mousemusings...multimedia, music, progressive politics, video, web design and general rants
Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Friday, February 24, 2006


posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Tempest in a Teaport

Not only did Osama bin Laden get a lot of aid and support from the UAE, but it was one of three nations in the world to recognize the legitimacy of Afghanistan’s reprehensible Taliban. AQ Khan, the supposedly “renegade” Pakistani scientist, funneled most of the nuclear secrets and materials that he sold to Liberia, Iran and North Korea through Dubai while the government beamed its approval.

As middle east regimes go, it ranks about average, ahead of the American-created mess in Iraq, the thuggish and brutal regime of Musharraf in Pakistan, and the religiously insane kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Compared to most regional countries, it actually does fairly well in regard to women’s rights. And of course, it’s swimming in wealth, with gleaming, ultra-modern cities and incredible amusement parks hiding the large portion of the population that isn’t sharing in the obscene wealth.

The Putsch junta, ever corrupt, is attracted to wealth like flies to offal. If their followers put party ahead of country, they put money ahead of both. And the UAE is pure, undiluted money. [more]
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Mixed Signals

Why, just tell me why...
Why did Bush pointedly call reporters to the cabin of Air Force One and forcefully threaten to veto any law passed that would prohibit the United Arab Emirates from purchasing the rights to manage US ports?

He said, "I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a [British] company," Bush told reporters.

Might the fact that it isn't simply a company but a foreign government with questionable prior dealings have anything to do with the objections?

Why would someone so forcefully threaten a veto if he only learned about the transaction in recent days?

Something just isn't right.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Deeply Disturbing, if Not Portly Sinister

I'm way past cynicism here.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

$265 million spaceport to be built in the United Arab Emirates

On Friday, Space Adventures in Virginia, US, announced its plans to build a $265 million spaceport in the United Arab Emirates, with prospects for additional ports in Singapore and North America.

...)The Explorer vehicles will carry as many as five people into space, giving them an opportunity to peer back at their home planet for several minutes before returning to Earth.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Contrary to What We Have Been Led to Believe,

Iran was not referred to the Security Council by the IAEA for Noncompliance
There was no “referral” and there will be no “punitive action” because there are no violations. “Rather”, as Prather ads, “the IAEA Board ‘REQUESTED’ that Director-General Mohamed El Baradei report to the Security Council”…”calling on Iran to-among other things-implement ‘transparency measures’”.

These “transparency measures” have nothing to do with Iran’s obligations under the NPT. They are additional demands made at the behest of the Bush administration (through strong-arm tactics with nations on the IAEA Board) that will force Iran to provide access to “individuals, documentation relating to procurement, dual-use equipment, certain military owned workshops, and research and development as the Agency may request in support of its ongoing investigations”.

...Why is the IAEA facilitating another war by placating the Bush administration instead of condemning its obvious belligerence?
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

...Such a Long Time Coming...

Portions of a letter from the US Conference for the World Council of Churches to the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches
We lament with special anguish the war in Iraq, launched in deception and violating global norms of justice and human rights. We mourn all who have died or been injured in this war; we acknowledge with shame abuses carried out in our name; we confess that we have failed to raise a prophetic voice loud enough and persistent enough to deter our leaders from this path of preemptive war. Lord, have mercy.

The rivers, oceans, lakes, rainforests, and wetlands that sustain us, even the air we breathe continue to be violated, and global warming goes unchecked while we allow God’s creation to veer toward destruction. Yet our own country refuses to acknowledge its complicity and rejects multilateral agreements aimed at reversing disastrous trends. We consume without replenishing; we grasp finite resources as if they are private possessions; our uncontrolled appetites devour more and more of the earth’s gifts. We confess that we have failed to raise a prophetic voice loud enough and persistent enough to call our nation to global responsibility for the creation, that we ourselves are complicit in a culture of consumption that diminishes the earth. Christ, have mercy.

The vast majority of the peoples of the earth live in crushing poverty. The starvation, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the treatable diseases that go untreated indict us, revealing the grim features of global economic injustice we have too often failed to acknowledge or confront. Our nation enjoys enormous wealth, yet we cling to our possessions rather than share. We have failed to embody the covenant of life to which our God calls us; hurricane Katrina revealed to the world those left behind in our own nation by the rupture of our social contract. As a nation we have refused to confront the racism that exists in our own communities and the racism that infects our policies around the world. We confess that we have failed to raise a prophetic voice loud enough and persistent enough to call our nation to seek just economic structures so that sharing by all will mean scarcity for none. In the face of the earth’s poverty, our wealth condemns us. Lord, have mercy.

Just maybe we do have a conscience. That would be somewhat comforting, however, it seems Congress is either drinking the kool-aid or lacking a conscience as US Congress Votes to Provoke Iran Deja Vu.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Supreme Court Unanimously Rules in Favor of Church's Use of Hallucinogenic Tea

Justices, in their first religious freedom decision under Chief Justice John Roberts, moved decisively to keep the government out of a church's religious practice. Federal drug agents should have been barred from confiscating the hoasca tea of the Brazil-based church, Roberts wrote in the decision.

Occasionally there is still hope that all this country was founded upon has not been completely ripped away.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Things that Make me Frown

While Cheney dominates media coverage and the media continues to miss the real metaphor, that is, scattered demolition regardless what trigger his finger touches, or whatever his mouth shoots off, I choose to search for other news that may be conveniently passed over.


The Laboratoire européen d’Anticipation Politique Europe 2020, LEAP/E2020, now estimates to over 80% the probability that the week of March 20-26, 2006 will be the beginning of the most significant political crisis the world has known since the Fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, together with an economic and financial crisis of a scope comparable with that of 1929. This last week of March 2006 will be the turning-point of a number of critical developments, resulting in an acceleration of all the factors leading to a major crisis, disregard any American or Israeli military intervention against Iran. In case such an intervention is conducted, the probability of a major crisis to start rises up to 100%, according to LEAP/E2020.

Republicans Attack Home Heating Assistance for America's Poor
“If I were to try to dream up an initiative to highlight that Republicans are on another planet when it comes to energy policy, this investigation would be it,” said Markey. “Having utterly failed, after repeated giveaways to the industry, to do anything to help the American people deal with skyrocketing heating oil prices, natural gas prices, gasoline prices and rising dependence on foreign oil, what do they decide to investigate? A charitable donation of heating oil to relieve the suffering of a few thousand American families!

I don't even want to get into Condi Rice's attempt to villify Chavez at the moment, else my head explodes.

Yet Again, GOP Requests Church Directories

WWIII or Bust: Implications of a US Attack on Iran
even though
There is no imminent threat of Iran building a nuclear weapon
"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous... Having said that, all options are on the table." -- George W. Bush, February 2005

"The Bush administration cannot be trusted with foreign policy. Its military adventurism has already proven disastrous across the globe. It's incumbent upon each of us to do whatever we can to stop this race towards war."

Market tip: Botox
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Monday, February 20, 2006


Check Your Conscience at the Door: We're Building an Empire

"Imagine a nation unfettered by the silly constraints of conscience, the rule of law (over the whims of individual rulers), humanity, and justice! My mind is reeling in orgasmic delight at the virtually infinite array of possibilities."

A good read for those who still have a conscience.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Solnit on Walmart;
The Two Uses of Symbolism

Rebecca Solnit wrote an interesting essay about Wal-Mart, which is posted at Tom Dispatch (also posted on The Nation). To put the essay into perspective, it is helpful to know a little bit about Ms. Solnit:
Rebecca Solnit is a writer, art critic, museum exhibition curator, and political activist. She won wide acclaim and recognition for her 1994 book, Savage Dreams : A Journey into the Landscape Wars of the American West (Vintage). Centering on counter-histories of Yosemite National Park and the landscape of Nevada's nuclear test sites, Savage Dreams is a destabilizing and demystifying intervention into the tragic and romantic mythopoetics of place in the American West. Her 1997 A Book of Migrations: Some Passages in Ireland (Verso) is a travel narrative which navigates through ideas about remembering and forgetting, identity and landscape, and patterns of movement, from colonialism to tourism and nomadism. Her recently published Wanderlust, Solnit writes, is a history of "walking as a cultural activity, from the peripatetic philosophers of ancient Greece to the contemporary paleontological arguments about bipedal evolution, from an aesthetic pleasure in eighteenth-century England to the growth of politically active walking clubs at the turn of the century and the birth of the outdoor industry and climbing gyms, as well as histories of the rise and fall of urban walking as a pleasure, pedestrian uprisings, and the gender politics of public space."
The important point is that she is a museum curator and art critic. So why would she write about Wal-Mart? And why should we care? After all, the Blogosphere is littered with essays about Wal-Mart; the fact that there is much dissent about their practices hardly needs amplification. The reason she writes about it, is that she is concerned about the actions of Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton. Ms. Walton is opening an art museum: Crystal Bridges. Ms. Solnit sees an opportunity to make use of that phenomenon as a metaphor for some incisive social commentary.

Ms. Solnit does give some stats on Wal-Mart wages, and such, but if that is all she did, it would not be noteworthy. Her perspective as a curator enables her to see the irony of an enormous corporation celebrating great works of individuality and creativity; while at the same time, that same corporation thrives on the stifling of individuality, selling millions of uninspiring, identical items. Ms. Solnit develops this idea with artistic richness and insight, making use of her knowledge of the specific works of art being acquired by the museum, and the artist and his subjects:
So now a portrait of antislavery and wilderness advocates belongs to a woman whose profits came from degrading working conditions in the U.S. and abroad and from ravaging the North American landscape.
One of the advantages of an education in the Humanities is that it provide one with the skills needed to find meaning in symbolic expressions. It also provides the skills needed for a more subtle, but powerful process: the adaptation of symbols originally created to express one idea, then using them to express other ideas.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

Friday, February 17, 2006

Democrats Shoot Their Own, Too

It's pathetic to watch most of the genuine opposition to Bush coming from people in his own party, from torture policies (Sen. John McCain, R-AZ) to NSA spying (Rep. Heather Wilson, R-NM), while most Democrats in Congress are lying down, sitting back or are just comatose. Meanwhile, with no opposition worthy of the name, the Bush administration is hacking away at what's left of the Constitution, international law, and civil liberties.

Dave Lindorff's advice, written in the next to the last paragraph, is advice I intend to heed.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Grace Lee and Jimmy Boggs

On the Jack Lessenberry blog, Mr. Lessenberry has a couple of posts (and podcasts) about the story of Grace Lee and Jimmy Boggs.
Essay: Stranger Than Fiction - 2/16/06

There isn’t a better story in Michigan than this, and you’ve probably never heard it. Years ago, a Chinese-American woman with a Ph.D from Bryn Mawr moved to Detroit to publish a newsletter.

She was a follower of an obscure Caribbean leader of a tiny Marxist sect. One night, Grace Lee invited one of the sect’s few other local members for dinner. She barely knew him.

He was a black autoworker from Alabama, with an eighth-grade education and six kids. He showed up two hours late. He told her he didn’t like what she had made for dinner and sneered at her taste in music. And then, he asked her to marry him. And she said yes. [...]
He also has an interview with Ms. Boggs here. What is interesting about this story, is that Mr. Boggs ended up writing a widely-acclaimed book, despite his low level of formal education.
His 1963 book, The American Revolution: Notes From a Negro Worker’s Notebook, was so brilliant it drew a fan letter from Bertrand Russell, then the best-known philosopher living.
Between the two of them, they anticipated some of the consequences of increasing mechanization of the auto industry.
He was black, she Chinese-American, and together they tried to come up with a new vision for a post-industrial Detroit. Now she is 90 and still trying to change the city. Among other things, she is the guiding spirit of Detroit Summer. It’s an annual program that brings school children together with older generations to “rebuild Detroit from the ground up.”
It is a great human-interest story, and a great local-history story.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

"I said it. I meant it. I stand behind it."

Democratic Party has forced Hackett out of the race
"For me, this is a second betrayal." Hackett told the
NYT. "First, my government misused and mismanaged the
military in Iraq, and now my own party is afraid to
support candidates like me."

...) Mr. Hackett was the first Iraq war veteran to seek
national office, and the decision to steer him away
from the Senate race has surprised those who see him as
a symbol for Democrats who oppose the war but want to
appear strong on national security.

...) "Hackett is seen by many as a straight talker, and he became an icon to the liberal bloggers because he says exactly what they have wished they would hear from a politician,"

...) Mr. Hackett was widely criticized last year for using indecent language to describe President Bush. Last month, state Republicans attacked Mr. Hackett for saying their party had been hijacked by religious extremists who he said "aren't a whole lot different than Osama bin Laden."

Meanwhile...Feingold, Alone, Filibusters Patriot Act

...and we wonder why the Democrats are left eating dust? They live in a bubble too. They can eat dirty soap. They won't, for the most part, be sitting at my table. In fact, I'm fast becoming one of those people so disgusted with the political process I may decide to join the majority of disengaged America and quit paying attention and quit voting altogether. Leaving Feingold alone on this is more than shameful, and shutting Hackett out is contemptible.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


There, I said it. (again)
I've been at a loss what to write about lately. I often like to point to things I don't feel are getting enough exposure, but exposure lately has been burning my skin, in a good way, mind you.
I did find a good collection of lies with related links. While I do have a wee problem with the tone of the post, i.e. calling all Republicans liars, I too think the word 'lie' needs to be used, and often.
You may have even forgotten a few of the lies. The collection is a hefty reminder that we simply can't allow this to continue.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

A 12-month flight from the consumer grid

The Compact started two years ago when Perry and a group of his friends, who were tired of devoting so much of their time and money on items they don't need, vowed to go six months without buying anything new.

American consumerism, they say, has led to global environmental and socioeconomic crises, and the only way to reverse it is to stop buying into it.

The Compact has several aims:
1) to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact
2) to reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er)
3) to simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)
So, here goes for the rules
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

National Security: The Attack on the Constitution - And the Use and Abuse of Secrecy

by Jim Marcinkowski
Delivered to the Washtenaw County Democratic Party, February 8, 2006

It is my pleasure to be able to share some of my thoughts with you this evening on matters of national security and the Constitution. I come here not as a Democrat, not as a former Republican, but as an American who is deeply troubled by the direction we are headed as a nation.

Over the past 30 years, I have served this country in a variety of positions from the FBI to the CIA, and as a lawyer and a prosecutor. I would like to share with you some of the perspectives those experiences have provided me.

...) The Administration’s ignoring of the law in the case of wiretapping is but one part of what I see as an emerging pattern or practice of illegal and unethical conduct.

When my CIA classmate, Valerie Wilson’s cover was exposed by the White House in 2003, I as well as other members of my class appeared in October of that year on Nightline to explain the consequences of that unprecedented act. It was from that program that the CIA leak case became a national story. Behind the scenes, there is an interesting, as well as informative story. [ read on ]

Why Jim is running for Congress if the preceeding speech didn't give you a clue...
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Monday, February 13, 2006

Elegant Windpower

Unlike other renewable energy sources, quietrevolution is also available in a unique model capable of creating a striking visual display that is part illuminated billboard, part artwork, part renewable energy device.

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) embedded in each of its three S-shaped blades fire in sequence as the blades rotate, painting a video screen that appears to hang in the air. This full colour and motion image is clearly visible day and night.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Zoo tempts gay penguins to go straight

Zoo tempts gay penguins to go straight

A German zoo has imported four female penguins from Sweden in an effort to tempt its gay penguins to go straight.

The four Swedish females were dispatched to the Bremerhaven Zoo in Bremen after it was found that three of the zoo's five penguin pairs were homosexual.

Keepers at the zoo ordered DNA tests to be carried out on the penguins after they had been mating for years without producing any chicks.

It was only then they realised that six of the birds were living in homosexual partnerships.

Director Heike Kueck said that the zoo hoped to see some baby penguins in the coming months.

She said that the birds had been mating for years and one couple even adopted a stone that they protected like an egg.

Kueck said that the project has the support of the European Endangered Species Programme because the penguins, which are native to South America, are an endangered species. [...]
At first, this seemed like some kind of nutty homophomic scheme, but it sounds as though they really are trying to increase the world's population of this particular species (which, they mention, is an endagered species.) It does seem kind of meddlesome, though.

HT: Dave
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

Friday, February 10, 2006

For a Change of Scenery

Visit (and add to your blogroll) Blog With a View.
Wonderful art, including fractals, and, if you dig back into the archives, you'll find some delightful cut-up compositions.
The view in my blog with a view is not fixed. Sometimes it tilts its window and slants its light to politics or culture -- or to poetry and digital art -- or to chaos and nonsense. And, ideally, hopefully, sometimes to Alice Fulton's "third space: the non-binary in-between."
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bush-appointed judges most conservative on record

Bush-appointed judges most conservative on record, new UH study finds. Judges appointed by President George W. Bush are the most conservative on record when it comes to civil rights and liberties, according to a new study by a political science professor at the University of Houston. Bush judicial appointees are significantly more conservative than even the very conservative voting record of jurists appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr. in the realm of civil rights and liberties, said Robert Carp, professor of political science at UH. When it comes to these decisions, the Bush team is a full 5 percentage points more conservative than even the trial judges appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr.
ScienceBlog 04:00 Feb-08
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

NY Times: Republican Who Oversees N.S.A. Calls for Wiretap Inquiry

The lawmaker, Representative Heather A. Wilson of New Mexico, a House Republican whose subcommittee oversees the National Security Agency, broke ranks with the White House on Tuesday and called for a full Congressional inquiry into the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program.

...Ms. Wilson said in the interview Tuesday that she considered the limited Congressional briefings to be "increasingly untenable" because they left most lawmakers knowing little about the program. She said the House Intelligence Committee needed to conduct a "painstaking" review, including not only classified briefings but also access to internal documents and staff interviews with N.S.A. aides and intelligence officials.

Ms. Wilson, a former Air Force officer who is the only female veteran currently in Congress, has butted up against the administration previously over controversial policy issues, including Medicare and troop strength in Iraq. She said she realized that publicizing her concerns over the surveillance program could harm her relations with the administration. "The president has his duty to do, but I have mine too, and I feel strongly about that," she said.

It's great to see that some Republicans have more spine, or, shall I say, pure conscience, than many Democrats. Rove could put her on his 'blacklist', but I have a feeling his 'blacklist' will become known for what it is, just as this administration is finally becoming known for what they are. Thugs.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Out of Touch and Buried

Bubble Boy has outdone himself with his bold budget blunders. Ink hasn't even dried on the SOTU and he's already ripped it to shreds along with everything else he's touched. This one won't fly, and this time, it won't be the housing bubble that pops. I think we can safely say, 'pop goes the weasel'. Follows are just a handful of links to pass along to your neighbors who still want to keep their heads buried, yet dare not to.

Guns Over Butter, Abroad and at Home

Election-year politics imperil Bush budget

The $2.77 Trillion Disgrace

George Bush's Dishonest Budget

Bush's Budget Bolsters Pentagon

FY 2007 Budget Proposal: Agency-by-Agency Breakdown
Domestic Programs Take the Hit

Lest we forget the healthcare mess we are already in and then consider further cuts. Oh...and you might want to consider higher heating costs in your visual equation. Obviously Bubble Boy can't do it.

Stability of Mentally Ill Shaken By Medicare Drug Plan Problems

Feds seizing Canadian prescription drugs
Minnesotans buying mail-order prescription drugs from Canada through the state of Minnesota's websites, the Minnesota Senior Federation, are having medications confiscated by U.S. Customs in escalating numbers.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

My Epiphany

written by Paul Craig Roberts
who just handed me my epiphany with the following:
The years of illegal spying have given the Bush administration power over the media and the opposition. Journalists and Democratic politicians don't want to have their adulterous affairs broadcast over television or to see their favorite online porn sites revealed in headlines in the local press with their names attached. Only people willing to risk such disclosures can stand up for the country.

The entire article is a must read.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Monday, February 06, 2006

The News That Wasn't

Today I checked a few news sites to find out what happened to Bush's approval ratings, following the State of the Union Party. The first item I found (the top of a Google News search for "Bush Bounce") was this:
Switch Grass May Bounce Back As Player in New Energy Goals
by: Gary Wulf, Dow Jones Newswires

Central City, Neb. - Switch grass used to blanket the Eastern and Central U.S. from the Gulf Coast to Canada, providing a habitat for birds and food for deer, which would munch on the five-foot-tall perennial.

Cleared by pioneers to make room for food crops, switch grass was relegated to use as erosion control in low-quality land but may be making a comeback.

President Bush, during the State of the Union address, said the U.S. is "addicted" to oil and presented switch grass as part of a new energy initiative. [...]
Not that I spent a lot of time digging, but I actually did not find any results for any polls done after the speech. This seems odd. There is a website,, that lists Bush's recent approval ratings. There were surveys done in the following periods (all in 2006): 1/3-5; 1/4-8; two from 1/5-8; 1/6-8; 1/10-11; 1/9-12; 1/12-15; 1/20-22; 1/20-25; two from 1/22-25; 1/24-25; 1/23-26; 1/24-26; and 1/26-29. I don't know how often the site is updated, but as of this moment, it shows nothing covering the time after the speech.

Zogby International's website
already shows results for the Superbowl advertisements, but nothing for the post-SOTU results. And it appears as though Zogby is interested in the subject, judging by what they posted on January 30, 2006:
“This is going to be one of the most important speeches President Bush ever delivers,” said John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International, “because it’s going to be important for him to win back his own constituency. Right now, his numbers are very, very low. Support for the war in Iraq is low, support for his handling of the economy is low, and even support for his handling of the war on terrorism is not where it has traditionally been.”
So if Mr. Zogby thought that the SOTU would be "one of the most important speeches President Bush ever delivers,” then why are there no data to assess the effectiveness of the speech?

One thing I learned, was the the Republican National Committee did not expect a bounce:
RNC Says Don't Expect Bush Bounce
The RNC is playing down expectations for President Bush's State of the Union address tonight by sending around this analysis by pollster Matthew Dowd:

"In looking at poll movement before and after State of the Union addresses, the average over the last fifty years is actually a slight drop (-0.2%). President Bush’s average change is also a drop (-0.4%). Only one of his SOTU addresses showed positive movement (2005), which is likely attributed to the intervening events of the 2005 Inaugural and January 2005 Iraqi elections. Even the “Great Communicator” President Ronald Reagan’s average poll movement after State of the Union addresses was negative (-2.6%), and in fact Reagan only had one SOTU speech with positive poll movement!" [...]
(There is a similar article on the Gallup site, but you have to pay to read the whole thing. I won't bother linking to it. They also have a blurb about an "instant reaction" poll done right after the speech, but the abstract doesn't provide enough information to draw any conclusions, and they do not portray it as a scientific poll.)

Apparently, the White House did not get the memo about downplaying expectations:
Bush seeks State of the Union bounce
President 'upbeat,' set to focus on kitchen-table issues

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush will attempt to revive his presidency with an "upbeat" State of the Union address that stresses kitchen-table issues such as energy and health care, according to his spokesman.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said Tuesday night's speech will be "optimistic and confident," centering around four new proposals. [...]
Judging from the RNC memo, it sounds as though it is routine for polling agencies to assess the effect of a Presidential State of the Union Address. Yet, by now they've had a week to do so. Either they just did not do it this time, or they did it, and decided to withhold the results. In either case, I would wonder why. In order to be valid, the post-speech survey would have to be done immediately after the speech, or at least within a couple of days. So if no polls have been done by now, we'll never know whether there was a Bush Bounce, or not.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

Have patience and indulgence toward the people... Reexamine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, dismiss what insults your soul, and your flesh shall become a great poem.
~Walt Whitman
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Bush seeks defence spending rise

at the expense of healthcare, education and transportation.

Mr Bush is seeking a 6.9% hike in US military spending to $439.3bn, and a 3.3% rise in homeland security funds.

To keep plans to cut the fiscal deficit on track, big cuts have been proposed in healthcare spending.

Mr Bush wants to cut spending on Medicare - the healthcare programme for the poor, elderly and disabled - by $35.9bn over the next five years.

Savings are also sought in vocational education, justice and transportation.

If his criminal acts haven't already done him in, this will.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

If You Oppose the War: Influence Congress, Support Anti-War Candidates, and Influence the Media

By Kevin Zeese
An Interview with Activist David Swanson
[read ]
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Just Linking and, Maybe, Thinking

Random is how I feel and it's reflected in the following links.

A first-hand account of police harrassment and brutality against a World Can't Wait organizer in Cleveland.

We have given Chavez no reason to do anything other than Buy More Weapons.

Military interest in new brain-scanning technology is beginning to show a sinister side

"I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international
community and the United Nations Security Council. How do you think that
makes me feel? Thirty-one years in the United States Army and I more or
less end my career with that kind of a blot on my record? That's not a
very comforting thing." -Lawrence Wilkerson, Chief of Staff for Colin Powell prior to the war on Iraq.

Experts Claim Official 9/11 Story is a Hoax
A group of distinguished experts and scholars, including Robert M. Bowman, James H. Fetzer, Wayne Madsen, John McMurtry, Morgan Reynolds, and Andreas von Buelow, have concluded that senior government officials have covered up crucial facts about what really happened on 9/11.

They have joined with others in common cause as members of "Scholars for 9/11 Truth" (S9/11T), because they are convinced, based on their own research, that the administration has been deceiving the nation about critical events in New York and Washington, D.C.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Not My America

First we had debates about torture. I couldn't believe it was even an issue up for discussion. Next we had debates about wiretapping Americans, another seemingly untouchable concept. Now, although almost nothing surprises me anymore, we are having this discussion:
Can George Bush Order a Killing on U.S. Soil?
In the circle of things we can only go so far to the extreme right before we reach the other far extreme, Stalinism.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Big Fix

by Dennis Kucinich

"Soon after Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, destroying hundreds of thousands of homes and jobs, President Bush said the region looked like it had been obliterated by a weapon. It was. Indifference is a weapon of mass destruction. And the Bush Administration's indifference to the economic security of New Orleans residents continues to this day.

"For the 500,000 evacuees still not back in their homes, unemployment is epidemic: About one-quarter of whites, and one-half of African-Americans, are still out of work. It's not because jobs are scarce; in fact, there is a labor shortage in New Orleans. Most of those who have returned from the Katrina diaspora have found jobs. The massive unemployment is caused by the lack of housing near the reconstruction job sites.

"The indifferent Bush Administration, through the now-infamous FEMA, is compounding the unemployment problems of hurricane victims. FEMA located the largest temporary housing facility for evacuees ninety-one miles from New Orleans, in Baker, Louisiana. That's hardly a reasonable commute, especially for low-income folks. Barry Kaufman,
business manager of Local 689 of the Construction and General Laborers, told the New York Times he had "at least 2,000" evacuees willing to take cleanup jobs. The trouble was getting them there; the local's hiring hall, along with thousands of evacuees, has been displaced to Baton Rouge, more than an hour's drive away.

"So the cleanup jobs are going to out-of-town contractors, young single out-of-towners and undocumented workers. Not that these folks are getting a great deal either: President Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, requiring that the area's average wage be paid on all federal construction projects. George Miller led the fight in Congress to roll back that suspension. But the President also lifted
the requirement that all federal contractors have an affirmative-action plan, and the Department of Homeland Security granted a waiver to employers from collecting the immigration status of reconstruction hires.

"Unlike the damage caused by Katrina, these problems are entirely man-made -- and they can be solved. Several steps can be taken to address the employment problems the Administration has exacerbated. First, we need to put housing near jobs. ACORN has recommended that temporary housing facilities be re-sited in New Orleans, or as near
the city as possible.

"Second, all federal reconstruction contracts, subcontracts and grants should require corporate recipients to hire locally. A high standard, such as the 50 percent requirement in Senator Ted Kennedy's bill, or the 40 percent level in the Congressional Black Caucus's bill, should be the guide.

"Third, let's recognize that New Orleans today is an extreme microcosm of America -- saddled with a broken infrastructure and significant unemployment at a time when federal budget deficits are peaking and dampening the prospects of adequate rebuilding money. Nationally, estimates of what it will take to fix our crumbling
infrastructure exceed $1 trillion.

"Where will the money come from? Congress should direct the Federal Reserve to make zero-interest loans available to states and municipalities for the express purpose of modernizing and repairing our nation's schools, water systems, bridges and streets. These loans would be integrated into the normal open-market operations of the Fed, which controls the nation's money supply in a similar way.

"I will be introducing the Repairing America's Infrastructure Act, a bill that already has bipartisan support, in the upcoming session of Congress. While creatively financing the rebuilding of New Orleans, we can start rebuilding the rest of America's infrastructure -- and creating good jobs, with fair wages, in the process."

I hadn't seen this in the US media so when I found the translation, I found it worth passing along.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Friday, February 03, 2006

Contemplative Science (Listening)

Sam Harris writes about a week spent with fellow scientists on a silent meditation retreat sponsored by the Insight Meditation Society. "Many of the scientists found the experience grueling. Some said it was the hardest week of their lives."
... when seated, pay attention to the sensation of breathing; when walking, notice the feeling of moving your feet; and whenever you find that your mind has wandered into thought, simply come back to the mere awareness of sensation. Once meditators have developed an ability to concentrate on the flow of physical sensations in this way, they are encouraged to pay attention to the entire range of their experience. The practice from then on is to be precisely aware, moment by moment, of the full tumult of consciousness and its contents: sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, intentions, and emotions. Of critical importance for the purposes of science: there are no unjustified beliefs or metaphysics that need be adopted at all.

For more about Collaborative Research Among Buddhists and Western Scientists and future retreats see
Mind and Life Summer Research Institute Focusing on four mental states, these meditative techniques cultivate different mental faculties, some of which have received scant attention in the modern scientific literature.

* Focused attention (Samatha) or 'one-pointed concentration' involves sustaining attention upon an object without being distracted away from it
* Open attention (Rig pa'i cog bgzag) is a state of total openness in which the mind is not focused on something. It is unconcerned and unaffected by perceptions, recollections and imagination, yet there is no intent whatsoever to block or prevent them;
* Visualization consists of both the mental construction and mental viewing of highly detailed visual mental images;
* Compassion consists of the voluntary cultivation of a positive affective state that Buddhist practitioners consider essential to counteracting self-centered tendencies. It involves the generation of a state in which love and compassion permeate the whole mind, with no other consideration, reasoning or discursive thoughts.

More resources about mindfulness, insight meditation, or vipassana can be found on my page tagged as mindfulness. (a further extension of sorts of my 'listening' musings)
I have to smile at the reference above as 'grueling', while I wonder how many of the same scientists are now looking forward to another retreat.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Test for magic mushrooms glows in dark

Nicole Anastos, an Australian researcher, has developed a new test for mushrooms that produces a glowing light if they contain the hallucinogenic ingredients that make them 'magic'.

The technique uses chemiluminescence, a light reaction that occurs when two chemicals react, to detect psilocybin and its metabolite psilocin.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Party On

posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


'As adults, we have forgotten most of our childhood, not only its contents but its flavour; as men of the world, we hardly know of the existence of the inner world: we barely remember our dreams, and make little sense of them when we do; as for our bodies, we retain just sufficient proprioceptive sensations to coordinate our movements and to ensure the minimal requirements for biosocial survival to register fatigue, signals for food, sex, defecation, sleep; beyond that, little or nothing. Our capacity to think, except in the service of what we are dangerously deluded in supposing is our self-interest, and in conformity with common sense, is pitifully limited: our capacity even to see, hear, touch, taste and smell is so shrouded in veils of mystification that an intensive discipline of un-learning is necessary for anyone before one can begin to experience the world afresh, with innocence, truth and love.'
~ R D Laing in The Politics of Experience.

Still thinking about that lost flavor of childhood and tasting the bitter realization that as adults, we are all whores. Pitiful.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |


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