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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.......
Monday, September 13, 2004

For the record, if we talk about patriotism and chickenhawks, Bush and Kerry.  From "Who Served..."

The US Chickenhawks/People Who Did Not Serve:

Elliott Abrams ­ Sought deferment for OVERWEIGHT.
Richard Armey - Sought college deferment, too smart to die.
Bill Bennett - Sought graduate school deferment, too smart to die.
Dick Cheney - Sought graduate school deferment, too smart to die.
Tom DeLay - Sought college deferment, too smart to die.
Phil Gramm - Sought marriage deferment, too loved to die.
Rush Limbaugh - Sought college deferment, too smart to die.
Trent Lott - Sought deferment, couldn’t find out why.
P.J. O'Rourke - Sought deferment.
Kenneth Starr Sought deferment for psoriasis.
           Vin Weber - Sought deferment for asthma.
Don Nickles, Senate Minority Whip - Did not serve
Senator Richard Shelby, did not serve
Saxby Chambliss, Georgia (yet somehow feels he has a right to attack Max Cleland's patriotism)
Karl Rove - avoided the draft, did not serve
Eliot Abrams, did not serve
Att'y Gen. John Ashcroft - sought deferment to teach business ed at SW Missouri State
John Engler, did not serve
Dennis Hastert - avoided the draft, did not serve.
George Will, did not serve but everyday he writes about sending in the troops.
Bill O'Reilly, did not serve
Paul Gigot, did not serve.
Pat Buchanan, did not serve
Bill Kristol, did not serve

Them's the Chickenhawks.  Who want you to send your kids to do their bidding, while piling up deficits beyond count for the grandkids.

Molly Ivins
has a useful column today.  Her genial disdain for Bush has vanished, and she clearly detests his administration.
Sunday, September 12, 2004

On this date in 1966, The Monkees premiered.  Although the talented and versatile Michael Nesmith was a member, the group was excoriated for being actors - well, personalities - and 'not really' musicians, as if the musical talents of most of the pop world was any better.  They sang some decent tunes and were fun, pretending to be no more than they were and became quite successful.  Damn them.

I didn't like them much, but the whole snobby attitude towards them bummed me as much as the supposed 'real' folkies snobbery against the Kingston Trio eight years previous.  Rather hypocritical.  But a true piffle in history.

Good news, sorta.  A huge explosion in North Korea on the anniversary of the nation's founding (I'd thought from their propoganda this consisted of God bowing before the Beloved Leader and offering this Land Without Electicity) was noted by everyone in the area, since the mushroom cloud was two and a half miles in diameter.  That'sa one big explosion, but today Secretary Powell said that it was not nuclear and that ...... well, it wasn't nuclear.

Yes, North Korea had been making unpleasant noises about testing a nuclear weapon, but this wasn't it.  It was probably just another huge mistake, like the one last Spring that destroyed a railroad station and much of the town around it.  Both these incidents took place awfully close to China, who must - all in all - be thrilled to know the complete nutjob beneath them might indeed set off an above ground test and have the wind blow it north.  That's gotta warm their hearts.

Maybe North Korea is just letting a thousand flowers bloom in the form of misplaced ammo dumps?

Things are also going swimmingly in Baghdad, where the Green Zone is surrounded and under fire by insurgents, increasingly (and pointlessly) violent.  The photo is of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, shot to hell.  Not a good thing, Martha.

This will be two nations reverted to war lord control by the stupidity of the Bushies.  You recall Afghanistan, don't you?  You do?  Well, good for you.  Bush doesn't.

You might want to read this piece by James Fallows in The Atlantic about Bush's lost year of 2002, and how we're paying for it now.

Very odd, there is nothing on Bush's National Guard records today.  Nada.

Not true.  Here's a piece of veterans expressing opinions on it.  Some for, some against.  Balanced, you see.  
Pointless, rather.

Hurricane Ivan is a true horror now, a 165 mph Class 5, with surge potential of twenty feet.  It could get worse, perhaps ending up like Camille, which had winds - steady winds - of over 200 mph when it slammed into Alabama and Mississippi in 1969.  Compared to the East Coast and Florida, nothing there and so hardly any coverage, but just think about that.  A two hundred mph hurricane working its way up the Florida panhandle.  One hundred billion dollars in damage, easy.
Saturday, September 11, 2004

"Four hundred thousand people make some money trading on eBay."  Our VP Dick Cheney, on below-the-radar economic indicators that are unfairly not counted in the GOP statistics, apparently thinking trading means securities.  "If we only included bake sales and how much money kids make at lemonade stands, this economy would really be cooking."  -- John Edwards

There are two things about the CBS report regarding Bush's Guard record that quiver me today.  One, obviously, is the new contention that a signee of one of the letters from Bush's superior officers is fake because he'd left the Guard a year and a half previous.  The other is that as soon as CBS made public its contentions, the web was alive with text and composition experts pointing out the supposed errors.

Sorta like CBS, and its famously vain anchorman, had been set up.  If it turns out that one of the letters is a fraud, the public will assume they all are, true or not.  And because of the wickedly quick response, it looks as if the whole thing could have been designed to bring down the Dem's, who have been sloppy and lackluster, and CBS, which the GOP has hated since Watergate.  CBS would deserve it, but if the Dem's fell for it - as I did - they're toast.  Fortunately, it doesn't seem they have.

It is the third anniversary of our new Day of Infamy.  What was our greatest tragedy and crime became, ironically, our greatest demonstration of power.  What clearly was hoped would be a two year pile of decaying crap in the center of New York was gone in months.  Not only gone, but subject to forensics and analysis.  A friend from the Third World pointed out to me that the things Americans don't actually notice are the things that actually impress: the united, can-do, let's do it attitude of the WTC pile - even with all the problems - and its completion within about nine months, stutters the majority of the world where fifty year old residue of war and earthquake still stand.  B-52's and stealth are all very well, but it's in the civilian sector that America intimidates and awes.  It's in the very jobs of public service, safety, and municipal cleanup - which Americans look down on - that the world looks up to us, for the most part.  The day to day, decade to decade increase in competence.  We need to remember that.  

When I worked at the Hostel here in Boulder, the first thing travellers commented on was that Boulder was so clean.  Then, the busses were so clean!  And on time!  Then, so much construction......  Not Europeans, as much, but Asians, Russians, and.......New Yorkers, who were amazed that if they asked for directions, they got them, usually more information than they could use, restaurant recommendations, and then.....the library.  Free!  So much was free and so good.  I loved receiving their thanks, as if I had gnawed the library from marble stone myself.  In any case, that's the America that impresses far more than the Marines, as it should be, and no offense to the jarheads, who probably know its true better than anyone.

Back to what Bush calls "Patriot Day" in a bid to essentially throw a saddle over his own federal holiday.

In a year, it was a vacant and remarkably clean lot.  America moved on.  The Pentagon, the WTC were almost as nothing to our behemoth of a nation.  It did nothing to approach defeating us.  It pissed us off beyond measure.  

What happened?  Why are we so divided today in our strength?  

Bush, if you must know.  I quote below from a website of photographs of the attack three years ago.  Tragedy crossed upon terror and world wide support.  And Bush, in a matter of months, not only lost it but antagonized these shoulders at our side against us, because they knew he was lying about Iraq.  They'd looked in his eyes, too.

Brethren pay final respects to the Rev. Mychal Judge, the Franciscan priest and New York City Fire Department chaplain killed by falling debris while administering last rites to a fireman at the World Trade Center. In Oxon Hill, 7-year-old Courtney Brown clutches her parents' hands at the funeral of her big brother, Bernard, 11, who was flying to California on a field trip when his plane hit the Pentagon. Solitary grief becomes shared sorrow in a worldwide day of mourning three days after the slaughter in America. Church bells peal around the world as multitudes of well-wishers light candles, bow their heads in prayer and lift their voices to sing the anthem of a wounded nation. Some 200,000 Berliners gather at the Brandenburg Gate beneath the Victory Column to express their solidarity. "America does not stand alone," German President Johannes Rau tells the crowd. "The entire world stands in these days at the side of the mighty American nation. We are bound together by friendship, we are bound by the same values, we are bound by love of freedom."

Germany speaking there, nearly as pissed off as we.  That's talent, to alienate them so quick.  A talent that ought to be rewarded by voting him out.
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