Wednesday, January 31, 2007

You Proabably Know This,

since you're here you must be some form of political junkie, but I'm going to remind you or rather, I'm going to let Larry Beinhart over at HuffPo do it. Regarding Habeas Corpus:

"Under Habeas Corpus, you have the right to say, I want to be brought into the court to determine if I am the right person charged, if there's an actual law prohibiting what I'm charged with, if the people who are holding me have the jurisdiction to do so, and I want that publicly known and I want the right to dispute all of that and the right to be tried too."

I was going to write my own version, but his is too succinct to mess with. Alberto Gonzalez actually told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the Constitution didn't explicitly "grant" a right to Habeas Corpus only a prohibition against taking it away. I cannot think of a reasoning process that states something does not exist and still has its removal prohibited. Mr Beinhart reasons that the government is trying to set a precedent for ignoring Habeas Corpus so they can just "disappear" people (Padilla ?) or to set up a defense that AG A. Gonzales put forth the opinion and they just acted out of good faith.

I don't think it's that deep, they want to, so it's OK to do it. No, I don't believe the President is surrounded by simpletons, but having an intellect does not mean it is put to good use. Gonzalez is a lawyer, that particular job involves the making of arguments and rebutting the other side. This does not always involve reason or truth, but it does demand at least the appearance of such. The statement made to the Committee does not even make that attempt. What carpenter is going to buy it when I tell him that I'm not allowed to take away the nails he doesn't have? It is on its face stupidity, the kind of stupidity that is uttered by a man with no place to go from where he's stuck.

These people are going to do stupid things because they're stuck. They have no place to go from where they're stuck at. (Jail would be one, but I don't think they're striving for it) The question that we need to fear is just how stupidly they will act. A large percentage of this nation are stressed: a war they don't like, an economy that's not working for them, being an illness away from catastrophe, and a President that doesn't hear them. This really shrinks the wiggle room for BushCo and some more awareness of the closing grip of government intrusion and corporate favoritism may turn it into a vise, that's when stupid can really get going. Watching very carefully is not paranoia.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

DPO Elections

Jim Edmunson has decided it's time for someone else to be Chair of DPO, he's had a long run, and can point to great achievements. This Party was in drastic shape when he started out, today Democrats hold control of both Houses, the Governorship, and most other high offices. The DPO is financially secure, urban and rural interests are considered, and infighting is minimal. I have no idea how the man managed to tolerate herding cats for as long as he did, but he's done the job admirably and deserves thanks.

I have no public stand on the race for Chair, the candidates are declaring and I've had no chance to consult with my County on the issue of Chair or male Vice-Chair. I have consulted with the County on Female Vice-Chair, Jill Thorn has my unqualified support. I've worked with Jill on Platform and Resolutions Committee, possibly one of the most controversy engendering Committees, and her management and concensus building skills made it a pleasure and success. She will be an invaluable asset in that position.

We are fortunate in the quality of the candidates, it is hard to see how we can less than well served, whomever wins. It is important to remember what a challenge it is to be the public face of the Party and still manage this bunch without losing your sense of humor, much less your mind.

Lying Liars and the Lies They Tell and ...

I don't have the quote at hand but The Dick (Vice Decider) said that we shouldn't measure past performance when evaluating present allegations regarding Iran's threat to...oh...The World.
No, Dick, we shouldn't measure you against past performance, like a couple days ago telling us about our great achievements in Iraq. We absolutely should pay no attention to the Scooter Trial and your evident obsession with smearing someone who uncovered your BS regarding Iraq nukes - you know, smoking gun nuke cloud over NY and all?

Hey Dick, in my business - of considerable less import than running the US - one lie will finish you. Maybe that's because this is a small town, word gets around and maybe it's because this is the "Heartland" you pukes are all the time going on about. You know, your word's your bond sorta place? You keep bringing up Your God, at your age with a bad ticker don't you lose some sleep about being such a liar and having to stand before Him? Nah, you don't see it, you don't get it, so you just keep on, and keep on being surprised that the public detests you. Oh, and about that bridge you want to sell, fall off it.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Minimum Sense

The House lived up to its promise and passed a nice clean minimum wage bill, raise the minimum wage, period. The Senate put one together, same idea. Well, not gonna happen that way, no siree, not in our Senate. This is the responsible outfit, the six year guys, they know better than to go off half-cocked, you gotta look it over real careful like and make some changes.

Now just exactly who has suffered from the minimum wage being stagnant for over a decade? Who is it that has benefitted from the minimum wage being stagnant for over a decade? There is a case for saying there is membership in these classes. This ought to be a part of the consideration given this matter by the Senate. Workers suffered and business gained. So the Republicans in the Senate will make sure this doesn't move forward unless business gains. Even in labor intensive agriculture, labor is the smallest single component in the cost picture. Labor costs do not become significant until you get to high cost labor which is a completely different scenario than minimum wage labor.

The Republicans want a tax credit for small business. This is laughable on two issues, the government is going broke from tax breaks and the outfits they call small business are anything but the mom and pop concerns they want you folks to think of when they say it. Tell your Senators no. Tell your Representatives no. They'll send this back to the House to reconcile the two bills, the House needs to send the clean one back, that's it, period. If the Republicans want to play stupid games, there is less than year until the Senate election games start up, they can damn well be made responsible for their crap.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

You Could Make This Up

If you were to try to write a novel about it, you'd have to look no farther than Kafka's The Trial. The NYT tells about two cases, one in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals with the ACLU challenging wiretaps outside FISA and the other in Portland, OR a civil case before Federal District Judge Garr King asking for damages for the charity al Haramain Islamic Foundation for wiretapping.

Justice Dept has asked that the Cincinnati case be ruled moot since the Dept is now 'operating' under FISA (oh sure, but we don't get to know how), that hasn't been ruled on yet. The odd part, is how the Justice Dept is operating, they are filing their court papers, in their own building, filing with themselves. The court isn't very happy.

The Oregon case is weirder still. The FBI accidentally sent the charity's lawyers a copy of the wiretap authorization, copies of that then went to several people in the US and some in foreign countries. The case resulted from that document. The FBI demanded the copies back and got them from the US but made no attempt to get back those out of country. The government even "scrubbed" the computer of a lawyer. Somehow a copy was filed with the court by plaintiffs, the FBI went to the judge and demanded it back, he refused, they insisted, it's filed in a Bureau safe room. The plaintiffs are not allowed to use the document in court. In fact, the government took the position that their memories belonged to the government. The Judge finally ruled that the document was out, memories in. One of the government's lawyers refused to disclose to the judge whether he had a certain security clearance saying that was classified, the judge invoked Alice in Wonderland. When Judge King wanted to know who the document was secret from considering how it had gotten around, Justice said, "form anybody who hasn't seen it." I kid you not.

In BushCo-land life is a strange thing, things the Constitution says the government can't take away get taken away because the Constitution didn't say specifically you have them, secrecy is the order of the day unless it's your own privacy that's bothered, no words mean what dictionaries say they mean, only what the Decider says they mean, and the Cheshire Cat is a terrorist. I'd just about bet that if you had an internet pal in Saudi Arabia you could get a copy of this super secret document, the one the lawyers can't look at, but you could never sell a novel based on it, everyone would say the premise is stupid. Life in these United States...

Did You Pass 4th Grade ?

I'm not cherry picking the intelligence (or lack), this was in the Baker City Herald Ed Page. "The Way Forward In Iraq" by James Phillips of The Heritage Foundation. I won't even screw with the quotes to make it seem dumb, I (compared to some important Deciders) will play it straight. He opens thus:

"Critics of the war in Iraq call it a diversion from the broader war against terrorism. But as President Bush emphasized in his 'SOTU' address, this view is 180 degrees off. *** A defeat there would allow al-Queda and other hostile forces to establish a dangerous base in the heart of the Arab world." There are a whole bunch of other words re-stating this premise.

There are essentially 2 forces of nasties in Iraq, al-Queda and assorted Sunni murderers and Shiite militia murderers, the Kurds just want to get on with life and business. Let's deal with nasty Shiites, they want to kill Sunnis and for Americans to get out, otherwise they don't much care about America. The Shiites are the majority ethnic group. The Sunnis used to be the big dogs, now they're not, so they don't like Americans. Then there is al-Queda and its associates, they are Sunni, they hate America and want to hurt us, they are some Iraqis and a lot of foreigners.

Now, do some simple math, the Kurds want to get on with life, they don't want to play the terrorist game and pretty much like America. The Shiites don't like Sunnis who are the minority and especially don't like al-Queda - et al who are a minority of Sunnis. So guess what? al-Queda is not going to win in Iraq no matter what. The Shiites are going to kill them, the Kurds might help with that, depending on how much they screw with their agenda. Iranian Hammas only gains in oppressed Shia communities, that is not going to be Iraq. Iran may be theologically Shia, but Iran is also Persian and you have to be as stupid as BushCo to confuse Persians and Arabs, Iraq is Arab.

BushCo just cannot seem to get the idea that Arabs have long memories. They're still hot about the Crusades, well now since GeorgeII doesn't like to read maybe he's never heard that Persia has been an Empire more than once and was rude to Arabs every time. Last time around was the Ottoman Empire, the Arabs didn't much like that, either. Religion doesn't trump everything with that bunch, Jews should be evidence enough that they're racist bastards to the core, Persians ain't Arabs, Jews are closer to being Arabs.

So if you managed to get out of 4th grade (public school) you can add and subtract and you get - no al-Queda in Iraq if it's left to its own devices. You also don't get Hammas (who have never threatened the US).. You also don't get to own the oil. Neat, ain't it.

This guy Phillips has a bunch of titles and probably gets paid pretty well to write stuff this easy to debunk. But it's not about reaching those who think, it's about repeating the BushCo dogma for the true-believers.

Just so it's clear, the Herald is pretty darn balanced on its Op Ed page.

Have Some Fun Tonight

I've been sick with the flu and then horridly busy and still sick trying to catch work up, so no posts. I fell a little better and wanted some fun.

Libby trial.

How's this for fun. - Libby Trial. Ahahahahahaha!

When there are too many rats, they practice cannibalism - rodent rats that is. Makes you think.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

And I Give A Rat's Patoot?

I sit at a keyboard and have my little say, it's opinion, sometimes it's the relation of facts, but nobody asks me to write for WaPo. I'm not real confused about why, my really big political achievements amount to getting a gun rights related resolution passed by DPO and a not real well received run for the OR 02 CD Dem Primary. Now that's not related particularly to my intelligence or political acumen, it's just not a real impressive resume for a national audience.

So why is that the WaPo is carrying Liz Cheny's little screed "Retreat Isn't an Option?" Maybe it's the part where you're impressed by who her father is. Hey, my daddy's an important guy, I got a job with the State Dept, you know I got it because I'm really qualified. I suppose the next thing is we get to hear how Barney feels about Iraq... We now know Liz can parrot Dick. You can find her Bio and see if it contains anything that nepotism didn't confer on her...

Can you think of a good reason to give a rat's patoot what her opinion is? Jeeze, I hope Hillary pays attention to it, I don't like her, either.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Non-SOTU

I got home from work after the thing had started and I tried to watch it. No, really I did try. It didn't work, he didn't pay any attention when I yelled at him and those people kept clapping while I fumed. I kept thinking, 'I've spent perfectly good money for a big screen, HD, and good sound for this??' until finally I lost my mind and went out in the 20F weather and brushed Gus the Pyrennes. He needed it and there was long white hair flying everywhere - I needed it too.

So if you're looking for succinct commentary on George W Bush's State of the Union 2007 speech here it is:

He pissed me off.

there's a surprise

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Jan 18, 2006 Sen. Judiciary Committee

GONZALES: Well, sir, the fact that they may have talked about the constitutional right to habeas doesn’t mean that the decision dealt with that constitutional right to habeas.

SPECTER: When did you last read the case?

GONZALES: It has been a while, but I’ll be happy to — I will go back and look at it.

SPECTER: I looked at it yesterday and this morning again.

GONZALES: I will go back and look at it. The fact that the Constitution — again, there is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution. There is a prohibition against taking it away. But it’s never been the case, and I’m not a Supreme —

SPECTER: Now, wait a minute. Wait a minute. The constitution says you can’t take it away, except in the case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus, unless there is an invasion or rebellion?

GONZALES: I meant by that comment, the Constitution doesn’t say, “Every individual in the United States or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right to habeas.” It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except by —

Is there something I can add?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tired Of A Name ?

I've made it pretty clear the I'd have preferred Hillary Clinton to have remained a NY Senator, period. They have their ideas and they seem to like her, since they elected her, but that's it, they like her. Well, NY and the Corporate Media minus Faux like her and even Faux has been going on forever about how she's a lock. She sure does have two things, money and name recognition. How about a voting record Democrats would like? I don't even mean the "looney left" like me, I mean Democrats.

I'll start off with the derailed locomotive of politics, Iraq, some folks have admitted to making a mistake there, some folks never made a mistake there, and Hillary? Try tracking the national polls on the subject and setting those beside her stands right afterward. I can barely get along with the idea that intelligent well-informed people went for the lies, shortly thereafter the lies became transparent, not Hillary.

Civil liberties rank a touch higher in my considerations, not because I minimize death and destruction, but because you'll play holy hell getting them back once the government has gotten hold of them, but I'm playing this card second. Check Mrs Clinton's votes in this regard. Not so hot. Then toss in her public statements regarding gun control, she'd like very much to stomp a mud hole in that particular civil liberty. For those of you enamoured of that stance, I'll just point out to you, once again, that BushCo's arguments and yours are identical and that should inform your philosophy. (if you feel insulted, ask yourself why)

Regarding guns and elections, Kerry would have won with a decent chunk of the middle politics gun owners. He didn't get it, Hillary won't either.

This is the lady who took such a beating over health care, but take a look at her stances regarding corporate advantages. Let's just take a look at her stance on illegal immigration amnesty and just how interested she is in holding employers to the law regarding hiring, can you get any deeper in the corporate pocket? Fine, lose the rest of the picture, but who do you think has been making money hand over fist off the backs of the serfs? She and her allies aren't trying to be nice to the poor oppressed brown people, they're playing to their corporate sponsors, if you get sucked along for the ride, that's wonderful for them.

On the topic of the health care debacle, she didn't get her head handed to her for working on health care so much as she got whacked for doing it in secret. There's a road I want to go down again. The loon right has its opinions on the matter, but the wide spread push back was over the secrecy. You are conveniently supposed to forget this stuff.

If you're on this page the chances that you're a fan of the DLC are pretty small. She's their darling. If you're wondering a little about that comment, consider where the dust up with DNC and DLC started and think a little about why it started. Hmmm, who is the corporate wing of Democratic politics? Just to pile on DLC a little harder, they try to take credit for the '06 election results, but a close check of election results makes that claim entirely specious.

I've run for office, it's a really trying exercise. There are a lot of aspects to it that aren't much of any fun at all, you have to do them, but nobody in their right mind would like it. Getting out and meeting people and having your say are actually the fun though defending yourself from preconceived notions and false claims are aggravating. The point is that this is a lot of hard difficult work and requires a real drive to win at it, so what's at the bottom of that drive? Is it to take a real good shot at improving your fellow citizens' lives or is just the ego thing about power? If playing in that league involves a policy agenda then you're going to have to push hard for it, no matter what you try, it is going to get watered down and compromised in some form before it gets through. If you start out the process most of the way over to the "other guy's side" that diluting process is still going to happen, triangulation is nonsense, that's what happens by the time it's done, not where you start. Hillary is proud of her triangulation, she should be ashamed of it.

If you're wondering who is a good model for triangulation, look no farther than GWB circa 2000. He worked that really hard, remember "compassionate conservative" and "uniter" as mantras? What we've found is that the citizenry can go screw itself, power and plutocracy are the name of his game. People noted that GeorgeII had good Conservative credentials and a good record of working with TX Dems, and Hillary seems to be getting the play of good liberal credentials and working with R's. BushCo wasn't Conservative, he was a small "c" theocrat and big "C" corporatist and in the end, a power junkie. What exactly are Hillary's liberal credentials? They don't exist as a record, they exist as an image.

As a hard working DPO I'll make myself clear, if she wins this Primary I might vote for her, depending on what kind of idiot the RNC runs, but I won't knock on a single door, pick up the telephone, or cough up $0.02 for her. I'll work my butt off for OR candidates, but that piece of political work can go hang. If you're wondering, I'm DPO and I wouldn't work against her in a General Election. Oh; about the name, that's a stupid reason to vote for or not, almost as meaningful as her gender.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Know Anybody Like This?

I don't write like this:

Sociopathy is chiefly characterized by something wrong with the person's conscience. They either don't have one, it's full of holes like Swiss cheese, or they are somehow able to completely neutralize or negate any sense of conscience or future time perspective. Sociopaths only care about fulfilling their own needs and desires - selfishness and egocentricity to the extreme. (...)Everything and everybody else is mentally twisted around in their minds as objects to be used in fulfilling their own needs and desires. They often believe they are doing something good for society, or at least nothing that bad. The term "sociopath" is frequently used by psychologists and sociologists alike in referring to persons whose unsocialized character is due primarily to parental failures (usually fatherlessness) rather than an inherent feature of temperament. As Stout (2005) indicates, it only takes three of the following to be defined as a sociopath, and some common sociopathic traits include:

List of Common Sociopathic Traits
Egocentricity; Callousness; Impulsivity; Conscience defect; Exaggerated sexuality; Excessive boasting; Risk taking; Inability to resist temptation; Antagonistic, deprecating attitude toward the opposite sex; Lack of interest in bonding with a mate

Oh there's more

I'm not going to say a thing.

Here's Your Sign...

OK, that's a redneck comedy line, here's your prize #2,000, public recognition. Oh, it's not much, but it's surely the least I could do...

***********************************Ta Daaa******************************************
74.36.243
You are #2000 and you're from the great city and state of.......Somewhere in the Central Time Zone - Unknown?
You accomplished this feat at 3:43 PM PST, 5:43 your time and you got to us courtesy of us.f.590.mail....... and left us via my profile. More Cigarette Taxes caught your interest, I'm sure Oregonian cigarette prices are relevant on the other side of the Rockies somewhere. You really didn't leave much of a trail and I'm just shuckin' ya. Next time I hope something a bit more interesting catches you. Thanks for stopping by,
Chuck for ...


I know...but it's Sunday, I'm sick - flu - and I'm bored

Chavez - A Bit Odd

Hugo Chavez has asked the Venezuelan legislature for some powers that State Dept spokesman Tom Casey described as, "a bit odd in terms of a democratic system." These include removal of the 2 term Presidential limit and allowing him to rule by decree for 18 months. He didn't seem to think much of the criticism, the US should, "go to hell," and Condi is "my little girl." I'm surprised, though, that Hugo and BushCo aren't bosom buddies and downright astonished at the "odd" comment by the State Dept. After all, BushCo has ruled by decree for 6 years - see signing statements - and hasn't bothered to ask the legislature to let him violate the Constitution with laws, in some cases, and in others has gotten blatantly un-Constitutional laws passed. Maybe it's a money thing, who has it and who is losing it, that's probably it.

The bone of contention between these two isn't a philosophy of government or the importance of having enemies and stirring up fear and loathing in the public, it's all about money. Oil Money. Just think, all this ideological furor is just about money. Oil Money. You'd think there was some big connection with our government. I think maybe I'm too left to have any use for either of them.

Racist or Something 24

I've never watched this show. I've never watched it because I don't care to have Fox trying to scare me with fiction when I've got all this reality going on. Reality that's almost completely divorced from this show's premise.

CNN has an article up from AP about a Muslim organization, Council on American-Islamic Relations, that is quite upset with Fox and 24 for their depiction of terrorists who, this time, happen to be Muslims. I won't bother you with the show's disclaimers about using other groups, this is a thriller show with various villainous groups trying to do, I gather, very bad things to Americans. Oddly enough, the complaint isn't that the show is sensationalist crap built on tragedy and horror for the benefit of profiteering war mongers, no, the problem is that the villains are identifiable. Keeeerrriiiiipes....

No, I'm real far from being a PC sort of guy in this kind of thing, I value people by their behavior - first their actions and then their speech - so trying to get my knickers in a wad because the villains in a piece of fiction happen to belong to a group pretty similar to ones actually dedicated to harming the US is plain stupid. Fiction about gangs tends to have Hispanics followed by Blacks as the gang members, prison fiction tends to have large minority representation, oddly enough reflective of demographics. It is pointless to turn around and tell me how peaceful a religion Islam is, there are Hispanic and Black surgeons also, so what?

If these CAIR folks are serious about this, rather than fund raising, they should be actively kicking BushCo's butt. This fear and paranoia is a direct outcome of those people. OK, Fox is a piece of work for trying to capitalize on it, but what exactly were Hill Street Blues, Homicide, et al all about? I didn't notice that the influential movie Mississippi Burning had Black KKK'ers, seemed to be a bunch of white guys. Hey, anybody notice that the Democratic Party of Oregon has a Gun Owners Caucus despite the knuckle dragging GOP'ers image of firearm owners by some "liberals." You know what, there are knuckle dragging GOP gunowners and they're fair game.

Here's the point, if you belong to a group that has some bad actors it's pretty disingenuous to act as though having them portrayed as bad actors is bigoted. If you're afraid to go to the store, it's about something a heck of a lot more insidious than a TV show, like a government based on hate and fear.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Another Milestone?

The sitemeter went on at the end of August 2006, by December 12, 2006 it recorded the 1,000th hit. Some time Sunday January 21, 2007 it will hit 2,000. The sitemeter claims a daily average of 37 hits, I generally look - I like to know where you folks are coming in from and what you seem to care about. I'll address those things, though I write about what I care about. The main blog is hit most often, but so my lefty readers know, the second most hit is from word search for "stagecoach shotgun," and third is - for some odd reason - "fancy words." I addressed the poor pictures and light writing regarding stagecoach shotgun, but I have not a clue what "fancy words" is all about. I did a Google, there's not much, a couple writing style pages and me. I'm pretty darn sure my article isn't what they're looking for, so? And worst, this one's really international, I'm disappointing people from all over the world.

Maybe I should give a prize to 2,000, I don't know. Sitemeter is an odd affair anyhow, I know it doesn't register hits that came from a server with the site cached and there seem to be some other ways in that don't register. Makes little difference, what it says to me is that some people get enough out of what I write to stop back in, that's gratifying. I'll be honest, the stuff that takes you two minutes to read took a lot longer to put together, I'll look up at a clock and realize that a few paragraphs have eaten an hour, not all writing, checking source materials, re-reads for stupid constructions (yes, I miss them sometimes), and finally to determine that I actually meant what I wrote, sometimes an article is just a total loss and goes away. There are a few that I've read again after a couple weeks that should've gone and didn't - oh well - you get this free.

I don't get puffed up, there are plenty of sites that do thousands per day, there are plenty with better writing, and there are plenty that are better sourced. I'm ranked 649,000th or something like that in links, so I'm not changing the face of the "blogosphere" or even registering on it. But, you know what, this is fun for me. I get to practice at something I like for a live audience that can't throw rotten veggies at me. I don't know that I've ever persuaded anybody, but maybe I've provided a little jog to their thinking or at least some amusement for a few minutes. I get to have a say about things, I get to publicly push back without having to stand on a box in the park, and jeez, somebody pays attention. No, 2000 isn't a big meaningful deal, but it does give me a chance to thank you folks for the validation of showing up. THANKS

Remington Stagecoach Shotgun, Hammered Side by Side

Due to the large interest demonstrated by the site meter I decided to put up something a bit more detailed about a "coach gun" with better pictures. This is a Remington Rockledge Model SPR220H. It is the top model in all walnut stock hammered sided by side in blued steel with screw in chokes. It uses 2 3/4 inch 12 gauge shells, has a top sliding safety and breaks down. Left click pictures for full size.






This is a Russian built - IMZ&P - short light double barrel shotgun and it kicks like a mule. I am of medium build and it fits well and comes to point quickly with enough stock rise for my somewhat long neck. The fit and finish are excellent, moving parts are smooth and their action is crisp. There is no take up or sloppiness in the triggers. The sliding safety sets to safe automatically when the gun is broken open and closed. The stock's walnut figuring is nice, checking is sharp and clean. Assembly from broken down is simple, the barrels/receiver to stock fit is quite tight but straight forward, the fore end has a lever lock attachment which allows the fore end to block the barrel into the stock.
The hammers are the cocking mechanism, they strike external firing pins. Decocking is accomplished by breaking open the shotgun, moving the safety to fire position, and releasing the hammer with the trigger while holding the hammer with your thumb. Closing the shotgun sets the safety to safe, each hammer must be cocked to fire its barrel and each barrel has a separate trigger, front is right, rear is left. The instructions clearly state, one finger-one trigger, fingering both triggers risks double fire. The screw in chokes come in full, improved modified, modified, improved cylinder, and cylinder and are available in both lead and steel shot chokes. The gun should never be fired without a choke tube installed. The choke tubes walls are quite thin and care must be used in handling them.
The shooting season ended before I had a chance to do much shooting with it but I am impressed. Delivered this model runs about $500, it is available in a number of configurations of varying prices.

More Cigarette Tax

This would be a great time to tell you what a great idea additional tax on cigarettes for children's health care is ... not. Health care for children is a great idea, over due, as is some form of universal health care. Not just great ideas, wonderfully, stupendously, awesomely great ideas. Paying for them with additional cigarette taxes is errant nonsense. These are Oregonian's children, not cigarette smokers' children. On a pack of Camel straights @ $5.00 the tax is 24% of the cost, that's not the tax rate which is 31% and that is on top of the federal taxes. I mention Camel straights because I smoke 1/2 pack/day of them.

I make no claim that cigarettes aren't bad for your health, they absolutely are. There are some real basic problems with some of the claims, but that's small change. It cannot be shown that those costs are not recovered over time, there certainly are some issues about aging vs not that get lost. Even that is not the point. The point is that cigarette smoking has not squat to do with child health care. Yes, you can impose that tax by vote on a minority that hasn't enough votes to challenge it, because you can do something does not make it right or reasonable. It might not bother anybody that most smokers make less than the median income, but it sure seems an odd way to be progressive.

People make "fairness" claims about the social and health costs posed by cigarette smokers, as though voluntary choices like that only include smoking. Maybe those advocates would be well paid to take a look at the consumption of alcohol when they bring up those kinds of costs. It does pose a bit of a problem for the cigarette agenda, smoking pales in comparison. The single greatest hit in those costs is ... alcohol. Yes, there's an elephant in the living room and nobody notices. As far as personal health goes try on liver damage, brain cell death, nerve damage, esophagus and stomach damage, lowered immune system, circulatory damage, and pregnancy issues, then move onto mental health issues, including verbal and emotional components, neglect, irresponsible behaviors . From there add in car crashes, falls, assaults, lost work days. Then go take a look at the prison system and find how many crimes were committed under the influence. This stuff is advertised on TV and in magazines and its use is glorified, yes, in front of children. What works for alcohol is much better lobbying and advertising and a much larger constituency.

*Further disclosure* I don't drink, I haven't for almost 19 years, I do know something about it.

Do I want to duck responsibility for my smoking habit? No. I've smoked for over 35 years, though, and I'm healthier than the majority of the population and you'd better be in outstanding condition if you want to keep up with me. Since I can't afford to retire you don't need to worry about taking care of me in old age, besides I like my work.

If we're going to take on progressive ideas and institute policies on those ideas, let's do that exactly, do progressive things in a progressive manner. I'm sorry Gov. K. this idea sucks, but I voted for you and still would.

Blue Oregon is having a nice argument and they even have a poll. I don't like the idea over there either.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ideological Purity

David Sirota writes in the San Francisco Chronicle that there is a real problem with people in power not owning what they said about the Iraq War, this is certainly true. He holds John Edwards up as an example of how it should be done - I made a mistake and I regret it. He goes on to note that there definitely is a massive case of CYA going on. This is where it gets sticky, why is this going on?

We all know why the President of the US would state that he never said, "Stay the course." It's politically stupid to do it, but he does have the semantic dodge of what course he was talking about, Nostradamus works well in that respect. There is however the matter of pundits and other pols who beat the warm drum enthusiastically. It is now a generally unpopular stand to take and those who take it publicly will be held to account for that stance. There is such a thing as Conservatism that isn't about god, gays, and guns; I don't subscribe to the philosophy but one of its tenets is military adventures aren't to be done. That used to be a Republican deal, but ideological purity requirements of the past decade silenced that. The political price to be paid for opposing the Iraq adventure on philosophical grounds outweighed principle. You weren't pure in the Bush ideology.

The responsibility for this falls on Parties and voters. Politicians can count. If philosophy loses to Party line the fault is not solely the Party's. This notion of ideological purity driving political discourse is harmful to Parties and to national policy and Republicans are not the only guilty party. There are, of course, issues that in voter's mind's trump ideology. Joe Lieberman is an example, his stance on Iraq cost him the Democratic Primary despite the rest of his political stances. There does, however, remain a blindness to policy and reasoning due to ideology. I will make a personal argument in this arena, I am intimately familiar with it and thus competent. During the Democratic Primary for OR 02 CD I set up policy statements and my reasoning for them, The Oregonian took those and attributed "the most conservative" of the candidates to me. As far as I can tell, there were 3 policies that contributed to that, strong support of the 2nd Amendment, opposition to illegal hiring/illegal immigration, and a stance that one size fits all environmental regulations is doomed. Now I'd be real surprised to find that conservatives exactly agree with my rationales for those stands, they are in fact based on hard left politics. Anybody that hasn't gotten the idea that I regard the 2nd as the final block against people like BushCo hasn't paid attention - and yes, I regard that bunch as exactly that dangerous. Sounds left to me. Illegal hiring crushes labor - I oppose fervently any actions to debase labor, and I don't mean just organized labor and in the 1920's that would've gotten me arrested. I'll fight the establishment of, enhancement of, and enabling of a plutocracy in this country tooth and nail and serfs are a part of that. That's damn left. Environmental policies that are created with the one size fits all philosophy are doomed, public backlash will occur and the very people you need to be partners become enemies. I want success in that arena, long term meaningful success. Left again. That is not the measure that was taken of me as a candidate. I failed the ideological purity test on the surface. Drivng drag cars fails completely.

Reasoning and motive become buried under simplistic labels, the fact that racist xenophobic nutcases oppose illegal immigration has nothing to do with the matter as far as the health and well being of labor is concerned. It certainly is not progressive politics to oppose something on the basis of race, neither is it progressive to participate in the oppression of labor. Pay attention. The fact that the NRA seems to have fallen in bed with some of the worst aspects of the Republican Party has exactly not one thing to do with owning firearms. The fact that Sen Chuck Schumer (D) sees a difference between interfering with the 2nd and interfering with the 1st does not make it progressive to do so, it is in fact absolutely oppressive to restrict liberty. It is not reasoning to ignore contradictions in the name of ideology, it is the pursuit of ideological purity that you've been told exists.

Do the Hillary Clintons pass ideological muster? Certainly on name alone, debate ceases if the surname and (D) becomes all important. The question really should fall on the balance of policy statements, their reasoning and their motives. The timing of her opposition (post mid-term) to Iraq is suspect in my eyes, her stances on gun control have shown no reasoning in light of the Constitution, in point of fact I find her very nearly the most poll driven pol I've seen. I cannot find a single iota of respect for labor in any of her stances beyond the minimum wage and that has yet to play out. Do I find Hillary's ideological purity in question? Not really, I have no idea what her ideology is by definition of action. I don't care if it doesn't look ideologically pure, I care about the outcomes and the reasons for them. Ideological purity is all about appearances and those who'll pass its muster should be deeply suspect. If you've 'stuck your foot in it' apologize for it, state why you were wrong then and why you're right now, people will take the measure of that and make an informed decision. If you're right, stand up for it, the heck with how pure it looks.

Sweeping Up Mouse Turds

There's been quite the dust-up between Spocko's Brain and KSFO/ABC Radio/Disney going on for the last month. I reported just a touch of it and it's gotten more interesting as time has gone by. Spocko's Brain set off Disney by recording some clips of KSFO radio "hosts" doing their right wing blather, blather that contained some pretty inflammatory speech, stuff I'm not going to repeat past noting that it involved lynchings, requiring Muslim blaspheming of callers, slightly veiled assassination threats and sending it on to KSFO advertisers and asking if that's what they intended their brands to be associated with. Disney's lawyers filed a Cease and Desist on copyright grounds and intimidated Spocko's blog host into shutting him down. Keep in mind that these were clips of radio broadcast.

Enter Daily Kos and Mike Stark to stir the pot. Mike got copies of the clips and distributed them to any who wanted them and a list of KSFO advertisers. Bloggers came out of the woodwork and began doing Spocko's gig for him. Electronic Frontiers Foundation began doing free legal work for Spocko and he found a Blog host who'd put him back up. The current toll for KSFO in advertising is confirmed as : Visa, Master Card, Bank of America, FedEx, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Some of the bigger players attracted to this dust-up are: San Fransico Chronicle, Media Matters, CBS KPIX, Atrios, Americablog, EFF, and a heck of a lot of other bloggers.

KSFO's Melanie Morgan claimed this has all gone through Media Matters since Spocko has been "joined by some very dangerous and frightening fringe-left groups in this country." She accused Spocko of using "these audio clips which are out of context, old, or in some cases just outright lies," without bothering to explain why age or context had anything to do with their nastiness and how exactly their clips were lies. Is this Orwellian enough language to bring to mind another right wing *******, the President and Co.? Online Media gets what's happened just so by noting, "Disney is now left with the option of playing a virtual game of "Whack A Mole," as the Rodent Empire's lawyers will need to slap citations against a series of sites as swiftly as they pop up." KSFO doesn't seem to be able to get it, yes, you can say what you want up to pretty extreme limits, but that doesn't mean that you can't get slapped for it. By a bunch of people who pay perfectly good money for you to do it.

Disney/ABC jumped all over the BushCo bandwagon awhile back, just about in time for that star to begin to slip. Now you have to wonder if Disney's family friendly brand being linked to hate speech is a real good business move.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Yippee, FISA Win, Or Not ?

Alberto Gonzales stated that the Administration was putting NSA's wiretap program back under FISA in an "innovative" arrangement. The Justice Dept strongly suggested that the warrants it received last week were individual in nature but refused to disclose much of anything. He continued to argue that the Admin's warrantless eavesdropping was legal.

It should be noted that there are hearing scheduled and a court case still pending regarding the NSA spying. A Justice Official said that they would file with the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati to have the case mooted. The current hearings in the Senate, Thur & Fri (possibly) are getting pretty much the same treatment previously offered, no specificity, Republican crappola propaganda, and Democrats getting exactly nowhere in determining what is actually going on. Corrente Wire is attempting to Blog live from the Senate, this means no transcripts but essentially commentary or analysis.

No Democrats seem to be happy that this state of affairs has existed for 5 years and has included 13 months of debate since NYT disclosed the existence of the program. What seemed to tick off Grassley (R) and Hatch (R) is that the Times disclosed and the existence of whoever the leaker is. No no one seems to be able to get Gonzales to cough up with a reason that the Admin didn't consult with Congress and he's continued to hold the line that FISA was not fast enough or nimble enough. Fast enough may be a debatable point considering the 3 day window allowed, but nimble is the worrying aspect. What nimbleness is required for judges of that caliber to understand an Act and the 4th Amendment to the Constitution? Let's remember that these people are supposedly suited to sit on a Federal Secret Court.

The NTY closes its piece A Spy Program In From The Cold with the line, " This administration long ago forfeited the public trust on these issues." Since this paper published the original story they have some ownership of it and they seem to be dissatisfied with the result the Admin has come up with. They'd still like to know what's going on, actually, and how things got to this pass. Because the NYT is putatively a reputable paper they won't just state what is obvious to many, this happened because the GWB Admin gives a rat's patoot about the Constitution and did what it could do given the craven Republican Congress and scared spitless public.

These mewling excuses for citizenry do not actually care about the rule of law, not any farther than it affects their current hobbyhorses. If the NSA dust up had included something positive for gays or separation of church and state somebody would've gotten lynched. I am not satisfied that this is anything more than a political ploy, that nothing has changed, this is the same bunch doing the same thing the same way. I'd keep an eye on this.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Prosecutorial Bloodbath

Seven Federal Prosecutors have been fired/resigned before their terms expired over the last month. Talking Points Memo has several stories about this. Apparently some of these prosecutors have been investigating Congressional and White House corruption. These folks:
"
San Francisco - 1/16/07 - Kevin V. Ryan - unclear
Nevada - 1/15/07 - Daniel Bogden - pushed out
San Diego - 1/12/07 - Carole Lam - pushed out
New Mexico - 12/19/06 - David Igleslias - pushed out
Arizona - 12/19/06 - Paul K. Charlton - unclear
Seattle - 12/15/06 - John McKay - unclear; likely pushed out
Little Rock (Ark.) - 12/15/06 - Bud Cummins - pushed out "
*from TPMmuckraker

They are being replaced without Congressional approval through a section of the "Revised" Patriot Act. Some of us have been wasting good bytes complaining about this particular piece of treasonous crap. Isn't it just plain astonishing what you can manage with a lick-spittle Congress and a pants soiling frightened populous. Somebody should've thought of this idea before - oh, they did.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

How to Win in Today's Media

If you're curious how being a commentator on the run up to the Iraq war and being wrong, or right, works out for you, Radar has just the thing for you. Don't expect to be encouraged.

Scapegoat ...Aaaaaaggghhhh!

The President of the USA told 60 Minutes in an interview that if Americans wanted a "scapegoat" he was it. There have been "things that could've been done better" and if we need a scapegoat he'll take it on for us. My head exploded.

I like Webster's 9th New Collegiate, it's not the best but they do get to the point fairly quickly and are accepted:

scapegoat - 1. *biblical, never mind* 2. a: one who bears the blame for others b: one that is the object of irrational hostility

If Merriam Webster take these people in the White House seriously they're going to be publishing an entirely new type of dictionary, one with meanings optional. They'll just spray words at a page and you get to pick what you like.

Now if you can explain to me how exactly it is that the Commander-in-Chief, you know, The Decider, is bearing the blame for someone else regarding the conduct of his war I'll try to put my head back together and apologize. Failing that, explain to me how this person who has mislead us into a war, mismanaged a war, inaccurately described the progress of a war, and divided this country into Patriots who back him and Traitors who do not is the object of irrational hostility on this basis and I'll just stop writing anything at all, ever again, because I must be psychologically imbalanced and just plain retarded.

There is such a complete and total disregard for the meaning of the English language demonstrated by these people that there probably are no words to adequately describe it to them. This misuse of the language goes beyond spin into the realm of propaganda. For Condi Rice to argue that escalation isn't the proper term, that augmentation is a correct description to a US Senator - Republican - is just plain ... stupid. Augment means: to make greater, more numerous, larger, or more intense and escalate means : to increase in extent, volume, number, amount, intensity, or scope. This is the best we can do for a Sec. State? This isn't about the diplomacy of correct language, this is about using the language to deny that what you're doing is exactly what you say you're doing. Does this make your head spin? 'We don't want you to think we're doing exactly what we're telling you we are doing because you might not like us doing exactly what we just told you we are doing.' If you don't like being treated like a complete idiot, it would pay to remember that these people were elected by us TWICE.

Monday, January 15, 2007

What's Gotten Into John Cole ?

Some of you may have noticed that my leftism is a little odd in comparison to the rightwing's version of lefty. You may also have noticed that I have a great deal of respect for the old time "C" Conservatives. Not that I want to kill government or some such, but their respect for keeping the government out of our homes and private lives was in tune with American values and they had the undoubted value of a principled adversary in improving an argument. John Cole, http://www.balloon-juice.com/ is now a "turncoat" conservative, in that most Bushisms are an anathema to him. One of his commenters wanted to know what had gotten into him.

I couldn't restrain myself and tried, in my lefty way, to touch on what might have gotten into a Conservative in regards to BushCo. Since I usually try not to write an essay in comments I thought I'd touch on it here as an expansion, and since the hit meter shows Balloon Juice readers showing up, as a hat tip. I share with Conservatives a basic tenet, that the Constitution and The Bill of Rights are the law of the land and they are not to be disregarded or infringed upon. From that simple beginning most of my past posts in that regard cover that ground left or right. John takes it a bit farther castigating the Republicans for their shams regarding gay marriage and religion. Here we're running into that Conservative extension of the Constitution & BOR into areas it does not specifically address but does in a spirit of understanding. All Americans are equal under the law, they have equal rights and responsibilities - yup - gays, too. BushCo in the name of security and unitary executive powers have run rough shod over already damaged rights and John doesn't like it. At all.

He supported the invasion of Iraq, like many he could not engage the idea that a Republican President wouldn't tell the truth about such an issue. Over time the disclosure of the lies, double dealings, character assassinations, sloganeering, and general Bushisms wore him out and he became a dedicated critic. As hard edged a critic as the disillusioned become and he now has an audience of "gasp" liberals.

This clueless commenter, a Bush-apologist, can't seem to figure out why someone who'd backed and been enthused by a Republican Congress and Presidency would turn so mean. This person cannot seem to get it, despite post after post by John detailing his problems with that bunch. John Cole is good at this stuff, much better than I am, so I have no idea where a person's head would have to be to miss this. I think it may be a measure of our opposition that we'd better have a real handle on because if the John Coles can take back the Republican Party it's going to be awhile coming. Don't think those Conservatives will make things easy, they'll come with ideas and philosophy and reasoning, not the religious claptrap and fear mongering that's actually easy to counter.

I put up a link to Balloon Juice some time back, I like the writing and I respect the reasoning. The commenters are mostly a smart witty bunch and don't disappoint. If you get some amusement out of Blog warfare, it erupts from time to time, John is, after all, a turncoat to the wingnuts.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eddykayshun at OU

Thanks to Ridenbaugh Press for a heads up on this one. The Opinion Piece in the Register Guard signed by 92 Oregon University faculty is distressing to say the least. Some college athletics departments give money back to the university, at Ohio State U it's around $10 million, at our OU it's zip, yep nada. If everything was just ticking along that might not be an issue, but everything is not just ticking along. While the athletics department's budget has increased by 224% since 1994, $18.5Mil to $41.5Mil the biology dept. gets along with 20% less office staff for 20% more students and a budget increase of 47%. You get a situation where a student athlete costs $92,000 per year while a biology student costs $705 per year. I like sports well enough, but gee whiz, on an absolute scale biologists trump football players.

With faculty salaries on the low end of the American Association of Universities and academic rankings sliding it seems that the rah rah emphasis is misplaced. With athletics at a zero return to the school, being a major league training camp instead of a high power university is not a mission for OU that I'd back. In fact, in that scenario, once you get past giving students a common ground to root for the school it's a big fat waste of money. Versus providing a top notch education I don't particularly care if they can't beat the Baker HS Bulldogs.

The Opinion Piece offers quite a bit more detail and is worth a read if this is the sort of thing that gets you in an uproar. I've sat in -20F in a blizzard that was dumping 2 feet of snow watching an MTU football game, it was fun, it meant something to us, and we also were attending one of the top 3 universities in applied science.

How to Measure Value

Warfare creates an unfortunate situation in which it becomes necessary to measure the value of a human life. It is fairly obvious that if someone is shooting at you, shooting back is required. From there it gets sticky. An Iraq bad guy is shooting from the window of a house, you're pretty sure there are civilian men, women, and children in there as well. The safest approach is to blow the place up. You are now required to make a measurement, the value of the innocents versus the value of your troops.

Iran apparently claims the US invaded one of their consulates in Iraq, these are supposed to be the territory of that nation and inviolate. The Iranians seized the US Embassy in Tehran and we've had no Relations with them since. The US claims the Iranian consulate was a staging point for attacks. Now you're measuring the value of international law.

George W Bush has put Americans in Iraq in warfare at a serious risk to their lives and health. They are dying and being maimed on a daily basis. He says it is worth it, the value gained is worth the losses. He measures the value of our troops and their families thus.

Now I say GWB is entirely wrong, now and from the outset. That does not change the previous measuring exercises, the troops are there, doing his bidding. How does this fall out?

I find myself unwilling to risk the lives of troops to protect putatively innocent civilians, blow the place up. Is it wrong? Certainly it's wrong, but in a my kids versus their kids, my kids win. You could say the people inside could do something about the bad guy in their midst, but you're splitting hairs.

If a consulate is engaging in military action it ceases by definition to be a consulate and the occupants cease to be diplomats. Is that a poke in Iranian eyes? Probably and I really could care less. If the Iranians are engaged in making attacks on our troops they can die for it, in Iraq. It is simple enough to establish some crossing points on the Iranian and Syrian borders and anything crossing anywhere else is subject to immediate destruction. That could be hard on goatherds and others of simple lifestyles.

Warfare itself creates these kinds of measurement dilemmas and it becomes even more of a dilemma where it involves a war you oppose. Let's remember the measuring our kids had to do when we see them, let's try to marginally at least understand. After all, we let this happen. This war is a measure of us.

Personal Price

I'm tool old to go to war, at least by today's enlistment standards, so I won't be going. But yes, Sen Boxer, I do have a possible personal price, my son enters OR Nat Guard boot camp this week, a nephew by marriage will be going back to Iraq. Condi was asked if the Bush Admin had prepared a casualty estimate for the troop escalation, "no." Well now that's entire Hogwash, the military doesn't do things quite that haphazardly. So maybe the Administration itself hasn't but it certainly has figures available to it. Now Sen Boxer pointed out that she has no personal stake in the war and that Condi doesn't either and since they're not paying the price it is the price that the military families pay. Seems accurate to me.

Somehow it's an insult to womanhood, or feminism, or blacks, or some such. Noting that a black woman doesn't have a child to get killed in a war that the black woman is advocating is insulting? I find a lot of things about Condi insult-able, but race, gender, and child bearing has nothing to do with it. Her ability to suck up to her Prez. and make the stupidest most historically ignorant statements in defense of his policies opens her to all sorts of rude comments. She's supposed to be pretty good on the piano, the country would've been better served if she'd stuck to tinkling the keys. By the way, poker players, she has egregious "tells," and I don't mind watching her get all ticked off about being called on the carpet - she's had her way too long. The incompetence of this Administration extending to them not being able to find good liars is a fine outcome, versus most of the rest.

As for the nonexistent casualty estimates, I'm way past hoping, wishing, or praying about the personal prices to be paid, all I can do is feel horrible helplessness, like sitting in the back seat in a car crash and seeing that this is going to be bad.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Bad Day

Friday night CBS showed some choices for a future news story, one of which would be about some women who attend every Arlington National Cemetery Funeral. My throat got kind of tight and I told my wife that I couldn't do that, after just a couple I'd lose my mind. As I went on to tell her that every time I've heard Governor Kulongoski talk about attending the funerals of Oregonians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan I could see it tearing him up, my throat continued to close up and finally my eyes got all wet. I realized that I was crying. No, not the sobbing kind, water running from my eyes kind.

I'm so tired of our young people getting hurt and killed for this President's little Iraq adventure, so tired I'm finally past words and into tears. For god's sake.

My son Nick goes to Oregon National Guard boot camp next week, that weighs on me some, but it is the shared disaster of those harmed by Iraq that is tearing me up. I would have considerably less reaction to me being in their position, I've gotten to have an awful lot of what life has to offer and I'm on the back side of the game. The back side of the game makes it pretty safe to say that, I'm outside the limits of age, but being safe only actually makes me feel worse about it. I'd make the trade to keep one kid from being there.

All I can see is more years of this, George W Bush is not going to wake up one morning and say, "oops," Congress is not going to de-fund the troops, what is going to happen is another election and that Inaugural Day is two years away. How many soldier's family and friends tears away is that? How many nightmares, how many broken marriages, how many broken bodies and minds and hearts away is that? A lot of Bad Days.

The Decider as The Unifier

I've heard several news casts describe the President as being very alone or lonely with his escalation policy. That's not quite accurate, there are about 150,000 soldiers who'll be "with" him on this one. He won't be "with" them, he's demonstrated, quite awhile previously, he knows how to take advantage of a war and not get involved.

When Gallup looked at the question from a couple different angles, the Decider didn't seem to have a lot of company. Previous to the speech when confronted with several choices including escalation, only 12% chose it, asked as an established policy question 36% were good with the idea. As an established policy 61% opposed escalation (they named it surge, I won't use words for what they don't mean), this means the country has once again become unified, not quite as unified as post 9/11 but gaining. I believe 36% is just a little short of the Republican registration which means partisanship is dead. Ill. Ah hell, still alive and kicking for 1/3 of those polled. Darn. I really was starting to have hopes that sense and humanity might trump when I saw the 12% number.

But look at it this way, the Decider has gotten nearly 2/3 of those polled to agree about something regarding national policy and foreign affairs. That's darn near a stellar performance. Where can he go from there, even more agreement?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Surgalation

A nonsense word? There's plenty enough nonsense around the terms it's coined from : surge - escalation. the President calls it a troop surge, some in the press buy that term, Democrats have been using escalation and a few of the press prefer that term.

Webster's 9th Collegiate has a couple definitions of surge:
a large wave or billow
or
a sudden jerk (you'd have to ask Laura)

For escalate we have:
to increase in - extent, volume, number, amount, intensity, or scope ( a little war threatens to - into a huge one) and no I didn't mess with this.

Webster talks about waves, billows and even links surge to electricity but they just don't mention warfare or troops. I'm aware that a crowd might surge forward, etc but that and waves and electrical phenomenon are very quick events, nothing I can see that's measured in weeks, months, or years. Somehow it's considered partisan to not use the term just because BushCo likes it.

Awhile back I wrote an article that stated that words have meanings and that meaning is important if we are to expect to communicate with each other. If word meanings suddenly are optional to the situation one would reasonably expect that the goal is to not communicate, but rather to confuse. The word "spin" comes to mind.

Now if you want to lie to me and I'm not smart enough to catch it or at least smack you for it, bad on me. But this crap of using a perfectly good language to mean what it does not mean is offensive to my intelligence and should be damn offensive to anybody who makes a living using words. Do you catch my drift, media enablers? If you want to play along with this word weasel nonsense then you should have no doubts about why your credibility sucks.

Try this, quit kowtowing to the Media Bias fear mongers and try using facts and the language that used to be so advanced that most of the civilized world tried to be competent in it. I don't give a rat's patoot what political party thinks misuse is a great idea, it isn't. It also isn't a great idea to try to be inoffensive about facts and words, all you do is offend everybody. There are not two points of view on what escalate means, it has a definition and that's it. 2+2=4 is not subject to countervailing points of view. Get over it, insulted power is not going to like you when you tell the truth, not ever, and if you do something else - you're pointless.

Governor K's Baker City Inaugural Visit

I hope you'll bear with me on my "quotes" since I have no recorder and I don't know an actual version of shorthand, ok, I'm apologizing in advance for my crappy notes, but the quotes if not exact are real close. We had a pretty nice day for the Governor's luncheon, just a little fresh snow to make things white and mixed sunny weather.

I shook hands with TK and told him how nice it was to have him back and he thanked me personally "for all the good work you guys have done" (Baker County Democrats). So, kudos folks. Gale Voser, BCD Treasurer, deserves special thanks for closing up her store to come and help with the door. Courtney Warner was charming and efficient as she helped with the meet and greets, this means something in a small town. Sad to report that she's winding up her commitment to the Gov.

Fred Warner (D) County Chair handled the introduction, noting particularly the difference in the economy and employment picture between the Inaugural Ball 4 years ago and today.

The Governor opened up by saying what a pleasure it was to "be back in beautiful downtown Baker City" (if you've never been, it is) and thanking Baker for all the volunteers for state boards noting that "people are starting to wonder if everybody is from Baker City." He said that he never gets to visit Eastern Oregon enough, but sometime too much with the funerals for soldiers and thanked us for how we support those in harm's way.

Most of the remarks were referenced to this "Moment of Opportunity" provided by our improved economy, and that he hoped to turn this into our longest and best opportunity for all of the state's people. He mentioned his plans for education from pre-school to work-force, children's health care, making Oregon a leader in renewable and alternative energy, and other facets of his Inaugural Speech that your correspondent was too slow to get noted.

I'm going to step out of chronological accuracy and group statements by topic and I'll note that these are statements I found interesting and strong.

On the topic of labor and global marketing Ted wanted the worker to know that when "he wonders who cares and will help, that we will." We will see to it that there is more education and skill training. "We will not abandon you." Regarding education and labor he stated that 70% of high school grads will not go on to college and that we need to carry the message to them that "labor is an honorable and worthwhile thing," something that is not being done now.

In regards to opportunities in Oregon, he pledged that "we will close the gap between those who have found the Dream and those who press their faces to the glass looking in." We care about each other in Oregon and take care of each other, "we do not move ahead by leaving others behind."

He believes that "if we remain defined by our differences we can never move ahead," that "before we are members of political organizations, we're Oregonians."

I've condensed an hour of speaking and Q&A considerably more than it deserves and Governor Kulongoski gave a good uplifting speech that I'm sure even the Republican Party of Oregon attendees could get along with. It is worth noting that the Republican Chair Mrs Jan Kerns is on one of the Governor's Boards.

The Geiser Grand Hotel, pre-turn of the century, is a beautiful building, and they served a nice luncheon and ran a good show. It is a premier hotel, worth a visit to "beautiful downtown Baker City."

Thanks for stopping by, Ted.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Brady Bunch

If you're big into anti-gun stuff or support the Bill of Rights and would like to see what your opponents like to say HuffPo has Paul Helmke's review of Private Guns, Public Health up for your perusal, I think the comments section is better reading. This Brady Campaign/Center to Prevent Handgun Violence shill, excuse me-President- gets his knickers in a knot telling us about the public health costs of firearms. They're going to address this public health menace...well how exactly isn't real clear. You don't suppose they'll do something about medical misadventures do you? I mean, after all, those licensed physicians kill more people than guns do, no I don't mean people have a tendency to die under a doctor's care, I mean they out and out kill them. He even mentions swimming pools, nicely done, you're more likely to die from having a swimming pool than a gun. He doesn't like Gary Kleck - he's unfair - oh for pete's sake, Brady classes 25 year old males as children to make their stats work and they call unfair?

There are some of the old tired ideas, gun registration - that magically makes guns safe? Or, I like this one, licensing. Let's hang these ideas on the First Amendment and see how it works out, you have to register your religious preferences or your mouth or paper in order to have one, then you need to have a license to use them. Now that certainly wouldn't have a dampening effect on freedom of speech, religion, press, or assembly would it? Wouldn't that have a certain tendency to let the government regulate those things and find the people doing it in a way the government doesn't care for? Maybe make them disappear?

I don't care if you want to own a gun or not, if you do, for pete's sake learn how to use and keep it safely and become proficient with it. And yes, doing that makes you a patriot to the ideals of America, just remember that the folks who set those up weren't the safe low key type.

The article is typical garbage from that Brady Bunch, we're all five years old and they'll take care of us, but the comments are illuminating, and they're not right wingers or even odd ball lefties like me. No, I didn't comment, they don't like me. And you can guess what they can do with that...

Jay Rosen - PressThink

You will find a new link on the side bar PressThink written by Jay Rosen who teaches journalism at NYU and spends some time thinking about interesting perspectives. His latest, "Grave and Deteriorating for the Children of Agnew"does some tracing of the conservative crying of media bias. He's spent quite a few words putting this together and I have no intention of trying a Cliff Notes version of short-changing him, so you 'll need to go on over there. You might want to save to 'Favorites' or whatever your browser calls it.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Governor Ted's Second Baker City Inauguration **Updated**

Wednesday January 10th the Governor comes to Baker City for his second Baker City Inaugural Event. You can attend the luncheon at Geiser Grand Hotel 1996 Main St, Baker City at 12:00 Noon. Tickets are $50 per person or $25 for Grassroots Democrats (a worthwhile investment in the DPO).

Maybe I'll take notes, though journalism isn't in my line.

**Update**
Sorry, if you don't already have tickets this one's sold out. Since I've had mine for awhile I'm in luck.

Baker County Chair Fred Warner will introduce the Gov. He's joked that they'd have had to go a ways to get a higher ranking Democrat. Fred is a popular County Commissioner and his daughter Courtney works for the Gov, she's organizing this.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Blogswarm

Over at Daily Kos there's a little something going on that might be fun and useful for someone with some time and energy for it. KSFO radio in San Francisco is a right wing talk radio owned by Disney/ABC and they've indulged themselves in what can best be described as hate rhetoric so some folks are doing some work on their advertisers. The article itself isn't too long but last I looked there were 320 comments and many of them have important or useful content.

I'd like to do some small part toward detoxifying the air waves so I'm passing on info. The little bit of blogging I do occupies what little uncommitted time I have, so this is a hand-off. Many many years ago I lived in the North Bay Area and KSFO was one of the stations I listened to on occasion, too bad it's gone this way.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Huffington Post and Comments

I enjoy some of the stuff on The Huffington Post , there's some good writing and a fairly good selection of news reports. I also frequently find myself in in partial agreement and sometimes downright unhappy. So, I've availed myself of the "Comments" section, or rather tried to. I get nicely logged in, write something, click post, get assured that it's on its way, and it never appears. On going readers will note that I am at least marginally polite almost all the time and I try to stay on point. Somehow, HuffPo finds me objectionable. I've given them an opportunity to explain this to me, an opportunity they have not taken advantage of.

In one Post's comments section I counted 3 separate complaints about nonsensical arbitrary censorship, this from "lefty" commenters. Oddly enough, pretty rude "right" stuff seems to show up. I will note for the record that Sen. Chuck Schumer made a post "Back to Work on the Issues that Matter" and I bothered to comment that it sounded good but that civil liberties were important and that I was underwhelmed by his support of the Bill of Rights, in particular the Second Amendment. I also mentioned that while I might shoot the odd Bambi or target, the purpose of these guns is to keep the government off our necks. Somehow this is threatening enough to the powers that be at HuffPo to delete.

I started this Blog as a campaign site and stated at the outset that its purpose was for me to inform and readers to interact, any political campaign that remains in ignorance is engaging in stupidity and arrogance. This Blog is still a political campaign, just not an election campaign, I have an agenda, it's clear. HuffPo has an agenda, clearly, but evidently it's not to stay informed of their reader's thinking. I still stop by there, I don't believe holding the contributors responsible for policy is sensible, but I also no longer read Arianna, it's her blog. Too bad for somebody who wants to be influential.

Here, you can disagree, just leave the CAPs button alone, don't call stupid names, don't make personal threats, and give yourself some kind of identity. Some measure of civility will gain you credence if not agreement. If you want to say "Atta Boy" I can take that, too. Anybody is welcome here, just don't make a BIG effort to be a PITA.