Monday, August 27, 2007


Mark Evanier explains the estate tax for people who believe the lies about it. And he links to a mythbusting page on the lies of the rich folks who want the tax repealed.

Reforming the Electoral College.

Religion gets a bad rap from media, because media tends to focus on the radical right, instead of the average church-goer.

Don't trust banks? The police will steal your money instead. All in the name of the "Drug War", a war that's harmed far more people than it's helped.

The Great Iraq Swindle. Links to more information on the sickening war profiteers who created the mess in Iraq and what they've gotten out of it.

My School Reform

My school reform would never happen, because in this nation we seems to value the wrong sorts of things. But I can't stop thinking about it...

First off, we promise education to every child in this nation. That's a wonderful goal. I think we ought to redefine what "education" is exactly, though. There ought to be several levels of goals in education. The most basic level would be the only one that is mandatory. Every other level would be attempted, but if the child shows no interest or ability, the child should be allowed to opt out. With the caveat that every child has the ability to come back to school, free (on the taxpayers' dime) until they reach the age of 19.

What ought to be in the most basic level? The ability to read, write, and balance a checkbook (practical math). The understanding of their rights as a citizen. And that's it. If we made it an absolute priority to make sure that every single child has mastered the most basic of educational needs, then I think we'd be a heckuva lot better off as a society.

The thought that some children make it through to high school, and beyond, without being able to read sickens me. If you can't read, you can't progress alone. You are reliant on other people. Every single person ought to be read. It's just common sense.

Writing is a little more difficult, but if we say that writing also involves the ability to communicate thoughts, it should cover the needed areas of learning. The ability to be able to explain yourself clearly is crucial to a person's life.

Practical math is something that doesn't get enough emphasis. Just knowing how to handle money, and understanding basic interest rates and what credit cards really do, would help so many people get themselves sorted out. And maybe prevent some people from getting into horrid debt in the first place. It may not be sexy math, but it ought to be the main concern at the most basic level of learning.

Citizenship is never tackled enough. Citizenship includes all your rights as a human being as well as specific rights granted by the State. Every child should know what habeas corpus is and why it is so important. Every child should understand what an honor it is to be able to vote. Every child should learn to respect those around them as fellow citizens.

There should be a few simple tests that make sure that every kid gets the minimum. The tests could also cover other potential goal levels, but at the very least the four basics should be learned throughout the early grades. If at some point the child says, "enough!" to school, they can leave and enter the workforce or an apprenticeship. Again, with the caveat that they cannot just drop out of school and do nothing, and if they wish to return before they turn 19, they can. By the same token, children who learn faster and wish to learn more should be allowed to proceed at their own pace and not be held back by old-fashioned curriculum or teachers attempting to teach far too many students in one tiny classroom.

Unfortunately, to change the schools to this kind of format would be a huge undertaking. Additionally, I doubt that most people would agree with me that a basic education is all that some people need. Heck, I'm not entirely sure of it myself. But I needed to get the words down and spit these thoughts out while I'm thinking about them, so here it is. I'd be delighted to hear critiques of it.

Albert "It's OK to torture people" Gonsales Gone

Good riddance to bad rubbish. Let's hope someone can be put into the office of Attorney General who will respect the Constitution and restore our stolen rights from the Bush administration. But I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Another Day, More Outrage

Here I go, ranting again...

NIE Report: Iraq is getting worse. The Bush Administration is going to spin the surge as working, but it isn't. We need to get out, before more soldiers die for Halliburton's profits.

The Bush Administration has an anti-protester manual. In other words, Bush refuses to allow any visible protests near him. He can't deal with dissent at all. His ego is way too fragile. One wonders how he can exist at all. A dissenting word apparently will pop him.

How many of our soldiers will die in those cost effective 35 days? Are the lives of our soldiers really so worthless that they can't even ship lifesaving equipment by the fastest means possible instead of BY FREAKIN' BOAT???

Trying to help.

Iraq is like Vietnam. Even Bush admits it now. Ok, he doesn't seem to be talking about the same Vietnam that actually happened, but he admits it. Time to bring our troops home. NOW, not after another six years of pointless battle.

It's the economy. For the first time since WWII, the average income of Americans has gone down... since Bush took office. The rich are rapidly getting richer, but everyone else has been left behind.

Support the Troops: Kill a Prophet. A biblical lesson on claiming that dissenters are undermining the troops.

No secret ballot in Ohio. From a comment:
This is yet another reason that electronic voting should be turned into electronic assisted voting. You get your ballot from the poll worker. You may elect to mark or punch the ballot yourself and put it in the ballot box. Alternatively, you may insert the ballot into an electronic machine that does all the things that people value electronic machines for. When you press "Done", the electronic machine marks or punches the ballot and gives it back to you. You may check it or not before you put it in the ballot box.

Just because you can accumulate and count votes inside an electronic machine does not mean you should. In fact, it may mean exactly the opposite.
Pit-Bull owner had already been cited before the two dogs entered a neighbor's home, killed a dog in the home and seriously injured the woman living in the house. As far as I'm concerned, the owner should be in jail for assault. Letting any dog loose is bad, letting dangerous dogs loose should result in jail time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I find the race to get the earliest primary election to be utterly hilarious. The whole nation hates the current administration so much that we just can't wait until a reasonable time to start the whole election season. Gotta have it sooner!

It doesn't matter to me. I don't belong to a political party and I won't vote in a presidential primary if I'm forced to declare a party. As Washington state cowardly bowed to the parties' demands and forces voters to declare a party before voting in primaries now, I won't have any input whatsoever in the selection of a candidate for either party. And while it bothers me a little, it doesn't bother me much because I think the method of choosing candidates in this country is insanely stupid anyway.

And again, I'm of the opinion that Bush and his cronies should be impeached immediately. So all this election garbage is just getting in the way of dealing with the lame duck president who is trying his best to destroy America in his final few months.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Our country's shame: Katrina revisited.

More on how much Bush hates children. First he poisons them with lead, then he takes away their health insurance. He's anti-abortion, but he hates children once they are out of the womb.

Bush Supporters Hate Democracy

I wish that post title were just my usual hyperbole. It isn't. Read Digby's Blog to get the full scoop, but here's a nice selection of quotes:
This rage at President Bush is an inevitable result of the system of government demanded by the people, which is Democracy.

The inadequacy of Democracy, rule by the majority, is undeniable – for it demands adopting ideas because they are popular, rather than because they are wise.


By elevating popular fancy over truth, Democracy is clearly an enemy of not just truth, but duty and justice, which makes it the worst form of government.


President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming "ex-president" Bush or he can become "President-for-Life" Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.
THESE PEOPLE ARE IN CHARGE OF OUR COUNTRY!!!! Impeach now. Now, not when Bush cancels the elections to make himself dictator. Now. Before these nutcases can do more damage to our democracy.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Political Links

What the press isn't telling you about the mine disasters.

Soldiers tell it like it is.

The pathetic state of reporting today. A reporter doesn't do enough research in an article complaining that blogs don't do research, then allows an editor to insert a false example into his piece.

The Daily Show goes to Iraq. The Daily Show is one of the few shows on television that features real journalism... which should be ironic, because it's a comedy show, but isn't, because the corporate owned media is basically a joke anyway.

Speaking of Iraq, Yikes!

The Bush Administration hates kids who are uninsured. But then, we already knew that Bush hates anyone who isn't rich.

Friday, August 17, 2007


I've been closely following the Mariners this season, but without most of the passion I used to have for the game. Part of that is the taint of drug use in the Major Leagues that makes every game, every at bat, suspect. Part of it is the knowledge that most fans don't even care. They are perfectly fine with the illegal use of drugs because it apparently makes the game more exciting. Whatever.

The M's have a good record, are well over .500, and I hope they make the playoffs. But I'm not inclined to actually make an effort to see the games or go nuts over stats. The last time I did that was 2001... and some horrible things happened that year. Both in my personal life and ... well, you know. Sadly, a crazy devotion to baseball is now associated with those bad things in my mind.

I don't know why I'm posting this. I just feel like I ought to mention that my team is doing well, and I'm not completely ignoring them. Strange.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Political Ranting (with links!)

Stephen Colbert has joined Daily Kos. As seen on his show.

From toilets to terrorists, John Ostrander looks at the art of compromise.

Some bloggers are journalists, says the CIA and NSA.

Dennis Kucinich was homeless growing up. Think about that. He's probably the only Presidential candidate who has ever experienced true want in his entire life. Via Garrett.

"Papers, Please!" If you don't have your papers, you are obviously an enemy of the state and must be punished. Screw Real ID and screw any idiot who supports it.

The Pearl Jam censorship wasn't the first time that AT&T censored political speech. Do we really want companies like AT&T controlling all content on the internet? Net Neutrality is ESSENTIAL.

The facts about our secret wiretapping and eavesdropping are so secret that they can't even be discussed in court, even when it's a court specifically about the illegality of those same programs.

Just break the glass already.

Fox Propaganda Channel likes to rewrite history on Wikipedia. Of course, they constantly rewrite history on their broadcasts anyway, so I don't see how this is any different than their usual stupidity. Only morons and the ignorant watch Fox Propaganda Channel.

How To Win A Fight With A Conservative shows off the "logical fallacies" that Republicans tend to employ to spread their lies.

You know, Jose Padilla may have been guilty. I would even go so far as to say "probably" was guilty, of radical thoughts and stupidity, if nothing else. But our government tortured him and didn't charge him with the crimes until forced to do so. How on earth can our justice system retain any moral authority when it TORTURES PEOPLE?!????? Americans do not torture. Americans know torture is wrong AND useless. So how can we even look at the verdict of the Padilla trial as anything but a sham? The Bush Administration shames and stains every American by condoning torture. The entire administration, every single so-called human in it, should be put in prison for the rest of their lives for their crimes against humanity. That's more humane that holding people for years in prison without ever charging them with crimes.

It's true, the Radical Republicans are utter cowards who think that the Muslims are going to somehow take over this country unless we kill them all first. And they somehow are stupid enough to think that if people aren't peeing their pants in fear along with them, then they want the terrorists to win.
One way to look at the threat posed by Islamic radicalism (let us call it Option A) is to see it as the Epic War of Civilizations, the Existential Threat to Everything, the Gravest and Scariest Danger Ever Faced which is going to take over the U.S. and force us all to bow to Islam.

Another way to look at it (let us call this Option B) is to dismiss it entirely, to believe there is nothing wrong with Islamic radicalism, to think it should just be completely ignored because it poses no dangers of any kind.

There are, however, other options besides A and B. Therefore, to reject Option A is not to embrace Option B.

One would have thought that logical principle too self-evident to require pointing out, but as is typically the case when one assumes that, one is proven wrong.
Hello, cowardly Republicans! You can oppose radical Islam without making it out to be more dangerous than it actually is! And in any case, how does Iraq have anything at all to do with the war against radical Islam? We attacked Iraq so that Cheney's old company Halliburton could make a huge profit (which they have).

The war profiteers and their hired goons are already coming up with excuses to blame the Left for failure when we ultimately leave Iraq. Never mind that it was the Bush administration's screw ups that caused the mess in the first place. Never mind that the war itself was illegal. It'll surely be the fault of Liberals when we lose. As for me, I know exactly where the blame goes, and forever the name of George W Bush is going to equate in my mind with the deaths of thousands of American troops for war profits.

Countering the claim that things are actually getting better in Iraq are some actual facts. Like refugees having troubles, hundreds of Iraqis dying in bombings just yesterday, Iraqi women forced into prostitution by poverty. Things are getting WORSE over there, and our continued presence isn't helping at all.

But then, Halliburton hasn't squeezed every single possible penny out of the war, and haven't given enough dirty water to our troops. So, according to the Bush Administration, we'll just have to stay a bit longer.

Three Years

Ah... three years ago, on a whim, I started this blog to put stuff that didn't fit in my regular blog. Stuff like political thoughts, the Olympics, personal bits (like house problems). It hasn't entirely worked out, but I do enjoy ranting here every once in awhile. I do claim this is a boring blog... that's what it's intended to be. The boring side of me.

Three years. My how the time has flowed.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Links

Just Read This. A truly amazing piece of writing by a former Seattle Times reporter about the Pike Place Market and the Great Depression. Just go read it.

Iraq vets bear witness. Not for the faint of stomach. And definitely read the comments on the article, as some of those quoted follow up with criticism or praise for the article.

The math was wrong, but it doesn't change the facts.

Republicans are praying for another terrorist attack on America.

The RNC threatens the elderly to get donations.

An editorial about menu rules that I pretty much agree with.

Iraqi Blogosphere Roundup.

Elvis was NOT racist.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another Blow for Women's Rights

Federal Court: Pharmacists Can Refuse to Dispense EC.

In the comments of that post there is a VERY interesting take on the problem, which I'm going to paraphrase/rephrase/edit quite a bit here:
The "call of conscious" usually means that the person who objects makes a sacrifice. However, in the case of the pharmacist refusing to sell legal medication to a woman of age he is making another person sacrifice.

The idea of doing what is morally right requires sacrifice and courage on the part of the person standing up for what he/she believes in. But refusing to give out a medication forces a different person, in need of the medication, to sacrifice and suffer.

Determining the course of another person's life IS NOT a moral choice, it is domination and control. If these pharmacists want to actually do something moral, then they need to leave their profession in protest.

Sacrifice for conscience is okay, but don't think that controlling others IS sacrifice. It's not. It's sadism.
I attempted to keep the gist of the argument clear, but please refer back to the original comment if you have doubts that I managed to do so.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Back to Politics

Arrested for not watering her lawn? Well, not exactly, but still!

AT&T censors Pearl Jam. This is another example that shows why Net Neutrality is essential. Imagine AT&T in charge of what you can see on the internet. Now imagine they don't like your opinion. Oops. You are silenced. Net Neutrality NOW.

Speaking of AT&T, Boing Boing has a story of how they fought for privacy against an intrusive government wanting to wiretap... 80 years ago.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Mighty Machete Missionaries

It's been awhile since we had Mormon missionaries in our yard, cleaning up the blackberries and ivy. But today a pair of them turned up on the porch, and were ready and willing to do some work as soon as I let them. I have no objection to anyone helping with yardwork, and I know it is a nice change for these guys to get to attack plants instead of knocking on doors, so I told 'em sure, come on and get to work.

They ran home to change into work clothes, then returned with a machete and work gloves. I supplied a rake and clipper, but they only used the rake. The first one, from Denver, attacked the back yard with his machete like he was working out some frustration. I helped the other, from Costa Rica, to rake up small plants from the sides near the house. After awhile he was able to rake up some of the machete leavings.

Eventually they switched places, and I told them they should only work until the yard waste bin was full. It didn't take them long at all, and they made a decent dent in the backyard jungle. While they worked, I also used my outdoor broom to clean off the back "porch" and make it walkable again. So, thanks to them showing up, I actually feel like I accomplished something outside today. Yay.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Today is a sad anniversary. Let it never happen again.

Boing Boing will help you find your perfect candidate. Of course, my perfect candidate is one who will never win, but eh, that's life. Oddly enough, the three Democratic candidates most likely to get the nomination tied for a distant third place for me. *sigh*

Saving Soldiers' Jobs. Of course, when we get right down to it, the administration has ZERO interest in supporting our troops. The only thing Republicans care about is more corporate profits.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Bridge

Slate has a roundup of bloggers posts on the Minnesota bridge disaster. Boing Boing also roundups posts.

Google Sightseeing points to images of the bridge.

A history of bridge collapses in Washington State. Not inclusive.

The current Republican party wants to shrink the government to the point where they can drown it in a bathtub. Deferred Maintenance is the result. The infrastructure of the United States decays while idiots play politics in Washington DC and State governments.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Links Again

Asterism on Soccer.

An unsolved killing with ties to Seattle and the Attorney General scandal.

Fox Propaganda Channel has won a court case. In short, "there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States." About sums it up.

I can't feel bad about what blogger Mike Stark did to "falafel", though I don't approve of it, after reading what "falafel" put Andrea Mackris through. Of course, Mike himself was threatened by "falafel" with a home visit, so his little trick could be considered turnabout is fair play.

Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election records destroyed in violation of Federal Law. Funny how all the evidence that the 2004 election might have been stolen conveniently disappears.

Wal-Mart Pays Mexican Teens Nothing.