January 24, 2011 archive

Another Long and Winding Road

Well… it’s been a long winding road with more then a few hundred potholes, speedbumps, flats, rolls, and poles hit along the way, but finally after three weeks of being buried up my eyeballs in code, there is a brand spanking new Antemedius 2.0 up live now on the web – converted from Drupal 5 to the latest stable Drupal 6.20 platform.

As the old saying goes – my head hurts, my feet stink, and I don’t love Haysoos, but for the most part – outside of a few bugs here and there that I can already see need fixing – much less than I anticipated there would be – amazingly the thing seems to actually work. And is a little faster too.

I’d really appreciate it if you’d test drive it and try out everything you can think of to make it fcuk up, and let me know if you see anything that needs repair or tuning? I’m sure you’ll find something… 😉

Sunday Train: Going on the Attack for Amtrak

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

The Republicans have won one of the established political Power Positions in American Politics, and so they propose to eliminate funding for Amtrak:

The Bush budgets for 2006 and 2007 proposed ending federal support of Amtrak, the only US national passenger rail service.In fiscal 2005, the federal subsidy to Amtrak was $1.2 billion, which is what Bush spends in six days in Iraq.

Now, that was a 2005 fight by Resident George W. Bush, after he won his first Presidential election and his second term in office. So as one of their “new ideas”, the new Republican House proposes the same old same old.

What a big surprise. Really, you could knock me over with a feather  {Legal Disclaimer: Strictly speaking, a bronze plated ostrich feather when I am already in danger of losing my balance}.  

Imagining postcapitalism: an introduction

This diary will argue the necessity of imagining a world after capitalism in this era.  This is so because the left, in America and elsewhere, currently finds itself in a cul-de-sac both of intellectual and of social proportions.  Centrally, I criticize the left for not using its imagination to fight what Antonio Gramsci called the “war of position.”  This will be part of a diary series, “Imagining postcapitalism,” which will be posted here and elsewhere, as the foundation for an online think-tank of sorts.  The “postcapitalism” group on DK4 will be one of a number of foci for this online think-tank.  Other contributors will be encouraged to post diaries as part of this series, to infuse a variety of perspectives into the project.

(crossposted at Orange)

The Albanian: A Timely Film

This past weekend I saw a recent German/Albanian narrative film entitled simply The Albanian.  Rarely have I seen a movie that confronts the fullest picture of the worldwide controversy regarding undocumented workers and illegal immigration.  While its sympathies are clearly with immigrants, it does not resort to cheap sentimentality or agitprop.  We recognize how the issue involves all the complications and tragedies of human lives.  Suffice it to say that the entire matter is much more complicated than we ever usually contemplate, even for those of us who support immigration reform and human rights.  

Birdy Birdy in the Sky…..

…Who’d have thought you were a spy?


Its not easy to keep from becoming paranoid about the increasingly Orwellian creep of our Nation. Losing our right to privacy seems to be the precursor to a Police State. Pouring money and research into Tasing and Microwaving weaponry meant to subdue large masses within our own borders seems to point out that they see US as the enemy. Rape Scanners at airports makes “Guilty until Proven Innocent” the new decree of the land.

Its one thing that the Federal Government data mines our every electronic move, and taps our phone conversations without warrants, but now they want to allow Local Law Enforcement to have that right as well. The latest military gadgetry they want to use on us? Drones.

Ah, yes, versions that weigh as little as 7 ounces, the size of small birds, armed with cameras that pick up imagery from visual to infrared that from 400 feet up can count the freckles on your nose. But they can fly much lower undetected too! Oh, yes, within 2 years, the FAA is going to change their codes to allow these “security” devices to buzz your back yard, so silent you probably will never notice them.

They have already been widely used for border patrol, but at least 3 Police departments are using them in a pilot program: (shouldn’t that be pilot-less?) Queen Anne’s County, Md., Miami-Dade County, Fla., and Mesa County, Colo.

Where is the public outcry? Oh, wait. That is relegated to the gnashing of teeth by the Purity Police for some show called “Skins” that reportedly undermines America so horribly that public demand has made sponsors jump ship, for showing teens doing what teens have done since the beginning of mankind – making out and experimenting with mood altering substances like (gasp) pot!

Some days “What the FUCK !?!!?!!!” does not even begin to cover the cognitive dissonance that reading my morning headlines induces.

Six In The Morning

The American Tax Payer Screwed Once Again    

Mortgage Giants Leave Legal Bills to the Taxpayers

Since the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taxpayers have spent more than $160 million defending the mortgage finance companies and their former top executives in civil lawsuits accusing them of fraud. The cost was a closely guarded secret until last week, when the companies and their regulator produced an accounting at the request of Congress.

The bulk of those expenditures – $132 million – went to defend Fannie Mae and its officials in various securities suits and government investigations into accounting irregularities that occurred years before the subprime lending crisis erupted. The legal payments show no sign of abating.

“Support the Troops Tax”

Retired Capt USAF, Myles Spicer, USAF 1954-57 retired from reserves, lays out the long over due ‘Support’ for those we send into occupations theaters and then forget about. The so called (T)’s {oh the fun with the ‘purple heart bandages’ as the wars raged}, once long ago (R)’s and even conservative, won’t like this, they want but don’t want to pay for, and not just war, as most of them were the ones that remained silent for over a decade, still ongoing silence, as to Real Support but very loud as to support of the failed policies and related lies and costs.

The impelling case to impose a “war tax”

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Time for a break from poetry…in order to create some art.

Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is.  Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Masque 3

Late Night Karaoke

Military Commissions to Increase at Guantánamo and More . . .

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Obama continues to make Dick Cheney proud.

U.S. Prepares to Lift Ban on Guantánamo Cases

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is preparing to increase the use of military commissions to prosecute Guantánamo detainees, an acknowledgment that the prison in Cuba remains open for business after Congress imposed steep new impediments to closing the facility.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to soon lift an order blocking the initiation of new cases against detainees, which he imposed on the day of President Obama’s inauguration. That would clear the way for tribunal officials, for the first time under the Obama administration, to initiate new charges against detainees.

Charges would probably then come within weeks against one or more detainees who have already been designated by the Justice Department for prosecution before a military commission, including Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi accused of planning the 2000 bombing of the American destroyer Cole in Yemen; Ahmed al-Darbi, a Saudi accused of plotting, in an operation that never came to fruition, to attack oil tankers in the Straits of Hormuz; and Obaydullah, an Afghan accused of concealing bombs.

The rules for admissible evidence that these commission operate under are far loser than a civilian court.

Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft explains:

One of those expected to be recharged and tried is Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who was captured in 2002. Al-Nashiri was originally charged by the Bush Administration with participating in the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. He was facing the death penalty. The Obama Administration moved to dismiss the charges against in in 2009. Al-Nashiri’s co-defendants were moved to federal court. Why wasn’t Al-Nashiri? The obvious answer is because the evidence against him was obtained by torture. His lawyer, Lt. Com. Stephen Reyes says:

“Nashiri is being prosecuted at the commissions because of the torture issue,” Mr. Reyes said. “Otherwise he would be indicted in New York along with his alleged co-conspirators.”

Most of those who will be charged and face the death penalty are not prosecutable in a civilian court because not only is all of the evidence against them was obtained through torture but the detainees themselves were tortured. President Obama and Attorney General Holder are prosecuting the wrong people. They should be trying Bush and Cheney who have both publicly confessed to personally authorizing torture.

And if you the average American citizen thought you were safe from this abuse, think again:

Obama administration keeps new policy on Miranda secret

The Justice Department has a new policy for terrorism interrogations — but officials won’t publicly release it

The Obama administration has issued new guidance on use of the Miranda warning in interrogations of terrorism suspects, potentially chipping away at the rule that bars the government from using information in court if it was gathered before a suspect was informed of his right to remain silent and to an attorney.

But the Department of Justice is refusing to publicly release the guidance, with a spokesman describing it in an interview as an “internal document.” So we don’t know the administration’s exact interpretation of Miranda, even though it may have significantly reshaped the way terrorism interrogations are conducted.

If Bush was bad, Obama is taking it to new levels.

We can break the two party system in Philadelphia

Hugh Giordano – 2010 Green candidate for state representative in Philadelphia who got 23 percent of the vote in the city, union organizer, and Green Party of Philadelphia City Committee member – is sending the following two-part open letter to every union in the city of Philadelphia:

STOP Supporting the Democrats and Republicans!


Dear Union Brothers and Sisters,

My name is Hugh Giordano, and I am fellow union representative for the UFCW, Local 152. Many of you know me or have heard about me in my run for State Representative where I produced the highest percentage of vote of any third party candidate in a three-way race – beating the Republican in Philadelphia!

I produced this great victory because I stood for the issues, used basic union organizing skills, took NO corporate money, and had union support. Just imagine what I could have accomplished if I had all the unions behind me, the man power, and financial backing; I could have done so much more to defeat the CEO/corporate Democrat.

Although I did not win that election, I opened the doors for us, as a united labor front, to do great things for the future. We have a duty to do what is right and to fight back against the status quo. That is why we are labor leaders and chose this activist life. I use the word ‘activist’ because that is what we are supposed to be, NOT businessmen and businesswomen.

Before I get into the meat of this letter, I want to make a few quick statements that I will always say and continue to support. We, as labor leaders, have a duty to the movement, our unions, and the members to do what is right, not what is safe! We are not pawns of the Democrats and Republicans, and we owe them nothing. The two parties have not done anything for our unions and the movement. Most people in elected positions in City Council have never even been a union member!  If you are a union leader and are afraid to support another party besides the Democrats because of retaliation – I suggest you retire and find another job! Sorry that I have to be blunt, but it’s the truth!

[Continued below…]

Pique the Geek 20110123: The Physics of Cooking

I was originally going to write about the ballistics responsible for sparing the life of Representative Giffords tonight, but decided that some might feel that to be offensive.  Please indicate in comments whether or not you think that this would be an acceptable topic.  The piece is very interesting (the draft is in the can), but I leave it to my readers to determine whether it should see the light of day.

The topic tonight is the physics behind cooking, in the meaning that how heat is added to food makes a huge difference in the rate of cooking, the taste of the final product, and even its texture.