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, March 31, 2006

Scouring Iraq For Good News

Conservatives complain that the media are only reporting the bad news from Iraq. Liberals disagree. One blogger went there in an effort to discern the truth.

Scouring Iraq for good news

Reporters find success stories, but admit that the failures deserve most of the media's attention.

Blogger Michael Yon spent 10 months embedded with the military in Iraq looking for success stories, becoming the poster boy for those who say the mainstream media are not reporting good news from the war-torn country.

But ask the Winter Haven native about criticism last week from President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and others that mainstream news reporters are missing the real story of achievement in Iraq, and he strikes a more conciliatory tone.

"The only journalists I think are doing a bad job are people who go in for a few weeks or a month - the short term embeds trying to write an expose of Iraq," said Yon, who left Iraq in September and hopes to return soon.

"When you really start to see the big picture, though there are places in Iraq that are not on fire, the places that are, are really on fire ," added the blogger, whose work appears at "No one wants to be the first to say what is obviously true ... that Iraq is already in a civil war." [...]

When you recall that the Pentagon has been chastized for disseminating propaganda, it becomes difficult to believe the Administration rhetoric.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The GOP's Stake In Checking The President

Senator Russ Feingold
...) When the President breaks the law, he must be held accountable, and that is why I have introduced a resolution to censure (S.RES.398) the President for his actions. Yet, as we face a President who thinks he is above the law, most Republicans are willing to cede enormous power to the executive branch. Their actions are not just short-sighted, they are a departure from one of the Republican Party’s defining goals: limiting government power.

...)One of the best ways to limit government power is to ensure that each branch provides a check on the other two, but most Republicans in Congress today aren’t checking the President’s power or defending the judicial branch’s right to do so—they are giving him a blank check to ignore the rule of law.

...)A party that prides itself on limiting government, and supporting individual freedom and the rule of law, should think twice before it allows any President to ignore the laws that Congress passes.

That he would even have to write this and argue these points astounds me. That the entire Congress are ignoring their duties in the face of a tyrant makes them all ineffective cowards. Even if they were all wiretapped and all had dusty skeletons, the skeletons couldn't be as bad as living with the knowledge that they sold this country out. Censure is but a tiny step on a long road back to who we once were; a proud nation with honest defenders of our Constitution.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Liars Figure

The folks at the Economic Policy Institute have been looking over the latest US Census Bureau's latest report on poverty. They noticed something disturbing:

The Census Bureau recently unveiled new
alternative poverty measures “intended to provide
a more complete measure of economic wellbeing.”
The new poverty measures, which
produce poverty rates as much as one-third below
the official poverty rate, contain some features
that have been characterized by poverty experts
and past Census reports as flawed or incomplete.

The EPI report, POOR MEASUREMENT: New Census Report on Measuring Poverty Raises Concerns, by Jared Bernstein and Arloc Sherman, is available as a PDF download (230KB).

The report shows how the Bureau is departing from previous practice. The result is that they report a lower incidence of poverty than would be shown using the previous method. Their "more complete" method actually leaves out important information. Hmmm, I wonder why they are doing that?

posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

Forget Impeachment, Resign Now!

We'll work out the rest of the details later.
Censure and the road to impeachment was a good idea, but in light of this, we no longer have the time, stamina, or money to waste. He said he'd leave it to future presidents to decide how and when we would leave Iraq. Let's get the future president in now. I've been ill lately and this just added to it. Sick and tired is the least of it.
Rival Shia groups unite against US after mosque raid
"At evening prayers, American soldiers accompanied by Iraqi troops raided the Mustafa mosque and killed 37 people," said Abd al-Karim al-Enzi, the security minister, who belongs to the Dawa party of the prime minister, Ibrahim al Jaafari. "They [the victims] were unarmed. They went in, tied up the people and shot them all. They did not leave any wounded."

We are a sick nation with a sick leader. Feingold was a taste of medicine, but it wasn't effective enough. We the people, (video of James Spader) need to demand Bush and the rest of his cronies RESIGN NOW. Too bad we don't have it in us.

'sick and tired' said he
through ferocious smug teeth
the parent
who dictates
and has no ears
his own orphaned children
forced to live in his fears
no money for healthcare
never knew how to feel
approved by his seal

star wars, the father
avenged by the son
bully of the schoolyard
everyone run!
the war he is fighting
contrived in his head
no smoking gun
to sleep in his bed

the madness of power
fuels limited reign
'sick and tired' said he
and who is insane?
no condom protection
for an oil whore's well
the choices are clear
comply or rebel

~Cyndy Roy January 2003
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Great Defections

During the Cold War, it was commonplace for persons to try to escape from behind the Iron Curtain, to establish a better life in the West, often right here in the United States. Many of these defections were played up in the media. The implication was that the defections proved that "we" must be better than "them."

In point of fact, defections actually went both ways. Still, there probably were more east-to-west defections than the other way around, and it probably is true that we were better than them.

In American politics today, there have been a couple of high-profile defections. Both involve long-term supporters of the Republican party. Perhaps it is not really fair to call the "defections," though, since neither is planning to join the Democrats.

On February 19, 2006, Francis Fukuyama published an essay in the NYT Magazine: After Neoconservatism. The essay was basically a preview for his book, America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy. (See book review here.) His main point is that the neoconservative movement has gone seriously astray. So far astray, indeed, that it cannot be salvaged.

On March 21, 2006, Kevin Phillips published a book, American Theocracy : The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21stCentury. There was an interesting interview with Phillips on the Diane Rehm show on 3/24/06. (Windows Media/Real Audio) Further media interest was exhibited on TPM Cafe, where American Theocracy was discussed in their book club. Like Fukuyama, Phillips expresses the belief that the modern incarnation of the Republican party has gone astray, much to the detriment of our country as a whole.

With two prominent conservatives bashing the Republican party, it would be tempting for progressives to jump for joy, just as the USA celebrated the high-profile defections of the Cold War.

Unfortunately, that would not be appropriate. Fukuyama and Phillips are castigating the Republican Party because the party has really screwed things up. There is no joy in that, no matter how you look at it. Even if everyone defected from the Republican party, things would still be screwed up. Moreover, Fukuyama and Phillips have not embraced the Democratic party. Perhaps that is because it would be just too great of a leap for them. But perhaps that is because they have grown wary of any large political organization. Or perhaps it is because they do not see the Democratic Party as having much to offer.

No, if there is a reason to be joyful over these defections, it is because it raises the possibility that maybe, maybe, there is hope for the development of a credible centrist party. I would like to think so. I would prefer to have a progressive centrist party, but failing that, I could support any centrist party that is not ideologically-driven.

At this point, our political system is seriously screwed up. What we need to do is back off on any grandiose initiatives, and focus on fixing things. We need to put our country in the political equivalent of an intensive care unit. The focus has to be on stabilizing our vital signs, keeping us alive for a while longer, before we plunge ahead with anything too ambitious.

Phillips gives some apt suggestions for getting the country back on track: reducing dependence on oil, reducing the deficit, and limiting the influence of religion in politics. That would help keep things from getting worse.

In order to start healing, we need to undo most of the tax cuts, knock off this foolish imperialism, cut way back on defense spending, stop coddling large corporations, and focus on rebuilding the middle class. But the focus should always be on outcome, not ideology.
posted by : Joseph j7uy5 | link |   | |

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Politics of Place

An Interview with Terry Tempest Williams
by Scott London
We're animals, I think we forget that. I think there is an ancient archetypal memory that still exists within us. If we deny that, what is the cost? So I do think it's what binds us as human beings. I wonder, What is it to be human? Especially now that we are so urban. How do we remember our connection with place? What is the umbilical cord that roots us to that primal, instinctive, erotic place? Every time I walk to the edge of this continent and feel the sand beneath my feet, feel the seafoam move up my body, I think, "Ah, yes, evolution." You know, it's there, we just forget.

I worry, Scott, that we are a people in a process of great transition and we are forgetting what we are connected to. We are losing our frame of reference. Pelicans pass by and we hardly know who they are, we don't know their stories. Again, at what price? I think it's leading us to a place of inconsolable loneliness. That's what I mean by "An Unspoken Hunger." It's a hunger that cannot be quelled by material things. It's a hunger that cannot be quelled by the constant denial. I think that the only thing that can bring us into a place of fullness is being out in the land with other. Then we remember where the source of our power lies.

...) I love what you just said about silence going beyond words. And, who knows, hopefully there will come a time when I have no words, when I can honor and hold that kind of stillness that I so need, crave, and desire in the natural world. I think you are absolutely right. Isn't that intimacy? When you are with a landscape or a human being where there is no need to speak, but simply to listen, to perceive, to feel.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Monday, March 20, 2006

Pineapple Carrot Cake

There are a few random recipes I want to keep, like Ranger Cookies. The paper they are written on, in this case an old clipping from a magazine, can be lost much too easily. I just made this cake again and decided it deserved to be preserved someplace beyond my forlorn recipe box. A break from the usual bumbling in this blog might actually be a good thing.

Pineapple Carrot Cake


2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegatable oil
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium size carrots, peeled and shredded (about 2 cups)
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple with juice
1/2 cup baking raisins (not included in original recipe so it's obviously optional, but who eats carrot cake without raisins?)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 lb cream cheese, at room temp
1/2 cp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two round cakepans with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottoms with waxed paper; coat paper with spray. Don't ask me why this is in the recipe. I've never heard of it being done this way, however, I followed the recipe and it worked quite well.

2. Cake:
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
In a large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until blended. On low, gradually beat in flour mixture until smooth. Stir in carrots, pineapple with juice, raisins and nuts. Divide batter between prepared pans, 3 1/2 cups each; spread evenly.

3. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, until the spring test works. Cool cakes on wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn them out of pans while also remembering to remove the waxed paper. Cool completely.

4. Frosting:
In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and creamy, 2 minutes. On low speed, gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Beat until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.(you will have about 5 cups of frosting)

5. With that huge bowl of frosting you really do want to make this a 4 layer cake, so cut each cake in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Begin with first layer cut side up. Frost and layer, using about 1/2 cup frosting between layers.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Sunday, March 19, 2006

How come so many people were so easily fooled?

America's Blinders
by Howard Zinn

I've only had a chance to skim this quickly but it was enough to know that it speaks of the arrogance we as Americans learn early on and then so promptly forget to notice when we most need to.
I'm posting the link because I want to get back to it and because it needs to be shared so the chances of being fooled again on such a large scale may somehow be prevented.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Friday, March 17, 2006

I had no idea

Mountaintop Removal:
A View From the Skies

More than 1,200 miles of West Virginia valleys and streams have already been permanently buried as coal companies continue to sacrifice the future of West Virginia’s unique landscape.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Settle Up

Sony BMG Rootkit Settlement
Sony BMG won't be held accountable for its dangerous DRM if music fans don't have an easy way to learn about the flawed software, the settlement, and how to submit claims. By posting a banner on your website or blog, you can help music fans protect themselves and get what they deserve.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This says it all

When I read the commentary, The failure of Hugo-bashing, I was reminded of a conversation I had recently with someone to the right of me.

Me: "Please tell me why we are supposed to hate Hugo Chavez.".

Person to my right: "Because he's buying votes by making the people in his country better off".


Tell Congress: No U.S. Funding of Venezuelan Opposition! Take Action link.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Budgeting for Space Weapons, A National Illness

The Pentagon is asking Congress for hundreds of millions of dollars to test weapons in space.
I can't get a good read on the dollar figure from the article, however, "Specialists believe the classified portion of the $439 billion budget, blacked out for national security reasons, almost certainly includes other space-related programs", and, "out of $48 billion planned for missile defense over the next five years, just $570 million will fund space-related activities."
"We just want to do some experiments" on weapons technology in space
Yeah, sure, why not? Recall that the NASA Budget Diverted Funds From Science to Spaceships yet "the Pentagon just wants to do some experiments on weapons technology". Things stopped making sense to me a little over 5 years ago all I can hear is Military-Industrial-Complex conducting experiments in my ears.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Launch of Iranian oil trading hits wall

"In the middle of 2006, we are able to start the bourse," Mohammad Asemipur, special adviser on the project to Iran's Oil Minister, said when reached in Tehran. The plan is to trade petrochemical products first, with a crude oil contract coming last, a rollout that likely will take three years, he said.

The plan to trade exclusively in Euros is also questioned in the article.
Wiggle room.

However, Arab central banks move assets out of dollar.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Fool Them Once...

What is driving the crisis between the Bush administration and Iran and ratcheting up the rhetoric?

If the Supreme Jurisprudent of theocratic Iran has given a fatwa against nukes, if the president of the country has renounced them and called for others to do so, if the International Atomic Energy Agency has found no evidence of a military nuclear weapons program, and if Iran is at least 10 years from having a bomb even if it is trying to get one, then why is there a diplomatic crisis around this issue between the United States and Iran in 2006?

The answer is that the Iranian nuclear issue is déjà vu all over again. As it did with regard to the Baath regime in Iraq, the militarily aggressive Bush administration wants to overthrow the government in Tehran.

Read more from Juan Cole here.

Bush charged that "some of the most powerful IEDs we are seeing in Iraq today include components that came from Iran."
I listened to the sound bite of that sentence today. It was so eerily similar in tone and delivery to his assertion in his State of the Union address that Iraq tried to buy uranium ore in Africa it made me cringe! He tries desperately to instill fear but it screams to me "LIE". It did then. It does now. There's something in the way he talks...some kind of fake incredulousness when he does it that screams at me. The bites, side by side, would be very telling. When I have some time, I'll try to find both and post them.

UPDATE: Top U.S. Military Official: No Evidence of Iran Involvement in Iraq
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I Don't Think Anybody Anticipated That...

posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Federal Bureau of Intimidation

A Latin American and Chicano histories professor, Tinker-Salas, believes he was targeted as a result of his outspoken politics regarding the U.S. policy toward Venezuela and Latin America.

Tinker-Salas figured in a Christian Science Monitor story last month dealing with whether Iran and Venezuela could forge a political counterweight to U.S. power. He said the detectives questioned him on subjects that easily could have been answered elsewhere.

According to Tinker-Salas, the agents told him they were interested in the Venezuelan community and concerned that it may be involved in terrorism. They asked him if he had relationships with the Venezuelan embassy or consulate, and if anyone in the Venezuelan government had asked him to speak out about Venezuela-related matters.

Tinker-Salas said the deputies also questioned waiting students about him and examined cartoons on his office door.

"They asked them about my classes," he said. "My students were intimidated."

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." (Fourth amendment, United States Constitution)
The FBI declined to comment on the incident, however, they did respond to a Huffington Post article about the interrogation, stating in part, The FBI takes great pains to avoid publicity when interviews are conducted.

Publicity? They don't want publicity. We don't want a police state. Tit for tat. Maybe we need to find a place to centrally report all intimidation attempts.

This isn't an isolated incident. How many other Latinos with connections to Venezuela have been intimidated? What a way to capture the hearts and minds of America's growing Latino population! I suppose soon we'll be placing them in the new detention centers built by Halliburton.

I'm sure this is just a tip of the US' intention to block Chavez, who was, as you recall, democratically elected, and happens to be quite popular with the citizens of Venezuela, unlike the president in the US who isn't winning any popularity contests for this stance.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Congress last month that the administration was pursuing an "inoculation strategy" in other Latin American countries to limit Venezuelan influence.

"There is some concern that if the United States doesn't play its cards right, there could be a major policy shift in the region that favors Venezuela's interests over the United States," said Daniel P. Erikson of the Inter-American Dialogue, a research organization in Washington.

What? Favor a populist over a bully? Favor a government who responds to the needs of all their citizens opposed to a government who responds to the needs of the wealthy? Democracy?
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A historic, landmark departure toward a unitary executive corporatocracy's not just warrantless surveillance. It's outrageous, paranoid intrusiveness joined with secretiveness and an utter dearth of accountability.

It's Capitol Hill lobbyists composing the actual verbiage of critical legislation directly and positively impacting their clients.

It's teetering health care stretched to its limits by insatiable dollar demands put on it by the insurance industry- a parasite intermediary that now dominates medical practice and altogether too often dictates life or death dispensation of treatment.

It's corporate welfare and destruction of the middle class and the environment. It's the weaponization of space and the spurning of viable international treaties. It's the deterioration of domestic infrastructure and a failing educational system. It's an incessant pursuit of war and human exploitation.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Trashing the Non-Proliferation Treaty

Be aware
Shock and Awe; the Sequel
I can always hope this is just a nightmare, but I keep trying the reality checks and I don't appear to be asleep.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Hemp as Biomass for Energy

I have been wanting to find an analysis of the cost effectiveness using hemp as fuel for a long time now. Fuel and Fiber Company has done the research. It isn't as rosy as I had hoped, but if we were to factor in the cost of war and the money saved by not fighting, it could be quite cost effective.
I found the above link through an article titled Cannabis Sativa that points to some other excellent resources, including a link to a 1991 newscast by Hugh Downs in which he reports "It is estimated that methane and methanol production alone from hemp grown as bio-mass could replace 90% of the worlds energy needs." You can also read about the basis for prohibition and illegalization.

Of special interest to me was this article written by Dennis Kucinich outlining the many uses of hemp. I thought the issues he outlined in his campaign had been taken off his webpage, but they are all here. Who says the Democrats don't have a plan? It's been here all along.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What Rule of Law?

I honestly can no longer keep track of all the laws this administration has broken. If I had it in me to compile the long list, I would. Has anyone seen such a list?
Lies, laws, leadership?
We, the citizens of the US, can't even get an investigation into illegal wiretapping!

"It is no exaggeration to say that no administration in American history has had as much contempt for the law as this one."
Our memories are so filled with episodes of the administration's contempt for the law that each new one pushes an old one out the back door of our minds.

In the most recent, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter “clarifying” testimony he gave on February 6. In what amounted to a “By the way, I kind of perjured myself before you,” Gonzales said that when he said the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” was “all that [President Bush] has authorized” in the area of warrantless surveillance, “I was confining my remarks to the Terrorist Surveillance Program as described by the President.” This tautological sleight-of-hand can lead one only to conclude that there are other “programs” of surveillance. But don’t ask what they might be.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Solar Haven II

"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait till oil and coal run out before we tackle that." - Thomas Edison

quote found at Solar Haven 1
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Feeding the Greed

Pakistanis shut down their country with a nationwide strike and protests beneath the shadow of Bush's visit. A trip during which he visited India first, sold out the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by agreeing to sell them, (not a signee to the NPT), U.S. nuclear technology and fuel.
Well of course Pakistan is upset, as well as Iran, as am I! Here we go again, perpetual war. Indeed, good for business if you manufacture and transport military goods. We all need a little more plutonium around.

I'd like to think the country I live in didn't support itself chiefly by the corpotate-military-industrial complex, however, take a look at this:

Here is a VIDEO compilation of two reports from Lou Dobbs and Countdown with Keith Olbermann on The Bush Family and Administration ties to the United Arab Emirates.

The oil-rich United Arab Emirates is a major investor in, (oh yes, this name again), The Carlyle Group, the private equity investment group where the President's father once served as senior advisor, and is a who's who of former high level government officials...

I am impressed that Pakistan shut down their country with a nationwide strike. I wonder if we could do the same if we ever had reason to protest. I once thought that we could never allow a leader who lied to us to remain in office. This one has done far worse and we still can't figure out how to show him the door. Maybe the Pakistani's simply have more practice.

We will keep electing Halliburton shills unless we can learn to nip our greed, and unless we learn how to kick open the door that holds us captive, surrounded and ruled by our mistakes.

Battling Bad Behavior
How do you convince people to do what's in their best interest?

Turning Kids' Minds Off Consumerism

I Will Simply Survive
"I am keenly aware that my sense of too-muchness is itself a sign of my privilege and my wealth -- even if, like many, I experience this wealth as loss and emptiness."
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ban Republicans from adopting children

In an e-mail dispatched to fellow legislators last week, the senator announced his plan to "introduce legislation in the near future that would ban households with one or more Republican voters from adopting children or acting as foster parents."

Explaining that "policymakers in (Ohio) have ignored this growing threat to our communities for far too long," Hagan wrote: "Credible research exists that strongly suggests that adopted children raised in Republican households, though significantly wealthier than their Democrat-raised counterparts, are more at risk for developing emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, an alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves, and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.

"In addition," the Democrat noted, "I have spoken to many adopted children raised in Republican households who have admitted that 'well, it's just plain boring most of the time.'"

Hagan acknowledges that the "credible research" to which he refers cannot be quantified. But that should not be a problem, he explains, as a bill proposed by Republican state Rep. Ron Hood, R-Ashville, which would prohibit adoptions of children by gay and lesbian couples, suffers from a similar deficiency.
posted by Cyndy | link |   | |


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