Friday, May 31, 2013

tattooed women, snake charmers, and tarot cards

The area around Florida's Lake Okeechobee is up in arms because one of their little towns is planning to host a Summer Solstice festival.

The solstice is, of course, a pagan celebration.

Pastors from various churches in Pahokee attended Tuesday night’s city commission meeting to express disappointment in city leaders for allowing the event to come to Pahokee.

Calling the planned festival "an abomination," Pastor Brad Smith, who is the state honcho of something called "Kids for Christ" added, “I just found out about this today. I am disappointed in the city of Pahokee for allowing this."

“We are opening ourselves up to things we should not, like belly dancing and magic spells,” said Daniel Mondragon. “We do not welcome these things. This is the first annual event, and it should be the last.”

“When I heard about this I immediately began praying,” said Bishop Jared Hines of New Destiny Community Church, although he didn't say what about. Had it been me, I'd have asked Jesus to send me my very own belly dancer.

I think these guys have the wrong idea. They should take a belly dancer to lunch. I've done it plenty of times, and enjoyed em all.

two minutes hate

One day Uncle Sam was bored. Osama bin Laden had been dead a long time. Now Hugo Chavez had joined his ancestors and Ahmedinnerjacket was on his way out. 

"Who is there left for the people to hate?" Sam thought to himself, "they'll be at a loss what to do if they can't have their daily ragegasm during the two-minute's hate."

"And without that, we can't keep the war going. There's got to be somebody out there we can sell as the newest incarnation of Hitler, some A-rab, Persian, or Latin homunculus who puts a bee in our collective bonnet."
Never fear, Sammy. Hel[p is on the way.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

giant fluorescent land slugs

Eight-inch-long, day-glo pink slugs have been appearing in numbers on a mountain top in New South Wales, Australia.

From Yahoo! news:

"As bright pink as you can imagine, that's how pink they are," Michael Murphy, a ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "On a good morning, you can walk around and see hundreds of them."

I'm not exactly sure what he means by "a good morning."

it's just a fantasy (wo-o wo-o); it's not the real thing (wo-o wo-o)



Apparently, Fires of Siberia is real.
Fires of Siberia, a (Michele) Bachmann-inspired romance novel, tells the tale of a red state presidential candidate who crashes in Siberia during a trip to improve (or invent) her foreign policy credentials, and must make her way back to civilization with the help of a dashing stranger named—wait for it—Steadman Bass.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

not your usual bizarre

A couple of strange and anonymous posters appeared 
recently in the Washington statehouse in Olympia which have folks hereabouts scratchin their heads. About the only thing I can say about this weirdness is that it doesn't follow the usual liberal vs conservative script, and seems in part a rejection of the script itself. 

The photo is by Oleg Volk, a Tennessee-based photographer and proprietor of, a pro-firearms site. Volk says he doesn't know who used his photo for political purposes, but it was in the public domain, sans text, and he approves this message.

The line drawing is not Volk's work, and does not have the little flag with the tree on it that's just above the QR code. That's the "Doug flag," (Douglas Fir), the flag of Cascadia, projected to break off part of British Columbia, hook it up with Washington and Oregon, and form an ecotopian country.
Could happen.

So if Oleg Volker isn't behind this little poster campaignette, who is? Nobody knows. But I'll take a wild guess, and say it's a committed libertarian.

some guys have all the luck

My friend Dave, who lives in Oregon, found this tombstone in the cemetery where he went to pay his respects to a great grandfather yesterday.

Monday, May 27, 2013

jobs job

So, what recent president had the best record re: adding jobs to our mumbling,bumbling, stumbling eek conomy?

Answer here:

"Recent" means during the last generation, approx 30 years.

And they wonder why their party is dying.

memorial day

The best Memorial Day essay I've seen in years is here.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

thank god there's a cure for this

Dean Baker, one of my faves, writes about the consequences of ObamaCare                                                      As the January 1, 2014 date, when the main body of President Obama's health care plan takes effect, comes closer Republicans are getting ever more frantic. After all, the risk to the country is enormous. The program will extend health care insurance to tens of millions of people and provide real security to tens of millions more (suppose you get sick now and lose the job that provides you insurance). Now that is really scary. People may like the plan and actually look to extend it and improve it in various ways that could mean lower incomes for insurers, doctors, and other providers.

Now I've complained a lot about ObamaCare in this space, and I still think it's a crappy law -- way too complicated and written by health insurers, who are parasites marked for elimination.

But for all that's wrong with it, it will be an improvement over the present system and help some people, and improve some iives. That's what scares the hell out of Republicans.

Imagine! Helping all those people who didn't do a thing to deserve it! It's positively enough to gag a maggot.

canaries and frogs

Frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders, because they spend part of their lives in water and part on land, are particularly sensitive to poisons in the environment. Their skins are porous and thin, offering little protection against pesticides and herbicides. They serve the same purpose for the entire world as canaries once did for coal miners.

And now amphibian populations the world over are in decline and headed rapidly toward extinction. The grim details are here. What that's telling us is if we don't radically and quickly alter our environment, we're next.

This is not a question of good politics or bad politics. We have abundant evidence through the ages that humans are incapable of governing themselves rationally. The question here is whether we've got our act sufficiently together to save our own lives, and guarantee the existence of future generations. 

Friday, May 24, 2013


A bridge spanning the Skagit River near Mt. Vernon, WA collapsed last night, sending cars and people into the water below.

Several were injured, but amazingly no one was killed.

Uncle Sam is slipping and sliding.

He's so addicted to playing the ponies that he doesn't have the money to fix his roof, or so he says, although he's still making low-interest loans to the local loan shark. Now the roof is letting in sunshine  and rain.

Someone needs to set him straight. Once a building is unroofed, it's as good as gone.

The only reason this diseased sack of guts and corruption hasn't collapsed already is that he's too big to fail, too big to die.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

free pbs!

Back in November PBS ran a documentary analyzing the US's lopsided income distribution, which in recent times has seen a yawning gulf opening between rich and poor.

Now it so happens that the protagonist of this real live drama is David Koch, who lives at 740 Park Avenue, NYC, and sits on the board of trustees of WNET, the PBS station which produced the documentary. Koch-connected people tried to get the program cancelled, but PBS ran it unaltered and as scheduled.

And now David Koch, who has given $23 million to PBS over the last decade, says he is changing his mind about a planned and much anticipated seven figure contribution to the WNET.

The station attempted to placate koch by giving him and one of his congressional pets, Democrat Senator Charlie Schumer, an hour to rebut the film immediately afterward. Apparently that was not enough.

Never fear, however, the incomparable Jane Mayer is on the case. You may recall her as the New Yorker reporter who pulled the covers on the Kochs back in 2010, with a bombshell article exposing the political, environmental, and ideological impact of the Kochs on the nation, and she lays the WNET dispute out in detail this week.

This underscores the need to return the public airwaves to public  control. PBS should be 100% government funded; the corporate funding it depends on now has way too much influence over programming, and the quality of PBS has suffered because of it. Mayer points out that only 12% of PBS funding comes from government any more.

But the Koch brothers are determined to influence all mass media much more than they do now. They're negotiating to buy the Chicago Tribune company, which consists of eight metropolitan dailies. If it wasn't for their Pal Rupert Murdoch of FoxNews fame, they'd have to expand into TV as well. And who knows, they might acquire their own television networks yet. Nothing facilitates control of the media like owning it.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

old home

What would America see, if she was a person who could stand up and look into a mirror?

Right after the recent election, jim Kunstler wrote that America looking in a mirror would see "a sclerotic society, physically run down, strikingly ugly, and sordid in its cultural programing." That last part refers to American Idol and fast food and all the other software and greasy starches of consumerism, which now includes artificially mutated food and sometimes herbicides.

Mostly though, our paradigm of life well lived -- the drive-in utopia of SoCal -- has a poor outlook for the future. Being ground in the teeth of pollution, global warming, and traffic congestion, along with crumbling infrastructure and especially 100-bucks/barrel of oil, plus it's on fire a lot, Southern Caliph, once a paradise, now presents a sorrowful aspect of the good life.

But you know, America will muddle through and last somehow, because she truly is too big to fail. That old ancient Roman Empire, also too big to fail in its time, limped along for a couple hundred years as a zombie before finally expiring at last.

But why dwell on it? Let's have a party bilong us!! 

maybe they can sell it on ebay

Not much Benghazi news today, just an AP article that wants to know why Benghazi "keeps coming back."

At this point I'd say it keeps coming back because the AP keeps putting out stories about how it keeps coming back.

Ask an AP reporter why he has those bananas in his ears and he'll say, "I can't hear you; I've got these bananas in my ears."

Republicats don't want to talk about it, ever since Obama released the 100 emails that showed the Republicans had been creating their own reality again. But there is always someone there to remind them.

Which reminds me, how's the hunt for Saddam's weapons of mass destruction going? Any hot, or even lukewarm clues? I know there are lots of people who still maintain, when pressed by somebody rude enough to bring it up (such as me) that they're still out there somewhere.

Photo: Darrell Issa (R CA), who chairs the House Oversight and Governmental Reform, which is currently conducting  hearings into the Benghazi incident and its aftermath.

Monday, May 20, 2013

obama admin targets fox news

Yep. The reporter Jay Rosen got the once over with a Holder, and they were sniffing a couple others as well. I just saw a little of the coverage of it on Fox when I was working out down at the gym. Megyn Jelly was really quite beside herself about it. She was quivering like jelly on a plate. I couldn't help remarking to myself how nice it looked.

The revelation in The Washington Post that Justice obtained private work, as well as personal emails, from James Rosen of Fox News and tracked his movements at the State Department follows admissions that the department secretly seized two months of phone records from 20 Associated Press reporters and editors as a separate investigation into a government leak to the journalists.

Oh, wow, did I just use the Washington Times and FoxNews as my only sources? Well, this should be interesting.

So does this mean that Benghazi is yesterday's big crangleschnazzle, and now past its pull date? 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

leave his asparagus alooooone!

In a Senate hearing yesterday, the hon. gentelman from Texas, the Republican Mr. Gohmert, accused the witness, Attorney General  Holder, of attacking his integrity and "casting aspersions on my asparagus."

It would have been sufficient for him to say, "Hey, buttwinkle, if you don't like my peaches stop shakin my tree," but he just had to go and drag asparagus into it. He could have added that Holder impugned his artichokes, but didn't go that far 

Now I know he meant to say "aspersions on my character," but became tongue tied, as those Texans seem to do when they are in big time politics. Seems like it's always them with the peeance and freeance.

Friday, May 17, 2013

lear's progeny

Edward Lear, 19th cent. English poet who wrote "The Owl and the Pussycat," left an unfinished work when he departed this life, entitled "The Children of the Owl and the Pussycat."

He completed only the first third of it. What I like best about Lear is his flawless command of rhythm, or in other words, finding fitting words that fit.

Our mother was the Pussy-cat,
our father was the Owl,
And so we're partly little beasts 
and partly little fowl,
The brothers of our family
have feathers and they hoot,
While all the sisters dress in fur
and have long tails to boot.
We all believe that little mice,
 For food are singularly nice.
Our mother died long years ago.
She was a lovely cat
Her tail was 5 feet long, and grey
with stripes, but what of that?
In Sila forest on the East
of fair Calabria's shore
She tumbled from a lofty tree --
none ever saw her more.
Our owly father long was ill
from sorrow and surprise,
But with the feathers of his tail
he wiped his weeping eyes.
And in the hollow of a tree
in Sila's inmost maze
We made a happy home
and there we pass our obvious days.

peeance and freeance update

Actually, the US was in Benghazi before al Qaida was.

Good old Uncle Sam. He's everywhere, he's everywhere!

And everywhere we go, al Qaida is right there with us. They've become our shadow.

Jokar Tsarnaev wrote a note just before the Boston terror attack saying that the bombings were retribution for U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and called the Boston victims collateral damage in the same way Muslims have been in the American wars.

Hey, I thought we were fighting them over there so we wouldn't have to...ah, screw it. But it seems that people who have been invaded and bombed and shot at resent it. I have no idea why that is.

The Senate Armed Services Committee had a hearing yesterday at which Pentagon officials offered testimony that proved George Orwell was the great prophet of the 20th century, and that we are now udeniably, undebatably, and totally committed to the war without end Orwell predicted. That's the policy and the standard operating procedure.

What they never mention, and never will, is the real reason for this policy. Orwell had that down too, and lays it out straight and simple in his book within a book, the works of Emmanuel Goldstein.

Orwell alone among his generation understood exactly what was happening, and that this perpetual war was the great destroyer of human freedom and dignity. It robs and enslaves entire nations, and ours is the leading edge and main purveyor of this evil.

Get it straight, foks. Al Qaida is a shadow, our own reflection in the pond. We are the terrorists.

Illustration: "Uncle Sam" by harlekin1979

Thursday, May 16, 2013

nooze briefs from around the net

A mayoral candidate in North Miami, FL got a prize endorsement, from Jesus Christ himself, according to her campaign literature.

However, Anna Pierre's divine backing didn't do much for her, and she finished seventh in a field of seven, pulling 56 votes total.
There have been half a dozen explosions at factory style swine farms in the upper midwest. One destroyed a barn, killing 1500 pigs and severely injuring a worker who was tending them.

Pig manure holding ponds in factorysized swine operations have been generating foam on their surfaces, whih traps poisonous and/or explosive gases beneath. When these gases are suddenly released under pressure, they can splode.

It seems our divilization is at a dead end. Our cultural paradigm is the corporation, and we're forcing corporate organization on livelihoods and activities for which such structure is ridiculously inappropriate, such as dairy farming and pig farming, with extraordinarily destructive effects. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

madame president

You may as well get used to it, mein freund. Hillary is not going to be put in a pillory. Instead she will be praised in the press, lauded by pundits, beloved by her family, selected, protected, and elected.

Madame Secretary's establishment credentials are impeccable. She'll line up with Wall Street, the defense contractors, agribusiness, Nat'l Assoc of Realtors, insurance industry, &c. &c. ad infintum ad nauseum. The only big playa she might...might be not quite cool with is big oil; we'll have to wait & see.

Over all, however, Mrs. Clinton is and will be a staunch supporter of the status quo. I mean, hell, she voted for the Iraq War while a Senator. She knows as well as we do that in Washington no evil deed ever goes unrewarded.

What we're looking at pretty much is a real coronation, but that's not Mrs. Clinton's fault. The nonparticipation of the Republican Party in the real political process means she will effectively run unopposd.

how things are

This is a slightly edited version of an essay that ran here on August 5, 2009, called "What is Fascism?"

Fascism is a modern-day response to the breakdown and disappearance of traditional societies and traditional sources of authority, such as the king, the church, and the family patriarch.

Fascist governments and political movements attempt to re-connect with lost traditions and to substitute new kinds of strong loyalties, especially loyalty to the nation, in modern-day societies which have lost their direction following the breakdown of traditional forms of authority. We have to a large extent lost confidence in the old ways, because pre-industrial ways of thinking have disappeared along with pre-industrial modes of production and consumption.

"Today we live in a new world," one analyst declares, which has witnessed tremendous scientific and medical progress, but has also seen "the breakdown of the family structure, with its related increase in unwanted pregnancy, divorce, depression, crime, and suicidal and even homicidal 
children," says American yogi and writer Gary Kraftsow. We are all, to some extent, victims of the social anarchy that attends social dissolution, and fascism is one of several competing modern philosophies that attempt to remedy this state of affairs.

The central feature of fascism is its peculiarly modern form of nationalism, which inevitably acquires the overpowering intensity and transcendent qualities formerly limited to religious expression. Since fascist movements also encourage their followers to observe the ancient religious forms (and usually to ignore their otherworldly contents), religion and nationalism combine, and the nation -- its soil, its symbols, and its heavily redacted history -- becomes sacred, holy, and the repository of the citizenry's most profound emotions.

This nationalism is accompanied by a sense of national destiny and the absolute conviction of the superiority of one's nation over all others, accompanied by the belief that the nation needs to have a strong and aggressive military presence in the world for purposes of securing its "rightful place," or in other words, an empire at the very least, and global dominance in the most pronounced cases of fascist statism.

Other characteristics of fascist governments include partnership and collusion with the nation's largest business concerns, state control of the nation's modern forms of mass communication for purposes of blanketing society with fascist propaganda, and intimidation of and violence against any opponents of fascism who have the nerve to speak up once the dictatorship is established, especially "intellectuals" such as teachers, journalists and scientists. Because the basic appeal of fascism is emotional rather than intellectual, any person, group, or philosophy committed to rational, dispassionate analysis based on evidence rather than nationalist hysteria and naked self interest is treated as an enemy and a threat. Science is especially feared and hated by all fascists, for science is the study of reality, and reality is the enemy of fascism, which is inevitably based on the fantasy of national superiority, infallibility, and invincibility.

Benito Mussolini is generally regarded as the founder of fascism, and his fascist dictatorship in Italy of the 20's and 30's as the template for all fascist movements which followed down to the present day. I found Wikipedia's biography of Mussolini thorough and well crafted, and believe it serves as an excellent introduction to this subject.

For anybody who's still confused about what fascism is, I'd suggest listening to Rush Limbaugh for five minutes at random, or watching a quarter hour of Fox News.

The typical fascist believer of a modern nation hasn't changed much since George Orwell described him (or her) in 1948, consumed with patriotic hopes and fears, and "expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph." (Orwell, 1984, p. 192.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

siggy and the dragoon

Parkinson's disease is a daily battle. Just because you decapitated it yesterday, it will be back today and you'll have to fight it again.

I'm not complaining. There's something really exhilarating
about fighting and winning, prevailing over a big, scary monster.

I feel like Sigfried doing battle with the dragon. Sigfried is the little guy with the toothpick, gutting the beast at left.

Two weeks ago we changed up the meds, so now I'm taking more of everything. The main drug has side effects; the secondary one deals with most of them. 

From my first doctor, a naturopath, I received the wisdom of the essential Parkinson's diet, which is more and more effective as time goes by. There's a lot of emphasis on daily consumption of essential oils: avocado oil, almond oil, citrus oil, coconut oil, banana oil, and  especially fish oil (lots of that) and the omega 3 in eggs. I get all of it from food, not supplements, although supplements are necessary too.  

Add exercise and you've got a real beast slayer of a program. A month ago I was scared to go out of the house, and couldn't teach a class for fear of drooling and choking. Now I've got a reprieve from slobbering and stuff going down the wrong pipe, and I'm ready to take on the world.

Illustration: watercolor by Carl Gustav Jung, "Sigfried." Page 119 of The Red Book.

Friday, May 10, 2013

smelt fishing in point utopia

There was a great blue heron fishing in the tidepool behind my house this morning.

It was a very low tide, and a little school of smelt was trapped in the pool where the creek discharges into the Sound.

She was standing out there in the fog from 8:30 on. The sun came out and burned the fog off at 10:00, and then, with the sun's rays reflecting off the silvery backs of the little fishes, m'lady really got going, swallowing silver bullets as quickly as she could catch them, at which she's awesome efficient.

Sliding just her long beak under the surface, she'd come up with a wriggling silver victim, usually sideways flashing in the sun. I don't know how she does it, but quickly the horizontal fish is set vertically upright, head downward, as she tilts her head back and swallows.

She ate nonstop like that for an hour. Smelt are small, but they can be upwards of five inches and weigh nearly a pound. I'm surprised she could take off, but she's gone now, probably for a nap.

I consider my heron an omen. The Chinese associate the bird with patience, strength, purity, and long life. Native Americans were impressed by the heron's curiosity and especially, its determination. She's a good omen, because she's an expert fisher, as I witnessed this morning, waiting patiently until conditions are perfect, then moving with lethal efficiency. For a person preparing for a hunt, this is a great sign to see.