Saturday, December 24, 2005
The New York Times reported today that President Bush allowed the National Security Agency to intercept much more domestic communications data than he previously admitted to. Duh. The NSA has long been intercepting all worldwide electronic communications. All U.S. communications are routinely passed through the NSAs supercomputers sifted with trip words/phrases.
This has, of course, been illegal since 1978. But the U.S. government has used a loophole to snoop on every citizen. Through secret reciprocal agreements with certain allies, like Great Britain, the U.S. intercepts their communications and shares it with their intelligence agencies, and they intercept ours and share it with our intelligence agencies. After 9/11, their has been no need to hide behind this snoophole.
In other news this week, astronomers discovered two new rings around the planet Uranus. The NSAs ability to listen to all worldwide telecommunications is nothing compared to the National Reconnaissance Offices use of space telescopes for spying on everyone. But that discussion remains taboo.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Heres the deal. The U.S. is not at war. How do I know? Look at any seal of the United States, or any seal of any federal agency. It is also on the back of a one dollar bill. Look at the eagles head. While the head has been facing the same side as the eagles talons holding the olive branch (symbol for peace), the U.S. has been in peacetime. When the U.S. was last at war, the eagles head faced the other way, toward the talons holding the arrows (symbol for war). The last time any seals of the U.S. depicted wartime was in 1945.
The claim that the U.S. has been at war since 2001 is a lie. If, like lots of United Statesans, you believe this lie, you now know the truth. Only citizens of the U.S., through direct action by their representatives in congress, can go to war. Now you know.
Moreover, President Bush has been using this lie to justify the uprecedented, dictatorial power of illegally spying on you. The National Security Agency is complicit in this conspiracy. The NSA obeyed an illegal order from the president in peacetime. These are high crimes. Felonies. Violations of the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Impeachable offenses.
Do your duty.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Jesus was Jewish. He never celebrated anything like Christmas. In biblical times, birth dates were not remembered, and birth anniversaries were not observed.
What would a Jewish contemporary of Jesus, who was the same age as Jesus, have said if you had asked him when he was born? After wondering about your sanity for asking such a question, he might tell you the year of his birth if he knew even that much. That year would be 3761 by his calendar.
If you wished him a happy Hanukkah (or Feast of Dedication as he knew the holiday), he would know exactly what you meant. Hanukkah is a celebration of his peoples real victory in their own real war on Judaism waged by the Syrians.
If you think there is a war against Christmas in the U.S., just try ignoring it. If you are right, it should be easy to avoid Christmas gifts, Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Christmas TV specials, Christmas ballets, Christmas plays, Christmas pagents, Christmas concerts, Christmas parades, Christmas services, Christmas cards, Christmas foods, Christmas advertising, Christmas greetings, Christmas movies, Christmas magazines, Christmas books, Christmas parties, Christmas bonuses, and Christmas vacations.
If you are correct, you will not see, or hear, or touch, or smell, or think about any of these Christmas experiences. On December 26th, or later, it will occur to you that Christmas passed without your noticing it. Think you can do that? If so, you are wrong. You wont succeed. Now ask yourself: If Christmas cant even be ignored, how can there be any kind of clear and present danger threatening to kill it?
So what is all this hoopla and humbuggery about a so-called war on Christmas? It is a fabrication of the religious right in the U.S. It is more fear mongering to raise money for neo-conservative political causes. Its as nonsensical as the false accusation about a conspiracy to use Spongebob Squarepants to turn heterosexual kids into homosexual adults. It is as nutty as a fruitcake.
Monday, December 12, 2005
Today is Black Ink Monday, the first ever theme cartoon day by editorial cartoonists to protest the downsizing of staff editorial cartoonist jobs.
Among the threats to jobs of political and editorial cartoonists is the dulling down or outright avoidance of strong opinions and editorials by news organizations and none are stronger than political cartoons.
The strange attitude that a news organizations op-ed page should be everything to every reader or nonexistent, as with most TV and radio web sites is wrong-headed. Publishers who do not want to offend anyone, out of fear that someone might cancel a subscription, or choose not to subscribe, place a gag on minority opinions (no pun intended).
In fact, this long-time trend is the cause of, not the solution to declining profits in the news business. Controversy sells, dullness doesnt. Just ask the top publicists in Hollywood.
Blaming financial woes on new media gimmicks and technologies doesnt hold water either. The new always wears off, and consumers continue their search for stimulating content.
Politicians do have the power to hurt publishers who ridicule them (see any good history about the press in Nazi Germany). But giving in to bullies is even more wrong-headed.
To learn more about the protest, and see Black Ink Monday cartoons by other cartoonists, visit The American Association of Editorial Cartoonists Web site.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
Monday, December 05, 2005
Saturday, December 03, 2005
A National Security Agency analysis of the Gulf of Tonkin incidents was declassified this week, four years after it was written in 2001. It proves conclusively that there was no attack on U.S. ships on August 4, 1964, as reported and leaked to the media. President Lyndon Johnson used the false reports of the alleged attack to justify escallating U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
Some of us did not have to wait for declassification. Here in Pflugerville, Texas, we needed only ask the comptroller of the school district, Gerrell Moore. Former NSA officer Moore was the senior intelligence official aboard the U.S.S. Maddox during the Tonkin Gulf incidents. He has told anyone who would listen from day one that the second attack never happened. He was even interviewed for decades about it by mainstream news organizations like Newsweek. Nobody ever published his statements.
Those of us who have been paying attention to modern U.S. history have long known that there is nothing new about the so-called War on Terror, and that the slippery slope toward neo-fascism (or corporatism if you prefer) did not start on 9/11.
Almost two years after it was written, a secret memo, dated December 12, 2003, was turned over to the Washington Post regarding the Texas redistricting map rammed through the state legislature by Tom DeLay. The 73-page memo detailed an opinion by the voting rights section of the Department of Justice that the map violated the Voting Rights Act. The memo was never seen by the three-judge panel that ruled the map was legal in 2003. At the time the memo surfaced, the case was pending for review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The courts decision came on June 28, 2006. The state legislatures redistricting plan did indeed violate the Voting Rights Act in the case of House District 23, represented by Republican Henry Bonilla.
For those of you who followed my cartoons on this subject two years ago, you may recognize this as similar to my 2003 cartoon, GOP Redistricting Map for Texas. Tom DeLays name was not a national household word back then, and the image becomes more prophetic as we learn more about the corruption behind the Texas redistricting fiasco of 2003.
Monday, November 28, 2005
President Bush said he disagrees with those who are calling for a timeline for the withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel raised the question: If Iraqis can discuss a date, why cant we?
Bush uses the same default exit strategy used in Vietnam from 1964 through the end of that undeclared war. The majority of U.S. citizens, however, want a strategy that brings home all of our troops alive, and whole mentally and physically.
Meanwhile, you can spell Exit Strategy by lining up about 116 flag-draped caskets.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Bushs critics called for him to promise not to pardon Scooter Libby. Libby faces a 30-year prison sentence if found guilty of perjury. U.S. Presidents can and do pardon convicted criminals near the end of their terms in office. But this year, Bush may opt for grouping Libby and others in with his annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
The KKK scheduled a rally on November 5, 2005 in Austin, Texas in support of Proposition 2, an ammendment to the Texas Constitution banning same-sex marriage. Because the Vatican also supports such anti-gay laws, those twin agendas must be filed under Strange Bedfellows.
The following letter was published in the Austin American-Statesman October 30, 2005:
What side are you on?
The fact the the Ku Klux Klan has allied itself with the Christian agenda in support of the vote for Proposition 2 speaks a mouth full. How proud all the folks who support this nonsense proposition must feel now to have the KKK on its side!
Forrestt Eubanks, Austin
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Monday, October 31, 2005
President Bush made his third nomination to the Supreme Court, after the withdrawl of his second appointment, Harriet Miers. Chief Justice John Roberts was his first nominee.
Bushs choice to replace Sandra Day OConnor, his close friend and legal counsel, Harriet Ellan Miers, raised too much protest from his extreme right-wing base. They accused him of betraying them by not choosing a known, right-wing ideologue. Former failed Supreme Court nominee, right-wing ideologue Robert Bork publicly stated that Miers was a disaster on every level. They are using the litmus test of blind opposition to Roe v. Wade.
So Bush gave them what they wanted. Bushs public propaganda for each nomination said none of this, of course. His stated reasons for the nominations now sound crazy. Soon after the Alito nomination, one democratic congressman called the judge a wacko. Beware of Alito.
The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who will represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay?
One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.
We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is the land of the free except for the Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens except Negroes; that we have no class or caste system, no ghettoes, no master race except with respect to Negroes?
We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is the land of the free except for the Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens except Negroes; that we have no class or caste system, no ghettoes, no master race except with respect to Negroes?
John F. Kennedy,
Radio and Television Speech to the American People on Civil Rights,
The White House
June 11, 1963
Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Well beyond Halloween 2005, the criminals in the Bush administration will live in a fear of a monster they created.
After a two-year investigation, Chicago-based Federal Prosecuter Patrick Fitzgerald indicted Vice President Cheneys chief of staff, Irving Lewis "Scooter" Libby on October 28, 2005. According to the indictment, Libby was the first person to reveal the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame outside the government to a reporter. Libby then lied about that crime under oath, and repeatedly.
Libby also served as Cheneys top national security aide, and as national security advisor to the president. He was charged with five counts, including perjury and obstruction of justice. Libby immediately resigned his White House positions.
Indictments against other Bush administration officials were expected, but Fitzgerald decided to charge only Libby for now, and seat a new a new grand jury to continue his investigation. Grand juries serve for 18 months, with a six-month extension. The only other person mentioned by Fitzgerald in connection with the investigation was a senior official in the White House referred to by Fitzgerald only as Official A.
The Associated Press reported that Official A is Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, Bushs chief advisor. Before the Libby indictiment, both he and Rove were advised by Fitzgerald that they were in extreme legal jeopardy. News reports prior to the indictment also revealed that Roves attorney advised Fitzgerald to reconsider going forward with an indictment of his client now. Whatever the lawyer said to him, Fitzgerald apparently was persuaded.
Fitzgerald said at his press conference, however, that Rove was not being indicted today.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay had his first appearance in court today in Austin, Texas. Yesterday he surrendered to a warrant for his arrest near his home in Houston. He was fingerprinted and his mug shot was taken. DeLay was allowed to keep his coat and tie on, and smile for the camera. The old question made popular by Esquire Magazine soon surfaced: Why is this man smiling? Given DeLays attempt to have Judge Bob Perkins recused from his case for being a donor to MoveOn-dot-org, and for making a small donation to the John Kerry campaign last year, this cartoon may be accurate.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Last week President Bush made his second nomination to the Supreme Court, after the successful confirmation of his first appointment, Chief Justice John Roberts. Bushs choice to replace Sandra Day OConnor was his friend and legal counsel, Harriet Ellan Miers. Democrats accused Bush of cronyism, and Bushs conservative base accused him of betraying them by not choosing a known, right-wing ideologue. Former failed Supreme Court nominee, right-wing ideologue Robert Bork stated publicly that Bushs choice failed on every level.
As the Miers fiasco continues, I will hopefully have time to give my own insights into this nomination. The key to understanding it is Miers partnership at the Texas law firm of Locke Liddell & Sapp formerly Locke Purnell Rain & Harrell with deep-rooted ties to the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. Yes... the U.S. is still locked into the unfinished business of Nixon vs. Kennedy.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
It is often said that a grand jury can indict a ham sandwich mostly by indictees. Tom DeLay (aka, The Hammer) blamed his indictment on political retribution, a rogue DA, and anything but his own criminal activities.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle announced today that a grand jury has indicted House Majority Leader Tom Delay and two of his TRMPAC associates. The charge is conspiracy to violate the Texas election code prohibiting the donation of corporate money to political campaigns. The cartoon invokes one of the most famous political cartoons, Thomas Nasts A Group of Vultures Waiting for the Storm to Blow Over.—Let Us PREY. The comparison of Tom Delay to William Marcy Boss Tweed has been made in at least one editorial since the grand jury investigation began in 2002.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Famed Nazi Hunter Simon Wiesenthal, a personal hero of mine, died at the age of 96 on Tuesday, September 19, 2005. He is most famous for helping bring Adolf Eichmann to justice. Wiesenthal helped bring more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals to court, including Karl Silberbauer, the Nazi official who arrested Anne Frank, Franz Stangl, the former commandant of the Nazi concentration camp at Treblinka, and Josef Schwammberger, former commander of the Przemysl ghetto.
Since 1977, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Holocaust memorial agency, has promoted awareness of antisemitism, monitored neo-Nazi groups, operated Museums of Tolerance in Los Angeles and Jerusalem and helped bring surviving Nazi war criminals to justice.
May his ever necessary work go on. For in the final analysis, concluded Simon Wiesenthal, the future will be determined not by how many Nazis there will be or fascists or extreme nationalists or white supremacists but how many anti-Nazis, people of goodwill, there will be to confront them.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Bids to host the George W. Bush Presidential Library, due Thursday, September 15, 2005, include proposals from The University of Texas, Texas Tech University, Southern Methodist University, Baylor University, Texas A&M University, The University of Dallas, Midland College, and the City of Arlington, Texas. No bid is pending, however, from the New Orleans Superdome, where survivors of hurricane Katrina waited in vain for help from Bush in the week following the destruction of their city.
No new building would need to be built. The existing building would need no restoration, renovation or cleanup. The Superdomes leaking roof would symbolize the the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plames identity to the Press. The stench and lack of airconditioning would represent Bushs contempt for the environment and disregard for Global Warming. The former sports stadium is already appropriately decorated with biohazardous polution. The blood of the victims of rape and murder, including that of women and children who wanted nothing more than food, water and urgent rescue by their own government would serve as a dual symbol, representing the suffering of Iraqi women and children.
The money that would have been spent building a pretentious monument glorifying the Criminal of Crawford could instead go toward rebuilding the millions of human lives that Bush helped destroy. As a symbol of the mass death and suffering of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, as a symbol of the total destruction of a major American city, as a symbol of the oxymoronic compassionate conservative misnomer resulting from the dangerously misguided foreign and domestic policies of the Bush Administration, The New Orleans Superdome is the perfect site. Therefore, I hereby submit this cartoon as my formal proposal to the Bush Library selection committee.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
A couple of hurricane seasons ago, the congressional newspaper the Hill reported that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, thought hurricane names were too "lily white," and wanted to see more names reflecting African-Americans and other ethnic groups.
All racial groups should be represented, the Hill quoted Lee saying. Ms. Lee said she hoped national weather officials would try to be inclusive of African-American names. The Hill cited some popular names that could be used, including Keisha, Jamal and Deshawn.
The tradition of naming hurricanes solely after women ended in 1978 when mens and womens names were included in the Eastern North Pacific storm lists. In 1979, lists for the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico followed suit.
You dont hear this debate after Katrina. First of all, it was women who complained about the lack of mens names in the 1970s. Women did not want the change because men were being discriminated against by the omission of their names. They wanted to mitigate the bad image women got from identifying hurricanes as feminine.
For the past two storm seasons, Sheila Jackson Lee apparently did not get it. Perhaps she does now. Katrina has spurred a different racial debate.
News footage following Katrina showed mostly African-Americans struggling to survive the destruction of New Orleans. News photos were captioned differently for whites and blacks. Captions on otherwise neutral photographs informed readers that whites were carrying supplies through the flooded streets, but black survivors were looting.
Political officials chose to believe that poor survivors chose to stay, rather than couldnt get out. That belief was not only racist and elitist, it avoided the debate over preparedness.
No doubt hurricane names could be more ethnically representative. But why in the world would any ethnic group demand representation? After Katrina, those demands were silenced.
The question arose immediately after Hurricane Katrina. What if the flooding in New Orleans had been caused by terrorists instead of a hurricane? The destruction of New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities exposed the Department of Homeland Security as the snake oil critics said it was.
President Bush got most of his votes in the 2004 election from people who felt safer sticking with the 9/11 Commander-in-Chief. They were fooled.
Hopefully those voters will learn from the thousands of deaths caused by the inaction of DHS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and support the removal of Bush from his figurehead role as President of the United States. Bush created DHS in 2002 and placed FEMA under its control. The first Chief of DHS, Bush crony Joe Albaugh, resigned after Bush was reelected and recommended an old buddy as his replacement. Current DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff was given the job despite having no experience in emergency management.
As usual, calls for a Congressional investigation of government failure in response to Katrina are being countered by calls for an independent national commission to examine the relief effort. Informed citizens should know by now that such a blue-ribbon commission is code for a criminal coverup. If a Katrina Warren Commission takes over, watch the following charges diminish or disappear in its investigation:
According to a New York Times report by Scott Shane, Sept. 5, 2005, FEMA officials, workers and/or agents allegedly
- turned away three trailer trucks loaded with water sent by Wal-Mart.
- prevented the Coast Guard from delivering 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
- cut the emergency communication lines for Jefferson Parish on Saturday, Sept. 3, causing the sheriff to restore it and post armed guards to protect it from FEMA.
- interfered inexplicably with the delivery of aid from other states, including New Mexico and Illinois.
- failed to act to allow the use of U.S. Forest Service water tanker aircraft to fight fires on the New Orleans riverfront.
- blamed its gross inaction on the victims, alleging a lack of preparedness by the City of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Hurricane Katrina made landfall Monday morning, August 29, 2005, and left unspeakable devastation in the central Gulf Coast of the U.S. In the days following the storm, things went from horrible to worse. The New Orleans levee system gave way to the flooded Lake Pontchartrain, covering most of the city. Our thoughts and prayers are with the millions of victims. The only good to come out of this event is the superhuman efforts of good-hearted folks to aid the survivors.
In that spirit, my metaphore is an historical cartoon character who exemplified both a good heart and superhuman feats. Her name, ironically, is The Powerful Katrinka, from Fontaine Foxs 1930s comic Toonerville Folks. According to cartoon historian Herb Galewitz, in his book Fontaine Foxs Toonerville Folks (Weathervaine Books, NY: 1972), Katrinka was a combination of an African-American woman employed as a cook for Foxs father, and Ole Olson, a footall character in a George Fitch novel. Katrinka is shown in this cartoon rescuing Foxs main character, The Skipper.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Monday, August 29, 2005
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Thursday, August 25, 2005
During his 700 Club broadcast Monday, Aug. 22, 2005, TV evangelist Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Two days later, following international backlash, Robertson apologized, but said he never said assassinate, and claimed he was misquoted by the Associated Press. Broadcast news media played both soundbites back-to-back to demonstrate Robertsons lie.
Condemnation of Robertsons statements was widespread and swift, but the silence from his fellow televangelists, and his fellow leaders of religious right fundamentalist Christianity, was deafening. (Cue the crickets.) One exception was the Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, a conservative advocacy group in Washington. Schenck said Robertson must immediately apologize, retract his statement and clarify what the Bible and Christianity teach about illegaly taking human life. Robertson should have listened to Schenck more carefully. Instead, he exposed himself as the false prophet his critics always knew he was. That is a serious sin for folks like Robertson.
The Bible has a lot to say about punishment by death, but it ultimately says that the punisher must be absolutly certain the punishment is just. If it is not just, the punisher will be put to death. Assassination aside, that is an insurmountable loophole for mortals who wish to practice capital punishment. Many so-called God-fearing folks have their favorite sins for which they feel it necessary to kill the sinner. The Bible cites several sins punishable by death. But it teaches that the next to worst sin is lying, and the worst sin of all is falsely teaching the Bible.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Thursday, August 18, 2005
On the day that Camp Casey, Cindy Sheehans vigil to meet with President Bush, moved to private property next to his fake ranch in Crawford, Texas, four more U.S. soldiers died by Improvised Explosive Device north of Baghdad. Sheehans son Casey, a Marine, was killed in Iraq in April 2004, in an IED attack. The night before the bivouac, Cindys vigil, a metaphorical IED, exploded into a nation-wide movement with candlelight vigils held all over the country in support of her. Meanwhile, Bush continued enjoying his annual five-week vacation in Crawford.
GOP operatives and the right-wing media continued their attempts to smear Sheehan and other war moms supporting her. The stupidity of Bush administrations public relations tactic was further exposed when it was recalled that Bush interrupted his vacation earlier in the year and rushed back to Washington to sign the bill banning the removal of life support from the brain-dead Florida woman, Terry Schiavo. Bush said he sympathized with Ms. Sheehan. But evidently not enough to tell her so in person practically at the end of his driveway.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Cindy Sheehans vigil across the road from President Bushs fake ranch in Crawford, Texas, finally got wide attention from the mainstream news media on August 11, 2005. Bush is enjoying his annual five-week vacation in Crawford. Sheehans son Casey, a Marine, was killed in Iraq in April 2004, five days after his arrival there.
When Ms. Sheehan previously met with Bush at the White House, she got the feeling Bush had no conscience about the death of her son, or the deaths of all the other sons and daughters fighting his war on terror. Afterward, Bush said our troops in Iraq are dying for a noble cause. Sheehan wants to ask Bush one question: What noble cause did my son die for? She vowed to stay at Camp Cindy through August, or until she gets her meeting and answer.
The response of GOP operatives, and the right-wing media was to threaten to arrest, and attempt to discredit Sheehan and other war moms supporting her. The stupidity of that public relations tactic served only to lower Bushs already tanking poll numbers. Bush said he respected Ms. Sheehans position. Apparently he does not respect her enough to tell her so in person at the end of his driveway.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Cartoon #181: “Evolution”
President Bush told a small group of Texas reporters on Tuesday, August 2, 2005, that public schools should teach both evolution and “intelligent design.” Intelligent design, or “incredible dogma” (ID) as I like to call it, is the belief that life forms are so complex that their creation cannot be explained by Darwinian evolution. Darwinian evolution, on the other hand, is science. Science, for those of you who were left behind by your educators, is knowledge based on consequences from hypotheses that are subject to observation, measurement, or experiment. It is the standard for asking questions about nature.
To Incredible Dogmatists, or “IDiots” as I like to call them, the idea that they have a common ancestor with primates other than humans is abhorrent. What IDiots don’t get is that their claim of equity between ID and science puts them on an education level closer to non-human primates.
On the same day that Bush told the world he is an IDiot, the IDiots on the Kansas State Board of Education held a meeting with educators wishing to respond to the board’s newly added IDiotic language in the state’s science education standards.
For those IDiots among you who find science books so complex that comprehending them cannot be explained by literacy, I refer you to the Bible. The Bible supports science, and therefore Darwinian evolution, and therefore common ancestry between humans and non-human primates. See the book of Job, chapter 12, verses 7-12. Once you have understood that, try your best to read this short, 13-paragraph essay called Bad arguments for intelligent design, by Jim Fetzer, a professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, who specializes in the philosophy of science.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
The Space Shuttle Discovery was found to have a couple of loose pieces of fabric dangling from tiles near its forward landing gear. Despite initial problems during launch on July 26, 2005, NASA said that preliminary investigations showed that Discovery was safe to fly home. Several days later, the loose pieces of fabric were determined to be a big enough danger to require a spacewalk to pull them off the orbiter.
During the launch, images from new cameras revealed that a section of foam weighing some 250 grams fell away from the external fuel tank, but did not strike the orbiter. However, NASA announced the grounding of all further planned Shuttle launches until they have a firm understanding of why the foam came off, and how to correct it.
A piece of foam striking the Columbias wing during lift-off in January 2003 was responsible for the loss of the craft as it made its reentry to Earth's atmosphere.
A team of 200 experts studied all video and still footage taken of the shuttle during launch, and on approach to the International Space Station (ISS). In a first, before Discovery docked, the Shuttle performed a slow back-flip some 180 meters from the ISS enabling the two-man crew of the space station to take high-resolution images of the underside of the orbiter.
As part of the check for damage the crew of Discovery used a laser-scanner on the robotic arm to inspect the crafts wing leading-edges and nosecone. Images of the belly of the Orbiter were checked later in the week. Near the forward landing gear, loose fabric was spotted and determined to be a potential danger during reentry.
On Monday, August 1, mission managers gave the go-ahead for astronauts to remove the two protruding gap fillers in Discoverys heat shield during a Wednesday space walk. Plan A called for Soichi Noguchi and Steve Robinson to attempt to simply pull the thin fabric fillers from between tiles in the forward area of the orbiters underside. If the pull method is unsuccessful, Plan B called for the use of tools to cut the material flush with the surface.
Spacewalk experts presented the plans to mission managers in Mondays Mission Management Team meeting. Space Shuttle Deputy Program Manager Wayne Hale, in a Monday afternoon briefing, said that the level of uncertainty involved in flying a reentry with protruding gap fillers made it an easy decision to proceed with a well-understood process for removing them.
Another way of saying well-understood is: Its not rocket
science. But this is rocket science. This cartoon translates this particular rocket science into a classic clown shtick. Anytime a clown pulls a loose thread from another clown, expect major unravelling to ensue.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
It looks like Garfield, the cartoon cat, will have to stick to lasagna from now on. In case he, or you, missed it, here is the synopsis of the article in the debut issue of the Public Library of Science online journal.
Although sweet sugars are ubiquitous in human foods, they are seldom added to cat food, and owners usually do not feed sweets to their cats.
This is because, in contrast to most other mammals, both domestic cats and their wild cousins, the big cats, do not show a preference for and, most likely, cannot detect sweet-tasting compounds. Other than this sweet blindness, the cats sense of taste is normal.
The molecular mechanism for this unique behavior towards sweets was not known, until now. Sweet compounds, including sugars and artificial sweeteners, are recognized by a special taste bud receptor composed of the products of two genes. The authors found that in cats, one of these genes is not functional and is not expressed. (It is called a pseudogene.)
Because the sweet receptor cannot be formed, the cat cannot taste sweet stimuli. During the evolution of the cats strictly carnivorous behavior, selection to maintain a functional receptor was apparently relaxed. This research provides a molecular explanation for the common observation that the cat lives in a different sensory world than the cat owner.
[Pseudogenization of a Sweet-Receptor Gene Accounts for Cats' Indifference toward Sugar, Public Library of Science, Vol. 1, No. 1, July, 2005, citing Li X, Li W, Wang H, Cao J, Maehashi K, et al. (2005) Pseudogenization of a Sweet-Receptor Gene Accounts for Cats' Indifference toward Sugar. PLoS Genet 1(1): e3]
Monday, July 25, 2005
Texan Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France for the seventh year in a row, and secured his sports superhero status. July 24, 2005 began the post-Armstrong era of bicycle racing, and the long wait for his record to be bested, if ever. To signify Armstrongs accomplishment, the millions who own one of his yellow Livestrong wristbands could twist it into a helix, the symbol for infinity.
It has been noted that were it not for Lance Armstrong, Jan Ulrich, Germanys cycling phenom, would now have five consecutive Tour de France victories. Armstrong gave Ulrich a tip for winning the top spot. No, he didnt suggest performance enhancing drugs. Noting that Ulrich gets better in the latter stages, Armstrong suggested that he show up in better shape at the beginning of the race. Duh.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Actor James Doohan died of pneumonia and Alzheimers disease on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 the 36th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon. He played Montgomery (Scotty) Scott, Chief Engineer of the USS Enterpirse in the original Star Trek TV series, and when the show was resurrected as a movie series. It is his character that was immortalized in the household phrase, Beam me up, Scotty.
Doohan, 85, was preceded in death by the shows creator, Texan Gene Roddenberry in 1998, and actor DeForest Kelly in 2000. Kelly played Dr. Leonard (Bones) McCoy, Chief Medical Officer.
If you have ever been a Trecker, you have some inkling, at least, of the enormous cultural, literary, economic, and philosophical impact of Gene Roddenberrys space adventure stories. For as long as we place relevance in Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Buck Rogers, and Flash Gordon, there will be a place of literary honor for Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek, its characters, and the many theatrical professionals, like Doohan, who gave it a long and prosperous life. If any of this strikes you as trivial, perhaps it is time you got up to warp speed.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Saturday, July 16, 2005
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, the most influencial presidential confidant since Texas kingmaker Edward Mandel House, began his career as an admirer of Richard Nixon. His career may end in a similar fashion to Nixons. Rove is at the center of questions and serious criminal investigations regarding the disclosure of a CIA operatives name. Democrats, of course, have been all over this, salivating at the the impending fall of George Bushs Brain. Rove deserves to be in jail for many reasons. This is not one of them. There is a larger trap being set here for liberals, progressives and people of good will. How? Why?
The law Rove is being accused of violating came into existence as a result of the exposure of criminal CIA agents in Philip Agees book of revelations about his own nefarious role in the CIAs evil history. Having discovered his conscience, Agee did a good thing. The Nazi, neo-con, nutty, right-wing, police staters went ballistic. Those renegade, CIA criminal cowboys wanted and got this law making it a federal crime to knowingly reveal the identity of an undercover CIA operative. In their glee over Karl Rove having been caught violating a law he helped father, Democrats are falling into a trap of being hypocrits should they ever come to their senses again and oppose this fascist law.
On the heels of the announced resignation of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day OConnor, and amid rampant rumors that Supreme Chief Justice William Rehnquists resignation from the high court was imminent, Rehnquist actually did issue a statement on Bastille Day, 2005.
What he said, despite his apparently agressive thyroid cancer, was that he was not going anywhere. Rehnquists press release reminded us of the famous line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Im not dead yet! It also reiminded us of the old schtick for removing someone from the stage - the hook.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Monday, July 11, 2005
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
London was chosen as the site for the 2012 Olympics. New York claims not to be able to figure out why they lost the bid. The world was behind them after September 11, 2001. NYC wanted to use the Olympics to show that the terrorists didnt win. But the world has become wary of the U.S.'s foreign policy goals since then. Why? The U.S. is widely viewed around the globe as slouching toward fascism. If you are one of many sheltered U.S. citizens who is unaware of this, do your homework. The world apparently does not wish a repeat of the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Not that London would be that much better especially if Tony Quisling Blair is still around.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
On the first anniversary of sovereignty, the Iraqi government had seven weeks to draft a constitution, with an optional six month extention.
Polls of U.S. citizens showed a majority see the U.S. occupation as a misadventure that is going badly, and a majority think we were lied to about the reasons for the war.
President Bush will try to dispel those concerns with a primetime speech. The anniversary of Iraqi sovereignty will always fall less than a week before the fourth of July. Happy Independence Day.
I may have more to say about this later.
Monday, June 27, 2005
The second case of mad cow disease was confirmed in U.S. on June 24, 2005, as a result of a fourth test that reversed three earlier test results. In December 2003, the United States first publicly reported case of mad cow disease was discovered in Washington state. That cow, we were eventually told, was from Canada. (Whewthank the lord for smiting Canadians instead of us!)
This time, however, the meat that tested positive was from Texas, the big ol buckle on the Bible belt. Most of the news media, as usual, quickly told everyone that none of the bad beef was thought to be in the food supply. How reassuring.
True or not, mad cows are always reported to be of no danger to the public. That is because humans who eat infected beef can develop a variant of the brain-wasting mad cow disease known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Such comforting journalism about mad cows goes back at least to the British outbreaks of 1996 and 1998.
We were told back then that the British cases were not a precurser of things to come for U.S. cattle. Yet, here we are.
The June 2005 finding did further damage to the cattle industry, and supposedly triggered changes in testing. Lets hope the new tests are better than the old ones. This second cow, found in November as a downer cow that couldn't walk, was at first tagged as high risk. Three tests later (yes, three) it was decided the cow did not have the disease. A fourth test reversed that finding. So much for tests.
Maybe we could call the new tests No Cow Left Behind.
Friday, June 24, 2005
Texas Governor Rick Perry was caught on tape cursing Tuesday after an interview with a television reporter for KTRK-TV in Houston. The reporter asked the Governor his plans for school finance reform. Perry refused to answer. After the interview, the reporter told Perry, Try as I may, governor, I guess I cant win this one.
Perry thought the videotape had stopped running. He was wrong. His mocking comeback was recorded for posterity: Try as I may governor, Im not going to wait that long. Adios, mofo.
Perry half-heartedly apologized while attempting to pass the buck. He said he was talking to his aide, not the reporter as if that makes a difference. But there is no damage control that will stop this catch phrase from becoming the rallying cry of Perrys election opponents in his reelection campaign.
The fun has only just started. Roll tape!
Thursday, June 23, 2005
I know who I believe. Not George W. Bush. That's for sure. As the character Mr. X in Oliver Stones movie JFK said, the ultimate power of a government over its people is the power to wage war. U.S. Presidents have never had that power according to the Constitution. But they have always fooled U.S. citizens into war. Such a lie has always been a high crime. According to the Constitution, there are consequences for presidents who commit high crimes. Let the citizens beware.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
On June 18, 2005, Governor Rick Perry cast a dark spell over the State of Texas by vetoing $35.3 billion for public education in the new Texas state budget, and calling a special session of the legislature. Lawmakers must now come up with a new school funding plan (something they have failed to do after three sessions under Perrys leadership, despite its top priority) or there will be no 2005-2006 school year in Texas.
Thats because District Judge John Dietz of Austin declared the current school finance system unconstitutional and ordered funding to stop in October if it is not corrected. In the session that ended May 30, the school budget barely passed. Now they have 30 days for deja voodoo all over again. The states appeal of Judge Dietzs ruling was scheduled for July 6. Meanwhile, Texas school children await the July 16 release of the sixth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Bood Prince. Given the slim chance that Texas schools will open again, they will probably have plenty of time to read it.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Saturday, June 18, 2005
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old Baptist minister and reputed Ku Klux Klan leader, went on trial June 13, 2005, accused of masterminding the 1964 murders of three civil rights activists in Mississippi.
It was the third time Killen pled not guilty to the charges since he was first tried in 1967. In that trial, an all-white jury deadlocked because one juror said she could not convict a preacher. That mockery of justice inspired the 1988 film Mississippi Burning.
Killens 2005 trial continued the prosecution of cold cases from the civil rights era, beginning with the 1994 conviction of Byron de la Beckwith for the 1963 murder of Medgar Evers. During such trials many ask why we should care about justice delayed for decades.
Our fear, bigotry and apathy have delayed other truths. It took thirty years, and the courage and dedication of a principled few, to say with finality the simple words: Medgar Evers was assassinated by Byron de la Beckwith.
The choice President Kennedy gave Americans the night of Medgar Evers murder says it best: Those who do nothing are inviting shame as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right as well as reality.
Throughout his political career, Kennedy made similar statements which grow more haunting with each anniversary of his own unresolved murder:
For, in a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, holds office; every one of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities....A man does what he must in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures and that is the basis of all human morality.
The 1930s taught us a clear lesson: aggressive conduct, if allowed to grow unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war.
Amnesty International called the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the gulag of our time. The U.S. military's official abreviation for Guantanamo is GTMO, pronounced gitmo. The Bush Administration called the comparison ridiculous. Vice President Dick Cheney said the prisoners there are treated with respect, despite their designation as noncombatants. If Cheney is wrong, he and Bush could justifiably find the mistreatment of prisoners included in charges of high crimes against them.
Prior to the Amnesty International accusation, Newsweek was coerced by the Whitehouse and the right-wing media into retracting a report that prison guards desecrated the Quran by flushing a copy in a toilet. Following the retraction, the Pentagon released a report citing several instances of desecration of the Quran to psychologically break the spirit of Muslim prisoners.
Pundits who tried to come off somewhat less reactionary, snubbed their noses at the gulag comparison, while stating that Gitmo has become synonymous with mistreatment. Nice try. Amnesty International qualified its use of the word with ...of our time. While Gitmo may pale in comparison to the Soviet gulags, it is the closest thing we have to them today. That is why prominent voices are increasingly calling for the prison to be closed, including those of former President Jimmy Carter, and current members of Congress.
Closing the prison would be celebrated worldwide. But that single justice would pale in comparison to the ongoing crimes of the Bush Administration.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Saturday, June 04, 2005
On May 31, 2005, Vanity Fair published an article which claims to reveal the secret identity of the famous Watergate source, Deep Throat. Mark Felt, a former assistant FBI director, confessed to the article’s author that he was Bob Woodward’s and Carl Bernstein’s deep-background source who directed their Washington Post investigation.
Ironically, Watergate figure John Dean, who anticipated such a revelation in February in a short column he wrote for Salon, seemed to be the sole public voice of skepticism in a sea of mainstream media acceptance.
Most people know one rule about the Big Lie, a propaganda technique made famous by Paul Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda for the Nazis: Repeat it frequently enough and it will be accepted as the truth.
But their are two other primary rules:
1. It need be sufficent to be believed by only the least intelligent of the target audience; and
2. The bigger the lie, the more likely it will be accepted as truth.
Today is DT-Day plus three, and all three techniques are still being applied in the U.S. news media regarding the identification of Deep Throat. Even media skeptics Al Franken and Mike Malloy, of Air America Radio, are falling for it initially at least.
But in a continuation of the irony mentioned above, John Dean is remaining the most public voice of skepticism and reason. Dean referenced some of the counterintelligence about the alleged ID on Franken's show yesterday in an eight-minute phone interview (1:20 PM CDT). He ended by saying it is too early to attach motives to Felt because We don't have all the facts.
By the way, a more recent aspect of Big Lie technique is to direct a conspiracy inquiry toward the issue of motive. In reality, motive is not part of a conspiracy investigation. The reason is that conspiracy, by definition, involves multiple motives. Searching for motive is a misdirection.
Suppose Team Deep Throat changed its mind about revealing the actual identity. Why? One reason is that such a revelation would automatically reveal sources and methods of obtaining the relevant information. Those sources and methods most likely still have a high level of classification. One of the oldest secret records in the National Archives is a recipe for invisible ink used in WWI. Another most likely has something to say about Mata Hari.
How did DT have access to Woodwards daily New York Times? How was he able to always know the status of a red flag on Woodward's apartment balcony? Woodward, as reported in his long Washington Post article, published June 2, 2005, does not know. Felt, it is reported, does not remember. Yeah, right. As was famously asked about Nixon, what did Felt know, and when did he know it? What did Felt not know, that DT knew, and when DT knew it? These questions and others are the ones that need to be asked by the news media in the spirit of the legend of Woodard and Bernstein.
Remember, Adm. Bobby Ray Inman, my choice for the actual DT, went on to be Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, and director of the super secret National Security Agency. Keep in mind too, that Inman is at the University of Texas, where he can keep a close eye on the Woodward-Bernstein papers.
See in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.
George W. Bush, May 24, 2005
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
I had to get this one up. I did it in April 2003 when the Woodward-Bernstein papers were donated to the University of Texas.
I am withholding judgement on the Mark Felt ID until Bernstein joins Woodard in confirming it. I've long thought Deep Throat was Adm. Bobby Ray Inman, now interim dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
The regular session of the 79th Texas Legislature ended yesterday. For the third time since 2003, they failed to fix the state's school finance system. That was the top campaign issue last year. No doubt, heads will roll.
Sure, the lawmen finally gave state workers a pay raise. But as usual, it is too little, too late. Sure, they increased spending for health insurance for kids and protective services for kids and needy adults. But that was damage control from the last session when they slashed those services. Sure, they gave jurors the option of sentencing the guilty to life without parole. But in doing that, they actually narrowed juries' choices. And the innocent are still dealing with 'life without payroll' (i. e., unemployment and underemployment).
That 'good news' hardly makes up for the fact that this session became known near and far for wacky lawmaking aimed at:
1. stopping school cheerleading that is too sexual (cartoon #168: Cheerleading);
2. preventing gay folks from being foster parents (cartoon #180: Straight by Choice);
3. banning gay marriage (cartoon #187: Same-Sex TRMPAC Marriage);
4. ending the widespread abuse of cheeseburgers, or at least lawsuits over them;
5. assuring that kids will be able to sell cupcakes (and other sweets) for school fundraisers;
6. naming the state cooking device: the dutch oven;
7. naming the state vehicle: the chuck wagon.
Ahhh, Texas! Gotta go.