Friday, March 30, 2007

Yusuf Islam (f/k/a Cat Stevens)


Cat Stevens was a folksy, soft-rock performer in the 1970s. He sang pretty songs with hooks that caught in your brain and slowly nibbled away at your consciousness. I came to call this type of music "lobotomy rock"! I loathe lobotomy rock!

Like most other soft-rockers of the seventies, he had vanished by the time I thought about him again in the 1990s.

In 2002, he resurfaced in the media as Yusuf Islam, a devout Muslim who was concerned about the impact of the events of September 11, 2001. He calls himself a man of peace, and his religion a religion of peace. He travels the world discussing peace.

I was appalled when the United States refused him entry to the country for a conference on world peace. he was deemed a terror threat.

"Absurd!" I thought aloud. "It's friggin' Cat Stevens! He probably REALLY DOES believe in world peace!"

Then he slipped off my radar again and I have thought nothing about him.

Then I got my weekly dose of popbitch and learned that he is no different than most religious fanatics. He doesn't care about world peace, he cares about himself, and his behavior at the Echo Awards proves that he cares little about humanity:

Yusuf Islam . . . ignored female staff and helpers at Echo Awards in Berlin because, his aide explained, "Mr Islam doesn't speak with women except his wife. Least of all if they don't wear a headscarf. Things like that only happen via an intermediary."

Added at 7:50 A.M.:

A reader insists that the quote is a fabrication.

Religious subjugation of women is reprehensible, and I do not want to paint Mr. Yusuf with the brush of misogyny if he is opposed to Muslim practices that force women into a second-class role.

I have found the following sources:

Yahoo! Entertainment News

The original piece at ContactMusic

An anonymous message by a person claiming to be Yusuf's manager posted at the ContactMusic message board.

Men who continue the Islamic tradition of abusing women with subjugation in this way are not men of peace. The subjugation of women is anathema to peace. If anyone believes in world peace, they will work for the equality of women everywhere.

Added at 3:54 P.M.:

In this YouTube posting of an excerpt from the awards ceremony, Yusuf is seen walking to the stage, greeting men women and shaking hands with them. There seems to be no reservation or hesitation, he seems genuinely interested in engaging everyone.

When the video loads, fast forward to the 6:00 mark and you will see:

This hardly seems like the behavior of a man who refuses to engage women in conversation or dialog.

So, though I may disagree with religious practices that subjugate women, I have to say that this awards ceremony does not show Yusuf Islam to be a misogynystic fanatic, as suggested by the article at

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Idiot
Iggy Pop

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Homonyms and Synonyms

Grammar isn't a topic I much hear discussed. Haven't much heard much of anything about homonyms and synonyms since Sister Nonna discussed them in fourth grade English class back in 1968.

Homonyms are words that sound alike but mean different things: There and Their and They're are homonyms, as are Here and Hear, and Right and Write.

Synonyms are words that mean the same thing but sound different: Big and Large are synonyms, as are Small and Little, and Wide and Vast.

Last night, I saw the item below at

Click for Larger Image
When you clicked the headline (which you can find below), the article was titled: "Female ump to work MLB exhibition game." The word "ump," as you may or may not know, is American slang for the word umpire, which defines in its noun form thusly:
a person selected to rule on the plays in a game.

Empire, on the other hand is defined as:
a group of nations or peoples ruled over by an emperor, empress, or other powerful sovereign or government: usually a territory of greater extent than a kingdom, as the former British Empire, French Empire, Russian Empire, Byzantine Empire, or Roman Empire.

These words are neither synonyms (they do not have the same meanings), nor are they homonyms (they do not sound the same).

This error should have been noticed by someone, but it is fifteen hours later and it is still there!

Now, my article here should be about Ria Cortesio and her opportunity, like Pam Postema before her, to break-in to the big leagues. Maybe I will write about that another time. For now, I just want to chuckle about what Sister Nonna might say to the person who typed "Meet Pro-Baseball's Only Female Empire" and the editor who has let it appear on the internet for fifteen hours.

Meet Pro-Baseball's Only Female Empire

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire
Gore Vidal

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Senate Backs Troop Withdrawal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate on Tuesday endorsed a March 31, 2008, target date for withdrawing American combat troops from Iraq, prompting the White House to threaten a veto and moving Congress a step closer to a showdown with President George W. Bush over the war.

In one year the Senate wants the troops out of Iraq.

If only a thousand more troops are killed in the coming year then that means we'll have wasted only 4,000+ American lives perpetrating the fraudulent war on terror.

What will we do with the troops when we withdraw them? Send them to Iran?


How come nobody talks about attacking our real enemies, the people who funded, planned, and carried-out the attack on Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001: The Saudis.

The Saudis are our greatest enemy in the Middle East.

If you pretend to be a patriot, then you should be screaming that we attack Saudi Arabia. Now!

But, since the Saudi Royal Family and the binLaden's and other powerful Saudis are friends of The Prescott Group and Halliburton and the Bush family and the Clintons and Henry Kissinger, then there is no way we will ever take them to task for killing so many Americans. You see, the American ruling class is protecting them.

Remember this as you get yourself worked-up into a lather about Iran: Iran did not attack the United States in 2001. Sure, they are not our friends and they have done some bad things to us, but no nation has hurt us as much as the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia is a terrible place with no freedom, no allegiance to us, and a history of hurting us.

Why do we put up with them?

Ask George Bush (both of them).

Dick Mac Recommends:

House of Bush, House of Saud
Craig Unger

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Love Will Tear Us Apart - Lyrics & Video

by Joy Division

When routine bites hard
and ambitions are low
And resentment rides high
but emotions won't grow
And we're changing our ways,
taking different roads

Love, love will tear us apart again
And love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

Why is your bedroom so cold
Turned away on your side?
Is my timing that flawed,
our respect runs so dry?
Yet there's still this appeal
That we've kept through our lives

Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
And love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

Do you cry out in your sleep
All my feelings expose?
Get a taste in my mouth
As desperation takes hold
Is it something so good
Just can't function no more?

When love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
And love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

One of my all-time faves.

Or watch it at

Dick Mac Recommends:

Joy Division

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Wisdom of Larry the Cable Guy

1. A day without sunshine is like night.

2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.

9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.

10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.

14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?

15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.

17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?

18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines

19. What happens if you get scared half to death? Twice.

20 Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, "What the heck happened?"

22. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.

23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates . it's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your ass tomorrow.

Thanks to Eleanor for sending this along.

Added March 27, 2007: An anonymous poster tells me that this piece originates with Steven Wright! Thank you Mr. Wright, and thank you Anonymous!

Dick Mac Recommends:

Death Cab for Cutie

Friday, March 23, 2007

White Tigers. Who Knew?

I don't often make posts about animal cruelty, but an email from popbitch introduced me to information I never knew about White Tigers.

Eighty percent of all captivity-bred white tigers die at birth.

Of the remaining 20% most are so deformed that they will never be shown in public and wallow until death in captivity.

Orange tigers with the white gene and white tigers are bred together to produce new white tiger cubs. In that process many orange tigers are born. The orange tigers are unwanted and often end-up in the hands of private owners who are not known for their kindness.

A 16-year old girl made a video about "the facts" at the Tipped Ear Clan site.*

[*N.B.: Please note the clarifying comment below from calsifer regarding the provenance of the video - added by DM at 08:11 AM.]

Watch it.

Be outraged!

Maybe you can take action to help.

Thanks to popbitch for the tip.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Howl and Other Poems
Allen Ginsberg

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I'm not an iPod guy. I have over 24,000 MP3s, but I carry none of them on a portable player.

In the mid-1990s I realized using my personal stereo not only allowed me "to listen to my music," but it blocked me off from all of humanity. Sure, it was entertaining to hear Nat King Cole sing "Frim-Fram Sauce" or Tin Machine sing "Amazing" or some other pick hit to click that I would happily blast into my ears; but I began to notice that I was not having any remotely human contact while riding the subway to work or walking down the street.

Having grown-up and spent all of my life in completely urban settings, regular contact with other humans is part of my daily life. I have no experience with suburban living where people drive everywhere and have nominal interaction. That sounds horrible to me, and I think it is one of the reasons why suburbanites kill each other so often: they have no intimacy among themselves as a social group, so killing each other is not really much different from more sensible intimate contact.

But, I digress . . . I am not really discussing random murders, I am discussing personal stereos. Where was I . . .

Oh, yeah! I realized that use of my personal stereo, no matter the entertainment value, cut me off from the people around me. I didn't like this, and it is also probably not the safest way to co-exist in a city.

When the iPod craze struck a few years ago, I considered the investment, then remembered that I don't like personal stereos, so it would be silly to own one. Then, Apple Computers, the manufacturer of iPods started inventing accessories that could make the iPod more flexible as an entertainment tool. You can mount your iPod in a stand that provides proper amplification to transform the personal stereo into a real stereo. So, the iPod is more attractive now. There are car hook-ups and picture frames, and who-knows what else! Still, I do not own one.

MadTV, the ensemble comedy show, takes the idea a step further in the following video:

Or see it at

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How's Your Typing Going?


Back-ups are so important, but this story proves that a paperless world is a fallacy.

A worker deletes a database. No problem. Get the back-up.

The back-up disk was reformatted. No problem. Get the tape.

The tape is damaged.


Without the paper originals, you have no data.

The department is asking lawmakers to approve a supplemental budget request for $220,700 to cover the excess costs incurred during the six-week recovery effort, including about $128,400 in overtime and $71,800 for computer consultants.

Good thing the state of Alaska kept the paperwork!

Oops! Tech wipes out Alaska fund records
By ANNE SUTTON, Associated Press Writer
March 20, 2007

Perhaps you know that sinking feeling when a single keystroke accidentally destroys hours of work. Now imagine wiping out a disc drive containing an account worth $38 billion. It happened to a computer technician reformatting a disk drive at the Alaska Department of Revenue.

While doing routine maintenance work, the technician accidentally deleted applicant information for an oil-funded account — one of Alaska residents' biggest perks — and mistakenly reformatted the backup drive, as well.

There was still hope, until the department discovered its third line of defense, backup tapes, were unreadable.

"Nobody panicked, but we instantly went into planning for the worst-case scenario," said Permanent Fund Dividend Division Director Amy Skow. The computer foul-up last July would end up costing the department more than $200,000.

Over the next few days, as the department, the division and consultants from Microsoft Corp. and Dell Inc. labored to retrieve the data, it became obvious the worst-case scenario was at hand.

Nine months worth of information concerning the yearly payout from the Alaska Permanent Fund was gone: some 800,000 electronic images that had been painstakingly scanned into the system months earlier, the 2006 paper applications that people had either mailed in or filed over the counter, and supporting documentation such as birth certificates and proof of residence.

And the only backup was the paperwork itself — stored in more than 300 cardboard boxes.

"We had to bring that paper back to the scanning room, and send it through again, and quality control it, and then you have to have a way to link that paper to that person's file," Skow said.

Half a dozen seasonal workers came back to assist the regular division staff, and about 70 people working overtime and weekends re-entered all the lost data by the end of August.

"They were just ready, willing and able to chip in and, in fact, we needed all of them to chip in to get all the paperwork rescanned in a timely manner so that we could meet our obligations to the public," Skow said.

Last October and November, the department met its obligation to the public. A majority of the estimated 600,000 payments for last year's $1,106.96 individual dividends went out on schedule, including those for 28,000 applicants who were still under review when the computer disaster struck.

Former Revenue Commissioner Bill Corbus said no one was ever blamed for the incident.

"Everybody felt very bad about it and we all learned a lesson. There was no witch hunt," Corbus said.

According to department staff, they now have a proven and regularly tested backup and restore procedure.

The department is asking lawmakers to approve a supplemental budget request for $220,700 to cover the excess costs incurred during the six-week recovery effort, including about $128,400 in overtime and $71,800 for computer consultants.

The money would come from the permanent fund earnings, the money earmarked for the dividends. That means recipients could find their next check docked by about 37 cents.

On the Net:

Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Introducing the 2007 Pretty Villains!

The Pretty Villains team is my entry in Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball's This Year's Model League.

C Joe Mauer (Min - C)
1B Gary Sheffield (Det - 1B,RF)
2B Julio Lugo (Bos - 2B,3B,SS)
3B Scott Rolen (StL - 3B)
SS Jamey Carroll (Col - 2B,SS)
CI Jason Giambi (NYY - 1B)
MI Marcus Giles (SD - 2B)
LF Raúl Ibañez (Sea - LF)
CF Curtis Granderson (Det - CF)
RF Milton Bradley (Oak - RF)
OF Barry Bonds (SF - LF)
OF Dave Roberts (SF - LF,CF)
Util Eric Chávez (Oak - 3B)
BN Craig Biggio (Hou - 2B)
BN Aaron Rowand

SP Johan Santana (Min - SP)
SP Chris Carpenter (StL - SP)
SP John Lackey (LAA - SP)
SP Chris Capuano (Mil - SP)
RP Joe Nathan (Min - RP)
RP Francisco Rodríguez (LAA - RP)
RP Tom Gordon (Phi - RP)
P Ervin Santana (LAA - SP)
P Mark Prior (ChC - SP)
BN Cliff Lee (Cle - SP)

Go you Pretty Villains!

How's Your Execution Going?

The American people are the only first-world nation to promote the death penalty outside its own borders. We are the only nation that is encouraging other nations to kill their own citizens.

Another former Iraqi government official has been hanged.

We're doing a bang-up job spreading democracy around Iraq! Look how well it's going.

Soon, they can defund their schools and social welfare programs while giving tax breaks only to the wealthiest Iraqis, all the while dismantling civil liberties and throwing tax dollars away on an immoral war; and then Iraq will look even more like the United States.

Spread around a little religious fundamentalism sprinkled with some televised smut and you'd never know the difference between an Iraqi warlord and the general manager of your local Wal-Mart!

Well, make sure you through in some homophobia and racism and dash of hegemony and a heaping helping of mysogyny. Maybe an evangelist loaded on meth with a cock in his bum, and a broadcast of a conservative homosexual defending the president, and voila!, it's Prime Time USA live from downtown Baghdad!

There! Now Iraq looks very American!

But, first, let's execute some more people.

That will make us free, and them too.

The Shiites are executing people in our name! We have to stop. We have to get out of Iraq before we become the most morally bankrupt free-country in the history of civilization.
>Saddam's former deputy hanged in Iraq
By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer
March 20, 2007

The former deputy in Saddam Hussein's government was hanged before dawn Tuesday for the killings of 148 Shiites, an official with the prime minister's office said. Taha Yassin Ramadan, who was Saddam's vice president when the regime was ousted by the U.S.-led invasion that began four years ago Tuesday in Iraq, was the fourth man to be executed in the killings of 148 Shiites following a 1982 assassination attempt against the former leader in the town of Dujail north of Baghdad.

The official, who witnessed the hanging but spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made, said precautions had been taken to prevent a repeat of what happened to Saddam's half brother and co-defendant Barzan Ibrahim, who was inadvertently decapitated on the gallows.

Ramadan, who was nearly 70, was weighed before the hanging and the length of the rope was chosen accordingly, the official said.

The execution took place at an Iraqi army and police base, which had been the headquarters of Saddam's military intelligence, in a predominantly Shiite district in northern Baghdad. Ramadan had been in U.S. custody but was handed over to the Iraqis before the hanging, the official said.

The prosecutor read out the verdict of the appeals court upholding the death sentence along with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's decision to carry it out, the official said, adding that a defense lawyer received Ramadan's written will. The contents were not revealed.

Ramadan appeared frightened and said words that indicated he was remorseful, the official said, although he was not more specific.

"He recited the two shahadahs. The execution was flawless," the official said, adding that the hanging was videotaped for official purposes. The two shahadahs are the declaration of faith repeated by Muslims — "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet."

Ramadan was convicted in November of murder, forced deportation and torture and sentenced to life in prison. A month later, an appeals court said the sentence was too lenient, and returned his case to the High Tribunal, which sentenced him to death.

Ramadan, who became vice president in March 1991 and was a Revolutionary Command Council member — Iraq's highest political body under Saddam — had maintained his innocence, saying his duties were limited to economic affairs, not security issues.

Saddam was executed on Dec. 30 for his role in the killings. Two of his co-defendants in the Dujail case — Ibrahim, Saddam's former intelligence chief, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, former head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court — were executed in January.

Ibrahim plunged through the trap door and was beheaded by the jerk of the thick rope at the end of his fall, causing a furor; the Iraqi government said the decapitation was an accident. Saddam's execution drew international outrage after a clandestine video showed the former president being taunted on the gallows. Another leaked video showed Saddam's corpse with a gaping neck wound.

Saddam's regime was predominantly Sunni and many members of the sect have protested the executions on the grounds they are politically motivated by the newly empowered Shiite majority in Iraq. International human rights groups have, by and large, protested that the trial which found the men guilty did not provide them with due legal process.

Around Iraq, meanwhile, bombs tore through a Shiite mosque during prayers in Baghdad and struck several targets in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Monday, killing at least 26 people.

The latest attacks highlighted the challenges facing U.S. and Iraqi forces in their bid to curb sectarian bloodshed with the month-old security crackdown. Execution-style killings usually blamed on Shiite militias have fallen dramatically but bombings have not kept pace in the downward trend.

Late Monday, U.S. and Iraqi troops engaged in a major operation as part of the crackdown in the volatile Hurriyah neighborhood in northern Baghdad, state television said. Witnesses said there were many people reported holed up in two Shiite mosques, surrounded by U.S. forces.

The state-run Iraqiya network said six civilians had been killed. The U.S. military did not immediately comment on the reports.

With the war entering its fifth year, President Bush pleaded for patience as he faced Democrat-sponsored legislation that effectively would require the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq by the fall of 2008. He said his plan to curb violence by sending more U.S. troops to Baghdad and the surrounding areas needed more time. Fewer than half the reinforcements have arrived.

"There will be good days and bad days ahead as the security plan unfolds," he said in a televised statement, adding that he had received news of positive signs during a briefing on the war with his National Security Council and in a video conference call with al-Maliki.

The first military action of the war occurred in the early morning on March 20, 2003, in Baghdad, but it was still March 19 in the United States.

Al-Maliki's office said the Shiite leader assured Bush in their half-hour call that his government was pressing ahead with reconstruction and political reforms and that it remained committed to national reconciliation and the passage of a draft oil law.

Nobody claimed responsibility for Monday's bombings, but they bore the hallmarks of Sunni insurgents.

The violence in Baghdad began shortly after the afternoon call to prayer in a small green-domed mosque in the Shorja market area, where a truck bomb killed 137 people last month.

Salah Baqir, a 42-year-old vendor who saw the attack, said the bomber slipped past the guards and placed the explosives in a bag behind the preacher's lectern. The blast left a crater and a pile of rubble on the floor. At least eight worshippers were killed and 32 other people were wounded, including the preacher, police said.

Iraqi authorities have imposed strict security in the area to prevent car bombings that often target crowded markets, but Sunni insurgents have proven resilient in finding ways to circumvent the stepped up security since the start of the crackdown Feb. 14.

At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded in a series of bombings in Kirkuk, 180 miles north of Baghdad — the most devastating when two parked car bombs exploded within 10 minutes in a southern part of the city. Fourteen civilians and four policemen were killed and 40 were wounded, police said.

In all, at least 55 Iraqis were killed or found dead in Iraq, including the mayor of a Shiite village southeast of Baghdad and 29 bullet-riddled bodies that turned up in the capital.

In the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Anbar province, police said at least 25 decomposed bodies — some beheaded — were found near a post office east of the provincial capital Ramadi. The U.S. military said it had no information on the report.

The U.S. military also said two Iraqi soldiers were killed and 12 were wounded when explosives planted by insurgents in a building being used as an observation post were detonated on Sunday, causing the structure to collapse in Fallujah.

Associated Press writers Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad and Yahya Barzanji in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq, contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 19, 2007

How's Your War Going?

The War in Iraq is a disaster, the war on terrorism is a sham, just like its cousin the war on drugs.

We were winning the war on poverty, but Reagan and all of his successors have dismantled that machine.

Let's look at the US Fatality statistics, which as of yesterday total 3218:

Month Fatalities

Mar-03 65
Apr-03 74
May-03 37
Jun-03 30
Jul-03 48
Aug-03 35
Sep-03 31
Oct-03 44
Nov-03 82
Dec-03 40
Jan-04 47
Feb-04 20
Mar-04 52
Apr-04 135
May-04 80
Jun-04 42
Jul-04 54
Aug-04 66
Sep-04 80
Oct-04 63
Nov-04 137
Dec-04 72
Jan-05 107
Feb-05 58
Mar-05 35
Apr-05 52
May-05 80
Jun-05 78
Jul-05 54
Aug-05 85
Sep-05 49
Oct-05 96
Nov-05 84
Dec-05 68
Jan-06 62
Feb-06 55
Mar-06 31
Apr-06 76
May-06 69
Jun-06 61
Jul-06 43
Aug-06 65
Sep-06 72
Oct-06 106
Nov-06 69
Dec-06 112
Jan-07 83
Feb-07 80
Mar-07 54
Total 3218

Statistics taken from

Most of these three thousand dead have died after the war was considered over!

How much more victory can we stand?

We cannot afford to stay in the war. Americans need to demand an end to it.

Please celebrate this fourth anniversary of the War by calling your congressional delegation and demanding action.

How's Your Deregulation Going?

When deregulation of American industry began, we were promised more competition, lower prices, more jobs paying better wages, less conglomeration. All would be well if industry was free from the restrictions of government regulation. (Actually, US industries were more successful on every level from employment practices to profiteering under regulation.)

What has happened, of course, is exactly what we were told could never happen. Conglomeration proliferates, the money required to support the debt maintenance on the money borrowed to fund the conglomerations requires that jobs be cut and prices be raised, the lack of competition means that companies can do whatever they want and the consumer is stuck with limited choices.

In recent months, the failures of deregulation are illuminated by the inability of airlines to move their passengers from one airport to the other.

Sure, the weather wrecked some havoc, but no more than it has for the past seventy-five years . . . In fact, it's been a pretty mild Winter.

Over the past 25 years, airlines have slashed staffing at every level from baggage handlers to maintenance crews to service staff and ticket desk clerks, every position. And the remaining staff have suffered slashes in benefits and their wages have not held-up against other industries. Still, the debt is maintained and a small number of CEOs are overpaid, lawyers and consultants profit, and the passengers suffer.

When will Americans insist that their elected officials take back control of the country?

I know . . . never.
US Airways starts to move some travelers
By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press Writer
March 18, 2007

Thousands of weary travelers spent a third day waiting to reach their destinations Sunday as US Airways struggled to recover from the ice and snow storm that paralyzed airports in the Northeast.

Early Sunday the airline was trying to find seats for 100,000 passengers systemwide. The waiting time in lines in Philadelphia, a US Airways hub, was down to 30 to 45 minutes by Sunday night, spokeswoman Andrea Rader said. Waiting times were also better at the airline's hub in Charlotte, N.C.

"The lines are down to what is normal for a holiday weekend," Rader said.

Computer problems, airline staffing rules and other problems slowed US Airways' attempts to clear the backlog. In addition, the airline's flights on Sunday were already nearly sold out with 275,000 passengers booked, the airline said.

Airline officials were trying to round up spare planes and crew members to work on added flights. Rader said the company hoped to be back to near normal Monday.

Passengers in Philadelphia reported waiting three hours or more to rebook a ticket or reach a reservation agent by phone during the weekend. Automated US Airways kiosks at Philadelphia International Airport were also down at times, they said.

US Airways operates two-thirds of the approximately 1,200 daily flights in Philadelphia.

Many of the travelers waiting for seats were stranded at the airport. Disposable blankets and pillows were handed out to several hundred people Saturday night, down from an estimated 1,000 or more people the night before, a spokeswoman said.

"Once the passengers were rebooked and going through security, they were moving them (through) pretty quickly," airport spokeswoman Phyllis VanIstendal said Sunday.

Dan Stacey, 34, of Philadelphia, was at the airport Sunday trying to find his luggage. An Irish fiddler, Stacy had tried to fly Friday to Phoenix, where he was slated to perform in St. Patrick's Day concerts.

Instead, he said, he sat in a US Airways plane on the Philadelphia tarmac for hours. He then went back home — but found out Sunday that his luggage went to Phoenix, anyway.

"I lamented the fact that I was the only Irish musician in America not working on St. Patty's day," Stacey said.

There were also long lines at US Airways ticket counters in Pittsburgh on Sunday because of cancellations and delays at other airports, said JoAnn Jenny, spokeswoman for the Allegheny County Airport Authority.

"It's just a busy time of year with spring break ... and then with that storm, that really put a wrench in the works for a lot of folks," Jenny said.

The storm stranded hundreds of passengers at New York's Kennedy International Airport, including hundreds stuck on planes Friday night as aircraft were unable to take off or find space at gates.

By Sunday, there were only scattered delays of up to two hours at New York's Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, with some delays of up five hours at Newark Liberty, said Alan Hicks, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

From Friday to Saturday morning, more than 3,600 commuter and mainline flights were canceled nationwide because of the effects of the storm. JetBlue, US Airways, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines all reported cancellations.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Keep it up, America! Continue to ignore the real problems and blame the liberals and homosexuals and abortionists for all the problems while corporate fundamentalists drag us over the coals! It's worked so well these past 25 years! Keep it up!

Friday, March 16, 2007

It was just a minor misunderstanding . . .

The form rests on your tray table. The jet is approaching the airport and it has to be filled-out before you deplane. There are a few check boxes on the form along with spots for name, address, passport number, reason for visiting and the such.

You are landing in a foreign land and they all ask different questions.

You fill-out the form quickly. You don't really care what it says.

You get in line for passport control.

You are irritated because you are famous and don't have time for all of this.

Your luggage goes through the X-ray machine.

They see contraband.

They find vials of Jintropin, which is illegal or controlled in civilized countries.

On the form you checked "No" for the box that asked if you were carrying restricted or prohibited goods "such as medicines, steroids, firearms, weapons, or any kind of illicit drugs."

You have broken the law. You are issued a summons. You are not contrite. You say "there's been a misunderstanding."

There is no misunderstanding! You shoot steroids, which have shrivelled your brain. you are a half-wit lucky enough to have made millions in Hollywood. You act like a tough guy, but you're really a pussy. You pretend to be a patriot and a hard-nose military guy. Liberal comedians fly to Iraq to entertain the troops, you are afraid to go. You are surly and unkind to fans you encounter in public. You're a jerk. You are not a hero. You are a movie star. Now you are exposed as a criminal hopped-up on human growth hormones, and your response is that there has been a misunderstanding.

There is no misunderstanding Mr. Stallone. You're an idiot and you are not above the law.

I hope this tarnishes your reputation so that America's youth will stop looking-up to your phony tough-guy image.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

MP3s I Want - March, 2007 Version

I still haven't gotten my hands on these songs in a usable electronic format (MP3 preferred):

Back In The New York Groove - Ace Freeley
Knock On Wood - Aimee Stewart
Daddy's Little Girl - Al Martino
Guys Are Not Proud - Anemic Boyfriends
Take The A Train - Anita O'Day
First, Last, Everything - Barry White
Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & The Comets
Me & Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul
Surrender - Cheap Trick
Don't Leave Me This Way - Communards
Let's Go To Bed - Cure
(Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry - Darlene Love
Glad All Over - Dave Clark Five
Last Dance - Donna Summer
The Harder They Come (Acapella) - Donnie Calvin & Rocker's Revenge
Friday On My Mind - Easybeats
Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend - Emmylou Harris
We Got The Beat - Go-Gos
Guardian Angel - Human Sexual Response
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window - Joe Cocker
Louie, Louie - Kingsmen
I Was Made For Loving You - Kiss
There But For The Grace Of God - Le Machine
I Think We're Alone Now - Lene Lovich
To Sir With Love - Lou Miami & The Kozmetix
On Broadway - Lou Rawls
To Sir With Love (Film Soundtrack Version) - Lulu
True Blue (Remix) - Madonna
Buffalo Love - Malcolm McLaren
(I Want To Be) Bobby's Girl - Marcie Blaine
Sorrow - Merseys
(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons - Nat King Cole
Frim-Fram Sauce - Nat King Cole
Warm Leatherette - The Normal
Every Beat You Hear - Otis Liggett
Psycho Blonde - Pastiche
Sweet Dreams - Patsy Cline
Everybody's Boring - Pearl Harbor & The Explosions
Fujiyama Mama - Pearl Harbor & The Explosions
Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon for NY - Phoebe Snow
Two-Fisted Love - Phoebe Snow
See Emily Play - Pink Floyd
Be My Baby - Ronettes
Georgy Girl - Seekers
Sex Train - Sex Execs
Morning Train - Sheena Easton
American Fun - Stompers
Pillow Talk - Sylvia
Easy To Be Hard - Three Dog Night
Rickie Don't Lose That Number - Tom Robinson Band
Out Come The Freaks - Was (Not Was)
Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere - Who
Tighten Up - Yellow Magic Orchestra

Can you help?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Me Too?

I have not ever been a fan of U2. I like their LP "Boy" well enough, but nothing after that ever interested me. I find their music pedestrian and their live performance predictable.

I am impressed by Bono's international efforts on behalf of the world's disenfranchised, and because of his hard-work, I have always been his fan.

His acts seem heroic and gargantuan, and they are. He tirelessly advocates on behalf of the have-nots.

There are chinks in the armor:

>> Re-branding Bono <<
Charity doesn't always begin at home

Vanity Fair have invited "pop-humanitarian" Bono to be guest editor of the July issue, to try and "rebrand Africa". Some magazines have been sharing some other facts about Bono:

* In the year since it was founded, his Red campaign (licensed to Gap, Motorola, Apple etc) has raised $18 million - but companies have spent $100 million to market it.

* Bono doesn't invest his own money in Red.

* Apple sells a Special Edition U2 iPod. Its profits are not donated to Red.

* U2 made $389m from the recent Vertigo tour. Its revenue was then funnelled through
companies mostly registered in Ireland and structured to minimize taxes.

* U2 moved its music publishing company to the Netherlands from Ireland in June 2006, six months before Ireland ended a tax exemption on musicians' royalty income.

* Richard Murphy, adviser to lobbying group the Tax Justice Network, says "This is somebody who's exceptionally rich taking the opportunity to shift his tax burden to somebody else, but then asking governments around the world to spend that tax take in the way that he would like."

I think the last statement speaks volumes. It is imperative that all members of a free society pay their share of taxes. Freedom is expensive, and freedom requires that the citizenry be taxed.

Each according to his means, and each according to his needs can work effectively in capitalism.

If the rich pay their fair share while the poor pay their fair share and those in the middle pay their fair share, then there is plenty of money to defend our nations, feed our hungry, clothe our naked, care for our sick, teach our illiterate, and maintain an infrastructure for commerce. None of these things need be exclusive of each other. And there will be plenty left over to ease the suffering of those less fortunate who suffer around the world.

How much of the $100,000,000 Red Campaign has made its way to Bono? How much of what he receives has been sheltered off-shore?

Bono has wonderful visions about helping the undeveloped and developing world. He wants first-world nations to pitch in. I agree.

But, Bono has to pitch-in, too. Seeking tax shelters and abandoning your nation for tax breaks is loathsome.

Bono, get on board and support your own nation if you want them to support your projects! Don't shirk your responsibility as a citizen.

So, when I ask "Me, too?" The answer is "Yes."

Read more:

Bono, Who Preaches Charity, Profits From Buyouts, Tax Breaks

Monday, March 12, 2007

Carla and Cecil Go To the Cinema

Rock 'n roll ventriloquist, Carla Rhodes, and her partner-in-crime, Cecil, reviewed the new movie "Dead Silence," in yesterday's New York Post.

I met Carla in London in 2001. She was an undergrad at Middle Tennessee State University doing a tour of London comedy clubs with Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. I was hooked from the very start. Cecil is the latest addition to her act, which also includes David Bowie.

A highlight in my Carla fandom was a broadcast of the Today Show at Rockefeller Plaza. David Bowie was performing, and Carla was in the audience with Bowie's doppelganger. As the band finished a song, and the show was cutting to a commercial, Bowie turned to the audience, pointed and yelled: "Hey! I know that puppet!"

Carla has performed in Europe and the United States, has appeared in documentaries about ventriloquism and the Rolling Stones, has performed for Bowie and Keith Richards, and has spent time rubbing shoulders with Mick Jagger and other entertainment hoi-poloi.



March 11, 2007 -- A ventriloquist’s dummy is pretty creepy - from a lifeless little wooden person suddenly emerges a squeaky voice, blinking buggy eyes, a swiveling head on square shoulders and worst of all, that freaky square jaw moving up and down.

Know what’s even creepier? The lifeless wooden doll sans the ventriloquist.

That was writer-director James Wan’s idea in choosing a demented dummy named Billy as the star of his new scream-fest “Dead Silence,” opening Friday. The horror flick is about a string of grisly murders in a small town that locals say is the work of a murdered ventriloquist whose ghost has come back to gain revenge - through her puppets.

“What makes dummies so creepy,” says Wan, “is that as soon as the ventriloquist leaves the room, the dummy is left sitting there in a chair - and you’re waiting for it to move. It’s that perception, that anticipation of the slightest movement that creeps you out.”

The same suspense, of course, is integral to all horror movies. That’s why puppets are perfect. They mess with the audience by not doing anything at all.

“That’s the hook in this film,” says Wan. “What if I’m alone in a room with this dummy, and suddenly its eyes shift to look at me?”

Wan’s 2004 horror hit “Saw” was really one big, totally twisted smoke-and-mirror trick. That wasn’t a coincidence for a guy who grew up wanting to be a magician. “Movies are deception, too, making you suspend disbelief,” says the 29-year-old Australian director. “It’s no different than magic, or ventriloquism. It’s all sleight of hand.”

“It’s not a killer-doll movie,” says the filmmaker who auditioned a dozen dummies before finding just the right Billy. “It’s not ‘Chucky.’ We wanted a dummy that looked normal to begin with. And if you stare at it long enough, you begin to see a malevolent quality underneath.”

The Post caught a sneak peak of “Dead Silence” with New York City ventriloquist Carla Rhodes and her curmudgeonly sidekick Cecil Sinclaire. We wanted to hear their opinions on why movies like “Magic,” “Chucky” and now “Dead Silence” always make dolls, puppets and dummies look like bloodlusting freaks.

Carla: I found “Dead Silence” to be a spooky old ghost story. Being a ventriloquist, I dug this movie. I thought it was scary. Especially the lead dummy, Billy. He freaked me out.

Cecil: Personally, I found his performance wooden. This movie should’ve been called “Dummies for Dummies.”

Carla: Oh, come on, Cecil. Don’t be such a grouch. I know you were frightened. You kept closing your eyes at all the scary parts.

Cecil: You made me do it!

Carla: Are you just jealous that Billy is now the hot dummy in Hollywood?

Cecil: Me, jealous? There you go putting words in my mouth again. Who was the biggest star on B.F. Keith’s vaudeville circuit in the 1890s? Me. I’m the guy whose little footprints should be on Hollywood Boulevard.

Carla: Cecil, does it bother you that dummies in movies are always stereotyped as creepy and evil?

Cecil: It’s not that they make us look like evil killers. It’s that we always get caught in the act. Back when I was doing vaudeville, you should have seen my act. I was killing night after night. And that’s not just a figure of speech. They can’t prove anything - no fingerprints.

Carla: I think you’re pulling my leg, Cecil.

Cecil: I think you’re pulling my strings.

Carla: Getting back to the movie, I found Donnie Wahlberg entertaining as a tough-guy detective on the case.

Cecil: Donnie who?

Carla: Donnie Wahlberg. He was in New Kids on The Block, back in the ’90s.

Cecil: Never heard of ‘em. I spend most of my time in a steamer trunk.

Carla: Well, to wrap up, I found this movie to be scary and fun. There were lots of unexpected twists. I’m giving “Dead Silence” a big thumbs-up. What about you, Cecil?

Cecil: Ha, ha. Very funny. I don’t even have thumbs.

NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. NYPOST.COM, NYPOSTONLINE.COM, and NEWYORKPOST.COM are trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc.
Copyright 2007 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

Carla's act, especially her routine with the Keith Richards puppet, is hysterical. I have not yet had the privilege of seeing Cecil, but I hear he is very controversial.

I recommend you find one of her shows and take in a performance. I am never disappointed.

Find her performance schedule at

Friday, March 09, 2007

Depressed? Sgt. Estrada Can Help!

Sometimes I feel sad.

Everyone feels sad some time.

I think most people are saddest when they don't get what they want.

We are all so used to getting what we want that most of us have few skills to deal with those sad times when we do not get it.

I get irritated when people refer to this sadness as 'depression.'

I think that most people who claim they are depressed are just mad that they aren't getting their way.

We all have ways to get out of that funk that some call depression.

Some people use psychology, some people use spirituality, some people use hedonism, some people use pharmaceuticals, some just mope through life.

The 'depression' industry is huge: self-help programs, psycho-pharmacologists, books, CDs, DVDs, and myriad other solutions are available for purchase.

Learning how to cope with depression or sadness is a challenge.

There is a drill sergeant with a plan for you:
Fort Eustis sergeant accused of sex crimes

A soldier says he was molested by the drill instructor. Others describe being forced to dress in spandex.

March 3 2007

HAMPTON -- A drill sergeant at Fort Eustis has been accused of multiple sex-related charges, including forcing a male trainee to dress as Superman and submit to sexual acts, and is scheduled to appear in a military court next month.

Army Staff Sgt. Edmundo F. Estrada, 35, of Hampton, is facing charges of indecent assault, having an inappropriate relationship with a trainee, and cruelty and maltreatment of subordinates, said Karla Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Fort Eustis.

He was arraigned on those charges in January and is scheduled to appear April 17 in a military court, Gonzalez said.

Officials began investigating Estrada in August after a soldier reported Estrada mistreated and sexually assaulted him, according to a search warrant affidavit filed Aug. 16, 2006, in Hampton Circuit Court.

The soldier told Estrada that he felt depressed after being relieved of his training status, and Estrada suggested "a technique that he had used previously to help soldiers with their self-confidence and alleviate depression," the affidavit shows.

The technique involved role-playing scenes from a pornographic movie, which depicted a Superman character weakened by Kryptonite as the subject of sexual torture, according to the affidavit.

"Estrada would verbally describe a sexual act of torture, relating to the pornographic movie, and (the victim) was to respond in a sexual manner by moaning," the affidavit reads.

During one encounter in their unit's dayroom, Estrada molested the soldier, according to the court document.

The soldier reported he felt "Estrada would negatively affect his reclassification efforts" if he didn't obey the drill sergeant's requests.

He also said he eventually was forced to "dress in a 'Superman' or similar outfit during these encounters, while SSG Estrada performed sexual acts on him," the affidavit shows.

Soldiers from Estrada's previous unit reported Estrada told them to shed their shirts "so he could photograph their bodies in order to document physical development," the affidavit said. Numerous others described being ordered to "dress up and pose in spandex and then told not to mention it to anyone."

Investigators seized a computer and several cameras, cassettes and VHS tapes from Estrada's home on Perth Place, near Fox Hill Road and Nickerson Boulevard, in Hampton during a search Aug. 15.

Gonzalez, the Fort Eustis spokeswoman, said Estrada remains on active duty but is no longer performing the duties of a drill sergeant.
Copyright © 2007, Daily Press

Paging Sgt. Estrada, white courtesy telephone please.

Thanks to popbitch for the tip!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

NYPD Entrapment du Jour

So you are walking along the subway platform. It's unpleasant. It's a regular day: the smell of urine and site of filth, unwashed trains, broken benches, defaced walls, trash filling the tracks. Maybe there's a homeless person asleep under a stairwell. Maybe he smells, maybe he doesn't. Then you see it: the dreaded unattended parcel.

For decades, Europeans have been educated to report unattended luggage and parcels, because they could very well contain explosives ready to kill and maim at any random moment. It has been only five years that Americans have been warned to watch for unattended parcels. we are not yet trained what to do.

I am guilty of simply ignoring an unattended parcel by moving away from it -- preferably far away from it. I can't be bothered informing the police, because I fear they will want me to answer a lot of questions as one then another subway train heads towards my home without me. Maybe worse, maybe they will force me to "come to the station" to answer some questions about the parcel. Then I will be delayed by hours and hours and possibly arrested. I truly believe this could happen. So, I ignore the parcel and hope it doesn't explode until after my train leaves the subway station.

In the months that followed the 9/11 crimes in Lower Manhattan, I was part of the wonderful frenzy of civic duty. I was nice to strangers on the street and offered my seat to strangers on the subway, and helped tourists who were coming to my city to support us in our time of need. I saw other New Yorkers do this, too. It was nice. We all pulled together! One evening I found a wallet on a bench in the Union Square subway station. I opened it and there was a small amount of paper money and an ID. It was the wallet of a person who did not have a lot. It was a poor person's purse. I felt compelled to bring it to the Transit Police Office in the Union Square subway concourse and turn it in as lost. I hoped that the poor New Yorker who lost the modest clutch would come asking about it and be reunited with her few dollars and other small items. The cop behind the desk treated me like I was crazy; I smiled. I left knowing I had done the right thing.

Fast forward a few years. As the federal government waged a war of fear against us, I became less hospitable and more weary and leery. I resent the random bag searches on the subway. I don't hate them because I am inconvenienced. I have never been randomized. I am white and well-dressed and when I am carrying a briefcase I look like a gay male secretary, not a soldier of Islam. The people who have been randomized for bag searches are usually brown or crazy-looking or acting-out.

So, when I see a package on a subway platform I ignore it.

I don't trust the law enforcement agencies motives around terrorism and fear.

I don't trust the NYPD to take proper action if I report a suspicious package on the subway.

And now I learn about this from the New York Times:
March 6, 2007
Manufacturing Misdemeanors
The New York Police Department has been going fishing. Not content to nab criminals when they break the law on their own, the department has been planting unattended bags in subway stations to see who might take them, at which point waiting officers pounce.

As NY1 News reported last week, 220 people were arrested last year in the sting, known as Operation Lucky Bag. In dismissing one of these cases, a Brooklyn judge said the police "do not need to manipulate a situation where temptation may overcome even people who would normally never think of committing a crime." This program bothers us for that and many other reasons and should be discontinued immediately.

Civil libertarians have argued that the program is entrapment. That is a legal distinction for the courts to decide, but it certainly looks like that to a layperson. It is clearly a poor use of resources. People wandering off with lost property ranks far down the list of law enforcement priorities.

There is also the question of whether the sting does actual harm. In an era of terrorism, where the police have to rely on the help of average people to notice anything suspicious — including apparently abandoned bags — the last thing New York needs are cynical operations that encourage mistrust between the police and subway riders.

And of course, there is the effect on neighborliness. It is remarkable how many people in this city are willing to track down the owners of lost cellphones, wallets or bags. Arresting good Samaritans is bad enough, but encouraging them not to help in the future through this kind of overly aggressive policing is a downright shame. The best thing to do with this misbegotten program would be to end it.

Do you trust the government to protect us from terrorism?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Actual Headlines

"Crack Found on Governor's Daughter"
"Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash"
"Expert Says Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers"
"Iraqi Head Seeks Arms"
"Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus?"
"Prostitutes Appeal to Pope"
"Panda Mating Fails, Veterinarian Takes Over"
"Teacher Strikes Idle Kids"
"Miners Refuse to Work after Death"
"Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant"
"War Dims Hope for Peace"
"If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile"
"Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures"
"Enfield (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide"
"Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges"
"Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead"
"Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge"
"New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group"
"Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft"
"Chef Throws His Heart into Helping Feed Needy"
"Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half"
"Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors"

Thanks to Gail for sending this along!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Difference Between Women And Men


If Laurie, Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara go out for lunch, they will call each other Laurie, Linda, Elizabeth and Barbara.

If Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom go out, they will affectionately refer to each other as Fat Boy, Godzilla, Peanut-Head and Scrappy.


When the bill arrives, Mark, Chris, Eric and Tom will each throw in a $20, even though it's only for $32.50. None of them will have anything smaller and none will actually admit they want change back.

When the women get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.


A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.

A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't need, but it's on sale.


A man has five items in his bathroom: a toothbrush, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel from the Marriott.

The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 337. A man would not be able to identify most of these items.


A woman has the last word in any argument.

Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.


Women love cats.

Men say they love cats, but when women aren't looking, men kick cats.


A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.

A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.


A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend..

A successful woman is one who can find such a man.


A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.

A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, and she does.


A woman will dress up to go shopping, water the plants, empty the garbage, answer the phone, read a book, and get the mail.

A man will dress up for weddings and funerals.


Men wake up as good-looking as they went to bed.

Women somehow deteriorate during the night.


A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.

A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.


Any married man should forget his mistakes. There's no use in two people remembering the same thing.


A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word. An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position.

As they passed a barnyard of mules, jack asses, and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically,

"Relatives of yours?"

"Yep," the wife replied, "in-laws."

Monday, March 05, 2007

Cherokee Nation Lowers Itself

When the Cherokee Nation was defeated in 1832, the remaining Cherokee people and their slaves were forced on the Trail of Tears and settled together as a new nation in Oklahoma. The treaty to which the Cherokee Nation subsequently agreed in 1866, included their slaves and mixed-race Cherokees as full citizens.

On Saturday, March 3, 2007, the Cherokee Nation held a special election to accept or reject a constitutional amendment that would re-define citizenship. The issue at hand is race-based: are the descendants of Cherokee slaves and mixed-race Cherokees actual citizens of Cherokee Nation?

The election results overwhelmingly supported the right of the Cherokee Nation to revoke citizenship of anyone they determined to be mixed-race or the descendants of freedmen, not pure-blooded Cherokee.

Is there anything more despicable than exclusionary race-based laws, laws that exclude certain people because of their race?

Having gotten amazingly wealthy from the profits of casinos, the Cherokees want to rid themselves of the burden of paying to support those who are least able to care for themselves, those with no voice in their Nation. Sounds so Republican!

When the Seminole Tribes pulled the same disgusting stunt in Florida, the United States government revoked their right to run casinos. Without casino income, the Seminole Nation has no economy, so they repealed their racist laws. Let's hope the Cherokees are forced to do the same thing. Until they do, everyone should boycott Cherokee Casinos.

If you are a neo-con impressed that Cherokee Nation has done this, think about it: when the Cherokees throw these 2,800 people out of their nation in Oklahoma, they will become Americans and the responsibility of the United States, so the people of Oklahoma will have to pay to support them, while the millionaire chiefs of Cherokee nation enjoy the profits of their casinos.

This is a bad thing, no matter what end of the political spectrum defines you (even if you pretend you are in the middle).

Race-based laws within the boundaries of the United States are unacceptable.

Speak-out against this terrible injustice in Cherokee Nation. Defend the 2,800 descendants of freedmen and mixed-race Cherokees. Don't let the Cherokee Nation enjoy subsidies from the United State government and the profits of casinos frequented by United States citizens.

Read this article from the Cherokee nation website:
Cherokee Nation Special Election Results

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – A Cherokee Nation Constitutional amendment restricting membership to descendants of Indians listed by blood on the Dawes Rolls has passed.

Cherokee voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the Cherokee Nation Constitution in a special election Saturday, March 3, by a decisive vote of 6,693 (77%) for the measure to 2,040 (23%) against. The amendment limits citizenship in the Cherokee Nation to descendants of people who are listed on the Final Rolls of the Cherokee Nation as Cherokee, Delaware or Shawnee and excludes descendants of those listed on Intermarried White and Freedmen rolls taken at the same time.

“The Cherokee people exercised the most basic democratic right, the right to vote,” said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. “Their voice is clear as to who should be citizens of the Cherokee Nation. No one else has the right to make that determination. It was a right of self-government, affirmed in 23 treaties with Great Britain and the United States and paid dearly with 4,000 lives on the Trail of Tears.”

Smith added that the number of voters who turned out to vote on the constitutional amendment was actually more than the approximately 6,700 who approved the Cherokee Nation Constitution four years ago.

“This was an unexpectedly high turnout, considering it was a special election with nothing else on the ballot,” Smith said. “I think that reflects the idea that this is an issue that has been close to the heart of the Cherokee people and an issue they have thought about carefully before voting.”

The special election was brought about by a petition of registered Cherokee voters, and was an historic event for the Cherokee Nation, as its first ever stand-alone election to vote on a Constitutional amendment.

Election results are unofficial until certified by the Cherokee Nation Election Commission, but percentages are not expected to change significantly.

This from AP:
Tribe slave descendants face uncertainty
By SEAN MURPHY, Associated Press Writer
Sun Mar 4, 4:13 PM ET

The Cherokee Nation vote this weekend to revoke the citizenship of the descendants of people the Cherokee once owned as slaves was a blow to people who have relied on tribal benefits.

Charlene White, a descendant of freed Cherokee slaves who were adopted into the tribe in 1866 under a treaty with the U.S. government, wondered Sunday where she would now go for the glaucoma treatment she has received at a tribal hospital in Stilwell.

"I've got to go back to the doctor, but I don't know if I can go back to the clinic or if they're going to oust me right now," said White, 56, a disabled Tahlequah resident who lives on a fixed income.

In Saturday's special election, more than 76 percent of voters decided to amend the Cherokee Nation's constitution to remove the estimated 2,800 freedmen descendants from the tribal rolls, according to results posted Sunday on the tribe's Web site.

Marilyn Vann, president of the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes, said the election results undoubtedly will be challenged.

"We will pursue the legal remedies that are available to us to stop people from not only losing their voting rights, but to receiving medical care and other services to which they are entitled under law," Vann said Sunday.

"This is a fight for justice to stop these crimes against humanity."

Cherokee Nation spokesman Mike Miller said Sunday that election results will not be finalized until after a protest period that extends through March 12. Services currently being received by freedmen descendants will not immediately be suspended, he said.

"There isn't going to be some sort of sudden stop of a service that's ongoing," Miller said. "There will be some sort of transition period so that people understand what's going on."

In a statement late Saturday, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith said he was pleased with the turnout and election result.

"Their voice is clear as to who should be citizens of the Cherokee Nation," Smith said. "No one else has the right to make that determination. It was a right of self-government, affirmed in 23 treaties with Great Britain and the United States and paid dearly with 4,000 lives on the Trail of Tears."

The petition drive for the ballot measure followed a March 2006 ruling by the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court that said an 1866 treaty assured freedmen descendants of tribal citizenship.

A similar situation occurred in 2000 when the Seminole Nation voted to cast freedmen descendants out of its tribe, said attorney Jon Velie of Norman, an expert on Indian law who has represented freedmen descendants in previous cases.

"The United States, when posed the same situation with the Seminoles, would not recognize the election and they ultimately cut off most federal programs to the Seminoles," Velie said. "They also determined the Seminoles, without this relationship with the government, were not authorized to conduct gaming."

Ultimately, the Seminole freedmen were allowed back into the tribe, Velie said.

Velie said Saturday's vote already has hurt the tribe's public perception.

"It's throwback, old-school racist rhetoric," Velie said.

"And it's really heartbreaking, because the Cherokees are good people and have a very diverse citizenship," he said.

Miller, the tribal spokesman, defended the Cherokees against charges of racism, saying that Saturday's vote showed the tribe was open to allowing its citizens vote on whether non-Indians be allowed membership.

"I think it's actually the opposite. To say that the Cherokee Nation is intolerant or racist ignores the fact that we have an open dialogue and have the discussion, he said.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 02, 2007

"Let Vegetarianism Grow On You"

Though not I am not a vegetarian, I was one many years ago. My refusal to eat meat was a rebellion and a political statement so shallow that there was no reason for it to last. That is not to say that others choose vegetarianism for shallow reasons; I am certain there are people deeply committed to values of vegetarianism beyond the political and post-pubescent rebellion I experienced.

In the early seventies, the vegetarians I met were usually hippies and leftists. Most were not very attractive. I fancied myself a hippie (but I was a punk at heart), and I am still a leftist. I am no longer a vegetarian.

Please indulge my vanity: Does eating meat make me more or less attractive than when I didn't eat meat?

Vegetarians are often skinnier than meat-eaters. In the United States, attractiveness is often equated with skinniness. It is rare that you see a voluptuous person presented as attractive. Models, actors, athletes, and others presented in the beauty market are usually trim and fit. No extra flab. The only largesse about them is usually augmented breasts or steroid-enhanced pecs. We get the occasional Anna Nicole Smith (who was pretty hot, irrespective of the train wreck she lived in). It's unusual to be presented with a woman who is rounded, curved and very female-shaped; we generally get Kate Moss (whose body sometimes seems to be that of a teenage boy, uless she removes her top and shows her breasts).

I have heard actress-models in New York discussing their diets. They often avoid meat. Salads are their choice. They are always skinny and sometimes attractive. Are they vegetarians? Do they choose salads because of the reasons that non-actress-models choose to avoid meat? Or, do they want to chew, not eschew, animals. I doubt their reasons are political or health-based. They are more likely just mentally ill, have negative body images, and eat poorly because of it.

I was a vegetarian more in the PETA-sense of it, not the actress-model sense of it. I didn't want to eat animals. I was using drugs recreationally at the time, so the drugs were keeping me skinny. It wasn't a desire to remain skinny that made me a vegetarian.

PETA is an interesting organization. Of course I want to support them because I think abuse of animals is downright reprehensible. But, I think they go too far. I don't think we should club baby seals or hunt endangered species; but, I think it's OK to raise calves for veal, and minks for clothing, and sheep for wool. Leather is an excellent material for human clothing: it's protective qualities are indisputable. I don't think we should be testing eye-liner on bunnies, but I think it's OK to breed them for testing medicine. It's all about the reasons you are using the animals, not what you are doing to them.

PETA has created some fun public relations stunts. The latest is "Let Vegetarianism Grow On You," a photo shoot of Filipino actress-model Alicia Mayer (a/k/a Alicia Bonifacio) dressed in lettuce.


Popular Filipino actress-model Alicia Mayer poses for a campaign advertisement for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) clad only in fresh lettuce to promote vegetarianism Wednesday Feb. 28, 2007, in Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Thank you PETA!

See more pix of Alicia Mayer (a/k/a Alicia Bonifacio) here.

See more PETA here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Next Survivor Series

I watched the first season of Survivor, in 2000 or 2001. I was back and forth between London and New York and Boston at the time, so there were episodes I had to watch on videotape, which friends were kind enough to tape for me.

I sort of liked it. It was different, and the scandal of a contestant on a Scandinavian edition of the show having commit suicide when he lost, intrigued me.

Richard, the gay dad, won. He was hateful. They were all hateful, but I was rooting for the girl truck-driver from the Midwest.

I have never watched the show since. It is hateful.

This morning, I received the confidential "screen treatment" or outline for the next edition. I might get in trouble for publishing it, but thought you might enjoy reading it:

Survivor Nassau*


Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.

Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.

There is no fast food.

Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of "pretend" bills with not enough money.

In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time.

Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment. He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care (weekend, evening, on a holiday or right when they're about to leave for vacation).

He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.

The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done. There is only one TV between them, and a remote with dead batteries.

Each father will be required to know all of the words to every stupid song that comes on TV and the name of each and every character on cartoons.

The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, which they will apply to themselves either while driving or making three lunches.

Each man will have to make an Indian hut model with six toothpicks, a tortilla and one marker; and get a 4 year old to eat a serving of peas.

Each man must adorn himself with jewellery, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep their nails polished and eyebrows groomed.

The men must try to get through each day without snot, spit-up or barf on their clothing.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings, but never once complain or slow down from other duties. They must try to explain what a tampon is for when the 6-yr old boy finds it in the purse.

They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.

He will need to read a book and then pray with the children each night without falling asleep, and then feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair each morning by 7:00.

They must leave the home with no food on their face or clothes.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name.

Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite colour, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.

They must clean up after their sick children at 2:00 a.m. and then spend the remainder of the day tending to that child and waiting on them hand and foot until they are better.

They must have a loving, age appropriate reply to, "You're not the boss of me."

The kids vote them off the island based on performance.

The last man wins only if he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.

If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years.eventually earning the right to be called Mother!

*Nassau County

Thanks to Anne for sending this along!