Sunday, June 28, 2009

Breaking News, Jackson Still Dead

What the heck is the deal with the media and Michael Jackson? I suppose I could understand one day of mania on their part, two began to stretch credibility, now we're reached lunacy.

I have a news flash for the scheduling managers, if you care about this at all, you already know all about Michael. The world didn't stop when he crapped out, things are still going on that have one heck of a lot more impact than either his career, strange life, or death. Put it to bed already.

Eye Candy

Maybe you wonder why people want to live where unemployment is always higher and wages lower.

This is about 10 miles NE outside Baker City, OR on the state highway to Medical Springs and the background to the east are the Eagle Caps of the Wallowa Mountains which top out just above 10,000 feet. The Elkhorns which are just west of Baker City at 3,500 feet top out just under 10,000 feet. Both ranges are still snow capped.

Here in the picture the ground cover is cheat grass and sage brush, just over the crest ahead of the Harley are a series of valleys with creeks in the bottoms surrounded by fields of grass.

Blue Senator, Blue Bike

Ron Wyden promised to visit every County each year and hold town halls, this weekend was Baker County's turn. I thought it might be interesting to have Oregon's Senior Senator and one of two Democratic Senators give pose for fun.

Senator Wyden gracefully climbed aboard the Harley for your amusement.

I'm not a fanboy of politicians, but that doesn't stop me from recognizing that Ron Wyden is one of the most astute and capable of all the Senators. He also has the ability to remain a down to earth Oregonian despite Washington, DC. He'll even sit on a Harley for a political pal.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Palin Desecration

I'm sure you recognize the lady holding the funny looking baby, who I'm pretty sure you don't know, one Eddie Burke. He's a radio talk show host ... conservative - some surprise there. Blogger Linda Kellen Biegel is in the middle of trying to raise money to pay for the State of Alaska records of emails between Palin and Burke, some extra coziness is surmised.

Now Alaskan politics and particularly Palin politics is a circus, but you've got to love Palin spokesperson Mehgan Stapleton:
Recently we learned of a malicious desecration of a photo of the Governor and baby Trig that has become an iconic representation of a mother's love for a special needs child.

"Malicious desecration" is pretty, well, strong. Who exactly is worshiping at this temple or the feet of this idol? Is Palin and Trig the new incarnation of Mary and Baby Jesus - wow and I said mean things about her...
The mere idea of someone doctoring the photo of a special needs baby is appalling. To learn that two Alaskans did it is absolutely sickening. Linda Kellen Biegel, the official Democrat Party blogger for Alaska, should be ashamed of herself and the Democratic National Committee should be ashamed for promoting this website and encouraging this atrocious behavior.

Babies and children are off limits. It is past time to restore decency in politics and real tolerance for all Americans. The Obama Administration sets the moral compass for its party. We ask that special needs children be loved, respected and accepted and that this type of degeneracy be condemned.

Ouch, the stupid, it burns. So it's no longer permitted to mock your political propaganda? You people put that child up on the stage for photo opportunities and his widdle face can't go away? Aren't these the same people that paraded their knocked up poster child for the failure of abstinence education and her shotgun fiancee for our amusement? Sorry Mehgan, I see a baby with the face of a fat bigot not a special needs child, unless you're referring to that bigot.

Juxtapose this picture with scenes from Palin rallies as she whipped the crowds into slobbering fury and tell me about off-limits. I like this kind of a fight, the Governor of a state in a pissing match with a blogger. I'm sure there are some real pissed off Palin supporters - good. Stirring up that ant's nest damn near guarantees an explosion of stupidity for our further amusement.

What they take seriously is a measure of your opponents, in this case a very small container is required for measuring. Minds that operate on this level require mockery, it's the only civilized thing to do.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gone Hiking...Or Something

If I were the staffer/s put in the position of lying for Gov Sanford, I'd quit. If I were the American Taliban I might start to get the idea that trying to be moral arbiters to the nation is a losing proposition. It is strange how the guys who tell gays striving to have monogamous relationships recognized that they're destroying the institution of marriage are busy destroying the institution of their own marriages. Since Mark was diddling a female it seems it wasn't 'teh gay' that cracked up his marriage. Joe and Sam or Leslie and Tina wanting to get married don't make me want to chase guys or women other than my wife - maybe I'm not sufficiently developed in the moral arena to be so tempted???

I've been told that since I don't subscribe to any religion that I can't have a moral compass and I've been told by Republicans that since I don't belong to their Party that anything goes. The funny thing is that I haven't run business scams or cheated on my wife or...well there are a lot of things I haven't done.

I've been a part of a rather heated discussion about whether to kick ole Hiker around about screwing around on his wife. I have to be honest with you all, I was embarrassed for him when some of his love letters were read aloud on the media and I really didn't care about them. I also didn't care if his paramour was male, female, married or not and really don't care who was on top or whatever. I only care about the SEX part of it because that is the issue Hiker Boy has made over and over - well there is lying and irresponsibility. You see, I have no intention of telling you who to screw - I do think cheating on your spouse stinks (open marriages are not cheating) and I figure it's just fine if that spouse makes you pay real hard for it. If you propose to make laws and public pronouncements about morality I will hold you to it and I'll mock you unmercifully for doing otherwise. Once you push your version of relationships down my throat I'll puke it up on you for coming up short yourself.

I've heard a lot about the things Sanford didn't do in his "presser," like drag his wife up with him and blah blah blah. As though he had some choice in those matters. He was flat out of dodges. So he gets kudos for honesty? WTF over? He still managed to drag god into it and that trumps wifey who probably was quite happy to watch him twist in the wind from a distance. If you're willing to cheat your wife (and kids) and the other woman's husband and have your staff lie (get caught telling your lies) it isn't a real reach to see how citizens might have some doubts about your representation of them. How does this not play into being Obama's most fierce opponent on the Stimulus, vetoing the Lege, and finally losing a Court case over it in the search to be poster boy for the Republican Conservatives? His State is in the economic toilet and he proposes that doing something to help rescue the losers in his system is socialism? (and evil)

Both actions scream "ME, ME. ME," and "TOO BAD FOR YOU." I just do not understand how these people call themselves Christians and regularly violate the exact quotes of their god. Instead they grab quotes from every latecomer and ancient predecessor to back their meanness and selfishness and outright murderousness. Nailing Hiker to his cross only seems just. He stood that cross up in the public business and just as publicly spit on it. You have got to realize what a disaster South Carolina is to appreciate the aptness of a rich secure asshole sticking a knife in their back in relationship to Christ.

He has been big on this personal responsibility thing the Republicans have. It breaks down like this, that rule only counts if you're suffering under their method of doing things. When something like this blows up you're to respect their privacy and their family - as though they had. When you're rich paying something in taxes is stealing if any of it goes anywhere other than your no-bid contract. Universal single payer health care is socialism as if the current method isn't socialized plutocracy of the most clapped out sort. Somehow, if you're not a mover and shaker getting your head shit on is the natural order of things - including wife and kids.

The Right will now point and call this an aberration and it damned well isn't - it is a feature of their culture of selfish mean spirited ideology - it is screw you 'cause I've got mine and they sell it to their deluded followers as fair and just. Take apart the Right's ideology into its component parts and you'll find its matches all over Mark "Hiker" Sanford's problems. Yes, we are all imperfect beings and cutting each other some slack for it is reasonable - tell his adherents that.

I really don't want Sanford to resign, I want to see him right there in the public eyes so anytime the American Taliban sticks up its Theocratic head I can point and say, "So you're another Sanford?" (Ensign, Craig, Gingrich, ...) Oh sure, The Party Of Family Values ... ask Sanford's kids, or some of the others. It is a foot on your neck while they do whatever they please when it pleases them.

(a note to Democrats - if you play this Theocratic game there are some names that could be pointed out)

I don't portray myself as a better man than these, I've done things I'm ashamed of in my life, but I've never made a career out of being theocratic, either. I suppose it really sucks to be Mark Sanford right now, public ridicule and all that - I bet it sucks a lot more to wonder if you can feed the kids and have a roof in South Carolina - right now. He's got two rich women in his life, current wife and current other, do you suppose that'll work out? That could be called an embarrassment of riches....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Health Care, Or What

If you've followed this blog at all you know that I'm a supporter of the concept of single payer health care. I have no doubt that big health care insurance companies would take a hit but it would scarcely be fatal. Single payer would not be a 'gold plated' offering, it would no doubt have some limits on what would be covered and for how long.

This piece of limits would cause some serious hand wringing from the Right, as though no such things exist today. We have really stupid costs built into the system now, we spend incredible amounts on end of life measures, not creating comfort at that point but fighting futilely against death. A tiny minority of doctors are responsible for the vast majority of malpractice claims. The uninsured and under insured drive medical costs for everyone up drastically. Emergency rooms get used as doctor's offices and simple procedures get avoided until they are major. Insurance companies deny treatments until they fall onto the public dime.

Democrats and Republicans have completely different views of health care and who should survive - ie people or insurance companies' profits. Well, a bit more accurately most Democrats and some Democrats and Republicans have different views. You can certainly understand that campaign contributions from insurance companies (surrogates) go to those sympathetic to insurance companies and that doesn't quite reach bribery, but expecting something different is silly. The question that occurs is exactly why some Democrats are so damned sympathetic to insurance companies. It is important to realize that your premiums don't go to pay claims, they go to ... wait for it ... investment in investment banks. Remember the villains in the crash? Add them to this crapfest.

Real frankly what you'll get for your trouble in electing these folks is squat. There are some Democrats working real hard to look out for the public and they deserve kudos and support but if all Democrats were there - the deal would be done already. The Republicans have already shown where they stand - you're on your own - and considering them in the debate is simply childish approval seeking.

I don't have a lot of hope that Pres Obama would veto a junk bill since it is what he could get on his biggest issue. I wonder how I'll find myself dealing with how health care shakes out, I may lose my sense of humor. I'm closing in on the end of my leash, and my friends I break leashes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Messy and Messier in Iran

Iran's Supreme Leader warned demonstrators that such behavior was to stop and they didn't, not in the face of police and militia. Tear gas, beatings, and bullets didn't dissuade them so people got hurt and some died, and this was Iranians versus Iranians. No foreigners were involved, no ancient or recent enemies took hand in it and worse - those who did are their fellow Muslims. This shows no signs of letting up.

There will, quite naturally, be those in Iran who are not troubled by this. That isn't an Iranian thing; it is the nature of societies in general. There will always be those whose differences of opinion make their opponents lesser beings, but it is not ever a large percentage. This will not please most Iranians, how their discontent will play out is unclear. Who gets most of the blame from most people will largely determine future outcomes. Government controlled media is making real efforts to portray demonstrators as tools of outside agitators and violators of Iranian morals. The success of that effort will largely depend on Iranian's access to information that counters it. It would seem to be difficult to miss what is going on if you live in Tehran but it is unclear how much information is available outside that area or how much disturbance is going on in how many other places.

Perhaps the real crux of this is that in such a theocracy people hold position on the basis of their supposed holiness. Islam must justify their behavior and they are assumed to be in compliance by virtue of their position. The very top of the governmental apparatus is being challenged over a pretty basic question, political lying and cheating. How far this challenge to authority goes may depend on how widespread and how long term this opposition is active. The problem a theocracy faces is the very severe limit a religion ordinarily lays on political behavior and its ordinary junk much less real lying and cheating which are now being rubbed on Iranian noses. This is really touchy stuff, people get real iffy when they get poked at regarding religion. Quite a few folks are taking the pretty nasty position that some powerful holy men are corrupt and that means a serious clash over serious business in that area.

In our society we don't have something to measure this against. We cannot draw comparisons (despite Republican Tweets)((idjits)) with anything that exists in our politics or religions. That society is widely homogeneous in religion, well beyond any such in any area in the US short possibly nationalism. We neither understand theocracy nor such religious fervor. I am becoming unsure that the "leadership" in Iran really understands, either the establishment or the opposition. Things have been set in motion that I'm not sure anyone really understands.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

US World Leadership Role

I doubt that one could successfully argue that the world's most powerful military and economy don't bear some regard in the world. In both spheres second place is so far behind as to be pretty meaningless as a position. What happens to the US and what we do matters a great deal to the world. I recently heard a highly regarded commentator remark on the US world leadership role and was suddenly stopped in my tracks. I've heard this type of statement repeatedly for many many years and it honestly took until that moment for its stupidity to sink in. There is a vast gulf between being consequential and leading.

What our military is capable of makes us an extremely dangerous and lethal opponent, something to consider in international policy framing by such folks. The extraordinary scale of our economy is something to bear in mind if one is considering economic policies. Both things matter a great deal but do not qualify as leadership beyond a certain level of coercion. Leadership is something else, it requires a willingness to be led and an authority to lead from.

If one were to simply take our established concepts of the relationship between the governed and the government it would seem that we have has something to show much of the world for quite some time, like since the Declaration of Independence. Most of our founding documents and much of our law since has hewed to an astonishingly high standard, but...

For nearly half our history we engaged in slavery, we have engaged in wars of extermination against Native Americans, we have abrogated Treaties at drop of the hat convenience, we have overthrown representative governments and supported abhorrently repressive ones. We have used our economic heft to strip countries of resources and we have engaged in reckless wars. Our government has lied to its own people and to the world and engaged in legal behavior that is abhorrent in many modern societies. To be sure there is a balance in the actions we have taken that have benefited the world at large and it is not the point of this article to diminish them.

It is the point of this article to scoff at the notion that we are international leaders on the basis of anything concrete at this point beyond our physical clout. Whatever repair President Obama is doing to our international reputation it will require a lot more than some months of pretty rhetoric to undo generations worth of misbehavior. The presentation of the US as arbiters of ethical behavior to the rest of the world ignores and in fact denies our actual international and domestic behavior for generations. It is simple jingoism to present to our own citizens such a concept. It also asks the rest of the world to engage in the same blatant eye covering and ear plugging. They aren't going to do it, they don't have blind patriotism to the US as a background.

We certainly could earn such respect, it isn't all that far fetched to insist that our government live up to its own founding law, the Constitution and Bill of Rights in its treatment of its own citizens and extend that to our international behavior. It is also quite apparent that it isn't the case currently and shows no sign of being the case for some time to come. It is the case that the Constitution lays out how we engage in Treaties and that they become the law of the land. It is also the case that if our form of governance is superior we should extend it to our dealings with anyone, government or individual. That we do not is a serious and apparent problem with asserting our ethical leadership. One can lead or one can coerce, they are not the same and they do not involve the same actions or ethics, we need to learn that lesson.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What Happened To "If You Don't Have Anything To Hide"?

Michelle Bachman:
The mother lode of all data information will be from the Census. … Unfortunately, the Census data has become very intricate, very personal, a lot of the questions that are asked. I know for my family, the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home. We won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that

It is also a good thing that the Constitution doesn't have any requirements barring stupidity in Representatives. Yes, this is the newest of the Right's stupid attacks. The Constitution does have some requirements that this bunch ignored, right there in the Bill of Rights and in the clause regarding Habeas Corpus. But consistency and sensibility are not only not requirements for membership in that group, they appear to be bars. There is some form of consistency, it is "Ooooh, I'm soooo scared and you should be, too."

To call fear mongering a symptom of the Right would be a bit of minimization, it is more a feature of the Right. To call it a symptom you'd have to assume that there was a mental deficiency involved with people like Bachman and that would mean that over 20% of the population is mentally ill. I'd rather not believe that. I'd much rather believe that they are desperate to have their way - the alternative is too scary. It is scary enough to reflect that they'd deliberately behave this stupidly.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iranian Green?

Not a political statement, a statement in sympathy for those willing to take real risks; despite the political realities of Iran I respect that. Is it meaningless to change the color? I don't know, probably, but the 'net keeps track of strange things and maybe it means something to a reader I don't know about. Iranians and Persians have read this blog and even linked it before.

My intimate knowledge of Iranian politics died with the Shah, my room-mate in college was a son of a General in the Shah's Army and I knew well others. They were the children of the elite, the Shah's elite, and I also knew well Arab children of Hussein's Iraqi elite. I gathered insights into their societies and social institutions that have endured. The depths of their religious convictions and their racial divides were known to me. Despite their levels of education and religion their ability to bow to authority without question struck me deeply.

Despite our cultural and religious divides I got to be quite fond of most of them and I've grieved for the bad things that must have happened to them through the years. The Iranians are our fellow humans and they are taking great personal risks defying authority in their protests. The green is my wishing them well being and safety.


If you don't like concentrated ugly and rather pointless fury give this a miss.

(HT Balloon Juice)

It was a stupid and tasteless joke about the postergirl for the failure of abstinence only education paraded by the Governor. Holy S**t Batman, if these people put all that fury energy into constructive action this country would be seriously improved. I'm not sure about the contradiction involved in protesting the joke with statements on film about slut wife and bastard child, maybe someone will explain that to me...

I'm pretty unclear what ranting at people about "socialism is evil" has to do with Letterman or why these particular people ranted at think they are "sooo smaaaart." I could understand a point of view that socialism is a mistake but the evilness of it sort of misses me - I can understand that, say slavery is evil, but what moral standard is so violated by socialism that evil applies?

This is the Republican base (Movement) in operation; policy disagreements aren't wrong-headed or mistaken; they are evil. Torture is evil, calling Iran part of the Axis of Evil is stupid, or wrong-headed. Letting the plutocrats run wild is bad for the economy and particularly bad for the common citizen, it is a serious mistake and if one takes Christ's words seriously as God's, you might make the case that it is evil - I simply call it a mistake since I'm not God. If I don't agree with you about economics I may call you stupid if you ignore facts - more likely I'll call you wrong. If, as a Federal official, you violate the Constitution, the First Law of the nation, I may well consider you a traitor depending on the level of violation; but evil is another thing.

This is the fury that the right stokes and it is senseless fury and senseless to provoke it. There isn't a chance in the world that these folks will vote for a liberal so poking their bee's nest is pointless. The middle voter watching this nonsense will recoil with WTF? Amping up the fury quotient does't reach the majority of voters, it spooks them.

I am sooooo glaaaad I don't have any role in trying to win elections for Republicans...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Republican Base or Movement?

Dr Leo Strauss has an interesting article up about the "Movement" which is commonly referred to as the Republican base by the media. He finds this inappropriate.

Because Krugman et al. fail to grasp the fundamental difference between the Movement, the former Republican Party and the Democratic Party, talking heads refer to the Movement as the ‘Republican base’. As if somehow the Movement and its Manichean zero-sum nihilism is the same as the Democratic base. Say the the Sierra Club or unions. How one can be a professional political analyst and assume a base is a base is a base. Well, we live in truly decadent (technically defined) times.

In a political sense of winning elections by appealing to enough people with policies, he is right. To use his word, the Movement is quite willing to sacrifice an election in the spirit of purity. If you see politics as the art of achieving the possible then they are not political, they are nihilist. "All or nothing" is a recipe for getting nothing unless you are willing to step outside the realm of politics into despotism. I am not sold on the idea that the Movement in general terms is that type of entity. The question that occurs to me is one regarding their belief in their numbers, whether they actually believe that sufficient purity will attract enough voters to win or whether they simply don't care. If they are not deluded enough to think they actually have the numbers somehow obscured by outside forces, then they are that dangerous despotism in waiting.

I certainly accept his arguments that ignoring the Constitution and even the Magna Charta are symptomatic of their point of view regarding the over-arching rightness of their cause. That "the ends justify the means" exists is scarcely surprising considering that Machiavelli is accused of codifying it. (not quite accurately) That its adherents have taken over a major national political party is scary. That politicians elected to national office find themselves in the position of kowtowing to them is really unfortunate for our political process.

Now the basis of my objection to scoffing at the media for calling these folks the Republican base is that since they run the party now they are the base, whether they need consistent stroking or not. No, they're not the Sierra Club or anything resembling it, maybe they are ELF, but that doesn't mean they aren't the voters the GOP has if it plays to them. While the left wing of the Democratic Party seems to be able to get along with the scraps it gets, they don't, anymore. They did for a long time, they took empty rhetoric and still voted, those days have passed.

Following the Civil War the Republican Party became the establishment party which carried with it the followers-on interested only in the levers of power in regard to their economic interest. This is the conservative root of Republicanism, economic power desires a steady state with them dominating, an adoption of status quo with only incremental adjustments made to their benefit. Those powers are not in the least interested in ideology, only in controlling it and keeping its arguments in their favor. That has recently led to a blind alley, they made their bed with the Christianistas, the racists, the nativists, and the Luddites who have not only taken control but been rejected. They hadn't recognized who they were playing with, the table scraps didn't satisfy them, only increased their appetite and once the dependency was established it turned to bite the hand.

Drawing congruences between the bases of the two parties is dangerous business due to the very factors Strauss emphasizes in regard to the Movement. It is very much a faith based, tribal and emotional content based ideology. The left is generally more fact driven and need oriented than tribal or faith based, they are not happy with incrementalism but live with it. Time in the political wilderness concentrates their thoughts and pushes them into "reasonable" compromise with the middle. The Movement is quite different so far, they retreat into purity drives and anger. They were always a poor fit with the Party of Business and now are demonstrating why. Business is necessarily adaptive to situations, that or it is broken, it is on that basis pretty pragmatic. There is developing a schism between the plutocratic arm and the business arm, the plutocrats can afford the craziness of the Movement if it will allow them to hold onto or increase their advantages, business can't afford to be associated with "all or nothing."

The plutocrats can afford to subsidize the craziness of "teabagging" because it holds forth the idea that they are victims rather than rapists. They will busily try to find ways to co-opt the Democrats while playing with the Movement, they are such a tiny minority with so many means that they fly under the general radar. Some businesses will default into allegiance with the Movement because they find themselves under assault - health insurance providers for instance. Even while they play in the Movement's arena of fear and anger they are looking for ways to find some edge of advantage within the group they find so basically threatening and they do have traction there.

The Movement is the Republican Party despite some outliers and for the foreseeable future they will run the show. In some places Republicans will necessarily present a more modest face and that will last as long as there is some idea in the voting public that Republican doesn't mean Movement. It will depend on the media how long Republicans can preserve the fiction that there is a difference between Movement and Republican; and in fact it will depend to some extent on how long people like Strauss fight the idea the base is what the Movement is.

I believe Strauss' problem with the term base is that he looks at political parties as parties that practice politics, it doesn't matter that one Party is exercising politics and the other isn't, they both make their offerings to the public - voters and in that context they are political and have bases. In essence the Republicans have become so stupid as to confound political thinkers as accomplished as Strauss. (c'mon you knew I could turn this into an insult)

Family Values, Eh?

The WaPo has an updated story regarding Sen Ensign (R-NV).
UPDATE, 5:55 p.m.: Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) has acknowledged an extramarital affair with a campaign staffer in a statement released by his office. "I deeply regret and am very sorry for my actions," said Ensign. He is expected to announce the affair at a press conference at 6:30 pm tonight. The affair, which was with a woman who worked for both Ensign's re-election campaign and his Battle Born leadership political action committee, began in December 2007 and ended in August 2008. Ensign's wife, Darlene, said that the couple's "marriage has become stronger" and added: "I love my husband."

So this guy's inability to protect the sanctity of his own marriage really wouldn't be my business, except for his ability to stick his feet into that of everybody else. I don't like his politics and I particularly don't like his desire to enforce his morality on others in this country. This might just point up the danger of letting such people try it. Your mileage may vary...

Ari, This Week's Biggest Ass

The WaPobrings you Ari Fleisher:

No one yet knew the final outcome, he wrote in an e-mail to our colleague Glenn Kessler, but "one of the reasons there is a substantial reform movement in Iran -- particularly among its young people -- is because of George W. Bush's tough policies." He noted that Bush's policies in Lebanon also helped in the recent elections there.

"A big push for reform is because of the desire of Iranians to get out from sanctions, to put an end to the country's international ostracism," Fleischer wrote and, most interestingly, "because Shiites in particular see Shiites in Iraq having more freedoms than they do. Bush's tough policies have helped give rise to the reformists and I think we're witnessing that today."

This qualifies Ari for the biggest dumbass of the week, certainly not the year but c'mon Ari. Let's see how this works out, Ahmadinejad was elected at least in part in reaction to your previous boss and his overheated rhetoric - Axis of Evil and all that crap like we need to bomb Iran...which then solidified his position. Loons don't take a lot of encouragement and your bunch provided it in spades.

You didn't provide one bit of Western encouragement to reform in Iran, you scared everybody stupid with your Iraq adventure. You bet they wanted what Iraq got, bloodshed and near anarchy coupled with corruption from hell - a Crusade. Speaking of reform, you and your ilk were scoffing at the election a few weeks ago, made no difference who won. Really it didn't make a lot of difference, though some, but you scoffed. Now you want to claim it?

Iranian society has long had western leanings and you did more damage to that credibility than anyone since the Shah. They certainly don't want your Iraq model and the mess you've left this economy in isn't real attractive as one of your selling points either. George W Bush my ass, you are a complete and total tool, Ari.

The Real Import Of Iranian Election

People have spent large numbers of bytes regarding the election and the presence of the Reform Party and its large number of votes. There is a certain amount of hogwash involved in that analysis, the Mullahs approved the candidates so this is really a figleaf of democracy laid over theocracy. The number of protesters is impressive and they do actually face some risks for that behavior. Even that only really has meaning in the context of illuminating the extent of vote fraud. The vote fraud has a meaning and that meaning in the long run may be the most influential happening in Iran since 1979.

It has just been demonstrated to Iranians in general, not just the losers, that the Mullahs lie. They tell and support blatant lies to support political ends. The Iranian spokesmen for god are liars as well as dictators. We assume politicians mangle the truth and we suspect them of lying fairly often. We're never very happy to find out that we've been lied to but we seem to forgive a bit of it. There is a caveate, except in very rare circumstances our politicians don't claim to be god's messengers, they don't pretend to be holy. This is the line the Mullahs crossed in Iran, holy lies is a bit of a problem. This is going to eat at the system and it isn't as though only the losers cans see it.

I don't mind a bit when the theocrats get hoisted, I find them offensive whether Iranian or American Taliban.

Monday, June 15, 2009

DeMint Bucks The Establishment

Senate Republican Leaders took the measure of Florida Governor Charlie Christ and decided that in Florida he had the best chance of holding the Senate seat. Charlie Christ is an anathema to Conservatives though he is scarcely a liberal, or even liberal Republican. Enter Marco Rubio who claims Conservative credentials as a "longshot" challenger in the Republican Primary. I question the longshot appellation because this is an off-year election - no Presidents.

Sen Jim DeMint (R-SC) finds the lack of a real Conservative in that seat less than appealing and has backed Rubio. DeMint leads the Republican Senate conservative Steering Committee which is also backing Pat Toomey in PA and Tom Coburn in OK, who you might also refer to as wingnuts. Toomey would have trouble beating a cheap drum in a General Election and the chances for Mr Rubio don't seem much better if the Democrats were to run someone alive and sane. Maybe Democrats in PA could manage that as well, someone who isn't named Arlen.

I suppose I should support DeMint for standing up for his principles and from a strategic point of view as a Democrat I am jumping for joy. I'd very much like to see Rubio get crushed in a General Election, but this is politically stupid and the cost to that Party in its policies is great. Despite some pundit's statements on the chances of Rubio to win in the Primary being small, I would expect his percentage to surprise them and even possibly wind up a majority. Given a reason these folks vote and Charlie Christ is plenty of reason particularly if Rush and company can get enough of them stirred up.

Bike Shows

Below is the Sober Riders MC rally at High Desert Harley Davidson bike show. My bike has the leather riding jacket on the handle bars. This is part of a line of over 30 bikes. The bike was entered in Stock Domestic and won First. This meet was late May. Taken with phone camera thanks to lack of saddle bags for a short day ride (120 miles each way).

***Click for full size***

Below is a picture from the just completed 10th Annual Hell's Canyon Motorcycle Rally in Baker City. The entire downtown Main Street was shut down Saturday for the rally. Both curbs were parked solid as well as a double line down the center line for five city blocks. This is Miss Oregon holding the First Place trophy for Best Harley, since Saturday was my birthday I found that a pretty cool confluence. I was somewhat surprised to win that since there were many very cool bikes.

The weather was uniformly rainy which cut the participation some and made for some uncomfortable riding with only some breaks of unpredictable length. Danielle was a real good sport ducking in and out of an umbrella for pictures and other appearance functions. She is a dental hygienist from Tigard, Oregon.

The last picture was necessarily taken with the phone camera due to the rain and my reluctance to expose the SRL to it. I will admit to a bit of dissatisfaction with the phone camera since it decided to crap out while the High Desert Harley Girls were posing with the bike, especially considering their extensive lack of clothing and willingness to brave the weather for the shot. While those shots may have been fairly family friendly I'm not convinced they'd have been wife friendly...

High Desert Harley brought some bikes to display as well as some accessories to shop for and their mobile shop which got pretty heavy use. There were bikes from most of the western tier of states and such rides can take a toll. This kind of event brings in quite a bit of business for the town, which is good and we do have a lot of good roads for beautiful rides. Apparently the second weekend in June will be the schedule so if you ride you might want to put it into your list of things to do.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Iranian Election Oddities

At some point after its institution theocracy damn near guarantees stupid results. Because in recent history theocracies have been established as a reaction to bad government, there may be an intellectual component to them, a reaction by the curious and self-actuated to repression. That component may for awhile ensure a level of good decision making and somewhat blunt the effects of religious rigidity. When religion is the ruling component of thought a certain ossification of thought occurs, the answers to all situations are contained within the relevant holy book which seriously undermines creative thought turning it to the aim of sophistry.

The idea that a holy book contains all the answers to a society's issues is based on the belief that the words are divinely inspired and that divinity will have foreseen all possible developments. Most of these holy books are many centuries old and have been previously mutilated by the political concerns of other power structures and their own power structures. I will not argue about belief system's moral structures, these are matters of faith to their adherents and not subject to such but that holds the seeds of their governmental failure. There is a rigidity of thought involved in the blind adherence to ancient thought.

Problem solving starts with the assumption that something new and out of the ordinary has occurred, a thing not covered by the previous systems for dealing with issues. If the systems existed there would be no problem, it would have been dealt with. This means the solution lies in modifying, restructuring, or abandoning previous models - creativity. Thinking "outside the box" is not encouraged by the religious establishment, the box is the definition of a religious establishment.

Iran's social and economic and diplomatic situation has been changing ever since the 1979 Revolution. The situations that pertained in 1979 do not exist or have modified radically and yet the same thought runs the show. Decision and the decision process continues to operate on the basis of old information and is proving to be incapable of dealing with changed situations. Iran is not longer threatened by Iraq or the United States, its economy is in tatters, and its society is showing dissatisfaction with its narrow structure. The regime is forced to attempt to maintain the status quo by increasingly transparent subterfuges which only inflame the proponents of improvement. This collision means that reason as solution will be less and less likely requiring violence from both sides. This is bad for all participants.

I have no crystal ball or deep insight into Iranian society or leadership and no way of predicting the levels of violence or outcomes. Societies are bound together by general agreement about their foundations and when those agreements are broken or violated the divisions are broadened. If the divisions are sufficient a point is reached where there is no chance of reconciliation and someone has to go. I don't know if the outcome of the Iranian election represents one of those points or not, but it is clearly a symptom of failure.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Proud To Be Right-Wing Extremist Today?

"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot… So then, because you are lukewarm, I will vomit you out of My mouth." Revelation 3:15-16.

You might be a rightwing extremist if…You think killing unborn babies is wrong…You believe that the right to bear arms is actually in the Constitution…You think that people should not be rewarded for coming to America illegally…You dare to prepare for the global famine and other calamities predicted in the Bible…You believe that local and state solutions are superior to enlarging the federal bureaucracy or…You are a veteran who served your country.

So (with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy) that is my synopsis of a recent U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s recent report. Americans can appreciate a good joke, but this is no laughing matter. Our own government is calling biblical and conservative beliefs dangerously extreme and radical!

The Department of Homeland Security recently issued a report warning law enforcement officials nationwide about the dangers of ''right-wing extremism.'' The most jaw-dropping aspect of this report is that its definition of “right-wing extremist” applies to any conservative or value-centered person!

Actually, no that's not what it says. It does say that people like Dr Tiller's murderer and guard Johns' murderer exist and come from a lunatic fringe of right-wing extremism. You are certainly free to be whatever form of winger you choose right up until you advocate or use violence to further your ends. There are some Constitutional bars to things like Establishing A Religion. If you'd like to wear the mantle of those who advocate violence or commit it in the name of your view - so be it.

These folks love to point at Islam and particularly Islamic Extremists as modern day devils and don't seem to see their own claims as equivalent. The institution of Religious Law and extreme means to accomplish it are the goals of the group they demonize and it is different, how, from their own? It isn't even a matter of rhetorical lunacy, it only depends on which of the current versions you read or listen to. Oh to be sure, the deities are different and that piece is exactly as meaningless to this question as is the weather.

I'm a member of the left and while I could build imaginary scenarios requiring violent action in regards to the government but that includes the extinguishing of our form of government. I can't work up to extremism in rhetoric or even in philosophy. The right offers up entirely too many opportunities for criticism and mockery for me to need to go to extremism. They are easy.

It seems sad to have to point out to anyone that there is such a thing as dangerous extremism and mocking it will lead to juxtapositions like this one, Holocaust Museum murder and a Right-Wing Extremist membership card. Are you surprised that in the spirit of the preceding post I'll call you idiots? Shoot, that doesn't sound mean enough - assholes is better.

Me And Republicans

I live in an area where Democrats are the minority party, I may find that rather silly considering the economic situation that is the norm here, but I have to get along with it. If you toss into the mixture the fact that a lot of my activities, like shooting, drag racing, and construction, seem to attract more Republicans than Democrats I am friends with a lot of Republicans. I don't mind that because while it makes for interesting and lively political discussions few of them live their personal lives on the basis of that Party's publicly ennunciated standards. I don't understand why their politics don't reflect their personal behavior and since I'm not required to I let that go.

Members of that tribe may find my postings partisanly intolerant and there is an element of intolerance in my posts. I am not particularly a fan of stupidity, lies, hate, or unequal treatment of my fellows and I let that come through clearly. I do not make up facts, I do not use quotes that contradict the spirit of the statement they're taken from, and I do not tar people with a brush they have not clearly earned. I am a partisan because the Democrats very much more reflect my philosophies than the Republicans. I am not partisan enough to let Democrats freely insult my political philosophies or to minimize any Republican policy that more closely hews to them. You may notice a serious lack of Republican boosting here, but that has to be earned.

I'm afraid the mindset of the voices of Republicanism doesn't manage to reflect historical expectations of the Republican Party. At one time it was somewhat ordinary to expect strong support of the Bill of Rights from them; the Party of Torture and spying on citizens and ditching Habeas Corpus can't claim that mantle. An expectation that they'd support the health of business in general is disappointed by their favoritism for plutocracy versus actual small business which is the majority of business in this country. I won't get into the idea of the Party of Lincoln resolutely pushing away minorities since that is scarcely a new phenomenon. I don't mind that people bring their religious morality to politics - it would be ridiculous to expect otherwise - but that is a different concept than enforcing their morality on their fellows and the Republican element of religiosity seems determined to be the American Taliban. It would be ordinary to expect Republicans to be strong on economic policy, instead we get a mantra of tax cuts for the rich and drowning their mismanaged version of big government in a bathtub and policies that perpetuate a system that broadens the gap between the rich and poor.

Look; Republicans, teabaggers, wingers, Christianists, et al if you don't like what I've got to say, you've got several choices :
Don't read this site
State your grievances - but expect blowback
Quit being demonstrable assholes

Short of those alternatives you're SOL. I won't ease up on you and I can think of no reason to do so. I am fair about this, it isn't my fault you offer up such a target rich environment. Change your damn game into something responsible and I'll cheer you on and you don't have to be Democrat-lite to get there.

Bringing On The Hate

We've seen an upswing of hate crimes, whatever your thoughts about the legal term, crimes against people out of hate for their position in life. An abortion doctor, Tiller, wasn't killed because of domestic discord or a drinking bout gone bad, he was killed for his position in life. The guard at the Holocaust Museum was killed because of his position in life, as was the soldier at the Arkansas recruiting center. This isn't personal, it is random in the sense of their being no personal interaction between the parties.

It is probably an exercise in the obvious to question the sanity of these actors, not sanity in the legal defense sense, but in the ability to maintain reasoned behavior. It is not reasonable to kill or injure people because they hold a particular position in life. That position can be sexual orientation, race, occupation, or other impersonal relationship with the actors. There is a tie between the three killings I've referenced, and that tie is religion. It is in fact right wing religion that is in action.

Dr. Tiller was murdered by a hard core Christianist, Pvt. Long was killed by an Islamist loon, guard Steven Johns was killed by Jew hater. This is not to suggest that religion in itself is responsible for such behavior, but it is plain that extreme views of religion do have something to do with it. Another feature of the killings is their connection to the right, something they'll do their damnedest to lay a the feet of the left. They're stuck with Tiller's murder and while they'd like to lay tolerance for Islam as blame for the left they're stuck with the congruence between their theocratic base and the Islamic fundamentalists. Now we get to the neo-Nazis and the connection idiots like Goldberg make regarding the word socialist in National Socialist Party as they ignore that Hitler and associates essentially staged a coup to gain control of an existing organization and waged decimating warfare on those associated with socialism and communism to institute the type of torturing, imprisoning, law-and-order police state the rightwing loons now defend in this nation. Some right wing loons wear the Republican label and are actually elected officials but this isn't intended to label most Republicans with a Nazi uniform. (to be entirely fair the rightwing loons are also mimicking the Chinese Communists on torture)

Barack Obama and the Democratic majority are driving the Republicans and particularly the wingers to distraction. The elected members of the Party are going to rhetorical lengths of very debatable veracity, taste, and sense but the wingers are going well beyond that - to hate. The presence of the two segments in the same sentence is not an accident, they play off each other. The more egregiously hateful the rightwing nutcases get the farther the elected Rupublicns drift into their orbit and with that acceptance the farther the loons go. The entire mess that is today's Republican Party bears some responsiblity for this violence. Sane humans will not go on murder rampages because of intemperate rhetoric but a constant drumbeat of it will set off the crazies who are already aimed that direction.

Loons like Hannity, Beck, and Limbaugh may have audiences and may make good money as shock entertainers; but their comedy routines are just that - not politics. The Republican Party needs to learn that lesson and the lesson that by kowtowing to them they encourage them to go farther by legitimizing them. The American Taliban did not found this nation and they have no right to institute their religion and the Republican Party needs to be clear on this. The hate needs to be ramped down, it is entirely reasonable to oppose a political agenda on the part of elected officials, it is entirely another to engage in hate over it.

I know, tilting at windmills...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Delay Sotomayor's Hearings?

Senate Republican "leaders" threw a fit over Sen Leahy's plan to start hearings in mid-July, it isn't enough time. It may shorten the interval for fundraising and name calling but the consensus is that Sotomayor will be approved, regardless of Republican opposition. Given that no startlingly bad thing is hidden away somewhere accessible the Republicans face the public with no meaningful ammunition and are jumping up and down screaming "NO" for no identifiable reason.

In the absence of identifiable reasons the public will fill in the blanks starting with the most obvious - she's a Democratic nominee - and move on to the really risky ones - like she's a woman and she's a Latino - in other words she's not an old white man. Her record doesn't back their claims of racism and making up laws - judicial activism is exactly what they do regardless of the negative connotations implied. They're going to come up dry and she's going to a Supreme Court Justice, the question is how to win from there.

If I were a Republican Senate leader I'd push for as quick hearings as would pass muster of due diligence. My reasoning is simple, don't be seen losing and don't be seen losing ugly. The ugly face Republicans have been presenting may play to those who will vote for them anyhow but it is really off-putting to those who make choices. Looking forward is a much better policy than digging your hole deeper. If the Republicans were to go along with this nomination with good grace it becomes less of a loss, less of an example of ineffectualism in the name of partisanship. There are elections in 2010, all House seats and 1/3 of the Senate seats, that ought to have meaning in political calculations. If the goal is to hang onto the now immaterial House seats they have and lose some more Senate seats playing to the base alone is good politics. I predicted awhile back that the course of elections was that the loon faction would be most of what was left in the House - it is. The Senate is narrowing into that same equation and 2010 may well result in an immaterial loon fringe remaining in the Senate - more than a couple of the Senate seats were won on the basis of old and now disreputable politics, things have changed.

There are a lot more voices and ideas in this country than are represented by a base Republican Congress and Democrats. This crap is not good for the country, it is not good for the only opposition to be the voices of crazy. It is, further, bad for the Democratic Party to contain Republicans with a (D) as their sole qualification for their membership - that confuses the snot out of voters and holds the seeds of discord and junk in the Party. I won't play purity police for the Democratic Party, but I'm happy to smack heck out of stupidity. These folks need someplace to go, but it needn't be to the loons.


"I am not a citizen of the world." - Newt Gingritch. Sure, he thought it was a shot at President Barack Obama, turns out it was also the Mythic Ronnie Reagan. Now he's fumbling around trying to fix that. He's the smart one they had speak. It isn't so much he stomped on Saint Ronnie in pursuit of teh stupid for the benefit of the money base, it is that his idea is so stupid that even Ronnie didn't go there. Yes, I said - even Ronnie.

Ronnie Reagan was an actor, his job was to present lines in a convincing manner and given his characters, an engaging manner. Nothing in President R Reagan's record previous to the Presidency or even within it points to a powerful intellect. There is plenty of evidence that he embraced poor ideas and ideas with no real factual basis, but even Reagan realized that the US is not the entire world and that any citizen of the US also resides in and is a de facto citizen of the world. What they cannot get is that the rest of the world is larger than the US and that it matters, not only in itself but to the US.

I understand the desire to devalue the Presidency of Barack Obama, it is a political reality for an opposition party that wishes to be the party in power again. It flatly doesn't matter which party is in, the "ins" must have their accomplishments minimized and their failures maximized. The problem for Republicans is that mantras of stupidity and damage to the interests of the general public minimize whatever intelligence and policy they have to offer. They have a base with no place else to go - nowhere and playing to them is not only preaching to the choir it is also a method for alienating voters with someplace else to go.

To be sure, a lot of voters who used to vote Republican aren't real happy to be voting Democratic, but they've been shoved into it and aren't being given any reason to not feel shoved away. It isn't my job to tell Republicans how to win elections, they don't pay me, couldn't pay me enough, and wouldn't listen anyhow but at some point an effective opposition is important. Since I'm a left Democrat finding a third way for them is foreign to my thinking process, but I can guarantee that intelligence and thoughtfulness will bear much more fruit than Newt's stupidity. No, Sarah Palin's tits aren't an improvement.

Republican Symptomology

When you've been handed your head in two elections running and become immaterial in the House a certain vacuum occurs, and this one isn't simply between Republican ears. No one voice or thought or even coherent mixture of thoughts speaks for the Republicans. The past few days of uncertainty and debate about Gov Palin's appearance at the Republican House Senate dinner is emblematic of that. The choice of speakers between Palin and Gingritch seemed a matter of controversy, as though the impact of a choosing between a washed up Reagan idolizing pol and a windup used-to-be beauty queen talking doll loser was a big deal.

You could have as a speaker mean natured ignorance with tits or fat old white man mean natured ignorance as emblem of your resurgence as a political party in Crackerdom. The big mystery was solved as the idea man did the talking and the winking sparkles gal did the picture taking.

Somebody will accuse me of being partisanly mean. They can KMA. Lizard Gingritch eulogizes a Reagan that never existed despite his record being quite public and Palin poses. Republicans offer you fear, T&A, and more fear and think it might just work this time. The target, of course, is the donors, the bucks that showed up and could be counted on to swallow this stuff if they could get next to something resembling a celebrity in Republican circles. Their problem is that their stuff gets played to the people that, in the end, vote.

In certain circles Palin is hot, not as in an achiever but as sex and in others her insistence on ignorance as solution is orthodoxy so it will play to them and Newt can reach the GWB acolytes and the "I got mine" mythologizers of Reaganism. That isn't much of an audience come election time. It misses more than 70% of the people who will vote - per polling. (go ahead and quibble about a couple percent either way) They have real problems with their spiel, actual numbers and results. Americans are damned unhappy with the results and seem to be noticing the numbers that have been piling up for years. I don't care whether the god or greed faction wins out, they're cutting out their dissenting or moderating voices and that means failure. It wouldn't matter if their ideology were right or left having nothing to restrain the hard core fanatics kills politically. There is no neat right or wrong solution in politics, ideology doesn't trump reality. Solutions are messy because people and their situations are messy.

They've painted themselves into a corner where the egos and narrow views of select groups clash and grind with no elder statesmen to play referee. This mess played out over several days of Newt/Sarah factions making noises and accomplishing nothing and leaving no camp satisfied or reasonable looking. This bunch proposes to govern, actually run a country and they can't even put on a fundraising dinner.

Meanwhile outside this fracas you've got the two ends trying to out play each other at stupidity, Pawlenty has decided he needs to get nearer Rush calling the US a 70's Banana Republic and bemoaning socialism and meanwhile the radio-babbler is upping the ante for elected Republicans by advocating a boycott of GM and Chrysler so Obama's foray into socialism fails. I even know some Republicans who work for GM and I don't think they'll care to be the collateral damage. I'll bet my teabagging sis who hates Obama's socialism is rooting for Rush to crush her hubby's company. I breathlessly await the Confederate States' foreign auto Senator shills to pile on - and run a (R) in Michigan. I love hearing socialized medicine drool from their lips as health care costs drive American industry into the toilet. It's easy enough, if you weren't hardworking enough to be a Congressman you don't deserve to have the benefit of Government Health Care, you ignorant slackers; that'll solve that.

I honestly believe there is great value in having an effective opposition party, but I couldn't care less if this particular stain (er strain) of Republicanism becomes the 21st Century Whigs. If the Theocrats and Plutocrats fall into the morass of their ethical cesspool of fear, greed and murderous hate it is small loss, something or somethings will replace their blight on the American scene and speak to enough people to be effective.

I know perfectly good and well that I'm preaching to the choir here, any that read this and are informed by Faux News and the radio-babblers will only be incensed that I'm so impolite, as they follow the factually challenged off a cliff. These are the advocates of moral absolutism who want to debate the efficacy of something as intrinsically un-American as torture. They need to have a chat with their god because right about now he's got to be pretty pissed-off. Oh hell, they'd wave their Bibles as they drove forward his crucifixion all over again with chants from the Pharisees - their current idols.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Quiet Heroes, Tiller And...

I give you Webster's definition of "hero"
Main Entry: he·ro
Pronunciation: \ˈhir-(ˌ)ō\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural heroes
Etymology: Latin heros, from Greek hērōs
Date: 14th century
1 a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b: an illustrious warrior c: a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d: one that shows great courage
2 a: the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work b: the central figure in an event, period, or movement
3plural usually heros : submarine 2
4: an object of extreme admiration and devotion

I suppose 1)c&d cover what I'm talking about in regard to Dr Tiller and other providers. It is one thing to do something heroic on a battlefield with nasty instantaneous events all around one and another to daily risk your life as a member of a tiny fraternity of doctors. Doctors who are consistently despised and denigrated in a very public and organized fashion and subject to ongoing threats to their lives.

The trail of death and destruction are clear to anyone who pays attention and those who are its subjects are well aware of it. Think for a moment about their lives, this isn't about being the used car salesman butt of jokes, they are named as practitioners of horrific crimes on a daily basis, on national media. Try to imagine that as the non-violent aspect of being them. Add in screaming protesters, arsons, bombings, shootings, and killings as a consequence of trying to provide women with a terrible choice in the face of a worse consequence.

The word hero has become so devalued by its application to people just doing a job that it is almost inadequate to apply to these people - but they bring a true personal definition to the noun. Stop for a moment and give these people a moment's salute.

Search Engine Mysteries And Disappointments

From sitemeter by visit, I've excluded the URL:

Referring URL in chuck porn
Search Engine
Search Words boy in chuck porn
Visit Entry Page
Visit Exit Page

The mysteries of search engines, suppose this visitor was disappointed? I sincerely hope so judging from the search words. You're allowed to laugh, I did.


Judge Sonia Sotomayor has lately been accused of a lot of things by the Republicans and other rightish sorts. She's and activist judge, she's a racist, she's mean, she's...well President Obama's choice to replace Justice Bryer (Souter correctly) . That is the real problem with her, she isn't being chose by - oh, say - George W Bush. WTF? No really, other than Rove, the Cheneys, and a couple others everybody else Republican runs away from that guy. Except now it's starting to look like a loser to throw garbage at this lady.

The rudderless Republican Party is now being blown hither and yon at the mercy of various windbags. Our favorite lizard politician Newt started out with accusations of racism and has now walked, maybe run back from those words to a more "seemly" accusation of inappropriate language. Mitch McConnell started out strong and has faded to a point where former Frist aide Miranda accused him of gayness - er limp wristedness, oh - he's now stating the nominee will probably be approved. At least Rush is holding on, the blasts continue only becoming a bit more incomprehensible with time. I don't monitor the winger talkers so I'm not clear who else is standing up yet but the discord is getting a bit intense.

Republicans who are now in elected office, Senators, are getting nervous about attacking a Latino woman without good solid facts on their side but there is that wing who are also scared of the heat Rush and his base can bring. They'll have to put up some sort of defense that doesn't block them from letting the approval happen and garnering public approbation - a narrow line to walk. Republicans who'd like to get elected somewhere other than in the Confederate States of Republicanism are more nervous, their base isn't large enough to do more than make noise and any damage to their appeal to those who don't foam at the mouth will kill their chances completely.

President Obama keeps managing to pull things off while appearing reasonable and intelligent, and worse, likable. Opposing him for the sake of opposing him isn't playing well, There are a lot of things people are worried about but so far most don't include Barack Obama in that milieu. 2010 is the year about 1/3 of the Senate seats are up, along with all the House seats and it is closing fast. (I know the interminable 08 election seems very near) If you're not in office it is time to start raising your profile and associating your (R) brand with the good guys, assuming there are some. If you are in office it is time to be reminding the home folks why you're there - as an (R). This is no time for very public black eyes, unless of course you're a Rush, Hannity, or other unelected (R) gasbag.

I care little if the current crop wants to play at being buttheads and run smack into a wall, they are given to intemperate outbursts and the more ineffectual they are the more intemperate. They have complaints and no ideas, they only manage to hearken back to times that never were, such as their Reagan fetish or the imaginary Leave It To Beaver era when blacks were invisible and everyone had a great job - instead of vanishing jobs and a black president. My god there are black kids on the White House lawn... When your moderate wing is Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) and he's comparing the US to a '70s Banana Republic you deserve an ass kicking.

Seriously Rush, don't let these milquetoasts back down, make them fight and talk plain. No goldarned euphemisms, call that spade a racist activist radical liberal vagina impaired...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

By Request, Scooter Pics and Travelogue

After you cross the Elkhorn Mountains outside Baker City you come down into the John Day valley, part way down is a scenic overview looking over the valley to the Strawberry Mountains. It is a good place to get a view but our presence there was dictated by the Super Glide having a carb puke. My partner George on this ride was up on a Harley Anniversary Deuce.

****Click the pictures for full sized****

This crack in the Earth is Picture Gorge a part of the John Day Fossil Beds. The John Day River flows through.

Super Glide, Deuce, George, entry to Picture Gorge, and the John Day river. If you don't start to understand why I love living here...there's no hope for you.

You are looking west through the Gorge, a low angle sun or sunset really brings up the colors of the rocks, we're here just past mid-day.

The rocks are chock full of fossils, you don't touch or molest if you don't want real trouble in your life.

This is an Anniversary Deuce, it is slightly longer than norm to allow the seat to be moved down and with a slightly raked fork. George is a pal with a very cool scooter.

The last night I was willing to put up with minor annoyances from the '98 Super Glide, things that are fixable at the cost of time rather than large money. That time cost involves riding time and that is not what I own a scooter for. In the morning George and I are to go to Salem Harley to let him get a dealer T-shirt which he collects and maybe catch up with the owner he knew well.

Well the owner George knew is no longer the owner but he got his T-shirt gratis, a part of my purchase of the Screaming Eagle Springer Soft-tail you see here at the top of the Ochoco Mountains. I really only intended to keep George company at the dealer but the Super Glide coughed all the way there...well I'd seen the Screaming Eagle 2 weeks before and been entranced - while their service was dealing with a Super Glide issue and I kept looking out the dealer window at it getting a bit more peeved every time.

The Super Glide remained at the dealer for the last 2 weeks when I rode the new bike home - a 400 mile road test it passed with high flying colors. This last weekend involved a visit to the new grand-baby and a niece's graduation party in Sandy and so Monday I rode the old one home. It ran pretty well and caused no delays or tool kit nonsense but it did drool oil out the front cylinder rocker box gasket all the way home. It was comparable to jumping out of your Corvette into a VW Bus and driving a road course. I'll get it squared away and sell it, it is still a low mile bike and it is a good bike - it isn't fair to compare it to the Screaming Eagle, but that's what I have now.
***Update 6/4***
The tank with its dent is off the Super Glide and at the S&S Body shop of my pal Tom Beever to be become smooth and black - I'm not willing to pay for multi-color on a bike I'm selling. The oil drooling front rocker box now has new gaskets to match the rear. This leaves sorting out what ails the carb and putting the tank back on. The bike should be ready for sale by early next week. Keep in mind that this scooter only has 19,000 miles on it and will have had all corrective measures taken so it is well worth its $7,000 asking price. An 80 cubic inch (1340cc) motor on a 580 pound bike means this thing has plenty of giddy-up.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Confluence Of Circumstances

The other day while riding my old scooter home from the west side of the state I reflected while going through a curve that a set of events coming together at the proper time would be the end of me, despite my best efforts. It is a bit easier to see this when you are essentially naked at 65 miles per hour and flesh mangling objects are hurtling past at not much more than arm's length. This fact applies to much more than motorcycling.

All through our lives circumstances come together and create a reality that is counter to our plans, for good or ill. We have plans and we have ideas and yet a confluence of circumstances will drive our lives. Many of the cultural wars erupt from denial of this piece of life reality. Whatever ideas you may have about your children, abortion, gayness, ad infinitum are not it, and yet abortion and gayness and all the rest arrive into people's lives daily. Almost everyone knows intellectually that things happen, unforeseen and unplanned. But that happens to other people, not me.

Horseshit. Certainly men don't get pregnant, but someone in their life may and then the crapshoot starts. However that pregnancy occurred in planning, its happening alone is took quite a few factors coming together in rare confluence. Fortunately for the earth and humankind, conception isn't a foregone conclusion and from there it stays an iffy proposition, both physically and within the life situation of the mother and father. Pretending that one-size-fits-all is ludicrous and yet that is the debate.

People wind up gay. It happens and we all know it does because they exist. It isn't a part of anyone's plans to become a member of a despised minority. The fact that a majority of Americans don't despise them is small consolation in the face of the ones who do. Plans and ideas have nothing to do with it, a confluence of circumstances happened to someone and that's their life. We who were missed by it can't really understand but we don't have to in order to avoid actively making their lives miserable. It doesn't take an advanced degree in psychology to figure out that there are ways to avoid harming others, whether we understand them or not.

Pure stupid chance gave you a miss on having to deal with some issues and having to deal with others. It flatly doesn't matter if you were hit or missed by some confluence of circumstances, giving respect to those who were isn't a matter of having to experience their life. You don't get to be me and you don't have to live in my skin to be able to give me space to exist in relative happiness. It isn't about gods or books, or your personal experience in these areas, it is a matter of recognizing that life isn't predictable and has to be dealt with on its terms.

John Cole over at Balloon Juice pretty much nailed it with this line:
What this country really needs right now is a serious case of mind your own damned business. We’ve turned into a nation of busybodies and scolds, and people just need to back off.

MYOB isn't all that hard and takes a heck of a lot less energy than making it your business to make someones life more difficult. If these kinds of things aren't for you, don't do them. The fact that John Doe is gay or Jane Smith needs an abortion is about them, not you. Gay marriage and the termination of pregnancy and a whole lot of things involve no one but those participating in or dealing with it. Rather than screw with people's lives who have no effect on yours, sit down and shut the hell up while you reflect on the narrow miss a confluence of circumstances gave you.

New And Improved - Chuck For

As per usual the new and improved is in the label, what is actual about it is its appearance. This means the author has gotten back on the job. I'll see about it being a daily...

The American Taliban Strikes

Dr Tiller was a gynecologist who among other services provided abortions. deekaa6 provided my friends at Balloon Juice with a personal testimonial regarding Dr Tiller's practice. You should read the entire thing, but I'll give you this:
Dr. Tiller understood that this decision was the most difficult thing that a woman could ever decide and he took the time to educate us and guide us along with the other two couples who at the time were being forced to make the same decision after discovering that they too were carrying children impacted by horrible fetal anomalies. I could describe in great detail the procedures and the pain and suffering that everyone is subjected to in these situations. However, that is not the point of the post. We can all imagine that this is not something that we would wish on anyone. The point is that the pain and suffering were only mitigated by the compassion and competence of Dr. George Tiller and his staff. We are all diminished today for a host of reasons but most of all because a man of great compassion and courage has been lost to the world.

This Doctor was vilified as Killer Tiller and described as a monster with blood on his hands among other nastiness. What the Doctor did in his practice was legal and unfortunately necessary. Some find that more than unfortunate, they find it evil and go from there, farther afield, perhaps, than their instigators planned.

I am unable to read minds and so I am reluctant to say that asses like Bill O'Rielly wished for deaths amongst those they vilified, but their endless drumbeat of invective has had its inevitable ending in the murder of Dr George Tiller. You cannot blame the magic box for society's failures and offenses, but it does reinforce points of view. If that point of view is already past a point of balance the tipping over into lunacy is guaranteed. Do the purveyors of hate like BillO have blood on their hands? Yes, absolutely and less honorably than that they accused Dr Tiller of and quite as legally. They did not say, "I will approve if you kill Dr Tiller," they simply presented him as less than human and thus undeserving of that consideration by trying and convicting him of crimes against humanity through their rhetoric. Sadly, most were actually unaware of the actual practice of Dr Tiller which the above commenter outlines.

I've been taken to task for calling teabaggers idiots, well there's a far cry from questioning someones reasoning powers and dehumanizing them and setting them up for murder. It is funny how few of the left persuasion go around a bend and kill people in this country and the right provides the trigger men. Is that a function of being of the right? No, certainly not, but it is a function of the hysteria and overblown rhetoric the right engages in.

The American Taliban is winning its terrorist war against abortion. Doctors die, clinics are bombed and all that makes people reluctant to provide such services. The BillOs and Randall Terrys are their preachers, they don't take matters in hand, they create the climate rather than do the deed. It might be useful to shun such.

This is preaching to the choir, readers of this site don't watch Fox or read the tracts of Terry. I have no idea how to approach doing something legal about the American Taliban - GWB would have invaded...the wrong country...