The Elecktronick Tyger Roares
28 February 2006
  Today's word, class, is "flak"...
I always wondered (though not on any urgent level, or i would have found out before now) what the derivation of the term "flak" for shrapnel-type anti-aircraft (where the shells are set to burst at the appropriate level all around and among atacking aircraft and destroy them with fragments) was.

Well, while searching for pictures of a B17 that flew home after being essentially torn in half [mid-air with a German fighter], i came across the answer.

I knew that the German 88mm gun, which was used in just about every role possible for an artillery piece (Bill Mauldin cartoon -- officer interviewing German prisoners to a battered, bearded dogface eaning on his desk glaring at the prisoner currently being interviewed: "If I find the one wot invented th' 88, I'll let ya know."), was originally developed as an anti-aircraft piece, and was referred to by the Germans as the "Flak 88".

And, during that search, i came across a picture of one, captioned "88mm Fliegerabwehrkanone ["flier defense cannon", accto BabalFish] (Flak) Anti-Aircraft Gun".

And now i know.

(Incidentally, incredible as it may seem if you clcked the lionk to the photos above, the B17 referred to made it safely home and landed safely -- remember, the B17 was a "tail-dragger" that landed on main gear and tail wheel, not nosewheel. The crew were uninjured, and deplaned in fine shape.

(Subsequently three men boarded the aircraft through the side fuselage door, whereupon the tail fell off.)

(They were tough birds.)

(f course, a single F18 Hornet in full load-out mode carries a greater payload...)
  Meanwhile, in the comics, life goes on (V 1.1)
Noted without comment:

If you still haven't seen the Danish Mohammed cartoons, try here.

And, as of yesterday (2/27/06), Tank McNamara and a bunch of football players are going quail hunting. (Link only good for fifteen days.)

And, in Funky, Wally Winkerbean, recalled to active duty, flies off, leaving behind an adopted 8-year old Afghan war orphan and an (implied) pregnant wife.
25 February 2006
  Yo, man, it wasn't my fault -- she gave it to me... (V1.1)
(click painting for a larger view)

...and she's pointing to the serpent.

Meanwhile, it looks as if the lion has figured out that there's a different rule now, but the lamb doesn't seem to get it.

Encore Meanwhile, someone on-line in the group where i first encountered this says it looks as if the Lord has arrived in a Tilt-a-Whirl gondola.
  Ah, the joys of non-selective blacklists
According to the Winona (Wis) Daily News, a man named Ed Callahan tried to sign up for a Yahoo e-mail account, and was rejected, as had been his mother. Okay, he figured he wasn't the first Ed Callahan to sign up, and tried other combinations.

Nothing containing the name "Callahan" would work.

He finally figured it out:
Callahan discovered it was because his last name contained the word "Allah," the Arabic word for God.

Callahan tried using other variations of Allah, and all were rejected. However, words like 'God,' 'Jesus," "Buddha" and "Satan" were accepted.
Neither Callahan or his mother could get a response from Yahoo, so they contacted the paper, which finally got the following answer from Yahoo:
"A small number of people registered for IDs using specific terms with the sole purpose of promoting hate, and then used those IDs to post content that was harmful or threatening to others, thus violating Yahoo’s Terms of Service."
Callahan's {perhaps sardonic or sarcastic] comment on that:
"I just picture a terrorist trying over and over again trying to get an account and being foiled every time just because they can’t include that word," Callahan said.
As usual, we are being protected despite and/or from ourselves.

Nannyware that is supposed to protect our kids from Rude Words online at one time banned the official website of Foryth County in Goergia because the county seat is "Cumming". People who live in a town named "Scunthorpe" have various difficulties on line (The reason being left to the reader to determine).

One of the "Related Advertising Links" at the bottom of the newspaper's story about Callahan's experience ids for a company that supplies Patriot Act compliance software that:
...allows you to perform extensive watch list screening, industry-leading identity verification, precise enhanced due diligence research capabilities and more. Everyday, Bridger Insight is used to help prevent domestic and international crimes such as money laundering, terrorism and identity theft and fraud.

Features and Functionality that Exceed Industry Standards

* Watch list screening (20+ lists)
* Identity verification
* Customer enhanced due diligence
* Integrated multiple-vendor solutions
* Reporting and storage
* Workflow and case management
* Risk scoring, analytics and risk assessment tools
* Multiple platforms (Windows/desktop, secure
    online and software development kit)

* User access security features
It doesn't seem to mention Big Brother on the package, but i'm sure he's there somewhere.

Back to Callahan:
On his Web site,, he points out that Yahoo doesn’t prevent users from using other religious words which could be used for hate-speech. He suspects more sinister motives.

"The war on terror is becoming a war on Muslims," Callahan said. "The word terrorist now means Muslims and it shouldn’t."
And even if it did, it's no reason to start banning the name of God online.
24 February 2006
  A form of "identity theft" i can really get indignant about
Well, yeah, the kind of "identity theft" most of us think of when we hear that term is bad enough.

'50s and '60s Bands Aim to Stop Copycats

Associated Press

Doo-wop and rock 'n roll legends are asking lawmakers across the country to stop performances by some not-so-great pretenders.

There are hundreds of bands touring the country these days claiming to be The Platters, the Drifters, the Coasters or some other group from the '50s and '60s, according to the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in Sharon, Pa.

Most of them have no ties to the original artists.
"Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing. ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands; But he that filches from me my good name Robs me of that which not enriches him And makes me poor indeed."

The Bard said it.

Money is nice. You can buy things with it.

Fame is fleeting, often as not -- "Yeah, that and a dollar'll get ya a cuppa coffee..."

But in the industry, if you have your good name, you can often make money. If lousy counterfeits are out there, soaking up the money and, quite possibly, giving lousy shows and making you look bad, then you are scrod.
The Hall of Fame is working with numerous states to pass "Truth in Music" legislation. It would allow state attorneys general to stop an impostor band performance with an injunction and seek civil penalties of up to $15,000 against impostor bands and those who promote them.

Earlier this week, Pennsylvania's governor signed a bill into law. South Carolina and North Dakota now have comparable laws on the books. Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Nevada and Missouri are debating the issue or are expected to take it up soon.
If your state is considering such a bill, why not write, call or e-mail your state legislaticritters and ask them to vote for it.

If your state isn't and isn't one of the states that already has such a law in place, rattle their cages and ask that one be introduced...
Mary Wilson, an original member of the Supremes, said she knows of some original acts that can't get hired in Las Vegas. The venues would rather hire the knockoff bands because they're less expensive, she said.

"They're taking our history but they don't have our DNA," she said. "It really is a form of identity theft. It really is."
And it's a damned shame.
23 February 2006
  "Appropriate" Ads.
If you'll look upward, you'll see i have an AdSense banner on this page.

AdSense supposed to feed ads that are "appropriate" to the content of the page, and, a lot of the time, it does pretty well in its selections.

On the other hand...

I suppose most people i know would tell you i am a liberal; personally, i don't see it that way -- my opinion is that they are somewhat to WAY right of center, and that ii am somewhat left thereof.

However, i am definitely not a supporter of our current Beloved Fearless Leader, Dubya the Shrub, and i despise Ann Coulter and her ilk.

So, given that, and with two of my more recent postings being an anti-Coulter diatribe and a snide comment on the Shrub's disinvolvement in "his own" Administration, i run a page check, and what do i see up there?

I see:
I love it.

(Actually, if i had some darts, i might order the Coulter poster...)
  The White House says... (aka "Want to hear something really scary?")
Ummm, hello?

I knew the Shrub was a hands-off President (except where waging unnecessary wars that damage our image worldwide is concerned, and his fingerprints are all over that), but the last paragraphs of this story are positively scary:
Arab Company, White House Had Secret Deal

By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer

Under a secretive agreement with the Bush administration, a company in the United Arab Emirates promised to cooperate with U.S. investigations as a condition of its takeover of operations at six major American ports, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The U.S. government chose not to impose other, routine restrictions.

In approving the $6.8 billion purchase, the administration chose not to require state-owned Dubai Ports World to keep copies of its business records on U.S. soil, where they would be subject to orders by American courts. It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate requests by the government.

Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.


In Saudi Arabia, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the agreement was thoroughly vetted. "We have to maintain a principle that it doesn't matter where in the world one of these purchases is coming from," Rice said Wednesday. She described the United Arab Emirates as "a good partner in the war on terrorism."

The White House said President Bush did not know about the agreement until recently.

The AP first reported U.S. approval of the sale to Dubai Ports on Feb. 11, and many members of Congress have said they learned about it from the AP.

{emphasis added}
"The Bush Administration" made the deal, but "President Bush did not know about the agreement until recently"?!?

We're in worse trouble than i thought.
22 February 2006
  Living in the middle of history.
(click the picture for larger view)

In 1827, if you'll cast your minds back...

Someone built a "dogtrot" house near Milner, Georgia.

(For those not familiar with the term, a dogtrot house is. effectively, two small cabins side by side with a single roof spanning the gap between them, leaving an open sheltered area that a dog could trot through, hence the name.)

About fifty years later, my great-great-grandfather, a veteran of the War Between the States, who had been severely wounded in the right arm (and, incidentally, accidentally discovered for himself what is now a standard therapy for such cases, regaining at least some of the arm's use, even though the doctors had told him he wouldn't), bought the cabin and the land thatwent with it, and established himself there to farm.

(Note that, in the photo above, the original cabin is the part of the structure to the left; the original dogtrot area has been partially enclosed, with sliding glass doors, to make a sunporch.)

Somewhere along the way, an extension was added to the back of the cabin, with a door cut through into the kitchen area.

Later yet, the extension was torn down.

Great-great's children moved away, and, eventually, he was unable to run the farm himself, given his age and bad arm, so he sold out and moved into town.

And so, from about the 1890s or so, till the 1980s, one after another owner or share-cropping tenant lived in the house.

Until my mother bought it back, and began restoring it.

It was necessary to replace the chimney and do a lot of other restoration, but she found someone who could buld a new chimney as close to the told one as possible. She brought the electrical wiring and plumbing up to date, built a more solid (though concealed) foundation under the house, although she had the original support pillars the house was built on reguilt in place for appearance.

And so on.

At the same time she was living with and taking care of my grandmother, who was n failing health, so she invited my younger brother, Jim, and his wife Sally to live there rentfree in return withy helping with the restoration. (Jim also set up his pottery studio in a trailer in the back yard.)

With Nana's death in 2002, my mother spent some time wrapping up affairs and selling the house on Lake Jodeco, and finally realised her dream of moving in to the dogtrot a year or two ago.

And now she is almost finished with the ultimate part of the project -- rebuilding the rear extension to make herself a complete efficiency-type residential area for herself, so that she can move out of the single large room (effectively the ground floor of the cabin section nearest the camera, behind the red car), and reduce the strain that her living there has put on herself and my brother and his family.

It's very nicely done -- give it a couple of years to weather in and you'd probably think it was as old as the rest of the place -- and the covered walkway opens from the old door in the kitchen wall as before. It has a bathroom and kitchen facilities, and should be a good place for her to live with family to hand (after all, hard as it is for me to grasp it, she is 82 [or will be this July] and she is slowing down some).

(It's not quite complete -- i haven't seen the interior yet, actually, and they just got the sewer line in recently, so she isn't living in it yet, but she will be.)

"In Europe, 200 miles is a long distance. In the US, 200 years is a long time."

Well, 178 years and counting...
  Streets of Sorrow?
Some years ago, the Anglo-Irish folk-punk band Pogues Mahone (the Pogues) recorded a track consisting of two songs -- Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six.

Terry Woods' Streets of Sorrow was a sad and bitter lament, that concluded "I'll not return to see more sorrow/Nor to see more young men slain."

Bandleader Shane McGowan's Birmingham Six, on the other hand, was a snarling punk-tinged diatribe set to acoustic backing, averring that the Birmingham Six had primarily been arrested and sentenced on no or flimsy evidence "for the crime of being Irish in England and at the wrong time."

Six actors who appeared in a film about three British Muslim Guantanamo detainees who were held without warrant or charges for two years and then released, still without ever having actually been charged with something, might be able to provide a fresh insight into that sort of thing:

Muslims Featured In Berlinale Winner Detained on Return to U.K.

Two British Muslims featured in the movie The Road to Guantánamo, along with four actors who appear in the film, were detained for about an hour last Thursday and questioned by police as they returned to Britain from the Berlin Film Festival, where the movie had received the Silver Bear award for direction.

One of the actors, Rizwan Ahmed, claimed in a statement published in today's (Tuesday) Guardian newspaper that he was denied access to a lawyer, questioned about his motivations for appearing in the movie, and was sworn at. A spokeswoman for Bedfordshire police told the Guardian: "Part of the counter-terrorism act allows us to stop and examine people if something happens that might be suspicious."

(IMDB news item)
Hmmm. Travelling to Berlin and back to accept an award for your film is suspicious... If your film happens to suggest, perhaps, that people are being mistreated because of their faith?

It wasn't as bad as it might have been under the law cited -- again, Shane's lyric:
" Ireland, they'll put you away in the Maze; in England they'll hold you for seven long days. God help you if ever you're caught on this shore when the coppers need someone and they walk through that door..."

Frederik Pohl's SF story The Day After the Martians Came postulates that an expedition to Mars brings back ugly, bad-smelling, slow-moving, barely-intelligent Martians. Immediately, people are making all of the old ethinc jokes (any ethnic jokes) and just substituting Martians for polacks, jews, niggers, fags, etc.

After a day or so of this, someone remarks that it's not really going to make much difference that th Martians came... and an elderly black janitor says, more to himself than anything, ", sir -- gonna make a powerful difference to some folks."

Perhaps the relegation of Muslims to being the designated "strongly - suspected - until - proven - innocent" group has made a difference to the Irish in England.

Then again, considering all those years of Anglo/Irish cordiality that have gone before, perhaps not.
21 February 2006
  More Outside than In.
.I'm going to restrain my urge to actually make lengthy comment on this stuff.

I think.

This got kinda long, so here are links to some of the relevant lunacies:
Paranoid fantasies about Oklahoma City & Waco.
Paranoid fantasies about courts secretly operating under martial rather than civil law.
Slick scammers appealing to nutjobs who think the Federal Reserve isn't legal.
Channeling high muckymucks of the Galactic Federaton
Diet Smith Industries Gets New Military Contract?

Quoted without (much) comment:
The Galactic Federation would like me to express their glad tidings to all of you. They say that the coming year is to be one that will go down in history as the time when all that was dark and forbidden came to the surface and showed the people of the world the utmost promise that where there is victory there is truth.
Message from Nancy, one of the founders and operators of the "Tree of the Golden Light" website.

Can anyone please translate that last sentence from saucerese into intelligible English?

Nancy and Bob will be glad to come and speak to your group; i'm sure it's not expensive:
We are extending an invitation to all of you to write us with your requests for visits to your town. What would you like the Masters to address for you and your friends? What are the issues that you would like to have resolved? Who would you like to sit down with for a friendly visit of sharing? What would you like to learn about your world that isn’t already in the public eye?

These are changing times, in your individual world and in the rest of the world. With these changes can come questions, new directions to follow. The present unrest in the world reflects the emergence of the light in a way that will open up many avenues to freedom and peace. We can offer you some of what we've learned about the Constitution of the USA, and how it and other issues stand in today's world.

Your ideas are valuable. Your ideas are valid. Share with us your concerns and allow the Masters to address them. We will come to your town and visit with you upon your request. Contact us and we can put together a visit that will fill the premise of what you consider to be of import in your life, and what you would like to share with friends and acquaintances.

Email me at and we can work out the details in an equitable way that will be suitable for all concerned. Tell us what you would like, and we will share with you what our recommendations and fee requirements are to fit the situation and structure of the event.
They appear to be combination New Age/Saucer/right wing wingnuts.

Quoting some character who calls himself "King of Swords" on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing:
The King told me the real story behind the Oklahoma bombing that still and yet has not been brought up. Why did they bomb that particular building? The reason was that it held all the documents concerning the Waco Atrocity! Interestingly enough Chandra Levy was investigating the Waco bombing. This brings in other issues—Gary Condit who has not been brought up since the summer just before 9/11 occurred.

The King said the reason the Oklahoma Bombing occurred was to cover-up all the evidence that had been collected in that building from the Waco Outrage, which was a total failure. This happens to be the first attempt of a "coup d'etat" by our government creating a terrorist attack at home!


I’ll bring up an old issue that hasn’t been brought up since Sherman H. Skolnick reported on it. On the day before the Oklahoma Bombing, there was a jet on its way to arrest Bill Clinton for High Treason. On that jet were 20 Generals and 20 Admirals and that plane was shot out of the sky and it was reported in the back pages of the news on that day. These along with a long list of atrocities are part of Bill Clinton’s legacy including Waco! He will have a lot to answer for! Timothy McVeighy was killed to cover up for what was really going on.
One of the articles they offer on the site -- quite possibly legally copied from its original site -- is about flags with yellow fringe, which, according to the author, are a secret symbol that martial law is in effect locally:
Which flag is legal?

The international community only acknowledges the legitimacy of the red, white and blue American flag as symbolizing the United States of America. The yellow-fringed flag does not represent the U.S.A. For example, if you enter a courtroom that displays a yellow-fringed flag, that is your notice that the laws of the United States that are based on the Constitution, are not in effect at that location. Instead, the military laws are in effect for everyone within that room. This is why it matters which flag is being displayed.

Other articles to be found on the site are presented in the form of links within a frame to the original website (I am sure that people with such high regard for the law and property rights as Bob and Nancy appear to be would never vampirise others' bandwidth, and have the blessing of the website owners to do this.) -- the usual sort of right wing/militia/fundamentalist drivel:

"Living Debt Free", which explains why the Federal Reserve, and thus your mortgage, is illegal and unenforceable:
Think about the following questions, and if you can answer "yes" to any of them, LI-BO Enterprises could provide the most valuable service you will ever use:

* Would you like to know if there is fraud in your mortgage contract?
* Would you like to learn how your signature at the closing table actually created your mortgage funds?
* Would your life improve if you suddenly owed no more mortgage payments and had thousands of additional dollars?
* Would you like to have a debt-free life?
* Would you like to get a court recorded document stating your mortgage has been discharged?
Yeah, i sure would.

But i don't think it's gonna happen your way.

(Incidentally, under a separate link, Bob and Nancy reprint part of that page, identifying it as a quote but not specifying provenance.)

Bob and Nancy also channel a number of Beings -- mostly high muckymucks in the Galactic Federation, but occasional historical figures as well.
Good day my dear ones. I come to you with news once more of the impending trials of the ones who have perpetrated the crimes against humanity. With these trials there will come a great reckoning of the forces of darkness and the advances they have made in their own jurisdiction.

I AM Korton this morning, and I come in behalf of all of us in the Galactic Federation. I will present to you a timetable that is very flexible and allows for the removal of certain barriers to the cause.

These barriers as you know have been set in place every moment of every day that precedes the trials, and with these barriers, more time is gained for the public to be informed of the various leaks of information that can implicate the very ones who stall for time.

See how this works? See how they cast their lot and it comes right back to them? This is the best example of how it is to cast bread upon the waters and see the crumbs come back tenfold.

When we began this forward movement in earnest we did so because it was prudent for us to. We saw that there was to be a raveling of circumstances that could have seed in bringing the shadows over the heads of the perpetrators, and allow the public to see for themselves what has been transpiring within the ranks of the ones who claim to be duly elected by the people.
Again, is there anyone who can translate that from Saucerese?

I first found them because i was googling for info about a new lifting body/LTA concept aircraft called an Aeroscraft, and found this little beauty quoted on Bob and Nancy's site site:
Defense Contractor Leaks Details of a U.S. antigravitic
space fighter-bomber, the Advanced TAW-50

by Richard Boylan, Ph.D. | 4.18.5 rev.

A defense contractor with whom I have been in communication leaked to me details of a U.S. antigravitic space fighter-bomber, the Advanced TAW-50. Developed during the early 1990s, the capabilities of this war-bird are jaw-dropping. And the technology shows that the Defense Department did not fail to utilize what it learned combing through the wreckage of various UFO crashes.

The TAW-50 has speed capabilities well in excess of Mach 50, a number the contractor calls "a very conservative estimate." Its actual speed "is classified." Mach 1 is 1,225 kilometers per hour, (approximately 748 mph). That means that the TAW-50 is capable of moving way faster than 38,000 mph. In comparison, the velocity required to escape Earth's gravity is 25,000 mph. And yes, the TAW-50 does go into space.

The TAW-50 has a SCRAM (supersonic ramjet) propulsion system for passing through the outer atmosphere.

The TAW-50 has a crew of four. Nevertheless, the TAW-50 flies so fast that it requires computers to fly it. These were developed by American Computer Company, who derived them from its Valkyrie XB/9000 AI [artificial intelligence] Guidance series. They utilize a RISC Milspec Superchip.

"There are 180 of them in the flight control system, and 64 more in the weapons guidance system," the contractor reported.

It can carry a combined payload of glide bombs and a package of MIRV (Multiple Independently-targeted Reentry Vehicles), mil-speak for a group of intercontinental ballistic missiles, each of which can seek out and strike a different target. The MIRV pack also contains reentry-capable balloon countermeasures to make it very difficult for laser and other defense weapons to track down where the real MIRVs are and intercept them.


The TAW-50 can be refueled and rearmed in orbit by docking with the secret undeclared Military Space Station that is in orbit. (See: The entire refueling and rearming procedure takes under 10 minutes. Who mans the gas pumps? Military astronauts trained at the Secret Air Force Academy, located in the hills west of the official Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, CO.


The TAW-50 was jointly developed by the Lockheed-Martin Skunk Works (Palmdale-Helendale, CA) and Northrop (undoubtedly at their undeclared "Anthill" facility within the Tehachapi Mountains, northwest of Lancaster, CA.) Both companies have a history of development of secret anti-gravity craft at these Mojave Desert facilities.


Richard Boylan, Ph.D., LLC
Behavioral scientist, anthropologist, hypnotherapist, educator

President, Star Kids Project, Ltd., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
Sleep well, America! Your Air Force is guarding you!
20 February 2006
  Bush: "Cheney handled shooting accident situation 'just fine.'"
Bush also said critics were drawing "the wrong conclusion about a tragic accident" by saying it depicted the White House as overly secretive.

"...and you dishonor our brave troops by saying so."
  The Left Wing has long memories, too.
Bumper sticker spotted for sale on-line:

"Someone give Bush a blowjob so we can impeach him."
  If Mohammed won't come to the cartoonists...
Non Sequitur for 20 Feb 06 -- only available for 15 days, i'm sorry to say.
18 February 2006
  Lord, i can handle my enemies, but...
...please protect me from my friends.

You knew i was gonna say that, didn't you?

I thought Ann Coulter just sounded like a looney-bird looked at from my own (as i perceive it) slightly-left-of-center position.


Apparently, warning bells about having such an out-and-out venom-spewing nutjob as one of the more penetrating voices "on your side" are beginning to tinkle not-so-faintly among right-wingers.

Jeff Harrell at says:
Every time Ann Coulter gets up and calls Iranians -- or Iraqis, or Jordanians, or Saudis or Pakistanis or Yemenis or Afghans or Sudanese or whomever because really, aren't they all pretty much the same anyway? -- "ragheads," she gets the attention of people who think she's right on. She gets thunderous applause from the members of her audience who share her anger at and disgust with the Muslim fundamentalists who are presently waging their diffuse little war against civilization.

But she also attracts the attention of people from both the left and the right who think that there are better ways of expressing anger than flinging outrageous and condescending ethnic slurs around. And at that moment, she's not just Ann Coulter. She's an icon of the entire conservative movement. She is the conservative movement. When she says "raghead" live on C-SPAN in front of a sign that says "Conservative Political Action Conference," she's speaking for all of us.

And a whole lot of us wish she'd just shut up.
Of course, half the comments posted to this by his regular readers are along the lines of "Hey -- Ann's right! 'Liberal' is the nastiest insult possible and 'raghead' is what those people over there are!"

A friend of mine, some years ago, remarked that "liberal commentators are mean-spirited" and challenged anyone to find similar in the right-wing press. Several people immediately pointed out John Derbyshire's then recent National Review column in which he called for the death of Chelsea Clinton before her 21st birthday to avoid continuing "the taint". Others quoted typical rants from Hannity, Boortz and Fatso.

While he keeps insisting that liberals are evil, he hasn't made that particular claim about liberal-vs.-conservative discourse since.

In An Open Letter to Ann Coulter Physics Geek says:
Then you released Treason. That's where you started to lose me. Essentially, you painted all liberals as treasonous bastards. Listen up, Ann: I'm as big a critic of the JFK administration as anyone, but when you use a brush wide enough to paint that president, as flawed as he was, as a traitor, you've gone off the deep end.


Ann, I have to ask you: when did you stop trying to be funny and just become mean? The whole "I hope your daughter is raped to death-JUST KIDDING!" schtick is something that I expect from my political opponents, and then only from the frothing at the mouth crazy ones. Reasonable people simply don't talk that way. If I haven't made myself clear to this point, that means that I've ceased to think of you as reasonable in any way, shape, or form.

UrbanRepublican, under the heading Hate to Bash Ann But...., begins:
I have always felt that if Ann Coulter was a democrat and a man we would have another Michael Moore.
Ouch! I wouldn't have put it that way, but...

But then, i despise Michael Moore just slightly less than i despise Ann Coulter, so i try not to think about either when i can manage to do so. (or perhaps that sentence ought end "...manage to not do so." Sorry for the funky syntax.)

He goes on:
Now I am a huge proponent of free speech and believe that Michael and Ann both have the right to say whatever they want. However they both are viewed as mouthpieces for their movements and can cause people to like or dislike the group they represent.
Perhaps the phraseology " they appear/claim to represent." (either or both ways) would be better, but his basic intent is quite clear.

In that classic phrase, some of my best friends are Republicans -- or even Coulter-esque raving looney neo-cons. (Heck, DTL was a neo-con before we had a name to define the symptomology.) And some of my friends thought that Fahrenheit 9/11 was the greatest documentary ever made. Doesn't stop me from considering them friends.

But if they start to spew their hatred of The Other Side in the kind of warped and offensive terms in which Moore and Coulter engage, i tell them so.

It's about time -- past time, actually -- that some of the fighters-on-the-same-side began telling Ann Coulter-- and her left-wing equivalents, for that matter -- that they're doing more harm than good.
16 February 2006
  Can you say "Chap-pa-quid-DICK"? Sure, I knew you could.
Bush Says Cheney Handled Issue 'Just Fine'

from the Associated Press

"I thought the vice president handled the issue just fine," the president said in his first public comments on Saturday's accident. "I thought his explanation yesterday was a powerful explanation."
Well, considering his own performance after 9/11, and his declarations of support for FEMA and Brown during the Katrina crisis, of course he would.

And considering that Cheney still has his hand up Bush's bottom, moving his lips so he says the right things.

Q: How can you tell if Bush is lieing?
Cheney's lips aren't moving.

Our Beloved President seems to be a man whose initial reaction to crisis is to deny that there is a real problem, then to blame it on others and then to do his damndest to shift all of the real work to others and take all the credit for anything good that follows for himself.

(political cartoon from a few months ago -- Bush as Pinocchio with Very Long nose:
Gepetto: "How can you deny you're lieing about Iraq -- your nose is growing longer all the time."

Bush: "No it's not and if you say it is you dishonor our brave troops!")

(I remember reports of workers at Ground Zero being disgusted by his photo ops interfering with people who wer tring to get Real Work done. And, as i recall, when he did his serve-Thanksgiving-dinner stunt Over There, it was necessary to yank the troops out of bed in the middle of the night in order to be able to show live prime-time feeds of the veent over here.)

(And, of course, leave us not forget the "Mission Accomplished" banner -- claimed at first to be a spontaneous action of the sailors but actually supplied by Bush's advance men [two more lies in one banner] -- on the carrier that was held out of port extra days, delaying the sailors' reunions with their families, so that Georgie could look like the airman he might have been if he hadn'r deserted the Guard.)
Bush said it was "a deeply traumatic moment for him and obviously it was a tragic moment for Harry Whittington." He said that the shooting "profoundly affected the vice president."
Personally, i'd say it was tragic moment for our country when a Vice President who is hunting illegally to start with (granted, just a $7 stamp, but how hard is it to get one if you don't think you're above the law?) violates a number of hunting safety rules, and shoots a friend right in the middle of his International Orange (very very very bright fluorescent dayglow orange, if you didn't know) hunting vest... and then ducks and dodges around the details of the incident and tries to spin it to make himself look less culpable.

And i'd say it was a hell of a lot more traumatic for Whittington than for Cheney, and that it left Whittington a hell of a lot more "profoundly affected" -- a load of #7 shot in the chest and face would certainly have a "profound" effect on me -- not to mention the heart attack afterward.

(If one were inclined to be the sort of nasty smartass who asks such things, one might ask if Whittington knew anything as important as Vince Foster allegedly did...)

While some White House officials were unhappy about the vice president's handling of the accident, Bush did not publicly object to Cheney's decision not to make the shooting public until Sunday, the day after it happened. The president also did not express concern about the fact that Cheney did not speak to him about the accident until they saw each other on Monday.
Hmmm. Some of the more benign possible explanations that the Right produced as to why Ted Kennedy didn't call the cops immediately after the Chappaquiddick Bridge incident tended to assume that he had been driving drunk and didn't want to get caught.

Notoriously, part of the rituals observed by macho fellows who go out into the woods to slaughter tiny little birds with shotguns in order to make their own little dinkies feel bigger is to drink lots of beer.
Bush recounted Cheney's explanation of the accident. "He heard a bird flush and he turned and pulled the trigger and saw his friend get wounded," the president said.
Cheeze. If i was out hunting with a nimno who acted like that, i think i wouldn't be out there.

(I have often thought that, if i ever should go hunting, and some fool takes a shot at me while i'm standing there with rifle or shotgun in my hands, how high over his head i fire the first round depends on how closely he missed me...)

Tom Lehrer, the great musical satirist, mused on this sort of thing forty or so years ago, and his Hunting Song, sums it up nicely:
Almost every day during the hunting season you see at least one item in the newspapers about somebody who has shot somebody else, under the impression that he was a deer with a red hat, perhaps. Maybe a large flesh-colored squirrel. At any rate, it seems to me that this marks an encouraging new trend in the field of blood sports, and deserves a new type of hunting song which I present herewith.

...People ask me how I do it,
And I say "There's nothin' to it,
You just stand there lookin' cute,
And when something moves, you shoot!"
And there's ten stuffed heads in my trophy room right now:
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a pure-bred Guernsey cow
13 February 2006
  Been Gone a While. Not That It Really Matters...
Well, first my registrars screwed up my domain renewal, and i was non-extant on the Web for a week or so. (You can't move a domain to another registrar within sixty days of registration or renewal. April 15 -- sayonara!)

And now i'm trying to get Windows 2000 to deal with LBA48 so i can use the 250gig drive i got a good price on.

And now i seem to be developing an abcess on my thumb that's making typing Interesting -- it's exactly where my thumb hits the space bar.

However, i hope to have something up here by tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest -- i read some articles in Trains magazine and i'm somewhat steamed (no joke intended), so let me build up a little more backpressure and do a little research, and...

And, to fill in, probably tomorrow night, i'll be posting a couple of honest-to-Justin-Wilson recipes that i, myself, created.
06 February 2006
  Oh, please.
Came across this cartoon.

Had to discover what it was about. Well, it's fairly adequately covered at Committees of Correspondence:
Workers in the benefits department at Dudley Council, West Midlands, were told to remove or cover up all pig-related items, including toys, porcelain figures, calendars and even a tissue box featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.

Bosses acted after a Muslim complained about pig-shaped stress relievers delivered to the council in the run-up to the Islamic festival of Ramadan. Muslims are barred from eating pork in the Koran and consider pigs unclean.
Oh, help.

Of course, what i was originally looking for was this cartoon, which i had read about...
05 February 2006
  I am SO not surprised I could just moult, Part 2.
Why am i not surpised to readMichelle Pilecki's article reporting that we're doing something else wrong in Iraq and that the US press isn't properly reporting it?

I mean, we hear all the time (from the Right) how terribly left-wing-dominated the US media are, and they do spend a lot of time carping at the Prez and his men, but a fair amount of substantive stuff out of Iraq and other places gets under-reported, i guess because it isn't "sexy" enough.

So, in a post dated 4 February, blogging at

Michelle Pilecki says
US Media Ignore UN Study on Iraq 'Peace-Building' Methods Backfiring

"The United States is avoiding widely recognised peace-building processes that involve external military powers quickly creating a basic security environment and then allowing domestic peace- and nation-building efforts to succeed," says the Inter Press Service News Agency, reporting on a new book, Security Sector Reform and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, published by the United Nations University Press.
Pilecki goes on to quote from a press release quoting study co-editor Albrecht Schnabel:
Instead of stabilizing places like Iraq, international efforts to centralize power are creating a more fragile security environment than ever before ... [A]lmost three years after the toppling of Saddam Hussein, Iraq is characterized by chaos, violence and disintegration. The methods used to rebuild Iraq's security sector are simply making matters worse.
[Schnabel is a senior research fellow at Swiss Peace Foundation, and a lecturer at the Institute of Political Science, University of Bern.]

Schnabel continues:
Security sector reform efforts are only successful when external actors are able and willing to stay the course and support an irrevocable process towards security consolidation and security sector reform, and where national and local authorities are committed and able to sustain such progress once external actors retreat.
I.e., don't spend six months training miscellaneous cops and militia men, declare they're now the National Police and go home, leaving them to bnear the brunt.

Didn't work with "Vietnamisation" thirty years ago, won't work now.

And, in Viet Nam, ARVN (Army of the Republic of Viet Nam) merely incompetent, corrupt, poorly trained and afraid to fight, not factionalised an just waiting till Uncle Sam's not looking straight at it to break up into separate militias loyal to three or four different religious or political groups or leaders. Unless we get a lot better handle on things over there, we are actually training and arming the next generation of Iraqi evolutionaries and insurgents under the guise of training security forces to defend their country.

Schnabel's estimate is that "full democracy is at least 20 years in the future."

Lovely, huh?

As i understand it, the current idea is that we will withdraw most of our ground-troops (including my son-in-law, who i believe is due to rotate out of combat soon), handing that role over to Iraqi "security" forces, and continuing to provide support in various ways, including air and artillery support.

Knight Ridder reported, under the heading

US Pilots Stay Busy in Iraq
Some analysts have raised questions about how effective air power can be in a counterinsurgency war. A key fear is that Iraq's mostly Shiite Muslim and Kurdish army will use American and allied bombing missions for revenge attacks on the Sunni Muslim Arab minority, which provides most of the insurgency's fighters.

"If we allow that to happen, then in essence we'll be doing the same thing we accused Saddam Hussein of doing," said Larry Johnson, a former CIA and State Department official"We'll just be substituting one tyranny for another."
The intent appears to be that only US Forward Air/Artillery Controllers (FACs) embedded with Iraqi units will be allowed to call in strikes, but eventually, in the nature of long-term military operations, that policy is going to either be eased or simply ignored.

And in the long run, we will have deposed a secular dictatorship, one Bad Enough by any standards that it would seem Doing Something About It was a Good Thing -- but one whose individual citizens boasted one of the better standards of living for Ordinary People in the region.

And we will have replaced it with another Islamofascist "republic", run by mullahs who will base their rulings on a code almost as strict, repressive and bloodthirsty as that laid down in the Christian Bible in the Book of Leviticus.

Either our actions in Iraq are going to wind up with a net loss of human rights and political-economic in the area, or we will never be able to leave, because we will have to prop up our puppet "democracy" forever.
03 February 2006
  Rumsfeld Compares Opponent to Hitler, Automatically Loses Argument
From Wikipedia:
Godwin's Law (also Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies) is an adage in Internet culture originated by Mike Godwin on Usenet in 1990 that states:
As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.
There is a tradition of protocol in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread in which the comment was posted is over and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress.
Interestingly enough, as of 2/4/06, the last line in the Wikipedia article on Godwin's Law is:
On February 3, 2006, U.S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, during a National Press Club appearance, "likened Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to Adolf Hitler, reflecting continuing tension in relations between the United States and the Latin American government".
I had intended to expound on Rumsfeld's speech, but i guess i'll just leave it there.
  Surprise! (not)
Omigosh! You mean it's not going to be quick and easy the way our beloved President promised us it would?
Lag in Forming Iraq Government Troublesome
By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press WriterThu Feb 2, 4:13 PM ET

Iraqi efforts to form a government are only now beginning in earnest nearly two months after key elections, and the hard bargaining could take weeks — if not months — to produce a new leadership. That could delay the eventual drawdown of U.S. forces.

American diplomats are putting intense pressure on the Iraqis to agree quickly on a government to include Shiites, Kurds and Sunni Arabs, the community that forms the backbone of the insurgency.

Until a new government is in place, it is unlikely the United States and its coalition partners can move to the next step — pulling out some of the 160,000-strong multinational force.
Well, duh
If the Iraqis take the maximum time allowed for each step, it would be May before a government is in place. Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi, a Shiite widely mentioned as possible prime minister, said Wednesday he expected to finish the talks by mid-March.

However, negotiations in Iraq often move at a glacial pace, and deadlines written in the law are sometimes ignored — such as during last year's deliberations on the constitution.
When what freezes over?

I particularly like this little goodie:
The Shiite alliance, for example, has insisted Sunni politicians not only condemn "terrorism" but work actively to oppose the mostly Sunni insurgency. Sunni Arabs insist on drawing a distinction between terrorism — suicide bombs that kill civilians — and "legitimate resistance" against forces of the U.S.-led coalition.
So we are working to establish a government in Iraq that may well write it into its Constitution and/or laws that waging guerrilla war against us as we prop it up is legitimate.

On the banks of the Nile, a scorpion asks a crocodile to carry him on its back across the river.

"But you'll sting me," says the crocodile, "and it will kill me."

"Now, that would be stupid, wouldn't it?" says the scorpion. "If I sting you and you die, and sink, then I'll drown."

"Well, yeah, I guess so," says the crocodile. "Hop on."

Halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the croc.

As the crocodile is dying, he gasps out "Why did you do that? Now we're both going to die!"

And the scorpion says "What can I tell you -- this is the Middle East."
02 February 2006
  He's Old and Irrelevant. Why Bother?
Because it's fun kicking Paul McCartney every so often; i'm not sure why.

Q: What did you call a dog with wings?
A: Linda McCartney

McCartney says to the kids: "Got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is your mom's dead. The good news is hamburgers tonight!"

Hop over here and download the MMP3s of both parts of "Wings Under Japan" (1981) by the Spastic Phono Band.

In fact, you can find lotsa good stuff to download at "Paul's Ramblings".

And the man even has the large clanking brass ones to admit in public that he once worked as a DJ on Clear Channel!
01 February 2006
  Equality [?]
At first, considering the headlines, it sounds as if the DC cops were pretty even-handed. After reading a bit further, though, i wonder:
Police Remove Sheehan From Bush Speech

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer

Cindy Sheehan finally got her invitation to see President Bush again, but before she set eyes on him at the State of the Union address, Capitol Police removed her from the gallery overlooking the House chamber.

The offense: her shirt, bearing an anti-war message and other "unlawful conduct," police said.

Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq who reinvigorated the anti-war movement, was handcuffed and charged with unlawful conduct, according to Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. The charge was a misdemeanor and Sheehan was being released on her own recognizance, Schneider said.

Schneider said Sheehan had worn a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan to Tuesday night's speech and covered it up until she took her seat. Police warned her that such displays were not allowed in the House chamber, but she did not respond, the spokeswoman said.
Lawmaker's Wife Told to Leave During Bush Speech


The wife of a senior House of Representatives Republican was told to leave the House chamber during President George W. Bush's State of the Union speech for wearing a shirt bearing words of support for U.S. troops.

Young said a guard at the House chamber called her "a demonstrator and a protester."

Her shirt said "Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom."
Which troops would those be?

I am unaware of any US troops currently defending my freedom. (Or the Congressman's wife's freedom, for that matter.)

I am aware that i have a son-in-law on active duty and getting shot at.

The only troops we cuurently have engaged in action are waging a badly-run follow-up to the wrongheaded invasion of a sovereign nation, an invasion not justified by the known facts at the time, and even less so as more evidence of the lies that got us into it has come to light.


Note that the Congressman's wife is "told to leave", but "Police Remove" Sheehan.

And what "unlawful conduct" did Sheehan engage in that the Congressman's lady didn't, that Sheehan was handcuffed and charged with a misdemeanor, but Mrs. Young was not.

I didn't know that lese majeste was even a misdemeanor in the US, and that's about all the woman has actually done.

'Twould appear that Georgie doesn't like people pointing out that he's a bit lightly dressed, or, as someone once said of Brigitte Bardot, barefoot right up to his neck.

And the sad part -- and it would be funny if more than 2400 of our troops and Lord knows how many Iraqis hadn't died in the war he started -- is that he didn't buy this suit from a bunch of con men...

He made it himself, loudly insisting all along that he knew what he was doing.
My interests are broadranging -- comics, music, movies and good ol' science fiction mostly dominate. My Five Most Favouritest Films are (this week) Once Upon A Time in the West, Dark Star, O Lucky Man, Day for Night and Whatever I Watched Recently That Was Good. Currently that's Day for Night.

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Name: mike weber
Location: gainesville, Georgia, United States

Latter fifties, married, out of work (had knee surgery and haven't gotten back to work); my (step) son-in-law is back from Iraq, but a lot of boys are still over there. Support our troops -- throw the Republicans out!

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / February 2007 / August 2007 /

  • Baby pics; My [step] granddaughter.
  • Experiments in stereo (3D) imaging
  • Cowboy Mouth: Butt-Kickin' New Orleans Rock'n'Roll
  • Fairport Convention -- Pretty much the founders of modern Brit folk-rock
  • The Radio Ranch: Dick ("Chickenman") Orkin's freelance radio production facility
  • Laire of the Elecktronick Tyger -- my Web Page, such as it is. Book, movie, CD and comics reviews
  • My Amazon profile. Read my reviews. Buy things.
  • Long John Baldry: Arguably the most important force in the early days of British Blues.
  • Dark Star (DVD) -- See where George Lucas got some of his ideas.
  • Fallen Angel (TPB) Collects the first 6 (of 20) issues of the DC run.
  • Google News
  • The Nutbar Files:
  • 911: The "True" Story
  • A Typical "Moon Hoax" site
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