bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Canadian airlines think new TSA program violates privacy law
Canada's airlines fear violating privacy under new U.S. rules

All I have to say is "same shit, different day." See this post for more information.

This needs to stop. We're already chasing away business and tourism alike with this crap.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] gmjambear and I got to talking about President Obama's award of the Nobel Peace Prize. Gary suggested he received it, in part, because of his address to the Muslim world some months ago. I said he's got a gift for diplomatic public speaking, now let's see him get the opportunity to use it.

Gary reminded me that just as poverty was not wiped out in India when Mother Teresa received her prize, nor was civil rights a done deal in the US when Martin Luther King was awarded his, nor was the eternal conflict over Israel and Palestine settled when Yassir Arafat and Shimon Peres received theirs, so too is there much work yet to be done on the issues for which President Obama spoke so eloquently and thereby made himself a candidate for the prize.

And yes, it certainly helps that Obama is not Bush, as much as he might wish to hold on to the power that Bush left him during his eight disastrous years.

But in a field of endeavour in which progress comes, when it does at all, in painfully small increments over an excruciatingly long time, these awards are not so much for achievement but to promote whatever progress can be made. In other words, these are not laurels to be rested upon.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Note to self: If called upon to sing "America (My Country 'Tis of Thee)" in public, do not stop to take a breath in the middle of the word "Country". (At least the Queen of Soul didn't pronounce the "t" until she was done taking her breath, or it would not have been pretty.)

I keep wanting to call Rev. Rick Warren's church "Brokeback" instead of "Saddleback". No clue why... ;-)

I am so gratified that we weren't treated to a chorus of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from either the former President or the former Vice President, as I'd feared. In fact, George II didn't even get around to pardoning his partners in crime.

How wonderful it is to hear a President who speaks in complete sentences and imaginative, soaring prose, as opposed to mangled syntax, malapropisms, and repetitive slogans (September the 11th -- apply directly to the forehead).

Hmmm....

Oct. 4th, 2008 11:01 pm
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
While for the most part I have to discount conspiracy theories of all stripes as irrational, there's a little part of my brain that is drawn to them like a moth to a porch light. And so I wonder whether the folks behind Paulson and Bernanke making the request for the bailout pulled the right strings in the stock market on Monday to manufacture that big drop in the Dow, scaring the beJesus out of Congress and the American public alike, in order to get the bailout passed. Hmmm...

On a happier and more amusing front, I was talking with Mom the other day about my brother-in-law's job at GE Aircraft Engine and whether the Boeing strike had had any effect on it. She said no, he's actually busier than ever. I wondered aloud if perhaps Bombardier might be taking up some of the slack in production, pronouncing it "bom-ba-deer" as is common English pronunciation. This got [livejournal.com profile] gmjambear chuckling, as because Bombardier is based in Quebec, its name is properly pronounced in French, as "bom-bar-dee-yay".
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
EMILY: What's this I hear out of Warshington about the Unitarian Executive? I mean, who cares what religion the President is as long as he doesn't go around trying to convert people. And didn't they say he was a Methodist? I think...

ANNOUNCER (offstage): It's the Unitary Executive, not Unitarian.

EMILY: Oh. That's different. Never mind.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)


Way to stay on message, and not get suckered into the kind of cheap shots the Repugs are goading the Obama/Biden campaign to do.

I need to stop reading the Daily Kos, it makes my blood pressure skyrocket. Probably because I have the sick feeling that this election is already bought and paid for, and I don't know if this nation can survive another four years of this crap. I suppose I need a little less preaching to the choir and a little more constructive advice as to what the individual citizen can do to help.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
I just read a message in [livejournal.com profile] fj's journal about child predators and the legal impossibility of parents to monitor their children's text messages. I also ranted a bit here in my own journal (friends-locked due to intemperate language, sorry) about the inability of Congress or the courts to remedy any of the Constitution-shredding legislation of the past few years.

I'm finding that both of these issues have at bottom a simple fact: It is trivial to scare the vast majority of people out of all rational thought, but it is impossible to reason the frightened back to rationality. In other words ([livejournal.com profile] gmjambear's), "Fear trumps common sense."

I think this nation would be so much better off if our legislators would give their constituents credit for being rational and resisting the Chicken Little call of the executive branch, and we the constituents gave our legislators the same credit for being rational and not patronizing when dealing with the lesser-informed (and more easily frightened) among us.

In other words, We the People need to get a grip, and even more so our elected representatives.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
There are several catalogings of the World's Three Greatest Lies out there. But the one that has stuck in my head is... )

My thoughts today turn to the middle one: "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." According to Ronald Reagan these are the nine scariest words in the English language. Surprisingly, I tend to agree, but I'm certain I do so for far different reasons from Reagan.

It seems the individual members of the US government (both Congress and the Executive Branch) are each so consumed with perpetuating their own grip on power, mostly by kowtowing to corporate interests rather than doing the will of the people who elected them, that there is indeed little the government is willing to do to actually help the ordinary American.

Yet, there are some things that only the government has the resources to do, if only it had the will. This is especially true of massive public and semi-public works on which modern life is dependent. Provision of clean water, sewerage and sewage treatment; transportation infrastructure such as roads, rail, airports, and ferries; waste collection, recycling, and ultimate disposal; power transmission and distribution; and telecommunications infrastructure are all provided by a continuum of public and private (corporate) funding and support, with the first being more heavily funded by government and the last more by private capital and revenue.

The problem is that in many instances the heads of corporations act in their own self-interest and disguise it as the interest of the corporation as a whole (which is to say, the interests of the stockholders). And in many instances the interests of the corporations and their stockholders, whether or not they mesh with those of their CEOs, are at odds with the interests of the US economy as a whole (which is to say, the interests of the average American). And when conflicts of interest arise, it is the duty of government to resolve such conflicts in favor of doing the most good for the widest number of people -- but a government beholden to corporations cannot fulfill its duty.

And in essence this is most obvious when one considers the interests involved in the Iraq war. To the interests of the average American, war anywhere is an unmitigated disaster everywhere, because it not only puts all one holds near and dear in jeopardy, but also steals resources from the domestic economy to which they shall never return, and thereby impoverishes the nation. To the interests of the average multinational corporation, however, war is a cash cow, never mind the waste in resources and human suffering it engenders.

This is why every war has to be sold to the people with patriotic sentiments and noble intentions, and more and more are simply not buying it. So a government beholden to the war machine becomes increasingly tempted to bypass the rational marketplace and force the Kool-Aid down the collective throat of the nation.

This, quite simply, needs to stop.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
I wrote to Nancy Pelosi... )
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Caught a blurb on the Mike Malloy Show about some anti-war protesters from ANSWER being arrested, allegedly for holding a press conference in a public park. The arrest was made by police barging into (the press release said "suppressed") the press conference on horseback to separate the suspects from the press.

There was, to be honest, a fairly legitimate reason for the arrest: the press conference was staged because ANSWER didn't like being ordered not to advertise by pasting posters on surfaces such as electrical boxes and utility poles. The organization was already being threatened with fines for defacing public property, which is not protected by the First Amendment.

The argument could be made that as long as other advertisers are permitted to use public property to get out their message, that clamping down on only anti-war protesters is discriminatory abuse of police discretion. That is an argument for a court and not for the police to decide.

But purely making a speech in a public park arguably IS so protected, and an attempt to squash peaceful public protest by requiring permits could be construed as unconstitutional interference with freedom of speech. That case is still before the courts, but the obvious take-away is "what part of 'Congress shall make no law' did you not #@$%^&* understand?".

So on balance, I think there was no excuse to suppress the press conference itself to make what looked like a righteous bust based on legitimate principles of civil disobedience.

Hint to DC police: Wait until they are done (or almost done) and *then* make the arrest. That allows for less use of force, and it makes you look more like reasonable law enforcement officers instead of fascist stormtroopers.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
  • The principle of "innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" still applies in our criminal courts (despite the worst efforts of George II). However, it does not appear to apply to the court of political public opinion. As a result, the career of Larry Craig was doomed, rightly or wrongly, from the moment of his arrest -- no matter what legal avenues he pursued or did not pursue.

  • That said, in retrospect it was utterly stupid of Craig not to fight the charges against him, because a decent lawyer could very easily argue that based upon the officer's statement there was no crime committed and no charges should have been brought in the first place. (At least one law enforcement officer has come to the same opinion on one of the blogs spawned by this event.)

  • Of course, that is easy for me to say now but undoubtedly it would have been impossible for someone in Craig's position to say at the time, unless prepared for the possibility of arrest in advance, because incredible pressure is brought to bear on the targets of these stings to cop a plea deal and not to involve legal counsel. Couple that with the fact that the Senator was away from home and may not have had access to a local attorney, and you have a model for railroading someone into confessing to anything.

  • From a purely legal perspective, it seems that solicitation of an otherwise legal act should never constitute a crime merely because such solicitation occurs in a public place (of course, the act being solicited needs to occur in private to be legal). Any other interpretation would logically make a mockery of the First Amendment (as applied to the states by the Fourteenth). Sting operations then would merely need to be allowed to proceed to the point where the target exposes himself to the officer. If the target smells a rat and breaks off contact because the officer doesn't go first, the operation still has achieved its purpose of deterrence, without necessarily resulting in criminal charges.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
I happened to catch a post over on soc.motss that linked to Down With Tyranny!, and have been surfing around there all morning. The original post was related to the same incident I mentioned earlier about a tragic and politically connected murder-suicide in Florida, and draws links to yet another Republican, allegedly closeted, Congresscritter.

So while I was surfing I found this little tidbit. It brought back memories of The Dead Zone, with the fascist demagogue Greg Stillson (portrayed by Martin Sheen in the film) enlisting biker gangs as his brownshirts in his rise to power.

I suspect I'll be reading this blog a bit more often.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Mysterious Florida Deaths Involve GOP Consultant, God Knows What Else at Wonkette

Brief summary: three young men were found dead in the central Florida home of two of them, in what is believed to be a double murder/suicide. The homeowner was Ralph Gonzalez, former head of the Georgia Republican Party. His roommate, David Abrami, was a former president of the Central Florida Young Republicans, while the third man, Robert Drake, is described simply as "a friend". No definitive word on who killed whom, although detectives speculate Drake was the killer.

I first heard of this incident on the Mike Malloy show on our local Air America affiliate. At the time the speculation, also based on something said by detectives, was that this was a lovers' quarrel. However, any mention of that remark was rather quickly scrubbed from Associated Press reports including that of the Florida Times. It seems that the gay angle was so obvious that it was just as obviously covered up before any conclusions for good or ill can be drawn from it.

Malloy chose to use the occasion to deliver a mini-rant about Republicans raising the specter of the gay bogeyman while living secret gay lives themselves. In that sense it dovetails with all the other scandals going on among (mostly) Republican politicians, a phenomenon reported by Wonkette under the keywords "Endless Cummer".

We may never know with certainty what happened in that house, much less the motivations behind it. But I hate to think that these men died either because of their sexuality or because they knew too much about some political activity that could bring down one of their clients.

Update 08/24/2008 Wonkette seems to have done some reorganizing which broke the links in this post. The main link has been fixed and the other removed.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
Does anyone else think that W drawing the analogy of Iraq to Vietnam, after so many years of avoiding it like the plague, is a political and strategic blunder of the same order of magnitude as Marie Antoinette's infamous remark, "Let them eat cake"? I do.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once.
-- Amendment XXII, Constitution of the United States (Emphasis mine.)

Not that it makes any difference, but I can just see the argument being made that George II wasn't properly elected in 2000 so he gets another crack at it. Wrong answer.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
A while back I wrote of our current Congress regarding the possibility of impeachment:

[W]ith what we know now, I think impeachment of Bush might be doable, but Cheney is slick enough that he'd probably squeak by -- and you have to get both of them. But an investigation -- which is definitely in the works regardless of whether impeachment is a possible outcome -- at the very least may dig up behavior so outrageous that the people as a whole (not just us in the radical center) will be screaming for impeachment, if not Bush's head on a pike.


It seems in the commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence, Mr. Bush has just achieved a tactical success while committing a strategic blunder of Iraqi proportions. The hue and cry for impeachment of George II and Darth Cheney is getting louder and louder. Let's make sure it happens.

ITMFA. Enough said.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
One of my very first observations about the current excuse for an administration, on February 13, 2003, brought up the point that with all of the disregard the Bush crime family has for the Constitution they were sworn to "preserve, protect, and defend", it isn't inconceivable that one or more of the principals would simply refuse to leave office at the end of his term. Randi Rhodes happened to make the same observation on yesterday's show, although where I speculated that George II would be the one refusing to vacate, she thought it more likely that Dick Cheney would be doing so.

Thinking the unthinkable... )

On a lighter note, it would be cool to see JibJab or one of those sites run an animation of Bush or Cheney singing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
It occurred to me that Mitt is a funny name for a politician. Do you think ex-Governor Romney got it because he's a catcher? Just a thought.

"Last time people listened to a bush, they ended up walking around the desert for 40 years."
-- Caller on The Randi Rhodes Show (paraphrased)
bigmacbear: Me collapsing into Gary's arms, one arm over my forehead, both of us shirtless and wearing sunglasses (drama)
I woke this morning to Ken Schram on KOMO 1000 radio stating his opinion of the Ehren Watada case, now being tried before a court-martial at Fort Lewis, WA. The gist of the story is that Lt. Watada refused to deploy to Iraq on the grounds that the war there is in violation of the US Constitution and international law.

Mr. Schram pointed out that Lt. Watada "enlisted in the military after the invasion. He knew what he was getting into." Therefore he "deserves what I strongly suspect the military will give him: A dishonorable discharge and a few years to ponder his navel while in federal prison."

What is wrong with this picture? )

Whoever is right, this miscarriage of justice in the making -- or perhaps I should call it an outright abortion -- is going to be painful to watch. Enough said.
bigmacbear: Me in a leather jacket and Hockey Night in Canada ball cap, on a ferry with Puget Sound in background (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] blackwingbear posted the following link in his journal. This article, and the website of which it is a part, I have found to be fascinating.

Too long to post as a comment, but here's why. )

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