Tuesday, November 30, 2004

End of Air Travel?

A friend of mine was working on a research job for the Post Office and told me this possibly-apocryphal story. It seems that part of their project involved reviewing the 'employee handbook', or whatever the document is that new employees are expected to read and understand. And in this rulebook was, he swore, a rule against smearing shit on the restroom walls. Seems that one postal employee chose this form of self-expression and then challenged his firing with the defense that 'there wasn't any rule against it.'

Now, reasonable people would agree that someone who smears shit on the restroom walls should be fired for being too stupid not to know that's unacceptable behavior. But the official reaction is to make a rule specifically to cover this one aberrant instance.

My point, which I'm getting to, is to draw a comparison between this and the current treatment of air travellers. A guy tries to smuggle explosives in his shoes - now all flyers have to remove their shoes before boarding a plane. Then some women successfully bring down planes in Russian with explosives smuggled in bras. So of course all women everywhere are potential terrorists who must have a public breast exam before boarding a plane.

Can't anyone see where this is going? If the next terrorist packs his rectum with C4, are all air travellers going to have to submit to body cavity searchs (no doubt on the public concourse) before getting on a plane?

Unless saner heads prevail, we're looking at the end of private air travel. Ask the average person if they'd be willing to accept even a one-in-a-hundred chance that they'd have to drop their trousers and bend over before getting on a plane, and I think you'll see an upsurge of alternate travel and an unprecedented bankruptcy rate in the air industry.

Will that stop the terrorists? Of course not. Once passenger air travel has been destroyed (and however much of the economy that depends on it), they'll move on to other things. Bridges, tunnels, sports arenas... so many targets, so little time.

Isn't it time to admit that people 'fighting' the 'war on terror' don't know what they're doing?

Friday, November 26, 2004

Art Show

My novel languishes unwritten; stalled at 26,000 words. But I haven't been totally uncreative - here's a couple recent studies from my aquarelles investigations:

Terra Cotta Athena

Golden Buddha

Hey, it's my blog and I can post whatever I want, okay? (Aquarelles, btw, are watercolor pencils; you lay in the color and then activate it with water - it turns a lot darker when wet... kind of hard to tell how much color to use, but fortunately, you can always add more.)

Cutting off nose, spiting face

There's a post on boycotting Christmas giftgiving altogether over on Eschaton (NOT from Atrios, I notice - I suspect an economist wouldn't post something quite that ignorant - to be fair, a later post by another Eschatonian suggests shopping with local independents in lieu of a total boycott) I'm cut'pasting my comment from that thread:

One thing I don't like about being a small business owner is being mindlessly lumped in with the Walmarts of the world by suggestions like 'boycott christmas'.

Most small businesses run in the red throughout the year and only clear their books through Christmas sales. A Christmas boycott would not harm large corporations with deeper reserves and access to quantities of credit from their friends in the banking industry, but would throw many small businesses into bankruptcy.

Fortunately, I don't think a suggestion tossed off on a blog is going to actually achieve anything in the way of causing people to eschew gift-giving. And I was pleased to see the number of folks on this thread suggesting supporting the independent local businesses.

Our shop mannequins all wore Kerry buttons throughout Sept-Oct; we passed out buttons, bumperstickers and yardsigns, and offered voter registration forms for the unregistered. We were as devastated by the election results as anyone, particularly because it's fairly clear that Bush is going to continue policies that will ultimately ruin the economy if saner heads don't prevail.

We do offer a small fraction of our mechandise online (some of our stuff is one-of-a-kind and only available for real-presence purchase); if you'd like to support a Tiny Business who hopes to become a major force for good, visit Esoterica of Leesburg.

If you're anywhere near DC, drive out to Leesburg and visit us in person. Live music on Fridays, meditation on Mondays, drumming on Tuesdays, women's circle on Wednesdays.

And please don't lump all businesses in the Supports Bush bin. It hurts our feelings.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Annoy a conservative

I was behind a big ol' obnoxious SUV in traffic and he had this noisome bumpersticker. Said 'Annoy a liberal. Work hard. Be Happy.'

So I'm launching a line of Annoy a Conservative bumperstickers, like:

Also comes in: '... work for peace', '... honor Earth', and '... help the underdog'.

Putin knows....

... and is wondering when George is going to notice...

My fearless and omnipotent predictions:
--- Pool reporters at the gaggle will quiz Scottie mercilessly. Scottie will claim not to know what they're talking about, then when presented with the evidence will claim it's a photoshopped 'conspiracy', will outrage all over reporters for being 'fooled'.
--- AP Photographer Ricardo Mazalan will testify that this is his unretouched photo.
--- Freepers and Drudge will start rumors about Mazalan's 'life-style' and wonder why he hates America.
--- The Chimp will make some self-deprecating remark about 'barn-doors' while taking questions next to some deeply-chagrined foreign leader.
--- 51% of the population will think he's 'charming'.

Honestly, wouldn't you really rather he schtup an intern in decent privacy than embarrass us all in public this way?

Says it all

A puny little man shoves past former President Clinton to be Leader of the Pack at the opening of Clinton's Presidential Library.

And people talk about how likable he is? What's to like?

Monday, November 22, 2004

How to deal with fraudulent elections

Interesting article in today's WashPost; some of it sounds familiar...

Ukraine was thrown into turmoil Monday by nearly-complete election results from Sunday's presidential election, which gave Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych an insurmountable three point lead but raised the threat of unrest because of angry charges by the opposition and Western observers that the vote was tainted by widespread fraud.

Tens of thousands of people flooded Independence Square in the capital Monday amid calls for a general strike or even the kind of revolution that toppled regimes in Serbia and Georgia after suspect elections.

With 99.33 percent of the vote counted, Yanukovych had 49.42 percent of the vote compared to 46.3 percent for his opponent Viktor Yushchenko, according to the Central Elections Commission. Exit polls had initially called a victory for Yushchenko by a wide margin.

In strikingly frank language, election monitors laid out a litany of election day abuses that they said called into question the validity of the vote, as well as the future legitimacy of any Yanukovych presidency. One British member of a European Parliament observer group, using language rarely heard in election missions in Europe, said the turnout and results from certain districts favorable to Yanukovych could best be compared with elections in North Korea or in Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

As a massive crowd gathered in central Kiev Monday night, Yushchenko called for civil resistance, and some of his supporters were bringing in tents to set up a semi-permanent encampment in the center city.

Legend: Italics - things that sounds like our last election. Bold - things that do not. How sad is it that Ukraine is more exercised over the prospect of election fraud than we are?

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Friday, November 19, 2004


Here's an interesting news story; historical revisionists who aren't Americans!

A group of Greek lawyers are threatening to sue Warner Bros. film studios and Oliver Stone, director of the widely anticipated film "Alexander," for suggesting Alexander the Great was bisexual.


Been kinda busy

Lots of holiday prep going on in RetailLand. But here's a photoshop for your viewing pleasure...

Tees, mugs, etc available in the Wonkery.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


... or It's Okay if you are a Republican.

From today's WashPost:

House Republicans were contemplating changing their rules in order to allow members indicted by state prosecutors to remain in a leadership post, a move designed to benefit Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) in case he is charged by a Texas grand jury that has indicted three of his political associates, GOP leaders said today.

The rules change, which some leaders said is likely to be adopted Wednesday, comes as House Republicans return to Washington indebted to DeLay for the enhanced majority they won in this month's elections. DeLay led an aggressive redistricting effort in Texas last year that resulted in five Democratic House members retiring or losing reelection. It also triggered the grand jury inquiry into fundraising efforts related to the state legislature's redistricting actions.


House Republicans in 1993 -- trying to underscore the ethics problems of Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.), then-chairman of the Ways and Means Committee -- adopted the rule that requires a party leader to surrender his or her post if indicted by any grand jury, federal or state.

Oops. We changed our minds.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Less of me

Yes, btw, you are seeing less of me these days. End of civilization as we know it not withstanding, it's National Novel Writing Month and I have a novel to write, goddammit. I'm currently at about 19,000 words, about 4000 words off the pace, and I have much catching up to do.

Magical Thinking

If you've ever tried to get a crush to phone you through telepathy, or wore Lucky Socks to a job interview, you've been practicing Magical Thinking. I bring this up because of this story Kevin Drum brings to our attention:

NO PROTESTING ALLOWED!....WE WON A MANDATE!....And so it comes to this: merely protesting the war is now enough to bring the Secret Service calling.

It seems that some high school students in Boulder are opposed to the war — that's a shocker, I know, students opposed to war — and planned to sing a Bob Dylan song at a student talent show. Dylan, if memory serves, was some kind of anti-war hippy himself.

Anyway, a few local parents and students apparently decided the Dylan song was being used to "promote an extreme leftist point of view" and that the lyrics to "Masters of War" were a direct threat to the president's life. So the Secret Service was called.

Delightful, isn't it?

The song, written in 1963, inveighs against all the purveyors of war, and ends with these words: "You might say that I'm young. You might say I'm unlearned, but there's one thing I know, though I'm younger than you, even Jesus would never forgive what you do … And I hope that you die and your death'll come soon. I will follow your casket in the pale afternoon. And I'll watch while you're lowered down to your deathbed. And I'll stand o'er your grave 'til I'm sure that you're dead."

You see my point, I think? The phrase "I hope that you die", directed at some nameless members of the 'military-industrial complex' has magically seen into the future to target a President forty years later, with a direct physical threat, that can span the distance from Boulder, Colorado, to Washington DC. That is some kind of powerful mojo!

And yet, who among us would doubt that if anyone could master such titan forces, it would be Bob Dylan?

Seriously, though, doesn't this tell us all we need to know about the Bush Believers? When he declares Mission Accomplished, all evidence to the contrary, they believe. Tinkerbell is a very healthy little fairy in Jesusland.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Shut up, shut up, shut UP.

Ashcroft Condemns Judges Who Question Bush

Federal judges are jeopardizing national security by issuing rulings contradictory to President Bush's decisions on America's obligations under international treaties and agreements, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Friday.

yeah, how DARE they defend the constitution from tyranny and stuff...

Thursday, November 11, 2004


From the Poor Man:

Bush has nominated Alberto Gonzales to replace John Ashcroft as Attorney General. Yup, that Alberto Gonzales. On the minus side, Gonzales thinks that the Magna Carta is a dangerous piece of judicial activism. On the plus side, he grew up in a two-bedroom house. So it's kind of a rags-to-fascism success story, which shows that the American dream is still alive, albeit with a bit more torture.

Later in the day, Bush is expected to tap Lyndie England to replace Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense, and later in the week Colin Powell will step down to be replaced by that dog that bit all those prisoners at Abu Griab.


Brad DeLong points to a pattern:

In 1972, we reelected an incumbent. In 1976, we elected an unknown southern governor who had not spent a day in Washington D.C. and had no national political record. In 1980, we elected an unknown governor--a southerner, if Orange County is "southern"--who had not spent a day in Washington D.C. and had no national political record. In 1984 we reelected an incumbent president. In 1988 we elected an incumbent vice president. In 1992 we elected an unknown southern governor who had not spent a day in Washington D.C. and had no national political record. In 1996 we reelected an incumbent. In 2000 we elected an unknown southern governor had not spent a day in Washington D.C. and had no national political record.

The pattern is clear: when there isn't an unknown southern governor running, an incumbent president can win reelection or an incumbent vice president can win election; but the unknown southern governor without a national political record wins the presidency--always.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Had the banana-republicanization been accomplished and nobody notices stuff like this any more??


LOS ANGELES, November 9, 2004 - At 7:50 PM armored tanks showed up at an anti-war protest in front of the federal building in Westwood.

The tanks circled the block twice, the second time parking themselves in the street and directly in front of the area where most of the protesters were gathered.

Story at link; includes link to video.

How can tanks be deployed to a suburb of Los Angeles without making the LATimes or the wires?

Tell the world you're sorry

Sorry, Everybody

Click thru a few pages of the gallery; it's really sweet.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Other art

Non-photoshop this time.

"Reach", in aquarelles (watercolor pencils) and pastels.

and the hits just keep on coming

More fun with photoshop; greeting cards this time:

War on Terror over! We WON!

John Ashcroft resigns as Attorney General today with these words: "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved." Hurray! Cue the victory parades!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Canadians to the rescue!

Marry an American - motto: No Good American Will Be left behind.

More fun with PhotoShop

You'all be sure and tell me if I'm too bitter, you hear?

Not sure everyone will get that last one... maybe it should say "Big Brother is Watching" or "Resistance is Futile" or something?

Sunday, November 07, 2004

And so it begins

Wisconsin City Allows Teaching Creationism

The city's school board has revised its science curriculum to allow the teaching of creationism, prompting an outcry from more than 300 educators who urged that the decision be reversed.

School board members believed that a state law governing the teaching of evolution was too restrictive. The science curriculum "should not be totally inclusive of just one scientific theory," said Joni Burgin, superintendent of the district of 1,000 students in northwest Wisconsin.

and ANOTHER thing...

I understand a lot of fundamentalists voted for Bush because they're really looking forward to the Rapture and think he'll find the closest route to Armaggedon. Okay, at least it's an understandable motive. When your religion forbids everything the least little bit enjoyable, looking forward to the End Times starts to make sense...

I have a question for the fundies tho' - when they've all been Gathered In to their final reward, will they finally be able to laugh and sing and dance? Will they finally be able to drink and carouse and fuck for fun? Because if not, if their version of the great reward is just more of the same old self-denial, what are they looking forward to??

Saturday, November 06, 2004

More designs

Venting more bitterness via PhotoShop:

What's all this Elitist crap?

All over the 'net I'm hearing gloating Republicans chortling that the 'East Coast elitists' have been defeated. Excuse me? The party of the CEOs beat the party of the labor unions and the Elitists lost? I don't think so.

I'll never understand how working people can think that because Tony Scalia goes hunting, that makes him one of them, or worse, makes them one of Scalia's cronies. The 'who would you rather have a beer with' litmus test has got to be the most pathetic excuse for voting yet. Hey, wake up, Gomer - Cheney is never going to have a beer with you. If he found himself in the same room with you, he'd call security.

When the corporate cronies who own the Republican party close down your factory and outsource your jobs, maybe one or two of you might get a job cleaning out their dogs' kennels, but don't kid yourself that they're ever EVER going to let you marry their daughter.

Honestly, the way Middle America consistently votes against their own best interests, you'd think they enjoyed being abused.

Oh. Whoa. Epiphany...

Friday, November 05, 2004

NaNo update

Current wordcount is around 6000; about on target for 50,000 words in 30 days. For reasons I do not fully understand, I'm drafting in longhand, with a pheasant quill pen and dragon's blood ink. Onward.

One person's job is secure...

The incomparable Molly Ivins:

Do you know how to cure a chicken-killin' dog? Now, you know you cannot keep a dog that kills chickens, no matter how fine a dog it is otherwise.

Some people think you cannot break a dog that has got in the habit of killin' chickens, but my friend John Henry always claimed you could. He said the way to do it is to take one of the chickens the dog has killed and wire the thing around the dog's neck, good and strong. And leave it there until that dead chicken stinks so bad that no other dog or person will even go near that poor beast. Thing'll smell so bad the dog won't be able to stand himself. You leave it on there until the last little bit of flesh rots and falls off, and that dog won't kill chickens again.

The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the American people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans.

Unfortunately, I believe Molly overestimates the learning ability of many Americans. It is sad but true - you can fool some of the people all of the time.


What's all this talk about Bush's Mandate?

(With apologies to Emily Litella.)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Graphic truths

Culled from the web:

Found unattributed - would love to credit originator. Please email or comment if you know whose work this is.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Bitter? sure.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Still no phone at home; earliest ETA of repairman is tomorrow, sigh.

I've got DSL at work, so will probably be here late tonight to keep up with returns, although it's shaping up to be an early night!

If you're following the Iowa Electronic Markets, the bottom is falling out of the stock in Bush Futures. As of right now (5PM), shares of Bush are trading at .456, and Kerry is selling for .523 - go here for latest quotes . You have to add both DEM shares to get the current stock in Kerry, etc.

Interestingly, the speculators are now taking a stronger position in Kerry-by-more-than-52%...

Monday, November 01, 2004

Having phone probs

... so I'm not sure I'll be able to blog from home tonight. In case I'm incommunicado, here's a pic to rest your eyes; Greenman in aquarelles.

Speculators betting on Kerry?

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices fell sharply on Monday on speculation that a U.S. election win for Senator John Kerry could ease the geopolitical friction that has helped fuel this year's record-breaking rally.


Energy analysts said a win for the challenger Kerry in Tuesday's U.S. presidential election could mean lower crude prices than if President Bush were reelected. Latest opinion polls can barely separate the two.

"Under a Kerry administration we'd likely have a much more interventionist SPR policy," said Jamal Qureshi, market analyst at PFC Energy in Washington. "And when you look out a bit further, Bush is more likely to be aggressive in the Middle East, particularly in Iran."

Story here.

What about the REST of November?

Okay, November 1st we're all phoning everyone we know and making sure none of our friends bought into the 'no difference between the parties' nonsense and are voting for a third party candidate this year. And November 2nd, we're all voting, and then cruising the polling places with video cameras looking for signs of Republican malfeasance to document. November 3rd is probably a dead loss, sitting in the trees with the Ewoks celebrating the end of the Evil Empire and singing the lub-lub song...

But what are you going to do the rest of November? Weren't you really planning to write a novel? Of course you were! And November IS National Novel Writing Month, after all, so what better time?

Go on over to NaNoWriMo, where everyone commits to writing 50 thousand words in thirty days, and sign up as a NaNoWriMo participant, and join in the largest frenzy of bad-fiction production ever.

Oops, I see it's after midnight. National Novel Writing Month has already begun! Must write bad fiction... Must drink copious cups of strong coffeeeee.... Fifty Thousand Words in Thirty Days is a mere 1667 words a day, after all. Bring. It. On.