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Monday, September 20, 2004

Nature abhors a moron. - H. L. Mencken

Our current joys in the Middle East got off to a rousing start twenty years ago today, when an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber drove a truck loaded with half a ton of high explosive up to the US Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The blast killed 20 and injures dozens more. The embassy had only reopened just six weeks before after the last bombing, which had killed 6.  Thus encouraged, we poured troops in and soon lost many Marines, after which Reagan pulled up and ran, shelling Lebanese positions by battleship Iowa, which puzzled everyone.  They loved us after that in proportion to the respect running away gave us.  So different from today in Iraq........
  Much interesting print on whether our election polling is comparable or accurate in and of itself.  This Democratic site clearly thinks it's bogus (a shock...) but it does have its points which were in turn bolstered by this from Slate, which quotes the Wall St. Journal and isn't far different.

HBO captured the Emmys last night, and about damned time.  I am addicted to their shows, and everytime I think I can't watch another, I get hooked.  The Wire just clamped shut around me last night.  I find myself thinking there can't be so many great (not good; great) actors playing such small parts of whom I've never heard before.  There cannot be such great writing on such a chronically high level.  Finally, art worthy of the technology.

I bored a friend ga-ga last night extolling all this, and how I resent going to movies ($35 for two with popcorn and coke) to see mediocrity when it doesn't hold a candle to the series on HBO.  I'm pissed the new Sopranos won't be back on for over a year.  I'm angry Carnivale is still a ways away.  I was glad when the dead wife in Six Feet Under was revealed as an adulterer (although it doesn't matter, being in total love with Luaren Ambrose).

And what does the broadcast network family put up?  Oh, Everybody Loves Raymond.  

The Sopranos won best drama?  No shit.
Sunday, September 19, 2004

The American, in other words, thinks that the sinner has no rights that anyone is bound to respect, and he is prone to mistake an unsupported charge of sinning, provided it be made violently enough, for actual proof and confession.  H. L. Mencken A Book of Prefaces

On this day in 1692, an event that hasn't received the coverage it deserves transpired in Salem, Massachusetts.  Eighty year-old farmer Giles Cory was crushed under stones because he refused to enter a plea for the charge of witchcraft.  He lasted two days.  According to one eyewitness account: "in pressing, his tongue being pressed out of his mouth, the sheriff with his cane forced it in again."  

Eighty.  Stubborn.   Within his rights, although Jefferson hadn't noticed and Madison hadn't put them to paper yet. possibly because their respective parents hadn't met yet.  Knowing almost nothing else about Goodman Cory, I find I like him a lot.  To repond to a charge of absurdity issued by dubious legality by the biased is to give it standing.  Hail, sir.  Nice to see it wasn't just women that got caught in that stupidity.

Nothing about the CU Grand Jury report.  Getting annoyed.  

In other gender news, Miss America was last night.  Nobody cares, of course.  It's a ludicrous anachronism, but still: Miss America!  The problem is that these young women aren't any more attractive or accomplished than a significant portion of our young women.  In fact, significantly less so in some ways, having devoted much of their young lives to beauty pageants and all that.   Time to go.

  Ken Salazar and Pete Coors debated last night, and the differences were refreshing and pointed.  I don't agree with either of them on most things, but Salazar seems far more coherent.

For example, I don't think there should be any drinking age, but that anyone caught driving with alcohol in their system should be charged as if they were driving and firing a pistol randomly out the window.  Eventually, mathematically, they will kill someone and, unfortunately enough, not just themselves.  Everywhere else in the world, people can have wine with dinner and learn how to drink and have fun rather than be drunk and obnoxious, the American Method.  In any case, because of the Coors Brewery and the recent college deaths in state, Coors and Salazar were queried over lowering the drinking age Saturday.

Coors, a Republican who had previously said the country should lower the drinking age, predictably reneged with alacrity, like he did over gay benefits at Coors.  He claimed it's a 'states' rights issue', in that ludicrous fallback the GOP adores.  But from a law enforcement point of view, of course it isn't.  A person cannot be legal, cross a state line on a federal highway, and suddenly, rationally be illegal in any system designed for logic.  In any case, he has a clear conflict of interest.  And of course, it is a federal concern.  Out with all stupid alcohol and drug laws, and enforce what is enforceable and logical.

We've lost the respect of too many generations with these hypocritical, arbitrarily enforced horrors.

According to the Denver Post Salazar, a Democrat who said the drinking age should remain at 21, pounced on Coors, contending that he had "changed his position." He also said there were "significant questions" whether the beer commercials aired by Coors Brewing Co. are targeting underage drinkers.I never noticed that, myself, seeing as how the Coors commercials seem primarily to target men of all ages without ability to interest women whatsoever.  Oh well.

Of course, no debate would be of interest without the stupid abortion question.  Coors opposes abortion with no exceptions.  If his teenage granddaughter is raped by a congenital idiot - and let's make it of another color than Pete's for hyperbolic effect - whose particular malfunctions are known to be inherited, Pete would demand she raise and love the child.  And, of course, would pay for its medical care, incarcerations, and proudly wheel it out as a Coors.  Sure.  Hands.  How many think that the young woman would suffer a 'miscarriage' before term?   Probably on a European trip where she suffered a 'fall.'  Like the wealthy have always handled this sort of thing.

That's unfair, I admit.  That we're still talking about abortion is our failure.  The issue was the sexual emancipation of women and the cutting of patriarchal control of their lives.  There is no need for an abortion if people would use birth control, common sense, a degree of control.  After thirty odd years of Roe Vs. Wade, we should have moved on a while ago.  But we haven't.  

And this is directly related to the alcoholic propensities of the our young and old.

It's also when drunk that most of the really stupid deaths or injuries by firearm take place.  After listening to the Feds explain Waco and Ruby Ridge, I think we can all unite in keeping weapons, but there is a wide swath of mental tundra between all weapons and AK-47's.  Coors and Salazar
Saturday, September 18, 2004

"Anyone who can't make up his or her mind at this point in the campaign should forget about the election entirely, buy a pint of ice cream and get into bed." "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star (and Seinfeld co-creator) Larry David

It is rather bizarre to me that the most important story in the election/war in Iraq crossroads was issued this week by two Republican Senators to almost no public response from the administration and no follow up by the media, who are tracing fonts and 86 year old memory synapses.  If one were President, you would not like to read this issuing from a member of your own party:

"It's beyond pitiful, it's beyond embarrassing, it's now in the zone of dangerous," said conservative Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, referring to government figures showing only about 6 percent of the reconstruction money approved by Congress last year has been spent.  This hinders rebuilding and meeting our promises to Iraqis and the world, you'd think.  The remainder of the intelligence report by Hagel and Richard Lugar of Indianna was scathing in it's estimation of our effort in Iraq and the adminstration's truthfulness.  That's pretty severe.

Yet, it's a complicated thought process for Our President to entertain all this, he who sums up his views  with "Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat." (Sept. 17, 2004)

Save among politicians it is no longer necessary for any educated American to profess belief in Thirteenth Century ideas. H. L. Mencken

Former Vice-President and now bitter commentator Al Gore actually channelled my views on President Bush rather well here.  "I wasn't surprised by Bush's economic policies, but I was surprised by the foreign policy, and I think he was, too. The real distinction of this presidency is that, at its core, he is a very weak man....I think his weakness is a moral weakness. I think he is a bully, and, like all bullies, he's a coward when confronted with a force that he's fearful of."  Hey!  Dead on.

On "Bush's public kind of faith," Gore said  "It's a particular kind of religiosity. It's the American version of the same fundamentalist impulse that we see in Saudi Arabia, in Kashmir, in religions around the world: Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim."   Dead on again.  

We're in a war very different from the one Bush realizes.  It's a war against the bony kneed old men - chronologically old, proto-civilized - around the world who strive, under many guises, to pointlessly prolong patriarchies for their own benefit, not the people's.  Scared of women, scared of sex, scared of change, they will start wars or cause their own people to remain under a constant state of fear of attack (Arafat and the Palestinians, the Patriot Act...) simply to keep themselves in power in the role of savior.  Gore is dead on: there is no difference between the orthodox Jews too important to fight in the IDF but who demand others die for conquest, the Christians annoying everyone by starting crises and demanding the US save them, the idiot mullahs who will do or say anything and strap children with bombs to get their way.  Or at least stay in power.  It's all the same, and Bush is one of them.

And as his record shows, unlikely to risk himself.

No doubt inspired by Colorado's educational flagships, our nation's universities are, this weekend, peeking around various fraternity houses for the odd corpse dead of alcohol poisoning.  In a week, we've produced two.  Not a record, but not bad.  Whether it's worse that they died of poisoning or, before the internals shut down, they got in a car and slaughtered innocents I leave to the judicial and the infirm to decide.  But these two deaths aren't any worse than the average college fatalities due to booze in a given week.  Any given week.

Still, I don't believe the findings indicate some sort of sad mistake.  The CSU female is said to have drunk the equivalent of 30 to 40 12-ounce beers or 1-ounce shots of liquor.  Yet, her death is ruled an accident and there was no evidence of foul play.  In that there were no knives sticking out of her throat, I suppose.  Fortunately - thank God! - she was found fully clothed, and her body had not been moved after death.  Apparently there are things worse than death even yet.

What the hell have the authorities been drinking to conclude that?  Perhaps I was a wimp; perhaps everyone I ever knew was a wimp, but I don't see how the starting left tackle could drink 40 beer or shots or liquor without vomiting it up long before that magic 40 was reached.  THINK about that, people. Think.  I'm guessing she weighed 120 plus/minus.  Nobody could drink that much without help.  That's chug contest.  That's enabling.  That's a crime, damn it, and it should be pursued as such.

In Boulder, the University and the national fraternity closed down and evicted the members of the Chi Psi house after an illustrative history of exactly this sort of thing.  Reflect, who else but a fraternity of the wealthy's children could get away with this stuff without establishment support?  The Greek system , at CU and elsewhere, is an institutionalized alcohol enabling social club that confers no benefits unique to itself and does much harm to its members and to the community on which it inflicts its presence.  In 1880, such things served purposes; in 2004 they're at least fifty years past their relevance.
Friday, September 17, 2004

"It is only the savage, whether of the African bush or of the American gospel tent, who pretends to know the will and intent of God exactly and completely." Damn! A Book of Calumny, 1918, by H. L. Mencken

There may be a cooler photo out there, but it's something I've missed then.  This is Ivan from the space station (You remember, right?  We have a space station up there?  People on it and all?) while it was still in the Caribbean.  I cannot help it, but this stuff excites the hell out of me.  What a beautiful world we have.  

Which probably makes the Florida panhandle vomit in its frustrations and rage over the horror this lovely storm, at least from space, did along the Gulf coast.  It was a horror, and there are more to come, and what if this goes on during the election?  Man, that would be ugly.

   If this map of storm tracks comes true, Florida is about to get whipped again.  Man.  I lived there for five years in the 1960's and early 70's and I cannot recall anything approaching this sort of stuff.  Worst thing about summer in Florida was the oppressive, really oppressive, heat and humidity.  A hurricane would have been a respite.  Still, four in a month?  Five, maybe?  

Yes, murder is wrong, but sometimes, you know, it gives a spring to the step.  

On this date in 1980, not long after ABC newsman Bill Stuart was shot in the back while lying on the ground (caught on camera) and killed by one of his soldiers, so called, deposed Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza was assassinated in Asuncion, Paraguay when his limousine is stopped by a six-man hit squad, armed with machine guns and a bazooka.   Somoza's father, Anastasio Sr., was himself assassinated in 1956.   The Sandanistas did it, and absolutely nobody mourned the loss to the world of that fat thug.  It is about the only thing the Sandanistas accomplished, and they were trounced before they could settle into Somoza's mansions in an honest election.  Boulder has never recovered, truth be told.

After a recent shouting match at a social event, CU Senior Associate Athletic Director John Meadows is leaving CU. .   The CU Foundation officially confirmed this.  See, I'd have thought the University would have been the one on the horn about this, but it seems Meadows works for the Foundation because he had something to do with raising money for athletics.  He came to this position after decades at Coors.  (That's another thing we should know: what is Coors position with the Foundation and the University?  But then, we're still waiting for the Foundation to answer Regent Carlisle's request of, what, two years ago, now.

Meadows was accused by a former athletic department employee of being a racist at one point, although the black athletic community has denied that particular allegation  

In any case, not an event to instill the thought things are improving at CU.  When the hell does that Grand Jury Report become public?  Eh?

In any case, the report is in about the death in the CSU fraternity house of a young woman with something like a 4.5 blood alcohol rating, well over the amount which causes death.  This was just in time, for a dead body was found at a CU franternity House, the Chi Psi's.  It was the end of Rush Week, and there were parties starting at midday yesterday.  Police were called before 9 AM.   If you are going to have ridiculous and counterproductive laws regarding drugs and alcohol, might as well enforce them, don't you think?  Otherwise, you only add cynical appreciation of the Law and its enforcement.  You can't wink at underage drinking in some areas and not others.  Of course, for all I know, the guy was shot.  But that would have made it into the Camera's update.  

Teary Republicans in Boulder complain that their Bush/Cheney campaign sign was torn from their lawn by power hungry Democrats.  The Rove idea that Republicans are victims gets carried away by their lesser acolytes as this story indicates.  Only crying children work well, though.

Not legal now, but not legal then, either.  The great Mandella has come round on Kobe Bryant.  He may not have raped anyone, but he started off by lying to the police, then recanted, then admitted he'd had sex with at least one other woman while married, then said the Vail girl wasn't all that attractive, that she had initiated sex, that he bent her over a chair just like he did with his regular mistress.  Not conjecture, but recorded and in transcript and suspiciously appearing from a Denver address.  It wasn't right for Bryant's attorneys to release the name of the victim, and it isn't right that this stuff on Bryant was released.  

But it kinda feels right, doesn't it?  Bryant may be a screaming self satisfied hypocrite but it's come round on him, and to be doubted he can entirely shake it off over the years.  He lied to his wife during that press conference, and he's been lying ever since, one supposes.  It still doesn't mean he raped anyone, but it doesn't help him evade the possibility in people's minds.  He lies, even to police.  He looks out for Number One.
Thursday, September 16, 2004

"If we don't suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election." - John Pappageorge, Republican state legislator in Michigan, which is about 83% black.












Bad thing about Thursday is you have to wait till Friday for the establishment to try and hide news releases that don't look so good on the resume.  Today, we got the news that the Grand Jury concluded it had not enough evidence to file charges in the Columbine coverup.  Not that there wasn't a coverup, but they had not enough evidence to charge anyone.  Annoying, yes, but probably true.  It's the nature of coverups to remove evidence, and someone apparently has.  Eventually, it will all come out, but we'll have to wait.  People aren't happy.

Tomorrow, perhaps, we'll get the news about the Grand Jury and CU's football scandal, which the dim witted Regents are trying to hide.  

A most interesting news bit from the Daily Camera.

Seems a former strength coach at CU has filed suit to get his share of advertising contract money, which he claims CU owes but, due to Athletic Director Dick Tharp's veto, never paid.  Here is something that needs to be addressed nationally.  The CU football team is 'owned' by the state of, and therefore by the people of, Colorado.  This individual was to receive money himself for wearing clothing with certain logos at CU football games.  Not sure what good that does - even huge strength coaches aren't as big as a NASCAR vehicle and so visible on camera - but that's not my issue.  

Should a public school be selling itself like this?  Should any school - tax free - be allowing its employees to make money like this?  Would it be appropriate if policemen got paid for wearing logos?   Okay, bad example, but what about mail deliverers or garbagemen or customer relations clerks at City Hall?  Theoretically, I could understand the advantage of this income to the state or the owners but I have difficulty approving of the individuals profiting.  They're only of interest because of their employer and the coverage engendered.  

On this date, the first known car bombing.  Well, not really a car.  In 1920, a horse-drawn carriage parked at the corner of Wall and Broad streets exploded shortly after noon.   About 100 pounds of dynamite and 500 pounds of steel shrapnel killed 40 and wounded almost 300 others.  Yet again, America shows the way.

Also on this date in 1498, one of history's great monsters dies after a long and well fed life.  Tomas de Torquemada, Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition, killed more than 2,000 'heretics' by fire, and tortured about 9,654 in order to convert or kill the Jews in Spain by 1492.  Three hundred and fifty years later someone, hard to say who, dug up his bones and burned them.  Torquemada established all the criterea which Hitler and others have used.  If you are one sixty-fourth Jewish, you were a Jew, despite religion.  Tomas was one sixty-fourth Jewish, which helped establish this baseline.

Johnny Ramone has died.  Not only did The Ramones find the going tough, never make any money to speak of, and re-write Rock'n'Roll, they all seem to die really early and often of cancer.  I have no idea why, but 'hard living' and all doesn't seem to explain it.  I've long harbored a belief that there are connections between certain 'safe' drugs and disease, specifically cancer and more specifically lymphatic cancers, that aren't being explored.  I have no evidence but coincidental deaths.  

In any case, this was an interesting bunch, honored but not rewarded.  RIP.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004

"The Americans in [Iraq and Afghanistan] are between two fires. If they continue they bleed to death and if they withdraw they lose everything." -- Ayman al-Zawahiri













If Hurricane Ivan actually hits the coast just west of New Orleans, that city as we know it - that city in all particulars - will cease to exist.  It will be covered with thirty feet of water, all of it polluted not just with sewage and the dead but with toxic chemicals from the numerous chemical and petroleum plants that surround the place.  It will take weeks, maybe months, for the city to be pumped out because it is ten feet below sea level and surrounded by high - but insufficiently high - dikes and levees.  Absent blasting a hole in one, which would create a river of some strength, eroding buildings and the dike itself, there is nothing for it.

How could this happen?  How could zillions be spent on refurbishing the French Quarter without insuring it would make a difference when this inevitable storm - Ivan or another - eventually hits?  

Among the many frustrations is that all this has been predicted for years and years, was well known to scientists, and its immediate cause - the vanishing wetland between sea and city that insures the storm surge will overpower all defense - could have been saved.  At much cost and expense, but nothing like that which will greet us by the weekend if Ivan hits Nawlins straight on.  Nothing left.

President Putin of Russia is taking advantage of a national tragedy to institutionalize domestic policies well known to Russia: repression, control, secrecy.  This is the man that George Bush vetted - having 'looked him in the eye' and all - so we'll see if facts demand condemnation and then if Bush would have the gumption to say so.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004

On this date in 1927, Isadora Duncan was killed in Nice, France when her scarf gets tangled in the rear wheel of the convertible in which she's riding. Her neck is broken and an artery severed.  Duncan was one of the great dancers, I feel compelled to point out these days.

Wrong.  Duncan was one of the greatest artists the United States has ever produced.  Even today, she seems ahead of the time.  She invented 'modern' dance, but she did much more: she united in concept the many things that constitute dance and re-elevated it to the athletic and artistic level where it belongs.  And, for the record, she did it pretty much by herself, her way, in a an age that takes a lot of liquor to be elevated to 'repressed.'   She seems odd even now.  Imagine 1910 America and Europe.  But she won them over, which speaks to her art.

Isadora Duncan's Innovations:

   1. Duncan was the first American dancer to develop and label a concept of natural breathing, which she identified with the ebb and flow of ocean waves.
   2. Duncan was the first American dancer to define movement based on natural and spiritual laws rather than on formal considerations of geometric space.
   3. Duncan was the first American dancer to rigorously compare dance to the other arts, defending it as a primary art form worthy of "high art" status.
   4. Duncan was the first American dancer to develop a philosophy of the dance.
   5. Duncan was the first American dancer to de-emphasize scenery and costumes in favor of a simple stage setting and simple costumes. By doing this, Duncan suggested that watching a dancer dance was enough.

That these were considered innovations says much of her world; that she was considered little better than a stripper, or boring, or wrong, or as weird as many performance artists today says a lot about ours.  Born in San Francisco, she was only 49 at her death.

I know nothing about dance, except that I've grown to attend and certainly appreciate it and under the instruction and guidance of various women to enjoy it, sometimes a lot.  But I admire courage and dedication and consistent vision with Bismarkian ferocity.  Duncan had it.

In the alarming history of American medicine, in 1956 surgeons Walter Freeman and Egas Moniz performed our first prefrontal lobotomy on a depressed, 63-year-old Kansas woman in Washington, D.C. They successfully create a lethargic dullard, and the duo claimed a medical triumph, despite the fact that two of their next twenty lobotomy subjects die.   Even more than electroshock, this shows how establishment Medicine, unchecked, can leave the rails in dubious pursuits.  She was merely 'depressed', so there was nothing for it but removing part of the brain.  Hello?

Suspicious stories not being covered: Rush Limbaugh's drug trial, CBS's claims against Bush, anything to do with Afghanistan.......
 
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