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Musings and Meanderings

Monday, May 31, 2004

Memorial Day
Nice quiet Memorial Day. Heard from MW, went to a nice get together at the Farrells.

Here are a couple of pictures

Sue and Liza

Liam and Ed

Connor was the grill meister and did a great job.

And Alex and Tyler swam
posted by Mike 8:06 PM

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Too much Too fast

I got the chance to have a nice LONG talk with Prjt2501 and Mordacai driving across VT. I think we must have talked for an hour. It's always great catching up with old friends and NearFest is really just around the corner!

Anyway while talking to Bill, I got a call on the cell from Liza when I was driving somewhere outside of Bennington I think that Alex was invited to a sleepover at Tyler's house.

Now Alex had some behavioral problems this weekend but this was partly due to him not liking/eating what was served to him until Lunch on Sunday......

...... when he ate like 8 huge chicken tenders at the Keene Country Club. Also it was due to lack of sleep. Alex more than any kid I know is a complete pill if he doesn't get the right amount of sleep.

Lunch Sunday at the Keene Country Club
Counterclockwise from the left: Laurie, Alex, Allie, The Rev Samir, Kathy and Harry.

(Just a quick side note for those that don't know my complicated family structure: though we all look related, and I don't use the "step" appleation, the funny thing is that Laurie, Allie, Harry nor Kathy are not actually blood relations to Alex or I. Yet over the years, we all note that there is a "Family Resemblance" - guess all that love can do amazing things)


So it was with some trepidation that we agreed to let him go to Tyler's after getting back from being in NH since Friday. (Ask me about his Tyler's mom Monica sometime... Liza calls her a Goddess lol) However he had finally eaten a huge meal and then slept the whole way home.

All went well at the sleepover apparently untill bedtime. Well we got a call at 10 that he wanted to see his mommy and wanted to come home. So we put Matrix Revolutions on pause and drove out to get him.

AWWWWWWWWWWWWW...... too cute.
posted by Mike 11:19 PM

Saturday, May 29, 2004

La famille de NH

From Left to Right
The Rev Samir, Harry, Alex, Laurie, Allie and Kathy.

Missing this weekend
Liza, Jon and Forrest.

We played a lot of croquette this weekend. :-)
posted by Mike 11:11 PM

Friday, May 28, 2004

Posting from NH

Drove out to NH today from NY to see Dad and Kathy. Alex and I took the scenic route, NY Rte 7 to VT Rte 9 to NH Rte 9, which is actually all the same long piece of asphalt.

It was rainy and beautiful through VT and NY and NH, not in that order of course. It took about 2 hrs 20 with two stops. To think my Dad is only 90 miles away from me is quite a cool thing, considering that he's been in either GA or Switzerland for the last 10 yrs or so.

We went to dinner at a Mexican Restaurant in Keene and I had two Margaritas, and some amazing Chicken Enchilada's. Alex's behavior was rather atrocious. But what can ya do with a 10 yr old surrounded by adults. My sister and her kids are coming out tomorrow so we will stay till Sunday AM.

Dad and I watched the DVD of Master and Commander tonight. WOW this is a fantastic Movie. I heartily recommend it, though there are some gory parts during the battles and surgery, so it's not a "family" movie per se.
posted by Mike 8:44 PM

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Radio Rant

In the old days, when a product or service made by one company or industry, began to loose market share to a newer or better product or service, that company or industry would design a better product or service or go out of business.

But not today! Not in an America where Big Business practically owns the White House. Not in a day when Clear Channel contributes so much to the Republican Party.

Specifically I am referring to the fact that The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the organization that represents the large radio and television owners, is using its lobbyists, campaign contributions and political influence to have Congress and the Federal Communications Commission limit XM Radio's ability to provide listeners with "locally oriented" content, including the new XM Instant Traffic & Weather channels and Sirius' just signed deal with the NFL to offer regionalized football coverage.

The broadcasters feel threatened by the success of satellite radio. Instead of competing and improving their services, they want the government to protect their businesses by attacking satellite radio. This same group has tried to block every innovative technology that has been warmly welcomed into America's homes and cars. In the 1940's, radio broadcasters tried to squash television. In the 1970's, AM broadcasters tried to put the kibosh on FM stations. They never win and they never learn.

For a very intelligent analysis of local vs satellite broadcast I highly recommend this article from the Cato Institute: All Politics is Local: How Broadcasters Want to Silence Satellite Radio.

No matter where you live, I ask you one question. Have you listened to radio recently? The industry is very ill. Part of it is because the Music Industry is dying a slow death of Boy Bands and Glam Girls. But changes in the FCC rulings regarding the percentage of stations that one company can own in a market have created a bland, tasteless and uninteresting aural landscape. I'm sure many of you remember "progressive" FM radio stations. Now a day's I challenge you to find more than one, and in many markets, even one, station that shows challenging, interesting, or progressive programming.

(Note I don't mean Prog music genre, I mean Progressive programming)

So along comes Sirius & XM radio and does something very daring. They play interesting music. XM offers 70+ Commercial Free music stations for a monthly fee. You can listen to anything you like, and I won't wax on it here, as I have mentioned it many times. XM and Sirius are eroding local radio market share. But the NAB could do nothing about it until they began to expand their programming to these so called "localized coverage" issues.

It is just another example of today's society, where finger pointing is much easier than making a change. We are a society of blamers. Just remember when you point your finger at me, you have three more fingers pointing back at you.
posted by Mike 11:12 PM

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Startling Musical Revelation

This of course will not come as a surprise to many of my prog head friends, especially the fabulous prjt2501 (who theoretically reads this blog, as I read his).

In fact this should not come as a surprise to me either, but it did.

I'm referring to King Crimson. Now I've always loved their first Album, In the court of the Crimson King. But I got one of the later albums a long while ago and it didn't work for me, so I've stayed away from the stuff that followed.

Foolish me.

Today I was able to listen all day to King Crimson, from In the Court all the way to Red. WOW. I guess a bit of maturity does a lot for musical appreciation. This is not tap your toes, catchy music by any means. It is demanding to some extent, and a bit dissonant on some tracks. But the fusion of avant guard and jazz is just brilliant. I should have expected nothing less from Robert Fripp.

KC has had three "periods". The first 8 studio albums from 1969 to 1974. Then they disbanded. In 1981 they reformed and did three more albums which I have always loved. In fact I saw the Discipline tour when I was in College. In 1994 they have embarked upon a new direction different from those three albums, which I suppose I need to explore next, though I do have the Live ProjeKcts which I really do like.

Interesting that there were two 10 year hiatus.

For a good starting point as to what they have put out I recommend the ProgArchives and their King Crimson section

Anyway, this old prog head is always willing to say: "Gosh I was wrong".
posted by Mike 10:55 PM

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Das Hausfrau

Cleaned the house today. I mean I CLEANED the house (ok the first floor and the stairs only).

Per Room, as applicable...


In order: Living Room, Dining Room, Entry Way, Front Stairs, Kitchen, Sunroom, Back Stairs, Bathroom.

Now I'm in Pain. PAIN..... Here Mike have some cheese with that...

Anyway thank god for Tylenol and Advil! But the House is clean. I wanted to do something nice for Liza to come home to from her "over night". And though she bought it, I cooked a 6 lb roaster, baked potatoes and salad. Ok I didn't cook the salad, I just opened a bag...

So as I said... Das Hausfrau.
posted by Mike 10:02 PM

Monday, May 24, 2004

Well the Cast is set now

With the casting of Billie Piper, the New Dr. Who cast is now set. Christopher Eccelston will be playing the Dr.

Pictures are here with the accompanying article.

The executive producer for the New Dr. Who will be a Paul Cornell. Pauls credits include some of the better Dr. Who novels during the television hiatus. Since then he has gone on to write and produce such critically acclaimed shows as Queer as Folk.

The show is set to air in 2005 in the UK. No news has been released as to North American or Australian distribution rights.

Most Dr. Who fans like myself have had their new Dr. Who fix satisfied by the BBC novel range following the adventures of the "Eighth Doctor", whose mannerisms and looks are modeled after Paul McGann who played him in the "TV Movie" that was on Fox in 1996. These novels have ranged from good to bloody excellent, but due to the oncomming "Ninth" Doctor will be ended in favor of some sort of Novels regarding the Chris Eccelston Doctor. Whether they will be Novelizations AND Novels is unknown.

Just to confuse the issue further, BBCi, which had been producing online Flash Animation "new" episodes of Dr. Who produced their OWN Ninth Doctor looking starring the voice of Richard Grant. He starred in a very good adventure called "Scream of the Shalka".

Well thats the Dr. Who Update for the non initiated. Exciting times for Dr. Who fans. Although I am excited about a new TV series I worry that if it is cancelled, the franchise will finally die. I really enjoy the Dr. Who Novels, as they can so much further than any TV show ever can.
posted by Mike 9:27 PM

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Some musical notes


I have dialed down my trading dramatically over the last 6 months or so. Frankly I have many more shows than I could ever listen to, and just adding more and more shows seems counter productive and it's getting hard to find room for them all.

However I have participated in a few cool trades and trees. The biggest of which is an very good recording of the first leg of the new Yes tour, this show from San Diego. They are playing a few new songs and sounding fantastic. One of the things I have recieved back from the people I participated in the Yes tree is a recording of the new Bowie tour, the second show from this tour I have recieved in fact.

On another front a friend of mine in the UK is remastering the Wall tour shows and I finally got the complete Manhattan shows. These were the dates that Pink Floyd did after the LA shows in 1980 (I was at the final LA show). It's cool hearing the different bits put in and out of the show, but basically it is more of a completist thing because it's not like PF was changing their set lits constantly.

Speaking of groups who don't change their setlists I have gotten a hold of a few "new to me" Moody Blues shows which seen in very good condition.

Finally I've been getting dribs and drabs of some of my favorite "Jam" bands (who do change their set lists) recently, these directly downloaded from live archive. To my great joy I discovered that the site was sponsoring the 20th anniversary tour from the Grateful Dead, so now I have ALL of the 14 shows I saw on that tour. Also I've become a great fan of Particle and have picked up a few of their shows as they stump for their new album.

So thats it on music, may the four winds blow you safely home.
posted by Mike 11:07 PM

Thursday, May 20, 2004

AP – 5/21/04

Republicans replace Elephant as symbol with the Ignoramus Americanus.

By the late 90's scientists were very worried that this rare breed had nearly been educated to extinction.

But the Republican National Committee, in celebration of four years of hard work bringing this creature back from the brink of extinction, has announced it is getting rid of the Elephant and exchanging it for the Ignoramus Americanus, or more jocularly known as the "Idiot".

This creature can be identified by several characteristics. The Ignoramus Americanus exhibits herd mentality faithfully following their lead or Alpha. This can be a male or female Ignoramus. When threatened with reality or facts they exhibit a closing of the ranks, not unlike the Turkey when threatened with rain, so as not to let any outside thoughts ruin their beautiful but imaginary mental landscape. When these facts become so obvious to the rest of the Nation the Ignoramus Americanus begins to use words like "Traitor" and "Un American" to defend this Imaginary Mental Landscape. The most telling sign of the Ignoramus Americanus is of course when you ask them a question. Their answer will either be absolutely identical to their Alpha's latest speech, or they will respond with, "Gosh I'll have to check Fox News to see what I think about that."

Political Action Groups representing Elephant rights were "disappointed" with the replacement of the Ignoramus Americanus as the National Symbol of the Republican Party, but being moderate and having no real organization, they just let the movement for the new symbol roll right over them.
posted by Mike 11:35 AM

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

What a Tool

Did you hear about this one?

An exchange occurred between Speaker of the House Hastert and a Reporter earlier today which started when a reporter asked: "Can I combine a two issues, Iraq and taxes? I heard a speech from John McCain the other day..."

Hastert: "Who?"

Reporter: "John McCain."

Hastert: "Where's he from?"

Reporter: "He's a Republican from Arizona."

Hastert: "A Republican?"

Thus showing Speaker Hastert to being the sad little (ok he's large) man that so many suspect him to be, and a complete tool of the Bush Administration.

Well lets learn a bit about Sen McCain and Speaker Hastert. According to their rough biographies, while Sen McCain was serving his country vigorously in Vietnam, Sen Hastert was a.....

.... wait for it.....

Wrestling coach.

The Speaker has lived this rather pleasant life: Born on January 2, 1942, Hastert is a 1964 graduate of Wheaton (IL) College where he earned a bachelor's degree in economics. He attended graduate school at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where he earned a master's degree in the philosophy of education in 1967.

Hastert spent the first 16 years of his career as a government and history teacher at Yorkville High School, and it also was there that he met his wife, Jean, a fellow teacher. In addition to teaching, he coached football and wrestling and led the Yorkville High School Foxes to victory at the 1976 Illinois State Wrestling Championship; later that year, he was named Illinois Coach of the Year.

And Senator McCain?

Well lets see: After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1958, McCain began a twenty-two year career as a naval aviator. In 1967, he was shot down over Vietnam and held as a prisoner-of-war in Hanoi for five and a half years (1967-1973), much of it in solitary confinement. He retired from the Navy as a Captain in 1981. McCain's naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.

So while Senator McCain was in the Hanoi Hilton, Speaker Hastert was doing his doctorate.

So Speaker Hastert, that is who Senator McCain is. He is the man who has earned the right to question your President. Unlike yourself, he is a man who stands for a position and sticks to it. He is a man of principles whom never shirks the spotlight of disagreement. He is a Patriot.

On the other hand Mr. Speaker, you are a political tool of the neo-conservative, and are still the Speaker mostly due to your willingness to have your strings manipulated by this Administration.

Scary thought that this man is a few steps from the Presidency.
posted by Mike 9:16 PM

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

The anti-Coulter

From time to time I tune into Ann Coulter's ranting and raving for a good laugh. Yahoo is kind enough to host her wacky blathering so it's easy to find. However for a good laugh tune in here.

Crazy Like a Fox Viewers

If you have little tolerance for insane beautiful women I can paraphrase for you. Little orphan Annie is upset because of a poll done by an arm of the University of Maryland called the Program on International Policy Attitudes that showed that people who watch Fox news misperceived the truth of three issues 45% of the time. These issues were fairly uncomplicated: That Iraq had some complicity in the Twin Tower bombings, that evidence of links between Al-Qaeda and Iraq exist, and that WMD's were found after the war.

Misperceptions, The Media and the Iraq War (This is a PDF link).

It is the third statement, which I’m sure upsets little orphan Annie the most. As you may be aware in Annie's view any disagreement with the line of bull that this Administration has been serving the American people is considered "Traitorous". Any mention that this Administration may have been wrong about any of their reasons for the Iraq war can also only be coming from the lips of a traitor to the American People.

I hope you read the piece, because she is so bloody amusing in her raving about Liberals.

I hope you read the study too, because it is very telling.

But getting back on track here, the point at hand is that little orphan Annie has to defend Fox News. This is kind of like getting Hitler to defend Mussolini.

Honestly have you ever watched Fox news? I don't mean your local news, I mean their national programs like their Sunday shows. Their journalistic bias is so profound that it surprises me not one wit that 45% of Americans who watch Fox National News are misinformed about these three basic facts: Iraq was NOT part of the Twin Towers affair. There WAS no connection between Iraq and Al-Quada (of course there is now because of all the madmen who have entered the country). And so far there really are no WMD's to be found.

The power of this study is that it gives solid statistical data to the perception that many thinking individuals have. Fox has for a long time presented opinion as fact. They pack their airwaves, especially their cable only channel, with the yelping dogs of the Right Wing. These are the children of Rush Limbaugh, whose association with the truth has always been suspect.

All joking aside the problem with people like the Fox News talk hosts and creatures like Anne Coulter is that they are fascists. They strongly discourage any disagreement with the standing government. They brand those who do with labels like traitor. They bend the facts to fit their agenda.

Lets put these people back in the “minority” as they say, and flush the Cheny/Bush team out of the White House in November.

posted by Mike 10:05 PM

Monday, May 17, 2004

The Right Wing Agenda wins again

It was a bit disheartening doing the research for this one. Because it was damn hard to find any information. I guess corporate media figured it wouldn't sell commercials.

Briefly put, the FDA has repudiated it's own panel regarding the so called "morning after pill" also known as "Plan B". The panel voted 27 to 0 earlier this year to make this available over the counter. And an outside panel advisory panel had recommended approval by a 23-4 vote However in an egregious political move to make the Right Wing happy, it was over ruled. The reputation and denial of a recommendation has been rare indeed untill this Administration.

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, over-the-counter availability of Plan B would result in 1.7 million fewer unwanted pregnancies and 800,000 fewer abortions each year. Moreover, a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology has shown that providing sexually active teenage girls with emergency contraception in no way makes them more likely to have unprotected sex; conservative concerns about increased promiscuity were thus proved unfounded and irrelevant.

However the FDA stated it was concerned that the availability of Plan B would increase the practice of non safe sex. Obviously they missed the study by the JPA. They also stated that there was not enough data regarding usage of Plan B by those under 14. Now regardless of your opinion of sexually active children, the FDA has never asked for this sort of data for this age group.

Once again we see that this Administration is completely politically motivated. The "science" of this administration has been a bit of a laugh (in a dark way) since the Global Warming statements issued by GWB before 9/11.

It is heartening to see, however that Congress is not letting this obvious Political Pandering go by without protest. Rep. Louise Slaughter called for the resignation of acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford and Dr. Steven Galson, acting director of the FDA?s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

It should be noted here that Plan B does not work if a woman is already Pregnant.
posted by Mike 4:47 PM

Sunday, May 16, 2004

What I did this weekend

As you know I'm the Asst Scoutmaster for our Boy Scout Troop 611.

We had our Spring Camporee up at Grafton Lake State Park this weekend. Friday Night out to Saturday Afternoon was lovley, then the Thunderstorms rolled in, and it got either rainy, drizzely, or just damn wet for the rest of the time.

Not that any of this dampened (sorry bad pun) the fun. And yes I did too.

Anyway click on the link below

Spring Camporee

Enjoy the pics. I will be going back through and giving each pic some sort of caption in the next day or so.
posted by Mike 1:57 PM

Thursday, May 13, 2004

More Personal stuff

What? Another blog that doesn't have political posturing? Bloody Amazing.

Cue the smallest violin playing "My heart weeps for you" by touching the tip of your thumb to the tip of your index finger on the same hand. Now move your pointer finger across the thumb, that’s the bow, and your thumb is the violin. LOL.

Sherman if you would be so kind as to dial the way back machine to 1979. Why Mr. Peabody? Well my good boy, we are going to see Mike hurt himself somehow running up and down stairs in London while on a family vacation.

To this day I still have no idea what I did to myself, but periodically over the last 24 years my left hip would "flare up". Usually this coincides with periods of my life where I have NOT been working out or exercising properly, and usually when I do return to the bike or gym the pains go away. Not this time.

It has gotten so bad that I can't sleep on that side, and sitting for a bit becomes fairly uncomfortable. It ranges from a sharp pain in my hip, knee and ankle at the same time, to a dull throbbing in my hip.

So at the admonition of my wife I finally got my arse to the Dr. today to find out what the heck is wrong. I was frankly impressed with the good Dr. Duffy's operation. First of all I made the appointment two days before, so that was cool, very little waiting. Once we met, he had me Xrayed and blood taken all within an hour and a half, all in the same facility. I'll get a call from the office tomorrow with a set appointment time for a orthopedist who is in my PPO network as well. They were very efficient and it was very cool.

I guess I will know in a few days, but the initial prognosis is bursas in my hip joint. I have no idea if that is curable or whether I just have to live with it. But I will at least know what it is. Some consolation.

And this late morning and early afternoon I had a very nice visit with my Mother in law. She asked me to come over and hook up her stereo. So with two trips to Radio Shack included, I hooked up her surround sound speakers and her sub woofer, by running the wires under her floor through some thankfully predrilled holes. Tested the Subwoofer and messed around with it till I got it to work. Then set up her DVD player so that she could hear the surround sound while watching DVD's.

All and all it was a very pleasant if a bit dirty experience. And then she completely floored me by paying me the rate I was getting for Electronic Doc. Very touching thing for her to do. Oh and she fed me lunch :-)

Oh and I got a haircut. Finally....

Busy day.
posted by Mike 11:04 PM

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Road Mania 1986

Warning today's blog is fairly brutal....

It was in Spring (I believe) in 1986 when I was told in no uncertain terms that I would not have a place to live come the beginning of summer.

I was living in SF at the time and living with my Mom (yea at age 25), staying in brother Greg's room while he was finishing at UC Irvine. With him coming home from college I had to find new digs.

At that time frankly my life was in the shitter. I don't remember what I was doing for work, maybe not anything. My girlfriend had kicked me out, and I was hanging out with a guy whom did nothing for motivation. We drank a lot, not drunks mind you, but evenings usually ended up playing dice, drinking tequila and talking (he was very bright).

I had failed at my attempt to be a stockbroker with Dean-Whitter-Kenmore having been let go AFTER passing my Federal exams. The manager didn't like me.... In addition I had pissed off enough friends that had come back to the bay area from my Pitzer days that I had few "old" friends left in the Bay Area.

I should mention here however that ONE friend I made during my post Pitzer days in SF is still one of my closest, if not closest buddy. In fact a few years ago I was asked to be Joe’s best man at his wedding. I cherish this friendship very much.

MW was dating a Professor of Economics at the time and he advised me that when his life was not working on all eight cylinders, a change of geography always worked. Dad always wanted me to move to the East Coast, so he suggested I take him up on it.

So I gave all my adolescent furniture to the Goodwill. Gave the rest of my junk away except my books and records, which I stored at the aforementioned MW’s boyfriend's house. Then I packed up my tapes into my 1967 Yellow VW 111 Bug and drove cross-country.

I took five days for me to go from San Francisco to Philadelphia. At that point I stopped for two weeks at an old friend's house from Jr. High (she had moved out to the East Coast in 9th grade - Kerstin Peterson). I finally landed in Old Greenwich CT at my Dad’s house, but this a story for another time.

Since the VW was an oil cooled engine and it was July when I finally set off, I was very concerned about overheating, so I had planned to drive 4 hours in the am, stop in the heat of the day, and drive four hours in the evening.

So why bring all this up? Good question.

Yesterday I found the mini cassette tape of the trip. It had 40 min of me being very manic, most of it dictated on and off during the first “day's” drive. For reasons still unbeknown to myself, I drove from 2pm from Sacrament where I had lunch with my Great Aunt Birdie, all the way through the Nevada Desert, to just outside of Salt Lake City the next morning.

So today I mastered the 40 min of Mike rambling into his mini cassette recorder to an audio CDRW on my stand-alone CD burner. Then I ripped it to my computer and fixed the gaps and such with Goldwave, then cut it up into meaningful "tracks" on CDWave and burned it to CDR. Hopefully this record will last now that it is on a more durable CDR. Someday I will give a copy to Alexander when he is old enough to appreciate it.

It was quite a hoot listening to myself. As I said I am quite manic on the tape, riffing and rambling on silly things I see on the road as well as on whatever popped up in my addled brain at the time.

So that's what I did today, well part of it.....
posted by Mike 10:29 PM

Monday, May 10, 2004

What do you expect?

I think it is a given that the culture of a country deeply affects the mindsets of the people in it. No country is homogeneous of course. But certain cultural conceits will filter through to the everyday people. This is especially true of a country that places strong emphasis on it's Government.

Many Americans scoff at European Government, but so do many Europeans. They hold their leaders in less of a revered role than we do on this side of the Atlantic. This explains the reactions on this and that side of the Atlantic to President Bill Clinton's peccadilloes. Europeans could not for the life of them figure out what the buzz was all about. Americans on the other hand were absolutely aghast that a married sitting President would do the dirty with a younger woman in the White House. Let alone lie about it.

No matter that a small but sizeable minority of Americans have affairs and lie.

I use this as an illustration not as the point of this piece.

We now have a Government whose cultural basis is one of Extreme Arrogance & Self Pride. I'll tick off just a few examples. The dropping of the Kyoto Accords. The refusal of this Administration to be a signatory to the World Courts. The nearly Unilateral war against Iraq. These are just a few examples of the consistent position the present Administration has taken on the World Stage. It is the Hubris of "Yes we Can".

These are external examples of the new American Hubris. The prime internal example is of course the Patriot Act (which I call "Alien and Sedition Acts redux"). In this we see the an example of the Arrogance of elected officials who would stomp on the civil rights of their own citizens in order to stop a future threat of terrorism. No matter that it abrogates certain rights laid down by the framers of this Government. Rights that were laid down specifically to avoid the very types of civil abuses that this act allows.

One thing that America has learned from the Indochina conflicts of the late 60's and 70's is that the men and women in uniform deserve an honored place in society, regardless (to a point) of what their Civilian Leaders order them to do. It has been heartening to see that whether Americans are for or against the present conflict the soldiers have been treated by their fellow citizens with honor and respect.

And these soldiers are indeed an extension of the civilian authority that is vested in the Constitution. They follow chain of command and risk their lives in dangerous places to carry out the will of the duly elected government of their Nation. In this conflict, they are however, woefully under manned and under armed.

Again the hubris of our present leaders has created a very tricky situation. Our Secretary of defense has put just about all his political capital into the notion of a certain troop level, and contrary to the actual military minds who counseled for more support, he has stuck to his position and frankly damn the consequences. And as a unbelievable conceit and "cheat" he has indeed beefed up the number of Americans on the ground in Iraq with so called Security Companies. Civilians with little or no training being asked to conduct parts of the operation they are woefully under prepared for.

So what we have today, is an American Government populated at the top by men and women who have shown in their actions and words a new cultural ideology. First that they know best, and the rest of the country and the world need to take notice of their opinions because they are "correct". Second, that in order to fight a perceived threat to the National Security interally or without, certain human rights can be.. shall we say .. overlooked, for their perceived good of the Nation or the World. Thirdly this is an ideology of us vs. them. You are either with us or against, this ideology preaches. There is no middle ground and no moderate stance.

So, in this atmosphere, how can anyone be completely surprised by the abuses that have happened in Iraq? Can you say that the common soldier had not been affected by the ideology of this Administration? Can you blame the common soldier when they are under staffed and under fire from not just the insurgents but their own government to "get results".

I do NOT condone what has happened. It is abhorrent to EVERYTHING that America used to stand for. But do I understand the cultural basis by which something like this could be viewed by the Military as acceptable? Yes I believe I do.

As the weeks go by it will become abundantly clear that this situation is widespread and was condoned by the upper echelons of the Military and Civilian government. It is a direct result of this new Ideology that this present Government has brought to Washington DC.

And who will suffer? Will the Secretary of defense resign? No. The Under Secretary? No. The people who will suffer the most are the soldiers who were doing what they were told by their superiors.

Because this is the Administration of Deny and Deflect, find the scapegoat, and bury them.

posted by Mike 11:00 PM

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Happy Mothers Day

To all the Mommies in the audience. How good is this? Hallmark creates a holiday JUST FOR YOU! An occasion to drop 5 to 6 dollars a card into the coffers of the very same company that created the holiday! You know what I do? I buy cards for all my mommies (mom, grammie and wife) I buy them so they come from the dog. I buy them so they come from the cat.

And I make sure I don't buy Hallmark. That will teach them!

But if they have a Mothers Day and a Fathers Day how come they don't have a childrens day!


So we are planned for a get together at the F's house sometime btw 5 and 530, so that we are all to be sure done by the time Survior rolls around at 8! Me too.. isn't that sick? I got sucked into this one big time.

In attendence will be Liza's Mom, Liam's Mom, Alex's Mom. Susies's Mom is not good for travel and we would be up past her bed time. So she is staying put at the Eddie.

I'll post some pictures tomorrow. Or later today. Ok gotta call Mike's Mom now!!

Love to all the Moms

posted by Mike 11:42 AM

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

More Republican Dirty Tricks

Where does one start? With nausea I believe.

Anyway this week's parade of "patriotic" Vietnam veterans who got together in Washington to slag off John Kerry was just the latest round of highly offensive dirty tricks by the Bush/Cheney team.

Of course said team adamantly denies that they had anything to do with it. Of course they are lying.

This most recent attack was led by none other than John O'Neill, whom has been harrying John Kerry since 1971. This is the guy who went after John McCain's record during the 2000 primaries and went after Sen Max Cleland. You remember him, he lost three limbs in Vietnam.

The coverage I saw made it abundantly clear who was spearheading this attack. It is my firm belief that this is going to backfire upon the Bush/Cheney campaign.

I mean one guy whose service during Nam was as a Air Force reservist, whom it has been established couldn't even bother to appear for his last physical, and the other using every possible deferment to stay out of the draft.

Balanced against a man who Volunteered for Nam. I'm not always enamored with the ability of the American People to see through the Bullshit, but this is pretty blatant. I don't think they will miss it.
posted by Mike 9:48 PM

Monday, May 03, 2004

Oh you gotta see this one

You think you have seen it "all" on E-bay? Noooo you haven't.

Click here for a good laugh

And for the record a friend of mine posted this to a discussion group am part of. Obviously he has way too much time on his hands.
posted by Mike 9:33 PM

The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind