Feb. 22

Copped freely from Doc Menlo: Atheist Pinups.. Frederick Douglas, a badass in any time, (where's the biopic with Morgan Freeman doing the stirring voiceover:  "And one day I got tired of them beatings and I raised my strong black hand against the white slavemaster and I beat him down like the dawg he was. Hit him again and again. My fist turned into a bloody, scabby goo. And it was good. Kicked his cracker ass 500 yards. Why, that's the length of five football fields.."...Spike, what have you been doing lately...) was also an outspoken Atheist. Here's some quotes:

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.
-- Frederick Douglass (He Was An Escaped Slave)

"I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the South is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes-- a justifier of the most appalling barbarity, a sanctifier of the most hateful frauds, and a dark shelter under which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds of slaveholders find the strongest protection. Where I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to that enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me...I...hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land."
[Frederick Douglass, "After the Escape"]

"Once, in a heated controversy over the wisdom of giving the
Bible to slaves, he asserted that it would be 'infinitely
better to send them a pocket compass and a pistol.'"
[Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass]

This just in! Breakin' news on your stolen election front! Covered here first! Because the corporate media doesn't think this stolen presidential thing is all that important, and they seem content in stuffing everything in the basement in dire need of basement restoration, despite unrebuted books here, here and here....That's life in your fucked up excuse for a Democracy. So, here's the scoop from Kathy Dopp, originally covered here and only here, in  the Free Press. She's pretty certain that she can prove, with this thing that they call "Math", that the votes were altered in Ohio.

In June 2005 The Election Science Institute (ESI) and pollster Mitofsky issued a paper “Ohio 2004 Exit Polls: Explaining the Discrepancy” which asserts that an exit poll error explanation “is much more likely than the fraud accusation theory to account for most, if not all, of the observed discrepancy between the exit polls and the actual results.” Precinct-level exit poll data released with ESI’s report shows that the overall average discrepancy between Ohio’s exit poll and certified vote count margins between Kerry and Bush was 11.7 percentage points. However, In October, 2005, the National Election Archive released a paper which gives counterexamples to show that the Election Science Institute’s analysis is based on an invalid premise. On January 17, 2006 the National Election Archive released its own scientific Ohio exit poll discrepancy analysis, “The Gun Is Smoking: 2004 Ohio Precinct-level Exit Poll Data Show Virtually Irrefutable Evidence of Vote Miscount” . This analysis concludes that Ohio’s exit poll discrepancy pattern is consistent with outcome-altering errors in vote counts.

Two things are certain in this controversy about U.S. exit poll accuracy:
1. The Election Science Institute and the National Election Archive cannot both be correct, and
2. Any university mathematics department in America could evaluate the two conflicting studies and decide which analysis is mathematically correct.

The National Election Archive challenges every journalist interested in discovering if outcome-altering vote miscounts or exit poll error is the more probable cause of Ohio’s exit poll discrepancy; to help resolve this critical question. The answer may make the difference as to whether Americans take steps to ensure vote count accuracy in future elections or not. The National Election Archive urges the National Election Pool media consortium to accept this “math challenge” by sharing these two conflicting election studies with mathematics faculty at any university to determine which analysis is mathematically correct. and 2005-07-19.7420722886/report_contents_file/

The survival of democracy and the future of our civilization may depend on taking steps to ensure the accuracy of elections. As the Election Science Institute said, “The public has a right to know exactly how elections work and to verify for themselves that the voting and the counting is done right.”


If this is true, then this would mean that we didn't have to kill 30000 to 100000 Iraqis for their oil, or plunge that country into a possible civil war (which, if the United States was Kissinger evil, we would like because that weakens the Iraqi resistance overall. Leaves us free and clear to steal their oil. Which is great. If you're evil that is...Know who you are.) which will kill thousands more.

Here's an excerpt from this big solar story:

In a scientific breakthrough that has stunned the world, a team of South African scientists has developed a revolutionary new, highly efficient solar power technology that will enable homes to obtain all their electricity from the sun.

This means high electricity bills and frequent power failures could soon be a thing of the past.

The unique South African-developed solar panels will make it possible for houses to become completely self-sufficient for energy supplies.

The panels are able to generate enough energy to run stoves, geysers, lights, TVs, fridges, computers - in short all the mod-cons of the modern house.

Nothing else comes close to the effectiveness of the SA invention

The new technology should be available in South Africa within a year and through a special converter, energy can be fed directly into the wiring of existing houses. New powerful storage units will allow energy storage to meet demands even in winter. The panels are so efficient they can operate through a Cape Town winter. while direct sunlight is ideal for high-energy generation, other daytime light also generates energy via the panels.

One of the things that always annoyed me about the USS Clueless crowd who insisted that you could never replace delicious tasty oil is they refused to think scientists could come up with something better. We live in an age when half the world is science fictional. Of course, you could do better if you wanted to. And, now, as the rest of the world watches as the US tries to put a noose around the energy supply they're not just going to watch. They're going to do something better and smarter. Then there's the problem with the noose...Gee, I sure hope these devices are legal in the United States. Where's my copy of the Water Engine...?

By the way, I ran this by Randall Parker (see comment 22 or thereabouts) of the pro nuke not sure about global warming crowd but knowledgeable, and he wasn't able to punch holes in this story. So I'm feeling hopeful...

Feb. 16

Item: Two Good Cheney Pics, from 2 Political Junkies and Steve Gilliard respectively:

The second pic alludes to what may be the more serious scandal: Scooter Libby is squealing like those really really guilty and oddly self-incrimination prone perps in every episode I've ever seen on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Actually, I kind of have an off opinion about the stop snitchin' trend in the black community. If its clear that  the main plan they have for black citizens is imprisonment for nonviolent offenses (it certainly isn't massive investment in the public schools), then I don't have a problem with it. Its silly to keep playing by the rules when the game is stacked against you. I mean, if you're a black person who shoots another person then I'll guess I'll snitch. But if its drugs like grass or dvds, I see nothin'. I'm just like a Republican looking at all those Gitmo pics: nothing to see here move along. If there was a real black press that spoke with one voice, then Jury Nullification would be a more popular concept. And no Oprah doesn't count as the black press, or at least a conscious one.

Item: Speaking of Oprah, I see that the Boondocks characters tried to kidnap her last week. The Boondocks, while uneven, is one of the most interesting shows on television. So, of course, Al Sharpton wants to kill the show, written and conceived by one of the most interesting black writers in the country. Meanwhile, he's still silent about Soul Plane, worst movie ever...Fuckin' idiot. Personally, I don't think he's mad about the depiction of MLK (best episode so far..he even threw in an alt timeline riff.) but the line about "hustlin preachers" He should know...If you ever wanted to know what was wrong with black leadership...And watch the Boondocks...













Item: Really talented artist I discovered on the Internets...

Feb. 14

I wrote this about five years ago.  It answers a question I've long had: why doesn't the Democratic Party fight for its base?


Months after the coup, I’m still debating the merits of the Ralph Nader presidential run. On the Ralph screwed us big time side is Katha Pollitt at the Nation and Todd Gitlin and Sean Wilentz at Dissent. On the other side supporting Saint Ralph is Mike Moore and Ellen Willis over at Dissent. (Dissent, allegedly a “left” outfit, makes it very difficult for me to link directly to the very fine Gitlin/Wilentz vs. Willis debate over there. So you have to go to the main page and search it out for yourselves.) Personally, I took a pragmatic view and voted for Gore, although I’m a huge Nader fan and in fact probably owe him my life in that I have survived a number of car crashes and breathe much better without second hand smoke.

After reading through all the briefs I have come to the conclusion that perhaps there was merit to the Nader run. Willis points out that as a leftist I’m playing a losing game that I have to watch being played in front of my horrified eyes. She makes the point that when the Republicans win, they fight relentlessly and ruthlessly for their loathsome, swinelike base. That, by the way, makes tactical sense. You want to give your base a reason to go to the polls. Where, during the long eight year reign of the DLC Clintonistas the left got nothing or we got stuff that we really didn’t want. He didn’t even do little things like fully funding public television. We got welfare reform, aspiring trillionaires and NAFTA, which might as well be called a corporation rights bill. I might add that all of these things undermine the Democratic Party base. Clinton didn’t even fight for the courts. We’ve seen where that led us. Tactically, this makes no sense. Why would you pursue policies that undermines your base? But there’s a point in the Willis argument that sheds some light on this where she states:

Conservative Republicans hang together, stand up for their beliefs, and police the “moderates” in their ranks, while the Democrats’ every impulse is toward compromise and appeasement. If anything, their behavior suggests that they are threatened by the potential power of such mass constituencies as labor, blacks, and women, and would rather lose than risk unleashing it.”

This brings up a point that no one has thought about or at least brought up in public, but that someone should bring up: If you were a white man and you represented a party whose constituency represented parties that for better or worse believed in a future that lessens the power of the white man, would you enthusiastically support that party? Especially if it turns out that your opposition party foes are for the white man’s privilege, the whole white man’s privilege and nothing but the white man’s privilege. You might say that you’re open minded about sharing power consciously, but what about unconsciously? Maybe, secretly, you really want the other side to win.

Right now, the last remnants of the Great Society are in the hands of the 50 or so Dem senators, many of whom like Breaux and Miller seem to be Republicans in drag, in the US Senate. So far, they haven’t used the filibuster once. If the situation was reversed, the Republicans would be using their filibuster powers every, oh, four seconds or so. I can only conclude, being that they’ve totally “bought” into the Tony Coelho We Can Be Republicans To Big Money mantra, that they want the other side to win. Let’s give Bush a big tax cut. Let’s rollover on those judges. I think Willis uses the word “supine”. How appropriate. (Actually, the Dems haven’t rolled over just yet. I sure hope they get some spine…)

Yet another salient point that Willis brings up is that we’re kind of in a no-win situation. We lose slowly with Gore and quicker with Bush. And even though I agree with many of the practical points put forth by Gitlin/Wilentz everything revolves around globalization, which Gore supports. He would have been better than Bush on many issues, but economically those trade agreements undermine the union base, arguably the most powerful arm of the Dems, and everything else we stand for. Again, why do that unless you want the other side to win.

Just to add to that, I might point out that it’s the structure of the winner take all system that makes any kind of progressive change almost impossible. The lack of a progressive, left-wing media makes this difficult as well. Part of the problem revolves around the conundrum presented by the old Orwell quote: “They can’t be conscious until they’re free and they can’t be free until they’re conscious.” Likewise, we can’t have freedom until we have modern working democratic institutions, but you can’t have working democratic institutions until you have freedom. I don’t see how we win the puzzle.

Frankly, I don’t think the left will win in the United States. In fact, we might not even win on Earth. That’s why I think I’m the only leftist on Earth who is not only pro technology, but pro space exploration. Instead of playing this game on Earth, where the Casino has decided for us to lose, we should think about playing some new games here, in either artificially created nations like Sealand or offworld. My personal preference is Mars. More on this when I finally complete A Left Argument for Technology.

Feb. 9

Revenge of Around the Internets

Item: Bill Boichel, a man who should be forced by some merciless Kafkaesque regime (or the United States) to blog, sent me this cool toon:

Item: Here's some animation that features the late Seth Fisher's work in Will World. Here's Seth's personal web page by the way..

Item: Evil Telcos Want To End Internets As We Know Them. Or turn Internets into that high quality commodity known as "Cable". This would screw Google, but Google can fight back, and it should, by becoming a telco themselves, or so I prays to the all powerful flying spaghetti monster (the one true God or else) in my mind...

Item: Comparison between South Africa and Israel... Related: The difference between anti-semitism and anti-zionism.

Item: I will be permalinking the science activist.

Item: I can't stop thinking about Million Dollar Baby....probably because HBO keeps rerunning it every hour or so. Here's one guy's depressing assessment of the gal's fight game. I actually disagree with him. I've seen some very skilled female fighters. They used to show female fighters every week on some off off cable channel I used to get. No more. Actually, I think women should skip boxing and go right toward mixed martial arts...which, in theory, would allow them to compete with men...

 (Also was very impressed with the film Kinsey, a man who didn't just run the company but was a client.... More on that later when I have time....)

 Feb. 3

Item: I wrote a review for Locus Online where I gave Seth some outrageous praise. I stand by what I wrote.


Green Lantern: Will World
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Seth Fisher
Price: $24.95
Publisher: DC Comics, ISBN Number: 1-56389-782-2

Now if you’re looking for a comic that’s worth 25 dollars, then I highly recommend picking up the Green Lantern graphic novel Will World.

The story involves a spectacularly surreal rite of passage that Green Lanterns (Hal Jordan here) have to go through in order to more effectively wield the power of the ring. He also recites the Alfred Bester penned Green Lantern oath at least once or twice. But the star of this show isn’t the story but the incredible
pencils of Seth Fisher. The only thing I might compare it to is that New York gallery level Dr. Strange annual that P. Craig Russell drew those many years ago. There are out and out homages/thefts of Man Ray, Escher, Magritte and Dali that burst from the page, not to mention the continuous suggestive ooze of Bill Plympton's animated mutations. It features a squealing zoo of bizarre images, such as: Giant Floating Heads, tiny people, people with six arms, flying carpets, flying saucers, architecture gone mad (Indian palaces mixed in with future organic skyscrapers mixed with Chinese houses standing beside a rundown tenement building, etc.) pipe smoking gorillas, zeppelins and of course Alien Grays. It has just a small touch of Moebius dappled with the sensibility of the Beatles Yellow Submarine Cartoon. It’s the kind of thing that would make Windsor McKay fume with jealous anger. And that’s just the first splash spread on pages 8 and 9 of this 96 page epic.

Stunning stuff. Not unlike walking through a living, acid tinged dream. I mean, I don’t do drugs, but there are times when you’re reading or listening to something where you get the faint sense that you’re missing out by not being under the influence of, well, something. Every panel screams jarring and disorienting: a floating pixie here, giant levitating heads, a Joker card that features the Joker, towering 20 story clowns with lamprey-like arms, not to mention Green Lantern’s head occasionally exploding into figures of people or a great twisted swirling cacophony of alien faces and organic vinelike strands…

Highly recommended. In fact, when computer pundit Robert Cringley's predicted cheap foldable plastic displays are a reality, this is the kind of art that I’d like to upload on my walls.

(On hold) This week (or weeks) we celebrate the work V for Vendetta. Here's an explanation of the very complicated comic..

Jan. 26

Item: I guess I should be shocked that Bob Jr. backs Alito, even though as Atrios points out he really didn't have to. And I see that Fast Eddie has given me a reason to not vote for him as well. Actually, Atrios makes kind of a funny point: he would have preferred that Bob Jr. lie to him and then sell him out later in the Senate. I mean, you didn't see this coming? Of course, if the leaders of Pennsylvania's labor movement are pro life then these are good positions all around for the Powers That Be. Then there's my Crazy Conspiracy Theory that Jewish American Democrats have sold out the party for Israel. If you were Jewish, as Schumer and Rendell are, and you wanted to reward the Republicans for murdering for Israel, then rolling over on judges and supporting either a weak nominee against Santorum (or someone with very little differences with him) might be something that you would do. Of course, I'm hoping that's just a crazy conspiracy theory. My eyes and head are telling me something else.

I might also note that if the courts are ruined then I have very little reason to vote Democrat. If you guys are just going to roll over on Bork II then there's very little reason to keep working for or with you guys. I'm kind of glad ACT is out of business right now. I can't imagine registering voters for Bob Casey Jr., Christ. I might also note that half the population (or gals) will be extremely angry about being transported to 12th century Iran. And it won't just be abortion, it will be contraception as well. Those crazy fuckin' theocrats...we need science heroes and we need them now.

Item: If you're looking at the future of American Civil Liberties under Alito, then please check out this comic by Joe Sacco.

Item: Yet another note for Atrios: if you really wanted to rebel against Bob Casey Jr., then you would tell your zillions of readers to give money to Chuck Penn's candidacy. He just doesn't need a lot of money to be competitive against Casey Jr., but he needs some. Atrios could help.

Item: I’m adding Technovelgy, Truthdig and Steve Gilliard to the links and plan a full link overhaul when I get some time. 

Jan 11

Still not a lot of time to write, so check out 2 Political Junkies, Robot Wisdom and Undernews (all on the left hand side) for all the scary news you need to know.

This week we celebrate the work of Brendan McCarthy. Who I think may have taken a drug or two.

Jan. 9

I've been sick from a lingering cold since the New Year began so I haven't been up for much writing as should be obvious. Random mutterings and posts should begin Tuesday. And Go Steelers. That one touchdown play looked more like an equation...just gorgeous. It looks like they're peaking at just the right time...


Dec. 19

Reason beats Flying Spaghetti Monster. Hooray. More mainstream coverage here. More from the Evolution Blog, where they are absolutely giddy with joy. Cocky even. Remember: The judge is a Republican who was nominated by President Bush, which makes it even sweeter. I'm waiting for Chris Mooney to gloat but he's on his way to New Orleans to see the ruins of his mother's flood ravaged home. But Chris got some good news: Morgan Spurlock (of Supersize Me fame) wants to turn "The Republican War Against Science" into a documentary.

More Around the Nets:

Two Interesting Porn Blogs Softr and Sexoteric. And from Sexoteric: This is hilarious. It reads like a funny SNL Skit. For the record, I agree with the girl. They probably were just peaceful farmers.

More gals I agree with. Once people find out Casey Jr. is pro life his numbers go down. Are pro war Jewish Dems selling out the party for Israel? You would do that by either backing a loser against the Republican guy who will fight the proxy war for Israel or by making sure you nominate a Democrat who will fight the proxy war for Israel...Please tell me I'm wrong about this.

List of online graphic novels.

Canadian Patricia Barber, out lesbian Jazz torch singer who's probably more interesting than her compatriot Diana Krall, has a new jazz video out which sounds very very cool.

And I wrote a column for The Front but its not online yet. Actually, its an older column but very few people saw it and its still a good idea...


Dec. 18

First up, election round up:

The very minor story of how your election machines have been compromised has reached the corporate media. It’s mostly in Florida but it’s a start. Just to recap: if you’re a democrat or if you’re just interested in a functioning democracy this is the most important issue, ever. All policy debates about Iraq or the Patriot Act and or the latest criminal activity by our president and how to play these issues politically means nothing if the Republicans can add 100000 of their votes and take away 100000 of your votes at will. So, we have to fix the machines and to do that you have to start talking about fixing the machines.

Nice Sum Up by Techdirt , which I think has the best analysis of tech issues that I’ve seen on the Internet.  Here’s the money shot:

Of course, if you have even the slightest respect for the integrity of our voting system, the results of the test and Diebold's response should scare you silly. It raises serious questions about why we would ever trust any Diebold machine without also hand counting a paper trail. The fact that their touchscreen machines don't include a secondary paper trail means those machines should never be used at all.

Also, within the comments section there’s this comment by Ernest Partridge to Howard Dean which sums up things pretty well.

Every week I get dozens of solicitations from the Democratic National Committee, from the Democratic Senate and Congressional Campaign Committees, or from various Democratic candidates and office-holders, each of them asking for contributions. "You can help us achieve victory next November," I am told.

If by "victory" is meant a majority vote cast at the polls, then the Democrats achieved "victory" in 2000, 2002 and 2004. And yet, the Republicans remain in control of the Congress and the White House.

Small wonder! Republicans build the voting machines, Republicans write the secret software, Republicans count and compile the totals. The Republican machines allow no auditing of the vote totals they report. So Republicans have the ability to "win" elections, regardless of the will of the voters. There is compelling evidence that they have done just that.  

And so, if nothing is done to end the privatization of our elections and to introduce reliable verification, the Republicans will "win" again in November 2006 and then in 2008. Today, eleven months before the mid-term election, the outcome is fore-ordained – as certain as Soviet elections under Stalin, and Iraqi elections under Saddam. For, as Stalin said, "Those who cast the votes decide nothing, those who count the votes decide everything."

In the United States today, the GOP counts most of the votes, and there are no means to verify up to 80% of those votes.

In view of this dreadful situation, when the Democrats ask me for a contribution I must reply: "What's the point? It's already been settled! What remains is an empty charade." Admittedly, with total GOP control of the executive and congressional branches in Washington, federal investigation and legislation are, for the moment, out of the question. But elections are administered on the state and municipal levels where, in many cases, the Democrats are in control. So I ask again:

Where are the criminal investigations?

Where are the civil lawsuits, e.g., by Max Cleland in Georgia, Walter Mondale in Minnesota, Al Gore in Florida, John Kerry in Ohio?

Why is appropriate state-level legislation not proposed and enacted by Democratic majorities?

Why is the national Democratic Party not publicizing the GAO report?

I am told that some Democratic politicians are concerned that if the Party raises a ruckus about voting fraud, the Democratic base will be discouraged and will stay at home on election day.

Well, so what? If the fix is in on election day, what does it matter if the voters go to the polls? Why try to close the gate if the horse has been stolen?

Dec. 15


Okay, now this is what we Roswell-like stolen election conspiracy theorists have been looking for. This is the equal to filmed footage of an Alien Gray sitting down with the President and having a smoke. Did you know that there was a county in Florida that allowed Black Box Voting to test hack the Diebold machines? Did you know that Finnish Hacker Harri Hursti and BBV were able to change the results? Did you know that no current canvassing method would have detected these changes? Did you know that those machines were thrown out? Do you understand that Diebold is run by partisan Republicans and builds most of the machines that the nation uses? By the way, this doesn’t mean just shocking presidential or referendum results, this might mean the odd inability to gain house and senate seats when an opposing party holds the presidency, or, worse yet, making sure that the worst candidates get the nomination so that the Dems would be more likely to lose…We’re officially in an Oliver Stone film now. Donald Sutherland is asking you who had the most to gain from a stolen election? He’s rattling off a number of bullet points about how those Ohio referendums couldn’t have been reversed that dramatically, about how the exit polling in Ohio couldn’t have been that far off, about how clear it is that the executive branch and the oil lobby are one and the same…You ask yourself, as you run down winding infinite black and white Hitchcock era streets, would the most corrupt administration ever steal an American election—after clearly fixing the results in Iraq, Afghanistan and encouraging a coup in Venezuela—and you know the question answers itself.  

Here’s a snippet of the Black Box story and here’s a quiz: isn’t it time for the DNC to make this a national issue?


BLACK BOX VOTING - Due to contractual non-performance and security design issues, Leon County (Florida) supervisor of elections Ion Sancho told Black Box Voting that he will never again use Diebold in an election. He has requested funds to replace the Diebold system from the county. He will issue a formal announcement to this effect shortly.

A test election was run in Leon County today with a total of eight ballots - six ballots voted "no" on a ballot question as to whether Diebold voting machines can be hacked or not. Two ballots, cast by Dr. Herbert Thompson and by Harri Hursti voted "yes" indicating a belief that the Diebold machines could be hacked.

At the beginning of the test election the memory card programmed by Harri Hursti was inserted into an Optical Scan Diebold voting machine. A "zero report" was run indicating zero votes on the memory card. In fact, however, Hursti had pre-loaded the memory card with plus and minus votes.

The eight ballots were run through the optical scan machine. The standard Diebold-supplied "ender card" was run through as is normal procedure ending the election. A results tape was run from the voting machine.

Correct results should have been: Yes:2 No:6

However, just as Hursti had planned, the results tape read:

Yes:7 No:1

The results were then uploaded from the optical scan voting machine into the GEMS central tabulator. The central tabulator is the "mother ship" that pulls in all votes from voting machines. The results in the central tabulator read:

Yes:7 No:1

This exploit, accomplished without being given any password and with the same level of access given thousands of poll workers across the USA, showed that the votes themselves were changed in a one-step process. This hack would not be detected in any normal canvassing procedure, and it required only a single a credit-card sized memory card.

One final note: it looks like California, and that state's GOP Sec. of State, is working to avoid this same test. Black Box Voting might be able to force this issue and I hope that they do.

Dec. 12

Brief Monday Evenin' Around the Internets

Chuck Penn will be in Pittsburgh tonight and tomorrow. There's also this profile over at the Booman Tribune. Now, if we could just get Atrios to take a stand..

Froth knew that trooper that got gunned down and wrote a firsthand tribute.

More later after I pay some bills...

Dec 11

These are the big stories. From the Brad Blog:

Ohio Citizen Continues Hunger Strike, Prayer Vigil in Buckeye State to Oppose Anti-Democratic Law Set to Pass Statehouse
'Christian Faith Requires Personal Sacrifice' Says Divinity Student Protesting Law Said to Ensure Republican Control of Scandal-Ridden Ohio

To protest what Free Press investigative reporters describe as a "holiday burial for American Democracy" in the Buckeye State, Ohio divinity student and Columbus resident, Jonathan Meier is continuing his prayer vigil and hunger strike at the Ohio Statehouse despite heavy snow and brutally cold winter temperatures.

House Bill 3 has already passed the House and is about to be approved by the Republican-dominated Senate in the ground-zero snakepit of GOP political corruption otherwise known as Ohio.

Activist Meier, in a just-issued press release says "that his Christian faith calls him to 'constantly pursue social justice and illuminate social ills, and, often, this call requires personal sacrifice."

Free Press' Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman recently described the latest onslaught to democracy in Ohio, which Meier is protesting, this way:

HB3's most publicized provision will require positive identification before casting a vote. But it also opens voter registration activists to partisan prosecution, exempts electronic voting machines from public scrutiny, quintuples the cost of citizen-requested statewide recounts and makes it illegal to challenge a presidential vote count or, indeed, any federal election result in Ohio. When added to the recently passed HB1, which allows campaign financing to be dominated by the wealthy and by corporations, and along with a Rovian wish list of GOP attacks on the ballot box, democracy in Ohio could be all but over.

Says Meier, "Most people don’t realize that this legislation, if passed by the senate next week, would make it virtually impossible for homeless folks to vote, would make it virtually impossible for groups to register large numbers of voters, would eliminate oversight of voting machines, and would cancel our right to challenge election results."

He added, "Instead of addressing the long lines at the polls, instead of making it easier for people to register and to vote, Republican lawmakers put forward 424 pages of legislation that will set up roadblocks to our democracy. I, for one, do not trust a vote reform bill that is purely a partisan act."

Fitrakis and Wasserman put the Ohio legislation in context for the rest of the country, where similar bills are being explored by various Republican-controlled legislatures:

In traditional terms, the scandal-ridden Ohio GOP would appear to be more vulnerable than ever. Governor Robert Taft has become the only Ohio governor to be convicted of a crime while in office. With an astonishing 7% approval rating, he has been compared to Homer Simpson by the state's leading Republican newspaper. Republican US Senator Mike DeWine appears highly vulnerable. The GOP has never won the White House without winning the Buckeye State.

But HB3 will solidify the GOP's iron grip on the electronic voting process and all that surrounds it. Unless they break that grip, Democrats who believe they can carry any part of Ohio in 2006 or 2008 are kidding themselves.

When it comes to 2008, can you say "Jeb Bush"?

His hunger strike was probably spurred by this earlier Free Press Story. Actually, that's a certainty since there has been no significant mainstream coverage of this issue. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: the Internet is the New Alternative Press.

Dec. 7

I got this email today  about a 5 pm press conference.

Wednesday 12/7/05 at 5pm in front of the Pittsburgh State Office Building, 300 Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh!

The State Senate of Pennsylvania is preparing to vote on House Bill 1318 next week!


It will also force Pennsylvanian's to bring a photo ID to the polls!

This bill will disproportionately hurt:

Senior voters
Young Voters
College Voters
Low-Income Voters

There will be a press conference in front of the Pittsburgh State Office Building Wednesday 12/7/05 at 5pm in front of the Pittsburgh State Office Building, 300 Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh!

Scheduled Speakers:

Laura Staniland: Freshman Student, Duquesne University
Taili Thompson: Community Coordinator, One Vision One Life
George Moses: Sothwestern PA Alliance of HUD Tenants/Housing Alliance of PA
Khari Mosley: Pittsburgh League of Young Voters
Tim Stevens: President, Black Political Empowerment Project

For more information contact the Pittsburgh League of Young Voters at

Dec 5

(Note: Ann Coulter is a gun nut and her doppelganger here says things like "Bring em on! Great stuff.)

How fitting that the most pungent artistic response to a regime famed for its crass fear-mongering would be a cheap horror movie. Jaw-dropping in its sheer directness, Homecoming is a righteous blast of liberal-left fury (it was greeted with a five-minute ovation in Turin, the most vocal appreciation seeming to come from the American filmmakers and writers in attendance).

--from Village Voice review

Showtime is apparently the new HBO. First, they blew me away with Weeds—which struck me as being much more interesting than Rome. And this Showtime episode of “Homecoming” is one of the most all encompassing attacks on the right that I’ve ever seen. I’m glad that Chuck Penn’s staff (Chuck’s doing great at fundraising by the way. Perhaps people have seen Bob Casey Jr. speak and it occurs to them that someone with the principles of Gray Davis yet none of the charisma wouldn’t pose the best challenge to lil Ricky but I digress…) agrees about the quality. The Ann Coulter clone sounded a lot like Ann Coulter. Those horrible things that Cleaver says are on a par with the horrible things Coulter says all of the time. I think Sam Hamm, interviewed here, compares it to “Atrios greatest hits”, but I would disagree with one thing. As far as I know, Atrios has never brought up the possible theft of the 2004 election or even more recently the incredible turnaround on the Ohio referendum issues. The last minutes where our hack right wing host notes the wonderful turnaround in Ohio and Florida despite exit polling and when our Karen Hughes clone notes that we “count the votes” is actually closer to the Brad Blog or Free Press…but it’s the thought that counts. Of course, the horrible thing is that this isn’t fiction. And there are no patriotic zombies coming to our aid. That's our real horror show.


Well, there were three things that have happened over the last week on the voting rights front. Two of them were quite disturbing and one of them offered just a tiny shard of hope and light—probably to be snuffed out by the appeals process. That’s because the Big Thinkers in the Democratic Party thought it was a good tactic not to fight over court appointments in the 90s. So, every time we want to fight without resorting to blood we’ll lose. 

One, when it looked like we were winning in California, it looks like the Republican secretary of state (will the DNC ever detect a pattern?) has decided to put a Diebold purchase back into play. He’s proposing what looks like a mock approval process—which I suppose would be fitting for what looks like our increasing mockery of an election process.

Two, I thought we had definitely won in North Carolina, kind of a Republican state last time I looked. But the North Carolina folks simply ignored their own law—it’s a law that states that you have to open up your source code to make sure that its valid—and approved the Diebold machines anyway. Its being called the “immaculate certification”. Well, let’s see, there’s the 2000 election, the 2004 election, and now we have Republicans in a hurry to certify these machines—that always result in fantastic victories for Republicans and Republicans only I might add. Is there an American opposition party? I mean, really now. Of course, someone decent who understands the law should appeal the decision. And that will be decided by the Republican courts—remember the Clintons never thought that was worth fighting for—and we’ll lose yet again. Thanks DLC. 

Three, it looks like we might have won one in Ohio. That’s where there are a number of groups suing the state over the 2004 election. The judge ruled that the suit can go on. However, that decision will probably be appealed and we’ll lose again because the DNC/DLC thought it was just a great idea to give up the courts. Thanks fellas, again. It’s a great feeling to know that I can’t do anything within the law to change the United States.

Nov. 29


First Up: Patricia Goldsmith from Dissident Voice:

When it comes to e-voting, the corporate media have put out a couple of narrative frames that have been successful in throwing even voting reform advocates off the track. The most obvious is the conspiracy frame. Stephen Pizzo, who ultimately advocates the abolition of e-voting in order to restore voter confidence, nevertheless believes “[t]he party caught fixing a major race would be out of power for a generation. Also, if I learned anything from a quarter century of unraveling real and alleged conspiracies it’s that getting caught is always in the cards.” In this, he finds himself in substantial agreement with conservative columnist and former Reagan administration official James Pinkerton.

It seems to me their argument would be a lot stronger if the GOP hadn’t already been “caught” attempting to fix every single election since 2000. Hell, they do it out in the open, proudly. People like Katherine Harris, Glenda Hood, and Ken Blackwell have made whole careers out of purge lists, voter intimidation, and aggressive partisanship in the administration of elections.

That’s because what we are seeing in operation is not a conspiracy, but unchecked monopolies and corporate combinations, and there is nothing fanciful or farfetched about it. The concentration of wealth and power is the ultimate point toward which all capitalist systems tend. The last 70 years of (relatively) regulated corporations are the exception, not the rule.

Privatized voting is a perfect example of how the undermining of government regulatory mechanisms leads to one-party rule and further deregulation, in a self-perpetuating cycle. We see the same thing with the highly-consolidated corporate media. Neither is a “conspiracy” required in order for the various corporate entities to act in concert. Combination is in their best interests, and successful corporations are all about finding and pursuing their own best interests, as single-mindedly as sharks. Which explains why the corporate media have virtually ignored a recent GAO report detailing serious e-voting failures in 2004

Read the whole thing here.

Second up, my cousin Leonce (who now has permalinks for some of his links):

Open Letter to Colin Powell
01/11/05 13:14
Like you, my father was a career Army officer. Like you, he felt honored to serve in the US military. Like you, he entered the military when racism was overt. Like you, he rose to officer status (he retired a Colonel) despite the obstacles placed in his path.

You receive the benefit of the doubt, General Powell. You receive it because black people admire the heights you attained in your career, and because you have never become a sock puppet for the right. You never acquiesced to the Faustian bargain that men like Clarence Thomas or Armstrong Williams seem to accept. You never agreed to forget you were black--in exchange for white handlers rewarding you as if you were white. You never felt you had to do as Thomas Sowell does and deny the existence of racism today or yesterday. You aligned yourself with causes you felt right, despite their lack of popularity in the Republican party to which you belonged.

You have deserved the benefit of the doubt. However, to date, over 2000 Americans are dead, over ten thousand wounded; hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis are dead. The US standing in the world continues to plummet. Terrorist activity is on the rise. The Iraq war has caused these things, and you presented the evidence to the world that made that war happen.

We now know that the evidence you presented was based on lies. You insist that you did not know that, and I, and most others, believe you. However, apologies are no longer enough. As this administration continues to damage US security, attempts to strip citizens of hard-won rights through packing the Supreme Court with extremists--as this occurs, you no longer have the luxury of remaining silent. Loyalty is valuable, but "just following orders" is a coward's excuse. When, General Powell, does the former morph into the latter? I think that time is now. It's when the blood runs so thick, that only the blind or the morally corrupt cannot see it, and only the ideologically crippled refuse to acknowledge it. That time is now.

(Scroll down and read the rest...)

Nov. 24

Happy Holidays or Bah Humbug. I’m a latter kinda guy these days. 

Coupla items:

The cavalier way in which Blumenthal seems to marginalize those of us "obsessing over the Dispatch poll," as he describes it, would seem to indicate that Blumenthal simply doesn't understand the problem here to even the smallest extent. Either that, or he just doesn't give much of a damn about the validity -- and/or the importance of confidence by the electorate -- in the most basic element of our American democracy: The right to vote and to have that voted counted accurately.

--from Brad Blog

Item: There’s an interesting debate between the Mystery Pollster (Champion finger wagger against us or “your elections are continuously stolen crowd”) and the Brad Blog. Read the whole thing and especially the long post by Brad. Short version: It’s not that we’re not capable of losing elections, it’s that we can’t check the results in time in order to make changes in the results. And, quite frankly, the word of the Republicans—especially at Corruption Central at either Ohio or Washington DC headquarters—telling me that everything is legit and there are wmds doesn’t carry a lot of water with me. Actually, the scary thing is that the Republicans really aren’t making that claim. They don’t give a fuck about Democracy, at least in this country.

 Item: I just discovered a really interesting music site called Pandora, where you type in a particular artist and you get back similar results. Overall, it’s pretty decent. I typed in some real ringers of course. I got a pretty good response with Alan Holdsworth. I was introduced to a bass playing Hendrix called Brian Bromberg (he uses a piccolo bass to sound like an electric guitarist…oddly enough I was watching BET On Jazz’s Studio Jams today and Living Colour’s Doug Wimbush can do the same thing…it’s all in the pedals man, all in the pedals…)and this guy called Nels Cline. Both very interesting.  I soon will try Kaki King. I’ll probably get a lot of Mike Hedges or Stanley Jordan back...However, my Portishead search got me back Bette Midler.Go figure.

 Item: There is also a new and beautiful video featuring Cat Power and its crazy yet attractive lead singer Chan Marshall.) There is also a second Broadcast video, even though there are many songs that are better on the album—almost all of them in fact, such as America’s Boy, Corporeal and Black Cat.


Nov. 20

I was researching porn (for an update at Red Light) and I ran into the Art of
Karl Bang.

Nov. 19

Nov. 14th


There were several big stories that "broke" over the last several days on the very minor story about how your vote is being stolen.

One, the folks at the Free Press are claiming that the initiatives to reform ohio now (whose website has seemingly gone into a catatonic shock and not commented on the bad results) were shot down because of manipulation. By the way, these arguments have left the realm of science fiction because of the recent GAO report which pointed out that these new electronic machines were and are easily compromised. Or as Bob phrases it:

But none of the on-the-ground glitches can begin to explain the impossible numbers surrounding the alleged defeat of Issues Two through Five. The Dispatch polling has long been a source of public pride for the powerful, conservative newspaper, which endorsed Bush in 2004.

The Dispatch was somehow dead accurate on Issue One, and then staggeringly wrong on Issues Two through Five. Sadly, this impossible inconsistency between Ohio's most prestigious polling operation and these final official referendum vote counts have drawn virtually no public scrutiny.

Though there were glitches, this year's voting lacked the massive irregularities and open manipulations that poisoned Ohio 2004. The only major difference would appear to be the new installation of touchscreen machines in those additional 41 counties.

And thus the possible explanations for the staggering defeats of Issues Two through Five boil down to two: either the Dispatch polling---dead accurate for Issue One---was wildly wrong beyond all possible statistical margin of error for Issues 2-5, or the electronic machines on which Ohio and much of the nation conduct their elections were hacked by someone wanting to change the vote count.

If the latter is true, it can and will be done again, and we can forget forever about the state that has been essential to the election of every Republican presidential candidate since Lincoln.

And we can also, for all intents and purposes, forget about the future of American democracy.

Now, there is a chance that the initiatives were badly written and that the Reform Now organizers blew it by flying toxic Arnold in to endorse the measure days before the vote, but, I mean, if you could hack the machines, these are the measures you would kill.

By the way, in case you're wondering what this all means, it means the Democrats will lose all the really important elections until these machines are fixed. Don't be too hopeful that you can win either the senate or the house back until we get the machines fixed. You'll lose by improbably large margins or frustratingly small ones but you'll still lose. Or until our side gets better hackers--I thought our side (libertarian/anarchist) had the best hackers in the world. I'm very disappointed by you 2600 people...

The second big story had to do with one of the lawsuits making its way through the courts. There's one in Ohio and there's another one in New Mexico. Now, if you were a real opposition party, what would you do if you had heard this:

Yesterday, sent out an email about some roadblocks that the plaintiffs are suddenly facing in the discovery phase of the trial. They were supposed to have been allowed to have experts inspect -- for the first time -- the Electronic Voting Machines that were used in the '04 Election, along with the actual results that they gave.

All of a sudden, Voter Action says, the county clerks have flat-out refused to permit the inspections by the plaintiffs' experts. That, after some interesting evidence has already been found by the experts during discovery, like tests where they were able to see votes for one candidate being registered for their opponent (as has been so widely reported as happening in so many elections of late!) and ballots being confirmed with NO choice for President at all, which wasn't supposed to have been possible on at least one of the machine types being looked at.

Well, if this happened to the Republicans they would force the Democrats to defend themselves and would probably take a decidedly correct obstructionist stance until (no judges for example. They wouldn't let judges be affirmed for life by a fraudulent government...) We can't even get the Democrats to admit that there's a problem.

Story three, by the way, is Democrat John Kerry, refusing to admit there was a problem. Even though he had the money to investigate and solve this problem. Incredible. He's like the guy who probably beat Hitler but he doesn't want to raise a "ruckus". Un fuckin' believable.

10-30 thru 11-4

We're starting Heavy Metal covers week.


Down and Out in Wilkinsburg

I finally completed my move and once I unpack things and get my bookcases in order I should be back to a normal postings schedule. Meanwhile, I've found these points to be of interest or:

Weekend Edition of Around the Internets

Item: Nice update about the Reform Ohio movement. Please donate money if you can. Good ad here. Of course, I'm still holding out hope that Democrats use the V for Vendetta trailer as a campaign commercial.

(By the way, for those of you keeping score at home on the voting fraud issue, keep in mind that the Ohio reforms are fairly innocuous. It allows voting by mail, cuts down on big money giving, creates a bi partisan commission on redistricting and robs Ken Blackwell of his power to influence an election. Note that the Republicans, with the help of their Christian fundie lackeys (proud and shameless promoters of backwardness and ignorance...of course, it takes a kind of conscious stupidity for the deliberate bliss station fulfillment of religion to actually work (Santa will love me in Heaven...Bah.)...not to mention that they're itching for direct government funding. Corporate theocracy. Has a nice ring to it.)  oppose these measures vigorously. You know what makes me know the fix is in? Its the Republican response to these issues. If someone says "Phil stole the election and furthermore he weighs less than 150 pounds and is less than four feet tall..." I would respond, if I was in the right, by saying "Bring on the verified voter audits, the mail ballots, the satellite GPS measuring data, the certified scales and whatnot...And then when you lose again this will show the American people that we do have a real mandate." That hasn't been the Republican response. In fact, the Republicans are acting like thieves caught in the night and seem intent on declaring that exits polls and tools of measurement  be declared  unconstitutional. And, of course, why can't the Democrats figure this out? They're either inept interpreters of human nature or they're on the take. Paid well to remain in minority status and they're good at it...Thus endeth the rant.)

Item: Video game that stresses nonviolent solutions to problems that I'm guessing kids will hate.  Actually, if you've ever done any kind of organizing these questions sound familiar:

"You have to worry about your organization," he continued. "Do you set up a hierarchal organization, or a cell-based one? Who is the best figurehead for the media? What kind of training do people need? And if you march on the capital without proper controls, things may turn violent, which will harm your cause. These are the things people can learn."

Item: A fund that donates money to progressive causes.  I just wish they would bring back ACT.

Item: Science Fiction Podcasts.

Item: Older Salon story on why US Broadband sucks. Older Free Press (the "other" Free Press run by noted press critic Robert McChesney.) backgrounder on broadband. It's actually the same old story. We don't get decent healthcare because insurance lobbyists have bought off congress. We don't get decent environmental protections because polluters have bought off congress. We don't get decent jobs because outsourcers like Walmart have bought off congress.  And we don't get decent broadband because telcos have bought off congress. And so it goes. Other countries can provide their citizens with protections and benefits because they don't allow multinationals to game the system. Here, we have a system of congress that allows predatory capitalists to periodically rape us. It's not a good system.

Item: Three full length tunes from rediscovered Monk/Coltrane collaboration of the late 50s. Thelonious, my old friend, is such a distinctive composer....

10-23 thru 10-29

We're starting Heavy Metal covers week.

Please go check out out the work of Paul Gulacy, who attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.  He owes a lot to Jim Steranko as you might have noticed.

October 25th

Item: I finally finished reading the Marty Levine voting machine piece in the City Paper. It was a thorough piece and I learned about this local guy who's very involved with the voter verification movement. I guess I came away with a number of concerns. One, he quotes Mike Shamos as kind of a distinguished opposition quote, when in fact Mr. Shamos has publicly stated that he's quite all right with electronic voting machines giving back faulty unverifiable results, according to Kathy Dopp. It's not unlike quoting the Klan about the death of Rosa Parks. I also thought Shamos comparing voter fraud to alien abduction as being slightly out of bounds. I say that because everyone pretty much concedes that the 2000 election was stolen--many many years after the fact when you could actually do something about those kinds of results, of course. So, this issue isn't quite on the par with the implications of the Majic12 documents. We know election fraud can happen.

  There have also been indictments in Ohio and this massive unrebutted book. Not as much action on the Roswell front.

On the other hand, it looks like the Weekly Alt Press is picking up on this story. There are City Paper stories (across the country) here and here, according to Brad Blog.

Item: The best election stuff I've read (lately) is this update from the Free Press' Fitrakis and it sort of serves as a more lucid articulation of the theme's just hinted at in the Pittsburgh City Paper.

He brings up several excellent points (among many) and also uses this opportunity to rebut critiques from liberal sources like Mother Jones.

Point one: If you don't solve this problem now, then prepared to be forever robbed. Prepare to lose every close election. They just have to steal one state at a time. Or as he phrases it:

And until the left faces the rot that defines the Democratic Party, there is no hope for a fair election in this country. In other words: those who think the White House can be retaken in 2008, but refuse to face the theft of the vote in 2004, should prepare to be ruled by the likes of Jeb Bush, now and forever.

Point two: What is it about the Bush administration that makes you think they're above stealing an election? If there was a democratic house these guys would have been impeached , oh, 80 times about now. Or as Bob puts it:

Before we go into the sordid details, we have to ask: exactly what is it about Team Bush that makes people think they could not or would not steal an American election? Do they lack funds? Do they lack expertise? Is there something in the Machiavellian/mobster moral code of Karl Rove and the Bush Family that would prevent them from doing here what they've been doing throughout the Third World for so long?

CIA meister Poppy Bush long ago perfected the art and science of stealing elections. US manipulators have interfered with and tipped elections for decades. Why should Ohio be any different? Especially when all the world knew control of the most powerful office on earth would be decided right here.

Lets do the bookends: before the voting, Ohio's infamous Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell clearly and vehemently denied poll access to teams of international observers from the United Nations and other international election observers.

And there's a point three and its stunning to think that this is true. Or as Bob states:

Since the election, he has effectively stonewalled and sabotaged all recount attempts, to the point that no credible accounting of the Ohio election has ever been done. To this day, at least 100,000 votes remain uncounted, electronic voting machines remain unaudited, key hardware and data files have been trashed, paper ballots have sat unguarded for anyone to pilfer and tallies in dozens of key counties remain filled with statistical impossibilities.

In our HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION & IS RIGGING 2008, we list more than 180 bullet points on how this theft was perpetrated. It was a brilliant, cynical and masterfully executed campaign of death by a thousand cuts.

This is the most disturbing story in my lifetime. Period. Honestly: what's more important than this story?

10-16 thru 10-22

October 22st

Sorry for the lack of posts. Been a very busy week where I've tried to find a new place to live. I hope I've found one.

Anyway. Back to your scheduled links.

Item: From my occasional stomping grounds over at American Samizdat: The World Can't Wait. Drive Out The Bush Regime.

I hope this doesn't involve silly marches. I would prefer my 5/25 plan or even a national worker's strike. I guess I'll read the FAQs but I'm very likely to sign.

Anywayz, I agree with their assessment of things:

Your government, on the basis of outrageous lies, is waging a murderous and utterly illegitimate war in Iraq, with other countries in their sights. Your government is openly torturing people, and justifying it. Your government puts people in jail on the merest suspicion, refusing them lawyers, and either holding them indefinitely or deporting them in the dead of night.

Your government is moving each day closer to a theocracy, where a narrow and hateful brand of Christian fundamentalism will rule.

Your government suppresses the science that doesn't fit its religious, political and economic agenda, forcing present and future generations to pay a terrible price.

Your government is moving to deny women here, and all over the world, the right to birth control and abortion.

Your government enforces a culture of greed, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance.

People look at all this and think of Hitler — and they are right to do so. The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come. We must act now; the future is in the balance.

Millions and millions are deeply disturbed and outraged by this. They recognize the need for a vehicle to express this outrage, yet they cannot find it; politics as usual cannot meet the enormity of the challenge, and people sense this.

There is not going to be some magical "pendulum swing." People who steal elections and believe they're on a "mission from God" will not go without a fight.

There is not going to be some savior from the Democratic Party. This whole idea of putting our hopes and energies into "leaders" who tell us to seek common ground with fascists and religious fanatics is proving every day to be a disaster, and actually serves to demobilize people.

But silence and paralysis are NOT acceptable. That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn — or be forced — to accept. There is no escaping it: the whole disastrous course of this Bush regime must be STOPPED. And we must take the responsibility to do it.

Oct 13th


Television Wrap Up: Weeds is the best show I've seen this season. It does a number of subversive things very well. This week's season ender featured a nice takedown of the war for example. It also struck me that weed dealers really weren't criminals, at least not on the Sopranos level. One question: Was the last scene, which I think had the Godfather's theme in the background, where she looks like she's becoming the Godmother...was that ripped off from the Godfather or the Sopranos? 2nd question: can you really get out of army service by pretending to study to be a rabbi or a priest...? Just curious...I also watched the last episode of Battlestar Galactica and it featured a ghastly civil war, which, seemed to me to be quite logical from both sides. It's still not as good a show as Enterprise, especially the last season. It just strikes me that Enterprise--a show where we talk to the aliens first as opposed to blow them up and that valued diversity--just was not in sync with our vicious holy crusader times. I really enjoy Deep Space Nine (reruns on Spike at noon) for example. I used to think the United States was the Federation. Now, in reality, I realize that the United States has become some kind of evil Cardasian/Ferengi hybrid. Perhaps Al Gore was right. We have entered some evil alternative Mirror Universe. Well, at least I've got a goatee...still waiting for my sash in the mail.


Item: You might be aware of Ohio's Reform Now movement, but did you know that there's a law in the Pennsylvania House that looks pretty good? Of course, I don't know what its chances of passage or watering down are. I really wish there was a Pa. bill that allowed for citizen referendums, which is a healthy form of direct democracy.

Item: Did you know there was a National Summit to Save Our Elections held in Portland Oregon some weeks back? Probably not, but we're breaking news here folks. Four hours of the session were recorded here. Right now I'm listening to hours one and two. One of those hours features Green Presidential candidate David Cobb, who I spoke to and at several weeks ago....Update: Definitely check out hour 2. Cobb is a bit more forthcoming with Brad than with me. He also offers a nice analysis not only of the implications of the suit (dire) but the failure of the corporate media to cover this.

Related: The Brad Blog is probably the national clearinghouse for this very minor story about how American election fraud works, or, to phrase it in a way you'll get: elections can easily be stolen in the US because there's no auditing method for election results...Here's a scarier summary behind the Diebold Deep Throat and here's an important update on the whole issue.

Item: I'm reading this week's City Paper story about the ballot machines now.

Item: Friends of Al Jazeera.

An excerpt from the About section:

"The empire writes back"

AlJazeera is an anomaly. It's the first media company from the "third world" to break into the mainstream. It's an independent voice representing the other. Nearly every other major media outlet is speaking on behalf of the West. AlJazeera is a case of "the empire writing back". AlJazeera is the first significant challenge to Western hegemony and its monopoly on the truth. AlJazeera has given a voice to the voiceless.

Just as amazing is the fact that AlJazeera is independent. It's funded by a government but run as an private company. Even though it is run as a private company, it is not subjected to the same financial realities that other private companies are subjected to (such as making a profit or pleasing shareholders). This is one of those crazy realities that you are only likely to find in the Middle-East (like the AlJazeera head office being down the road from the US Military's Middle East command centre).

Item: Update at the Red Light District featuring: a painted Nubian princess, two hot blondes, one cartoon and one Estabon Marato painting featuring full frontal nudity..

Item: In alt media news: the Smurfs, the Hip New South Parked Bugs Bunny, and a song about assholes, which features Lil' Ricky and Preznit of all people...

Item: Group blog for Ed Murrow biopic..the whole point of Halberstam's "The Powers That Be" is that the modern press doesn't want Murrows, or even Walter Cronkites anymore. No independent voices against the state, that are highly visible, can be seen or heard. That's why the Internet is the new alternative media.

Oct 10:

Item: The break off factions (mainly the SEIU) of the labor movement are offering a contest for Good Ideas. The winner gets 100000 thousand and I believe the runner ups get 50 grand apiece. I offered this idea:

Right now, almost half of the country is either uninsured or underinsured.

The groups that left the AFL-CIO should use their resources to form a not for profit insurance industry and offer nationalized health care. There have been examples of public ownership in the past and they worked. I believe Robert Hunter directed one of them. This idea was described in a book called the "Invisible Bankers" . There would be several benefits to this: you could solve the healthcare crisis, you could show an immediate positive benefit to union involvement, and you could create a several billion dollar reservoir (60 million spend 50 dollars a month for full healthcare services) that you could use to fund principled investment and to build real political power--for example, replicating America Coming Together, building your own press, etc. Did I mention that you would starve the HMOs? All positives.

One warning: write bylaws that prevent you from actually becoming an evil insurance company!

Item: Check this out.


10-2 thru 10-8

Oct 3rd

Item: Haven't had a lot of time to post lately. As far as the Supreme Court pick, Calpundit thinks she's Souter Jr. and Meteor Blades, notable Kos commenter, will resign from the party if she isn't fillibustered. That's all I have time for. Visit Robot Wisdom and Undernews while I pay some bills.

9-25 thru 10-01




As I wander around the city—quite aimlessly at times no doubt—and talk to people about Chuck Penn’s candidacy it occurs to me that I don’t know every policy position that Dr. Pennacchio has staked out. Of course, the nice thing about supporting Chuck Penn’s candidacy is that if he’s elected I’m fairly certain that he’ll actually vote in the public interest most of the time—as opposed to Ricky Santorum, who, like most Republicans, will vote against and sell out the public interest most of the time. In other words, I know that I can trust Chuck. 

There’s also a big difference between Chuck Pennacchio and Bob Casey Jr., or as I call him Senatorial nominee Zell Miller from Pennsylvania. 

For example, let’s take a look at the Roberts nomination. Democrats should have voted no just on principle. That principle being that President Bush generally makes terrible decisions—especially long term and which we got a chance to see in action with NOLA--and that if someone wants a seat on the highest court on the land they should at least give forthcoming answers and not smokescreens. And, sure enough, Dr. Penn would have voted no against Roberts, just as our Republican-lite Democrat Party nominee Bob Casey Jr. would have voted yes. Keep in mind that labor backs Casey Jr. even though he’s guaranteed to confirm anti-labor, corporatist judges. I’m still trying to think of what pro labor bills would make it to the floor that Bob Casey Jr. could vote yes on. The only thing that comes to mind are pork barrel projects and no votes for higher emission standards for coal plants—thus “leading” in the same way that the auto unions have “led” against higher fuel standards for cars and trucks, especially helpful when we hit 5 dollars a gallon no doubt. 

It has been pointed out that people who support Chuck Pennacchio are one issue people, with that one issue being choice. But keep in mind that Bob Casey Jr. isn’t just bad on the choice issue, he’s shown incredibly bad judgment on arctic drilling, the inanely intrusive Terri Schiavo case, moratorium against the death penalty, stem cell research, and the living wage. So, Bob Casey isn’t just anti choice and robs us of intelligent women who want to control their own bodies as opposed to fundie theocrats, his whole platform is an attack against the coalition that makes up the Democratic Party coalition, which was a winning coalition for both Kerry and Rendell. It was a loser for Ron Klink, another pro life Democrat. Of course, what if the Labor Leadership of Pennsylvania is Pro life? Perhaps they might even want to lose...which, I guess, would explain a Bob Casey Jr. run for the US Senate.

 So, it’s not just the one issue folks. And no I don’t buy the Kos argument that it’s the coalition. We’ve already lost the filibuster because we don’t have democrats in the US Senate who would be willing to use it. Shameful. We need democrats who stand for something and will make a solid 40.  

I mean, there’s so much gnashing of teeth at Kos and Mydd and Atrios about turncoat democrats who vote with the Republicans…doesn’t it make sense not to make Zell Miller the next Democratic Senator from Pennsylvania…? I think we can do better. Chuck Pennacchio is clearly better and I think he could actually win if we provide a contrast. 

So, if you would like to nominate someone the GOP will not use to undermine the Democratic Party message and/or base then please consider giving Chuck Pennacchio a contribution today as the quarter ends. He’s looking for small contributions, 5, 10, 25 dollars, as well as big. So give what you can to help this truly progressive voice. You never know. It might even be the beginning of an opposition party. God knows we could use one.



Even though Cousin Leonce is an Ivy League man (Havin' his buttered scones and flyin' his Aero Plane no doubt.), he doesn't quite comprehend what permalinks are. So, as a public service, I've placed his posts as permalinks at Mirror Universe.


Dr. Chuck Pennacchio is on Air America right now. It started at 8. Its the Laura Flanders show and there should be a saved version of that show later tonight.

9-18 thru 9-24
September 23

Fairly Wise Advice About Building Weblog Numbers

Ohmigod its true. Google is becoming a telco. What does this mean? Your broadband choice might be cable, dsl or free Wi-Fi Broadband from google in about a year...which one would you choose? What if it was 10 dollars a month? Still a good deal. This would also, despite the best efforts of the Republicans, spur the economy, raise the intellectual opportunity for the nation and create real broadband competition.

One of the best jazz concerts, ever. As its directed by Wynton it's a little old fashioned but still stellar performances. Thought Terence Blanchard, borrowing from the Pat Metheny compositional style, provided the highlight.

September 21

Item: Did you know that Green Presidential Candidate David Cobb was sitting in a Squirrel Hill house—without shoes because that’s the house rules—Tuesday night in an effort to promote Green Mayoral candidate Titus North? I only found out through libertarian Mark Rauterkus’ site. I decided to go pay a visit. Here’s what I came away with: 

Subitem: If you’re not aware of this, David Cobb of the Green Party, and not John Kerry unfortunately, is still trying to find out what happened in Ohio. Short version: Kerry probably won but the Republican machine sabotaged the recount efforts and in effect ran out the clock. Cobb confirmed the information in the Free Press article and noted that their next goal was to take a look at the machines through the use of subpoena power. He also darkly hinted that the case could be thrown out because of there being no remedy. I would think the remedy would be sanctions, fines and jail times, not to mention that the Democracy has been thwarted—a minor thing of course. 

Subitem: I also wanted to air out my 5/25 plan in front of the dozen or so Green Party members in attendance. I think the goal of a legitimate progressive third party certainly shouldn’t be to help the Republicans. But they don’t have to win every seat to help, they just have to take away Republican majorities. That means 5 senate seats (And yes, if Chuck Penn isn’t nominated then Pennsylvania should be a state that’s targeted—but only if the candidate has a decent budget of 2 million or more.) and 25 house seats. By the way, this would be a serious effort that would require the funding of the Hollywood left and big time contributors like Peter Lewis and George Soros. You would need 2 million to contest US Senate seats and 1 million to contest 25 house seats. That’s a total of 35 million, which is doable. That’s about how much Act was funded. And here’s the rub: you would run against both parties, run on class issues and use Hollywood talent not only to run for some of these seats but to create emotionally powerful ads that are memorable and trenchant—unlike the current dreck usually produced by the DNC campaign elites, who need to be fired and replaced. This requires the Democrats to be smart enough not to run or complain because they know that 30 or more Bernie Sanders types helps the party. 

 Cobb countered that the DNC really really really doesn’t like the Green party and noted that they spent 2 million in 2000 just to thwart the Greens from reaching that 5 percent threshold in California. I countered his counter by noting that the DNC had legitimate reason to hate the Greens then because their only real result was throwing the presidential election to the Republicans, the most evil party on the face of the planet. Now is different. I’m of the opinion that a fearless well funded outsider campaign would work because, frankly, the democrats have never shown us what that looks like. It would be fun to see. You could run as an independent or as a Green. Again, I’d say the plan got mixed reviews from the crowd but I think that would do more to turn the Greens into a viable national party with control of house and senate committee seats than, say, winning the Pittsburgh’s mayor race. They would get a lot of support from grassroots dems as well. 

Subitem: Speaking of the Pittsburgh mayor’s race, Titus North seemed like a decent enough fellow. I liked his platform. The only thing that I would add is that somebody needs to become the party of small business or small c capitalism as I call it. It’s a way to encourage moderate capitalism and provides a nice contrast to the Walmart nation that we’re becoming. He doesn’t think he’s going to win and I’m inclined to agree, unless the democratic nominee is struck by lightening or something and even then…I wish the Greens would go after the black vote. Black voters could use another choice and it can’t be the Nazi Republicans who seem to smile and act ever so slowly when it comes to saving drowning black people—at all levels actually. You can check out North’s site here. 


September 18

Item: As you may know, my fave not covered enough story has to do with the fact that the last presidential election was kind of, you know, fraudulent. That means that quite possibly, all those people who died in New Orleans might not have died had they been under even moderately competent leadership. Not to mention the Gulf War. Or competent handling of various probable hells to come such as Avian flu or mad cow sleep tight. So, here's your stolen election update and yes I'm the only publisher in Pittsburgh who talks about it, unless the City Paper does their annual 25 most censored stories edition...

Subitem: The case against the Ohio fraudsters continues apace. You know, it would be nice if the Greens and the Libertarians weren't the only parties contesting this. Isn't the Democratic Party the official "opposition" party...No?

Observation: I believe the Multi Medium guy  made this point:

Election reform has the added virtue of being a political no-brainer: There is no way to oppose it without tacitly admitting that you're anti-democracy and have something to hide. If the Republicans insist that there's no need for electoral reform because the 2004 elections were completely legit, the Democrats point out that they should have no objection to reform, and why wouldn't they want to be able to prove how legit the elections are?"

You're absolutely right, Why wouldn't they? Well, there could be several reasons and none of them are good. One, they're too ashamed to admit that they've been robbed and refuse to acknowledge the possibility. Two, and here's the horror show part, they're a part of the fix. They really are the Washington Generals and they don't mind being a minority party. They're paid to lose and they're good at it. Or at least the DLC contingent doesn't want to win and that's enough in the senate to mean that the filibuster is never used. What do the Democrats have to lose by pushing for voter verification? Nothing, and yet they don' well are the Washington Generals paid?

Subitem: Ohio is fighting back and they're putting a reform effort on the ballot. This is big news. It means it will be harder for them to pull off what they did in 2004, which is allow GOP partisans to sabotage the recount...

Subitem: Proof that one disgruntled Diebold worker can hack the machines. Sleep tight...

Subitem: Speaking of hacking the Diebold machines, the best show I've heard on this issue was the August 28th edition of Politically Direct. Bev Harris is interviewed and she revealed that it takes a team of hackers about 5 minutes to hack into Diebold machines and alter results. Cost: about a couple of hundred dollars. Also: I was introduced to the idea of parallel voting. Best summary I've heard of these issues.


The Art of Simon Bisley.


September 11

Item: Here are the top 25 most censored stories. Top ten here. I listed them all over at Pittsburgh Progressive. (freely stolen links from American Samizdat.) When I have time I'll comment on number 3.

#1 Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government
#2 Media Coverage Fails on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Deathtoll
#3 Another Year of Distorted Election Coverage
#4 Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In
#5 U.S. Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia
#6 The Real Oil for Food Scam
#7 Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood
#8 Iraqi Farmers Threatened By Bremer’s Mandates
#9 Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency
#10 Mountaintop Removal Threatens Ecosystem and Economy

Item: I decided to update my porn section for I am a sad lonely man who hasn't had a legitimate date since...well, I literally can't remember. Or, to steal the Patton Oswalt joke "You know the difference between girls and porn? I can get porn..." And thank gawd for yoga girl. So that's what people see in yoga. I always thought it was dandified stretchin' but I was wrong. Between shots of yoga girl's contorted thighs are profane illustrations of cartoon characters doin' it. It features the scooby gang ("Zoinks" indeed and that look of quizzical befuddlement on Scooby's face...priceless), Jessica and Roger Rabbit, and, no, not you Tinkerbell...!? Not you...Have I mentioned lately that those toons are clearly parodies that have artistic merit and that I simply point these things out as a part of my "news gathering"...? Thought I should mention that..

Item: The above novel was written by my cousin Leonce Gaiter. I didn't even know he had written it and published it. I discovered it when someone else linked to it--I think it was Steve Gilliard. Looks like its in a Walter Mosley vein. I wish he would send me a copy.

He also has a blog where he writes about New Orleans and his family's past, which also happens to be my past. Leonce also happens to be gay, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Here's an excerpt:

King of spades: My parents got out of New Orleans decades before Katrina, but for the same reasons that begat the tragedy. I lived there only briefly, but even as a child I knew that the attitude among the city’s poor, black population was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. My parents were 60s bourgeois strivers, and they insisted on three things: excellence to thwart the race hatred that threatened them, controlled rage to keep its memories fresh because more often than not, cultures die before they change, and finally arrogance in the knowledge that while the majority with all its power did its best to belittle us—they had failed. (More over at Pgh Words, Sounds and Pictures. And I'm adding Cousin Leonce to the blog links.)

(ap photo)

Item: And somebody break up the Steelers. Of course, that might be the worst defense they'll look at all year. I had no idea Willie Parker = College era Tony Dorsett. Man o man. Feelin' good about the Stillers. But its only one game.

 And now: 100 words about the US Open. I'm glad that Kim won her first slam, but I think Mary Pierce got a raw deal. Her timeout in the seminfinals was within the rules. Federer really is that good. He's the first man to consistently track down and return 120 mph serves. He's also highly intelligent. Still, I wonder if that racquet of his is juiced...? With a carbon nanotube mesh and adjustable tensions...what if it really is the shoes? Federer could win a Grand Slam. The Sampras slam record is in jeopardy. I hope the men's tour can catch him...Need Marat back and a more versatile Andy Roddick to give him a game. The Europeans will give him a run on clay...

September 7

Item: Cindy Sheehan coming to Pittsburgh this weekend.

From the Thomas Merton Center's Anti-War Committee:


"On Wednesday, August 30, 2005, the last day of the anti-war encampment started by Cindy Sheehan in Crawford, Texas, the Bring Them Home Now Tour launched three buses of military and Gold Star families, veterans of the Iraq War, and veterans of previous wars.  These buses will travel different routes across the country, including a stop in Pittsburgh on September 11th-13th, before converging in Washington, DC for the United for Peace and Justice March on September 24th.

Pittsburgh events include
Camp Neil : A Picnic/Speak-Out followed by a Candlelight March on Sunday, Sept. 11, a Press Conference and a Public Gathering to discuss conscientious objection and counter-recruitment. Others tba. Download flyer."

More here

Item: This is an older Daily Kos item but I'd thought that I would repeat it.

"There's been some inspiring reporting coming out of the shattered towns of Louisiana and Mississippi -- reporters showing their humanity on their sleeves, reporters not afraid to ask the impertinent but possibly live-saving questions, reporters more than willing to call out politicians on live camera when they spin away from or flatly lie on known facts. It's been shocking to see, and a credit to them and their industry.

But why is that the exception? Why does it take day after day of reporting on struggles for food, struggles for water, searches for loved ones, searches that ended badly, and a lake full of bodies to wear a reporter down to the point where their voice shakes, their hands tremble, and they call out the officials who are lying to them right there, on the air, and make sure the whole world knows the actual truth?

Shouldn't that be the default position of any journalist actually doing their job? Shouldn't the search for the truth, and the outrage at the lie, be the very basis of actual reporting? Why should it take that momentary loss of control, that sudden spark of anger caused by unimaginable disaster, to get to that point of brilliance and duty?

How have we come to this point, where neutrality of journalism meant neutrality to the truth itself, meant reporting fact and lie alongside each other, in equivalence, without emotion, without remorse? Where reporting that an official has flatly lied is not even considered, by the top reporters of the top news outlets in this country, unless you are one of those few reporters knee-deep in a swirling eddy that contains the disintegrated remnants of a hundred thousand families, and of ten thousand lives?"

Item: I'm not exactly certain, but I'm pretty sure this is Funky Dung's fave comic. Pretty sure. Speaking of Ales Rarus watch (because someone needs to watch the crazed theocrats who talk to God), let's give him credit for, at least once, denouncing a crazed Christian person. Then again, let's not give him credit for not denouncing how the Pope wants immunity for his alleged actions of protecting priests who commit child rape. And let me guess, if this ever so Un Christian president were to grant those pardons the Catholic Church would remain impartial in terms of its political choices. Of course, in the vein of that immortal Star Trek 5 line of why does God need a spaceship, why does a pope need to ask for criminal immunity? Doesn't he have a higher power that he communes with? Or is he just another corrupt right wing political hack? I'd say the latter...Afterall, you give me poor kids then I'll give you Christians, or radical Islamic fundamentalists, or Mormons, whatever. Same buncha crazy. I, myself, am praying that o mighty Odin will strike Eric down.

September 5

Item: I'm adding Doug Ireland to the permalinks. He has some good links about Roberts (Dems thrown in the towel, again. What opposition party?) and how we destroyed socialism in Iraq. I guess Iraqis will get the same kind of free market that New Orleans residents have gotten.

Item: World Class blogger Robot Wisdom, one of the best headline writers in the world by the way (here's a sample:" Mr FEMA had negative-infinity track-record (Boston via Ag)")has a new weblog where he does some writing. Well, I know he'll be well informed. I wrote him an email asking for a comments section.

August 28 thru Sept.3

Please check out the work of the Frazetta-schooled Jeff Jones, drawings and paintings.

Sept. 3

Short Saturday Afternoon Around the Internets

Item: I've moved away from hurricane pron to my old fashioned porn. Features artistic nudes from Jeff Jones and a funny Frazetta illustration. Here's an aside: "Who knew Lenin had such a nice ass?"
Item: Here's a mockup of Three Rivers Online magazine. It's sort of what you would expect.
Item: And let us praise Kanye West for saying the truth we were all thinking. Video here and I'm adding Crooks and Liars to the blogroll.

September 2

Couple of highlights: Calpundit nails it.

"Actions have consequences. No one could predict that a hurricane the size of Katrina would hit this year, but the slow federal response when it did happen was no accident. It was the result of four years of deliberate Republican policy and budget choices that favor ideology and partisan loyalty at the expense of operational competence. It's the Bush administration in a nutshell."

And before that quote he gives you a timeline of how competent people were turned out and no nothing cronies were put in. A nutshell. Indeed. Both Atrios and Calpundit have been must reading concerning the crisis.

Guest commentator Amy Sullivan also has an interesting post:

LEFT BEHIND....Don't miss Joan Walsh on Salon today, putting into words the frustration so many of us have struggled to articulate.

These are desperately poor people who've been deliberately left behind, in so many senses of the word — left behind by society, shut up in housing projects and hideous poverty, and now truly left behind by local and federal officials who failed to come up with an evacuation plan for people too poor and isolated to leave on their own....

....Why didn't we send a caravan of buses into the city's poorest neighborhoods on Saturday or Sunday, when the dimensions of the disaster were already predictable?....Sure, Houston's got electricity and running water, but tens of thousands of scared, angry people packed into an abandoned sports stadium — we couldn't come up with a better symbol of how little we care about the poor, how little we've thought about what to do with them, for them, if we tried.

We've heard the warning "this isn't about politics" over and over in the last few days. The hell it isn't. And I don't mean kicking Bush while he's down, just for the fun of it, although there are surely liberals eager to do that. For the rest of us, however, we're seeing the awful real world consequences of conservatism play out on our television screens. This is why we're liberals. We don't yell about poverty and racial disparities for kicks. An evacuation plan that consists of telling people to get out on their own is not an evacuation plan.

More later, after I've digested all of this...


September 1

"I hope people don't play politics at this time of a natural disaster the likes of which this country has never seen."

Oh, I'm touched. Utterly touched. After 9/11, the entire Republican Party went en masse to get Twin Towers ass tattoos. The Republican convention was a wholesale tribute to crass exploitation, the sets themselves designed to evoke the aftermath of the attack. Every domestic and international policy this administration -- no, this entire Republican government -- has produced has been heaved up before the public while waving the spectre of 9/11 as the catch-all vindication of every administration whim. Every tax cut, every civil rights issue, every budget cut, every budget expansion, no matter how tortured the logic must be, has some Republican senator standing on the Senate floor and proudly raping the corpses of that day as justification for their particular agenda item.

--Hunter, Daily Kos

Recently our good friend Mr. Reynolds--proud founding member of the League of Evil Bloggers and a man who won't proudly claim his GOP heritage yet repeats the party's talking point mantras over and over and over again--has told us to not to politicize this hurricane thing. Right. This from a man who can't help commenting on our Dear Leader's Glorious War of Liberation, or links approvingly to a guy who wants to turn dissent into treason, or smears every pop star who points out the incompetency, idiocy and outright evil of the Bush administration. He's so above the fray and all.

With this history in mind, let me state: Fuck you Glenn Reynolds. Fuck you. And your treasonous ilk. And visit the new same named blog here.

Here are a list of links that point to the Bush administration's incompetence. And, unfortunately, bad policy kills. We need to remember that Glenn and Michele and Pejman and the Powerline folks supported this evil incompetency. We must never forget. Never.

Bush bungles it again: Federal government wasn't ready for Katrina, disaster experts say
Category 4 Hurricane Determined to Strike U.S. -- Cont
Spin and Lies
"[No One] Anticipated the Breach of the Levees"
Even the corporate media gets it
Molly Ivins: 'Why New Orleans is in deep water'
Sidney Blumenthal: 'No one can say they didn't see it coming'
The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans (Bankruptcy relief)
Atrios on that unbelievable shoot the looters WH Press Conference
New Orleans as a casualty of the war in Iraq

One more thing: the kind of talk that we saw before the hurricane hit is the kind of talk we get about global warming, about mad cow disease, about the possibility that terrorist groups would have nothing to lose by unleashing wmds, about the futility of the Iraq war and etcetera onward to infinity. Worst president, ever.


August 30

Item: I really don't have a lot to say about the hurricane. I guess my official story on weather and underclass crime stories can be found here. I just don't write about the weather because I don't think you can do anything about it. But I do think that in cases of stunning weather that takes thousands of lives--such as the tsunami even though I joked about it--that is newsworthy. It's also newsworthy if our government leaders could have done something to prevent the loss of life in New Orleans, as Chris Mooney argues here and "Prescience Sucks". Froth also supplies a full list of hurricane updates here.

Item: No taserin' at last Saturday's demonstration against military recruiting. But I see that there were donuts, the nemesis of overzealous police officers everywhere. Get news and photos here.

(pic of Hiroshima protest at CMU)

But there was some breaking news, I define "breaking" as the kinds of stories that corporate media either doesn't cover or cover enough to make a difference, about CMU's lucrative role in the War Machine. I found it over there at that fount of self-published useful information that is Indy Media.

There's a main story criticizing Caterpillar's role in investing in driverless drones. And there's also about 19 related stories that have been published in the last year or so. It looks like the "writers" include the people at No to War and our good friends the Pittsburgh Organizing Group, seen here shutting down a recruiting table at CMU. Good for them. I'm sure no one considers them a "terrist" organization.

August 21 thru August 27

(Pic from Indy Media)

August 26

(New Andy Warhol series of Chuck's posters)

They're having a poll of Chuck Penn vs. Bob Casey over at the Daily Kos, which right now Chuck is winning, which is impossible since he lost the vote at MoveOn, which hasn't released its tallies, which has probably got Chuck interested in ballot integrity.

Update: Good catch from Comments From Left Field. It's a funny Daily Kos entry from Chuck Penn.

In contrast, other Casey supporters take him at his word when he publicly opposes a woman's right to choose. The 2004 Democratic Senate candidate, Joe Hoeffel, acknowledges Casey's core pro-life/anti-choice position.  For months, in fact, Mr. Hoeffel has repeated this same statement about Bob Casey, Jr: "On all issues other than a woman's right to choose, Bob Casey is a progressive Democrat."

And for months I have kept my powder dry while our campaign documented Mr. Casey's truly conservative profile on critical issues such as stem cell research, the death penalty, the U.S. policy in Iraq, the assault weapons ban, separation of church and state, living wage legislation, universal health care, GLBT rights, preserving an independent judiciary (Terry Schiavo case), and drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  So, for Mr. Hoeffel to argue Mr. Casey is "progressive" on "all issues" other than choice is an extraordinary stretch.  Such a stretch, in fact, that Mr. Hoeffel has mostly backed away  from making such claims.  In addition, Mr. Hoeffel should be credited for his honesty on Mr. Casey's opposition to a woman's right to choose and his determination to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Returning to Harrisburg and Lt. Gov. Knoll's "reverse spin" -- where she didn't challenge my claims to being the only progressive on all issues other than a woman's right to choose -- but literally heckled me ("No, that's not true, that's not true!") when I correctly said that I was the only candidate  committed to upholding a woman's right to choose.

Read the whole thing as they say.

August 25

Item: Here are more links about the protest. Here's the audio snippets from the press conference. Here's a transcript of an audio report that appeared on Free Speech TV. Here are POG's demands.

1. Drop all charges from A20 protest
2. City investigate police violence and misconduct
3. Suspend or fire Officer Samuel Muoio who used taser at protest
4. Moratorium on taser use in Pittsburgh

Well, if it means that they'll go back to lethal force and fatal choke holds I'll take my taserin' very much thank you sir. Just a thought. Froth, who to my comics obsessed mind resembles the cartoon character Tintin,

...offers a defense of police tactics. I must confess I didn't find it convincing. I think we have a police oversight review board for good reason. He also asked me if he could get his hands on unedited footage. It looks like POG will give you that if you ask them. Their numbers are here. But I agree with Pittsblog that there probably won't be anything incriminating in the unedited footage. Of course Froth, the city's lone liberal cop, would be hard pressed to criticize the armed people who he works with. I assume he's seen the ending of Serpico...

Item: Evildoer Chavez offers poor Americans cheap fuel and Evildoer Castro offers poor Americans free health care and medical training...which is...awful? Could be.

Item: David Sirota on why the DLC needs to be driven from the Democratic Party. Short version: The DLC is on the other side.

Item: Science vs. Norse Mythology

August 22nd







(Pic from Indy Media)

August 22nd

A propaganda model focuses on this inequality of wealth and power and its multilevel effects on mass-media interests and choices. It traces the routes by which money and power are able to filter out the news fit to print, marginalize dissent, and allow the government and dominant private interests to get their messages across to the public. The essential ingredients of our propaganda model, or set of news "filters," fall under the following headings: (I) the size, concentrated ownership, owner wealth, and profit orientation of the dominant mass-media firms; (2) advertising as the primary income source of the mass media; (3) the reliance of the media on information provided by government, business, and "experts" funded and approved by these primary sources and agents of power; (4) "flak" as a means of disciplining the media; and (5) "anticommunism" as a national religion and control mechanism. These elements interact with and reinforce one another. The raw material of news must pass through successive filters, leaving only the cleansed residue fit to print. They fix the premises of discourse and interpretation, and the definition of what is newsworthy in the first place, and they explain the basis and operations of what amount to propaganda campaigns.

--from Chomsky's and Herman's Manufacturing Consent. (For five I would switch out "anticommunism" and replace it with "terrorism".)

Item: I have to admit I thought this was the most important story of the weekend. I don't think it made the front pages of any of the dailies. I guess this is what we mean when we complain about the corporate press. Quick propaganda model quiz: advertisers prefer a.) weather stories/underclass crime/nothing stories or b.) stories about courageous radicals who face down vicious barking dogs or taser fire. Hint: Check Sunday and Monday front pages of our two dailies to get an answer.

The Post-Gazette, our mealy-mouthed DLC-like "liberal" paper, had a short piece. Funky is right about one problem with the PG: where are the links? You could, for example, link to the Pittsburgh Organizing Group's original statement about the events, or even link to these two compelling videos of a young girl screaming as she's shot with a taser and this incredibly placid protester who sits while a barking dog is only a few feet away. I mean, they're even edited. That's professional.

As you might predict, the coverage at our daily right wing Scaife rag was worse as Bill Zlatos inserted the cop position right into his lead. It seems to be a matter of dispute that the protesters "disrupted traffic", Bill. More fair and balanced reporting I see. Let me guess Bill: You couldn't link to arguments made by POG (Because you couldn't find them?), or their video evidence, or mention their claim that the cops knocked over a guy in a wheelchair...? Second propaganda model quiz: Bill's story represents how many of the five aforestated Propaganda Model Factors? Hint: 1, 3 and 5 are the strongest contenders.

More as this develops. Looks like I'll be "breaking" all kinds of news because I can independently link and think. Beware my power...Green Lantern's light and so forth...

August 14th thru August 20th

The Art of Simon Bisley.

August 17

"Welcome to a world where statistical probability and normal arithmetic no longer apply!(36) The Democrats, rather than vigorously pursuing these patently obvious signs of election fraud in 2004, have nearly all decided that being gracious losers is better than being winners,(37) probably because – and this may be the most important reason for the Democrat’s relative silence - a full-scale uncovering of the fraud runs the risk of mobilizing and unleashing popular forces that the Democrats find just as threatening as the GOP does.

The delicious irony for the GOP is that the Help America Vote Act, precipitated by their theft of the Florida 2000 presidential vote, made GOP theft of elections as in the preceding examples easy and unverifiable except through recourse to indirect analysis such as pre-election polls and exit polls.(38) This is the political equivalent of having your cake and eating it too. Or, more precisely: stealing elections, running the country, and aggressively, arrogantly and falsely claiming that “the people” support it.

Flavor Flav of the rap group Public Enemy used to wear a big clock around his neck in order to remind us all that we’d better understand what time it is. Or, as Bob Dylan once said: “Let us not speak falsely now, the hour’s getting late.” To all of those who said before the 2004 elections that this was the most important election in our lifetimes; to all of those who plunged into that election hoping and believing that we could throw the villains out via the electoral booth; to all of those who held their noses and voted for Democrats thinking that at least they were slightly better than the theocratic fascists running this country now, this must be said: VOTING REALLY DOESN’T MATTER. If we weren’t convinced of that before these last elections, then now is the time to wake up to that fact. Even beyond the fraudulent elections of 2000 and 2004, public policies are not now, nor have they ever been, settled through elections. "

--From  No Paper Trail Left Behind: The Theft of the 2004 Presidential Election,By Dennis Loo, Ph.D. Cal Poly Pomona

Item: A long time back I predicted this year's vote fraud story would make it to this year's list of Project Censored stories. And I was right. Check out this article. And here are the top ten things you need to believe in order to think that the 2004 election wasn't fraudulent. It's written by another one of those PH D wackos.

In order to believe that George Bush won the November 2, 2004 presidential election, you must also believe all of the following extremely improbable or outright impossible things.(1)

1) A big turnout and a highly energized and motivated electorate favored the GOP instead of the Democrats for the first time in history.(2)

2) Even though first-time voters, lapsed voters (those who didn’t vote in 2000), and undecideds went for John Kerry by big margins, and Bush lost people who voted for him in the cliffhanger 2000 election, Bush still received a 3.5 million vote surplus nationally.(3)

3) The fact that Bush far exceeded the 85% of registered Florida Republicans’ votes that he got in 2000, receiving in 2004 more than 100% of the registered Republican votes in 47 out of 67 Florida counties, 200% of registered Republicans in 15 counties, and over 300% of registered Republicans in 4 counties, merely shows Floridians’ enthusiasm for Bush. He managed to do this despite the fact that his share of the crossover votes by registered Democrats in Florida did not increase over 2000 and he lost ground among registered Independents, dropping 15 points.(4)

4) Florida’s reporting of more presidential votes (7.59 million) than actual number of people who voted (7.35 million), a surplus of 237,522 votes, does not indicate fraud.

5) The fact that Bush got more votes than registered voters, and the fact that by stark contrast participation rates in many Democratic strongholds in Ohio and Florida fell to as low as 8%, do not indicate a rigged election.(5)

6) Bush won re-election despite approval ratings below 50% - the first time in history this has happened. Truman has been cited as having also done this, but Truman’s polling numbers were trailing so much behind his challenger, Thomas Dewey, pollsters stopped surveying two months before the 1948 elections, thus missing the late surge of support for Truman. Unlike Truman, Bush’s support was clearly eroding on the eve of the election.(6)

7) Harris' last-minute polling indicating a Kerry victory was wrong (even though Harris was exactly on the mark in their 2000 election final poll).(7)

8) The “challenger rule” - an incumbent’s final results won’t be better than his final polling - was wrong;(8)

9) On election day the early-day voters picked up by early exit polls (showing Kerry with a wide lead) were heavily Democratic instead of the traditional pattern of early voters being mainly Republican.

10) The fact that Bush “won” Ohio by 51-48%, but this was not matched by the court-supervised hand count of the 147,400 absentee and provisional ballots in which Kerry received 54.46% of the vote doesn’t cast any suspicion upon the official tally.(9)

August 16

Item: Rob, from Unspace, asks why I persecute poor Eric so in the comments section. Well, I think I've made the arguments clear from what I've written. I generally find his piety and his blind faith to be at odds with posts which I don't think are a true reflection of Christian principles. For example, while Rob makes an elegant case for sweeping the panhandlers off the streets in order to protect them, that's not what Funky wrote. Eric wrote this dismissive yuppie putdown of the meek amongst us. Now, I would expect that from the many yuppies who write blogs in this town, but Funky sets himself up as somebody who's pious, with the original 12 century (14th century?) 1st edition version of the Bible laying about his house. I guess I think that's hypocritical. And, frankly, I think he should be called on it. I mean, I suppose we're civil in a Magneto/Prof X kind of a way. He just sent me some cool Aeon Flux links for example...

But if you put your blog out in public then you should be a grownup and accept criticism. I can. That's  why the comments are there....

By the way, it's not necessarily a hatred of fundamentalism that drives my hostility--even though I do believe that religion causes more harm than good--you might notice that I  don't say mean  things about Unspace because what you post actually seems to be consistent within a Christian worldview! I mean, I suppose I could say mean things about you if you would like but I agree with most of the things I read at Unspace and they seem, well, sensible.

So that's my position...that and my Master Satan whispers orders to me.

Item: Last weekend I openly dreamed that Google would buy up a lot fiber, become a telco and create a free Broadband Wonderland of sorts. And, lo, it may come to pass...They have a year before the FCC's rules come into effect.

Item: I made this argument over at 2 Political Junkies and I forgot to make it at my own site. So here's why I'm a big fan of David Sirota.

And that's when we get to the real problem with the DLC -- its policies are BOTH morally bankrupt, and politically disastrous. The rise of the DLC within the Democratic Party has coincided almost perfectly with the decline of the Democratic Party's power in American politics -- a decline that took Democrats from seemingly permanent majority status to permanent minority status. In this last election, just think of Democrats' troubles in Ohio as a perfect example of this. Here was a state ravaged by massive job loss due to corporate-written "free" trade deals -- yet Democrats were unable to capitalize on that issue and thus couldn't win the state because the DLC had long ago made sure the party helped pass the very trade policies (NAFTA, China PNTR) that sold out those jobs.

To counter, the DLC holds up Bill Clinton's 1992 win as proof that its policies win elections, but that is so dishonest it's laughable. First and foremost, almost everyone would agree Clinton ran a very un-DLC-like populist campaign for President in 1992, and won far more on the strength of his charisma/personality than any policy platform from a bunch of pencil-pushing geeks at the DLC in Washington, D.C. Secondly, since that 1992 victory -- with the exception of Clinton's 1996 victory over one of the weakest GOP challengers in modern history -- Democrats have been roundly destroyed in national election after national election.

Thus, we are brought back to the bottom line: with the DLC, Democrats get all of the bad policies, and none of the good electoral outcomes -- it is the worst of both worlds.

--David Sirota, in this essay

Sirota also has a new PLAN in the works. I've already contacted him about trying to help me start a 527. (Just an idea in my head...)

Item: You know the world really might be ending soon. How would you like a world like Venus? I'm just asking. It all has to do with the Siberian methane thaw. I'm not sure what the numbers mean but I don't think they're good. Here's how the Worldchanging guy explains it:

For the moment, then, let's assume that the article is generally correct: the permafrost melt is getting faster, and the boggy ground beneath is releasing its pent-up methane. There are two important things to know about this situation: the amount of methane that would be released is projected to be in the multi-gigaton range -- one source says 70 billion tons, another says "several hundred" billion tons; and methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. In essence, the release of (say) 100 billion tons of methane would be the functional heat-trapping equivalent of 2.1 trillion tons of CO2. To put that number into perspective, the total annual output of greenhouse gases from the US is about 7 billion tons of CO2 equivalent.

This is a big deal.

Yeah, that is a big deal. Thank God the PG was informing me about how different state license plates were made last Sunday. I guess that's what's important. (I'm permalinking Chomsky's "The Propaganda Model". Advertising tends to weaken content, which is why you get Fox News and their complete capitulation to the agenda of right wing multinationals (it's more profitable) or "nothing" journalism about eternally missing white women or...license plates. This is why Indy Media doesn't accept ad money and probably why the alt press isn't as progressive as it used to be...You know, Mark, there's this big story about the 2004 election being stolen and rigged voting machines if you're actually competing with your sister pub the Toledo Blade when it comes to


Oh I can't resist: here's what I think Eric is saying:

"Heh indeedy. So, anyways, I was spitting on this homeless panhandler guy in Oakland just like
 Jesus would do..

"Guffaw. So, anywho, after publishing a defense of Walmart, I'll be publishing another provocative debate piece praising Henry Ford's support and sympathy with the Nazis from my pal who's a MBA--that makes him smart, see--in order to stir debate in a way consistent with my Christian beliefs and whatnot..."

"Hoo Ha Hoo Ha. And I believe this is the exact expression I'll have when Roe is overturned and the first whores either die from botched abortions or from the new federally mandated Christian stonings..."

Before I go into a jealous rant about all the attention that Ales Rarus is getting (Damn you Ales Rarus and I mean that), let me repeat my dual cinematic mantra as to why people are drawn to the Internet. I will use Annie Hall and Goodfellas as my movie references. First, people are drawn to the Internet because we needed the eggs, and two, and I'm paraphrasing Paul Sorvino here, because they get things from the Internet that they can't get from anywhere else, such as, oh, Real Information that has nothing to do with missing white women and license plate design.

If you want to know why the Internet is superior to the older model of newspapers, just compare the PG's story about the blogfest by Tim McNulty to the online insights here, here, here, here and here, not to mention my own comments about the story about to come. Who knows more about what happened at Blogfest: the person who read the paper or the person who read the Internet accounts from several people with a number of point of views? I think it's the latter, as messy and unedited and Catholic Jihadish that view may be.

And, of course, it's not just depth that makes the Internet better, it's often the content. You want to see the most insightful and honest account of Chuck Pennacchio's last visit to town take a look at Fester's Place (which I didn't agree with entirely--Chuck Penn doesn't have to have a detailed Iraq pull out plan just yet, really--but don't have time to write about it) or here's a quiz: who has done more public good lately, the somewhat Eurotrash male model behind Comments from Left Field or yer average corporate press reporter/columnist? Really now, be honest...

I believe Mr. McNulty referred to Ales Rarus as "interesting" and: "while never seeming to have a preordained position". Really? Is that what you call it? Does he mean interesting in the way that a Catholic version of a Mullah would be interesting? He consistently repeats what the Catholic Hierarchy says about everything. Oddly enough, the Ales Rarus position on contraception, stem cell research and the abortion issue would jibe pretty well with your basic radical Taliban cleric. Here's a theory I have: you know why Ales Rarus hasn't come to a conclusion about intelligent design? Because the Catholic Hierarchy hasn't told him what to think yet. So, far from Eric's opinions not being preordained, they are, in fact, preordained from High Above. Consistently. Where he's inconsistent is when he acts in a way that seems to contradict the Passion of The Christ, such as the snobby yuppie who hates panhandlers (just like Jeebus) or publishes a defense of Walmart, arguably one of the most Evil corporations on Earth. He wouldn't be my first choice for a standard bearer for Pittsburgh bloggers, because he's, well, a crazy fundamentalist, sorta. Tim didn't know this? Can Tim read? Jeez.

Now, the thing about it, I just happened to know the details about the Pittsburgh blog scene because I am involved in it despite being anti-social, but what about this guy's judgement on issues I'm not personally involved in? I just think he would get it wrong. Thus endeth my jealous rant.

August 7th thru August 13th

August 12

Massive Weekend Can't Be Beat Edition of Around the Internets

Item: Stunning Around the Internets Collection from Daily Wireless

Item: New Online Broadband Network Called Our Media. Bad News: Only downloads with Explorer. Yipe.

Item: Speaking of Broadband, the FCC is turning its back on must carry rules. Read here for why. Short version: must carry created the Internets, which is probably the reason the Bush administration hates it so. Just as that awful energy bill was a blatant giveaway to oil interests, this is a giveaway to the telecoms. There might be some competition in the future if the internet works over powerlines (being tried in Monroeville as we speak) or my fave: google buys up a lot of fiber and does wi max and does the smart thing and works for universal coverage because that's where the money is. It would create a boom, again, for the rest of us and not just a couple of telecom companies. I just feel like the Bush administration is allowing predatory industry to serial rape me--for a price. Right now it's the oil industry I'm being molested by. I guess my gas prices will go down to a manageable 2 bucks a gallon when the next election comes by...And, as someone who feels like the 11 year old Thai girl smuggled abroad, Bush will be giving the key to known convicted telecom rapists over the next year or so who will visit frequently...I hate this President. I've never known a presidency where everything the guy did went against the public's interest. Everything.

Item: Nice Listing of Artists and Their Works

Item: Long live David Sirota. I'm adding him to the permalinks on the left. His arguments against the DLC make per- fect sense. What have we won with the DLC? Zippo. He was also in Pittsburgh last week where he gave a speech to the US Steelworkers, which was based on this essay. 

Item: Broadcast has a new album out and they'll be touring. Philly is the closest they'll get to Pittsburgh. Or you can check out their live cuts here, under videos.

August 10

Item: I've finally recovered my lagging aging sex drive and updated the Red Light District, with brand new federally mandated warning page. Also: Milo Manara and stunning photog pics. And related: Spanish porn posters of the 70s. And: A Simon Bisley nude.

Item: Here's a photo reenactment of Ales Rarus on Arlen Specter's silly attempt to live longer by embracing stem cell research. In fact, even though there aren't any captions, we're pretty sure that Ales Rarus, pictured below, is not only telling Arlen that he can't have the juicy stem cell research because Jesus talks to him this we know, but can't end his suffering or even mitigate it with the slightest hint of a marijuana spliff self-righteous bastard that our PH D candidate is:

And of course, below, we have Arlen Specter here, who would benefit from the Talosians virtual reality menageries that would make him whole in an imaginary sense stem cell research:

And one note to Ales Rarus: I've met Arlen Specter several times and he would debate you into the Next World--full of talking action figures of Jesus and infinite ice cream and cosmic bellhops galore. Specter's a Philadelphia trial lawyer and it shows...of course, Arlen probably wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition but there you go...

Item: Speaking of Evil Bloggers, I've finally completed my list of the League of Evil Bloggers (bottom left, near Hell). Ales Rarus leads off. He's earned it. And in not so evil blogger news, I've added two additions to notable Pittsburgh Bloggers:Exit Stage Left (sorry it took so long) and Multi Medium, whose author I met at last week's Chuck P event. Check out MM's beautiful pics, which I must steal borrow...

Item: I see that my governor got booed at a sports event. I actually think that legislators should get pay raises occasionally. I have mixed feelings about Ed Rendell. I thank him for saving Pittsburgh public transit for another several years, but I'm not too thrilled with this insane push for Bob Casey Jr., who, as it now stands, isn't even as progressive as GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist when it comes to stem cell research. Incredible.

 As for the pay raise, I think a smarter way to have gone about it would have been to tie their salaries to the state's minimum wage and then have automatic cost of living adjustments every year. And just to have fun with it, require a two thirds majority to overturn it. This is certainly something the Democrats should support and then they can watch the Republicans squirm, as opposed to penalizing those democrats who had the good sense to vote against the pay raise. I look at that and, frankly, I'm no longer curious as to why the Democrats are a minority party.

Item: Funny toon. Heh indeedy as they say.

Item: This just in: Ezra Klein vs. David Sirota. I'm in the "Give Them Contrasts" Sirota camp by the way...

July 31 thru August 6



The Art of Simon Bisley. (Think the pretty prose is by Neil Gaiman.)

July 31 thru August 6

August 2

Item: The League of Pissed off Voters is meeting this week at the University of Pittsburgh from August 4th to August 7th. You can check out the agenda here.

Item: Chuck PENNacchio will also be at Drinking Liberally this Thursday at 7 p.m.

Item: And here's sort of the short version of what happened in Ohio. I wish we had an opposition party that would challenge and question all of the shenanigans.

Item: Over at the Mirror Universe comments section our corporate theocratic pal and defender of Wal (We Love Chinese Slave Labor) Mart Ales Rarus doesn't like being named as a proud member of the League of Evil Bloggers (forthcoming). I suppose you can synopsize his statements as "waaahhh"...., "waaaa" and, of course, "wah". Tho lately with his pro Walmart posts (Written by a corporate shill apparently and not somebody who actually works those crappy, deadend jobs on the floor. I kinda wonder if he wasn't paid for that. That's the kind of propaganda Walmart's been pushing lately.) and his insistence that the Catholic Church get more involved in telling adult couples how they can't use artificial contraception, advice which sensible adults should ignore...well, sounds kind of evil to me. I have a different point of view about Walmart as you can imagine. I think they hire people who don't have the courage or the intellectual chops to unionize. I do have to admit though, there is a friendly paternalism at Walmart, sort of what occasionally well-treated slaves must have gone through. I might also note that someone who doesn't question the Catholic Hierarchy and their many idiotic policies would probably not question the friendly people who own Walmart. (Ales Rarus is a former Walmart employee.) It's just like Machiavelli said: Religion keeps the lower classes in line.I agree. What's the difference between a good catholic and a good Wal Mart employee? Probably not much. It will be so much better in the Next Life...on The Island. (A film I recommend by the way...)

How are Walmart's slave labor practices consistent with Christian principles? He must have missed that liberation theology class...

And he wonders why I don't like debating him...I mean, what's the point? I'm sorry, but if you must believe in Santa Claus afterlives where you can have all the Ice Cream you want--to quote Chris Walken in "The Prophecy"--there's something not rigorous about your thinking process.

I did suggest that he read up on more enlightened dogmas, such as the good 'ol humanist manifesto and a really cool religion: The Universal Unitarians. I like what they're about and I might need a wedding and/or funeral (more likely) some day. They take that's a cool church.

August 1st


The paper has grown fairly well over the last seven months. When I started it we got around 10 hits a day and now--during weekdays--we get about 100 to 150 hits a day, The goal is a thousand hits a day by the New Year.(Gotta have goals.)

 I've also added law to the technology site because I think liberal progressive attorneys--especially trial attorneys who go after big companies who are quickly becoming an endangered species--would support a press that supports what they do. I have not forgotten the Red Light District but I think that if you do sex you should do it right so that's what I'm going to attempt. There's an interesting continuing story about the Politics of Sex. (Should be an update soon...there would be updates every other hour if I was still in my 20s...of course, I wouldn't have known what I was doing...and yes there's a sad joke in there somewhere.) I'm also going to work on developing the sections again. I really haven't done that for awhile unless it's for storage or pieces that are too long for the front page. One of the things I also need to do is more multiple postings, which I don't like doing but that's why people come back multiple times to your page. I'm hoping I can add more content than Atrios like open threads--I don't have the readers anyway--at least everyday posting.

I'm honestly not sure if I should keep on trying to do local stories--I've done a few--or just become an editing service like Grassroots (which is very thorough...hey, I need to know the dirt about the Democratic Party even though I'm a member of the party). I guess it depends on the time I have available.

I also haven't been able to put full time into the paper because I've had to make a living, such as it is. It looks like my schedule is open for the next several weeks so I'm going to put a lot of time into the paper. Each section, in theory, requires a 40 to 50 hour week. I'm just one guy but at least I can try online. I don't have several million to start my own alt weekly but if I work here I might be able to build something. Who knows.

July 24 thru July 30

Yet another Alan Moore property.  You really have to take a look at the V for Vendetta trailer. It features this future Orwellian society where Fear seems to rule the day and where governments kill 100000 people and just seems to remind me of a country that I know. I mean, I don't know what movies terrorists watch (Love Story? The Kate Hudson cannon? Indian musicals?) but I would think they would like "V for Vendetta". Odd things about this movie: Hot highly intelligent Natalie Portman kinda pro-zionist(She is an Israeli citizen who has defended Israeli policies who now stars in a film that might define the terrorist mindset) and the movie was shot in Britain.

July 26

Item: Is Karl Rove a philanderer? O god I do not believe in let it be true....And O Zeus let Mark Cuban buy the Pirates...Make it so Mighty Odin...

Item: I attended Sunday's house party with Chuck Penn and came away very impressed. His stump speech has improved immeasurably since we last saw him in April. (One word of caution: the pauses when you mention your children are very theatric and right out of the professional politician's handbook but I couldn't quite tell if they were authentic...just an observation.) There were also two reporters there, from the suspect dailies I suppose, but I don't remember seeing a story or anything. I can't imagine that their corporate press masters would promote Chuck Penn. They're probably thrilled at the prospect of having two corporatist candidates like Santorum and Bob Casey Jr. vying for the US Senate.

I don't think Chuck Penn (I think that would look better on his campaign lit and suggests a kind of iconic state patriotism...just a suggestion. I have a troublesome last name myself.) is out of it yet but he has to either improve his fundraising or find a very cheap way to make voter contacts that don't require advertising. I'm going to throw a few suggestions his way later tonight...gotta step out....


July 17 thru July 23

Alan Moore, one of the world's great writers, is late with this continuation of Top Ten (which I reviewed here), the 49ers. This will be the last book he writes and then he hands off to the very capable Paul Di Filippo. Filippo, whose only novel has been compared to Gravity's Rainbow, is in the Moore league and doesn't aspire to be a crazy ass snake god, or one with such...whatever. It's set in 1949.

July 22

A Pro-Enlightenment Around the Internets

".....All religions are prone to it, given the right circumstances. How could those who preach the absolute revealed truth of every word of a primitive book not be prone to insanity? There have been sects of killer Christians and indeed the whole of Christendom has been at times bent on wiping out heathens. Jewish zealots in their settlements crazily claim legal rights to land from the Old Testament. Some African Pentecostal churches harbour sects of torturing exorcism and child abuse. Muslims have a very long tradition of jihadist slaughter. Sikhs rose up to stop a play that exposed deformities of abuse within their temples. Buddhism too has its sinister wing. See how far-right evangelicals have kidnapped US politics and warped its secular, liberal founding traditions. Intense belief, incantations, secrecy and all-male rituals breed perversions and danger, abusing women and children and infecting young men with frenzy, no matter what the name of the faith.

Enlightenment values are in peril not because these mad beliefs are really growing but because too many rational people seek to appease and understand unreason. Extreme superstition breeds extreme action. Those who believe they alone know the only way, truth and life will always feel justified in doing anything in its name. You would, wouldn't you, if you alone had the magic answer to everything? If religions teach that life after death is better then it is hardly surprising that some crazed followers will actually believe it."

--some of Polly Toynbee's Essay "In the Name of God"

Item: That's a great essay by Toynbee. There is a war now between reason and mindless, superstitious faith. I'm going with reason. However, I've read that not all the suicide bombers are all that religious. Out of curiosity, if you were witness to an imperial power slaughtering over 100000 of Your Kind and trying to steal their most valuable asset wouldn't you be angry? And how would you fight back if you didn't have a war machine at your beck and call? I'm not necessarily endorsing their actions because I take the bus a lot, but I understand them. There's also the disturbing notion that the terrorists are using the disenfranchised and underemployed to build their ranks. If that's so, they'll find the US a virtual Mecca of opportunity. (This just in on the why they legitimately hate us department: The Children of Abu Ghirab and angry comment from Hunter)

Item: I think the panopticon in Britain works. It doesn't prevent terrorist acts of course. Nothing could do that without addressing root causes. And those cameras won't be of much use if a suitcase nuke goes off but for everything up to that cameras are pretty helpful. I wouldn't mind those cameras in the United States as long as everyone had access to them. That's kind of what's been discussed at Worldchanging. Science fiction writer David Brin has been thinking about this for awhile now.

Item: One day I will own my own air force. My quest starts here and here.

Item: I've been watching Guy Negre's air compression car for about five years now. It looks like American production is about to begin. Fifty cents for a fill up?

Item: Free Inquiry on the new Pope or Everything You Wanted to Know About the Pope But Was Afraid to Ask.

"....In any case, why the corporate media in the United States and worldwide should present without dissent the Vatican's propagandistic views-particularly its claim to be the primary legal and moral representative of Jesus on Earth-is, I submit, unfair and untruthful.

There are surely positive aspects of the ministry of John Paul II. He sought to reach out to other faiths in dialogue-for example, to Jews and Muslims. He also apologized for the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the trial of Galileo, which is all to the good! But he was an adamant opponent of women's rights, at least within the church, refusing their ordination; and he opposed divorce, reproductive freedom, contraception, abortion, and artificial insemination. He was an implacable foe of the "death-with-dignity" movement and its advocacy for euthanasia and assisted-suicide, which struggled to offer the incurably ill merciful release from their suffering and pain. He insisted upon a celibate priesthood, though the church did not practice celibacy during its first thousand years. He was also a strong foe of stem-cell research, on the arcane theological premise that the "soul" is implanted at the moment of conception or of the first division of cells in a petri dish-in spite of the consequent positive benefits that may accrue to humankind from stem-cell research.

On his many trips to Asia and Africa, he insisted that condoms not be used; and he argued for abstinence. These polices no doubt caused millions of deaths from AIDS and contributed to population growth in the Third World. Although a critic of poverty-in his favor-and the excesses of capitalism, he also opposed liberation theology in Latin America, which meant that the Roman Catholic Church continued to support the power structure of these countries. Last but not least, he opposed dialogues between Roman Catholics and humanists after 1988, in spite of the fact that three earlier dialogues had been highly successful in finding common ground.

Unfortunately, this was in the wake of his overturning of Vatican II, which had attempted to bring the Roman Catholic church into the modern world. During his reign, superstitious miraculous sightings of Mary and Jesus were encouraged; even exorcisms returned to a church that for many decades had been skeptical about claims of demonic possession."

July 19

I wrote my first reaction to Roberts over at the Daily Kos.

Is A Pro Life Senator from PA Good Enough Now...?

Tue Jul 19th, 2005 at 18:59:35 PDT

One thing we know about the wingers: they never ever stop. They don't want to turn every state into a battleground. In fact, they will do their best to make this a federal issue.

Here's the article that describes the coming federal war:

I argued in another diary why Bob Casey Jr.--anti-science, pro life, wishy washy on arctic drilling--that he was the wrong man for a minority party. When you're in the minority you don't need a moderate. You need firebrands. You need Paul Wellstones. You need Chuck Pennacchio.

Keep in mind that Roberts--an awful pick and guess what a big fat fuck you to the Dems--is the kind of guy that Bob Casey wouldn't filibuster, because we have to save the imaginary lil babies. And when they push to make the ban national and to jail women he'll probably vote for that as well. Remember, he's for pharmacists who vote their consciences. He's the wrong guy at the wrong time Now more than ever.

If you care about the women in your lives and truly love them as opposed to desire some theocratic rule over their very orifices, then you need to take a second look at Chuck Pennacchio. He needs money and help and he's a real opposition candidates. You don't send squishy pro life moderates to fight federalist society fascists.

Philip Shropshire

PS: What good would Casey's pro labor credentials be against a judge like this?

July 18

Coming Soon: The League of Evil Bloggers. Ales Rarus is a member. His evil powers include AI and his impenetrable Doublethink heat ray (especially in regards to the many failings of the Catholic Church contrasted with the infallibility of the Catholic Church.) Also: It is rumored that he resembles this fellow:

Even though no one really expects the Spanish Inquisition.

July 10 to July 16

July 14th

Mild Thursday Edition of Around the Internets

Internal sabotage offers a tempting explanation for the fact that so much has gone wrong for the United States since 2001. After 9/11 Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan--which had financed the Taliban and trained the hijackers at its camps--but Bush shocked analysts by attacking Afghanistan and Iraq instead. Was Bush's refusal to search for bin Laden in his nation of residence the result of spectacular incompetence--or a continuing alliance with the same Islamists his father's presidency had armed and funded? Are we losing the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq because of Rumsfeld's stubborn insistence on understaffing the military? Or are our leaders intentionally dragging out combat to accomplish their masters' aims: increasing the popularity of radical Islam and the recruitment of terrorists? Even Bush's domestic policies, from tax cuts paid to the rich people least likely to stimulate the economy to his attack on Social Security, seem designed to undermine U.S. stability and prosperity. Was Bush crossing his fingers when he swore to preserve and defend the constitution?

--From Recent Ted Rall editorial

Item: As I marvel at all of the violently evil things that the Bush administration does, I too have thought that they're not really big fans of the United States. I've always thought that a clever Democratic Party and/or opposition party ad to the GOP would simply show Bin Laden or the latest villain de jure poisoning the water, wrecking the social security system, weakening the military and whatnot and then saying "Oh, wait. That's what the Republicans are doing..." Our bad.

Item: I had never read anything by Chris Bunch but I had heard he had written the best novel about Vietnam ever. He died recently. Here's his obit and  a remembrance from Norman Spinrad. This makes me want to check out his work, especially that massive science fiction series that was a bestseller in the Soviet Union.

Item: Robert Cringely is doing a series called NERDTv. He's going to release the series online and you'll be able to download. Related: Frontline and the British documentary "Power of Nightmares" online for free.

Item: Two impressive webcomics efforts over at 2 Political Junkies here and here.

Item: Interesting Fake Sites That Promote New Cloning (looks like cloning for spare parts) movie The Island here and here. I guess Ales Rarus lost. Thank God. Actually, if we let stem cell research go forward (in S. Korea and Russia at least), you could get your spare parts without growing full bodied versions of Ewan or Scarlet. Hey, it's just a movie.

July 12th

Massive Can't Be Stopped Around the Internets

Item: Wired is simply a must read this month. First check out technoexploitation's Annalee Newitz on the rush by Big Pharma to create pills to enhance the female orgasm. Then there's a great piece on Idealab's Bill Gross working to create a portable solar dish for the home. Whenever they tell you that alternative fuels can't work, what they really mean is that we can't get it to work in a way that benefits the current Big Utility providers. The real solution is probably portability. One reason why there was a computer revolution is that we get to own a fully functioning computer. We don't dial up to the mainframe that General Electric owns and hope for a few minutes a day, probably at 20 dollars a minute. (Related: profile on three up and coming nanosolar companies and this RU Sirius interview with the Worldchanging editor who talks about how micro turbines are big in Britain.)


In 1953, in a toast before the New York Press Club, John Swinton, former Chief of Staff of the New York Times and the "Dean of his Profession" stated: (part extracted)

"If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. The business of journalists is to destroy the truth; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell this country and this race for their daily bread. We are the tools and vessels for rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

Old Fletcher Prouty Interview ("The question is why...who benefits?")(And Prouty debunking...still think JFK is a good film.)
Live Esthero concert and Res (both produced by Doc and I can hear it.) vid downloads.
If you're not planning to draft anybody, why prepare for one?
Walmart vs. Costco (Why isn't Democratic Allegheny County full of Costcos? They pay decent wages and they support Democratic Party candidates...)
Unbossed Story About Corporations Leaving the Country Because of Expensive Health Care
Earlier I linked to a publisher who was sentenced to one year in jail for carrying a small amount of marijuana. Here's the link to the online journal that he publishes.
Bush Stem Cell Policy Is Killing Specter, literally. (Who did Arlen vote for in 2004? Would have liked to have been in that booth...)
Abortion Might Not Revert To States. Could Become a Fed matter. In that case your pro life senator might make a difference..


July 10

Item: I'm the only Pittsburgh blogger reporter (for my online magazine journalmalism) who covers the apparently minor story of how the Ohio election was stolen. Here are some highlights from the direct testimony of Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips. Keep in mind that your official "opposition" party is not one to complain much about this.  Look, if you're thinking about a change to the Greens, now is the time to do it. As I have stated before in the comments section, the Greens should target 5 senate seats and 25 house seats. They don't have to win everything. They just have to take the majorities away from the Republicans. One of those 5 seats should be Pennsylvania if Pennacchio or like-minded Democrat isn't nominated for the US Senate seat. (In theory, you wouldn't go after pick up opportunities for Dems  but run a populist campaign in GOP strongholds. Afterall, the DLC democrats have never tried this. Would cost $30 million tops. More later on the 5/25 idea.)

Take it away Doc Phillips:

In the City of Columbus, discriminatory allocation of voting machines led directly to lower turnout in Democratic precincts. Urban Democratic precincts had too few voting machines and long lines; suburban Republican precincts had enough voting machines and short lines; 122 voting machines were not provided to any polling station anywhere. As a result, voter turnout was 60% in Bush precincts, and 50% in Kerry precincts. This wrongly reduced Kerry’s margin of victory in Franklin County by about 17,000 votes.

In Lucas County, other means of voter suppression led directly to lower voter turnout in Democratic precincts. The 88 precincts with the lowest turnout were all in Toledo; all were won by John Kerry; and complaints were filed in 31 of these precincts. Among the complaints were: long-time residents removed from the voting rolls, broken voting machines, polling stations running out of ballots and turning people away, voters sent back and forth between polling places, and long lines not designated by precinct so that voters waited in the wrong line. One-third of provisional ballots were not counted, often because people voted at the wrong table in the right polling place.

Statewide, there were 35,000 provisional ballots and over 92,000 regular ballots that were not counted as votes for president. These uncounted ballots, most of them punch cards, are highly concentrated in precincts that voted overwhelmingly for John Kerry, by margins of 12 to 1 in Cleveland, 7 to 1 in Dayton, 5 to 1 in Cincinnati, 4.5 to 1 in Akron, 3 to 1 in Lorain County, 2.7 to 1 in Stark County, and 2.3 to 1 in Trumbull County. This cries out for an examination of the uncounted ballots and the machines that failed to count them.

...In Miami County, after 100% of the precincts had reported, more than 18,000 votes were added to the totals. The vote percentages for Bush and Kerry remained the same, and the final margin for Bush was 16,000 votes exactly, almost as if the tabulators were programmed to turn out that way. This resulted in voter turnout as high as 98.55% in one precinct, where a door-to-door canvass of voters identified more than enough non-voters to prove that the certified results are fraudulent.

Three counties in southwestern Ohio – Butler, Clermont and Warren – provided Bush with a combined plurality greater than his statewide margin of victory. These results, when examined at the precinct level, are almost impossible to explain. In Butler County, there were 12 precincts where, compared to 2000, voter registration increased by 34% to 178%, and entire townships where Kerry received fewer votes than Gore, despite large increases in voter turnout. In Clermont County there were 24 such precincts where Kerry received fewer votes than Gore. In Warren County there were six entire townships where voter registration increased by 28% to 79%. In all three counties, Kerry received fewer votes than Ellen Connally, a little-known, underfunded African-American municipal judge from Cleveland, running for Chief Justice. There must have been at least 13,500 voters who supported both Connally and Bush, or else the certified results are fraudulent. In these three counties, and in Delaware County as well, Bush received more votes than Issue One, the constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage. There must have been at least 10,500 supporters of gay marriage who voted for Bush, or else the certified results are fraudulent. A comparison of these counties with the voting patterns statewide indicates that as many as 50,000 votes may have been shifted from Kerry to Bush, thus affecting the margin by 100,000 votes.

These accounts of voter suppression, ballots cast but not counted, and alteration of the vote count, were sufficient to reverse the outcome of the presidential election. It is my professional opinion, having exhaustively examined the available evidence, that the 2004 presidential election was stolen.

Stunning stunning stuff.

July 3 thru July 9th

July 7

Respect MP George Galloway says: "We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the Government ignoring such warnings."

First, I agree with George Galloway. (His full statement is even better.) And I do not think they have forgotten about the United States. I think they have something special planned for us. And who could blame them? We have murdered up to 100000 Iraqis for their oil...what did we expect? Roses? Love songs?

Here are the most extensive updates about the London bombings here, here and here.

Speaking of Frank Zappa:

Item: I found two Frank Zappa links while I was exploring the Internets the other day. I highly recommend Sleep Dirt and all of those fusiony George Duke tunes here. I think this album is out of print so this is your best shot.

Item: Here are two very depressing stories from GNN. One is a very skeptical take on the G8 and the other is from a guy who's been sentenced to one year in prison--with a very small amount of both marijuana and ecstasy (less than a quarter of an ounce and about 12 pills...what a threat to society)--where he will write what I suspect will be a dark tale. He's the editor and publisher of Newtopia, which is billed as a journal of the new counterculture. I can't believe that 1 year is a sentence for a first time offender. I wonder if he has a record or if he purposely accepted the sentence for what could be a great story.

Here's a depressing bit...:

And most people end up thinking, “Isn’t it wonderful of our government to try and protect us.”

But within this simple world is another more complex world. It is a world where everyone is addicted in one way or another and the profits from their addictions fuel the economy. A world where lethal drugs like alcohol, tobacco, Vioxx, and Oxycontin are legal and readily available, while relatively harmless drugs like marijuana, psilocybin, and MDMA are designated dangerous and highly addictive, without any tangible health benefits, and marginalized into a dangerous illicit market. It is a world where, in some neighborhoods, the police protect and serve while in others they are the threat and the enemy. It is a world where the rich go unpunished, and the poor go to prison.

And what may be even more shocking is that it has become progressively more serious to have been caught with drugs than to kill someone. In his 1999 Progressive Populist essay, “The Prison-Industrial Complex,” UNLV Criminal Justice professor Richard Shelden cites that between 1980 and 1992 the average maximum sentence in federal courts declined for violent crimes (from 125 months to 88 months) and almost doubled for drug offenses (from 47 months to 82 months).

This is the hidden world that no one has to see or think about except those on the inside.

Happy 4th and Resist!

Lyrics from Frank Zappa's "Hungry Freaks"

Mr. America, walk on by your schools that do not teach
Mr. America, walk on by the minds that won’t be reached
Mr. America try to hide the emptiness that’s you inside
But once you find that the way you lied
And all the corny tricks you tried
Will not forestall the rising tide of hungry freaks daddy!

(Go here for the rest of the lyrics)

June 26 thru July 2

Gallery level ar-teest Kent Williams is also drawing the comics version of Darren Aronofsky's "The Fountain".  And what happened to that talented over writer Don McGregor? He hasn't updated his site in four years. Does he have health problems? Has he passed away?

June 30th

Finally saw the Batman movie. I give it a B-. I didn't even think it was as good as the first Tim Burton film. You just can't beat the Jack Nicholson Joker. Much better than the other Batman films no doubt. It does take a serious approach to the hero myth. It takes much of its feel from Batman: Year One. I also like the science behind the film. The science behind superheroes, from the Incredible Hulk to the biotech savvy vampires in Blade to the fusion experiments of Spiderman, has gotten way beyond the cosmic rays and radiation of the Stan Lee 60s. There isn't much that Batman does that isn't plausible. In fact, in the imaginary novel in my head, you could do a lot of that with remote droids. I just wish that they had taken a Sin City approach and brought the creators on board. Bring Alan Moore and Frank Miller to the sets why don't you. And of course, we have never had anything as good as, say, Kingdom Come or the Miller Dark Knights make it to the screens. Ah well. Bring on the Fantastic Four, which looks slightly could it be better than the Incredibles? I'm also looking forward to the movie treatments of Astro City and Invincible--which has a shocking premise which involves a Krypton-like world doing to us what we're doing to Iraq.

Speaking of Iraq

Just a reminder that we're responsible for all of this terrible terrible blood. Go USA.

June 27

Still haven't seen Batman yet. Sigh.


  • Philip Carter, apparently a reservist, has been called to active duty. This is one of the few pro-war vets that I respect because he sincerely cares about the plight of the American soldier no matter the many giddy and optimistic pronouncements declared by the Bush Administration. Of course, I'm sure that his criticism of the war has nothing to do with his being called up and probably being sent to the Russian Front front lines. Who would imply that the Bush administration is mean-spirited and vengeful? Nothing to do at all I'm sure.

  • Update: I added this low key comment to his site. There's a bit of contrast with the boosters. I don't think it would be banned. Afterall, we kinda know Philip Carter isn't a pussy.

First, watch your back.

Second, I do not congratulate you because I do not think you'll be murdering Iraqis for a good cause. For the record, I wouldn't wish a German soldier good luck in Poland or France, either.

Third, I have the greatest respect for your courage. Here's somebody who walks the walk and talks the talk. You're smart enough to be a conscientious objector, or even to make some other nuanced claim, but you didn't. In a fair world, the Patrick Ruffinis and Instapundits and Pejmanpundits would go in your place...

Four: I have to say this out loud: Do you think your critiques against the war led to you being called up?

Philip Shropshire

6.27.2005 4:18am

Here's more on the same topic. I was always under the impression that if you knew more about embryonic stem cells then you would better understand adult stem cells. It's not either/or, it's complimentary. Fight Aging has my back:

You folks may find this of interest: a long MSNBC interview with biologist James Thompson on topics relating to stem cell research. Some of the more interesting items:

Q: How do you respond to the claim that we have these other sources of stem cells — adult stem cells or cord blood — and there's no need to turn to embryonic cells?

A: We don't. The most studied cell in the whole body, in terms of stem cells, is the hematopoietic stem cell. It can't be grown. So what you do when you do a bone marrow transplant is you take some bone marrow out of you - actually, we do peripheral blood - and we put in another patient without expanding it. There's a clinical need for that expansion step, but it can't be done right now. And hundreds of labs for 30 years have studied that adult stem cell, and that’s the one we know the most about.


And again, getting back to the basic science thing: If we study the embryonic stem cells, we learn the basic science. That knowledge is just as likely to be applied to adult stem cells as to the embryonic stem cells. The knowledge goes back and forth. And in the case of the blood, people have failed at growing that cell for three decades. Well, studying that lineage with embryonic stem cells, we might learn the clues to make it growable, and it might be that we still want to use adult stem cells to do that because there are a lot of advantages to that, but the knowledge might come from embryonic stem cells.

Stem cell research really all boils down to a matter of trying to fully understanding and controlling our cells. If researchers can learn to do that, then opportunities to develop cures for aspects of degenerative aging simply fall out of the process.


June 19 thru June 25

I haven't seen the new Batman film yet. Looks like it borrows from Batman Year One. Give me a  couple of days or so. David Mazzucchelli doesn't appear to have a website.

June 22

Amidst a bitterly contested vote count that resulted in unprecedented action by the Congress of the United States, here are some news accounts that followed this election, which was among the most bitterly contested in all US history:

• Despite repeated pre-election calls from officials across the nation and the world, Ohio's Republican Secretary of State, who also served as Ohio's co-chair for the Bush-Cheney campaign, refused to allow non-partisan international and United Nations observers the access they requested to monitor the Ohio vote. While such access is routinely demanded by the U.S. government in third world nations, it was banned in the American heartland.

• A post-election headline from the Akron Beacon Journal cites a critical report by twelve prominent social scientists and statisticians, reporting: "Analysis Points to Election ‘Corruption': Group Says Chance of Exit Polls Being So Wrong in '04 Vote is One-in-959,000."

• Citing "Ohio's Odd Numbers," investigative reporter Christopher Hitchens, a Bush supporter, says in Vanity Fair: "Given what happened in that key state on Election Day 2004, both democracy and common sense cry out for a court-ordered inspection of its new voting machines."

That's from the  book's introduction. You can also catch Bob on last weekend's Laura Flanders show on Air America. (last third of the show) His answer to the book's question seems to be a cautious yes, although he's not pushing for an armed resistance yet like this former pentagon employee. Not yet anyway...(Long DKos interview with her that I missed.)


Warner Brothers never released this pilot for the "Global Frequency", written by Warren Ellis, one of the annoyingly gifted writers who makes up the Brit Invasion. Over the last several days the pilot appeared on the Internets, as a bittorrent link. Warren says he has nothing to do with it and hasn't even seen the pilot. Right, coming from a guy who is Aleph. Of course, I'm not sure of the legality of downloading the pilot, so I walked over to a drug dealer's house--where I believe he was consorting with terrorists, spam kings, nigerian fraudsters and diebold technicians--and I watched it there. What can I say: he has no regard for the law. That would certainly explain why its on my computer, if it were (Jaco gave me free cocaine and a cd)... It's way better than Alias, on par with La Femme Nikita, feels a lot like X-Files but not near the best episodes, although that could change if the series had time to grow. Or if Warner Brothers would air it. Starts off with Radiohead's "There There" which I like a lot. Steals moves and scenes from Bladerunner, the Matrix and the aforementioned X-Files. Michele Forbes is great as Mirando Zero as she's a complete badass here (as opposed to a bureaucrat with a gun in the comics) and could hang out with Neo and the gang. She certainly dresses like them. Her fight scenes were really good. It should have been picked up, although I get the strong vibe that its topic matter (a rogue NSA agent who does stuff and creates hidden detention centers) might have been what scared the Warner Brothers suits. Remember when Max Headroom ran that political episode where everything kind of got done on television and the machines were never checked and then that show got cancelled...?

There is also a nice Future Shock science fictional vibe about a show that centers around a seemingly unstoppable global network who sticks it to the man while saving lives being distributed by seemingly unstoppable global protocol that sticks it to the man and tells me about a really good show. Karmic. If they can figure out how not to spend 1 million an episode we could see the Global Frequency online no matter what the suits say. Can you imagine an uncensored Warren Ellis television script? Good lord. This could be the future of televised distribution. You combine that with Open Media...They need some televised version of google ads and it could probably fund itself.

We are all on the global frequency and its very cool.

June 20

You can read this for free. As someone who has read his brilliant but demanding short stories, I strongly recommend that you increase your IQ by 70 points, assuming the base and site average of 130, before jumping into it. It not easy read. Or to quote a blurb on Greg Egan's "Axiomatic": "Science fiction for people who like science fiction." I once quoted techno mage Stross in my Locus Online story about Harlan Ellison's lawsuit (check footnote 16) and I also kicked his Scot ass all over the place for claiming that Dean was a stooge for the trusted computing movement. I'm sure he's forgiven me. After all, I was right.

I really was impressed with Morgan "Supersize Me" Spurlock's new  "30 Days" show, where the first episode featured him and his wife attempting to live on minimum wage for a whole month. Of course, people like Morgan and Barbara and that woman from Australia get to go back to their upper middle class lives after their stunt slumming. Couple of observations:

  • These conditions, which I have lived under for more than 30 days I assure you, makes you much more sympathetic to the criminal element. The United States makes you feel like a sucker for playing by the rules. You just don’t get ahead. When I went over to the website I checked out the message boards where we find our usual right wing assholes, one of whom said that it made the United States look like a Third World country…and of course, for a lot of people, it is a third world country. We have playstations and cable but apart from that a lot of us are a bad accident or two away from the streets. I wish Morgan and his wife would do the same thing in France. They would live better on unemployment than most working Americans. American elites gnash their teeth at the working classes getting a decent standard of living. It’s the real reason they hate France. 

  • The emergency room scenes hit home for me. I don’t have health insurance. I made two emergency room visits over the last 13 years. I saw a doctor, both visits combined, for about 30 minutes. I came away with bills totaling $900. On the show, they’re treated for a sprained wrist and a urinary tract infection (had to embarrassing for the wife) and it costs them two emergency room visits at a price of $1200, which totally blew them out of their monthly budget.  

  • It answers the question as to why poor folks shop at Wal Mart. You can’t afford not to. I shop at union shop Giant Eagle a lot, but I can spend $40 at Wal Mart and live off of that for two weeks. Actually, I could do all of my shopping at Giant Eagle if they offered two things: 5 pounds of chicken leg quarters for $4.00 and $4.00 whole chickens. Must eat meat.

  • I'm looking forward to upcoming episodes, especially the off the grid show.

June 12 thru June 18

That's from Gray Morrow, who died in 2001.

June 17

This is a must read for Chuck Pennacchio and serious Democrats who want to take back both chambers of the Senate and the House.

I must also say that I'm worried about Chuck Pennacchio's campaign. I think, and this is just a gut feeling that I truly hope is wrong, he just hasn't raised enough money to wage a credible campaign. Back when he came here to Pittsburgh in April I asked him, persistently, how much money has latest money raising effort had yielded and I believe he said $25000. Based on my same hunches--a facility that fails me miserably with women by the way, almost all the time actually--I don't think he had more than $25000 previously. So I don't believe he's been able to raise more than $50000. To put this in perspective, I believe Peduto was able to raise about several hundred thousand dollars and that was just for a city race.

Now, it is early and a lot of those indy Kos/Atrios givers (I may write a plea for the Kossacks to get involved in this race) might not be focused yet. But consider what Chuck P. is up against. He is opposed by the Rendell machine. Labor backs Casey (wonder how Casey will vote when we need opposition to the inevitable pro life anti-labor judges that Bush will nominate. I think I already know...does labor?) Dean has already said nice things about a Casey run and I believe has even raised money for him. Of course, now that Dean is against you what hope do you have that his previously independent fundraising arm (run now by Jim Dean) would throw money his way. Even Teresa Heinz Kerry, our last best hope, is backing the Pro Lifer Casey Jr., while she makes arguments against Santorum's refusal to recognize church/state divisions.

I also don't think his idea of getting the corporate press to play along is a good one. That's why they're the corporate press. They don't give poor candidates free pub. I already told him the Courier is run by a Republican. I think he has to go directly to voters. For Chuck P to win he has to roll up big majorities in Pittsburgh, Philly and probably Erie. I've offered to knock on 10000 doors a month and deliver flyers and volunteers. If it worked and his polling improved, he should repeat the plan in Philly and Erie. My whopping price range would be $1200 to $2000 a month. I was told by the campaign manager (Tim Tagaris has left, and I'm guessing, probably because of money.) that they didn't have the money for that. If they don't have the money for that then they don't have the money to win. Its the cheapest way I can think of to directly contact voters. ACT's methods worked. They could work for Chuck P. It would take $10000 to find out.

By the way, as an idea for Chuck P. on the money front, if he has a donor list of 10000 names, he should take the list to Direct Advantage Marketing, which has one of the best political phonebanks in the country. He might also, and this is just a wild idea, consider going back to pro choice groups (understandably angry about Casey Jr. and who can blame them?) and ask them for their phone lists--if they're available. I'm thinking NOW and/or NARAL.

And if Chuck P. can't pull it off we need to start looking for other candidates to step up. I hope I'm wrong about Casey Jr. but he is the wrong candidate at the wrong time.  The stakes are too high to vote in some guy who will probably vote the wrong way on anti-choice judges and a possible draft. Let's put it this way: if the Democratic Party candidate nominates Casey Jr. I will take a look at the Green Party's senatorial candidate. What would I have to lose? Update: MoveOn is asking members to make a primary choice in the Pennsylvania primary. I voted for Chuck P.

Update: Chuck P's campaign responds. He gives us the scoop on why Tim left the campaign and answers some other questions. I'm too poor to knock on 10000 doors on a volunteer basis! But I did offer to hand out 1000 flyers if he sends me the flyers. Here's Chuck's campaign spokesman John Morgan:


     Thanks for the vote.  The MoveOn PAC poll is getting us some great 
coverage.  Just a few things.  Howard Dean didn't raise money for Casey, to 
my knowledge.  My recollection is that fundraiser was for the Party.  Jim 
Dean has been spoken with Chuck several times and DFA has not endorsed or 
supported any candidate thus far.  They are awaiting feedback from the 
individual DFA groups in Pennsylvania.  This is appropriate since DFA is a 
grassroots organization.

     Tim went to Ohio because of a fantastic offer.  I told him he'd be 
crazy not to accept it.  His passion is organizing and this opportunity is 
one he'll love.  He continues to provide advice and assistance to our 
campaign.  We miss him but we have two new volunteer staffers doing IT and 
media relations.  No one on our staff is drawing a salary.  We're all 
working as volunteers so we can prioritize our funds on the most important 
needs.  Right now canvassing isn't one of them.  We're putting together 
voter reg databases first.

      We appreciate your support and interest.  We are busy attending 
events, organizing, and getting more media coverage.  Last Wednesday the 
Harrisburg Patriot News did a feature on Chuck.  The Pittsburgh Post Gazette 
responded to the press challenge favorably and is now mentioning Chuck in 
their articles.  KDKA radio also contacted us.  The Philadelphia Inquirer is 
giving us regular coverage.

     We'd like to make another trip to the Pittsburgh area soon.  Chuck and 
I were discussing dates for it this week.  We'll let you know as soon as 
things are finalized.

John Morgan

Real Life Radical Socialist TV: It's here. And it features two shows that you won't be seeing on the "telly" (they're decisively Brit, where they grow serious radicals) unless you watch Democracy Now everyday. The above is from a 52 minute documentary called "Capitalism and Other Kids stuff". That's "Rex". His job is to keep the toys away from the other kids. I thought it was simple and powerful. Highlights for me had to be the rules of capitalism (the less you make the harder you work), some of the clever backgrounds and the fact that people usually aren't allowed to make these kinds of arguments here in the states.  Paddy, our narrator, is like some alt universe John Stossel. It even features cheezy Jackie Chan outtakes at the end. It's a little light on solutions. There's a tactical problem with voting left in winner take all systems. But its heart is in the right place.

The other  "show" features footage from Iraq that reminds you that we're slaughtering people in Iraq. It's vicious, or, we're vicious. Targets pretty much go up in smoke. Not much of a trial. I'm sure they were guilty of something. I suppose its the darkest version of Monty Python's "not being seen" sketch that you'll likely ever to see.


June 14


Last week Kathy Dopp informed us that the voter verification bill (HR 550) that she supports is sponsored by US Rep. Rush Holt. There was a two day lobbying session last weekend where a number of concerned citizens lobbied congressional members on behalf of auditable elections. Holt had this to say:

"These people came to Washington on their own -- on their own time, at their own expense -- not to lobby for a special interest but for democracy itself. This is a strong movement across the country, representing a deeply felt commitment to America's democratic promise.

"Anything of value should be auditable. We have been presented by the founders of this country with a self-correcting governmental system. And it works as a self- correcting system because citizens like these make the effort, make the commitment -- in some cases the sacrifice -- to see that it works, to see that we correct the errors as we find them and improve on our record over the years.

"There are many things we can do together as a country-there are opportunities to be extended, injustices to be corrected, efficiencies to be gained...but none of those can be accomplished well if Americans don't believe they are in the drivers seat by being able to control their government by casting votes that count and are counted. That's what this movement for auditable elections is all about."

You can learn more about the lobbying effort, here, here and here. I'm not sure what the Pennsylvania congressional delegation thinks. I know that there's very little going on at the state level in Pennsylvania.
Related: EFF's Guide to Legal Blogging

New Naomi Klein or How We Kill Democracy and Self Determination Abroad
"When I kill one I create three." Could you try not killing any Iraqis...I know, sounds crazy...

June 5 thru June 11

RG Taylor is just a fantastic talent. I still am amazed by his backgrounds from Wordsmith.

June 10th


Today's Interspersed Theme: Girl with the Beautiful Tone

Esthero "That Girl" (only vid I could find)

Mahavishnu Orchestra Covers by Gregg Bendian's Mahavishnu Project
Try "You Know You Know" and "Meeting of the Spirits" (Real Actual Jazz Rock That's Downloadable!)
Massive Attack's "Protection", featuring Everything But the Girl vocalist
Only Goldfrapp tune I like "Pilots"
Try All The Superior Koop Vids but "Summer Sun" makes you want to live, even if they have stolen your vote.

Trail of Dead's "Caterwaul" (rips off Led Zep's "Black Dog" but in a good way...)
NERD's "Maybe"
Portishead's "Glory Box"
Terranova's "Chase the Blues Away"
Eighty Mile Beach's "Red Helicopters" (need more clarinet in acid jazz)
Zero 7 "Destiny Live"
And I Gotta Have More Cowbell! "Little Sister"
Broadcast's "Papercuts" (I am amazed by this band.)

June 7th

(Kathy Dopp of US Count Votes)

Imagine, if you will, a country that hadn't audited its elections in decades. Imagine that one party (the Republicans) owned 80 percent of the voting machines. Imagine, aside from outright theft in 2000 and probable theft in 2004, that there have been suspicious down ticket results since 1996 affecting a number of senate seats including Max Cleland's improbable loss. Imagine that there were voting irregularities in over a dozen states including Pennsylvania. Imagine an opposition party that doesn't make this issue its number one priority. And, try, if you can, to imagine how you can change a country--caught in a transparently evil imperialist war, with corrupt liars at the highest levels, and where the courts offer no sanctuary for justice and fair hearing--with a vote that you can no longer trust?

Imagine no more if you live in the United States. Welcome to your nightmarish Kafkaesque reality. Scary scary stuff as SCTV's Count Floyd used to say....

Or at least that's the primary message I got from Kathy Dopp's talk Monday night in Oakland at St. Andrews Lutheran Church. Ms. Dopp runs the site US Count Votes. Her speech came mostly from this Powerpoint slide presentation that you can take a look at here.

Here were the horrific scary scary highlights:

  • Insider "vote embezzlers" (her catchy phrase) have had free reign to count our votes with proprietary software and no audits.

  • Her group claims there has been evidence of vote tampering in up to 12 states, including Pennsylvania.

  • Dopp said Hillary Clinton's vote verification bill sucked (not her exact words) and that she instead backs Rep. Rush Holt's bill, "Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2005"...Barbara Boxer for President 2008.

  • Local CMU Prof. Mike Shamos is a major player for the Dark Side as he argues that it's okay if unaccountable paperless systems produce false results. The fact that he works at an institution tied to military contracts makes you feel even safer.

  • The Ukraine vote was overturned with a difference of 2 percent in the exit polling while ours was 5 percent, although as someone in the 20 plus crowd noted the overturned results in the Ukraine wouldn't have happened without 500 thousand angry folks taking to the streets...of course, I don't think that would have worked here knowing the players, but it would have been nice to have found out...

  • Without the vote, nothing else matters.

 There's more depressing stuff and keep in mind these folks aren't lightweights, either on the board or the ones doing their stats--unless folks that have PH Ds are lightweights....

I found her solutions to be the most interesting and the thing keeping me from throwing myself off a bridge (not that I would ever do that for you Richard Scaife black ops guys out there ha ha...just a figure of speech. Still not a partaker of the drugs or the drink, or suicidal in any way.).

Their plan is to raise money and create their own independent auditing database by 2006. I wish George Soros would give them the $1 million they need to do the work and also follow the Daily Kos suggestion to start selling auditable machines. (I need a grant too George since wishes are fishes...)Once that's in place--and it would be vast, over 30000 precincts covered--you could take the data to the courts. Her only request is that candidates (cough Kerry cough) not concede before the vote has been challenged and verified.

Of course, and you can probably see this, you would have to trust the courts to be fair and impartial, which they're not. You have to give it to the Republicans: they fought for the courts. Clinton and the Democrats didn't think it was a big deal, or worth fighting for. Had to appease those same business interests that vote Republican anyway. I still hope Dopp is successful and I hope my idea (I raised my hand. Remember: I'm not an objective corporate media journalist. It matters to me if my vote doesn't count. I can't move offworld when the fundies come to "save" me.) about creating open sourced exit polling also takes off. The guys who did the polling in 2004 won't make their results public. She said that would need a million too.

She also waffled a bit when I asked her why the Democrats don't make this their primary issue. She kind of danced around that issue all night long, thanking the Greens, noting that Edwards would have pursued the recount but...Anyway, I wish the Dems would not only campaign on Delay corruption but the corruption of the voting process. Its a winner as an issue. It forces the Republicans, who are offering us a very dark and suspicious silence (If you had won legitimately wouldn't you want to remove doubt?) on this issue, on the defensive. Gawd knows if the issues were reversed that would be the continuous GOP meme and rightfully so. I just can't shake that Washington Generals Party meme, the other less ruthless business party that also caters to the Republican Iron triangle + theocrats base that never fights for principle (The dems lose two national elections and they can't make ballot integrity an issue and I raised my hand for that one too...) and seems designed to lose...Scary scary stuff.

osted by Philip Shropshire at 2:03 PM Comment (0) | Trackback (0)

(Comment here as well.)

June 1


 Ales Rarus gives us the slanted dogmatic view of the stem cell issue. Chris Mooney, open minded and subjected to bouts of rigorous reason, gives us his take here and here. Advantage: Mooney, even though when I was still arguing with Ales (I didn't realize that he simply ignores evidence he doesn't like) I did make a suggestion that chosen people like himself carry these potentials to term, if you wanted another brain damaged kid who thought Pat Robertson was a swell guy brought into Earth.. The Funky one passed on the offer.

On a related note, join this campaign. And also from Mooney: The US is losing ground. Thanks Funky. Where were you when the US was creating the computer software and hardware industry? Nowhere to be found? Thank God you weren't...Also related: Pennacchio speaks out in favor of stem cell research. Of course, according to this Post Gazette article, frontrunner Bob Casey Jr. shares Rick Santorum's position. Let's put that in caps: BOB CASEY SHARES RICK SANTORUM'S POSITION. Why should I vote Democratic again...okay, one two three arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh...!

More links:

This is Howard Chaykin's latest. I haven't had a chance to read it yet. The hero kills renegade droids, mostly (I think),  by the way.....

May 27

A Proud American Scientification Around the Internets

Ted Rall on Our Boil 'Em Alive Uzbek Ally
Update on Vote Fraud in Ohio
Long Worldchanging Interview with Cyborg Democracy Spokespeople Garreau, Naam and Hughes. Related: Better Humans gets a facelift. They're trying the Daily Kos Scoop model. I've already registered as Steelydan.
Multiple Reasons Why We're Screwed (His high brow academic terminology) in Iraq by Juan Cole (short version: insurgency widespread with deep public support + too few American troops) (My short counter to the short version: A Chaotic ethnic rivalry in Iraq makes it easier for us to steal their oil. That's the overall evil plan. The Dark Side is strong...)
Amnesty International Understands the Dark Side

I'm reading Cringely again thanks to Robot Wisdom. 3 Big Epoch-like Events You Might Have Missed.
Bit Torrent Now Has A Search Function...Search for "Best of Seka" comes up empty...

Conflict at Space Confab (cue the Heinlein vibe)


May 24

A One of the more enjoyable online features has to be the Friday potpourri columns over at Teacher/Wordsmith. (Go here and here for examples. So in the tradition of "Great artists steal...)...

"I don't care if the fascists have to win..."

--from Stereolab's Jenny Ondioline.

A I've added four online music sites on the right, in case your loathing of MTV and its lack of music matches my own.

Groove TV
The One Network
Sputnik 7

Sputnik 7 has kind of messy interface but they do have all of those Koop vids, The One Network has a much better interface and also has a treasure house of Stereolab vids. Both Jenny Ondioline and Ping Pong feature some fairly blunt anti-war sentiments, perhaps this is why their videos are never played. There are even two live cuts that I enjoyed, not to mention old faves from other bands like "Catch the Sun" and "Don't Stop the Dance".

A Wired Magazine offers a possible way out of the stem cell debate. We'll see. Meanwhile, there are these two sites (here and here) that watch the stem cell debate. Fearless leader wants to veto the bill. See this cartoon for context.

ADissident unions lay out an agenda.

AOn the compromise deal: The Daily Kos likes it and Max Sawicky hates it (Also from Max: Finland invests in education--as opposed to demonizing science and undermining teacher unions--and it works. Shocker). I'm leaning toward Max's position here. The goal of the Republicans is to turn the Senate into the House, which means a tyranny of the majority if ever there was one. Democrats can't win by playing within the system. They need to ask the half of the country that voted for the other guy to participate in civil disobedience or national worker strikes. They should consider asking the teamsters to shut down the capital for a week or two. But they probably won't because the Washington Generals Party lacks both imagination and will. Republicans, if you believe that the last two elections were rigged, apparently believe that the business of America is business, and that in fact, business interests trump democracy. A truly resurgent Democratic Party would stress that the business of America is democracy, which, I truly think, would create a better environment for competitive business as opposed to monopoly/duopoly rule.



May 22

Well, I sorta liked it. For me, its about the gorgeous Mysty visuals even though I do care about the characters. Sad to see the Jedi slaughtered like that. (Had to be more survivors than just the two. Not convinced am I of Mace Windu's demise.) But man those worlds are beautiful. Alien architecture and alien flowers rule. Loved that big goofy lizard. I find that the actions of the Sith remind me of the Bush administration, although the direct plotline seems more like the DS9 episode "The Die is Cast". That's where the Bush Administration knew about 9-11  Dominion knew about the secret attack but did nothing to stop it because it fit into their imperialist world-owning plans. You be the judge and no I am not this person. I wish George would do two or three more. He could always shop the director's duties. What else is he going to do in his final 20 years? American Graffiti 3?

Meanwhile, back to our harsh and evil reality, where the Dark Side is winning resoundingly...

Did our corporate media cover this? Good work POG. Is it wrong for me to think this cop is kinda hot? Probably.

Speaking of preemptive action against violent acts, if you would like to support Venezuela against any no doubt wholesome "liberation" efforts then buy CITGO. There's one in Wilkinsburg where I will buy some gas, if I have enough money to buy gas...


May 15 thru May 21

May 20

There was a stunning breakthrough in  embryonic stem cell research yesterday (check here and here (not usually) for commentary). It was done by the South Koreans. I'd like to think it could have been done by Americans. You should thank certain superstitious minions as to why you'll have to travel abroad to be cured of your diabetes or spinal cord injuries or to receive your organ transplant surgery. That's if they allow you to do that. Thanks to them you'll be dying on time.

So I quit my job at PennEnvironment after four days. My freelance writing work had picked up so I didn't need the job anymore, even though it was a great workout. More on my brilliant career at PennEnvironment, later. The main issue they were canvassing on had to do with mercury reduction in the state of Pennsylvania. Or, to sum up a long story, they were working so that the state could pick up the slack after the feds decided that they would no longer pursue their old goal of 90 percent reduction of mercury--backed by many Republicans by the way. I never thought that was much of an issue to canvass on because all Ed Rendell has to do is ask the person he appointed to head the state's Department of Interior to follow a higher standard. Kind of a no brainer during an election year. And sure enough, that's just what Rendell did. There's some PennEnvironment/PennFuture commentary in this Philadelphia Inquirer article. They're not entirely happy. I'm not sure why they aren't. More later.

May 17

Sorry for the lack of posts last week. I took  a new canvassing job with PennEnvironment. And where ACORN yearns to pay you that big 40 percent, PennEnvironment pays you around 62.5 percent of your first 400 dollars raised. Quick test: who would you work for? It's not a utopia, however. Canvassing is still hard, grueling work and not especially friendly to 40 year old bodies. PennEnvironment has also evolved from the PIRGS, which were begat by Ralph Nader, also not known for how well he treats his employees.  "Management" gets to work seven day weeks. I'll give a full list of the pros and cons later. Still, it's a better deal than ACORN's. More coming.

The art of Mike Kaluta. He's a living legend.

May 11

Major Daily Kos roundup of army recruiting scandals and why do right wing pundits hate America by not serving in this war or encouraging others to do so? (Aside: The reason the recruiters lie is that if they don't meet quotas they're sent to the frontlines.) On a related note, a war veteran I really respected, David Hackworth, died from cancer. He was certain that he contracted it from Agent Orange.

Also, as Atrios vacations, one of the substitutes states what should be stated: recent actions by the Republicans show that they really don't fear election results. And why would that be? Even sportscaster Jim Lampley smells a rat. Calls election fraud biggest story of our lives. Really? Bigger than the Pittsburgh mayor's race? Get out.






I'm just learning about some of the cartoonists I added to the right side of the page. The above is from Mikhaela Blake.

From New Media Musings: Yahoo now has a search function for video. I was able to find Broadcast's "Papercuts" fairly quickly. I also found another music video site called Sputnik 7, which has three videos by acid jazz mixters Koop, which Tony Mowad would play if he was interested in playing modern music...Just gorgeous jazzy soulful Zero-7esque vocals.

And in more alt music news: I can't believe Allan Holdsworth is coming to town. (Update: I still can't believe. He's cancelled. Whose fault was that..?) He's the greatest guitarist you've probably never heard of. But check out his site if you want a taste of his stellar soloing.






May 2

Took me awhile, but here are cartoon links. Stolen from Tom Tomorrow and Ted Rall. See bottom, far right. Hey, at least we carry Zippy.

We also carry "Get Your War On"


April 28


Update on how Hellish life still is in Iraq at Democracy Now. Dahr Jamail was not embedded, and he says Iraq not as swell as corporate media says. I guess water is wet, too.

"In the 1930s the Spanish city of Guernica became a symbol of wanton murder and destruction. In the 1990s Grozny was cruelly flattened by the Russians; it still lies in ruins. This decade"s unforgettable monument to brutality and overkill is Falluja, a text-book case of how not to handle an insurgency, and a reminder that unpopular occupations will always degenerate into desperation and atrocity."

Don't Miss Juan Cole on why blogs are better than corporate media. You can study the propaganda model or Ben Bagdikian or Robert McChesney or just read this. Short version: It's a feature  and not a fault that nobody can fire me or Drudge or Atrios. Maddy Ross can't fire me, but somebody can fire her. Who is the more powerful media person? I'm poor, yes. Won't be working for ACORN anytime, yes. But censored...Fuck You. And frankly, I think that's what a sick and corrupted American Democracy needs more of: Angry Truthtelling and unbought producers of news. Here's a snippet:

If we were mainstream media we would be wholly owned subsidiaries of General Electric, the Disney Corporation, Time Warner, Rupert Murdoch, Viacom and so on and so forth. Ninety percent of cable channels are owned by the same companies that own the big television networks.

It isn't a matter of journalism being a business. How good journalism is when practiced in the service of a business depends on the owner's philosophy and economic goals. Ted Turner writes,

"When CNN reported to me, if we needed more money for Kosovo or Baghdad, we'd find it. If we had to bust the budget, we busted the budget. We put journalism first, and that's how we built CNN into something the world wanted to watch. I had the power to make these budget decisions because they were my companies. I was an independent entrepreneur who controlled the majority of the votes and could run my company for the long term. Top managers in these huge media conglomerates run their companies for the short term. After we sold Turner Broadcasting to Time Warner, we came under such earnings pressure that we had to cut our promotion budget every year at CNN to make our numbers. Media mega-mergers inevitably lead to an overemphasis on short-term earnings."

If we were the mainstream media, we would be accountable to CEOs and editors and advertisers, all of whom have motives for suppressing some pieces of news and highlighting others. You might think to yourself that this is a diverse enough group that the story would still get through. But with media consolidation, fewer and fewer persons make the decisions.

I wet myself. Oh wait. There's more:

So, yes, Matt. There is a difference between these little dog and pony shows we post from our homes, with no editor, no CEO, no boss, and no resources beyond our personal experiences, talent and acumen. If Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo was published by mainstream media, would he still be allowed to say everything he now says? Would Tom Engelhardt be allowed to discuss the ways in which the Iraq quagmire suggests the limits of superpowerdom if he were working for the Big Six? If Bill Montgomery worked for The Weather Channel, would he be allowed to criticize Senator Rick Sanatarium for trying to keep Federal forecasters from "competing" with private weather forecasting companies? Would Riverbend be allowed to be so incisive if she worked for a big Iraqi computer firm? Remember the famous question, "Can blogging get you fired?"

And this difference, my friends, accounts for why bloggers get vilified. Journalists can be switched to another story, or fired, or their stories can be buried on page 36. We can't be fired. So if Martin Peretz doesn't like what we have to say, he will publish a hatchet job on us in The New Republic, seeking to make us taboo. If you can't shut people up, and you really don't want their voices heard, then all you can do is try to persuade others not to listen to them or give them a platform. The easiest way to do this is to falsely accuse them of racism or Communism some other character flaw unacceptable to polite society. Because of the distributed character of blogging "computing," however, such tactics are probably doomed to fail.

Related: Journalism Prof considers changing teaching methods.  More related: Why kids don't read newspapers:

I hate almost everything about newspapers. I don't like the size of the paper. I don't like the way it makes everything black. I don't like that every page has to be jammed full of stuff. I don't like that the pages are not full color. I don't like that once I find something interesting, I can't do anything with it (like send it to a friend, or blog about it with a link, etc).

Clerks Director Kevin Smith wets himself after screening the next Star Wars film. I actually thought the last Star Wars movie was a very good film. Since I have cable, I judge a movie by whether I can watch 20 times and find something interesting about it. And Attack of the Clones just had a number of gorgeous looks and sounds. It was emotionally compelling on a visual level. It's also interesting seeing how Evil develops. I just wish you could adapt those visuals for, say, Bester's "The Stars My Destination" or my personal never to be finished project: A James Bond flick set in the future, possibly in the Ken Macleod universe, where different settlements have different ideologies.
Small scale room temperature fusion has been buzzing around the Internets. My God what would happen if you could scale that up? Off the grid at last...Locally, Unspace has some thoughts and a beautiful headline: "A Burning Star on Your Tabletop". More at WIRED.
Also at Wired, commentary on new stem cell guidelines.
New Neofiles is out. Features excellent interview with Ramez Naam. He also has an interview with Terry Grossman, who co-wrote Ray Kurzweils book on life extension. Related: Cory Doctorow interviews Ray Kurzweil.
I got this from boring stereotypical librul Doug Henwood: "Spread Magazine". I think it's about the sex industry. I'm listening to the episode now. The main story features evil news about Walmart, in the news recently for harassing a CMU student where they use, of course, the draconian DMCA.

April 26

My Brilliant Career At ACORN

Speaking as a former employee of ACORN, I can tell you that there are many reasons ACORN doesnt work. ACORN has set itself up as the savior of the inner-city. They claim that they can organize the vote and get it out better than anyone else in America. They have virtually declared themselves to be the ghetto messiah. However, is this true?

Let us examine the facts. ACORN is headed by white leftists and until only a few years ago there where hardly any blacks at the helm, to take care of this PR problem ACORN put Maude Herd in as president. However, the presence of a black face at the top means very little. The driving agenda of ACORN comes from these white liberals and the formulation of their solutions to the problems of American cities comes from books and the classrooms, not personal experience.

Now, the white left certainly has its place in these matters, however what we see with ACORN are people, despite being with the organization for a long time, having very little familiarity with the culture and happenings of the ghetto. Therefore, if you don't know the community ( knowledge doesn't mean you have read a lot of studies), how can you possibly claim to have the solutions.

Furthermore, ACORN pays its workers a very low age. In some states it is right at the minimum wage, despite ACORN being the big campaigners for Living Wage ordinances. With low wages like these ACORN can only attract a select group of individuals. Those who really don't need the money, because they come from affluent backgrounds and those who don't have children. If ACORN truly wants to represent the communities it works in then it must employ people from those communities.

ACORN has also, because of its unfamiliarity with the ghetto, been continuously duped by slick ghetto politicians who everyone, except ACORN , have known to be corrupt. ACORN has made very little effort to reach out to many leaders in the black community, namely the 2.5 million member Muslim community. A fundamental change if ACORN is to succeed in the future.

...More at "Why ACORN Doesn't Work"


So, for you young people out there, you probably don't know the dos and don'ts of the good and/or bad interview. I've had my share of both during my plus two score span.

Here's a hint when the interview for the canvass director position turns bad: You end up telling Pittsburgh ACORN head Maryellen Hayden to, and I quote: "Get the fuck out of my face". I had worked several months before for ACORN back in 1997 and I was sort of disappointed by the experience--getting paid late and not seeing actual benefits for working poor people kind of does that to you.

 This is after she told me, and this is from memory,  that I was doing it just to get a "job", as if Maryellen's skills of making fun of my pronunciation were in high demand. That simply hasn't been the way that I've lived. I have spent a total of five years of my life knocking on doors for political causes, and I'm not counting the last six months that I worked for ACT. I worked my way through college canvassing. I worked for Citizen Action (pretty much like the army for progressives) (and note the racial diversity of management from that picture) which had a brutal $120 a night quota, for about a year in a half. And my field manager was intentionally trying to get me fired. (I was good.) I then ran a field canvass for three years in Evansville, Indiana, where we canvassed against NAFTA and high cable bills. I don't think I ever did it for the "Big Money", although the 15,000 a year I sniffed at is more than what the average, highly exploited ACORN worker makes.

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, if you didn't know, kids, is kind of a fucked up place to work. Oh, they have wonderful goals and aspirations, just not for their workers. Let's put it this way: they were paying my rent in Washington DC and I was still starving from my $150 a week salary--which they would pay me late. Thanks fellas. But that's just personal negative experience.

Overall, ACORN makes a claim to be fighting the fight for poor people. But in the past, ACORN has refused to negotiate with unions, hired scabs to replace their striking workers, opposed a minimum wage hike for their own workers (used by right wing publications all the time to show the hypocrisy of the left...thanks fellas, again), will never give you a full weekend--gawd I used to hate that, and has earned its own Page of Contempt over at the IWW Website.

Curiously enough, Ms. Hayden inquired, in her particular parlance: "Whydja come down here if you thought it was a bad place to work?" probably scratching her noggin cartoon like and yearning to catch a fuckin' clue. Honestly, if I could run the canvass my way and pay the workers a decent wage, then why not give it a shot? Perhaps ACORN had gotten better. I was wrong.

(Aside: Funny story. Maryellen was telling me the story of how the last canvass failed and she asserted that the last canvass manager was kind of a heroin addict and that's why it failed, as opposed to the 54 hour weeks, the shortened lunch breaks and late paychecks. Yeah, heroin. Hokay. Of course, she still has her job because when you manage like that you keep your job at ACORN. Laffs were had by all. Still in the jesting mood hours later, I did ask what that guy's name was. She wrote back:

Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 19:04:25 -0400
From: "Maryellen Hayden" <>  Add to Address BookAdd to Address Book
Subject: Re: Who was that heroin addict
To: "Philip Shropshire" <>
I have no idea what you are talking about.
I guess you have some kind of problem.

Now, Maryellen, you public figure you, I remember the details. Just happened a day ago. Remember when you told me he was a great guy and then he didn't come in and then he didn't answer his cell don't remember that? Because if you don't you're either a blatant liar or a deeply stupid woman. Alex, I'm going to go with "What is both?")

Actually, her plan sounds familiar. Sounds like the same very bad ACORN plan that I've seen before. Here's how one disgruntled former ACORN staffer described it:

A main difference between Marx's argument and the relations of ACORN is that bourgeois society exploits workers in order to increase the capital profit of the ruling class. But ACORN organizers are laboring to increase a profit which supposedly does not come in the form of capital in the hands of the rich, but social change in the hands of the poor. Does this mean that we are not being exploited?

The fact is that we are exploited for a different reason. We are being exploited in the name of the movement, and most likely for the accumulation of capital. [
Note: I was paid up to $8 an hour which amounted to $32 per night to knock on doors. I was expected to collect $120 per night. If I didn't I was considered to be doing poorly at my job. Few workers seldom ever raised $120 per night yet that was ACORN's unrealistic expectation of us as their workers.] A contradiction occurs in the organization in that it is fighting the wage and class gap by using the same motives and manipulations that corporations have been using for well over a hundred years. ACORN is an organization trying to change the plight of the poor in a capitalist society at the same time it contributes to the problem. The organization is tripping over itself as it perpetuates the injustices of the capitalist system.

By the way, Citizen Action, no angels them, pays about 52 percent up to quota, which I think is up to $130 night. Maryellen wanted to pay the workers a very not generous 40 percent. That's a wage that's guaranteed to keep you poor and probably lower than what the other two summer canvasses will pay (Sierra Club and Clean Water Action Project). How would you compete with those canvasses? You wouldn't. In fact, you would get the worst workers. In other words, if you don't know anything about canvassing then you would probably canvass for ACORN and take one of the worst deals ever...

Just for the record, and I tried to explain this to Maryellen, slowly, despite her bouts of traumatic memory loss regarding her former heroin addict employees, is that the field canvass simply sets the plate for a much more lucrative phone canvass. The Clean Water Action Project doesn't need the hassle of a field canvass anymore because the phone canvass is much more lucrative. But you have to pay the field canvassers a decent wage (at least 50 percent) and not work them six days a week. You might even consider giving them a four day week. Heroin...right.

So, in summation, if you're a plucky young progressive who wants to change the world one knock at a time, I would strongly recommend working for Clean Water, the Sierra Club or even the DAM phone canvass before you worked for ACORN--unless you want your disenchantment with the American Left to start early...and no I didn't get the position. Darn the luck. Or give me an email and I'll tell how to start your own canvass. It'll be tough, grueling work. But you'll give yourself a better deal than ACORN.


April 25

It's New Media Monday. On the right hand side, you will see these new online video offerings:

Current TV
Google Video
Open Media
Participatory Culture

What this means, if you're sick of your high priced cable (and who isn't?) is that you're reaching a tipping point where what's on the net and video clipped is much more interesting than what's being offered on television. Democracy Now and Air America are great news shows. It's like Cspan for lefties. Online news is certainly much more informative. Here are some recent video and audio examples. Compare it to what you're getting from Comcast or Adelphia. I dares you:

Longish yet fascinating debate about the copyright featuring the Main Actors (RIAA attorneys vs. EFF attorneys)
Free Press Editor is mad and I mean Howard Beale Network mad in this video clip.
Of course, what about music? The video channels are just awful. Even when they play what you like (the Alternative on VH-1 Classic) their choices are awful. Well, let me introduce you to GrooveTV. There are about 20 concerts here (one hour each) and they're all free to download. Bad news: they really are jam bands. On the other hand, if you think Medeski Martin and Wood is a really really good band (and never heard of the Jaco Pastorius era Weather Report) then this is your Heaven. I've downloaded three concerts so far and they're all interesting (although no better than B minus), in case you're getting tired of hearing that Killers vid over and over again.
Here's a really beautiful acid jazz album that you can listen to for free and possibly rip if you have a ripper, even though that would be wrong. It's called Space Jazz. I highly recommend tracks 6, 8 and 9 or you can listen to the whole thing. The label even offers a number of stations.
I have no idea if Al Gore's new station will be any good. But I'm open minded. There was a recent initial meet up about it in California, and it was video blogged. Haven't had time to watch or listen because I've been studying these obscure jam bands.
Also, my girlfriend Naomi Klein (her husband doesn't suspect) is featured in this Robert McChesney radio interview. McChesney is probably the leading journalist in the United States who mines the Media Monopoly/Propaganda Model theory about the corporate press.
And in related highbrow librul radio news--which you can determine by their opening themes as McChesney goes for Thelonius Monk and Henwood goes for the Kronos Quarter interspersed with trad classical--check out left economist's
Doug Henwood's radio show where he interviews Tariq Ali.


April 17 thru April 23

I'm still stuck on Steranko. Does Bucky, Captain America's late sidekick,  deserve this kind of talent rendering him? Just askin'...

Disgraced yet gifted cartoonist Micah Wright has some new stuff up.

April 21

More Around the Internets: Never Get Into a Debate with Naomi Klein and angry Free Press editor says it again: Ohio was stolen

Note to self: Add Naomi Klein to the list of people (like Juan Cole) I never want to get into a debate with. First, she goes into detail about her recent piece in the Nation about "Disaster Capitalism" in Iraq. A snippet:

"If the reconstruction industry is stunningly inept at rebuilding, that may be because rebuilding is not its primary purpose," writes Naomi Klein in the cover story of this week's Nation. "If anything, the stories of corruption and incompetence serve to mask this deeper scandal: the rise of a predatory form of disaster capitalism that uses the desperation and fear created by catastrophe to engage in radical social and economic engineering."

Then she takes on some guy in a debate between leftist activists about the early American pullout from Iraq. She slices and dices him.  I've seen her do that before. A snippet:

Those forces are already controlling Iraq. The resistance largely controls Baghdad at this point, a situation where there are between 50 and 60 attacks a day. The militias that Eric is warning about already control large sectors of Iraq, because providing security for the people of Iraq has never, from day one, been a priority of this occupation. We saw the abandonment immediately by allowing the looting to take place and only guarding the Ministry of Oil, and it’s only gotten worse. You know, when I was in Iraq a year ago, this was the most persistent complaint -- was spiraling crime. And that's actually how the militias were created. They were created as a response to the fact that US Occupation never, ever prioritized giving security to Iraqis. The other issue is this idea that somehow US forces are helping to train Iraqi police, and that it's just a problem of training. What's actually happening is that there is -- is that the greatest liability for Iraqis to gain control over their own country security-wise, is the fact that the security forces have been embedded in the occupation itself and are seen as an extension of the hated and loathed occupation. So they get attacked as collaborators and slaughtered. They're not provided with any protection, and so on. So the best way for them to build up their own force and their own credibility, which is really what's needed, is a clear break with the occupation, which means immediately announcing a withdrawal of troops and setting up a transition plan. The first step has to be the announcement of troop withdrawal.

Amy is also doing her share of writing where she critiques the media monopoly here and here.

And the Free Press Editor is mad and I mean Howard Beale Network mad in this video clip. He still thinks Ohio was stolen and he might get his chance to prove it in a court of law.

Pennacchio Gets Pro Choice Opposition in Senate Primary. What luck. That would split the pro choice vote and allow Casey in a walk. The Dark Side is strong...even though I'm voting for Rendell! (thank you for saving public transit) Just don't like the tactics here. Would prefer another anti-choice democrat that's all..








"Superstition is like a magnet. It pulls you in the direction of your belief." - Master Po

Notes from Master Po to the Pennacchio campaign: The Weakness of both Santorum and Casey is their implicit argument that faith is better than reason. It isn't. The man who articulates the benefits of science (it's here now on this plane and not some imaginary other world) vs. the irrationality of the church (attack the clergy (James Dobson, please.), not the religion and if they overlap make the argument any way...) wins the debate, among rational people anyway. Casey is incredibly weak on stem cell research. Phrase the question this way grasshopper during the debate: "I can't believe my opponent would cede AMERICAN superiority in any technology. I suppose he also thinks that the world would be a better place if China and Russia had all of the Hydrogen bombs." For background information, study Chris Mooney and get an advance copy of his book "The Republican War Against Science". This is a stunning opportunity for the Democrats to become the Party of Progress, the Party of Science. It would also give you something to say to what I suspect are the mostly libertarian leaders of Pennsylvania's hi tech companies.

New high class nudes over at Red Light District. This week's edition includes athletic woman, frank miller heavy metal art, angry yet "she's a brick house" black lady, spectacular nude gymast who, Seinfeld-like, makes me wish I was the apparatus.....


Conscience Pittsburgh, a group of local Pittsburghers who oppose the Iraqi war and probably all meaningless wars for that matter, testified in front of the Pittsburgh School Board Monday night. Their very honorable goal is to request a presence in the public schools so they can tell kids that enlisting in the army probably means a quick death. I couldn't find a story about it at either of my local dailies. So, here's some breaking news.

(Aside from the Daily Kos: "I wouldn't be half the person I am today without my military service. I used to always say I'd want my children to follow in my footsteps. But that was before we made a habit of unprovoked wars of aggression. The best way to talk parents into letting their children join the service? Stop using them as cannon fodder in unecessary wars waged for political expediancy. You see, in wars like Bush's, the bodybags don't seem worth the sacrifice to your average parent.

But hey, if the Army and Marines want a heck of a PR score to encourage parents to sacrifice their children, here's how to do it. It's a guaranteed winner:

Have the Bushes -- all of them with military-aged children and grandchildren -- ship their kids off to basic training."  Let's all hold our breath.)

Or, according to the news from their website:

(More at Pittsburgh Progressive)

And related anti draft links:

American Friends Service Committee
Catholics and Conscientious Objection
Center on Conscience & War
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors

Counter Recruiter net

Daily Draft Dispatch
Draft Freedom Org
Episcopal Church Peace Ministries
Getting Out of the Delayed Entry Program
GI Rights Hotline
High School Students Opt-Out from Military Recruiters
Parents Against the Draft

Please check out Reggie Finley's radio show here.  Not only is he becoming the most prominent atheist on the net, he also happens to be African American. That makes for a total of two that I happen to know.  He also did a number of interviews over at Changesurfer Radio. Wednesday's show will debunk the Intelligent Design movement (stealth creationism).

Speaking of the superiority of reason over faith, two very exciting developments from the Woody Allen perspective ("If the choice is between air conditioning and the pope, then I'll take air conditioning."): Japanese scientists find a way to cure type 1 diabetes and big results using embryonic stem cells in animals.

April 10 thru April 16

This is Robert Williams Jim Steranko. Look: if you read this site you will learn who the cool pop artists are.



Lindie in her Room, B366B, Site C
Lindie is putting herself through school by waiting tables in the city.
"I will run my own company one day. And I will definitely have a place of my own. "

(From South Africa With Love)

Chris Mooney has asked for some suggestions for new additions to his blogroll. Aside from shamelessly plugging this site, I really think he has to add Worldchanging. The above photo is from a photo essay called "From South Africa with Love". South Africa came up with a wonderful constitution, but our friends at the World Bank--now headed by notorious neo-con vampire Paul Wolfowitz--are working overtime to keep the majority of its citizens poor, unable to afford their soon to be privatized water sources.

And that's just one link. The other killer links include plastic electronics, nanotech and development, reactive solar wallpaper, an Indian made electric car (Downside: only gets 40 miles per gallon, but in Tokyo or the emerging mega cities of China, it might not be too bad.), and citizen video undoes RNC protest prosecutions--love that term "the participatory panopticon" .

This came out after my previous post on Philly's waycool wifi cloud: the war against public broadband. I guess the point here is that more broadband means more democracy. The Democratic Party, which includes Ed Rendell, should support it every opportunity they can. Can the Washington Generals party even imagine winning a game?






April 12th

By the way, that Steranko page has a lot of cool stuff. If you scroll down you'll find a complete Steranko version of Outland, which is probably illegal but, hey, its the lawless and brazen Internets.

I see that I'm mentioned over at that Ker-Razy Catholic site Ales Rarus. It should be pointed out that the reason I chose you to represent the pro-catholic pope view is that it is always your rather predictable point of view. There isn't really much original thinking outside the box, or outside the interpretation of the bible laid down to you by the Catholic hierarchy over at Ales Rarus. And as you point out (probably not consciously but he does work in mysterious ways don't you know) in this post, it's quite clear that the radical Catholic view is a minority viewpoint even within Christianity itself. "Reactionary garbage" indeed. (O lord I do not believe in, let the new pope allow women to serve and priests to marry thus turning Ales Rarus into a heretic...)

And after that post, I need to douse myself with a good bit of reality, so I'm permalinking Raving Atheist, who has something to say about the Pope as well. And over at Undernews these links, which strengthens my faith in faithlessness.



HUMANIST SOCIETY OF WESTERN NEW YORK - A joyous alternative to religions that believe in a supernatural god and life in a hereafter. Humanists believe that this is the only life of which we have certain knowledge and that we owe it to ourselves and others to make it the best life possible for ourselves and all with whom we share this fragile planet. A belief that when people are free to think for themselves, using reason and knowledge as their tools, they are best able to solve this world's problems. An appreciation of the art, literature, music and crafts that are our heritage from the past and of the creativity that, if nourished, can continuously enrich our lives. Humanism is, in sum, a philosophy of those in love with life. Humanists take responsibility for their own lives and relish the adventure of being part of new discoveries, seeking new knowledge, exploring new options. Instead of finding solace in prefabricated answers to the great questions of life, humanists enjoy the open-endedness of a quest and the freedom of discovery that this entails.

and another excerpt, to be compared and contrasted with this Ales Rarus post or this one:

[From the writings of James Madison]

Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution

What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny: in no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established Clergy convenient auxiliaries.

The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs. is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles. . . Religious proclamations by the Executive [branch] recommending thanksgivings & fasts are shoots from the same root. . . Altho' recommendations only, they imply a religious agency, making no part of the trust delegated to political rulers

Chuck P. News

I was at senatorial candidate Chuck Pennacchio's Pittsburgh meeting a week or so ago. I haven't said a lot because local bloggers kind of had it covered. You can get the Comments from Left Field viewpoint here, or the Froshy point of view here, or the 2 Political junkies point of view here, and the Urban Democracy point of view here (a report from Erie) and here. By the way, the woman behind Urban Democracy organized the get together. Apparently, the candidate even stayed over night at her place. I'm not sure I want to know a candidate that well unless it's the governor of Michigan.  And like the Comments from Left Field guy (who, unbeknownst to me, I had met when I was working for ACT last summer) the quote of the night was: "If you elect me to the U.S. Senate I will be on the losing end of more 99 to 1 votes than any Senator in history." I think that you need grounded progressives (who actually believe in what they're saying) to take on the very dangerous Republican extremists in both the House and the Senate. I suppose I have some more things to say but I'll keep those thoughts private.

I do have to confess: If someone had put people against the wall and challenged me to attach the people to the blogs they run, I would have picked the guy who runs Froth Slosh B'Gosh correctly out of the crowd, even though I am jealous of his beautiful tri-colored business cards.


One of the best debunkers of the "Global Warming is a Myth" crowd is Chris Mooney. I highly recommend this speech if you want to understand not only the dangers of the Intelligent Design movement, but how the objective mainstream media approach doesn't help us very much in understanding the problem. He also does his usual excellent work on debunking the global warming debunkers here.

Local site that offers a "Carnegie Military University" factsheet. It's from a site called Organize Pittsburgh.
Alt History from a Marxist Perspective

Hey Everybody! I'm headed to Hacker High School, where all the kewl kids go! I might get laid this Same as before?
By the way I got all my news about the apparently wondrous Philadelphia Wi-fi cloud not from my local corporate media outlets, but from the excellent Daily Wireless. I like taking the bus so Rendell gets my vote probably. But his decision to cave in and only let Philly do this was a bad call. I might note that his conservative detractors would only be too happy to point out that he's a stooge for the cable companies, which was done over at Grassroots (our local Drudge like site.) The reason I don't like it is that if you help the corporate cable companies, you help Republicans. Broadband for the masses means you, in theory, replace Fox News with Air America and 2 Political Junkies. Why is a Democrat opposed to this? Did you need the monopolist cable vote that badly? More here from the Philly CIO. And where was the Pittsburgh delegation demanding their piece? This is why the Washington Generals theory of the Democratic Party makes sense--the theory that the Democratic Party is paid to roll over as the other less ruthless business party. I mean, I didn't support the Nader run, but I understand why he ran...(although not the second time...)

Speaking of Air America, look up last Thursday's Morning Sedition (April 7) and catch Marc and Mark's interview with Jeremy Rifkin about his new book on the ascendant European Union. (last 15 minutes) Rifkin, while stressing that it's not a utopia, makes Europe sound like some fantastical place, just minutes away from The Shire and Earthsea, with their mandatory 6 week vacations and state funded health and child care and a government that functions to protect the public good as opposed to raping it. And in a related story: US not number one in many ways.

Sin City review done as a comic book.
Methuselah Mouse Page (not religious)
Space Race News

April 3 thru April 9

I'm looking forward to seeing Sin City. Over at Drawn , which has already become a daily read, they found someone who compared the comics' shots with that of the film



April 4th


Searching for a respectful eulogy? Then look no further than choir boy faced Ales Rarus (He'll ban your contraception but, hey, he's a guy who talks to God so he knows best lil' ladies...) Here's a predictably glowing excerpt praising God's top personal assistant:

"The pontificate of John Paul II, formerly Karol Jozef Wojtyla, was notable for its constant championing of the dignity of every human life. In the youthful days of his reign, he fought tirelessly for the dignity of the poor, the downtrodden, the oppressed, and the unborn. In those years, he taught us that even those whom the world had rejected had dignity as human beings. In his waning years, he taught us that there is dignity in infirmity. Old age is not something to be ashamed of. Physical impairment is not a curse. Life does not end when disability begins.

Too many societies, including our own, abandon our handicapped and elderly in nursing homes. We're either too afraid to deal with their weaknesses or too busy with our youthful lives to be bothered with caring for them. There are many lessons to be learned from examining John Paul II's life, not the least of which is how to grow old, face adversity, and die with grace and dignity. As many called for his resignation, he bravely, yet humbly, continued to do whatever he could muster his body to do in order to perform his duties. He showed that human worth is not defined by utility. "

Unspace, a Christian writer who I have more respect for and who quite frankly doesn't rush to defend James Dobson's attacks against spongy cartoon characters, has this thoughtful response. He's not catholic.

I know that many Evangelical Protestants do not accept Catholics as brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m not one of them. Pope John Paul II was a brother in Christ.

This was a man who forgave his would-be assassin. That takes guts, guts that far too many of us Christians lack. American politicians honored this Pope only when it was convenient for their political agendas. His attacks on Communism were hailed; his criticisms of Capitalism were blatantly ignored. His stance on abortion was also welcomed by the current political-industrial-religious Right; they mocked his stance on capital punishment. The Left felt about him the same way the Right did for opposite reasons, except they were a little more honest in their dislike of the man.

Like I said, I disagreed with him strongly on a lot of things, but he managed to anger both sides. He must have been doing something right. I ask forgiveness where I am wrong. I could do no less for anyone else.

So goodbye, Pope John Paul II. I pray that you are now with God the Father, Son and Spirit.

Well spaked, or spaken. Now, just like the corporate press we always strive to be fair and balanced here at Three Rivers Online. So heeeeere's Gayboy!:

Ding dong John Paul is dead
If anyone expects the general GLBT community to mourn John Paul II's death, they are very very mistaken. This is someone who writes that our relationships are "insideous" and "attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man." This is someone who devalues our lives and our loves, and wants GLBT human beings to be treated as animals because of how we love. Only celibate gays and lesbians could be tolerated, and the use of condoms to protect ourselves from disease was discouraged as "against the will of god." When priests, who take a vow of celibacy, molest children, he took a blind eye and blamed gays instead.

And then he says some things that I think show disrespect toward the Pope. Go figure. Note to self: Does the eternal Hellfire sting more in the summertime? Might need to know that...

April 1st

I went to last night's mayor's candidate debate and it answered a few questions and it raised a few questions.

First, I came away with the feeling that Bill Peduto was the man who progressives in Pittsburgh should be backing. Or: Ye shall know the true nature of a man by who he endorses. And when Peduto ran off a list of endorsements vs. Mike Lamb's, well, it was no contest. After all, Peduto backed Rendell and Mike Lamb backed pro life Democrat Bob Casey. I guess I can imagine who Lamb would also back in the upcoming US Senate race, where I have an objective mainstream media non staked-out position on the matter. (April Fools.) It also struck me that Peduto had the most interesting and artistic vision for the city and he probably wouldn't laugh out loud and have his yellow-shirted youth mafia beat me silly if I suggested that we take one of those vacant buildings downtown and have the Arts Festival year round...(with late hours to boot..)

Two, Bob O'Connor definitely struck me as your archetypal Machine Guy. I felt he had the worst moment of the night when he didn't give a straight answer as to elected vs. appointed school board members. Mike Lamb assumed he said elected (for the record I'm not sure what O'Connor said in his two minute response to the question), and then accused him of a flip-flop. Lamb was an attack dog all night by the way. However, O'Connor, aside from being the kind of politico you'd cast in the Sopranos, wins my award for most authentic Pittsburgher with his constant use of the word "dahntoun". Or to use it in a sentence--let's imagine Bob's "dahntoun" meeting with Big Tony and the other "labor leaders" on the shadowy side of the docks--"Here we Yinz are, dahntoun. Let me assures yinz that the esplanade/trolley money is going to come through...wit no money dahn!" (cue diabolical mob intrigue laughter and...end scene.)

Three, why are the black candidates running? I mean, I liked Louis "Hop" Kendrick, who I think had the best line of the night when he noted that if reindustrialization was easy Duquesne and the Mon Valley wouldn't be dead zones. But was he running out of a need to display a different message or is he running to draw the black vote away from Peduto? That would be the good machine democrat thing to do. It's not unlike the reason Carol Moseley Braun ran for president, to offer an establishment alternative to the nightmarish Al Sharpton is winning the democratic party nomination scenario. Braun's run was also a good machine democrat thing to do, which I kinda didn't mind. I think I might mind now.

The other black candidate, Greg Henderson, simply wasn't ready for prime time. Here's a hint for future debate performances, when you're losing your train of thought: Don't tell the moderator that you're losing your train of thought.

Four, where was the Green candidate for Mayor? I would love for the Greens to run locally. It's not like you're going to get me involved in a war for oil--war with Cleveland more likely--at the local level. Actually, if you were really looking to make a statement for the black community, "Hop", why not run on the Green ticket for mayor? You could even use it as a bargaining position for endorsement later on. I really do think the black community needs a second party, I just don't think it should be the Republican Party--the most evil party in the known dimensions. The Green Party would make more sense.

Five, I actually thought the Republican Party candidate Joe Weinroth didn't come off so bad. He made sense at times. I don't think I detected horns or the faint hint of sulfur. Then I remembered that the Republican Party cheated the popular will in not just one, but two national elections; that it's the Republican Party who shows the world a face just as theocratic and murderous as Osama Bin Laden's; that it's the Republican Party that will more than likely reinstate the draft to fight its oil wars for profit; and that it's very likely that the Republican Party will lead us into an exchange of wmds when they make the classic bully's mistake and overreach. So, those are the little things that will probably make me shy away from any endorsement of Joe Weinroth. On second thought, I may have seen some horns. And I may have seen him being advised by this man, barely perceptible as he seemed to be phasing in and out of our plane of existence. The Dark Side is powerful...this is officially parody, of a public figure, by the way.

Speaking of evil Republicans, I like these new parodies over at 2 Political Junkies. I think they're the most interesting political blog in Pittsburgh.





(Keep in mind the pope chose to not go to the hospital and have tubes stuck in him. He must not believe in the sanctity of life....)


I've given up and gotten one of those Creative Commons licenses. I haven't gotten one because I don't know how the case law works--as there is no case law as far as I know. In fact, info anarchists I know these folks to be, I would be shocked if they ever filed suit. But, yet, I know all the kewl kids will respect and love me now. Right....

March 31st

When they do the most under reported or censored stories of 2004, one of the top contenders would have to be statistical anomalies in the 2004 presidential election. And today, a number of PH D level statisticians have released a report showing that the numbers don't add up. If you're not aware of this, exit polling is pretty accurate. In Germany, where they use paper ballots, the exit polling gets the final vote count right, like, 99.9 percent of the time. Republican officials, who want to eliminate exit polling here, used contrasting exit polls/actual vote count numbers to help lobby for new elections in the Ukraine--thus proving that they refuse to recognize the principles behind both chutzpah and irony. Here's a snippet of the report from the Free Press article:

"The consortium that conducted the presidential exit polls, Edison/Mitofsky, issued a report in January suggesting that the discrepancy between election results and exit polls occurred because Bush voters were more reticent than Kerry voters in response to pollsters.

"The authors of this scientific study of the National Election Data Archive Project, consider that scenario highly unlikely, based on extensive analysis of the election data presented in their report “Final Study of the 2004 Presidential Election Poll Discrepancies”. They conclude, /“The required pattern of exit poll participation by Kerry and Bush voters to satisfy the exit poll data defies empirical experience and common sense under any assumed scenario.”/

An executive summary of the report by Josh Mitteldorf of Temple University has been released today and is available at: The full 25 page scientific report will be released tomorrow. This group's preliminary study on the exit poll discrepancies was not refuted by any PhD statistician in America, and we expect our final study to be similarly received in the academic community
. "

Amidst the data, many extremely unlikely anomalies exist, invariably in President Bush’s favor. For one, a state-by-state analysis of the discrepancy between exit polls and official election results shows highly improbable skewing of the election results biased towards the president.

We have had election fraud in this country before. November's wildly inaccurate presidential exit polls should warrant concern of the highest order by every American citizen.

Now, the folks at black box voting, who I quoted a few weeks ago, don't have the best reputation in town. But take a look at the folks who signed on to this study. And of course, as has been stated before, if this is true, everything else really doesn't matter. The Democrats can move to the commie left or the abortion bombing clinic right...they will lose. I don't know if you can yet call that fascism, but you certainly can't call it democracy. Here are the wacky, out of the mainstream contributors:

*Contributors and Supporters of the Report include:*
*Josh Mitteldorf*, PhD - Temple University Statistics Department
*Steven F. Freeman*, PhD - Center for Organizational Dynamics, University of Pennsylvania
*Brian Joiner*, PhD - Prof. of Statistics (ret) University of Wisconsin
*Frank Stenger*, PhD - Professor, School of Computing, University of Utah
*Richard G. Sheehan*, PhD -Professor, Department of Finance, University of Notre Dame
*Paul F. Velleman*, PhD - Associate Prof., Department of Statistical Sciences, Cornell University
*Victoria Lovegren*, PhD - Department of Mathematics, Case Western Reserve University
*Campbell** B. Read*, PhD - Prof. Emeritus, Department of Statistical Science, Southern Methodist University
*Jonathan Simon*, J.D., National Ballot Integrity Project
*Ron Paul Baiman, *PhD* *– Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois at Chicago


March 30th


Two big happenings in Chuck Pennacchio news: One, they just did a big profile of him in the Philadelphia Inquirer (have to register so no direct link). And two, if you go over to his site, you will be directed to Dean's old lobbying effort (different from his current DNC chairmanship probably), where you can ask them to fund the Pennacchio campaign. I might note that there was a recent poll showing the race between Santorum and Casey tightening. That means that the base of each will have to come out strong. I know the crazed fundie base that wants to protect you in the womb, lock the feeding tube on you while you're in a state where you can barely distinguish colors, and will probably uphold a draft where you will kill other poor people in a valiant effort to keep oil industry profits high are going full gear for Santorum. Fine. That's expected. As a small d democrat, the party establishment is telling me I'm supposed to vote for a guy who is already in the middle of these issues, working for an accommodation of sorts with The Crazy Silly Party, ably represented by Jethro Walrustitty.

No thanks, I'll take Pennacchio.  I know its crazy: but did you ever think of rewarding your base as opposed to selling them out?