Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I can only say that watching cable news coverage of ordinary people trying to cope somehow with the sudden catastrophe that has befallen them, many of whom have lost everything they owned with no hope of recoup, I have yet to see anyone carrying a computer or a television set and I can't help but wonder about a media (I'm sorry, that should be "liberal media") that films people trudging through chest-deep water that is filled with agitated displaced wildlife, hidden obstacles, assorted poisons, dead things, sewage, and who knows what else, and who are carrying a gym bag packed with loaves of bread, bottled water, and packages of Pampers, damaged goods which will only end up in a landfill otherwise, stuff that they scavenged from a washed-out WalMart that they made it to without dying, and which has enough insurance coverage to actually profit on the corporate level from this kind of event...

... and refers to them as "looters."

taste the irony

By all accounts, it would seem that significant portions of at least four southern states are going to be catastrophically affected by the hurricane and associated events in the Gulf Coast over the last couple of days. Several million people will be living in devastated cities, surrounded by rubble, rotting human and animal remains, with no electricity, no water, no fresh food, no telephone service, and limited ability to travel due to having cars either damaged beyond repair or that won't run for their owners being unable to find gasoline within any feasible distance.

In other words, a lot of Americans are going to find out what the life of the average Iraqi is like today.

Minus, of course, the car bombs.

Remember, freedom is messy!

don't be too surprised

Not to be a downer, but with this country reeling from a massive and sudden climactic, economic, and psychological calamity, I'm not going to be terribly surprised if the "terrorists" strike the U.S. again very soon, and very hard. With Bush's popularity the lowest of any president in recent history, looming financial ruination, few truly friendly countries around the world, it would only make sense for people who are trying to guide our destiny to take advantage of the moment and make a big statement. Let's face it, we can't take much more now.

Stay strong.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

insult to injury

As the magnitude of the destruction caused by hurricane Katrina becomes clear, it is obvious that the financial impact of this powerful storm could be on the order of fifty billion dollars, and will require millions of man-hours of hard work to restore the affected areas to normalcy. As president Dark W. Helmet paraded around California selling his Social Security decimation plan and pretending to be a country music star while scarcely even mentioning the beating the gulf states had taken, many of the residents of the Gulf Coast are starting to realize that if the U.S government doesn't come in with some big help immediately, vast areas of the southern United States will resemble post-tsunami Indian Ocean cities for a long time.

With the underwhelming initial generosity our feckless leader demonstrated to the areas affected by the tsunami event, one can only wonder what effect that kind of empty gesture by the very "man of god" that these red-staters voted for will have on their perceptions about whether or not he was actually the right choice to make in the last election and really has any concern for them or their problems at all, as long as his friends in the petro/military/industrial complex are satisfied.

Of course, if all else fails, they can still pray. It can't be any less effective than George.

just stop it

No names, no scorn, no epithets, no malice at all. I just have one thing I'd like to tell the current occupant of the White House.

Stop it.

It's wrong.

Stop it, now.

Today, George W. Bush mentioned the devastating effects that hurricane Katrina was already being reported to have during the first few hours after it came ashore. It was the customary palliative sentiments, and he concluded his remarks by addressing the residents of the areas being affected by the storm, saying "America prays for you."

No, it doesn't.

Some Americans do. Some don't. For the president of the United States to make such a statement, such an assertion, is wrong. The president is the president of all of the people, and he should certainly be aware that not all people share his beliefs. Every time he makes that kind of comment, he is deliberately choosing to be the president of only part of this country. It's starting to get to the point where I am no longer simply embarrassed to be an American, I am getting disgusted to be an American. It is wrong for you to make me feel that way by your reckless disregard for the fundamental principles of this nation.

Mr. Bush, stop it.

hail Nancy, full of, um, uh, ...grace

It took the third-strongest hurricane in history to get the cable news network evening shows to finally pause their non-stop coverage of the Number One Missing White Blonde Girl Natalee Holloway. There was not a speck of coverage about the nefarious youth of Aruba who the media have convicted of making the little princess go away.

Except for Nancy Grace, the pit bull of the modern American judge, jury, and executioner legal coverage. Thank you for keeping the information flowing.

It's official. CNN has no shame. And people used to bitch about Ted Turner.

Those were the good old days.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

where have I seen this before?

Pat Robertson:

"I bring you these ten... uh, eight - these eight commandments..."

don't go there

While I'm a a big fan of Bob Somerby's "The Daily Howler" blog at I have to say that he should stay out of the deep end of the scientific pool until he learns how to swim. In today's post, he discussed the Larry King show presentation yesterday on evolution vs. "intelligent design" and quoted Deepak Chopra, a man who, judging by his educational background, should know better.

In what Somerby characterized as a "good, solid, thought-provoking quote," Chopra wondered "how do we explain simultaneity in the university, how does a human body think thoughts, play the piano, kill germs, remove toxins, and make a baby all at once? How does DNA, which is very intelligent, emerge from inorganic chemicals? And they say, who designed the creator? If you think of the creator in human terms, which is the human imagination, then you're in trouble. But you know, in quantum physics, they refer to this field of infinite possibilities as a-causal, which means without cause, non-local, beyond space-time, infinitely correlated inter-relatedness, and when you start to understand that the very fundamental levels of nature are a-causal, they are beyond time, they're without—they transcend time, then you can have a different idea of the creator."

I read the Daily Howler every day that it is published, I often agree, and sometimes disagree, but I have to speak up and say that the "good, solid, thought-provoking" quote from Deepak Chopra is utter unscientific gibberish.

"Simultaneity in the universe?" What is that even supposed to mean? Is it somehow puzzling that things occur at the same time?

"The ability to think, play piano, kill germs, remove toxins and make a baby all at once?" What is so astounding about that? Other than the fact that as a pianist for almost fifty years, I have yet to make a baby while I'm playing, the rest of this puffery. Thinking and playing piano can't be separated. Killing germs and removing toxins is what living things do, imperfectly, every single second of their existence. Making babies? With the surplus of humans on this planet, that's clearly not that big of an accomplishment. Life makes more life. That's what the purpose of living things is.

"DNA, which is very intelligent?" That hardly deserves a comment. A chemical substance does not possess any intelligence. How do chemicals come into being? Simple. Atoms and molecules constantly mix in different ways.

"In quantum physics, they refer to this field of infinite possibilities as a-causal, which means without cause, non-local, beyond space-time, infinitely correlated inter-relatedness, and when you start to understand that the very fundamental levels of nature are a-causal, they are beyond time, they're without—they transcend time, then you can have a different idea of the creator." This deserves comment even less. This is a sentence with no scientific meaning or content. It is psychobabble. It is gibberish. It is nonsense. It is the uninformed nattering of those who believe in alien UFO pilots, the powers of crystals and pyramids, extra-sensory perception, and all of the other fluff that our scientifically illiterate population of self-important hayseeds believe to be true.

Finally, just because somebody is enamored of the phrase "the creator" does not mean that there actually is such a thing, and that seems to be tacitly accepted as a premise by both Chopra and Somerby.

Please, let science be science, let philosophy be philosophy, and let religion be religion, but don't transmute ignorance into science because of the pompous verbosity of a clowning pundit.

It's time for some low, mordant chuckles...

while I'm on a rant

From the "CSI:Missing White Girls" file:

If Natalee Holloway was ANYTHING like her white-trash backwoods cracker bumpkin kinfolk, whoever snuffed her deserves a medal.

and in other news

Pat Robertson is trying to clear the air a bit over his unfortunate comments about Venezuela's democratically elected leader, Hugo Chavez, claiming that his remarks were taken "out of context" and that he never, never even implied that Chavez should be murdered by United States operatives.

Gee, let's go to the record:

"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Yep, clearly nothing to worry about here. Everybody knows that Pat didn't say Chavez should be killed, he said he should only be "taken out." Context is clearly everything.

Dinner and a movie, perhaps?

For that matter, why don't we "take out" Pat Robertson? Goodness knows he deserves it.

methinks he doth protest too much

Listening to president Dark W. Helmet's speech before a pre-selected crowd in Nambla, Idaho, I can only say that his continued beating of the same discredited drum sounds a bit, well, shrill.

Perhaps he's afraid that if he screws up any more, Pat Robertson will put out a hit on him...

the winning team

As the situation develops in this country and abroad, I have finally come up with my wish-list for the 2008 Democratic presidential ticket.

Gary Hart and Wesley Clark.

They are smart, patriotic in the RIGHT way, populist, and pretty much bulletproof from the Nutzi smear machine. They would get America back on track to being a great and mighty country again.

a lever large enough

Okay. Let's get serious. It looks like the fearful-to-commit so-called liberals, the democrats, whatever you want to call the people who secretly wish little w. wasn't president, are going to cave in on the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court because they don't seem to think they can succeed in opposing his nomination.

Fine. Now, let's work smart instead of hard.

Want to get rid of John Roberts and keep your hands clean? Start a campaign to contact the NRA about an issue of which they should be aware. Yes, that NRA. They will take Roberts out as fast as a fifty-caliber sniper rifle. You see, Roberts is on record as tut-tutting the "mythical right to privacy," insisting that there is no Constitutional basis for a "right to privacy" in this country.

As soon as the NRA realizes that means that under that interpretation they do not have any legal right to not have their guns documented and tracked if the government so chooses, they will mount a campaign to get rid of John Roberts that would make Kerry's Swift-Boat Assholes for Mendacity look like a basket of puppies. Roberts could be the love child of Ronald Reagan and Phyllis Schlafly, and he would be toast faster than cracked wheat in a blast furnace.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday text-only cat-blogging

I finally got around to watching "The Cat In The Hat" with Mike Myers of "Austin Powers" fame. I hope he got paid a LOT of money to embarrass himself like that. I figured it would be at least as decent as the Jim Carrey "Grinch" film, but it was a great steaming pile of litterbox nougat. Even the KIDS weren't cute. Hopefully, once film-making becomes a cottage industry in the way that the recording industry has, we will start to see some artistic motion pictures again. Until then, the Lowest Common Denominator school of movies will continue to dominate.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

things I thought I'd never say, part I

Zell Miller was right.

Boy, did that taste funny.

But, nonetheless, he was.

After listening to David Horowitz incoherently and dishonestly shower Cindy Sheehan and her dead son, Casey with the vile, poisonous raw sewage that dribbled from his mouth on MSNBC in response to a tee-ball question from Monica Crowley, the female Ann Coulter, I can only say that Zell Miller was right.

I, like Zell, wish that dueling was still legal in this country.

If it was, I would challenge the craven Horowitz and run a sword through his feckless little heart with gusto.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friday text-only cat-blogging

Two weeks. That's how long one single litterbox full of just Feline Pine is lasting before I have to change it. I am saving money, time, and my nostrils. Plus, there's no more clay dust clogging fliters and electronics. What's not to love?

"Spruce up your litterbox with Feline Pine."

That's in case anyone at the company is reading this. If you like that motto, just send me a case of Feline Pine every month for as long as you use it, and it's yours.

Dark W. Helmet honors the fallen

Today, the presidential motorcade whizzed on past the campsite of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of serviceman Casey Sheehan, who was killed on his tour of duty in Iraq. Mrs. Sheehan has been asking for the chance to ask the man whose salary she helps pay for the reason that her son was in Iraq in the first place, and has been slimed in the most repulsive way by the sewage-gargling mud-crawlers in the right-wing noise machine.

Don't you wonder what little w. was thinking about as his million-dollar limo sped past her tent? Was he making faces at her or giving her his familiar single-digit salute from behind his bulletproof tinted windows? Was he bummed because there weren't any mud puddles to splash her with to exact revenge for spoiling his five-week vacation in the middle of a global war of his own creation? It's amazing that the "leader" of the free world could be so terrified of a grieving, middle-aged woman.

Our president. We truly have acquired the government we deserve.

got it bad, so bad

Pamela Turner, age 27, has just been sentenced to 270 days in jail for having sex with one of her 13 year-old students, a crime which, if the genders were reversed would probably bring ten to fifteen years of hard time for a male teacher. The male jury members apparently felt that sex with Ms. Rogers, an extremely hot little blonde, was not that bad as they remember at that age it would have been an ultimate fantasy and rite of passage for them. The local court spokesman indicated that the decision to exchange a plea of guilty for a very lenient sentence was the best thing for the "victim" as he would not have to testify in open court about the biggest score of his young life.

Seems to me if sex between a 27 year-old and a 13 year-old is the stuff of such fantasy, and is so without harmful effects as to engender any more than a slap on the wrist, they should have just let the kid keep fucking the kinky little blonde hottie. Why did they even prosecute this in the first place?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

happy anniversary?

It has now been sixty years since the first wartime use of nuclear weapons.

Are we any safer, smarter, or better for it?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday text-only cat-blogging

The experiment continues.

I have used one litterbox with only one bag of Feline Pine for twelve days, and it is still fresh and clean.

I have changed the other litterbox four times since then, and need to change it again. That's two and a half bags of clay litter and two bags of crystals.

I think we have a clear winner.

Oh, by the way - "Robert Novak!" HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

is Ted Turner a democrat?

Politician and female impersonator Katherine Harris is now claiming that the press is conspiring against her. Seems that all of the images of her since her abrupt rise to notoriety for her part in the theft of the 2000 elections (yes, I said theft - get over it and wake the fuck up) that showed how garishly overdone the Bondo job she calls makeup were doctored by the media to make her look bad! Yes, all of her photos have been colorized to make her resemble a cheap Nutzi hooker.

Of course, that means that all of the VIDEOS had to have been altered as well...

roast chickenhawk

Robert Novak, colostomy bag for freedom, walked off of CNN today with an on-air "I think this is bullshit!" after being verbally taken to task by James Carville. Kudos to Carville for his temerity, one of the few Democrats with any real testicles at all.

Novak was going to be asked about the CIA leak, but apparently found just cause in Carville's commentary to walk off the show before being questioned.

Think somebody's feeling a little pressure these days?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Deep Revulsion

The popular media has been fussing all week over the issues with insulation on the space shuttle Discovery, and ever since the tragic loss of Columbia there has been increased popular, media, and political pressure to find ways to "fix" the shuttle in orbit and to make sure that this "never happens again." The alternative, or at least the result of a third shuttle tragedy would seem to be the crippling of the United States space program, or at least the government involvement in manned space exploration. I've also heard comments to the effect that the cost of building a new shuttle is prohibitive and would be a tremendous waste of tax money.

Let's look at some analogous facts.

In 1963 and in 1968, respectively, the United States lost two nuclear submarines, the U.S.S. Thresher and the U.S.S. Scorpion, to catastrophic accidents. We've also seen accidents experienced by other countries, including the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk, which demonstrate that nuclear submarines are machines operating under the most extreme conditions possible on Earth and that they will, from time to time, fail. There is no way to change that simple fact. Over time, devices that operate in such circumstances will demonstrate some weakness, somewhere, and the power of nature will destroy those unlucky craft.

In 1986 and 2003, respectively, the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia experienced catastrophic structural failures which led to their destruction with the loss of all crew members. We've also seen failures by other countries in their own efforts to pursue human space travel. Over time, devices that operate in those kinds of extreme conditions will also demonstrate some weakness which will lead to the destruction of those craft as well.

A nuclear submarine in today's U.S. Navy costs between 2 billion and 3 billion dollars to build. Endeavor, the last space shuttle built, cost 1.7 billion dollars. The United States government currently spends nearly a billion dollars a day maintaining our military presence in Iraq. The idea that we couldn't afford to build a new space shuttle is demonstrably absurd, and is the argument of somebody who either doesn't understand numbers with more than a few zeros very well, or that thinks the rest of us don't and hopes to take advantage of us all.

A nuclear submarine carries between one hundred and three hundred personnel, depending on the size and type of vessel. The space shuttle carries a maximum of ten. In the two American submarine disasters, a total of 228 people lost their lives. In the two space shuttle disasters, a total of 14 people lost their lives. Yet nobody seems to be all worked up about either making nuclear submarines unsinkable or stopping their use altogether.

I have yet to hear one person argue that there should be some way to exit a nuclear submarine that is a thousand feet underwater and "fix" it while it is running, yet there is a tremendous pressure to devise some way for an astronaut to go out and "fix" the spacecraft while it is orbiting around the Earth at 18,000 miles per hour, and where the slightest miscue can actually cause far more damage to the spacecraft than the danger that might be faced by a couple of pieces of stiff felt sticking out from between tiles with the fragility of styrofoam blocks.

It really seems that these days, ordinary news simply isn't enough, and the media is trying to turn a space shuttle mission into another bad Bruce Willis film so that they can gain viewers while they further misinform the public. Of course, what else can you expect from a populace in which a majority believes that biological evolution is just a pipe dream of the scientific community?

a simple question

I am puzzled by a lurking contradiction between the argument and the behavior of people who support intelligent design/creationism being taught in science classes as an alternative to evolutionary theory. These folks who insist that they only want to "teach the controversy" seem to forget all about that noble ideal when they are on their own stomping grounds.

Has anybody ever heard of ONE religion class that "teaches the controversy" and explains the strong scientific support for evolution?



If these people truly only want to "teach the controversy" they should prove it by their own actions. All they have to do is to "teach the controversy" in their own churches and religious schools. They should provide a serious discussion of the overwhelming evidence in favor of evolutionary biology and the utter lack of evidence for any supernatural phenomena or the existence of a deity or deities. They should place on their religious texts a disclaimer that intelligent design/creationism is "only a theory" and should be critically evaluated and compared to the conclusions of science for each person to decide for themselves which theory is the most credible.

Unless and until they do this, I submit that they are hypocrites and should be dismissed as such.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

design some intelligence

So, our great leader, Prezdint Dark W. Helmet, has finally come out in support of the teaching of "intelligent design" to the impressionable youth of America. No big surprise, really. Remember, this is the man that said "the jury's still out" on evolution. Of course, this is also the man who is demonstrably illiterate, insular, bigoted, arrogant, and - almost always wrong.

Before the 2000 elections, I had noticed that this man had destroyed every business venture and employment opportunity he had been given, and was repeatedly bailed out and promoted out of his positions of incompetence by his father and his father's friends and associates. It would seem that now he wants to do the same thing to the United States' educational system.

As professor of astronomy at my local college, I am personally outraged that this kind of stupidity is permitted to be aired unchallenged by the "most powerful man in the world," but I see a silver lining.

Bush is going to destroy the Republican party exactly the same way he destroyed all of the other business ventures he has been involved in, and three years from now, and possibly even twenty-three years from now, the Republicans are going to operate under a cloud of doubt and distrust that will seriously impair their ability to do further damage to this great country.

Now all we have to do is survive the next three years...

Monday, August 01, 2005

long live the king

King Fahd of Saudi Arabia died last night, after a long illness. The Saudi government announced today that they would continue with the same oil policy they had under Fahd.

Should we be comforted or terrified?