Saturday, May 13, 2006

A quick overview of public reactions to gas prices.

Gas Prices!

Funny Bumper Stickers!!!

We Are ALL on the Gas Can Diet!

High Gas Prices in George Bush's America

Arm, Leg and Eye for Gas!


High gas prices bumper stickers!

Elephant Ate My Gas Money

Constitution Woes

Who's Pumping Who?

Taking it in the Gas

Statement Free Pump and Person

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Sometimes politics and money do go together!

Gas Prices and CafePress

Q: What’s the buzz in the halls of CafePress today?
A: Gas Prices – but probably not for the reason you think…

The buzz actually has very little to do with how much it’s costing us to get to work (and for some of us it’s a lot), what we’re discussing is how quickly our community of Shopkeepers respond to current events with new designs. If something is hot in the news our Shopkeepers are sure to have designs expressing their thoughts before we know what’s hit us – they’re truly on the ball.

We are beginning to see the CafePress design community as an interesting barometer of public interest. Right now everyone is talking about gas prices, people are looking at gas price related merchandise, it affects each and every last one of us, and we have over 1000 gas price related items available in the marketplace (

Another great example of timely response to news was the hunting incident involving Dick Cheney, there are over 1200 designs, and most of them were there a week or so after the incident.

Now, I've been saying this for years. I KNOW I was saying it loudly in 2004. Did anyone listen to me? No. Well, I'm used to that. Usually I'm 2 to 4 years ahead.

So here's a chunk of the press release.

Speak Out America - Protest Rising Gas Prices!:

CafePress Leads Gas Price Protest with Promise to Send Top Selling Merchandise to US Officials and an Offer Equivalent to 1 Free Gallon of Gas

FOSTER CITY, CA May 8, 2006 - CafePress, a leader in user-designed merchandise of self-expression, issued a challenge to the American people today in the form of a gas price protest. With gas prices on the rise and Congress at a point of indecision, the independent CafePress design community began creating hundreds of new 'gas price' related products, sending a clear message that this is a topic people are passionate about. In an effort to send a send clear message from the CafePress community, the two top selling 'gas price' designs will be printed on t-shirts and sent the offices of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, House Majority Leader John A. Boehner, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Additionally, CafePress is offering buyers $3.00* off all 'gas price' related orders over $20**.
I'll blog when I've got my stuff active - but I really don't care so much if you buy mine as I care about the faces of the politicians. I've thrown a search below (mainly to see if it will work) and you can see the variety of opinions out there on various energy-related keywords.

And when I do have my designs up, I'll make sure there's a very cheap option - so buy LOTS!

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Daily Kos: Updated: Rifle pointed at protesters in Florida during Bush visit

Daily Kos: Updated: Rifle pointed at protesters in Florida during Bush visit

The weapon was not fully sticking out the window in a pointed position towards any of us. It was how ever raised up and the person holding it had right hand in trigger position it was in the direction of our group. It was indeed an assault rifle and the man in the car was dressed full swat. I covered television news so I have seen these SWAT members before. I was the first in our group to see it so I want to make sure this is clear. It still was an amazing sight and scarey too! Thanks, Mary

I'm picking the least inflammatory and most expert view. It is nonetheless deeply troubling on several levels.

First: that Bush and his advisors either do not understand the psychological impact of this sort of presidential behavior - or they do, and it's a calculated display of menace.

Second; and perhaps beside the point above: that the Secret Service deems this level of security to be appropriate, given the chances of an assault upon the nation's leadership.

Come to think of it, were I in charge of the Secret Service and had the job of guarding this President, I doubt I'd be comfortable with him anywhere outside of a facility as secure as Cheyenne Mountain.

However, my visceral reaction is quite different, and it's not based on any fuzzy-minded liberalism. It's based in my NRA training and my martial arts discipline - and that to make a deadly threat is an invitation to deadly force. It is a psychological assault, and at the same time, by not immediately pulling trigger, it leaves open the opportunity for the insulted to "return fire first."

I point out also that the open window defeats the main point of having an armored vehicle in the first place.

The best way to protect the president is also the best way to protect against terrorism - to avoid policies that create large numbers of surviving enemies.

"Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate." This is one of those inconvenient facts of life that we in the Reality Based Community take for granted. The more people that you cause to hate your guts for cause, the more likely it is that some combination of profit, madness and opportunity will come together to generate an attempt on your life. This is as true of nations as it is of persons.

But nations are far more difficult to kill. That makes the symbolic targets all that more attractive - and it makes those who must stand behind or work within those symbolic targets just a little jumpier.

I am by no means suggesting that targeting the President would be a good idea with a predictably good outcome. It is not, and the only predictable outcome would be random nightmare with possible scattered patches of fallout.

But I'm something of a security paranoid and one of my personal secrets to life is not being next to people who insist on being loud, rude, stupid and offensive.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Desert Sky

Desert Sky
Originally uploaded by Bob King.

I took this a couple of months ago, with my phone cam. Ah, how blue and calm it seems. How well cameras lie.

Days like this make me feel like a small bug on a big plate. It makes my blue eyes hurt, and the only thing good about it was that I got a great picture, even though I was squinting - and it wasn't windy.

And the only good thing about a windy nevada day is that, at least, it's not a freezing offshore wind.

But it's full of dust and tumbleweeds.

Yeah, it's a grumpy sort of day.

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Media Matters - CNN's O'Brien questioned the patriotism of Vietnam vets protesting administration's actions in Iraq

Media Matters - CNN's O'Brien questioned the patriotism of Vietnam vets protesting administration's actions in Iraq:

"The two guests, Air Force veteran David Patterson and Navy veteran Joseph DuRocher, returned their medals accompanied by letters addressed to President Bush. In his letter, Patterson objected to the 'hate, torture and death' provoked by the Bush administration's foreign policy. DuRocher, who sent Bush his lieutenant's shoulder bars and Navy wings, wrote in his letter:

Until your administration, I believed it was inconceivable that the United States would ever initiate an aggressive and preemptive war against a country that posed no threat to us. Until your administration, I thought it was impossible for our nation to take hundreds of persons into custody without provable charges of any kind, and to 'disappear' them into holes like Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram. Until your administration, in my wildest legal fantasy I could not imagine a U.S. Attorney General seeking to justify torture or a President first stating his intent to veto an anti-torture law, and then adding a 'signing statement' that he intends to ignore such law as he sees fit. I do not want these things done in my name.

In introducing the segment, O'Brien immediately called into question the patriotism of Patterson's and DuRocher's actions. He asked, '[I]s it the patriotic thing to do?' "

Why, yes, Mr. O'Brian, it is.

Now, in reading the transcript, which one may find exerpted at the above link, it is possible that O'Brian was playing the devil's advocate, or practicing defensive journalism.

But O'Brian, and all his less and more conciencious collegagues need a "come to jesus moment" on this fundimental Constitutional principle; there is nothing more purely Patriotic in an American sense than questioning authority and demanding an intelligable, coherent, factual and relevant response.

They are accountable to us. And they are accountable to public debate and consensus. So when members of the "fifth estate" start speaking as if the reverse were true - it reveals a pungent whiff of rot in the edifice of our Freedoms.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Now in his own words. - My Meeting With Rumsfeld:
Ray McGovern speaks about truth, and telling it to people at the Southern Center for International Policy.

All in all, my encounter with Rumsfeld was for me a highly instructive experience. The Center’s president, Peter White, singled out Rumsfeld’s “honesty” in introducing him, and 99 percent of those attending seemed primed to agree. Indeed, their reaction brought to mind film footage of rallies in Germany during the thirties. When Rumsfeld replied to my first question about his false statements on Iraq 's WMD, the applause was automatic. “I did not lie then...,” he insisted.

This was immediately greeted with what Pravda used to describe as “stormy applause,” followed immediately by rather unseemly shouts by this otherwise well-disciplined and well-heeled group to have me summarily thrown out. At the end, as we all filed out slowly, I could make eye contact with only one person—who proceeded to berate me for being insubordinate.

Scary. No open minds there. A graphic reminder for those wishing to spread some truth around that we have our work cut out for us. We have to find imaginative ways to use truth as a lever to pry open closed minds.


I think ANFO seeded with willy-pete might be insufficient to prying open such a mind!

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour. A 27-year veteran of CIA’s analyst ranks, he now serves on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity."


Media Matters - On his CNN debut, Beck misrepresented study, mocked guest, made suggestive remarks to CNN anchor:
"Summary: On the May 8 premiere of his CNN Headline News show, Glenn Beck devoted a segment to misrepresenting and attacking a University of California-Berkeley study for finding that children with more positive personality traits tend to develop more liberal political leanings, while children with negative personality traits more often develop conservative views. Beck also mocked one guest, author Eric Schlosser, and subjected another -- CNN Headline News anchor Erica Hill -- to a number of sexually suggestive comments."
The funny thing here is that Beck doesn't even understand how tragicomic he really is.

Following his claim that the show would not "get bogged down in liberal versus conservative," Beck proceeded to criticize a study by University of California-Berkeley professor Jack Block. The 2005 study, published in the Journal of Research In Personality, identified prominent personality traits in a group of children and then identified their political affiliations decades later, when they had reached adulthood, to determine if there was any correlation. The study concluded that certain personality traits, such as being "indecisive," "fearful," "rigid" and "inhibited," were common among children who grew up to be conservative, while other traits, including "self-reliant," "energetic" and "resilient," were common among those who grew up to be liberal. In criticizing the study, however, Beck falsely claimed that the study had identified children as liberal or conservative while also examining their personality traits, and that it had characterized the conservative children as "easily victimized" while characterizing the liberals as "vital, perceptive, fluent, and bright." In fact, the study did not even attempt to identify any of its subjects' political leanings until they were adults. Beck concluded of the study: "So, to sum it up, according to the even-handed folks at Berkeley: [Former President] Ronald Reagan, frightened, unhappy little wuss; while [liberal filmmaker] Michael Moore, son of Mother Theresa and Jesus." He then further misconstrued the study's conclusions, stating, "I really shouldn't be happy, because I'm a conservative."
"Thou hast said it."

And it's, you call yourself conservative because you are miserable - and think everyone else should be.

I have a dream. I have a dream that someday, I will LOOK across a sea of happy fiscal conservatives and no longer will it be EASY to confuse the words "conservative" and "asshole" in the minds of the just. Oh, I HAVE a DREAM!

Mom's basement is my secret HQ!: Purity Ball

Mom's basement is my secret HQ!: Purity Ball

See? I'm not the only one who finds these things disturbing.

Is Our Children Learning To Conform? - "Antisocial Behavior" statute used against UK Aspies and ADHD kids.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | Tarred with the same brush:
"Tarred with the same brush

Teenagers with behavioural problems need help, not Asbos, writes Annemarie Flanagan

Monday May 8, 2006

Nobody likes antisocial behaviour - least of all the government. With an almost religious zeal, Tony Blair has crusaded to rid the streets of offenders and bring back the notion of 'respect' to communities.

Seven years on, more than 7,000 Asbos - Anti Social Behaviour Orders - have been issued, and the former Home Office minister Hazel Blears says she is 'extremely encouraged that they continue to be used'.

But look beneath the statistics, and a different picture emerges."

The effect has been to criminalize difference.

Tarred with the same brush

Teenagers with behavioural problems need help, not Asbos, writes Annemarie Flanagan

Monday May 8, 2006

Nobody likes antisocial behaviour - least of all the government. With an almost religious zeal, Tony Blair has crusaded to rid the streets of offenders and bring back the notion of "respect" to communities.

Seven years on, more than 7,000 Asbos - Anti Social Behaviour Orders - have been issued, and the former Home Office minister Hazel Blears says she is "extremely encouraged that they continue to be used".

But look beneath the statistics, and a different picture emerges.

Article continues
The British Institute for Brain Injured Children (the BIBIC) estimates that a third of all Asbos are given to children or young people with learning difficulties, ADHD, or other behavioural problems.

Charities like the BIBIC believe those with "hidden" disabilities are easy prey. They point to cases like the teenager with Aspergers syndrome (a form of autism) who was told not to stare over his neighbours' fence, or the 14-year-old with the development age of seven, who has been given a curfew and tagged.

"Many of these children have a cognitive understanding below the legal age that an Asbo can be given, so they are in effect being set up to fail," says Vivienne Streeter, the BIBIC's family services director.

The charity launched a campaign last year entitled Ain't Misbehavin to highlight their increasing concerns.

Clearly, the United States is not the only nation in which the "bigger hammer" approach to social policy is the first, and only tool in the box.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Let's Get Our Energy Eggs out of the Oily Saudi Basket

Renewable energy = national security

Clean Edge has an interview with James Woolsey (who Grist has also interviewed), past director of the CIA and now co-chairman of the Committee on Present Danger, about how Osama really does love your SUV.

Bob Baer's book Sleeping With the Devil discusses how terrorists taking out the sulfur-cleaning towers in northeastern Saudi Arabia could take six million barrels per day off the market for up to a year, which would wreak economic devastation on our country. The United States borrows about $2 billion per day to finance our consumption. One billion of that is money for oil, and the Mid East is home for two-thirds of that oil. We are living on top of a volcano as long as we are that dependent on foreign oil.

The only question would be whether Osama - with close ties of his own to Saudi oil interests - would consider such an action. There are many terrorist groups that might consider such a high-payoff action and of course, any number of small nations that do not have the strategic reach to attack us directly, and are desperate for leverage against potential US "standoff-type" attacks. You may confidently assume both Iran and North Korea have targeted these facilities already, along with Pakistan and India. I find it astonishing that various milbloggers and national security bloggers tend to underestimate our reliance on oil as a strategic, national-security liability, and I cannot help but think it due in large part to their reflexive opposition to "liberal" and "green" issues.

This underlines the stark danger of politicizing National Security issues.

But the bushite talk shows and blogs are far more interested in blaming the gas crisis on Clinton (believe it or not) than noticing the economic effects of three buck a gallon gas. They are more interested in blaming 'treehuggers' for not allowing drilling in ANWAR - which is in no sense a solution, long-term or otherwise - than considering the value of a diversified energy portfolio.

While the necessity for widespread, diversified energy production from a wide variety of sources is obvious, it is not something that fits within the vertically-integrated, "single-crop" models of the international conglomerates that manage and control our energy and agricultural sectors - and the current battle of oil vs. ethanol indicates that the effective debate is between lobbyists for those competing interests.

While it would be foolish and counterproductive to suggest that either agrabiz OR the current oil, gas and coal interests be shut out domestic energy and fuel production by ideological fiat, it seems to me that a few simple twiddles in existing energy policy would be immensely helpful toward the end of making our energy supply less vulnerable to manipulation.

It would also be very helpful to make supply manipulation a serious federal offense, domestically, and a recognized "causus belli" internationally.

Nonetheless, whether or not the intent is economic warfare, or pure greed, the better path is to be in a position where the nation as a whole may simply snicker at such ineffective ploys.

Conservation, of course, has to be the first line of defense - for it's the single, cheapest and simplest way to reduce overall demand for light sweet crude - reducing the demand for home heating oil. We can do this simply by changing zoning laws, and placing requirements on title transfers to require upgrades in insulation and energy efficiency - with compensatory tax credits.

We should also look more seriously at zoning laws to embrace new building technologies that are more energy-efficient. Zoning variances for such technology make financing expensive.

And for properties with the potential for high solar, wind or geothermal capture, people should be encouraged to invest in generating capacity. That would mean requiring electrical utilities to run reverse metering and paying for generated energy.

We also need to look at the vulnerability of the domestic food supply, both in terms of how concentrated it is, and in terms of average distance.

Ideally, each city should produce 30% or more of it's own perishables - and hydroponics technology makes that attractively possible, both on rooftops and on urban interstitial spaces, such as abandoned railroad lines.

This would considerably lower the energy price of the average food basket, and sharply reduce the demand for long-distance shipping of perishable goods. As much as I love the vine-ripened tomatoes grown in gigantic greenhouses in Delta, British Columbia. It is absurd that here in sun-kissed Nevada; we do not have vast greenhouses of our own surrounding Reno and Las Vegas.

We also need to start looking at agricultural pollution as an untapped energy resource. Hog manure, for instance, is a rich source of methane; methane that could be used directly as fuel, as energy to process crops into biodiesel or methanol, or as part of a process to render hog waste into sterile fertilizer, with an energy byproduct.

Every gallon of petroleum that is either not consumed or replaced by alternative fuels has a multiplier effect, exerting downward pressure on fuel costs and, of course, extending the resource itself. Making more petroleum available for uses that cannot yet be addressed by alternatives.

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The "Right Man for What?"

Bush picks Hayden as CIA chief - Yahoo! News:


Bush's national security adviser
Stephen Hadley said there was no reason for Hayden to resign his military commission, pointing out that several military men had led the CIA.


But Rick Russell, a former CIA analyst who teaches strategic studies at National Defense University, said a military man in the top CIA job sent the wrong message.

'One of the big reasons for the creation of a director of national intelligence has been to exert more civilian leadership over the intelligence community,' he said. 'And yet you put an active duty officer in charge of the gem of civilian intelligence. That cuts at cross-purposes, frankly.'

Senators have said they would use Hayden's Senate confirmation hearings to learn more about the program of warrantless eavesdropping on Americans' international phone calls and e-mails in pursuit of terrorism suspects.

Bush defends it as essential to fighting terrorism.

Some Congress members have said a general heading the CIA could give the Pentagon too much sway over U.S. intelligence gathering. Others have said he is too close to the White House and lacks experience building a clandestine service.

The CIA is in charge of gathering human intelligence and Hayden, the former head of the National Security Agency, has most of his background in technological intelligence gathering.

As head of the NSA, he was in charge of eavesdropping operations. Bush has said Hayden was the one who proposed the domestic eavesdropping program after the September 11 attacks."

In other words, he's the right man to lead the CIA in a direction it's not intended to go. Or perhaps, he's the right man to drive out the few remaining people who understand the difference between "intelligence gathering" and data collection.

Hm. I wonder how long it will take for the CIA to drop this fellow into a "honey trap?" I mean, if one were a suspicious person, one might speculate that it's odd that the cavortings of the previous CIA director, Porter Goss, would become so suddenly and embarrassingly public.

Or am I the only one who has dark suspcions that the CIA may well be involved in a clandestine struggle for survival as an agency, (first, of course) and in a struggle to preserve the semi-democratic traditions of the CIA and it's support of our Constitution and freedoms?

Of course, such speculation is just that; nor will I bother to ask for a non-confirmation. But I await developments with interest.

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Freepers Unite in Horror against the Military Readiness Enhancment Act

Pam's House Blend:

Pam says and quotes:

I blogged last week about Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), the latest member of Congress to sign on to the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would kill Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

The wingers caught on to this bit of business, and put their own spin on it. Witness the reaction of "former homosexual" James Hartline. He calls the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network a "radical homosexual group" out to create a threat to national security. Put on your anti-gay tin foil hat and count the winger cliches in this, from The James Hartline Report (via Freeperland):

"In what many are calling a grave threat to national security, Democratic Congresswoman Susan Davis has begun to push for the legalization of sodomy in the United States military.* According to an April 28, 2006 press release issued by the radical homosexual group, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), Congresswoman Davis has signed on as a co-sponsor of a bill to remove the ban on homosexual participation in the United States military. Davis, a liberal pro-abortion Democrat, represents the military-based area of San Diego, in turn making her decision to lead the charge to remove restrictions on sodomy in the military, a move that could jeopardize, not only moral discipline in the armed forces, but would lead to the immediate flight of thousands of military servicemen who do not want to be exposed to homosexual activity inside of their barracks."

*Emphasis mine.

I think the immediate flight of people who equate their rectal integrety with national security from ANY institution devoted to our defense would be a Very Good Thing. Confusions of this nature clearly explain our difficulties with securing our Ports from intrusion by foreign... no. no. I musn't. It's just too easy.

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act?

Critics agree, such an act must perforce be "unnatural."

Clearly they have forgotton what it's like being a well fed and excercised 20-something. Such young heros need little "enhancement." They merely need to learn this simple ditty:

"This is my rifle,
This is my gun;
This is for fighting,
This is for fun!"

If you think I'm not taking this issue seriously enough, you must be a Republican. The absurdity of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is clear to anyone with a sense of proportion. To any student of military history, it's the greatest non issue of our time.

Put horny young men together under situations of stress, and some of them will bond in ways they may or may not consider under other circumstances. Various militaries deal with it in various ways; mostly by ignoreing it, even as one ignores the inappropriate sexual advances of spaniels toward one's trowser leg. It's a facet of human nature that is not improved by hysteria, nor one that deserves being given any great significance.

Meanwhile, there is no potential "threat to virtue" here that cannot be addressed with a flick of a wet towel.

"Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash."- Winston S. Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty.

UPDATE: More info on the background of this effort. All joking aside, this is a human rights issue, and that's the important fact being stomped by all the freeper-type propaganda.

"Congresswoman Davis's support is especially noteworthy because of her large military constituency," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). "San Diego is home to more than 21,000 lesbian and gay veterans and more than 317,000 military personnel. Congresswoman Davis carries enormous respect with military leaders in her district. Her sponsorship of this legislation sends a clear message that repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is in the best interest of our armed forces."

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act was introduced in March 2005 by Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.). It is currently pending at the House Armed Services Committee, where Congresswoman Davis is a member.

"While reviewing this bill, I examined the issue of gays and lesbians in the military closely and consulted with the diverse stakeholders in this important topic," Rep. Davis said in a statement. "As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I also take my responsibility to ensure the highest level of military readiness very seriously. Over the course of the last year, I questioned high-ranking members of the armed forces, active duty military personnel, veterans, military families, members of the LGBT community, my congressional colleagues and other interested groups. These exchanges helped me to understand and ultimately dismiss the argument that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military would negatively impact military readiness, as some have stated. After consulting this diverse sounding board, it is clear to me that the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy is a political invention that does not serve the real needs of our armed forces and should be repealed."

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Gandi's Seven Deadly Social Sins

When Gahndi was asked what he thought about Western Civilization he said "It would be a good idea." The only person to successfully eject a colonial power without armed struggle, noted for his wit as much as his wisdom, Gandi's example of how to resist oppression is an example of how to do political struggle without losing the distinction between "Us" and "them."

The image to your right comes from products labeled as Gandhi's Family Values

I think they are far more useful as precepts than anything you will find on the AFF website. Easier to remember, too.

One of the So Called Little People
- a none-too-subtle reference to neocon contempt for votors and persons that disagree with the neocon agenda.

The Seven Deadly Social Sins - Neoconservatism in a Nutshell.

Politics without principle - Wealth without work - Commerce without morality - Pleasure without conscience Education without character - Science without humanity - Worship without sacrifice Posted by Picasa


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