Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Test of hyperlinks

This Blogger software doesn't appear to be working as stated.

Trying to replace an URL with a specific word or phrase is not working.

Test....

For instance, trying to set the words "Bartcop Forum" instead of the actual URL...

Bartcop Forum

Wow, it worked this time. Patience and persistence pays off, I guess.

Flashback - December 15, 2005

My foot! My feet!

Modern problems come with modern times, I guess. There are all sorts of new maladies being discovered and named, and new procedures designed to alleviate them. I'm a case in point.

What a lucky guy I am. (Actually quite lucky, to have good health insurance that will take care of most of this stuff.)

I've been diagnosed with Morton's Neuroma, which is another way of saying "pinched nerve," in my foot. They've got a new hi-tech surgical treatment for it. They snip the transverse intermetatarsal ligament to relieve pressure on the major nerve in your foot. Snip, snip. You only get an "ankle block" for pain so you get to stay awake during the procedure and watch it on TV while it's happening! Talk about reality TV! (I wonder if they'd give me a morphine drip instead?)

Those with flat feet (no arch) are allegedly more prone to this than those with a normal arch. Turns out I have very flat feet. If I'd been drafted to fight in Vietnam back in the '70's when I came of age, I would have been rejected because of my flat feet. And there I was sweating buckets about it at the time. (The year that I became eligible, they abolished the draft, so I missed it by THIS MUCH.)

There are some grisly details, and a surgical video {{cringe}} at this site: http://amsurgical.com/procedures.php?page_label=lower&proc_id=20&ext=lower

I'm set for this "minimally invasive endoscopic" technique for mid-January (2006). I hope it works. It's getting more and more painful to walk or stand in one spot for any length of time. Every now and then, out of the blue, I get these jabs of throbbing, white-hot, searing pain in my foot, which, the doc says, is my nerve being stressed.

Talk about "workin' on my nerve!"

Friday, March 30, 2007

Stanford Prison Experiment


A Simulation Study of thePsychology of ImprisonmentConducted at Stanford University

The Stanford Prison Experiment is a classic psychology experiment, with parallels to the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? These are some of the questions we posed in this dramatic simulation of prison life conducted in the summer of 1971 at Stanford University.
How we went about testing these questions and what we found may astound you. Our planned two-week investigation into the psychology of prison life had to be ended prematurely after only six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated. In only a few days, our guards became sadistic and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress. Please join me on a slide tour describing this experiment and uncovering what it tells us about the nature of human nature.



BTW, Phil Zimbardo, the author of the Stanford Prison Experiment has a new book out, "The Lucifer Effect." Read about it here: http://www.zimbardo.com/current.html

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mark Morford's latest


Stats say the GOP is dying. But red-staters are breeding like drunken ferrets. Who wins?
By Mark Morford

Here's the good news: The Republican party is dying. Slow, painful, twitching, secreting war and intolerance and desperation like a fetid gas, snarling and gagging like Jabba the Hutt being choked by the hard chain of progress and hope and relaxed social mores and an upcoming Generation Next that seems to sense that screaming about gays and women's rights and Muslims and drugs actually doesn't do much to move the human experiment forward in the slightest.

Is this not delicious? Is this not cause for rejoicing? According to Pew Research, the percentage of young 'uns age 18 to 25 (a.k.a. Generation Next) who identify with Republicans has been in steady decline since the early '90s, and now hovers around a meager 35 percent, down from a high of 55 percent in the Reagan-toxic early-90s, and is still dropping, whereas fully 48 percent of 18-to-25-year-olds now lean Democratic ... and rising.

Seems Generation Next tend to be more socially liberal and much less worried about the trembling "sanctity" of the failed nuclear family, and are overall less inclined to align with a particular religion. Indeed, it almost makes you want to weep and sigh and go buy a large grass-fed free-range organic hybrid vibrator.

Ah, but there is a flip side. A counterargument. A dark cloud of righteous bleakness and it looms like a giant synthetic cheesecake-scented Glade PlugIn of potential misery.

Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SFGate, and in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle. Mark's column also has an RSS feed, and an archive of past columns, which includes a tiny photo of Mark probably insufficient for you to recognize him in the street and give him gifts.

As if that weren't enough, Mark also contributes to the hot, spankin' SFGate Culture Blog.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

List Change - Goodbye George (I wish!)

10) "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." —LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 20009)



9) "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." —Greater Nashua, N.H., Jan. 27, 2000


8) "I hear there's rumors on the Internets that we're going to have a draft." —second presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004



7) "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."—Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2006)

6) "You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic
that you're doing that." —to a divorced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005

5) "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country." —Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004



4) "They misunderestimated me." —Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000

3) "Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?" —Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000



2) "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004

1) "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." —Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Rack Jite returns!

Personality Disorder
by Rack Jite

Seems we are on the road to a constitutional showdown, in regards to the firings of several US Attorneys for political reasons. Which is not illegal. And then lying about it by saying they were fired for poor performance. Which is only illegal under oath. For six years the Bush Administration could sail through these slimy little political games because Congress was in his hip pocket, next to his hip flask full of Jack Nasty.

The Attorney's stories all ring the same bell, they were fired because of GOP political pressure put on the Justice Department because they were not prosecuting enough Democrats. Evidence and witnesses be damned! One example should put this in order for you.

Randy "Duke" Cunningham, premier Right-wing loon in Congress got caught last year taking $3 million dollars for his votes. Worst case of congressional graft in American History. He is presently serving 8 years at the People's Hotel and Spa. Carol S. Lam, US Attorney for the San Diego area gained that indictment and the conviction. She was fired.

Both houses of congress are asking for subpoenas for members of the Bush Administration, the President took a big slug of Jack Nasty, and regressed once again into his so successful BRING IT ON mode. He got on TV and pointed his finger saying no subpoenas, no oaths, closed doors, no cameras, no recording, only transcripts with the Administration in control the venue. Senator Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee told Bush this morning to shove that up his ass, with the House soon to enter the fray.

Constitutional Crisis! Where are the tapes?!

Almost 10 years ago I remember President Clinton, under subpoena sitting in that crazyass courtroom convened by every rabid Clinton hater in Arkansas to find out if his dick swung to the left or the right(no kidding). Even before he opened his mouth, I said, Bill, why in the hell are you sitting in that chair?! Nothing good can come from it! I bet it wasn't Hillary's idea. But Clinton had a problem, the House, the Senate and five political votes in the Supreme Court. In the case today with Cowboy George, he can put kick in his personality disorder and swagger it out because he knows he has six political votes on the Supreme Court.

We are presently witnessing how the shift in congress is changing things. We are only slowly coming to see how 5 staunch conservative votes (and one conservative vote) on the Supreme Court are changing even the fabric of our society. If in the next twenty months 88 year old Justice John Stevens meets his maker, we are in really really big trouble for a really really long time.
---

One thing I can give George W. Bush, he is at least smarter than anyone who voted for him.

-Website: http://rackjite.com
-Blog: http://rackjite.com/serendipity
-Debate Area: http://rackjite.com/smf

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Al Gore is in the House!

Video Description

Al Gore testifies to the House Energy & Science committees, March 21, 2007

Personal Message

Thank you, YouTube! Al Gore is in the House, testifying on global warming.

Monday, March 19, 2007

More Red-Light Cameras operational


There are now 40 red-light cameras on duty 24/7 in Houston. Run a red light at these intersections and get a $75 ticket in the mail.


DRIVERS BEWARE!

10 New Red-Light Cameras Installed
Ten new red-light cameras were installed at the following Houston-area intersections beginning March 19.

Greens Road at the North Freeway
North Shepherd at North Loop West
East Freeway at Normandy
Antoine at the Northwest Freeway
North Freeway at Rankin Road
West Sam Houston Parkway at Bellaire Boulevard
Southwest Freeway at Wilcrest
South Main at the South Loop West
Monroe at the Gulf Freeway
Scott at the South Loop East



Red-light cameras were previously installed at the following intersections, according to the Houston Police Department.



West Loop South, East Service Road at San Felipe Street
Southwest Freeway, West Service Road at Bellaire Boulevard
Southwest Freeway, East Service Road at Beechnut Street
Southwest Freeway, East Service Road at Fondren Road
Northbound Chartres Street at St. Joseph's Parkway
Westbound Bissonnet Street at Southwest Freeway East Service Road
Eastbound El Dorado Boulevard at Gulf Freeway
Northbound Hollister Street at Northwest Freeway West Service Road
Eastbound West Road at North Freeway West Service Road
Southbound North Wayside Drive at East Freeway, North Service Road
Southwest Freeway feeder road at Fountainview Street
Southwest Freeway feeder road at Chimney Rock Road
Southwest Freeway feeder road at Westpark Drive
Southwest Freeway feeder road at Hillcroft Street
Gessner Road at Beechnut Street
Bissonnet Street at Sam Houston Parkway
610 West Loop at Westheimer Road
FM 1960 at Tomball Parkway
East Freeway at Uvalde Road
West Sam Houston Parkway at Beechnut Street
Harwin Street at Hillcroft Avenue
La Branch at Pease
Brazos Street at Elgin Street
Milam Street at Elgin Street
Travis Street at Webster Street
Richmond Avenue at Dunvale Drive
Bellaire Boulevard at Wilcrest Drive
Hillcroft Avenue at Richmond Avenue
Hillcroft Street at Harwin Drive
John F. Kennedy Boulevard at Greens Road
Bay Area Boulevard at El Camino Real



The automated cameras capture still images and video of red light runners.
Motorists who are caught by the cameras will receive a $75 ticket.

Donald Trump to Bush: "You're Fired!"

Google Video: Trump to Bush: You're Fired !

6 min 14 sec - Mar 19, 2007
Average rating: (1 rating)
Description: Trump "Everything in Washington is a Lie" TRUMP: BUSH 'PROBABLY THE WORST PRESIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES'

Want to see more cool videos?
Go to video.google.com/?hl=en

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Add it at video.google.com/videouploadform?hl=en

If you're having trouble watching the video, try copying the following URL into your browser:
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Sunday, March 18, 2007

List Change - Philosophy Bytes #2

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.
Mark Twain.


People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Abraham Lincoln.


Not failure, but low aim is a crime.
James Russell Lowell
.


You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.
Martin Luther
.


I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
Mark Twain.


The road to a friend's house is never long.
Danish proverb.


People fear what they do not understand.
Bruce Lee.


Ignorance is the mother of research.
Charles F. Kettering.


Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens to you.
Aldous Huxley
.


It is also of your concern when there is a fire at your neighbour's.
Horatius.

Friday, March 16, 2007

George W. Bush is a Saint


President George W. Bush was scheduled to visit the Episcopal Church outside Washington as part of his campaign to restore his poll standings. Bush's campaign manager made a visit to the Bishop, and said to him, "We've been getting a lot of bad publicity because of the president's position on stem cell research, the Iraq war, Katrina, wiretapping and the like. We'd gladly make a contribution to the church of $100,000 if during your sermon you'd say the President is a saint."


The Bishop thought it over for a few moments and finally said, "The Church is in desperate need of funds and a I will agree to do it."


Bush showed up for the sermon and the Bishop began:


"I'd like to speak to you all this morning about our President.


"George W. Bush is a liar, a cheat, and a low-intelligence weasel. He took the tragedy of September 11 and used it to frighten and manipulate the American people. He lied about weapons of mass destruction and invaded Iraq for oil and money, causing the deaths of tens of thousands and making the United States the most hated country on earth. He appointed cronies to positions of power and influence, leading to widespread death and destruction during Hurricane Katrina. He awarded contracts and tax cuts to his rich friends so that we now have more poverty in this country, and a greater gap between rich and poor, than we've had since the Depression. He instituted illegal wiretaps when getting a warrant from a secret court would have been a mere administrative detail, had his henchmen lie to Congress about it, then claimed he is above the law. He has headed the most corrupt, bribe-inducing political party since Teapot Dome. The national surplus has turned into a staggering national debt of 7.6 trillion, gas prices are up 85%, and vital research into global warming and stem cells is stopped cold because he's afraid to lose votes from some religious kooks. He is the worst example of a true Christian I've ever known."


But compared to Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, George W. Bush is a saint."

Meet Paul D. Eaton

Video Description

General Paul D. Eaton On Real Time with Bill Maher

Personal Message

Thank you, YouTube!

Eaton is a retired Army Major General who was originally in charge of traing Iraqi's soldiers in the early days of our occupation of Iraq. Bill Maher interviewed Eaton on the 3/9/07 episode of Real Time on HBO.

From Crooks and Liars: Friday night (3/9/07) on Real Time, Bill Maher interviewed retired Army Major General. Maher tries to get a laugh out of him but as you'll see, Eaton is a straightforward man who doesn't mince words - if he says it, he means it. He blames Donald Rumsfeld for the majority of the failures in Iraq (including the current problems at Walter Reed), thanks God for the new Democratic majority and lays down some truth:


PAUL EATON: "We've got this thing that so many military believe that Republican administrations are good for the military. That is rarely the case. And, we have to get a message through to every soldier, every family member, every friend of soldiers that "the Republican party, the Republican dominated Congress has absolutely been the worst thing that's happened to the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps."

Those words. Those good looks. Oh, man.

The Crooks and Liars page is here: http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/03/10/general-eaton-republican-congress-worst-thing-thats-happened-to-us-army-and-marine-corps

Quote from Eaton: "There is a containment opportunity here with the President".

I'm not sure what he was referring to. Was he hinting at a possible coup to overthrow Bush? Normally I would not welcome anything like that in this country, but with all the damage that Bush has inflicted on this nation and the world, it might not be a bad idea.

The A/C is fixed!!


I'm thinking that I'm going to post some "diary-type" stuff here, because, if we do, as a people, survive for the next 100 years and suffer no nuclear obliteration or severe economic or social upheavals, it might be interesting to look back in 5, 10, 20 years at this blog and see WTF was going on back in the early part of the 21st Century. The way my memory is these days, it needs all the help it can get.

To that end:

We finally got the A/C fixed today at the new house. Or, at least, it seems like this fix is going to last. This is the third time we've called the A/C people out to the house because the lower A/C was not pumping cool air. This time, the Jamaican repairman (complete with dreadlocks under his "hat") found a freon leak in a pipe over the down bathroom. I could actually hear the hissing of the escaping freon. I know that leaking freon is a big problem with the ozone, and I feel terrible about that, but there wasn't much we could do until we found the leak.

So, today, he cut a hole in the roof where the hissing sound seemed to be coming from, and sure enough, a hole in the copper pipe. Looks like it took a sheetrock nail when the home was under construction. He brought in his torch, sealed up the leak, re-charged the unit, and voila, cold air coming out of the vents.

Fortunately, our builder, David D., has been so good about fixing anything and everything that needs it. Normally, within the first year of building a new home, the builder will cover and fix just about anything, but David has gone above and beyond in that regard. If anyone is looking to buy a home, I would recommend David immediately. He might be a little slower than a big-time builder, but he cares about all the little details.

So, we are ready for summer. Hell, it's technically not even Springtime yet and we've had to turn on the A/C a few times over the past week. Good thing we solved this problem before it gets really hot around here. And it will.

Stephany Kern - mother of dead soldier

This is important enough to print the whole piece. I'm a contributor to TruthOut, so I feel entitled to print it in full.

Please Don't Make My Grandchildren Pay for the War That Killed Their Father
By Stephany Kern t r u t h o u t Guest Contributor
Thursday 22 February 2007

The Bush administration wants us to give more of our precious human resources and more of our money to the war in Iraq. Coming from a military family, I do not want any soldiers to be without what they need, but in order to fully understand the problem, I realized I had to look beneath the simplistic cover the administration uses for its reasoning in asking for more.

In order to look objectively at this request for more money, I decided to review for myself how the administration has dealt with one basic safety need that troops on the ground have had: armor for vehicles sent to Iraq. Guess what? It's still a problem.

Why are the vehicles we send to Iraq still unarmored? After reading much about this issue, I had to conclude that the administration and the Pentagon have never looked at this issue as a mistake. My common sense tells me you don't send soldiers into a war like this without basic protection for their vehicles. The Pentagon callously did not see this as a significant issue. As a matter of fact, the idea that this was a mistake was dismissed with an offhanded remark by [former defense secretary Donald] Rumsfeld that I'm sure we all remember too well. Thankfully, the story was picked up by a few members of Congress and the media, and there was an effort to correct the problem.

The Pentagon and the administration have had four long years to fix this outrageous negligence, but have they made this a priority? No. They seem to have the attitude that the lives of our greatest military resource - our soldiers, our sons and daughters - are not valuable enough, not worthy enough, to invest and provide proper protection. I can only deduce from this attitude and the lack of action by the administration and the Pentagon that providing ground troops with proper equipment is not a priority.

The effort to address this issue began in late 2003, and it's still not corrected! Yes, this is true. Oh, there have been many "up-armored kits" sent into Iraq, and this is good - except that these kits do not include metal plates for the floors of these vehicles. Most of the "armored vehicles" in Iraq today are considered armored because these kits have been installed. This is not enough protection, considering that our solders are being killed daily by IEDs hidden underground, alongside, and in roads.

Today, unarmored vehicles continue to ship to Iraq. Imagine that. We allocated more money, yet the administration and those in charge of the money for Iraq can't tell us where the money went, and the soldiers are still driving along those dangerous roads in unarmored vehicles or in vehicles that are partially armored but lack protection for floors.

It seems unbelievable that we, the greatest industrial power in the world, could not solve the simple and entirely fixable problem of unarmored vehicles.

Let me review. We gave plenty of money and we have had plenty of time to make sure the problem was corrected. You'd think we would have straightened this out immediately, or at least by the end of 2004. Or at least 2005? How about 2006? Nope, the presumed great superpower, America, still cannot provide its military soldiers with the necessity of basic armored vehicles.

Now the administration wants more money, and is arguing that this is necessary to provide what troops on the ground need. Do you believe this additional money will be spent on the troops? Do you think the troops will get what they need?

Well, television's Dr. Phil tells us all that past behavior is the best predictor of the future. I'm not Dr. Phil, but even I can tell you that the safety of the troops is not the priority of this administration, and that the money will not go into protecting our greatest military resource, the soldiers themselves.

As you drive to work listening to the radio, I want you to take a moment to think about the three or four young soldiers who will be killed today, and the 25 young soldiers who will give an arm, a leg, or a part of their brain to this war. Some of these deaths and injuries are directly due to the negligent - if not cavalier - attitude of the Pentagon and the administration regarding the BASIC safety of our soldiers. Fully armored vehicles would cut down the number of soldiers giving their limbs and parts of their brains to this war. Fully armored vehicles would decrease the number of young men and women being killed by IEDs.

These soldiers are our military families' sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and they are your soldiers, your countrymen and women, and your neighbors. Is it acceptable to you that their safety is not a priority and that they are expendable? Is it acceptable to you that the administration representing you across the world has such a casual attitude about the number of Iraqi citizens who are being killed daily? Is it acceptable to you that the administration is using the argument of providing your soldiers with what they need, when they have a very clear policy of not doing that? Remember, this is YOUR military, your national defense organization. Is Iraq even where you want your military to be? Is this war where you want our national resources to be spent?

The administration is asking for more money when they cannot tell you where billions upon billions went. Their explanation is that there was chaos. Is this acceptable to you?

Every time I hear George Bush talk about his determination to make those tax cuts of his permanent, it makes me so upset. In reality, he is setting up for us this scenario: military families' grandchildren will be part of the population paying for this war.

If these tax cuts are made permanent, it won't be George Bush's or Dick Cheney's grandchildren who will pay for it. It will be your grandchildren and my grandchildren who pay. Yes, my grandchildren, who lost their father in this war, will pay for the war that killed their Dad.

Your brave military is being used and depleted. Your national defense is being squandered. Your countrymen and women are considered expendable, and again it's not a priority to get them what they reasonably need. Your great country is unable to solve this small element of the war situation, even given plenty of money and four grueling years!

Please understand that this administration is unable, for whatever reason, to use money appropriated in a way that will benefit your country, your military, and your democracy.

Please do not allow the administration one additional chance to waste money that we don't even have.

Please do not allow the financial burden for your children and grandchildren to get any bigger.

Please let's not be the kind of society that is unable to learn from past mistakes, and let's not be a complacent society when we have every right to actively participate in building a better future.

Let's be the country that has the courage to stop spending what we don't even have any more. Let's learn from our mistakes and humbly implement corrections of our mistakes. Let us not ask our grandchildren to pay any more for our mishandling of funds and intelligence. And let us not ask children who have already given so much to become financially handicapped by our inability to speak out and stop the insanity.

Why do we ask so much of some and very little from others? Will it always be this way here in America? Are we the land of equality or of non-equality? What are you willing to do?

Please call your representatives in Congress. Let your voice be heard. Please ask them to stop funding this war.
--------
Stephany Kern's son Lance Cpl. Nickolas Schiavoni was killed by an IED on November 15, 2005, in Karmah, Iraq. He remains forever 26 years old. Stephany is a member of Military Families Speak Out.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/022207P.shtml
-------

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Flashback - July 5, 2005


Happy Birthday America

We spent most of the July 4 holiday recuperating from a murderous drive from Hot Springs, AR (the boyhood home of Bill Clinton) to Houston. My folks re-located to Hot Springs last year from Texas. It's beautiful up there - mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, cooler weather, but the bugs! The BUGS!! THE BUGS!!! Both the wife and I brought back a freakin' colony of chiggers, which happened the last two times we went up there too. And they don't hit you instantly either. They waited to spring their jaws until we were safely back in Houston, thinking we had outwitted them this time. Microscopic mo-fos!!

Another odd thing about Hot Springs is the inordinate number of bikers there. We lost track of how many hawgs we saw when we were there, cutting in and out of traffic and endangering everyone on the road. There were some PRETTY scuzzy lookin' characters on them hawgs. Once back on the highways in Texas, however, all the bikers were obviously of the weekend warrior type, bankers, lawyers, etc, out for a joy ride.

Good thing we have satellite radio in our car. All the local radio was playing nothing but martial/military marching music in honor of the holiday. I'm ready to strangle the spirit of John Philip Sousa.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

9/11 Mastermind confesses in Gitmo

It's not like I don't believe this guy is guilty of being a terrorist. I'm reasonably convinced that he is the big kahuna behind a lot of attacks. But...if this guy was involved in as many of the attacks as he claims to be, then it looks like we won the War on Terror! We captured the head cheese! Can we pull our troops out of Iraq now?

9/11 mastermind confesses in Guantanamo
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, confessed to that attack and a string of others during a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a transcript released Wednesday by the

"I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z," Mohammed said in a statement read during the session, which was held last Saturday.

The transcripts also refer to a claim by Mohammed that he was tortured by the
CIA, although he said he was not under duress when confessed to his role in the attacks.

In a chilling list of attacks — some of which were carried out, some not — Mohammed claimed responsibility for planning, financing and training others for plots ranging from the 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center to the attempt by would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives hidden in his shoes.

He said he was involved in planning the 2002 bombing of a Kenya beach resort frequented by Israelis and the failed missile attack on an Israeli passenger jet after it took off from Mombasa, Kenya. He also said he was responsible for the bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia. In 2002, 202 were killed when two Bali nightclubs were bombed.

Other plots he said he was responsible for included planned attacks against the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Empire State Building and New York Stock Exchange the Panama Canal and Big Ben and Heathrow Airport in London — none of which occurred.

He also said he was involved in planning assassination attempts against former Presidents Carter and Clinton, attacks on U.S. nuclear power plants and suspension bridges in New York, the destruction of American and Israeli embassies in Asia and Australia, attacks on American naval vessels and oil tankers around the world and an attempt to destroy an oil company he said was owned by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on Sumatra, Indonesia.

In all, Mohammed said he was responsible for planning 28 individual attacks. The comments were included in a 26-page transcript released by the Pentagon, which blacked out some of his remarks.

Mohammed also claimed he was tortured by the CIA after his capture in 2003, according to an exchange he had with the military colonel who heads the three-member panel that heard his case.

"Is any statement that you made, was it because of this treatment, to use your word, you claim torture," the colonel asked. "Do you make any statements because of that?"

Portions of Mohammed's response were deleted from the transcript, and his immediate answer was unclear. He later said his confession read at the hearing to the long list of attacks was given without any pressure, threats or duress.

The colonel said that Mohammed's torture allegations would be "reported for any investigation that may be appropriate" and also would be taken into account in consideration of his enemy combatant status.

The Pentagon also released transcripts of the hearings of Abu Faraj al-Libi and Ramzi Binalshibh, though Binalshibh refused to attend his session.

Binalshibh, a Yemeni, is suspected of helping Mohammed with the Sept. 11, 2001, attack plan and is also linked to a foiled plot to crash aircraft into London's Heathrow Airport. Al-Libi is a Libyan who reportedly masterminded two bombings 11 days apart in Pakistan in December 2003 that targeted President Pervez Musharraf for his support of the U.S.-led war on terror.

The hearings, which began last Friday, are being conducted in secret by the military as it tries to determine whether 14 alleged terrorist leaders should be declared "enemy combatants" who can be held indefinitely and prosecuted by military tribunals.

Hearings for six of the 14 have already been held. The military is not allowing reporters to attend the sessions and is limiting the information it provides about them, arguing that it wants to prevent sensitive information from being disclosed.

The 14 were moved in September from a secret CIA prison network to the prison at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, where about 385 men are being held on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban.

Mohammed's confession was read by a member of the U.S. military who is serving as his personal representative. It also claimed he shared responsibility for three other attacks, including assassination attempts against Pope John Paul II and Musharraf.

The transcripts also lay out evidence against Mohammed, saying that a computer seized during his capture included detailed information about the Sept. 11 plot — ranging from names and photos of the hijackers to photos of hijacker Mohammad Atta's pilot's license and even letters from al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Al-Libi, who did not attend his hearing, also made a statement through his personal representative largely claiming that the hearing process is unfair and that he will not attend unless it is corrected.

"The detainee is in a lose-lose situation," his statement said.

Binalshibh declined to participate in the process and the hearing was conducted in his absence. Military officials expected some of the 14 suspects not to participate.

Legal experts have criticized the U.S. decision to bar independent observers from the hearings from the high-value targets. The Associated Press filed a letter of protest, arguing that it would be "an unconstitutional mistake to close the proceedings in their entirety."

Mark Denbeaux, a Seton Hall University law professor who represents two Tunisians held at Guantanamo, said that based on the transcripts, Mohammed might be the only detainee who would qualify as an enemy combatant.

"The government has finally brought someone into Gitmo who apparently admits to being someone who could be called an enemy combatant," Denbeaux, a critic of most of the detentions, said in a telephone interview from London. "None of the others rise to this level. The government has now got one."

The military held 558 combatant status review tribunals between July 2004 and March 2005 and the panels concluded that all but 38 detainees were enemy combatants who should be held. Those 38 were eventually released from Guantanamo.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070315/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_terrorist_confession_12

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

If Steve Jobs ran Apple the way George Bush runs the world...

click it

Video Description

Steve Jobs introduces the new "iRack"

Personal Message

Funny, in a sick kind of way.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Army is ordering injured troops to go to Iraq

See, it's the Army that's doing this, not Bush himself. Why, Bush would have to be insane to make seriously wounded soldiers go back to fight in Iraq.

Anything to avoid a draft, right, gentlemen? When is this nation going to wise up, rise up, and toss this bum out on his ear?

From Salon.com

The Army is ordering injured troops to go to Iraq

At Fort Benning, soldiers who were classified as medically unfit to fight are now being sent to war. Is this an isolated incident or a trend?
By Mark Benjamin

March 11, 2007 COLUMBUS, Ga. -- "This is not right," said Master Sgt. Ronald Jenkins, who has been ordered to Iraq even though he has a spine problem that doctors say would be damaged further by heavy Army protective gear. "This whole thing is about taking care of soldiers," he said angrily. "If you are fit to fight you are fit to fight. If you are not fit to fight, then you are not fit to fight."

As the military scrambles to pour more soldiers into Iraq, a unit of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning, Ga., is deploying troops with serious injuries and other medical problems, including GIs who doctors have said are medically unfit for battle. Some are too injured to wear their body armor, according to medical records.

http://www.salon.com/news/2007/03/11/fort_benning/

List Change - Blues to Views

Set list from the Eric Clapton concert at the ATT Center in San Antonio, TX, Saturday, March 3, 2007....which we attended.

Opening Set

1. Tell The Truth
2. Key To The Highway
3. Got to Get Better in A Little While
4. Little Wing
5. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?

Sit Down Set

6. Driftin' Blues (EC Solo)
7. Outside Woman Blues
8. Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
9. Running On Faith

Electric

10. Motherless Children
11. Little Queen of Spades
12. Further On Up The Road
13. Wonderful Tonight
14. Layla

Encore

15. Cocaine (with special guest Jimmie Vaughan)
16. Crossroads (with special guests Jimmie Vaughan and Robert Cray)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Day 6-7 - All Star Smooth Jazz Cruise - March 2-3, 2007

I have finally gotten around to finishing our Cruise Travelogue. Took awhile.

It was the best of days...

It was the worst of nights...

Today, day six, at Cozumel, was going to be our one formal excursion on this cruise: the Isla Pasion Beach Adventure VIP. Such a simple title! And it was actually one of the "simpler" excursions offered. Mostly unfettered beach time. No snorkeling. No multiple sites to visit. No hustling and bustling about. A (decent) lunch was included on this one, and an open bar. Hey! Vamanos! Oralé!

We docked at Cozumel around 8am, on schedule, and our trip was slated for 10am. Plenty of time for a liesurely, yet boring, breakfast on board. Five hours were alloted for this excursion. We'd take about 45 minutes to get to & from our destination and have about three hours for lunch and beachtime on Passion Island, which is just off the northern coast of Cozumel.

There's a deep-water pier at Cozumel where the cruiseliners dock, so you can just walk right off the boat onto dry land. No "tenders" (boats) to catch. Similar to Jamaica, but a world away. It was probably about a half-mile walk from the boat to the mercado in perfect, sunny, warm weather. Mexico has built up quite a shopping and food extravaganza at the pier. And very much under construction. Ah, Mexico.

We met our guide at the mercado and about 40 of us caught two buses (no chickens, just tourists, and air-conditioning!). Our host was Cesár. His jefe, Pepe, was on the 2nd bus. His job was to loosen us up and be our guide/entertainer/chaparone and all-around ham for the trip. We drove thru town, then headed north to the coast to where we eventually caught a small boat to take us across the smooth lagoon to Passion Island, on a boat called "The Titanic."

Cseár tells us that this island is where they've been filming all of those Corona commercials. Right over there. And there. And it is picture-postcard perfect. There's your proverbial thatched-roof restaurant-bar, your hammocks, your seaside beds, your chairs and umbrellas, and don't forget your Coronas, con limon por favor. Gratis.

There are few things I like better than swinging gently in a hammock on a beautiful beach. I won't go into those other things.

Wifey brought along a book to read on the beach...

I took some time to lay back in the sea bed and drift off. For some reason, I didn't need a pillow.

Cesár wandered by and offered to take some pictures of us with my camera. He's had some practice at this, no doubt. With a job like this, why would you want to go to the United States? Nuh-uh.

Both Cesár y Pepe were from Mexico City, where work was scarce. Both had been on Cozumel for over 20 years and had found work. There wasn't much on Cozumel in 1970. All of this development was been in recent years. I don't know how much these guys get paid, but they had great jobs (from my perspective. The reality may be quite starker.) They picked up a lot of extra cash in tips from the tourists, however.

They have some of what they call "open-air" shopping on the island. It's basically a few tents with trinkets, carvings, etc, inside. I gravitated to a couple of metal half-moon faces and asked, "Cuanto?" The guy tells me $80US each. $160 total. Ha! No way. We decided that these pieces were, in fact, just too big and heavy to carry back with us. He kept on reducing the price, naturally, and when we finally walked away, he was down to $40 for both.

We did, however, pick up some jewelry at another tent for friends and family.

The lunch they provided was simple but good: BBQ chicken, rice, beans, a really tasty guacamole, a salad, chips & salsa, all sorts of fruits, y muchas cervezas. Most of the excursions didn't offer any lunch at all. Some offered "snacks," which might turn out to be something like one piece of sushi. Yum! NOT!

The ocean was aquamarine in close and deep blue out to sea. Gorgeous. Random, fluffly, white, clouds. The water was a lot chillier than I expected, however, but it didn't take long to get used to it.

Unfortunately, our beach time came to an end too soon and we were all herded back to the little boat, back to Cozumel, driven back to the mercado and walked back to the cruiseliner, avoiding all the hawkers in all the shops along the way.

Once back on board the Conquest, we went to the deck where they display all the pictures that they have taken of you on board. There must have been 10,000 pictures on display. Finding your pics is kinda hard, but we found what we thought were all of them. Not bad pictures, actually. Professional quality at reasonable prices: $20 for a 8x11; $15 for a 5x7. We dropped about $80 on them and still felt like it wasn't a bad deal. The pictures were taken from the second "formal" night on board, and we were already dressed up anyway, for dinner. We'd been talking for awhile about getting some new pictures made for the family but had never gotten around to it. Voila!

Once we pushed off from the dock at Cozumel, the fun (read: hell) began. There was a storm in the Gulf of Mexico, and the waves began picking up. The boat began rocking and rolling back and forth, and lurching left and right, plunging down and up. I think I felt every lurch. We had an early dinner at the buffet, thinking that, since the buffet was about in mid-ships, the boat motion would be reduced. The Monet dining room was located at the very rear of the ship, and we assumed (rightly) that the boat would REALLY be felt there. Still, even in mid-ships, we had to hold onto our plates sometimes to keep them from sliding around on the table. Oh, isn't this fun! Better take another dramamine. Fortunately, wifey's motion-sickness patch was working pretty well.

The TV in the cabin said that we were currently in 12-15' seas, and it was really miserable, but the scale on the screen went all the way up to 40' waves. Now, these seas were really bad. I cannot imagine in my most fevered nightmare being on a boat in 40' waves. I have to marvel and cringe at all the sailors over the years who had to endure horrible seas, sometimes for weeks at a time, in much smaller boats. Perhaps I would have gotten used to it, after puking my guts out for days.

The concerts tonight were featuring Maysa Leak (the female singer of Incognito) and Boney James, one of my favorite sax players. We got there early enough to get a good seat and after only about 15 minutes of Maysa and Boney on stage at the same time, and getting motion sick from the exaggerated movement of the boat, both high-tailed it out of there for a more-stable area. Alas, none was to be found. We were plowing thru the large waves at high speed. Our steward said that the captain was going at full-speed to try and get thru the bad weather as soon as possible. I guess that makes sense.

As bad as the waves were, neither of us got sick. A little dizzy and nauseous, yes. Sick, no. A couple of fellow cruisers told us that this was nothing. They'd been on cruises where the waves were much worse, and still they did fine.

Today, March 2, was the full moon. I'd been looking forward to this day all week, being a moon-child and all. You know the pictures. You see a couple on a balcony with a full moon over the horizon. Beautiful. Well, the bad weather put the kibosh on seeing the full moon. No moon to be seen at all. And from the balcony, you'd freeze and get soaked by the rain. Lovely.

About the only place we found safe from the motion of the boat was in our cabin, in bed, so we decided to make a rather early evening of it. You know, when I sleep, sometimes I like to turn over in bed. I prefer to do it myself. This evening, however, I was rolling around in bed not of my own accord. It was miserable. Another dramamine, please. Maybe the drugs will knock me out so I can sleep. Wifey was better, thanks to her patch. No perfect, but better than I was doing.

Somehow, we did sleep ok, but when we awoke on Saturday, the boat was still rocking like mad. All day Saturday. There is no need to compile another post for Saturday. It was a full day at sea, and we were praying to get off of the boat as soon as possible. All day long, rain, wind, high seas, just a nightmare. And no way to get off the boat. Trapped like rats. Wet rats. The 3pm Pool Side jazz concert was canceled.

Friday night and Saturday at sea were quite enough, in and of themselves, to convince us that we are not "cruise people." You other guys, you can have them. Go for it. I don't see how the industry survives. I don't see how they get any passengers during the summer months, when the hurricanes are active. They say that they steer around the storms, but even a storm that is hundreds of miles away will produce gigantic waves far from it's eye. Ugh! I'm getting queasy just thinking about that.

Saturday was just a blur. We were stumbling around the decks, grasping for rails, sitting at windows and trying to fix on the horizon, which could not even be seen half the time due to the bad weather. It's like one of those bad times you'd rather just forget, where your mind sorta helps you out and wipes the memory for you. Saturday was like that. There was no way we were going to attend the Saturday evening grand finale concert featuring Brian Culbertson. The Toulouse Lounge was at the front of the boat, where the waves could be felt most of all, and I didn't want to go near it. We skipped dinner in the Monet too. Saturday brought a crashing end to a not-so-great adventure. But we had to try it once, just so we'd know. And now, we know.

For several days after the cruise, we were still feeling the motion of the boat and the vertigo.

Next time, we catch a plane to the islands. Rent a car. Go our own speed.

End of story.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

They Walk Among Us

I'm always on the lookout for funny stuff. The world is damn serious these days. I suppose it always has been, but I don't think we've ever had a President that seemed intent on bankrupting the Treasury, erasing the middle class, giving everything to rich buddies, destroying environmental regulations, debasing the English language, starting wars all over the planet, and ... oh, wait, this was supposed to be a funny post.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I walked into a Blimbie's with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for a sandwich. I handed it to the girl and she looked over at a little chalkboard that said "buy one-get one free".

"They're already buy-one-get-one-free", she said, "so I guess they're both free". She handed me my free sandwiches and I walked out the door. They walk among us and many work retail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A friend of mine bought a new fridge for his house. To get rid of his old fridge, he put it in his front yard and hung a sign on it saying: "Free to good home. You want it, you take it." For three days the fridge sat there without even one person looking twice at it. My friend decided that people were too untrusting of this deal. It looked too good to be true, so he changed the sign to read: "Fridge for sale $50." The next day someone stole it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One day I was walking down the beach with some friends when one of them shouted, "Look at that dead bird!" Someone looked up at the sky and said, "Where?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While looking at a house, my brother asked the real estate agent which direction was north because, he explained, he didn't want the sun waking him up every morning. She asked, "Does the sun rise in the north?"When my brother explained that the sun rises in the east, and has for some time, she shook her head and said, "Oh, I don't keep up with that stuff."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I used to work in technical support for a 24/7 call center. One day I got a call from an individual who asked what hours the call center was open. I told him, "The number you dialed is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." He responded, "Is that Eastern or Pacific time? Wanting to end the call quickly, I said, "Uh, Pacific."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My colleague and I were eating our lunch in our cafeteria, when we overheard one of the administrative assistants talking about the sunburn she got on her weekend drive to the shore. She drove down in a convertible, but "didn't think she'd get sunburned because the car was moving."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My sister has a lifesaving tool in her car designed to cut through a seat belt if she gets trapped. She keeps it in the trunk.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was hanging out with a friend when we saw a woman with a nose ring attached to an earring by a chain. My friend said, "Wouldn't the chain rip out every time she turned her head?" I explained that a person's nose and ear remain the same distance apart no matter which way the head is turned.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area, so I went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never showed up. She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands. "Now," she asked me, "has your plane arrived yet?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

While working at a pizza parlor I observed a man ordering a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into 4 pieces or 6. He thought about it for some time before responding. "Just cut it into 4 pieces; I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat 6 pieces."


Yep, They Walk Among Us!

Flashback - May 7, 2005

I started "blogging" on MySpace in 2005. A little late to the game, I know. Thought it might be interesting (maybe not) to combine that blog with this newer one. So, I'm going to cull various posts from MySpace and post them here.

May 7, 2005

Information Overload & Hourly Shortfalls

There are only 24 hours in a day, dammit, and many of those are taken up by sleep, and work, and watching TV. Who's got time to read anymore?? There must be a dozen books out there that I want to read; another dozen magazines publishing weekly, or monthly, or bi-monthly that I'd like to keep up with; another dozen or so daily news items sent to me via newsgroups or mailing lists or concerned friends; several online forums that I'd like to contribute to; several newsgroups I'd like to contribute to; several programs each day on TV that are worthy of my attention; hey, don't forget daily exercise; and Yoga; and the dog needs to be walked; what's for dinner?

Yahhhhh!!!!!

There's too much information out there, and not enough time to take it all in....

And we don't even have any kids!! (end) (I was a little stressed)

Monday, March 5, 2007

Fixing the HP printer

Our three-year-old HP multi-function printer jammed recently. I kept getting the "Carriage jam" message. It tells me to "clear the jam" and press OK. Not so fast, pal. Noticing nothing out of the ordinary by looking into the machine, I tried a few things online to no avail. I hadn't bought a Service Agreement for the printer since it wasn't that much money in the first place. You can get a helluva lot of printer for not much money these days, and one expensive service repair can equal the cost of a new printer. Practically.

I'd boxed it up in its original carton (I'm a saver of boxes) and was ready to haul it over to Best Buy for some HP-authorized service, or at least an estimate, when I had a nagging feeling that I hadn't tried every avenue of service before taking it in. So, after staring into the void for a moment, I took it back upstairs, out of its box and hooked it back up.

I went back to the online help. HP has some pretty elaborate online Help items. They have so many help files, it seems that they REALLY don't want to talk to you in person. I went thru the online memo for a second time on clearing this type of issue on this type of printer, but I still could not fix it.

The online doc said to open the printer door and physically move the cartridge carriage ("carriage") manually, to be sure it could move. Well, it would not move, which pissed me off. The doc said to move it with my hand. But it would not move. The fact that the memo told me to move it, but that it would not move .... made me stop and fume. Well, the error message DID say that it was a Carriage Jam, after all. It's jammed alright. But even with a carriage jam, they expect the carriage to not be "jammed" and to be able to move. Hmmm.....

But, but, but, but, but, during the power-up and power-down cycles that I was going through to try and fix it - I'd had the printer door open during some of this - the carriage would move left and right, clicking and clucking and doing its booty-up dance during the power-up cycle. So...the carriage COULD move. It DID move.

But when I WANTED it to move, by hand, it would NOT. Hmmm...

So...during the next power-up cycle, when the carriage was doing it's booty dance, shakin' left and right, with the printer door open, I peered closely into the machine, where the carriage usually sits when its at rest, on the right, and saw something - not sure what - where the carraige usually sits. As the carriage was over on the left, I un-plugged the machine, and the carriage froze in place, on the left.

Sure enough, that "something" in there was a crumpled-up, ink-soaked tiny piece of paper. About the size of a pea. I pulled it out and had a feeling that "this" was the problem. Sure enough, when I went thru the next power-up cycle, the printer did not produce a carriage jam message, and went into ready-to-print mode. SUCCESS!!

While it took me maybe an hour in toto to fix it stretched over a couple of days, I still saved a lot of time and, maybe, money, by resolving it at home. It's not ending world hunger or solving the energy crisis, but it's a good feeling when you can fix some of this on your own. With a little help from the internet, and HP.

The lesson for today is: try to fix things yourself.

Robert Fisk on Democracy Now!


Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman had Robert Fisk for the entire hour today, 3/5/07. Taken all together, Amy can paint a pretty bleak picture of the world today. It's not her fault, of course. Humanity is still so screwed up, we're still killing each other over crumbs and religion.

Some snips:


AMY GOODMAN: This latest news in Basra, British-led troops have uncovered an Iraqi government facility where Shia forces were torturing prisoners and producing bomb-making equipment?

ROBERT FISK: Look, everything's getting better in Basra. That's why we're leaving, right? I mean, here we go again. You know, my colleague Patrick Cockburn wrote a very good piece in Iraq not long ago. He said the problem with British statements, or particularly Blair, who’s saying everything is getting better, is that to prove them wrong, you have to go to places where you will have your throat cut. So you can't prove him wrong, so it’s OK, he'll get away with it.
Geez...


AMY GOODMAN: What about Seymour Hersh's report, where he says that the Bush administration and Saudi Arabia are pumping money for covert operations in many areas of the Middle East, including Lebanon, Syria and Iran, in an effort to strengthen Saudi-supported Sunni Islam groups and weaken Iranian-backed Shiites. Some of the covert money has been given to jihadist groups in Lebanon with ties to al-Qaeda.

ROBERT FISK: Look, Seymour Hersh said that we were going to invade Iraq, and I thought we wouldn't, and he was right and I was wrong. So when Seymour Hersh says we're going to bombard Iran, I remain silent. When Seymour Hersh tells me -- he was in Beirut, of course; he met Nasrallah there -- that we’re pumping money into Sunni extremist groups, I think, well, hang on a second, he got it right and I got it wrong on Iraq.

Look, the truth of the matter is that these various organizations -- and there are some al-Qaeda-type groups, groupuscules, tiny ones in Lebanon, and I’ve met them -- they don't need money from outside. They've got money. Everyone in Lebanon who’s got weapons has money. It's like the same nonsense: we talk about how the Iranians are teaching the Iraqi Shiite insurgents to make bombs. Iraqi insurgents know how to make bombs. They don't need the Iranians to come and teach them. I don't think a lot of money is reaching these people.
and more...


ROBERT FISK: Look, there's no doubt that the Iraqi interior ministry is totally -- I mean, it’s impregnated with the insurgency, Shiite insurgency, Sunni and other parts. You know, from the very beginning, we used to have these reports: men in police uniform have kidnapped Margaret Hassan, men in army uniform besieged a police station, you know? And I used to say, hang on, there's not a Wal-Mart factory in Fallujah with made-to-measure police uniforms. Bring in 300 more men, we’ve got the -- no, these are policemen. These are Iraqi soldiers. The Iraqi security forces have been totally infiltrated by the insurgents of both sides. That includes interior ministry, prisons, police stations. This idea, oh, we’re going to build up the Iraqi forces until they can take over -- you know, I love that line from Blair: from now onwards Iraqis in Basra will write their own history. Yeah, they sure will, when we go. It's incredible the way they get away with it, these people.
Hell, get depressed and read it yourself or watch the program at http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/05/1515214

Eric Clapton in concert

The Clapton concert was pretty awesome. The wife and I decided to drive over to San Antonio to meet some family for the concert at the AT&T Center in NE S.A.

All told, I'd say I had about ten "tingles" during the show, and that's a pretty high number. You know, goosebumps. Gooseflesh. Tingle is my new term. Of course, some tingles may be dependent on your past history: what you like, the music you like, etc. But I've had some tingles from other people I'd never heard of before, especially if they're playing some rocking blues. Exceptional vocals can do it to.

Eric is showcasing two guitarists on tour with him: Doyle Bramhall II and Derek Trucks (the nephew of Butch Trucks). I got only a couple of tingles from their playing. Both of them have great potential, but they don't carry the tingle talent of Eric Clapton.

I spotted a couple of Bush references during the concert, even though Eric said next to nothing to the crowd. The first tune, "Tell the Truth," (who's been fooling who?) made me think of Bush, and the third tune, "It's Gotta Get Better in a Little While" (and Bush will soon be out of office.) Ok, I know I'm stretching here.

Eric has total control of the acoustic guitar. He did the expected "sit-down" acoustic set, and the first tune, "Driftin' Blues," was your basic blues tune. But the blues fills that Eric so effortlessly pulls out of that guitar are the stuff of legend. Just awesome.

Band members and set list:

The Band:
Eric Clapton - guitar, vocals
Doyle Bramhall II - guitar
Derek Trucks - guitar
Chris Stainton - keyboards
Tim Carmon - keyboards
Willie Weeks - bass
Steve Jordan - drums
Michelle John - backing vocals
Sharon White - backing vocals


Setlist:
01. Tell The Truth
02. Key To The Highway
03. Got to Get Better in A Little While
04. Little Wing
05. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?

Sit Down Set
06. Driftin' Blues (EC Solo)
07. Outside Woman Blues
08. Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
09. Running On Faith

Stand up Electric
10. Motherless Children
11. Little Queen of Spades
12. Further On Up The Road
13. Wonderful Tonight
14. Layla

Encore
15. Cocaine (with special guest Jimmie Vaughan)
16. Crossroads (with special guests Jimmie Vaughan and Robert Cray)

Somewhere, sometime must have told Eric that he could sing. Uh, not really. At the risk of being crass, I wish Eric would hire some blues singers so that Eric could just simply play. I'm reminded of the Dixie Chicks, only, in this instance, "shut up and play!" But hey, Eric has been at this for 40+ years, so if he wants to sing, what are ya gonna do? But seriously, I don't go to Eric Clapton concerts to hear him sing.

A funny thing I noticed at the concert. There was not one single black person in the crowd, even though about half of Eric's band is black. Even stranger, I didn't see one single person easily identified as Hispanic, and this was San Antonio! I guess Eric is strictly white-boy blues. I'm writing a song for Eric. It goes something like this...

"Lord, have I ever got the blues.
I got the green, but I still got the blues.
I got everything I need, but I still got the blues...."

It's a work in progress....

Sunday, March 4, 2007

List Change - Quotable Quotes

1) When I die, I want to die like my grandfather--who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car."
--Author Unknown


2) Advice for the day: If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: "Take two" and "Keep away from children."
--Author Unknown


3) "Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's calledEVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar."
--Drew Carey


4) "The problem with the designated driver program, it's not a desirable job, but if you ever get sucked into doing it, have fun with it. At the end of the night, drop them off at the wrong house."
--Jeff Foxworthy


5) "If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there is a man on base."
--Dave Barry


6) "Relationships are hard. It's like a full time job, and we should treat it like one. If your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to leave you, they should give you two weeks' notice. There should be severance pay, and the day before they leave you, they should have to find you a temp."
--Bob Ettinger


7) "My Mom said she learned how to swim when her parents took her out in the lake and threw her off the boat. I said, 'Mom, they weren't trying to teach you how to swim.'"
--Paula Poundstone


8) "A study in the Washington Post says that women have better verbal skills than men. I just want to say to the authors of that study: "Duh."
--Conan O'Brien


9) "Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant?? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my God.... I could be eating a slow learner."
--Lynda Montgomery


10) "I think I know how Chicago got started. Bunch of people in New York said, 'Gee, I'm enjoying the crime and the poverty, but it just isn't cold enough. Let's go west.'"
--Richard Jeni


11) "If life were fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead."
--Johnny Carson


12) "Sometimes I think war is God's way of teaching us geography."
--Paul Rodriguez


13) "My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that's the law."
--Jerry Seinfeld


14) "Remember in elementary school, you were told that in case of fire you have to line up quietly in a single file line from smallest to tallest. What is the logic in that? What, do tall people burn slower?"
--Warren Hutcherson


15) "Bigamy is having one wife/husband too many. Monogamy is the same."
--Oscar Wilde


16) "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
--Mark Twain


17) "Our bombs are smarter than the average high school student! At least they can find Afghanistan."
--A. Whitney Brown


18) "You can say any foolish thing to a dog, and the dog will give you a look that says, 'My God, you're right! I never would've thought of that!'"
--Dave Barry


19) Do you know why they call it "PMS"? Because "Mad Cow Disease" was taken.
--Unknown, presumed deceased


20) "Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer."
-- W. C. Fields

Friday, March 2, 2007

Lunar Eclipse March 3, 2007















Whenever I see a story like this, I wonder how many people were sacrificed in ancient times in an attempt to "appease the Gods" or somesuch nonsense. And I wonder how many present-day Fundamentalists (Christian and otherwise) think that it signals the return of Christ or other nonsense.


Total lunar eclipse expected Saturday (March 3, 2007)
LONDON - The moon will turn shades of amber and crimson Saturday night as it passes behind the Earth's shadow in the first total lunar eclipse in three years. The eclipse will be at least partly visible from Asia to the Americas, although those in Europe, Africa and the Middle East will have the best view.

Lunar eclipses occur when Earth passes between the sun and the moon, blocking the sun's light. The event is rare because the moon spends most of its time either above or below the plane of Earth's orbit. Although it will pass completely under Earth's shadow, light from the sun will still reach the moon after being refracted through Earth's atmosphere, giving the moon an eerie dark reddish tinge.

"It's not an event that has any scientific value, but it's something everybody can enjoy," said Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society. Earth's shadow will begin moving across the moon at 3:18 p.m. EST Saturday, with the total eclipse occurring at 5:44 p.m. EST and lasting more than an hour.

Observers in eastern North America and South America will find the moon already partially or totally eclipsed by the time it rises over the horizon Saturday evening. Alaska, eastern Australia and New Zealand will miss the show altogether. The next total lunar eclipse will occur Aug. 28.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Has Bush been funding al-Queda groups?

Sy Hersh is at it again

Video Description

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh ("New Yorker") on plans by the Bush administration for the invasion of Iran. Covert operations have already begun in order to destabilize Iran, among other things by supporting Al Qaida affiliated groups against the Shiites in Iran.

Personal Message

Woah. Bush aiding al-Queda related groups? Al-Queda was, uh, behind 9/11, right? So, whatever happened to Bush's statement, "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists." Gee, I guess the world isn't so black-and-white, eh, George?

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