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John Furie Zacharias

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Middle East Tourism

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 on Dark Skies 
 about Future Trends

Pretend the year is 2106, one hundred years in the future.  What does your world look like?  I've thought about this scenario a number of times.  Admittedly, some of my ideas about the future are pure imagination, but my imagination is also guided by the extrapolation of current events.  Only seventy years passed from the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk to U.S. astronauts landing on the moon.

So what could 2106 be like?

Oil producing nations in the Middle East turn to tourism of the ancient world as their primary national industries. The United States, European Union, and the mega city centers in China and India have banned the use of petroleum-based fuels for personal transportation, citing political, economic and environmental reasons.

Saudi Arabia leads the way in tourism when it purchases over a thousand passenger jets from China and offers free flights for all Muslim pilgrims.  Not to be outdone, Israel follows suit.  Religious tourism booms in Jerusalem as the number of free flights from New York, Moscow and Sao Paulo increase.

Baghdad, Tehran, and Cairo form an Antiquities Tourism Cartel and promote it heavily in the wealthy Asian markets.  The new cool thing among the jet setters in Hong Kong and Tokyo is to have a sarcophagus in their home made by artisans from Giza.

I honestly believe that the future market for oil will reach an epiphanous point and be phased out for wasteful use, like personal transportation.  Alternative methods, like telecommuting, as well as alternative fuels, will become common place.  Petroleum will still be a useful resource, just as steel is, but it won't be the axis point around which much of the world is currently revolving. We all need plastic and some of you ugly chicks need cosmetics.

My extrapolation of the future is based upon one question I posed to myself.  Why would anyone go to many of the countries in the Middle East if there was no need for their oil?  Without oil, many of these places would only have infertile desert sand to export to the rest of the planet.

At the same time, many wonderful cities in the Middle East could be great tourist destinations, once the governments can create societies where terrorism isn't such a deterring factor to visiting them.  The future of declining oil revenues in Iraq, Iran, and Saudia Arabia may come faster than 100 years in the future.  It could happen as quickly as 5-10 years once currently large markets, like the United States, decide to switch to biofuels.

Until then, the spice must flow.

[Headphones] :: Living with War - Neil Young
, ,
politics, travel, religion & beliefs
egypt, iran, iraq, israel, saudi arabia


Posted at 12:50 am by John Furie Zacharias
Comments (2)  

Sunday, May 07, 2006
White House Snow Job

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 about Politics

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan gave his final press briefing on Friday, making good on his April 19th announcement to resign amid the Bushworld personnel shake ups.  Serving George Bush for many years and since 2003 as the Democrusader's press secretary, McClellan no longer has to act as official Bush Administration spin doctor.  He passes that honor to Tony Snow, who starts his job on Monday.

Not to speak ill of the dead and gone, but Scott McClellan should really take this opportunity in between jobs by following the example of Rhode Island Representative Patrick J. Kennedy -- admit he has a problem and seek some rehab.  I'm not suggesting that McClellan is a pill junkie (or maybe I am).  Maybe McClellan is actually like Tom Cruise, not on drugs, but clearly another person in need of anti-delusional pharmaceuticals.

Something is going on.  What else could explain these statements from his very last press briefing?

  • Bush's dismal job approval polls? -- "Let's keep in mind that these are snapshots in time."
  • War on terror? -- "We are making the world a safer place."
  • The public's war anxiety? -- " ... this country is on a solid track under this President because of his leadership."
  • Lying about Iraq? -- "I think you ought to step back and review history a little bit, not try to rewrite history."
  • Rumsfeld a war criminal? -- "Those are your words. I'm saying that people can express themselves."
  • Federal deficit is $8 trillion? -- "We have a solid record of making sure that our priorities are met while holding the line on spending elsewhere."
  • Paying at the gas pump? -- "The President is moving forward on making sure that there's no price-gouging."
  • Iraq war just for their oil? -- "I think you'll see the oil (production) continue to come back up as we move forward on our plan for victory there."
  • Osama bin Laden? -- "And that's why we are continuing to take the fight to the enemy abroad, so that we're not fighting them here at home."
  • The next war of choice? -- "And this President knows that the most difficult decision a President has to make is to send our men and women in uniform into combat."
  • Have you had your head up Bush's ass for almost 3 years? -- "I cannot thank the President enough for the privilege of being a part of his team."

Now, if you are shaking your head in disbelief after reading these statements, just know I could write up a dozen RANT entries on each of these bullet points.  All this, from the transcript of only one press briefing Scott McClellan gave, albeit his last one.  It might not rile me up so much as it does, but reporters in American media actually have misguided empathy for Scott McClellan -- and they mostly feel sorry for him -- thinking, "Poor bastard, he had to lie for George W. Bush ... better him than me."

While that feeling may be justified and understandable among peers, it doesn't serve me, or you.  It certainly weakens the ability of the press to find out anything close to the truth, instead of parroting the Orwellian Bushword speak in our country's newspapers and on our airwaves.  With McClellan passing his microphone to Tony Snow, one can only look forward to the future White House press briefings as one might an old episode of frackin' Monty Python.

Check the headphones link below to listen to all the songs on Neil Young's latest CD entitled "Living with War."  Track #7 sounds like a song that Akira3009 or I have made in the past.  Totally appropriate tuneage.

[Headphones] :: Living with War - Neil Young
, ,
 politics, books, family & home
bush, whitehouse, iraq

Posted at 09:59 am by John Furie Zacharias
Comments (2)  

Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Save the Internet

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The internet is once again under seige by misguided federal legislators in the United States.  House and Senate members are currently hammering out a huge Telecom reform bill which could, among other things, enable telecom providers to gut a basic principle of the free and open internet, net neutrality.  While decrying governments like in China and Iran censoring content and access, lawmakers will be allowing big corporations do essentially the same thing to Americans.

According to InternetNews, Amazon VP Paul Misener testified before a congressional hearing in March at which he called the lack of a net neutrality clause in the proposed legislation "a clear and present danger" to internet content choice.

"The phone and cable companies are going to fundamentally alter the Internet in America unless Congress acts to stop them," Misener testified. "They have the market power, technical means and regulatory permission to control American consumers' access to broadband Internet content, and they've announced their plans to do so."

Massachusetts Senator Markey explained it this way:

"We know from public statements from several industry executives that the owners of the broadband wires into our homes would like to start charging fees to Internet content providers," Markey said. "In other words, they want to artificially constrain the supply of Internet-based content and services to high-bandwidth consumers." Markey added, "This represents nothing more than the imposition of a broadband bottleneck tax on electronic commerce."

If the concept of net neutrality is still a little confusing to you, let me explain it with an example.  Basically, large telecommunications corporations like AT&T and Verizon would be able to start an internet content service, like Blogdrive.  Lets call the theoretical company, VerizonSpace.

Then, because you use Verizon broadband for your ISP, they could limit bandwidth to their VerizonSpace competitors, like Blogdrive, unless Blogdrive paid Verizon a fee.  Verizon could effectively kill internet connectivity to your Blogdrive blog, or any other web site they felt like blocking or limiting.

This is a real threat to free speech and open access on the internet as we now know it.  Check out the Save the Internet coalition web site now and join the fight for internet freedom.

[Headphones] :: Indie Pop Rocks [lo-fi] - SomaFM
, ,
 internet, business, web design
networks, blogs, censorship


Posted at 12:20 pm by John Furie Zacharias
Comment (1)  

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Remembering Chernobyl

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 about Death

"I was a schoolgirl back in 1986 and as soon as radiation level began to rise in Kiev, dad put all of us on the train to grandma's house. Granny lives 800 kms from here and dad wasn't sure if it was far enough away to keep us out of reach of the big bad wolf of a nuclear meltdown."

-- Elena Filatova, aka Kid of Speed / Gamma Girl

As for myself, I was a young man living in Karlsruhe, Germany at the time of the Chernobyl disaster.  Even though I lived as far away from Chernobyl as Elena's granny, many of my friends and I were nonetheless extremely cautious about buying things like fresh produce or imported canned food because the contamination zone of radioactive fallout spread over a vast area of agriculture.

April 26th, 2006 marks the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.  Many people in the United States mark September 11th as an infamous day their world changed in significant and fundamental ways.  April 26th has been a dark day for millions and millions of people in the Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia that marks the world's worst nuclear disaster.

Chernobyl leaves the world the legacy of a million personal tragedies.  At the time, though, many people in the west heard little about it.  Unlike the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the subsequent collapse of the World Trade Center buildings that was broadcast live on television, news from the former Soviet Union only trickled out.  Rumors of the true magnitude of the disaster were rampant as radioactive winds blew over the iron curtain.  It would be several years until the Berlin Wall came down.

If you are too young to know about Chernobyl or so old that you have forgotten that the Chernobyl nuclear disaster released more than 100 times the nuclear fallout than Hiroshima and Nagasaki on this day twenty years ago, take five minutes and watch this short flash presentation, "The Long Shadow of Chernobyl," from this month's National Geographic magazine online.

With over 400 nuclear power plants in the world, taking five minutes to learn from history may be worth your attention.  Currently, there are 104 U.S. nuclear reactors in 31 states.  According to Nuclear Engineering International, "nuclear power was a big winner," when Bush signed the $14.5B Energy Policy Act of 2005 as it paved the way for additional plants to be built.

If you have more than five minutes, take the time to visit the Ghost Town photo journalism site of Elena Filatova (aka Kid of Speed).  And honestly, if you are currently making a comfortable living, consider donating a few bucks to buy gas for her motorcycle and some batteries for her camera.

Chernobyl has been characterized by some as a "tragedy in slow motion."  One of the reasons for this characterization is that we are now witnessing the children of Chernobyl.  Women of child-bearing age, 20 years hence, are now giving birth to infants with genetic health problems and thousands of children have cancer specific to Chernobyl fallout in Belarus.

Radioactive nuclear fallout is not stopped by geo-political border definitions.  It is simply the Reaper riding the wind.  Take a deep breath.

[Full Screen] :: Chernobyl Disaster Video - BBC World News
, ,
 illnesses, agriculture, motorcycles
nuclear, chernobyl, cancer

Posted at 07:58 pm by John Furie Zacharias
Comments (2)  

Thursday, April 20, 2006
Forensic Blogging

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When Merriam-Webster announced the word "blog" was the #1 most looked-up word of 2004, it heralded the coming of age of blogs into the mainstream consciousness.  No longer are blogs just for basement-dwelling, hacker-wannabe computer geeks or teenaged myspacers crying out for attention.  Nope.  More and more blogs are being authored by absolutely delusional, child-raping, psychopaths.  Are these blogs insight into a killer's mind?

Blogs don't kill people though, people kill people.  More people are blogging now.  Technorati tracks about 36 million sites, but no one really knows how many more tens of millions of blogs are actually out there.  Apparently, some of these people writing on their blogs end up being sociopathic killers.

News Corp, the parent company of the much-hated Fox News cable network, bought InterMix Media, Myspace.com's parent company last year for $580 million.  Competitive, corporate jealousy brought out the scary and ugly media stories from the likes of MSNBC.  Someone at Microsoft must have dropped the ball for not buying up InterMix Media.

Corporate mudslinging is even more vicious with media companies.  They can get their own self-serving message out, "If your teenager uses Myspace.com, it is much more likely they could be abducted by a sexual predator."  News outlets profit on daily fear-mongering.

The truth is that the majority of homicides of women are perpetrated by their spouse, or boyfriend, about 70% of the time.  In addition, a child is 10 times more likely to be sexually abused by the single mom's boyfriend than a stranger.

Despite the facts, it has become morbid entertainment to be able to read the blog of a psychopath.  After reading the ABC news article about Kevin Ray Underwood who is accused of abducting and murdering his 10-year-old neighbor, Jamie Rose Bolin, I decided to check out his myspace site.  Underwood went by the name SubSpecies23.

MySpace.com has blocked SubSpecies23's profile page, but I found the link to Underwood's main blog, "Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K."  You should check that out now, if you are interested.  Once the criminal investigators or media really get a hold of it, Blogspot might likely have to block access to the blog for forensic reasons or simply bandwidth abuse.

Once the bible-quoting freaks start leaving comments, the blog of an accused evil-doer can get 1000 comments on one permalink.  I saw it happen to the "Fifth Nail" blog of the religiously delusional and meth-head sexual predator and spree murderer, Joseph Edward Duncan.  Apparently, that psychopath is now blogging from jail.

Is the next psychopath blogging here?

[Headphones] :: ChroniX Radio - website
, ,
 internet, parenting, families
death, crime, killer

Posted at 04:34 pm by John Furie Zacharias
Comments (2)  

Monday, April 17, 2006
Priests, Vampires and Death

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You have seconds to live.  It's tick tock time for you, my friend.  Ironically, the inevitability of death and taxes in the United States is only a few weeks after the non-official, but socially popular April Fool's Day.  After the temporary hope for your fate is enboldened by the Christ resurrection tradition on Easter Sunday, suddenly the alarm clock buzzes loudly on Monday morning and you fall back into the grind of your own personal rat race.  Welcome back.

Here's some death news for your Monday morning coffee break.  On a personal note, this even shocked me, just so you know (jsyk).  If you think you may be heading for a bad day, today, just be glad you're not Gerald Robinson, from Toledo.

Keeping with the fuzzy-bunny Easter theme, Gerald Robinson is going on trial today for the 1980 cold case murder of Margaret Ann Pahl.  Prosecutors allege that Robinson, a catholic priest, stabbed Margaret Pahl, a nun, 32 times and choked her to death in a hospital chapel.

The cold case was warmed up when an unidentified woman tried to seek financial compensation from the Toledo Catholic Diocese for satanic ritual sexual abuse by Gerald Robinson.  My prediction: this criminal trial is likely to become creepy.

In undead news, I had to create a new user account at The Vampire Don fan forum site because they've gone through some changes there.  Don Henrie and I struck up a nice email correspondence after he stopped by Thunderstorms to comment on an entry I had posted about the Sci-Fi Channel's reality TV show, Mad Mad House in 2004.

This morning, I went to DeathClock.com.  It was morbidly fascinating to stare at a second-by-second countdown of my life.  Interestingly, when I changed my "mode" parameter from pessimistic to optimistic, I gained about 25 years of longevity.  I plan on remaining optimistic by not obsessively staring at my friggin' death clock again.

[Headphones] :: Bottle Imps and Braaainnzz - Shadowdance Podcast
, ,
 occult, christianity, celebrities
death, vampires, christ

Posted at 09:50 am by John Furie Zacharias
Comments (2)  

Thursday, April 13, 2006
Social Network Integration

I have embarked on a little beta-test to integrate some social networking into Dark Skies.  At the end of each entry here, I have added a section that contains social networking links with some chosen networks.  With my beta-test, I hope to explore the benefits of social networking on Blogdrive.  In this entry, I will explain briefly how you can implement this on your blog and participate with me.  I invite you to share your ideas and continuing comments here.

Some of you may be more familiar than others with this topic.  Some of you may be more familiar with the various web services or may be more technically skilled.  There are several things to learn, but they should be fairly simple, if you have the desire to learn them.

Rather than give you some marketing overview of social networks, it is easiest to explain by simply checking them out for yourself by following the links in the section below.  It has a matrix of links for you to explore, each with its own little square icon.

 The first icon I created is for audio.  The links following the winamp logo icon and [headphones] are for streaming digital music.  I have simply linked the hi-fi stream, the lo-fi stream, and the website where the stream originates.  I include the website just in case someone needs a different audio format for their PC.

While not truly a Web 2.0 definition of social networking, I have included [headphones] audio links for a very long time.  There are sites like last.fm for audio social networking, but I like to use this method for streams and MP3 files.  I prefer full digital streams and full MP3 files to thirty second samples of already popular songs.  I enjoy finding new bands and free MP3 files.  Shoutcast can give you a nice selection of links for any music genre to use on your own blog.

The second icon is for Technorati tags.  Technorati has been tagging the blogosphere (or world of blogs) for some time.  Technorati is even used by the Washington Post newspaper now.

Tags are simply names for categories.  While you can use any tag names for your blog entry, I try to use some common tags so that following the tag will lead you to more information about that topic, or category.  Registering your blog with technorati will place your blog in their tag lists and could potentially increase incoming traffic to your blog.  Follow some of the technorati tag links to best see how that works.

 The third icon I created is for Blogdrive categories.  Following the tagged links in the Blogdrive row will lead you to a list of other Blogdrive blogs that have selected those categories in their blog configuration.  I have compiled a one page list of all Blogdrive categories on Web-Litter.  I also explore the idea of linking to Blogdrive profile elements in this Web-Litter entry.  Follow the links and see how that works.

 The fourth icon I've used is for Flickr tagsFlickr is a photo social networking site.  I've chosen to include links to their slideshow function for their most interesting images tagged with that particular category name.  Follow a few links and you will see how to link to these slide shows.  Registration with Flickr is free, and you can then upload and tag your own digital images with whatever tag name you'd like to use.

 The translation flag row of icons is not specifically a social networking function, but I decided to include it because I thought it might be reasonable place to put those links.  Language translation methods are not perfect, but it is in the spirit of social networking that I use them.  Following those links should enlighten you to the syntax those links use.  I chose to use the Google language tools for these links.

Happily, you need only know how to add images and links using HTML or the Blogdrive WYSIWYG blog entry editor in order to start including the various social networks into your own blog.  If you right mouse click my icons, you can then "save picture as" to your own PC.  Upload the images to your Blogdrive or PhotoBucket account to use these icons on your own blog.

Feel free to rip these icons and use them, but please do not hot-link them.  I periodically move images around the server, so hot-linking them will only lead to your embarassment when they do not display for you. These are tiny graphics.  If you like them enough to use them, you should like them enough to store them and link to them from your own location.

In addition, if you plan to use this social networking method, or some part of it, you can simply cut and paste this section in your blog entries.  In your Blogdrive editor, the default is to "Save post to clip board," when you save a draft or publish your entry.  You can then paste your entry into a local unformatted text file and repeatedly use the section by pasting it back into any entry.  You would need only make minor edits to the links in the section for each entry -- changing the Blogdrive permalink or tag used -- depending upon the syntax of the link and content of your entry.

In conclusion, follow the links.  You will easily understand how the various social networking sites can be linked to your blog.  You need not use everything I have chosen to include in my matrix of links.  Rather, you may chose to implement just one or two.  If you primarily have a photo blog, link to Flickr, for example.

I would like to hear from anyone who is using social network site links on their blog, and anyone who would like to start including Blogdrive categories in their entries.  Again, please feel free to leave a comment.

[Headphones] :: Illinois Street Lounge [lo-fi] - SomaFM
, ,
 internet, people, web design
networks, blogs, geeks

Posted at 03:44 am by John Furie Zacharias
Comments (4)  

Sunday, April 02, 2006
Got check?

 [future trends]

Charles Murray has come up with the bright idea to give everyone in the U.S. who reaches age twenty-one -- and who is not in jail -- a ten thousand dollar annual grant.  He's just written a book about it, entitled "In Our Hands : A Plan To Replace The Welfare State."  Before you dismiss his $10,000 idea out of hand, you should be aware of a few things first.  Charles Murray is a Brady scholar at the American Enterprise Institute {AEI), a libertarian think tank in Washington D.C, and his 1984 book, "Losing Ground" foreshadowed the Welfare Reform Act of 1996.

Since the U.S. political system has devolved down into a bi-polar Pepsi vs. Coke team sports event between two bland smear-mongering elitist teams of Ivy League Republicans and Ivy League Democrats, third party Libertarian ideas often become stolen adopted by the Red or Blue team in order to make a political candidate stand out among the status-quo political sheeple.  At first glance, a libertarian think-tanker proposing a $10,000 government give-away deal sounds freaky liberal progressive.

How would this $10,000 plan work?  Some people find the idea very intriguing, like the hyphenated NY Post book reviewer, Diana Furtchgott-Roth, who thinks this is a must-read book.  Kathryn Jean Lopez, from National Review Online, has a great interview here with Charles Murray, exploring some of the pros and cons.

Since I know you are always clicking through my embedded links to learn more, I don't have to mention that the $10,000 plan means you wouldn't be getting any other money from the government, no matter what -- welfare, student loans, medicaid -- but you can spend it however you like.  Drink Heineken instead of Budweiser, or Stolichnaya instead of bathtub vodka, if that's your main fiscal priority.

Follow a few of my links and learn some more about this idea.  What would you do with your $10,000 this year?

[Headphones] :: Club 977 [lo-fi] - website
, ,
 politics, books, family & home
 welfare, money

Posted at 05:40 pm by John Furie Zacharias
Comments (6)  

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Terri Schiavo: dead, but not forgotten

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Now that Terri Schiavo has been dead about a year, both her family, the Schindlers, and her husband, Michael, have simultaneously released books about their own personal perspectives concerning her controversial death.  Consult wikipedia for an extensive background entry about Terri Schiavo. The publication of these two new books places us at the heart of the controversy where we also get first hand accounts from the opposing parties concerning the right-to-die.

In the book "A Life That Matters" by the Schindler family, Terri's parents, Robert and Mary, share their personal experiences and describe the turmoil surrounding their daughter's death.  Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, also describes the turmoil and unprecedented pressure over his wife from his perspective in "Terri: The Truth."  From Amazon:

A religious zealot offered $250,000 to anyone who would kill me. My two babies were threatened with death. I was condemned by the president, the majority leaders of the House and Senate, the governor of Florida, the pope, and the right-wing media, all because I was doing what Terrióthe woman I lovedówanted.

These recently published books join the ranks of a number of books about Terri Schiavo and the legal and political issues about the right-to-die:

Last year, the news of Terri Schiavo was all-consuming here in Florida.  Similarly, back when Terri Schiavo first collapsed and went into a coma in 1990, I was living in metro Detroit and my nightly news was then pre-occupied with Dr. Jack Kevorkian.  The right-to-die is a contentious issue pitting people who advocate personal liberty and non-governmental interference against other people with strong religious convictions and those who fear an ethical trend toward legal euthanasia.

While politicians have basically stopped wrangling with this issue now that the media has lost interest, Michael Schiavo has decided to remind voters how U.S. politicians forced themselves into his family's affairs at TerriPAC.  It should be noted that Dr. Jack Kevorkian remains in a Michigan prison for his participation in physician assisted suicide.

[Headphones] :: Tormented Radio stream [lo-fi]website
, ,
 politics, religion

Posted at 04:53 pm by John Furie Zacharias
Comment (1)  

Saturday, March 11, 2006
Our Sinking Ship Stays the Course


George W. Bush, aka "The Democrusader," has hit an all-time low in recent public opinion polls.  The overall reason for this lack of confidence in the U.S. president is that some of Dubya's previously faithful supporters are starting to realize that they can no longer defend him on their own particular conservative political plank while the Bush Administration arrogantly stays the course as the entire ship is sinking.

This news has been reported by many outlets, so I'll cite the CBS article simply because it happened to be at the top of my googling, not because of any perceived political left-leaning of CBS.  In point of fact, it's an AP news story simply published on the CBS site: "Bush Approval Rating Falls to New Low"

More and more people, particularly Republicans, disapprove of President Bush's performance, question his character and no longer consider him a strong leader against terrorism, according to an AP-Ipsos poll documenting one of the bleakest points of his presidency.

Looking more closely at this recent poll [PDF] shows marked drops in the Bush administration's approval by the American people, from just a year ago, when the GOP was on a political high because BushWorld had just been re-elected.  It appears that Dubya has truly squandered the poltical capital he spoke of so proudly immediately after his inaugaration.

Foreign Policy and GWoT 52 46 43 55
Domestic Issues 44 53 36 62
Overall Job 48 50 37 60

The Democrusader's poll numbers have never been too outstanding -- much like the narrow margin by which he was re-elected in 2004 -- but the only explanation for his current dismally low approval ratings can really only be explained by Republicans jumping the political sinking ship.

The Fallout

While BushWorld partially saved face when Dubai Ports pulled their own deal before it came down to Bush's first veto of his puppet Congress, it only highlighted the growing lack of confidence his fellow Republicans are feeling about their presidential fratboy.  White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, signalled relief that pulling out of the deal would indeed heal some rifts between the administration and the GOP-controlled Congress, but insisted that "this was their [Dubai's] decision." Despite this, no one believes a damn word coming from the White House, anymore.

Some of the comments coming from conservative corners are absolutely stunning:

"[Secretary of Defense] Rumsfeld has so thoroughly alienated Congress that it no longer cares what he wants."
-- Loren Thompson, Armed Forces Journal

"One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed."
-- William F. Buckley Jr., National Review

"My comment on Bush's Christian "socialism" was in a particular context. Margaret Thatcher defined a socialist as someone who knows how to spend other people's money. That is something George W. Bush has done his entire life. It was once his family's money or that of foolish investors'. Now it's yours and mine. Trillions of it."
-- Andrew Sullivan, blog and speaking at the Cato Institute

We Demand Security and Liberty

In some small measure, it can only go downhill from here.  In a larger measure, the Republican politicians wishing for re-election in 2006 may hit bottom faster than a crackhead playing Chutes and Ladders.  When you add up the Democrusader's pros and cons among his abject faithful, it doesn't show much promise for Republicans.

On the one hand, the inevitability of death and retirement provided Dubya the opportunity to appoint two judges to the Supreme Court of the United States who are perceived as conservatives -- but even then -- he had the Harriet Myer nomination blow up in his face.  While his Christian social conservative political base may feel some divine satisfaction from these appointments, I predict a huge political backlash from it in the 2006 and 2008 elections, as the abortion issue ends up in the news, day after day.

Our rights!

We Americans have a quirky gut feeling about our rights.  While we may not always choose to exercise them, we never want anyone to take the choice to do so away from us.  It doesn't matter what right we think we have, legally or perceived.

While I may not have the artistic talent to draw a cartoon characterization depicting the Islamic prophet, Muhammed (pbuh), with funny, clownlike red hair and big shoes, handing out happy meals loaded with deep-fried McExplosives to the hasidic jewish children mocking about at the Wailing Wall in Israel -- if you try to take away my first amendment right to express myself in this way, you may find yourself unfortunately discovering my second amendment right to keep and bear arms.

If my government illegally wiretaps our phones, or monitors our public library activities, or criminalizes medical procedures, pharmaceutical resources, or non-traditional health and welfare practices -- it is invading our privacy.  It is impeding our right to life, liberty and our perceived version of happiness.

Since I am a man, I can only relate and comment with any sense of wisdom about the abortion issue that women demand and deserve the freedom of choice in this personal decision about their own body.  To me, it is a privacy issue.

Abortion will splinter politics

The same goes for the abortion issue.  A majority of women never wish to have an abortion.  A majority of women never wish to be placed in the position where they have to make that decision in the first place. At the same time, an overwhelmingly majority of women feel the right to choose, or not to choose, a medical procedure concerning their own body is a more important fundamental right to them than satisfying the religious fanatics in their own country, state, or county.

[post-it note]
Do some research on the ridiculous religious fanatics and other mental nut cases on the planet who: protest Iraq War casualty funerals with homophobic and apocalyptic rants, bomb abortion clinics, drive an SUV into a gaggle of drunk college students, burn a pod of poor Alabama churches, blow up a mosque in Samarra, and incite a pesky million-man march of unemployed Middle Easterners swept up into the foreign policy grist mill of diametrically asymetric objectives.
[/post-it note]

It is going to be an interesting year.  Politics and global issues may instead be the talk of the town, rather than Paris Hilton's favorite dildo color, even after Tennessee makes it illegal to do so.  It's light purple.  Don't ask how I know.

[Headphones] :: Cryptic Radio - DJ of the current stream

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