nutcases that helped solidify the Bush cartel's rise to power, includes assisting Israel into forming its own state in the "Holy Lands", thus fulfilling an alleged prophecy in the Book of Revelations, and accelerating the "Ascension" -- the moment when Christ descends and simultaneously lifts all the faithful up to a magical kingdom in the sky.

Trouble is, the ostensibly "holy" ends can't possibly be justified by the means.

Quote of the Day: "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."
I John 4:20-21

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Last Line of Defense....

Here are the other three Democrats who have said they will vote "no" on Alito.

No isn't good enough. Urge them to fillibuster.

This is our last chance.

If they don't stop him, he's in.

Please take a half hour to do your part.

Your grandchildren might live to thank you.

Patrick Leahy of Vermont

Washington office
433 Russell Senate Office Bldg
(at Constitution and Delaware)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-4242

Burlington office
199 Main Street, 4th Floor
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 863-2525

Montpelier office
P.O. Box 933
87 State Street, Room 338
Montpelier, VT 05602
(802) 229-0569


Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts

317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

2400 JFK Building
Boston, MA 02203


Dick Durbin of Illinois

Washington, DC
332 Dirksen Senate Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-2152
(202) 228-0400 - fax


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Hard Rain

The good General has issued the call to any and all of you stateside.

Progressive Americans Support Military Recruitment of College and Young Republicans!

Attention Anti-War Leftists:

It's time to reach out to all Americans. On January 30, the College Republicans will sponsor "Finish the Job: Support Our Troops" Rallies in Washington DC and All Over America to support President Bush's January 31 State of the Union address. All of you can support every American's First Amendment rights and make a patriotic impression on our great country. Red States and Blue States together, we're all Americans.

Cindy Sheehan said it best: If you support the war, I think you should join it. I hear recruiting numbers are low. It's the College Republicans' day; don't spoil it with anti-Bush counter-protests against the war itself. Instead, encourage the College Republicans and their supporters, including Protest Warrior, to volunteer for military service: Be A Man! Enlist! Iraq, Afghanistan and other veterans of all ages can help by wearing their uniforms and personally inviting military recruiters to join them.

The Washington DC rally will take place Monday, January 30, at 6:30 p.m., at American Legion Post No. 8, 224 D St., SE (Metro Capitol South). Be there!

Let's do this right.


Meanwhile, Martin Garbus asks "How close are we to the end of democracy?"

Mike Whitney thinks he knows and explains in quite plausible terms why.

But there are other pressing concerns afoot, as five major scientists from both sides of the pond agree.

Some prominent players are starting to pay attention. While some, unfortunately, aren't.

But it's always inspiring news when a population pulls itself free of the heavy heel of oppression. And a lifelong minion of the Dark Side begins the painful journey back into the light:

Don't break out the party favors yet; not content with merely bulldozing the houses of the elderly (with said homeowners still inside) or commiting genocide and oppression on a scale worthy of their own former World War II oppressors, Israel has fired the first terrifying shot across the bow in what historians may well come to call "Cheney's Folly".

Dr. Krassimir Petrov explains the surprising, eye-opening rationale behind the inexplicable madness.

Hope you've been eating your vitamins, folks. Looks like we're all gonna have to jump into this fray, or die en mass.

Quote of the Day:
"Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways,
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin',
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin',
I saw a white ladder all covered with water,
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin',
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world,
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin',
Heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin',
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin',
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter,
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony,
I met a white man who walked a black dog,
I met a young woman whose body was burning,
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow,
I met one man who was wounded in love,
I met another man who was wounded with hatred,
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin',
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall."
-Bob Dylan

Saturday, January 21, 2006

One Man Who's Saying "No"

Senator Ron Wyden has announced he will vote no on Alito.

Of course, with a handy Republican majority, and at least one Democratic voting for him, "Scalito" is likely to sail through anyway.

That's why we need to urge our representatives (or reasonable facsmiles thereof) to filibuster the nomination.

Here's where you can contact him to urge him to stop the impending train wreck:

(202) 224-5244

Here's hoping.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Last Words of Spc Douglas Barber

War veteran Douglas Barber was desperately trying to tell his story. Unfortunately, nobody was listening. Early Monday afternoon the two-tour Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran and author of the blog "Soldiers Telling the Truth About Iraq" took his own life.

Here is his last message to the world:

PTSD- Every Soldier's Personal WAR!
By Doug Barber

In the last month I have been working with Jay Shaft, the editor of Coalition For Free Thought in media regarding my experiances in Iraq and since coming home from the war. We have only touched on some of the struggles of being a soldier, however we have not dug deeply into the personal war that Operation Iraqi Freedom has caused for returning soldiers.

Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush do not want to reveal to the American people that this war is a personal war. They want to run the war like a business, and thus they refuse to show the personal sacrifices the soldiers and their families have made for this country.

My thought today is to help you the reader understand what happens to a soldier when they come home and the sacrifice we continue to make. This may be lengthy, it may be short; but no matter how long it is, just close your eyes and imagine a flag drapped coffin.

Inside that coffin is the body of a man or woman who will never get to live their life to the fullest, yet they bore the total cost so that we could live free. Their soul is somewhere else and all we have is their memory which over time will be forgotten by other everts of greater importance. The families of these soldiers have a hole in their hearts that will never be replaced, even though they have pictures and happy memories.

Some families will refuse to believe they are gone, but still their sons and daughters are the heros of a country that sent them to war. This war on terror has become a personal war for so many, yet the Bush Administration does not want journalists or families to photograph the only thing that is left of our soldiers who have died. They do not want the people to remember that image of a flag draped coffin as the last memory this country will ever have of our fallen men and woman.

They say that America will raise their voices and demand a stop to the war, but my question is why should we not show the results of war? For us as a country, we send these soldiers to war and we see their faces while they are alive. I say let their memories live on in every photo, even when they do come home in a flag drapped coffin. Let their sacrifice be forever etched in the memory of America. We owe their families this at the very least.

All is not okay or right for those of us who return home alive and supposedly well. What looks like normalcy and readjustment is only an illusion to be revealed by time and torment. Some soldiers come home missing limbs and other parts of their bodies. Still others will live with permanent scars from horrific events that no one other than those who served will ever understand.

We come home from war trying to put our lives back togather but some cannot stand the memories and decide that death is better. They kill themselves because they are so haunted by seeing children killed and whole families wiped out.

They ask themselves how you put a price tag on someone elses life? The question goes unanswered as they become another casualty of the war. Heros become another statistic to America and they are another little article relegated to the back of a newspaper.

Still others come home to nothing, families have abandoned them: husbands and wives have left these soldiers, and so have parents as well. Post Tramatic Stress Disorder has become the norm amongst these soldiers because they don't know how to cope with returning to a society that will never understand what they have had to endure to liberate another country.

PTSD comes in many forms not understood by many: but yet if a soldier has it, America thinks the soldiers are crazy. PTSD comes in the form of depression, anger, regret, being confrontational, anxiety, chronic pain, compulsion, delusions, grief, guilt,dependance,loneliness, sleep disorders, suspiciousness/paranoia, low self-esteem and so many other things.

We are easily startled with a loud bang or noise and can be found ducking for cover when we get panicked. This is a result of artillery rounds going off in a combat zone, or an IED blowing up.

I myself have trouble coping with an everyday routine that deals with other people that often causes me to have a short fuse. A lot of soldiers lose multiple jobs just because they are trained to be killers and they have lived in an enviroment that is condusive to that. We are always on guard for our safety and that of our commrades. When you go to bed at night you wonder will you be sent home in a flag draped coffin because a motar round went off on your sleeping area.

Soldiers live in deplorable conditions where burning your own feces is the order of the day. Where going days on end with no shower and the uniform you wear gets so crusty it sometimes sticks to your body becomes a common occurence. We also deal with rationing water or even food for that matter. So when a soldier comes home to what they left they are unsure of what to do being in a civilized world again.

This is what PTSD comes in the shape of--soldiers can not often handle coming back to the same world they left behind. It is something that drives soldiers over the edge and causes them to withdraw from society. As Americans we turn our nose down at them wondering why they act the way they do. Who cares about them, why should we help them?

Talk show hosts like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and so many others act like they know all about war; then they refuse to give any creadence to soldiers like me who have been to war and seen the brutality of war. These guys are nothing but WEAK SPINELESS COWARDS hiding behind microphones while soldiers come home and are losing everything they have.

I ask every American who reads this e-mail to stand up for the soldier who has given their everything for this country to stand up to these guys in the media; ask them why they don't pick up a weapon and follow in the steps of a soldier. Send this e-mail to as many people on your e-mail lists and ask them to do the same.

There needs to be a National awareness for every Veteran who has ever served in any war. Send e-mails to the Big Mouths on TV and ask them to have soldiers like me on their programs. I am asking you as Americans to BOYCOTT every TV show or host/journalist that refuses to tell the real truth.


Spc Douglas Barber


Quote of the Day: "Greater love hath no man than this;
that a man lay down his life for his friends."
--John 15:13

Saturday, January 14, 2006

No Lovin' from TaSCAM. Again...

Remember the girl who broke your heart? She was SOOOO magic; Aphrodite, Athena, Artemis all in one incredible, beautiful creature. You kept trying and trying and trying.

She'd play you, too. Spend a little time with you, batting those beautiful eyelashes, brushing against you so alluringly -- then blowing you off yet again. But it was always the same story -- you'd end up alone at the end of the day with nothing to show for all your efforts but pain and frustration.

You finally wised up and blew her off once and for all -- and for three months never heard from her, until, day by day, like a nasty scrape, the pain dulled, and you would find yourself surprised that hours, even days had passed without a thought of the pain that had once dominated your entire world.

Then the phone call would come, and, with a sweet, honeyed voice, she'd work her magic on you again, and you'd think to yourself "maybe THIS time things'll be different...."

Enter TASCAM and their magic product "Gigastudio", the reputed sound sampler of the gods. GIGABYTE-sized, absolutely authentic sounds from your MIDI tracks. The ability to create aural magic for the price of a small television set.

And I bought the hype.

Not once, but twice.

Now I'm no slouch with hardware -- in addition to a one-year tech certification, I've got Microsoft MCP and COMPTIA A+ and Network+ certifications. I can build a PC from the ground up with my eyes closed and diagnose and repair virtually any problem.

I've also used a number of different audio products -- Cakewalk, Sonar, Sonic Foundry, Halion, all with generally excellent results. But EVERY incarnation of Gigastudio has only caused bluescreens or simply refused to function.

After shelling out the first 150 bucks and spending months and months of fruitless tweaking and rebuilding, you'd think I would've learned my lesson.

But no, not this hopeless romantic.

When music giant Tascam bought out Nemesys, the company responsible for the first Gigascrewedio, I thought -- like so many other hapless victims -- that THIS time things would be different.

And so I parted with another cool 250 bucks with the blind faith of the lovestruck.

Needless to say, the relationship never got past first base -- the initial installation -- and, since I waited past the warranty date, I am, once again, nicely out of luck.

So I called Tascam right before the holidays.

Getting only a recorded message, I spoke nicely, calmly, and gave detailed information about the problem, along with my contact information. I sent out a follow-up email, along the normal channels.

No answer.

I kept trying, calling long distance at different times of the day, leaving messages with tech support and the main number. E-mail after email followed.

After two weeks, my patience wore somewhat thin -- hell, even a form letter would have been appreciated as a simple gesture of courtesy.

But now, a month later, it seems I just can't get no lovin' from Tascam.

Fact is, Tascam, she just don't care.

And so, as I finally promised, I'm parting company with Gigascrewdio, never to look back. And to all of you hoping to make music with this expensively-wrapped, overly-hyped, perfumed piece of fecal matter, expect the same. You ain't gettin' no lovin' there.

I, for one, will be looking into lemon laws to try and recoup my cash so as to spend it better elsewhere.

And so, that eternal advice still hasn't changed: dump her and look elsewhere. There are a hell of a lot better ones out there; ones who won't take all your money and leave you frustrated at the end of the day.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Somebody's Got a Heap o' Smitin' to Get to....

Well, it looks like there'll be no Jesusland after all for Crazy Pat.

Bummer dude.

Quote of the Day: "it is more difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle." -- Mark 10:25

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Difference Between Us and Them...

As you may (or may not) have noticed, my posting has been sparse of late. The reason's simple -- right now the news is full of -- well, good news.

What's even more surprising is that it's getting widespread coverage by the major media.

Folks, the tide is definitely turning; it appears as though the neocon power base is starting to crumble.

Of course, we're not out of the woods yet -- there's the very scary Alito nomination to defeat, and (most dangerous of all) the steady, quiet buildup of the Republican vote hack.

But things are definitely starting to look brighter, with the Sharon down for the count, Cheney falling apart like some limb-sloughing ghoul exposed to the sunlight, the crazies screaming about bats in the walls, and DeLay being fitted for a spiffy new set of prison blues -- possibly to share quarters with co-Periplaneta americanans Cunningham, Ney, Hastert and Frist among a host of others.

Then there's the new, testicularly-endowed reincarnation of the Democratic party with the good doctor at the helm, Bush exhibiting ever more obvious signs of a mental breakdown, our good friends across the pond starting to wake up from their moral stupor, and new friends appearing in unexpected quarters.

We have our representatives in DC finally saying enough is enough (albeit three and a half years behind the curve) even defying the man who would be king.

But his Royal Heinous (rhymes with "anus") isn't about about to give up his rattle without a loud squal or three.

Which leads to the gist of this ramble, namely that, in examining the consistent behavior of members from the opposite political poles in America, we find a fundamental core of truth: the equation is all about mercy.

For us, the goals are humanitarianism, conservation, peace, caring...
ultimately care for our fellow living creatures - human or otherwise.

For them, life is domination -- exploitation, power, the right to dictate and control.

As psychologists have been discovering, the conservative's mind isn't wired like the liberal's. The dominant mental trait is sociopathology -- an inability to experience empathy or guilt -- a switch has been turned off so that's it's impossible for them to feel the pangs of sadness as they step over the people they've sentenced to the streets -- stepping into their luxury cars and other totems of power and reassurance.

Folks, we are at the cusp of the next step in human evolution. Our ability to congregate and cooperate brought us out of the stone age into the agrarian age -- and with it, the development of calendars, arithmetic systems, building and crafting tools, animal domestication, plant cultivation and hybridization, etc, etc. But the human mind is a dichotomy. The impulse to nurture is at odds with the reptilian impulses of the limbic system in our brains -- the beast within each of us that wants to dominate, to rage, rape, raze and kill. The more evolved among us master these impulses; those with an overwhelming will to power and no constraints of conscience don't. Their destructive prehuman impulses propel them to dominance.

The question each of us must ask ourselves is: will we let them win?

I hope each and every one of you takes steps every day, with every breath, to fight them. Even the small steps make a difference -- not keeping silent when someone at work repeats lies about Iraq's involvement in 9-11; refusing to let them scare you into taking down your "Support the Troops - Bring Them Home" signs; reminding the armchair warriors that it's easy to act macho from the safety and comfort of the living room couch, and that there are tragic human faces behind all the bombing and shooting, the torture and banned WMD, faces all too similar to those of their own brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers. Reminding the belligerent sofa soldiers that the Constitution -- the very foundation of the democracy they claim to support -- rests principally upon the right of all Americans to speak, and to resist in the face of abuses of power.

The proof is all around us: you can make a difference. All you've got to lose is the future.

Quote of the Day: "I don't know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
-- Albert Einstein

Friday, January 06, 2006

Bush Program Snares Toddler of Terror....

HOUSTON - Edward Allen's reaction to being on the government's "no-fly" list should have been the tip-off that he is no terrorist.

"I don't want to be on the list. I want to fly and see my grandma," the 4-year-old boy said, according to his mother.

Sijollie Allen and her son had trouble boarding planes last month because someone with the same name as Edward is on a government terrorist watch list.

"Is this a joke?" Allen recalled telling Continental Airlines agents Dec. 21 at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport. "You can tell he's not a terrorist."

She said it took several minutes of pleading and a phone call by the ticket agent to get on the plane to New York.

Allen, a Jamaican immigrant, said workers at La Guardia Airport were even more hard-nosed before their Dec. 26 flight home. She said a ticket agent told her: "You're lucky that we're letting you through instead of putting you through the other process."

Quote of the Day: "Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped."
-- Elbert Hubbard, American biographer