Monday, July 31, 2006

It's Gonna Be A Hot One...

Thats the weather. Today was not so bad, supposed to hit 100 tomorrow and will feel like 110!

Dinner was succulent pomegranate molasses + soy sauce marinated flank steak. Yum!

I have to type up a couple of recipes but am too tired. Tomorrow I think. So I am gonna be take the easy way out and do pics. :(

This kitty has a mean moustache?

Nothing like relaxing and reading a book/newspaper while sitting on the back of a Hippo...

A mud sculpture of a hippo that is..

That's one brave Pelican...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

World On Fire.....

In more way than one. The US has been baking pretty much across the board temperatures in the 90s and in triple digits at a lot of places.
The mideast is on fire too (as I am sure you who have been following the latest news know). And like every other screwup of this administration their gamble on this might fail too.

Tom Friedman (who I sometimes critcize) said it right on Meet The Press today. It went along the lines.. "America used to be about exporting hope, these days it is about exporting fear".

He also made a good point about pointing out that Muslims in the mideast have to do something more than just hating others more than they love their kids. He mentioned India as being the 2nd most populous Muslim nation in the world (in terms of numbers) and how different they have reacted to the dastardly acts carried out by some Muslim extremists in the recent Mumbai blasts. He talked about the measured response by everyone there. The point he made was "India has a muslim president, one of the biggest software cos was found by a muslim, leading Bollywood figures are muslim". His point was that they have a stake in the system and a chance to make something of their lives. I think his larger point was that there are alternatives to violence and hatred.

Our media has been going on with wall to wall coverage about this new conflict with Iraq now slipping in to the "forgotten war" category especially where our TV is concerned. From the Frank Rich piece in the Sunday times..

CNN will surely remind us today that it is Day 19 of the Israel-Hezbollah war — now branded as Crisis in the Middle East — but you won’t catch anyone saying it’s Day 1,229 of the war in Iraq. On the Big Three networks’ evening newscasts, the time devoted to Iraq has fallen 60 percent between 2003 and this spring, as clocked by the television monitor, the Tyndall Report. On Thursday, Brian Williams of NBC read aloud a “shame on you” e-mail complaint from the parents of two military sons anguished that his broadcast had so little news about the war.

Wait.. Afghanistan was the forgotten war when Iraq came along. Sorry Afghanis.. you are subject to the fickleness of American(esp the ones who would like to cover up their failures) memory..yet again.

The neocon drumbeat of war goes on, they think they can start a new one to help us forget the complete mess of the the last one. But that is not gonna happen, the American people are waking up to what has happened. I hope they care enough to vote these morons out in November. It's very simple.. If you like where this country is headed, then vote Republican if not vote Democratic.

I did do other stuff this weekend. Went to a Democratic party meetup in Wilmington, met some of the candidates running for statewide office and national office. It was fun will write up about it. Also cooked (Red Bell Pepper Chutney and Daal Crepes), spent some time planting, clearing up the yard. Worked out, we inherited a gym from the previous owners of our home, so it's being put to good use.

And lest I forget the title of the post comes from the enchanting, amazing and talented singer songwriter Sarah Maclachlan (I have a bit of a crush on her..ever since I heard "building a mystery"...). I saw this video some time back and it made me choke up, it just seems apt on a day like this to watch it, if for no other reason than to know that change can be made thru peaceful means, violence is not always the only answer. And it does not take that many $$. Watch it if you have a few minutes ..

Lyrics below..

The worlds on fire its more then I can handle
Ill tap into the water try and bring my share
Try to bring more, more then I can handle
Bring it to the table
Bring what I am able

Hearts are worn in these dark ages
Youre not alone in these stories pages
The light has fallen amongst the living and the dying
And Ill try to hold it in
Yeah Ill try to hold it in

I watch the heavens but I find no calling
Something I can do to change whats coming
Stay close to me while the skys falling
I dont wanna be left alone dont wanna be alone

Hearts break hearts mend love still hurts
Visions clash planes crash still theres talk of
saving souls still colds closing in on us

We part the veil on our killer sun
Stray from the straight line on this short run
The more we take the less we become
The fortune of one man means less for some

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Late Night Funnies...

For July 26th, 2006 here is what they said...

"Another day in the Middle East. Obviously the cease-fire fell through, talks fell apart, they lasted about two hours. Even the O.J. jury managed to meet longer than that." --Jon Stewart

"You know Ann Coulter? She was on CNBC today and she said 'Bill Clinton is gay.' Please, just because she's the only woman on the planet he wouldn't have sex with doesn't make him gay." --Jay Leno

"How 'bout that Saddam Hussein? I'm beginning to think the guy's wacky. He announced that if he's found guilty he would like to be shot. Sounds like a job for Cheney." --David Letterman

"A Tomahawk cruise missile fell off a truck in the Bronx this week. A cruise missile, isn't that unbelievable? You know what that means? There are now more weapons of mass destruction in the Bronx than there are in Iraq." --Jay Leno

"AT & T said in the second quarter their profits increased by 81%. So apparently, the government is paying them to listen to our phone calls." --Jay Leno

"Condoleezza Rice was in Rome and she visited the Vatican and all the priests were very happy to see her. And everybody kept asking her 'What's it like to be celibate?'." --David Letterman

"President Bush met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and he spent the first hour trying to pronounce Nouri al-Maliki." --David Letterman

July 25th, 2006

"That's how it works these days. Troubled areas of the world, like the Middle East, they get American humanitarian aid. Untroubled areas like India -- they just get American jobs." --Jay Leno

And then there are pictures...

Absolut Corruption.. In auniquely Murikan Flavor.. distilled in one rare blend for murikan sheeple..

Department of Porcine Transport

Drummer Boy!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Americans Now Getting Too Fat For X-Rays And Scans!

CNN tells us something we may already know if you look around and have been to a X-Ray/CT scan facility.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- More and more obese people are unable to get full medical care because they are either too big to fit into scanners, or their fat is too dense for X-rays or sound waves to penetrate, radiologists reported Tuesday....

But we Americans are very innovative folks, we find a business opportunity here as well. ;-)

With 64 percent of the U.S. population either overweight or obese, the problem is worsening, but it represents a business opportunity for equipment makers and hospitals, said Dr. Raul Uppot, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital....

Radiologists have have their own term for it when writing up reports: "These images are limited due to body habitus."...

The researchers looked more closely at the records of 200 of the patients, who weighed, on average, 239 pounds....

That is the size of an average American Football Linebacker who is mostly all built up muscle!
And those guys are huge!

And well you can only fit so much in a bore hole of a machine, so just make it bigger!
An MRI can get a good picture if the patient can fit into the tube or get onto the table, Uppot said. Some manufacturers have started to make MRI machines with larger-bore holes, but with the cost in the millions of dollars per machine, only large groups or institutions can afford them.

And now for some interesting pics...

A canine Yoda??

Pigeon On Fries And Beer Or Just Nuts?

Pigeon Precision Munitions?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More Random Thoughts...
Can't come up with a post title so that will have to do...
Some pics at the end too, to those who wanna skip over this stuff.

From the "moustache of understanding" AKA Thomas Friedman comes this beauty

"We got this free market, and I admit, I was speaking out in Minnesota--my hometown, in fact, and guy stood up in the audience, said, `Mr. Friedman, is there any free trade agreement you'd oppose?' I said, `No, absolutely not.' I said, `You know what, sir? I wrote a column supporting the CAFTA, the Caribbean Free Trade initiative. I didn't even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade."

And guess what he never gets asked about it. How can this shmuck support treaties he does not read? Thats our media for you! More here..

Mideast on fire? Things going bad? Gosh it sure must be nice for Bushie!! Look at the idiots at CNN interpret this.

The Middle East crisis is giving President Bush a second chance to be a peacemaker and, however counterintuitive, an unexpected new chance to make headway on his grand goal of leaving the Middle East more democratic than he found it.


And this from Atrios about our muddled policy regarding Pakistan.
Like every other sentient being on the planet I'm rather confused by our policies towards Pakistan. We're generally led to believe that Bin Laden is hanging out there along with some of his pals. It's a dictatorship with an unclear line of succession if that dictator ever accidentally gets in the way of an assassin's bullet. They have an active nuclear program. Their top nuclear scientist was handing out nuclear technology like candy on Halloween. The country promptly pardoned him for this and we didn't say a thing. Oh, and for the Malkins of the world THEY'RE ALL BIG SCARY MUSLIMS.

And, just for fun, they have a new plutonium plant. And the Bush administration hid this fact from Congress.

And from the NYTimes oped (subscription only) this interesting observation from Nick Kristof.

Granted, there’s a counterargument that fills my mailbox and goes like this: What else can a country do when it is subjected to rocket attacks and cross-border raids by a terrorist organization committed to its destruction? If that terror group finds a safe haven just across an international border, and the government and the army there cannot control it, then what other option is there but to destroy that menace?

Uprooting Hezbollah may inadvertently cause some civilian casualties, so the argument goes, but the number would be unnoticed if the victims had died at the hands of an Arab government (so far, 1,000 times as many Muslims have died in Darfur as in Lebanon). In the end, sitting ducks have to fight back.

The problem with that argument is that it’s wrong.

One day before the Hezbollah incursion that provoked this war, terrorists bombed train lines in Mumbai, India, killing nearly 200 people (about 10 times as many as had been killed in all the Hezbollah attacks on Israel since the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, until this month). The Mumbai bombings were the latest in a string of attacks against India that have gone on for years, at the hands of terrorists operating with support from across the border in Pakistan.

Many Indians complain that their prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has been too wimpish in responding (a previous prime minister threatened war with Pakistan after a major terror attack in 2001). Yet Mr. Singh has wisely recognized that military action would only make the problem worse.

On To Other Things...

Bad Hair Day?

Just Cruisin...

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Completed Tag .. Hey There Opinionated!

I got this Doonesbury in the mail from my buddy MW. Very topical as she says..

1. Male friend: None!
2. Female friend: A
3. Vacation: Denmark

1. Time of day: The day I have lunch at work as opposed to my normal fruit for lunch.
2. Day of the week: Thursday, cuz sometimes you are already wiped out and you have another day to go.
3. Color crayon: None.

1. Person you talked to that goes to your school: None.
2. Talked to on the phone: Father In Law.
3. Text: Co-worker.
4. Person who Instant Messaged: Co-worker.

1. What are you doing now: Typing this tag while waiting for my train.
2. Wearing: Business casual combo of yellowish shirt and brown trousers.

1. Is: Tuesday
2. Got any plans: Trip to the hardware store (my highlight of the day!)
3. Goal: Get work done, workout.
4. Dislikes about tomorrow: None.

1. Number: None
2. Song: For now Pearl Jam’s
3. Color: None

1. Missing Someone: No
2. Mood: Even
3. Wanting: Ice cream would be nice, sitting next to the place, but am not gonna get any.

I am a cuddler: True.
I am a morning person: True.
I am a perfectionist: False.
I am an only child: False.
I am currently in my pajamas: False.
I am currently pregnant: False.
I am currently suffering from a broken heart: False
I am left handed: False.
I am addicted to Blogging: False.
I am online 24/7: True. Except when traveling.
I am very shy around the opposite gender: Quiet != Shy.
I can be paranoid at times: False.
I currently have a crush on someone: False.
I currently regret something that I have done: False.
I enjoy country music: False
I enjoy smoothies: True.
I enjoy talking on the phone: True, but only to a few people.
I have a hard time paying attention at school/work: False.
I have a hidden talent: False.
I have a lot to learn: True.
I have a secret that I am ashamed to reveal: Everyone has one.

1. Are you currently mad at someone? The current administration of my country.
2. Which of your friends has the worst temper? None that I know of.
3. Have you ever thrown something at anyone? Yes.
4. Ever had something thrown at you? Yes.
5. When you are mad do you prefer to stare angrily or yell and scream? Yell and scream!

1. Has anyone ever thrown you a surprise party for you? No!
2. Are you easily excited? Nyah!
3. What you are most excited about? The possibility that republicans might lose this November in the mid-term elections.
4. If you won a million dollars what would be your first thought? Buy one of these cool electric cars.
5. If you could have anything right now what would it be? Ice-cream.

1. Name: Karmic Jay
2. Where were you born? Bombay, India.
3. What is your main goal in life? To be a good person to self and my loved ones.
4. How do you want to die? Shouldn’t be long and painful.

1. Sex before marriage? It’s for the people concerned to decide.
2. Gay Marriage? I am for it.
3. Lower the Drinking age? No.
4. Recycling? Yes. Probably have more categories for recycling than we do now.

1. What was your latest dream? Don’t remember!
2. Have any of your dreams come true? Which one?
3. What was the weirdest dream you've ever had? Lost count of all the weird ones.
1. Straight, Gay, Bi? Straight.
2. Do you have a bf/gf? No.
3. Do you have a crush? No.

Q: How many beds did you lay in yesterday?
A: 1
Q: What color shirt are you wearing?
A: See above.
Q: Name one thing that you do everyday?
A: Go online, snack.
Q: What color are your walls?
A: Light blue, wine red, light yellow, light purple, a shade of green.
Q: How much cash do you have on you right now?
A: $60
Q: I can't wait till?
A: I get home. And the train I am waiting for is already 10 mins late, it’s having mechanical problems!
Q: When was the last time you saw your dad?
A: A year ago.
Q: What did you have for dinner last night?
A: Cabbage/green peas and Naan.
Q: What's the last piece of clothing you borrowed from someone?
A: What’s that?
Q: What website(s) do you visit the most during the day?
A: Progressive blogs.
Q: Does anything hurt on your body right now?
A: No.

1. Have you ever failed a class? No.
2. Have you ever sung in front of a crowd? Yes, ages ago in school.
3. Have you ever not taken a shower for 3 days? 2 Days, was on a trek someplace in India.
4. Have you ever slept with a night light? Yes.
5. Have you ever danced in the rain? Yes!
6. Have you ever lied? Yeah..........
7. Have you ever had contacts? No.
8. Have you ever tripped over something stupid? Yes.

1. Samosa, Pakora, Kebab: Pakora.
2. Bollywood, Lollywood, Hollywood: Hollywood.
3. Love marriage, Arranged marriage: Love.
4. Honeymoon, no moon: Honeymoon
5. How many kids would u like 1,2, 3+ : 1
6. Kulfi, Ice cream : Kulfi
7. Shah ruk khan, Orlando Bloom : Don’t care about either.
8. Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower : Taj Mahal
9. Bombay, New York: Neither. Would love to visit New Zealand.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Few Rambling Thoughts

I occassionally flipped thru the 24- hour news channels this weekend. The only thing they have is the current Israel-Lebanon conflict. It's hard to find anything else if you watch these idiots. It's like the rest of the world, even in the US does not exist. I guess war porn makes good viewing eh?

Barely a mention of the mayhem in Iraq, which continues unabated and is a civil war to many of us. From Robert Dreyfuss at

Iraq is engaged in a full-fledged civil war. For those remaining defenders of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, who argue that the United States needs to stay put in order to prevent civil war, it’s too late. It’s here, in all of its brutality and ugliness.

The violence is not only engulfing Baghdad—home to approximately one-fifth of Iraq’s population—but Basra, Iraq’s second city and its only port. In the north, there is violence in Kirkuk, in what has been, until now, the relatively unscathed heartland of the Shiite south, as well.

What is unfolding in Iraq is a staggering tragedy. An entire nation is dying, right in front of us. And the worst part of it is: It may be too late to do anything to stop it.

The toll among ordinary Iraqis is immeasurable. Iraqis are dying in ones and twos, in a wave of rampant murders, kidnappings, and assassinations throughout the country. They are dying in fives and tens, through roadside bombs, car bombs, and sectarian violence. And they are dying in large numbers, in scores, as organized armies carry out atrocity after atrocity in brazen, public attacks.

Meanwhile an editorial (subscription only) in the NY Times talks about the problems in Afghanistan (reproduced below)

Things are not going well in Afghanistan, the original front in the war on terrorism.

American and NATO casualties are rising in some of the deadliest fighting since 2001. The Taliban are enjoying a resurgence in presence and power, especially in their traditional southern and eastern strongholds. And with civilian casualties mounting and economic reconstruction in many areas stalled by inadequate security, the American-backed government is in danger of losing the battle for Afghan hearts and minds. If this battle is lost, there can be no lasting military success against the Taliban and their Qaeda allies.

There is still a chance to turn things around. The first step must be enhanced security, so that foreign and local civilians can carry out reconstruction projects. That will require a large and long-term foreign military presence, with a large American component. Unfortunately, Washington is headed in a different direction. With the Army overstretched in Iraq and Congressional elections coming up, the Pentagon is moving to prematurely reduce already inadequate American troop strength.

The plan is for European and Canadian NATO forces to step in and provide security for civilian teams in southern and eastern Afghanistan while the remaining Americans concentrate on fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda. This is a new variant of the Bush administration’s misbegotten theory that Americans should be war-fighters and leave nation-building to others.

There are two big problems with this. First, in violent situations like that in southern Afghanistan, NATO can assure security only if America, its leading member, provides reconnaissance, transport and combat support. Second, the idea that American troops are there not to bring security to Afghans but to hunt down the Taliban — and too bad if Afghan civilians are caught in the cross-fire — is a disastrous approach to counterinsurgency warfare. It has not worked in Iraq and it is not working in Afghanistan.

In the end, international military efforts can only buy time to build an Afghanistan its own people will fight to defend after Western troops leave. In addition to foreign aid, that will require improved performance by the government of President Hamid Karzai, which has been plagued by corruption and hobbled by the alliances it has made with local warlords to extend its authority beyond Kabul.

In particular, the Karzai government has not made much of a dent in Afghanistan’s hugely profitable drug trafficking operations. Corruption and governmental feckless are only partly to blame. This is an area in which Afghanistan’s multiple problems have begun to feed off one another. A lack of credit and security has left farmers few economic alternatives to opium. Drug revenues feed corruption and make the warlords who run many of the trafficking rings more powerful. They, in turn, use their additional money and influence to recruit more fighters and expand into new areas, promoting wider instability.

Building a stable Afghanistan that can stand up to the Taliban once Western soldiers leave is going to take many years, many billions of dollars and more foreign troops for longer than most Western governments are now prepared to contemplate. Yet signs of fatigue with the Afghan mission are already beginning to appear in Western capitals, including Washington. These must be resisted.

Washington made the mistake of premature disengagement once before, after the 1989 Soviet withdrawal. That opened the door to the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Sept. 11. If America now means to be serious about combating international terrorism, it cannot make the same mistake twice.

I think there aren't any billions of dollars, the moment the lies-based war of Iraq started the money for Afghanistan was clearly hard to find. The next few months will be interesting. I think the Bush (in denial) strategy on Iraq is clear. Stay the course and hand it off to the next Administration. History will probably judge Dubya as the worst president we have ever had.

And for a change of pace something on a more relaxed note...
Greedy Doggie!

Always Coca Cola....

I have to do Opin's tag too, probably tomorrow.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Was Too Tired To Sit And Type Up A Post..But Things Change

Been a pretty busy week at work, and I still have to get thru Friday. I thought I was gonna take the cheap way out and post some pics found during my trawling the web. And then I also found this below. And before I knew it there was a post.

An all electric car revealed by Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors unveiled their uber-chic Roadster, a supercharged electric vehicle that looks, feels and drives like many other high-end sports cars Wednesday night. The main difference is the noise. Powered by a 3-phase, 4-pole AC induction motor, the Roadster can go 130 mph and does 0-60 in about 4 seconds, all completely silent.

Tonight was the grand unveiling of the Roadster in a decorated airport hanger in Santa Monica, CA. I don't ride in many sports cars, and I certainly have never been in one that zips across an airport's tarmac without so much as a whisper. But tonight I got a quick ride in the Roadster and all I could hear from the passenger's seat (not even Gov. Schwarzenegger, who flew in for a brief look at the car, was allowed to drive it) was wind noise. And myself saying "Wow" under my breath.

The car is low to the ground, and smooth in all possible ways. But this vehicle isn't just a sports car. It's also a green car. There are zero tailpipe emissions. There isn't even a tailpipe. Tesla Motors is working to provide purchasers with a photovoltaic panel that will turn the driving experience into an actual net producer of energy, according to Tesla Motors chairman Elon Musk.

Tonight's unveiling was also an invitation to purchase the Roadster when it is released in mid-2007 (for about $80,000-$120,000). The company is offering the first 100 Tesla Roadsters as Signature models. Musk said that the people who buy the Signature cars will not only be getting an incredible sports car, but will be helping to pay the R&D costs for future Tesla Motor vehicles.

I also heard a report on Public Radio about this company. They plan a 4 door version of this vehicle at around 40K in 2008. A bit too pricey still, while the big American auto cos are behind the curve, Toyota is already moving towards a plug-in hybrid.

I am glad to see this happen, and with gas prices not being seen to come down any more the market is ripe for electric cars.

Now revealed a new way to remove fat from your body..just vaccum it out via the mammary gland! Heh!

Bathroom Art...

And Preznit brave that he is permitted no pictures of the stem cell bill that he vetoed. Surprising isn't it, since there is never a photo op that he ever misses! This being his first ever veto of a bill we can now safely say he is no longer a veto virgin! When you have been such an abject failure as he is then all you have left are red meat issues to fire up his base.

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa had a good response to the veto.

I don't get it. Who gave the President the authority to draw that line? He may be the President of the United States, but he's not the moral authority for all Americans. I say Mr. President, you are not our moral ayatollah. You don't have that right and you don't have that power. Oh, you can veto legislation, you can veto it...He vetoed it because he said it was immoral...tantamount to murder. No, I'm sorry but it is hyprocisy at the extreme for the President to take that position.

So I ask, if using discarded embryos to extract stem cells is murder, isn't it then immoral to allow federal research on existing lines of embryonic stem cells as the current administration's policy permits? Murder is murder, Mr. President.

And isn't it immoral to allow privately funded embryonic research to continue? Now again, in this country, as we heard many times on the floor here in the last couple days of the debate, privately funded embryonic stem cell research goes on in the United States. But according to the President, this is murder. And if it's really murder...why isn't the President using his authority, his moral authority, to shut down all the in-vitro fertilization clinics in America? By his definition of murder, these clinics are institutions of mass murder.

Virtually everytime a couple goes to a fertility clinic, leftover embryos are created...if that's murder, how can the President permit it to continue? Where's his outrage at the IVF clinics in this country? Why isn't he up here proposing legislation to shut down in-vitro fertilization in this country? Make it a crime, a federal crime, to conduct in-vitro fertilization? In the President's narrow, moral universe, it seems to be just fine to destroy embryos, to throw them away, as the by-product of producing babies through IVF, but it's murder to use the embryos to conduct life saving research. Someone please explain the logic of that to me.

And why isn't the President prosecuting the many thousands of American men and women who use these IVF clinics? If their attempts to have children results in leftover embryos and these embryos eventually get discarded, aren't they complicit in murder? Under the President's narrow, moral logic, and I'd hate to call it logic, the President's narrow, moral view, any man or woman who allows their embryo to be discarded, something that happens everyday, is authorizing murder. Why is the President standing idly by? Why isn't he putting all these men and women in jail?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I Love The General..

The above endorsement is from the general's blog here.
If you see my earlier post about Angela Merkel being touched inappropriately and the picture below of Connecticut democratic senator Joe Liberman being kissed by preznit (NY Times article about Joe's troubles here), you will get the endorsement by Angela Merkel of the faux news channel's favorite democrat Joe Lieberman, who is currently in the primary fight of his life in CT against Ned Lamont. There is a pretty good chance that Ned Lamont will win the primary. I have sent a few $ the way of Lamont, most of my friends in CT will vote for Lamont. I am hoping to be able to go to CT and help out with the get out the vote effort around the primary election.
To those of you unaware of the background behind this, an excellent oped by Atrios in the LA times should fill you in here.

PS: If some of you haven't guessed it, the Merkel endorsement is satire at it's best.

Oh and no comment about the image below. All I have to say is that the trash container is (ahem) very strategically placed.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Oy! This Man Is Our President...

It's all over the web now, so I am just saying me too ;)

That is no photoshop. It actually happened. Angela Merkel the German leader go an unwelcome and surprise back rub. He is something ain't he? He just violated her personal space, and I am being charitable. The original link is in this post and Eli has a snarky take on it as usual. The original video is here.

I don't think he really cares anymore...

Bush at a press event: "Does it concern you that the Beirut airport has been bombed?" a reporter asked. "And do you see a risk of triggering a wider war?"

"I thought you were going to ask me about the pig," Bush replied blithely.

All he can think about is the pig, with the mideast in crises?

Someone tell me the point of the picture below? Other than the woman on the left, what else can you tell about the other three?

Monday, July 17, 2006

March of Folly

That's the title of Paul Krugman's op-ed in the NY Times from Monday the 17th of July (subscription only). It’s all the quotes made by people in the past with regard to Iraq.

Personally, given how we have messed up the country, I would want us to stay in Iraq till we stabilize things a bit. But that won’t happen under this administration, and they have to go. This president ought to be impeached.

“The greatest thing to come out of [invading Iraq] for the world economy ... would be $20 a barrel for oil.” Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corporation (which owns Fox News)
February 2003

“Oil Touches Record $78 on Mideast Conflict.”
Headline on, July 14, 2006

“The administration’s top budget official estimated today that the cost of a war with Iraq could be in the range of $50 billion to $60 billion,” saying that “earlier estimates of $100 billion to $200 billion in Iraq war costs by Lawrence B. Lindsey, Mr. Bush’s former chief economic adviser, were too high.” The New York Times, Dec. 31, 2002

“According to C.B.O.’s estimates, from the time U.S. forces invaded Iraq in March 2003, $290 billion has been allocated for activities in Iraq. ... Additional costs over the 2007-2016 period would total an estimated $202 billion under the first [optimistic] scenario, and $406 billion under the second one.” Congressional Budget Office, July 13, 2006

“Peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than historical experience in the Balkans suggests. There’s been none of the record in Iraq of ethnic militias fighting one another that produced so much bloodshed and permanent scars in Bosnia.” Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense and now president of the World Bank, Feb. 27, 2003

“West Baghdad is no stranger to bombings and killings, but in the past few days all restraint has vanished in an orgy of ‘ethnic cleansing.’ Shia gunmen are seeking to drive out the once-dominant Sunni minority and the Sunnis are forming neighborhood posses to retaliate. Mosques are being attacked. Scores of innocent civilians have been killed, their bodies left lying in the streets.” The Times of London, July 14, 2006

“Earlier this week, I traveled to Baghdad to visit the capital of a free and democratic Iraq.” President Bush, June 17, 2006

“People are doing the same as [in] Saddam’s time and worse. ... These were the precise reasons that we fought Saddam and now we are seeing the same things.” Ayad Allawi, Mr. Bush’s choice as Iraq’s first post-Saddam prime minister, November 2005

“Iraq’s new government has another able leader in Speaker Mashhadani. ... He rejects the use of violence for political ends. And by agreeing to serve in a prominent role in this new unity government, he’s demonstrating leadership and courage.” President Bush, May 22, 2006
“Some people say ‘we saw you beheading, kidnappings and killing. In the end we even started kidnapping women who are our honor.’ These acts are not the work of Iraqis. I am sure that he who does this is a Jew and the son of a Jew.” Mahmoud Mashhadani, speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, July 13, 2006

“My fellow citizens, not only can we win the war in Iraq, we are winning the war in Iraq.” President Bush, Dec. 18, 2005

“I think I would answer that by telling you I don’t think we’re losing.” Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, when asked whether we’re winning in Iraq, July 14, 2006

“Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits for the region. ...Extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of jihad. Moderates throughout the region would take heart, and our ability to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be enhanced.” Vice President Dick Cheney, Aug. 26, 2002

“Bush — The world is coming unglued before his eyes. His naïve dreams are a Wilsonian disaster.” Newsweek Conventional Wisdom Watch, July 24, 2006 edition

Boy was it hot and humid today. Almost hit 95 here!

A can of coke never looked this good...

Stay The Course Ahhh Sayyy Dammit Cuz I am the Decider.

Reporter: What do you say to the critics who believe that you are ignoring the advice of retired generals and military commanders who say there needs to be a change?
Bush: I say I listen to all voices but mine’s the final decision and Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job. He’s not only transforming the military, he’s fighting a war on terror - He’s helping us fight a war on terror. I have strong confidence in Don Rumsfeld. I hear the voices and I read the front page and I know the speculation but I’m the decider and I decide what is best and what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of defense.

He hears voices.. heh!

By way of Watertiger and the folks who created it .

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Have A Good Weekend

It's supposed to get warm and humid here starting tomorrow. Which means things like a nice ice cream are very desirable. How far would you go to satisfy that craving? As far the one below?

Icecream fix

Now that has to hurt!

Talk about dropping a load!

Sparse posting over the weekend.
The Glorious Conservative Revolution -
is led by this guy. Pic from watertiger..

Possible captions...

Immma gonna go bowling..heheheh

Mah Shooes look cool or what?

Ah can dance better than that Koizumi fella!

Found this on JG's site and saw the interview on MSNBC.
In these days of the Conservative Revolution where there is very little questioning of dear leader or his great revolution in the media, although there are occassional reminders of the times we live in. Sometimes it's worth listening to what some who have lived thru the Nixonian years have to say. One such person is John Dean who used to be White House counsel to President Nixon. He was on MSNBC last night. I saw this interview and here are some excerpts from JG.

In last night’s appearance on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, former White House counsel to President Nixon, John Dean, discussed his recently released book, Conservatives Without Conscience, where he says he came across a little known fifty-year academic study that chronicled the characteristics of the authoritarian personality.

KEITH OLBERMANN: What did you find? — In less than the 200 pages that the book goes into.
JOHN DEAN: I ran into a massive study that has really been going on 50 years now by academics. They’ve never really shared this with the general public. It’s a remarkable analysis of the authoritarian personality. Both those who are inclined to follow leaders and those who jump in front and want to be the leaders. It was not the opinion of social scientists. It was information they drew by questioning large numbers of people — hundreds of thousands of people — in anonymous testing where [the subjects] conceded their innermost feelings and reactions to things. And it came out that most of these people were pre-qualified to be conservatives and this, did indeed, fit with the authoritarian personality.
OLBERMANN: Did the studies indicate that this really has anything to do with the political point of view? Would it be easier to impose authoritarianism over the right than it would the left? Is it theoretically possible that it could have gone in either direction and it’s just a question of people who like to follow other people?
DEAN: They have found, really, maybe a small, 1%, of the left who will follow authoritarianism. Probably the far left. As far as widespread testing, it’s just overwhelmingly conservative orientation.
OLBERMANN: And the idea of leaders and followers going down this path or perhaps taking a country down this path requires — this whole edifice requires an enemy. Communism, al Qaeda, Democrats, me… whoever for the two-minutes hate. I overuse the Orwellian analogies to nauseating proportions. But it really was, in reading what you wrote about, especially what the academics talked about. There was that two-minutes hate. There has to be an opponent, an enemy, to coalesce around or the whole thing falls apart. Is that the gist of it?
DEAN: It is one of the things, believe it or not, that still holds conservatism together. There is many factions in conservatism and their dislike or hatred of those they betray as liberal, who will basically be anybody who disagrees with them, is one of the cohesive factors. There are a few others but that’s certainly one of the basics. There’s no question that, particularly the followers, they’re very aggressive in their effort to pursue and help their authority figure out or authority beliefs out. They will do what ever needs to be done in many regards. They will blindly follow. They stay loyal too long and this is the frightening part of it.

OLBERMANN: This all seems to require, not merely, venality or immorality but a kind of amorality where morals don’t enter into it at all. “We’re right. So anything we do to preserve our process, our power — even if it by itself is wrong — it’s right in the greater sense.” It’s that wonderful rationalization that everybody uses in small doses throughout their lives. But, is this idea, this sort of psychological sort of review of the whole thing, does it apply to Dick Cheney? Does it apply to George Bush? Does it apply to Bill Frist? Who are the names on these authoritarian figures?
DEAN: You just named three that I discuss at some length in the book. I focused in the book, not on the Bush Administration and Cheney and The President because they had really been there done that, but what I wanted to understand is what they have done is made it legitimate to have authoritarianism. It was already operating on Capitol Hill after the ‘94 control by the Republicans in Congress. It recreated the mood. It restructured Congress itself in a very authoritarian style, in the House in particular. The Senate hasn’t gone there yet but it’s going there because more House members are moving over. This atmosphere is what Bush and Cheney walked into. They are authoritarian personalities. Cheney much more so than Bush. They have made it legitimate and they have taken way past where anybody’s ever taken it in the United States.
OLBERMANN: Our society’s best defense against that is what? Do we have to hope, as you suggested, the people that follow, wise up and break away from this sort of lockstep salute to, “of course, they’re right, of course there are WMDs, of course there are terrorists, of course there is al Qaeda, of course everything is the way the president says it.” Or do we rely on the hope that these are fanatics and fanatics always screw up because they would rather believe in their own cause than double-check their own math.
DEAN: The lead researcher in this field told me, he said, “I look at the numbers of the United States and I see about 23% of the population who are pure right-wing authoritarian followers.” They’re not going to change. They’re going to march over the cliff. The best thing to deal with them — and they’re growing, and they have a tremendous influence on Republican politics — The best defense is understanding them, to realize what they are doing, how they’re doing it and how they operate. Then it can be kept in perspective and they can be seen for what they are.
Hmm.. we do know someone who fits that bill here who does not like liberals like me don't we? ;-)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Some Funny Pics
Where did the Peanut butter go?


He Is Always Right And the Rest Of Us Are Liars And Wrong And Should Know Nothing Better Than Worshipping Him...

I read this at Delaware liberal and it's from think progress. The transcript below-

LEAHY: The president has said very specifically, and he’s said it to our European allies, he’s waiting for the Supreme Court decision to tell him whether or not he was supposed to close Guantanamo or not. After, he said it upheld his position on Guantanamo, and in fact it said neither. Where did he get that impression? The President’s not a lawyer, you are, the Justice Department advised him. Did you give him such a cockamamie idea or what?

BRADBURY: Well, I try not to give anybody cockamamie ideas.

LEAHY: Well, where’d he get the idea?

BRADBURY: The Hamdan decision, senator, does implicitly recognize we’re in a war, that the President’s war powers were triggered by the attacks on the country, and that law of war paradigm applies. That’s what the whole case —

LEAHY: I don’t think the President was talking about the nuances of the law of war paradigm, he was saying this was going to tell him that he could keep Guantanamo open or not, after it said he could.

BRADBURY: Well, it’s not —

LEAHY: Was the President right or was he wrong?

BRABURY: It’s under the law of war –

LEAHY: Was the President right or was he wrong?

The money quote -
BRADBURY: The President is always right.

As one of the commentators on think progress pointed out..
The President is always right.

He was right about Iraq’s alleged cache of WMDs?
He was right about Iraq’s alleged ties with Al Qaeda?
He was right about Iraq’s alleged attempts at purchasing uranium from Niger?
He was right about being greeted as liberators in Iraq…flowers and all?
He was right about nominating Harriet Miers as a viable SC justice?
He was right about appointing Brownie to head FEMA?
I am sure there are others.

The President is always right.

Friggin Sycophant!

To accept the "The President is always right" line above, I will have to give up the ability to think critically and being able to admit to making a mistake.
But some people prefer it that way.. you can spot them easily, ignorant of facts and kool-aid dependent they are the 2o something percent die-hard supporters of this administration. They are beyond salvage.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

7 In 11 Minutes on 7/11 And Some Quick Takes

I wasn't sure what I was going to call this post and then saw the bit of news that said the dastardly bomb attacks on Bombay's (Mumbai) commuter trains happened in 11 minutes. There were 7 blasts on 7/11 and the number has an eerie similarity with previous attacks in New York and Madrid. I don't believe much in that stuff. It's often the nature of the target and the convenience that dictates this. Public transit sytems are just more vulnerable. If you are familiar with the ones in Mumbai they are just sitting ducks. The sheer volume of people travelling on them make them hard to police. A train that is made for a thousand people routinely carry 3-4 thousand packed like sardines. How does anyone police that?

I read the news with a mix of anger, outrage , sorrow and a feeling of immense sadness. That is the city I was born and raised in, and the commuter trains are pretty much it's lifeblood transporting millions of people per day. I tried calling, as my sister takes the train too, although she takes a different line (not the western line where the attacks happened) and I got thru after a few attempts. She is fine although a lot of people are not. In a flash lives have been lost and altered for ever.

No one has claimed credit yet for these cowardly attacks but they could be any of the Kashmiri separatists or the some of the people from Mumbai's underworld aligned with Al Qaeda. I saw this on MSNBC, I had no clue there was a link there. Regardless I hope this does not devolve in to an orgy of killing of one community by another. I am just sick and tired of how religion is used to manipulate people by certain folks. Why can't people just get along? I hope they get whoever did this.

The problem is also a bit different in India. It has about 150 million Muslims and these vary from the mystical sufi types to non-believers and the nuts. Based on where you go they may be well integrated or live in their own neighborhoods. It's really hard to find and get the real nuts in a situation like this. I have been away from India for a while, may be some of my readers might be able to tell me if the brand of Islam in India is different? I always thought it had a different Indian flavour to it, in that it was not that militant, misogynistic type that you see in some other countries. I wonder if that is still the case and also being a minority in a nation like that comes in to play as well.

Some more thoughts, cos a lot is still happening in the world.

- As you probably know our dear leader under whose leadership (sic) we the proles have been saddled with tonnes of debt thanks to irresponsible fiscal policies like tax cuts at a time of war ( we are at war as the republicans love to shout), a war based on lies that has almost cost us 300 billion and counting. He finally might lose his "veto virginity". The leader of the party of fiscal (cons)ervatives might finally veto a bill. You think it might be one of those stop this crazy spending types, but no! He is going to veto a bill calling for expanding federal funding of stem cell research. Gotta keep the Christian fundies happy right?
Jack Cafferty on CNN read some e-mail responses that were just deliciously snarky, my favorite was the viewer who said "Maybe he plans to veto cos the stem cells are of the same sex!"

And if you are one of those contrarians who wants to be different for the sake of being different and if you ar true to type than you will defend this. Cos being a contrarian means defending dear leader and facts are just meant to be ignored.

- Apparently global warming might destroy the Calfornia wine industry by the end of the century. According to a report on CNN, the warm temperatures will play havoc with the warm days/cool nights that are so important for the grapes.
Well if you are a contrarian and don't believe in global warming then this is just a liberal controversy to get us to drive smaller cars and use less gas right? ;-)

- Apparently we are spending 25 million a month in Afghanistan trying to cut down/eradicate poppy cultivation. But guess what that ain't working cos poppy cultivation has gone up 27% in the past few years. Alterrnative crops like rice aren't profitable enough and Afghanistan does not really have any industry as such. Clearly this was a country we could rebuilt before going off to Iraq. This was on one of the evening news, not sure which one.
But if you are a contrarian you would say we could do it all, especially if you just followed dear leader facts not withstanding.

There are other things too but they will wait for another day. I just look at the mess in Iraq (yes the number of people killed are the in the month since we got Zarquawi and shrub visited Baghdad and Iraq got that government), Afhanistan, Darfur, Somalia and North Korea. Cowboy diplomacy isn't working and it's the reverse midas touch.

I know some of you don't go back and read previous posts but there is some fun going on here in the comments.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Spoil Those Kids!!!!

Courtesy of Amused and Bemused, here are a few ways to spoil your kids. The complete list is at the link. I put up a few here, there are several mroe at the link..enjoy!

Talking Toilet Paper Holder

"The Potty Mate Talking Toilet Roll Holder is a new potty training system that makes potty training easy...Kit includes a patented re-recordable toilet paper holders, potty training guide and toilet training reward stickers." See it here.

We spend enough time hovering over the kids. If they are potty trained enough for you not to be there talking them through the process, why the heck do they need to hear your voice there with them. I go to the bathroom to have some peace and quiet. Why can't you let the kids have some free time too? No one needs to hear your yapper cooing "Good Boy" all day long.

Faux Fur Bedding for the Bed-Wetting Baby

The merchant says "This is the most fabulous line of faux fur bedding.... It is made with Italian faux fur and it is pure luxury. Spoil your child .... Available in a variety of faux fur choices with satin or fleece backing combinations. Dry clean only. "

So how does it make sense to have toddlers who are barely able to hold their pee all through the night sleep in fur lined bedding that can only be dry cleaned? It makes no sense to me.

Baby Knee Pads

The merchant explains "Knee pads prevent baby's knees from becoming cut, grazed or red & sore... Knee pads are secured with velcro straps for a comfortable fit and a happy baby!... Traction beads embossed on to the Neoprene enhanced traction and prevented slipping... Knee pads protect a baby from early crawling right up until he is riding his first bike." See it here.

What is your baby crawling through that it needs knee pads, broken glass and hot charcoal? Knees were created so that we can scrape them, bruise them and abuse them. If you cushion every single source of possible pain for your baby, the baby will grow up unable to deal with the daily pain life always finds a way of dishing out. I never heard of a baby crying because its knees were sore, so save your money for a good helmet and knee pads for when the kid is moving more than at crawl speed.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Tis the season for peaches
But before we move on to that...
The end of cowboy diplomacy.. The time mag summary is here

Are they implying that it is dear leader under that hat.. ;-)
From the piece

A grinding and unpopular war in Iraq, a growing insurgency in Afghanistan, an impasse over Iran's nuclear ambitions, brewing war between Israel and the Palestinians -- the litany of global crises would test the fortitude of any president, let alone a second-termer with an approval rating mired in Warren Harding territory.

And there's no relief in sight.

The world out there is not the wild wild west and the president is no cowboy, he has just bumbled and stumbled his way thru it all with his reverse midas touch.

And as you might have heard more than 40 Sunnis were killed in cold blood in Baghdad. Last throes anybody? These links (1, 2) tell you why it continues to be or get worse. It's not like these were quick drive by shootings.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Gunmen roaming a Baghdad neighborhood on Sunday killed at least 40 unarmed Iraqis as soon as they identified them as Sunnis, emergency police said. ....... Gunmen -- mostly "young reckless teenagers" -- started to pick up Sunni youth and execute them in public, while others went door-to-door looking for Sunni families who stayed behind, Makki said. After warning one Iraqi woman she had 10 seconds to leave, the gunmen killed her and her children, Makki said.

So where were the police, this lasted over 8 hours and no police showed up?

The violence continued for eight hours, Makki said, blaming the Ministries of Interior and Defense for not responding, and saying U.S. forces responded too late to stop most of the killings.

This is a civil war call it ultra low grade or low grade or whatever.
I am just disgusted!!!

Remember my post about Biden making that remark about Indian Americans? Apparently they did not play his entire comments, but only played parts of it. Here are the complete comments, from delaware liberal who links to a dairy on daily kos. I am not a huge fan of Biden but wonder if someone wanted to deliberately portray him in a bad light?

Oh the peaches, finally something that might interest vegetarians as well.
Baked/stuffed peaches

- 1/2 cup of ground almonds
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 2 tbsps of Amaretto liquer
- 2 pods of cardamom, contents of the pods ground (maybe some cinnamon might be good too?)
- 2 tbsps of butter (melted)
Cut ripe juicy peaches into halves (3-6 peaches, we had 3. I think we had enough for about 6 peaches).
Remove the pit, carve out the peach some more.
Mix all the ingredients and stuff the peach halves.
Put them in a baking dish and in an oven at 375 for 45 mins or till peaches are well done (soft and easy to cut).
Serve with a dollop of fresh cream or icecream of your choice or eat as is.
This is *A*'s recipe that she came up with on the fly, it really is pretty amazing.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Tired Friday Post

Been that kind of week. Too tired to complete the 2 half written posts so decided to end the week on a funny note. On second thoughts, come up with your own captions, mine are kind of sad. Should be fun! :)

My nod to the world cup..silence please!

Run Lolas Run.. Ya sorry caption I know (see reason above)

Oh No Poor Baby..

Thursday, July 06, 2006

After I read this story this image you see below was my reaction--

The animation is from the amazing watertiger.
Two things made me do that, here is one -

The picture you see is for real, and is from a NY Times article. I saw it in a dairy on Daily Kos here. From the times article..

July 5, 2006
Memphis Journal
Lady Liberty Trades In Some Trappings
MEMPHIS, July 4 -- On Independence Day, Lady Liberty was born again.
As the congregation of the World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church looked on and its pastor, Apostle Alton R. Williams, presided, a brown shroud much like a burqa was pulled away to reveal a giant statue of the Lady, but with the Ten Commandments under one arm and "Jehovah" inscribed on her crown.
And in place of a torch, she held aloft a large gold cross, as if to ward off the pawnshops, the car dealerships and the discount furniture outlets at the busy corner of Kirby Parkway and Winchester that is her home. A single tear graced her cheek.
It was not clear if she was crying because of her new home, her new identity as a symbol of religion or, as the pastor said, America's increasing godlessness.

From the dairy

“All I keep thinking of is this quote by Sinclair Lewis: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.””

Based on what I have been observing for the past few years, we surely seem to want to go that way, well at least some do.

He further writes

I had an interesting conversation as I shared the story with my mother: is the image of the Statue of Liberty copyrighted? Is this kind of re-imagining of a national landmark allowed without permission of the copyright holder? However much the image offends me (both as a Christian and as an American), I wonder if a tactic to get this kind of thing nipped in the bud would be that peskily invasive copyright law of ours. If it can be used to sue 12 year olds and grandmothers and to put rootkit DRM software on our computers without permission, can it be used to stop the usurping of our national symbols by the American Taliban?
Or maybe that's just what they want. A court case that makes them take this monstrosity down. More "proof" of the "vast liberal conspiracy of godlessness". Sigh.

He then goes on to see if this is copyrighted and voila!

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted Pastor Alton R. Williams of Memphis, Tennessee all patent and trademark rights to the name and image of the Statue of Liberation Through and/or In Christ, also known as the Christian Statue of Liberty and the Lord’s Lady Liberty; described herein as the Statue of Liberty with an uplifted cross in one hand and the Ten Commandments or Bible in the other hand, or any like configuration thereof.

From the pastors website

11. To redefine the Statue of Liberty to include spiritual liberty that precedes complete liberation.
12. To promote, protect, and/or restore the Ten Commandments (or laws of God) back into public consciousness and display.
13. To promote religious freedom in America.
14. To promote godly values and restore America’s Biblical Judeo-Christian foundation.
15. To reconnect patriotism to Christianity.
16. A prophetic symbol that declares God’s desire to reach the lost, the poor, the brokenhearted, the sick, the oppressed, and the captive, just as The Statue of Liberty welcomed the tired, huddled masses and homeless.
17. To denounce the worship of idols and all other gods.

I found 13 priceless. I think they mean only their religious freedom don’t they? Cos look at number 17.

By 15 he means you cannot be patriotic unless you are Christian?

16. I think if god wanted some symbols he would send them to us directly don’t you think?

Granted this a church deep in the bible belt, but this mixing of the state with church is part of a movement within some parts of the religious right to make the bible a basis of government in this nation. Granted these movements are still small but they often get a disproportionate representation in the media and some Christian conservatives complain about the persecution of Christians and their religion in this country. That is laughable, this nation is overwhelmingly Christian and what these folks mean by persecution is simply that their religion doesn’t form a basis of governance and primacy in the government of this country and that is why they feel persecuted.

In this regard these folks have a lot in common with religious fundamentalists of all kinds who preach intolerance under the guise of religion. This is a comparison they will find less than flattering.

As a bumper sticker I once saw says something like “Lord save me from your followers”

The second bang my head on the desk moment -
Our senator Joe Biden..

A Biden Moment, as it were.

In thanking a young Indian-American man for the support of his Indian-American group, Sen. Biden touts how Indians are the fastest growing immigrant group in Delaware and says, "You CANNOT go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts without an Indian accent."

I am not a huge fan of Joe. He is a smart guy and then he has moments like these which make me cringe. And he says he was not joking. I mean if he had to say something complimentary about Indian Americans there are several ways of doing that. That was not one. Oy !!!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Some Old Fashioned Hate And Bigotry In Our Own Backyard
(Update below)

I read about this story below and was shocked, dismayed and saddened by it.

A large Delaware school district promoted Christianity so aggressively that a Jewish family felt it necessary to move to Wilmington, two hours away, because they feared retaliation for filing a lawsuit. The religion (if any) of a second family in the lawsuit is not known, because they're suing as Jane and John Doe; they also fear retaliation. Both families are asking relief from "state-sponsored religion."

  • The district's "custom and practice of school-sponsored prayer" frequently imposed ... on impressionable non-Christian students," violating their constitutional rights.
  • The district ignored the Supreme Court's 1992 Lee decision limiting prayer at graduation ceremonies -- even after a district employee complained about the prayer at her child's 2003 graduation..
  • District teachers and staff led Bible clubs at several schools. Club members got to go to the head of the lunch line.
  • While Bible clubs were widely available, student book clubs were rare and often canceled by the district.
  • When Jane Doe complained that her non-Christian son "Jordan Doe" was left alone when his classmates when to Bible club meetings, district staff insisted that Jordan should attend the club regardless of his religion.
  • The district schools attended by Jordan and his sister "Jamie Doe" distributed Bibles to students in 2003, giving them time off from class to pick up the books.
  • Prayer --often sectarian -- is a routine part of district sports programs and social events
  • One of the district's middle schools gave students the choice of attending a special Bible Club if they did not want to attend the lesson on evolution.
  • A middle school teacher told students there was only "one true religion" and gave them pamphlets for his surfing ministry.
  • Samantha Dobrich's honors English teacher frequently discussed Christianity, but no other religion.
This quote particularly got my attention “The complaint recounts a raucous crowd that applauded the board's opening prayer and then, when sixth-grader Alexander Dobrich stood up to read a statement, yelled at him "take your yarmulke off!" His statement, read by Samantha, confided "I feel bad when kids in my class call me Jew boy."

What the heck is so brave about being a part of a mob that asked a Jewish kid to remove his yarmulke and then laugh about it. Is this something the good lord Jesus would do and approve of?

As a person of color and a non-Christian the issue of how one is perceived is probably always there at the back of ones mind. I like to believe that I would be treated fairly and generally do believe in the more humane side of people regardless of their political and religious persuasions unless I find out otherwise.

When we moved to the first state more than a year ago from Connecticut, we were sure that we would be able to adapt and fit in with ease. That to date has surely been the case. But I also recall comments made by couple of folks from CT who had lived in Delaware who suggested to be careful about living in Southern Delaware. It might feel like parts of the deep south we were told. While the fact that we live in the Northern more progressive/tolerant part of the state might make me feel a little better, I am ashamed to say the least about this story.

I also have to applaud the progressive blogosphere, particularly the always funny and amazing J.C. Christian, Trout Fishing , Daily kos , delaware liberal and Atrios for shining a spotlight on this issue. I also liked the suggestion that the progressive side of the blogosphere should take action and ask the 200 or so blogs that are aligned with the “Stop theACLU coalition” and ask them what they think is very Christian about going after a Jewish family and running them out of town under fear of violence.

There is also a larger issue here, that of some people thinking that the religious conservatives on the right are merely concerned about abortion. The Christian rightwing is not just interested in taking away the right to choose from women, they also want a nation based on biblical laws. Oh and to hell with those of us who are not one of them. We get to be left behind.

And in another sad incident some moron tossed a pigs head into a mosque in Maine. The guy who did it says he did it as a joke!!!

If one looks back in history there are number or examples around the world of those who have courted religious nutcases have often lived to regret it. They tried to use them for their purpose but instead ended up creating Frankensteinesque monsters that were no longer under their control. I just pray that we pull ourselves back from this precipice, but it won't happen until ordinary folks take a stance against this intolerance.

Update I- As suggested by delaware liberal I called his office to find out where he stands on this whole unholy mess. The woman at the desk (Rachel) told me she does not know if Rep. Castle has made a public statement on this issue. She took my telephone number down and said she would get back to me about this.
I am also planning on writing to our local newspapapers about this issue. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

An Incovenient Truth..

That won't be the only thing to scare them. Iraq is not a success, the violence continues and the installation of a new government clearly has not helped (it really was not going to help, this incompetent bunch just does not and will not try to understand what they were getting in to). Afghanistan continues to be a problem and the Taliban continue to fight. The idiot Kim in North Korea wants attention which Iran has been getting much to his chagrin. Not to forget domestic issues like the deficit and the growing income inequality, rising health care costs and many more issues that concern us ordinary folks. And it's been the GOP in power trying to make this country in their selfish, retarded vision. By the time they are done, we may not recognize the country we live in.

On to better things..

Asian Dumplings
We made this holiday weekend while our friend Dan was here.

For the filling -
1 lb ground pork (beef would work too)
1 pkt of glass noodles
3 - 4 leaves of a napa cabbage
sesame oil
Fresh ground pepper to taste

The Skin-
Dumpling wrappers. Make sure you don't get the ones that are meant to be deep fried.

Dipping Sauce –
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 inch piece of ginger, grated
A couple of shoots of spring onion

Mix the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Squeeze the grated ginger to extract the juice in to the sauce. One can even add a few pieces of finely grated ginger in the sauce. Add a few chopped pieces from the tender shoots of the spring onion.

Hot Chilli Sauce –
This is basically Thai red chillies soaked in peanut oil. It usually takes a couple of weeks for the heat from the peppers to seep in to the oil. This is excellent when drizzled on the dumplings. One can even mix the hot oil with some soy to make a slightly different type of a sauce.

Cook the glass noodles in some hot water. Blanch the napa cabbage leaves. After blanching, cut off the pieces of the cabbage that are not tender.
Add to the ground pork, along with 1-2 tablespoons of sesame oil.
Fresh ground pepper to taste.
2-4 tablespoons of soy sauce.
Mix all the ingredients. I usually taste some of this mix to make sure everything is fine.

Now the fun part begins. For us the filling of each dumpling wrapper with the right amount of mix and then folding it to make it look like the dumplings in a restaurant is really fun. It always brings to mind the Sundays in the fall and winter spent filling dumplings watching football with *A* and a few friends.
Anyway the process of filling each dumpling is simple. We take the round wrapper in the palm of the hand and put the mix in the center. Then we wet a finger with some water and run it along the border of the entire dumpling and fold it as we seal it. The mositure helps seal the dumpling and they will not break during cooking. It is best to place the filled dumpling on a tray liberally sprinkled with rice flour, to prevent them from sticking to the surface or to each other.

Once done, all the dumplings are sautéed in a pan with some oil. We also put in about half a cup of water and cover the pan.
Serve with the dipping sauce and/or drizzled with hot chilli sauce.
One can freeze the dumplings in a container (rice flour sprinkled) if you don’t want to make all of them at one time. A pound of meat will usually give you about 50-55 dumplings.
We have made these at least 12-15 times and they always taste good. Thanks for this great recipe are due to our friend “M” and her mom. I remember “M” having us at her place in New Haven, and watching with fascination as she made the dumplings. Obviously we have been hooked.