Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Who are these people?


Three Cents Worth-- Fake Scandals
The trend of "negative advertising" nowadays is not just to create doubt about a candidate, but to manufacture scandals where none exist. This is dangerous to democracy, but it is a very unhappy consequence of the current political scene.

Democracy will surely fail when the already-short attention span of voters is diverted to sleazy and titillating manufactured garbage about Playboy parties or pornographers' campaign money or the pictures of sexual "predators." This warning is not just fancy talk. Brainwashing and manipulation are some consequences of these tactics. And that's not democracy.

And another result is the election of liars.

Now the news channels are warning us that it will get worse in the next week. Let's hope voters --- like you and me --- rebel against it.
(Bud Woods)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Post Number 3- I'm on a Roll

I wish, I wish, I wish I had more time in a day to read and write, laugh, and get angry, joke, be philosophical, and just be a smart person in respect to keeping up with this blog. I love it. It makes me happy reading it---- and it is quite the escape from all the stupid crazy stuff I deal with at work. But I just can't get here most of the time.
What is it about starting a school year that exhausts teachers? People have been doing this for ages!--- And yet, there is no way to allieviate the stress and expectations that goes into the daily activities of a teacher.
A new child started my class today. This is his 4th school in 1 1/2 years. He has Asperger's Syndrome and severe reading and writing disabilities. So they brought him to Honey Creek because we have a good success rate for working with kids with his type of learning needs. I really like him. I can't stop thinking about all the things he needs... and I'm so tired. He'll be on my mind when I go to bed tonight- and he'll be there too when I wake up. It's how teachers think--- it's haunting sometimes.
Isn't it a good thing that we have the summers off?

Walberg vs. Renier -- an update

Sharon Renier continues her unlikely campaign to defeat the God 'n' guns candidate running for Congress down in these parts. Renier, a smalltime organic farmer, is campaigning her heart out, but I fear she may not be served by a very good campaign apparatus. I submitted all my info via her campaign Web site a week ago, saying I'd give money, food, blood, etc. I'll knock on doors, put signs in my yard... whatever. Haven't heard a word back from them. Hey Reiner people -- CHECK YOUR E-MAIL!!

Anyhow, some updates in the race:

The Ann Arbor News reports [1] that Walberg's volunteer coordinator, Daniel Coons (didn't make that up) awaits sentencing on a domestic violence charge for striking a 9-year-old foster child in his care. I don't know if that means a spanking or a slap on the face or what that might be. But he got himself convicted. And I wouldn't think this would be an issue for the Walberg campaign if they had simply let the guy go upon conviction -- but they didn't, and Renier has taken them to task for letting the guy hang around. Coons resigned the same day his conviction was made public.

Walberg's problem here mirrors Hastert's problem in the Foley scandal. Walberg seemed to tolerate his associate's crime for political expediency. While there was no sex involved in this case, a child was physically harmed. If he'd canned the guy on the day of the conviction, it would be a non-issue.

Here's a key quote from the article:

"She'd have a real chance if they could get some money coming in," said Republican strategist John Truscott, who acted as Schwarz's campaign spokesman.

Meanwhile, the Jackson Citizen-Patroit reports [2] that the Republican Party is shoring up the Walberg campaign with an infusion of money. Thus far, they've given him $5,000 -- he's the only Republican in the state to get money from the national party.

So, money's clearly the issue. I suggest that those of you who care about a Democratic Congress make an effot to give money -- something, ANYTHING -- to Renier. She has a shot, she has a case. But she has to have a little coin to make it happen.

[1] Ann Arbor News: Walberg slammed over staffer's crime

[2] Jackson Cit-Pat: GOP gives last-minute cash to Walberg

[3] Sharon Renier For Congress

Monday night chuckle

Down in Indiana, GOP Rep. John Hostettler is running a bizarre nativist campaign. He's losing -- badly -- to the Dem. Challenger, and apparently desperate. His wing-nutty campaign commercial is posted at TPM for your pleasure.

Remember, these people reproduce, too.

Link: See the ad

Jesus on a Jeep?

This is not the sort of sticker I would put on my car, but
if some people can claim that God is for Bush
(and millions do)
then why can't others assert that He is not?
If you want to have this bumper sticker, you can get it here.

(We aren't promoting it and won't make a cent, nor will anyone we know)

Some Good News

U.S. and EU agree to boost environment cooperation
Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:35am ET

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

HELSINKI (Reuters) - The United States and the European Union agreed tighter cooperation on renewable energy, "clean coal" and other environmental policies on Wednesday, despite splits over the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol on global warming. ***

They agreed to promote technologies to capture and bury greenhouse gases from coal, to boost energy efficiency and renewable fuels, to set common standards for biofuels, protect the diversity of species on Earth and help developing nations.

"You ought to just back off, take a look at it, relax, understand that it's complicated, it's difficult," (Rumsfeld to war critics 10/27/06)

"Ummm----duhhh---yup-yup. Tryin' to unnerstand. Hurts ma head! So hard to think. Do it fer me, will-ya Rums?" (Old Chip 10/27.06)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

get real

When you get all big-headed,
full of yourself,
puffed up with pride ---
Consider this guy and
be humbled.




This is Jack

This is the House that Jack bought

This is the man that lied
In the House
That Jack bought.

This is the Cash
That went to the Man
That lied in the House
That Jack Bought

This is the Tribe whose tills were robbed
To get the Cash
That went to the Man
That lied in the House
That Jack bought!

These are the new friends of Jack and Bob

(The New Mama Gooser)


a. Now that Fidel Castro has turned up irrefutably alive, do you suppose there's hope for Elvis Presley or Natalee Holloway?

b. The government is now investigating a link between Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and a company manufacturing American electronic voting machines. Does this mean that we're afraid the Venezuelans are going to fiddle with our elections like the Bush government did with theirs?

c. Mr. Bush says that critics have "no plans" for victory in Iraq. Just wondering if this means the Mission isn't Accomplished after all? Should we still be rubbing his cute little nose in this statement? (Reminds some of us in the Arboretum of the Nixon campaign riff: "Those who've had 5 years to end the War in Vietnam should not have any more time to try.")

d. F.B.I statistics indicate an increase in crime. Luckily, this has not been reflected in an increase in the "Missing Cute White Chick" phenomenon that was once so rampant in this country --- or at least on CNN. Have our cute chicks given up disappearing?

(Bud Woods)

NOTE: If you have a question mark, send it to us by e-mail. If we use it, we'll give you credit.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


CAST A VOTE for one of these or make your own nomination under "comments."

who set the Esperanza Fire in Calif.

Whose idea of ridicule is warped

for cutting up,
and cooking parts of, his girlfriend.

Ha-ha from the funny side of the spectrum

For those of you who thought the Neocons have no sense of humor, you are wrong. They have printed a devastatingly clever "Agenda" for the next Democratic Convention. Among other things, it features almost hourly toasts by Senator Kennedy and a pledge of Allegiance to the United NATIONS.

If you like the idea, go see the entire agenda for yourself: LINK TO AGENDA

We're thankful to Arboretum friend, Bill From WNNCO, for learning this.

Does this give any of you wags out there any ideas? I hope so. Use "comments" if it does.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Michigan's Prop. 06-1

On election day this coming November 7 (that's a Tuesday, y'all), in addition to the candidates, there are a couple propositions on the Michigan ballot. I didn't know much about them, so I did a little poking around to see what I could learn. This is the first installment in a short little series.

Proposition 06-1 would amend the state's Constitution to guarantee various DNR fees would supposedly only be used for their intended purpose, and not diverted to the state's general fund. The Chamber of Commerce supports the proposition, as do a variety of tourism-related businesses. I guess their logic is that if the money is guaranteed to be spend on Michigan's outdoor resources, it's good for their businesses directly or indirectly. The Saginaw News ran a completely unbalanced news article about the issue on Oct. 5 ("State chamber leader pushes Prop 06-1"). Paul Wyche must have been too busy to write a real article that day, because it doesn't appear he even looked for an opposing point of view.

I don't feel strongly about the Proposition, as I support the general thrust of it. But I do find the reasoning behind Flint Journal's opposition ("No on Prop 06-1") pretty solid. Their basic argument is, don't amend the state's Contitution over something like this. While I support the good intentions behind the proposition, I tend to agree that we don't need to go amending the Constitution with pet legislation, so I'll vote "No."

It's Proposition 06-2 that gets people really fired up, so I'll try to tackle that in the next couple days.

Your Friday Snark

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford writes some excellent, double-barreled columns. Today, he discusses the challenge to his agnosticism posed by the self-parking features of the 2007 Lexus LS. A hoot.

Mark Morford: Self-parking car made believer out of me

MORE ON THE KAHN-Job (i.e.prt.2)


One of the slogans Roger Kahn is using during his campaign for the state senate reads "It’s not about politics, it’s about people."

Yet, this same Roger Kahn’s campaign committee "Friends of Roger Kahn" and the Michigan Republican Party are running outrageous political ads besmirching the good name of his opponent, Carl Williams, by accusing Representative Williams of protecting pedophiles. This example of gutter politics indicates the apparent desperation of the Kahn campaign.

Even if Kahn were to win the senate seat in the November 7 election the moral bankruptcy of his campaign will eliminate any legitimacy he may have to bill himself as the voice of the people.

Shame on Roger Kahn and all those involved in producing these despicable ads.

(Bob Hanley)

Mid-Michigan "Kahn-Job"

In an earlier post, Scot commented on the Congressional race in his neck of the Arboretum. (See below, October 18).

In my area of the Woods, we have a heart surgeon who has a ton of money to spend, and he's running for the State Senate. Enjoying his embarrassment of riches, he can campaign on any subject he likes and access all the media to spread his message. What has he chosen?

His name is Roger Kahn, (pronounced "con") and he's obviously a moral cripple. One of his key campaign gimmicks is to accuse his opponent of supporting child molesters. I couldn't at this point say whether or not his opponent is fit to hold a Senate seat, but I do know this. Anyone would hope that a person well enough educated to be a surgeon would have higher standards than a gutter-bum. But, no.

As democracy approaches its coffin, we can be prideful that one of its nails has been applied by a heart doctor. We had a good Hart here once, Jerry Hart, who was a caring and decent State Senator. He must be rolling over in his grave. Kahn is not fit to hold the same office.

Gettin' A-lected to Lead the Dummies

Looking at the campaign commercials in this pre-election period, a reasonable person might reach these conclusions:
1. Most of the candidates generated by the American political system are morally unfit to lead anyone, especially the ones who appeal to "God."
2. The American people are now so dumb that they are about to get an even worse government than they've had so far. And, of course, they "deserve better."
3. The country is so incredibly affluent that it can afford to spend billions on this mind-mud.
4. We are not at war, we don't have any debt, we don't have an immigration problem, the educational system is trouble-free, there is no poverty or disease, there is no medical care crisis, there is not a crime problem, there is not a petroleum crisis, this country has escaped the global warming trend.
5. American democracy is very close to its end.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

...the war goes on ....

"... any worldview that was radically altered by the September 11th attacks must have been radically mistaken to begin with. But anyone whose understanding of the world was substantially correct would not have had his or her overall view of things shaken by those events." - Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post

So, when Our Leader says (and he does, repeatedly) that "...everything changed on 9/11..." perhaps he is speaking mainly for himself.

The other day, as I was sitting at a local watering hole with some friends, I managed to gather unto myself from the fog which is my head, a thought: that the topic of the war does not arise often amongst our citizens. They talk about a lot of things, including the election coming on, and mention the war as a voting prompt, but do not discuss what is happening in it.

I think we don't truly understand it. What's happening over there? What are the troops accomplishing? What are they trying to accomplish? Has any objective been met in the last two years?

And since we are not paying for it, but putting it on our children's credit cards, it doesn't affect our pockets.

And since no one gets drafted for it, we don't worry about how it will affect our families.

And there are no shortages of anything.

Maybe we don't talk about this war because most of us don't own it. Maybe it's not our war. Maybe it's just a war for certain cliques of people in our society, not for all of us.

Our friend, John recommends this article, and we agree: GEYER ARTICLE

Exploring Forests

For a FASCINATING look at where the forests and wildernesses of the world are, you can go to the website of this map. You can click on the map, and see it in much larger dimension.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Who is that standing behind Bruce?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Just Imagining

Imagine what it would be like to watch a major league game on U.S. television played as it was designed to be played. People in other countries get to watch their teams play the games as designed. Imagine major league baseball played as baseball was meant to be played.

Well, you still can get authenticity if you watch one of the few major league soccer games broadcast each season in this country.

Doubling down in Iran?

While the papers here chatter away about the Republican scandals and the mess that is Iraq, the Administration is moving its naval assets into the Persian Gulf. The USS Eisenhower carrier group is steaming into the area on the eve of the election. If you Google "Iran war plans" or "aircraft carrier Persian Gulf" you see an interesting array of alt-news sites, but you don't see mainstream American publications reporting this news.

Seymour Hersh has been reporting for about a year on Administration plans to take the war to Iran, as they feel that they're limited by confining their fight to Iraq.

If the Bush Administration perceives that the November election is lost, why would they not launch hostilities before the election in hopes of a swell of "patriotism"?? Rather than chastening these guys, the threat of a big election loss might embolden them.

So, is war with Iran the "October Surprise?" What do you think?

More reading: HNN: Moves toward War with Iran: Part 2

Another (borrowed) WOODCHIP of WISDOM


The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value. Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, October 23, 2006

Some species needing help

With the decline of northern ice, there is a great fear that some species will be decimated. A polar bear census is in the works
Canada is counting bears:

The U.S. and Russia have agreed on a polar bear census:


In the 1990's Canada banned commercial fishing for cod off its shores in the Great Banks and Georges Banks. Now, a similar suggestion is being made for the oceans off northern Europe.

Scientists urge ban on cod catch

A complete ban on North Sea cod fishing in 2007 is the main recommendation to European governments from their scientific advisors on fisheries.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (Ices) says stocks of cod, sandeel and anchovy remain below sustainable limits.

Ices has made the same recommendation on cod for the last four years, but ministers have gone against it.

ICES reports that stocks of cod are dropping to the level of non-sustainability.



Arboretum reported earlier that the count of spotted owls in the American northwest shows a continued decline, especially in Washington State. Now we find that the fate of Canada's spotted owls is even more grim:


August 25, 2006

One may be the loneliest number, but 17 is rapidly becoming one of the saddest. That's how many Northern Spotted Owls are left in Canada, and a recent decision by the federal environment minister all but guarantees that they will be the last of their kind in our country.

Logging has pushed the spotted owls into a few pockets of old-growth rainforest in southwestern British Columbia - and even these last vestiges of their homeland are on the chopping block. Earlier this year, environmental groups petitioned Rona Ambrose to intervene under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) and protect Canada's remaining owls. Last week, she declined.

Quoted without comment

"Clearly, the past two years represent one of the most successful congressional sessions that gun owners have ever had," the NRA said in a message to its four million members this month, in advance of midterm congressional elections on November 7. "All our hard work and vital victories must be protected."


Sunday, October 22, 2006



George H. Bush for blithely signing away other people's habeas corpus rights.

Steve Wynn for his self-induced "blue period"

If you do not like these choices, make one of your own. Make comments under the "comments" section just below.

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Us?

To quote Koestler: "The God That Failed!"

Over time, I've come to believe that Rumsfeld is full of fecal detritus. Then I saw this article. It's very comforting to know that it's divinely inspired shit. This divine inspiration must come from the Egyptian God, Seth (the God of Storms, Wind and Chaos.) How else can we explain Rummy's untidy results? These days, the whole damned elephant seems to be impacted. Whatever happened to the Republican Party?

Top US general says Rumsfeld is inspired by God
Thu Oct 19, 3:35 PM ET

The top US general defended the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying it is inspired by God.

"He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country," said Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Rumsfeld is "a man whose patriotism focus, energy, drive, is exceeded by no one else I know ... quite simply, he works harder than anybody else in our building," Pace said at a ceremony at the Southern Command (Southcom) in Miami.

Rumsfeld has faced a storm of criticism and calls for his resignation, largely over his handling of the Iraq war.

The Terrorists have won!

What is Failure?

When you give a contest and no one enters!
I mean, like you know, dude, not one person made the deadline.

So, there is no World Series contest left on

We'll use the $3.00 prize to buy
a hot dog
and then get in
our Chevy
and drive home and watch
Like Good Americans!


Concerning Bush's proclamation of Character Counts Week (see Scot's Posting for October 20, below): This is like having Dick Cheney proclaim Hunter Safety Week. Or Madonna proclaim National Modesty Month.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Mid-Michigan 'GRAYS"

Old Chip is not in a very good mood. The sun has not shined (shone?) here for longer than 15 minutes since last Sunday, and that only twice. Ducks and chicks and geese better scurry if they get in the way of this cranky guy. And, on top of that, no one has entered our World Series contest. OH, WOE! Now if either the Tigers or the Wolverines lose today, there may be a total loss of hope and cheer in this neighborhood.

Oh, ya, no sunshine is expected before Tuesday or Wednesday.




Yankee Dumpties sat on the wall
Yankee Dumpties had a ba-a-ad Fall.
All of the Tigers ate them for lunch.
Aren't they a sorry over-paid bunch?

Yankee Dumpties think they can't lose,
But Yankee egos got a big bruise.
Cash and conceit won't save you when
You're hated by horses, the king, and the men.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Jackpot= $3.00


You have to answer these questions: 1. Who will win? 2. In how many games?
TB: Who will be the last Detroit pitcher to win a game?

How did YOU spend National Character Counts Week?

Prepare for another irony so delicous that you couldn't possibly make it up (unless maybe your name is Garrison Keillor).

After personally declaring this "National Character Counts Week," George Bush signed a law suspending Habeus Corpus and legalizing torture methods by U.S. officials. Then he went on the campaign trail to support a Virginia Senator who is apparently an unreformed racist and a Califorina Congressman who settled a lawsuit by a former mistress who accused him of beating her and choking her during sex.

Read Dana Milbank's Washington Post column.

So, your week probably wasn't that ironic.


Noted without further comment:

The Guardian reports that the company that makes plastic pink flamingos is going out of business.

Good and Bad Ice News

The bad news is, the ice is definitely disappearing. The good news (and it's something to be hopeful about): the ice is not disappearing as fast as originally thought, according to A NASA study.

More information: (ARTICLE)

selling Ice to Inuits ...

Bush has sent Rice to China.
I let you draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


The American Lands Alliance worries that the Bush government is rushing to sign more deals with logging companies before any legal or political pressure arises to stop them. For a summary of Bush administration "logging deals" that the American Lands Alliance considers "An Assault on our Forests", CLICK HERE LIST OF DEALS

Home Page for the American Lands Alliance: LINK

A lot of hay was made recently about Al Gore's flying miles. It has been pointed out that he flew hither and yon promoting his movie, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. He flew many places in Europe and America just to receive awards for the movie. At the same time he flies about, he's pointing to the pollution caused by air travel.

Seems a bit hypocritical of Gore, doesn't it?

Brother Gore is not the only "green" mouthpiece being criticized. Here is another example, a punlit article, "A Green Snag They Emitted to Mention" in the London Times:

"THEY are the green jetsetters — environmental campaigners who are leading the fight to restrict aviation and cut greenhouse gas emissions, but who also clock up hundreds of thousands of miles flying around the world on business and pleasure.

"In the past year the directors and chief executives of groups such as WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Soil Association have crisscrossed the globe, visiting the Falklands, Japan, Africa and Brazil.

All are running high-profile campaigns to persuade people to change their lifestyles and cut emissions of carbon dioxide."


This raises an issue for the inmates of the Arboretum. Some of us will soon be flying to Italy (The usual reasons: Never been there, dream to see Rome, want to talk to the Pope about a few things) and some of us are flying to Paraguay (Family reasons, meet the relatives, etc.)

So, are we hypocrites as well?

We think a number of our friends will tell us off, particularly Jim over at OIL IS FOR SISSIES but we would appreciate comments. Is ir proper to stay home? Is it sufficient to say that the planes will be flying with us or without us?



Based on information provided by The Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute (SOURCE) the U.S Congress has passed a joint Resolution declaring Child Molestation to be an established Family Value:

'The Institute reported: "Of the 3,952 men who admitted to being child molesters, 68 percent reported that they had molested a child in their family. Nineteen percent had molested their biological child, 30 percent their stepchild, adopted child, or a foster child. Eighteen percent had molested their nieces or nephews, and 5 percent, their grandchildren."'

In a separate Joint Resolution, Congress has invited Mark Foley to resume his seat in the House of Representatives. A majority report from the Ethics Committee stated that in view of his long-time support for traditional family values, the investigation into Mr. Foley was now complete.
(Ya, this is just a late April fool joke .. relax!)
--Bud Woods

as he said

............I think the guy should be taken at his word.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chait: Rummyache

Good stuff:

To be a loyal conservative during the last half-dozen years, you had to convince yourself to accept a series of propositions that ran the gamut from somewhat implausible to completely absurd. As those propositions collapse, one by one, conservatives are reacting much the same way as communists did following the fall of the Berlin Wall. There are the frantic efforts to rescue conservative orthodoxy by defining the party's leaders as apostates who deviated from the true faith. And there are the dazed true believers coming to grips with certain realities--Katherine Harris is a not a paragon of wisdom and fair-mindedness, after all; the administration's fiscal policies may not be completely sound; President Bush is not quite the visionary war leader we made him out to be; and so on. Only by revisiting the conservative propaganda in light of history's verdict can we see how delusional the movement had become. And on perhaps no topic were conservatives quite as delusional as on the leadership genius of Donald Rumsfeld.

The only poll I've seen on Renier

And it doesn't look as bad as you'd think:

MI-07 - M.o.E. +/-4.0% - Conducted Oct. 6-7 by Glengariff Group, Inc.

Tim Walberg (R) - 43%
Sharon Renier (D) - 35%
Undecided - 22%

Source: My DD

The poll also shows that a majority of respondents would prefer to see the Congress in Democratic hands, and that the district has a very large independent streak, meaning that if the candidate gets vocal about centrist issues, she has a chance.

I think that Walberg's primary campaign was probably the most effective way you could think of to cement him as a right-wing candidate. He proudly ran on that platform in the primary. So the center is open for Renier, if she's serious about winning.

Any other cycle, I'd say it was too late for her. This time around, it might not be, but the clock is ticking.

Michigan's 7th Congressional District

You would think in this potentially game-changing Congressional election, an open seat in blue-collar Michigan would be hard fought by both parties. Indeed, the incumbent Republican -- an intelligent moderate who sometimes even voted his conscience -- went down to a right-winger in the GOP primary, and mid-Michigan isn't exactly a haven for wing-nuts. But it is reliably Republican, so apparently the national Dems have given up.

The Democratic candidate is an organic farmer named Sharon Renier, who is actually making her second or third bid for the seat. But Tim Walberg, the freeze-dried, hair-gelled nutjob who is the GOP candidate, has raised over $1 million to her $40,000. In other words, his budget is probably going to be about $10 for each vote he receives in the general election.

Renier's Web site looks fine, but isn't very sophisticated. No flash animations or punchy, eye-catching videos here. But then, on $40,000 you can't budget much for the Web site.

One thing the national Dem. party could do is give candidates a template for a quality Web site. Candidates could send in some pictures and text, and some Web wizards at the national level could jazz it up a bit. Economy of scale, you know?

Anyhow, the Jackson Citizen-Patriot reports that as of the last reporting deadline, Walberg has $85,159 in the bank compared to Renier's $1,996. Yep -- her entire budget is about the size of a middle-class paycheck.

This is a seat the the Democratic party has written off, but I'm not a big fan of capitulation. $10,000 here would mean a whole lot more than another drop in the bucket in a heated race. The citizens of this district deserve at least a contest.

So I'm personally endorsing Renier, and hope you give her your support. A little would mean a lot.

Santorum: "The Eye of Mordor has been drawn to Iraq"

No really... Renegade Rick spoke thus:

"As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else," Santorum said, describing the tool the evil Lord Sauron used in search of the magical ring that would consolidate his power over Middle-earth.

"It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S.," he continued. "You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States."

The Herald Standard reports that soon-to-be-former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is a big Lord of the Rings fan, which is really interesting. Aren't his supporters the type of people who try to get Harry Potter banned from school libraries and such? What's with the double standard when it comes to wizards? I mean, Gandalf and Harry both repised Christ's "risen from the dead" storyline and everything.

Anyhow, what really gets me is that this sort of thinking is what passes for actual analysis in the halls of the Republican Congress.

"See, it's a GOOD thing we screwed up Iraq," he seems to be saying.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


What game is this man playing?

Submit answers under "comments." There is NO monetary reward, but if we get more than two clever answers, we'll declare a winner!

Think how proud you'd be if that turns out to be:

Sportscasters 2.0

Old Chip doesn't like sportscasters not named Ken & Mickey, I guess, but I'll tell you that I actually like to hear about statistics and strategy and so on, so maybe he and I don't like the same announcers. I'll agree that some are too loud and self-important, and I'm not big on the inane banter about where the announcers had lunch or what ties they wear, etc. But I like the stats and the second-guessing. That's what makes the game interesting for me -- especialy baseball.

The Suspect -->

But all this brings me to the Steve Lyons story, which I suppose is obligatory fodder for liberal bloggers this week. I didn't like Lyons that much on his merits. To me, he's neither funny or insightful, and often inane. As sportscasters go, he never really made much of an impression with me. Dime-a-dozen kinda guy. So I was surprised that Fox had him in the booth at all. When they fired him for a supposedly insensative comment made on-air in Friday's NLCS game, I was surprised he wasn't fired a lot earlier for mediocrity. No hard feelings, buddy, but it ain't the hardest job in baseball.

I was watching the "game in question" when Lyons and Piniella were chatting, and Lyons made the comment about looking for his wallet, and not wanting to sit next to Piniella. There was a short awkward moment, and I thought for a moment, "Did he really just say that??".

The three announcers seemed too quiet for a second, like it usually is when people realize that someone's just said something a little awkward. But then, I may be projecting a little, too. I didn't hear the precursor to that exchange, which turns out to be pretty important to the context, so the wallet comment really stuck out like a sore thumb. The exchange I missed is ably described here by InsideBayArea.com's Andy Altman-Ohr:

Early in Friday's game, Marco Scutaro was included in a graphic with Frank Thomas and Nick Swisher noting their "0-fors" in the ALCS through two games. Lou Piniella scoffed that Scutaro was even included in the graphic, for although the shortstop had a super ALDS, expecting similar production would be "like finding a wallet on a Friday night and looking for one on Sunday and Monday, too."

OK, so I missed that in real-time, and it makes the wallet comment a lot more comprehensible. Ha-ha, just good ol-fashioned unfunny sportscaster joking. Maybe. But I still don't get why Piniella's use of Spanish argot prompted Lyons to say, "I don't understand him, and I don't want to sit close to him now."

Again, odd. You could certainly interpret that to be culturally or racially intolerant, and juxtaposed with the wallet comment, it leaves you wondering, "Was he riffing on a stereotype, or just ribbing Piniella personally?" There's enough doubt there to give Lyons the benefit of the doubt. Deciding that the comment was racist or insensative is sort of in the ear of the behearer, and could just as easily be a case of awkward banter and bad timing. Lyons says he didn't even think Piniella was Hispanic at the time (I didn't, either, actually, and I feel a bit dumb about that now), but that misses the point. The interpretation is that Lyons associated Hispanics with missing wallets. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. I'm just sayin', I can see why some felt it was insensative, but that doesn't make it a hanging offense.

Fox fired Lyons from its national broadcast team the same day. I won't miss him, for the reasons I stated above, but I'm not sure the guy got a fair shake. Gerry Callahan at the Boston Herald points out the hypocrisy of Fox firing anyone for something so minor, in this excellent column.

Lyons' awkward comment is the sort that begs for a little explanation and an apology to anyone offended, not a rolling head. On the other hand, that HAVE to be better color commentators out there.

It was all about the Oil

AlterNet's Joshua Holland has a devestatingly clear story about the fate of Iraq's oil wealth... and it's all Red, White & Blue.

Part I: Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil

After reading this, it will be hard to deny that the war was really all about oil. In fact, it is hard to argue that the central organizing principle -- even the very reason for the existance of -- the AmBush Administration was not to acquire U.S. domination over Iraqi oil fields.

Especially interesting is the part about the American administration dictating the Iraqi Constitution to the Iraqis, with a special emphasis on the part about oil.

In Part II, Holland describes how the Americans exerted control over the Iraqi oil infrastructure. All of this must be well-understood by the power-brokers within Iraq today.

Now after reading these articles, I ask you this question: Do you still wonder why so many Iraqis are fighting us -- and each other -- for control over their own country?

I'm not the least bit surprised.


"Bush to Sign Law Authorizing Harsh Interrogation"

Monday, October 16, 2006

Tales from the Bush League (doing compassion)

ANOTHER CHAPTER in the continuing saga of life under this fella's Administration. (Once again, a disclaimer that we in the Arboretum do not like this person, Mr. Bush, for many reasons.)

Who: David Kuo, Former Special Advisor to the current Resident of the White House

What: a book he wrote called: Tempting Faith

The Story:
==That John Dilulio, White House (get this) Director of Faith Based Initiatives had been quoted in an article saying that Mr. Bush's program of 'compassionate conservatism' had, "a complete lack of a policy apparatus" and so his promises were being ignored;
==that Bush had read this and was furious;
==that at a White House meeting he demanded:

The Quote: "Well," [Bush] yelled. . . "is [DiIulio] right or isn't he? Have we done compassion or haven't we? I wanna know."

Yikes! A Compassionate government lacking in compassion?
Well, I have a modest suggestion for Mr. Bush. You can go (oops, I mean you can send a servant) to the market and buy this:
It's canned compassion. It comes in several strengths: Real Compassion, Condensed Compassion, and Red Hot Empathy.

It's available at this market ...

...and costs only 3-cents a can. And, wait, there's more! This month only there is an overstock special: 2-cents a can for Mere Concern, which would be perfect for the military families you address so often and who are accostomed to hardships. Here you can also get boxes of A-Penny-for-your-Thoughts, and imported packages of Much-Ado-About-Nothing.

You can hand it out at every speaking stop. It's such affordable compassion that it requires no sacrifices of any kind. There, now, won't that nicely cover your pesky compassion thing?
(This posting is a joint effort)