Friday, October 27, 2006

Harsh words that ring true

Wow. Keith Olbermann pulls no punches and sends a message that should be heard by all.

A transcript can be found here, as well as links to the original broadcast:

I must say, it is about time reporters started saying things like this as opposed to simply repeating the "news" given them by W and Cheney.

The ad Olbermann talks about does sound like a wild swing of a boxer who's on his last legs. Though I've been hoping that's the case for a long while and people still seem to believe in W.

Sadly, I imagine W is going to retire and believe he did such a good job as President. I wish someone would clue him in.

Update Oct. 27, 2006, 8:22pm:
Just so I have it in case the link goes bad, here's the transcript:

Advertising Terrorism
By Keith Olbermann
MSNBC Countdown

Monday 23 October 2006

The key to terrorism is not the act - but the fear of the act.

Tonight, a special comment on the advertising of terrorism - the commercial you have already seen.

It is a distillation of everything this administration and the party in power have tried to do these last five years and six weeks.

It is from the Republican National Committee;

It shows images of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri;

It offers quotes from them - all as a clock ticks ominously in the background.

It concludes with what Zawahiri may or may not have said to a Pakistani journalist as long ago as 2001: His dubious claim that he had purchased "suitcase bombs."

The quotation is followed (by sheer coincidence no doubt) by an image of a massive explosion.

"These are the stakes," appears on the screen, quoting exactly from Lyndon Johnson's infamous nuclear scare commercial from 1964.

"Vote - November 7th."

There is a cheap "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" quality to the whole thing, and it also serves to immediately call to mind the occasions when President Bush dismissed Osama bin Laden as somebody he didn't think about - except, obviously, when elections were near.

Frankly, a lot of people seeing that commercial for the first time, have laughed out loud.

But - not everyone.

And therein lies the true threat to this country.

The dictionary definition of the word "terrorize" is simple and not open to misinterpretation:

"To fill or overpower with terror; terrify. To coerce by intimidation or fear."

Note please, that the words "violence" and "death" are missing from that definition.

The key to terror, the key to terrorism, is not the act - but the fear of the act.

That is why bin Laden and his deputies and his imitators are forever putting together videotaped statements and releasing virtual infomercials with dire threats and heart-stopping warnings.

But why is the Republican Party imitating them?

Bin Laden puts out what amounts to a commercial of fear; The Republicans put out what is unmistakable as a commercial of fear.

The Republicans are paying to have the messages of bin Laden and the others broadcast into your home.

Only the Republicans have a bigger bank roll.

When, last week, the CNN network ran video of an insurgent in Iraq, evidently stalking and killing an American soldier, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Mr. Hunter, Republican of California, branded that channel, quote, "the publicist for an enemy propaganda film" and that CNN used it "to sell commercials."

Another California Republican, Rep. Brian Bilbray, called the video "nothing short of a terrorist snuff film."

If so, Mr. Bilbray, then what in the hell is your Party's new advertisement?

And Mr. Hunter, CNN using the video to "sell commercials"?


You have adopted bin Laden and Zawahiri as spokesmen for the Republican National Committee!

"To fill or overpower with terror; terrify. To coerce by intimidation or fear."

By this definition, the people who put these videos together - first the terrorists and then the administration - whose shared goal is to scare you into panicking instead of thinking - they are the ones terrorizing you.

By this definition, the leading terrorist group in this world right now is al Qaida.

But the leading terrorist group in this country right now is the Republican Party.

Eleven Presidents ago, a chief executive reassured us that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself."

His distant successor has wasted his administration insisting that there is nothing we can have but fear itself.

The vice president, as recently as this month, was caught campaigning with the phrase "mass death in the United States."

Four years ago it was the now-Secretary of State, Dr. Rice, rationalizing Iraq with "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud."

Days later Mr. Bush himself told an audience that "we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun, that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

And now we have this cheesy commercial - complete with images of a faked mushroom cloud, and implications of "mass death in America."

This administration has derived benefit and power from terrorizing the very people it claims to be protecting from terror.

It may be the oldest trick in the political book: scare people into believing they are in danger and that only you can save them.

Lyndon Johnson used it to bury Barry Goldwater.

Joe McCarthy leaped from obscurity on its back.

And now the legacy has come to President George Bush.

Of course, the gruel of fear is getting thinner and thinner, is it not, Mr. President?

And thus more and more of it needs to be made out of less and less actual terror.

After last week's embarrassing Internet hoax about ‘dirty bombs' at football stadiums, the one your Department of Homeland Security immediately disseminated to the public, a self-described "former CIA operative" named Wayne Simmons, cited the fiasco as "the, and I mean the, perfect example of the President's Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the NSA terrorist eavesdropping program - how vital they are."

Frank Gaffney, once a respected assistant secretary of defense and now the president of something called the Center for Security Policy, added, "one of the things that I hope Americans take away from this, is not only that they're gunning for us not just in a place like Iraq - but truly, worldwide."

Of course, the "they" to which Mr. Gaffney referred, turned out to be a lone 20-year-old grocery bagger from Wisconsin named Jake - a kid, trying to one-up some other loser in an Internet game of chicken.

His "threat," referenced seven football stadiums at which dirty bombs were to be exploded yesterday. It began with the one in New York City - even though there isn't one in New York City. And though the attacks were supposed to be simultaneous, four of the games were scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET and the others at 4 p.m. ET.

More over, the kid said he'd posted the identical message on 40 websites since September.

We caught him in "merely" about six weeks, even though the only way he could have been less subtle, less stealthy, and less of a threat was if he'd bought an advertisement on the Super Bowl broadcast.

Mr. Bush, this is the - what? - 100th plot your people have revealed, that turned out to be some nonsensical misunderstanding, or the fabrications of somebody hoping to talk his way off a water board in Eastern Europe?

If, Mr. President, this is the kind of crack work that your new ad implies that only you and not the Democrats can do, you, sir, need to pull over and ask for directions.

The real question of course, Mr. Bush, is why did your Department of Homeland Security even release this information in the first place?

It was never a serious threat. Even the first news accounts quoted a Homeland spokesman as admitting "strong skepticism" - the kind of strong skepticism which most government agencies address before telling the public, not afterwards.

So that leaves two options, Mr. President.

The first option: you and your department of Homeland Security don't have the slightest idea what you're doing. Thus, contrary to your flip-flopping between saying "we're safe" and saying "but we're not safe enough," and contrary to the vice president's swaggering pronouncements about the lack of another attack since 9/11, the last five years has been just an accident.

Or there's the second option: your political operatives leaked this nonsense for the same reason your political operatives put out that commercial - to scare the gullible.

Obviously the correct answer, Mr. Bush, is all of the above.

There are some of us who could forgive you for trying to run your candidates on the coattails of the Grim Reaper, for reducing your party's existence to "Death and Attacks Us."

It's cynical and barbaric.

But, after all, it may be merely the natural extension of the gutter politics to which you have subscribed since you sidled over from baseball, and the business world of other people's money.

But to forgive you for terrorizing us, we would have to believe you somehow competent in keeping others from doing so.

Yet, last week, construction workers repairing a subway line in New York City, were cleaning out an abandoned manhole on the edge of the World Trade Center site, when they stumbled on to the impossible: human remains from 9/11.

Bones and fragments.

Eighty of them.

Some as much as a foot long.

The victims had been lying, literally in the gutter, for five years and five weeks.

The families and friends of each of the 2,749 dead - who had been grimly told in May of 2002 that there were no more remains to be found - were struck anew as if the terrorism of that day had just happened again.

And over the weekend they've found still more remains.

And now this week will be spent looking in places that should have already been looked at a thousand times five years ago.

For all the victims in New York, Mr. Bush - the living and the dead - it's a touch of 9/11 all over again.

And the mayor of this city, who called off the search four-and-a-half years ago is a Republican.

The governor of this state with whom he conferred is a Republican.

The House of Representatives, Republican.

The Senate, Republican.

The President, Republican.

And yet you can actually claim that you and you alone can protect us from terrorism?

You can't even recover our dead from the battlefield - the battlefield in an American city - when we've given you five years and unlimited funds to do so!

While signing a Military Commissions Act so monstrous that it has been criticized by even the John Birch Society, you told us, Mr. Bush, "there is nothing we can do to bring back the men and women lost on September 11th, 2001. Yet we'll always honor their memory, and we will never forget the way they were taken from us."

Except, of course, for the ones who've been lying under a manhole cover for five years.

Setting aside the fact that your government has done nothing else for those five years but pat yourselves on the back about terror, while waging pointless war on the wrong enemy in Iraq, and waging war on the cherished freedoms in America;

Just on this subject of counter-terrorism, sir, yours is the least competent government, in time of crisis, in this country's history!

"These are the stakes," indeed, Mr. President.

You do not know what you are doing.

And the commercial - the one about which Zawahiri might say "hey, pretty good - we love your choice of font style"?

All that need further be said is to add three words to Shakespeare.

Mr. President, you, and that advertisement of terror, are full of sound and fury - signifying (and competent at) nothing.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

As if you needed another reason to dislike Bush

He obviously doesn't care about terrorism unless it's in Iraq, because he's consistently under-funded the fight against violence in our schools. Read this article.

Happy 5 Months!

Simone turned 5 months old today, so time for an update.

She's 65cm long, and is 14 pounds in weight. She hasn't gained any weight in the past month but has grown a little longer - and last month's growht spurt was a doozy.

Her teeth are starting to come in and she's standing with help to keep her wobbly body upright.

Monday, October 23, 2006

What it should be like

We just purchased a Mac mini. Why? Well, we have Mary's old work computer (which strained to open up word documents), the Home PC from Intel (which usable, was getting a little flaky), and Mary's work laptop (kinda slow as well). Also, with the little videos we've been making of Simone, we're needing video editing software. What better to do that than a Mac?

Plus, a mini is so nice and compact. The only reason I'd ever want a computer bigger than the mini is that I'd want a screen and keyboard to go with (which means a laptop).

It arrived today. Apple does everything so pretty. Even the protective styrofoam padding is beautifully done - all the corners are rounded. The mini is as pretty as all the pictures, and was so incredibly easy to hook up. I just plugged the keyboard/mouse/monitor/network in and it was off and running. Simple. So simple. My old tower (the home PC) was just beeping at me the other day, showing nothing on the screen, just beeping uncontrollably (well, I could control it - I unplugged it).

I'm sure the mini will have its frustrating points, but it's starting off on the right foot.

And, so as not to be too wasteful. I pulled the hard drive out of the tower and plugged it in an enclosure I picked up from Fry's. With my luck doing this kind of thing in the past, I figured it'd take me hours. Seriously. I've got bad luck and I just knew installing the mini would have used it all up.

Nope, the luck of the Irish was with me tonight. A mere 10 minutes later I had the drive up and running and was copying stuff off my laptop to transfer to the Mac.

That's when things went nuts and my laptop decided the keyboard should stop working.
Time for bed.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Quick History of the Middle East

Neat animation showing the last 5000 years of the middle east.

Not asking for presents, but...

We're not asking for presents for Simone, people have been more than generous with gifts. But, Christmas is coming up, and then she'll hit her first birthday, then she'll be asking for the keys to the car...

Anyway, Mary and I are trying to keep Simone on a strict diet of natural toys, as in those made from wood, cotton, wool, metal (she may want a dump truck) .etc.. So, please no Barbies and that kind of thing. But, where might you find toys made of wholesome ingredients? Rosie Hippo is one such place. Just an idea.

Great Short

Awesome animation (if a little disturbing) found here.

Hat tip to Ze.

Not What I Want for Christmas

But it is tempting to get for others.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rusty Nail

Mmmm... I just had a couple of Rusty Nails. I tried to become a scotch drinker way back when I finished grad school. My best friend bought me a bottle of single malt, and some other friends got me a second bottle. Well, I just finished that second bottle (still working on the first) - so you can see how much of a scotch man I've become.

Even more telling, I can really only drink scotch when combined with Drambuie (ala Rusty Nail). My grandmother used to drink Drambuie - so I can thank her for the drink.

With pretty bottle finally empty, I finished up my first batch of hot sauce that I discussed earlier. I blended it up and put it through a food mill to get rid of all the skins. It turned a vibrant red, with a touch of orange. I had added rings of a hot Jalepeno pepper - but took those out before blending. I didn't want the sauce to look like puke.

I used an immersion blender to blend it up. I remember when I first found out about that kind of blender, my roomie (Portia) had one and loved it. I scoffed at the idea that it could do a proper job of blending. How wrong I was. We use it all the time now for making pureed soups (and hot sauces). Sorry Portia, I was wrong.

I'll let the hot sauce sit for a few days to see if it changes consistency or anything. It's got a lot of air still whipped in it from the blending. But, if all goes well, I'll soon have a new kind of gift for people - it'll be a blast to make.

This first bottle is all mine though.

Friday, October 20, 2006


It looks like Simone might be left-handed. She's reaching for her toys with her left hand most of the time. The right hand comes out, but it's not her first choice.

My dad will be very proud I'm sure (he's a leftie as well).

10 Quarts

For Christmas, my folks gave me (us) a Le Creuset dutch oven (it's really nice to cook with), and Mom said she saw a 10-quart pot they sold. I said I was interested, and for my birthday, Mom gave me that. (I'm a bit of a cooking gear hound.)

Now, I have to admit, I partially wanted it because it was a big pot, and why not have a really big pot? I figured we'd use it once in a while.

Well, this fall, we've used it at least once a week. We've made chicken stock, apple sauce, a couple of different soups. It's been an awesome pot and gets more use than the dutch oven.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What's Simone Up To?

She's starting to laugh. She doesn't do it too often, just a couple times for me and Mary each. However, her soon-to-be-godmother, Patti, gets nothing but laughs. It's pretty funny.

Simone is also grabbing hair now - which gets Mary more than it gets me. The other day, Simone must have been channelling The Ultimate Warrior (a WWE wrestler), because she had Mary by the hair and then started kneeing Mary in the face. It was very comical. In fact, I think that's what Simone's special power was - making us laugh so that we couldn't do anything to stop her.

Other than that, she's sleeping a lot, talking a lot, and generally having a great time. We're very lucky to have such a wonderful baby.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


A friend at work threw a baby-shower for Simone (oh, and two other
kids born at work recently). We had it scheduled for the same weekend
as a conference for Mary (something about killing two birds).

The theme of the party was a pot-luck where you vote for your favorite
dish. I made Baklava, using a recipe handed down through the
generations, well, just one - from Mom to me. And Mom got it from a
Japanese woman. Go figure. Anyway, I knew it'd be a hit because it
always is. If I'm going to a pot luck, and I can bring a dessert,
that's what I make, no question.

Sure enough, I won. Boo-yah!

Oh, and Simone got a very nice blanket. It was very
soft, colorful, and Simone liked it very much. In fact, it was one of
the best we've ever been given. Oh, and it came from my boss's wife.
A very lovely blanket.

But seriously, we did use it this weekend quite a bit - she slept on
it one night, and has used it to keep warm in my parents (slightly
drafty) house.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Geek Humor

Governing by coding error.

if (person = terrorist) {
} else {

Yes, you have to be a geek to understand it. (click on the code for more info)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

New Look

Blogger has a beta program for a fancier blog system. Of course, I like the general look of mine, so the colors and such are pretty much the same. I can now categorize my entries, and the history navigation is much easier. Pretty nifty. Let me know what you think.

America the Free ???

A guy in Denver approached the vice president and said he didn't like the VP's Iraq policies and walked away, he was then arrested and charged with assult.
Man Sues Secret Service Agent Over Arrest After Approaching Cheney and Denouncing War - New York Times

The DA says,
“The original indication was that he had pushed the vice president. Later it looked to be that he had just spoken to him.”
That's not even believable. Do you imagine for a second that someone who laid a hand on the VP would have lasted a second before the Secret Service would have taken him down? Not a chance.

The DA is in a hard spot, his cops acted on information the Secret Service gave him, and it turned out to be the wrong thing to do. I hope the truth comes out in this case - that the VP was trying to squelch someone who disagreed with his policies.

Of course, that won't happen.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sadly, I invested money 7 years ago

As this post points out, chances are I haven't broken even on those investments yet. Whiskey Bar: Breaking Even

And, for the ones I still have, all but one are under water.

Moral of the story - don't ask me for stock advice.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Very Good Point

This little article makes a very good point about how the way a carbon emissions permit system should be set up. If it's done wrong, it simply rewards the polluters. | Europe's New Enclosure

Monday, October 02, 2006

Not that I advocate killing...

But it sure makes things easier when the gunman kills himself after wrecking havoc: Gunman kills 3 girls, self at Pennsylvania school. Just taking this guy to court would have dragged things out.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Wee Bunz Cloth Diapers

Just a shout out to the lady from whom we buy our cloth diapers. She has a ton of information, a wide variety of products, and is probably selling herself too cheap.

Not that my web page gets much traffic, but it can't hurt to link to her: Wee Bunz Cloth Diapers