Coretta Scott King

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It’s a bleak morning for me and for many people and yet it’s a great morning because we have a chance to look at her and see what she did and who she was.
Maya Angelou

And so falls the judiciary

The trifecta is complete.
I feel sure that I mentioned, way back, my fears of the neo-con plan to completely take over all three branches of government, and with today’s confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, the plan is going swimmingly. They’ve got the Supreme Court and the Federal benches, they’ve carefully and methodically moved power away from Congress and to the executive branch (despite the constitutional mandate that the executive is the weakest branch); they have even taken over the media and lobbying industries — although, the K Street Project may be in jeopardy now that they’ve been caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
All of this is meant to cement conservative power permanently, and with the pointless milling about, wringing of hands, and political calculations before action, I’m afraid that the Democrats don’t stand a chance of breaking this stranglehold. I feel like we are all doomed to live out our lives under a repressive, regressive minority that we can’t shake.
Gee, reminds me of Iraq a little bit. That is, before we liberated them and they started a civil war.
That’s not a prediction or anything. Really.
But I’d stock up on food, gas, and perhaps a generator and body armor.

Better call a cab first

I won’t be watching (or, as usual, listening) to the big speech tomorrow. And frankly, I can’t imagine that it will contain any surprises. We can all expect the usual number of made up words like “strategery”, repeated usage of the non-word “nookyoular”, and plenty of juicy references to September 11, al Qaeda, and Samuel Alito.
For those of you so inclined, Will Durst provides the rules for the State of the Union Drinking Game…

THE GEORGE W BUSH 2006 STATE OF THE UNION DRINKING
GAME

What you need:

  • A group of four taxpayers: including 1 white guy wearing a Suit. 2 people wearing jeans, one in a Work Shirt, the other in a Dark Shirt, and 1 person wearing Rags. Stitched together wash cloths are nice. Four are grouped around cocktail table within sight of television. Newspapers on floor in front of television.
  • A shot glass per person. Everyone brings their own and places on table. Suit picks one first. Then Work Shirt. Then Dark Shirt. Suit takes last one as well, and Rags gets a Dixie Cup with the top scissored off.
  • 5 bucks apiece. Everybody antes.
  • Fondue pot with 2 packages of Li’l Smokies stewing in barbecue sauce on table. Preferably a sauce from Texas. Surrounded by:
  • 100 cocktail toothpicks. The kind with the little American flags wrapped around the top.
  • A large stash of beer. Rags gets the cheapest stuff you can find, like Old Milwaukee Light; Suit gets to drink whatever import he asks for; while the jeans get to pick their favorite domestic brand, but they are required to pay for all the beer and the Li’l Smokies.

Rules of the Game.

  1. Whenever George W uses the phrases: national security, tax relief, activist judges or affordable health care, drink two shots of beer.
  2. Whenever George W mentions the tragic events of 911, last person to grab a toothpick, stand and salute must drink three shots of beer. If you stab yourself in forehead with the toothpick, drink two more shots.
  3. If George W actually says, “If Al Qaeda is calling you, we want to know why.” first person to finish a whole beer gets to toss Li’l Smokies at any of the others until they finish their beer. Use the toothpicks.
  4. If George W makes up a word like “strategerie” or “deteriorize” drink four shots of beer.
  5. If George W speaks of Hamas and repeats his earlier statement that “its good to see people are demanding honest leadership,” the first person to stop laughing gets to drink one shot of beer then pummel Suit with empty shot glass. No head shots.
  6. Whenever George W talks about bi- partisanship, the last person to grab his throat in a choking motion has to eat 4 Li’l Smokies.
  7. If either the Vice President Dick Cheney or First Lady Laura Bush are caught napping, last person to sing “Wake Up Little Susie, Wake Up,” has to drink three shots of beer.
  8. Predict the number of applause breaks. Person closest to correct number may then force the other three to drink that number of shots of beer in whatever ratio they wish.
  9. Three shots of beer if he mentions New Orleans. Five shots of beer if he mentions Brownie. Two full beers if he mentions Abramoff.
  10. Every time Tom DeLay is shown in the audience, take turns throwing Li’l Smokies at the tv. Suit sits out. First face hit doesn’t have to drink two shots of beer. Every time Hillary Clinton is shown in the audience, Suit throws Li’l Smokies at the tv. If he hits her face, everyone else drinks two shots of beer. Use the toothpicks.
  11. Whenever George W quotes the Bible, last person to fall to their knees and cry “Hallelujah!” drinks two shots of beer.
  12. Whenever George W smirks during a standing ovation, take turns drinking shots of beer until the audience sits down. Do it double time if his shoulders shake with silent laughter.

EXTRAS:

  • Whoever can correctly identify in advance the person giving the Democratic Response doesn’t have to watch it.
  • Suit gets to kick Rags hard, once if George W uses a heartfelt story of a pulling yourself up by your bootstraps to illustrate a point. Twice if the regulation of large cardboard boxes is mentioned as a security precaution. Rags gets 15 seconds to kick the Suit if Bush reveals the subject of the anecdote is in the audience. 30 seconds if he or she is sitting next to Harriet Miers. 1 full minute if she’s sitting next to an astronaut.
  • Suit takes home $20.
  • Leftover beer, Li’l Smokies and fondue pot go home with Rags.

Life in these times takes it out of you

Boy, tomorrow is going to be an incredibly depressing day. It’s not enough that we can expect the regressive ultra-right Alito to be confirmed to the Supreme Court; but we’ll also have Dubya gloating about it and giving yet another difficult-to-listen-to speech.
At the same time, the heads of Enron are finally in court, including Ken “Kenny Boy” Lay, the man who George W. Bush didn’t know, yet took huge campaign donations from and assigned an official nickname to. (So far, we don’t know about an official Abramoff nickname, so perhaps George wised up and stopped handing them out like candy.)
It occurs to me that if prosecutors want to uncover corruption, they should just work their way down the list of Bush contributors.
I am just finding myself so depressed about what is happening in the world, much of it tied to the plots, machinations, and policies of the Bush administration and the Republicans. It all swirls around in my head and makes me crazy, angry, and frustrated, so much so that I can’t temper it or pick just one or two things to write about in the blog. And thus appear some holes in the blog, days I just couldn’t settle my brain down enough to write.
Thankfully, I am no longer in the minority when it comes to my opinions of George, Dick (Oh, happy birthday, Dick. You don’t look your age. No, you look far older.), and the rest of their ilk. I know that I often don’t have anything to add to the debate but just voice my opinion, and I also know that you have a kajillion other blogs to read that address current events; so if I don’t write about some outrage of the day, you can assume that I just don’t have the strength.

Just for the record, here are the Democrats who voted with the Republicans to end today’s mini-filibuster. I don’t want to say that we should vote them out, because we need every Dem we can get these days — except that damned Lieberman. What the hell was Al thinking?

Akaka, Hawaii; Baucus, Mont.; Bingaman, N.M.; Byrd, W.Va.; Cantwell, Wash.; Carper, Del.; Conrad, N.D.; Dorgan, N.D.; Inouye, Hawaii; Johnson, S.D.; Kohl, Wis.; Landrieu, La.; Lieberman, Conn.; Lincoln, Ark.; Nelson, Fla.; Nelson, Neb.; Pryor, Ark.; Rockefeller, W.Va.; Salazar, Colo.

Oh, and Jeffords of Vermont voted no, meaning he was for the filibuster.

Wish I could meet a handsome single doctor

So, this sharp pain in my chest that’s been there since last night — do you think it is a sign of a heart attack, or just that I ate too much cheese?
I’m actually sore on the surface, like there will be a bruise there, I wonder what I did to cause this? Did I walk into a door or something and just not realize it?
Just in case, I’ll make sure I memorize the route to the Kaiser emergency room and keep my insurance card handy. Maybe my $217 per month premiums will pay off soon.

Shroud over Turin

I don’t understand — why is NBC promoting the Olympics by using “Torino” instead of “Turin”? It’s not that I’m against using the native version of the name, but why haven’t they done it before? I mean, they didn’t promote the last Olympics using the name “Αθήνα” (Athena). Munich wasn’t called “München”. And what about “Ciudad de México”?
Just something going through my head today. Never mind.

In space, no one can hear the shark

I hate to make it seem like I am unintelligent, but… what the hell happened in Battlestar Galactica last night? I mean, I tried to make sense of it, but it was so impenetrably written and produced that I have no clue what it was about. I mean, the first problem was that it was a flashback for most of the episode, and that flashback had its own flashback. I couldn’t keep track of where and when I was.
Last week’s episode was very disappointing to me. The realism that has been the hallmark of this series was thrown out the window with a Star Trek-style deus ex machina/technobabble solution to a slowly unraveling ticking time bomb since the beginning: Laura Roslin’s cancer. And then boom, in thirty seconds her cancer was gone and with it an important plot point as well as a source of drama. This was the Trek Reset Button in all its glory. After last night’s muddy and unfollowable episode, I began to worry already that this was the shark-jumping moment when the series lost its way.
I’m sure that it will get better, right? And I’m also sure that I will be pummeled by fans who will tell me that a) it was only two bad episodes and b) I’m an idiot who doesn’t understand the deep implications and religious fervor involved in Battlestar Galactica.
With West Wing going away, BG is all I have left, folks. I’m scared.

When market prices don’t work

Told ya so. This is how the price gouging system works. First, you raise your price higher and higher until people are shaken out of their inertia and begin to complain. Then, you bring it back down just far enough that they breathe a sigh of relief — but not down to where it began. Keep doing this periodically and eventually you’ll be selling gas for $3.00 a gallon and people will not only pay it willingly, they’ll be thankful that they’re not paying $3.50. Until 8 months later, when that’s what they are paying. All the while, the big oil companies are raking in obscene profits. And you and I can no longer afford anything because the price of oil drives up all other prices.

The annual record when adjusted for inflation is $2.50 a gallon, set in 1981, courtesy of the Arab oil embargo. Last year’s $2.47 average was the third-most-expensive year, according to the California Energy Commission, mainly driven up after Labor Day after Hurricane Katrina devastated Gulf Coast oil refineries.

Californians are now paying an average of $2.53 for a gallon of the cheapest grade of fuel. Last month, you could fill up for $2.16 in the South Bay.

The market “wants to go higher and the old records are vulnerable,” Tom Bentz, an oil broker in New York, told the Bloomberg News Service this week.

Meanwhile, oil companies are reporting record profits. Friday, Chevron reported a record $4.14 billion profit for the fourth quarter. Thursday, Shell reported a $2 billion profit.

[Mercury News]
Dammit, where are the electric cars? And when are we going to wean ourselves from oil? Or are we waiting for the huge, looming middle east war to cut off all supplies and force us into a societal collapse?

Bwaaahh? Iran and the US, together again

I should be shocked, but you know how it is in These United States these days. Get this:

In a reversal of policy, the United States on Monday backed an Iranian initiative to deny United Nations consultative status to organizations working to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. In a letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, a coalition of 39 organizations, led by the Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Watch, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, called for an explanation of the vote which aligned the United States with governments that have long repressed the rights of sexual minorities. “This vote is an aggressive assault by the U.S. government on the right of sexual minorities to be heard,” said Scott Long, director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch. “It is astonishing that the Bush administration would align itself with Sudan, China, Iran and Zimbabwe in a coalition of the homophobic.”

… “It is an absolute outrage that the United States has chosen to align itself with oppressive governments – all in an effort to smother the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world,” said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “It is deeply disturbing that the self-proclaimed ‘leader of the free world’ will ally with bigots at the drop of a hat to advance the right wing’s anti-gay agenda.”

It’s amazing how the Bush administration is quick to make provocative statements — and go to war — with countries that are, in his view, oppressive; all while he is creating the same oppressive, non-democratic, anti-freedom culture here in the U.S. Our track record on human rights during this administration has been dismal and it is getting worse. Even for those who are American citizens.

She hates America

Okay, so, a conservative nutjob — the estimable Ann Coulter — has suggested that Supreme Court Justice Stevens be poisoned.
When does she get hauled away and imprisoned without trial as a traitorous enemy of America?

Good news, everyone!

The rumors and non-denials and disclaimers that “no negotiations have been held” may finally be over: Billy West, the voice of Fry in Futurama reports on his website:

HERE’S GREAT NEWS!
Here’s the official word on Futurama!!
David X. phoned me about an hour ago and said that this Futurama project is a done deal! Here’s the word from DX—
There are 4 DVD movies that we’ll start recording at the end of July or August.Full feature length FUTURAMA movies.
Everybody is excited to get back together–as I am!

Into the Future,
Billy

The Home Depot alternative

I’ve found my alternative to Home Depot, for those of you who advocate boycotting that big-box store: OSH. Also known as Orchard Supply Hardware.
I have plenty of reasons to not like Home Depot, from their ridiculous policy of giving health care to pets but not domestic partners; to their incredibly dirty stores. I swear, just visiting there means that I have to rush home and wash my hands from all the dirt and grime all over everything.
OSH seems to have clean, neat stores as well as a far better selection of healthy plants and garden supplies. At Home Depot, you could get everything you need to build a house. At OSH, you can get everything you need to maintain it and make it a home.
I picked up a really nice teak table and four chairs yesterday, at a really nice price — and on top of that, I got three $$ off coupons as a new homeowner. Really nice.

Now, just don’t tell me that OSH gives money to anti-abortion groups or the Bush family, please.