Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Suggestion for Jane Fonda

So now Jane Fonda's trying to apologize for doing her part in Vietnam.

Bad move. They'll never accept your apology.

In fact, I can assure you this: some people gain in self-esteem and power by hating others. Other people aren't set up for forgive certain acts. And quite a few of them would find their world emptied of meaning if they forgave you for what you did.

Here's what you need to do: Tell them "Fuck you, then!" and move on.

Not publicly, mind you. Just to yourself.

You've done your part, and just because many of the people you apologized to would only be satisfied with a horrific death after elongated, painful, torture (whether from them, the Viet Cong, God or some rare, painful disease) doesn't mean you have to degrade yourself further for their sake.

Oh, and by the way: we could care less about your self-insecurities. Some of us have disabilities (physical and psychological) holding us back, others have to deal daily with other's problems, and others have made bad decisions that cause us problems to this day. Somebody's temporary insecurities that cause them to pause from moment to moment of megafame is not going to make any of us weep or say "poor girl." Get over it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The State Of Chicago Poetry is WHAT???

My fellow poets,

I am happy to report that the state of Chicago Poetry is good, very, very good.

CJ, CJ, much as I respect the fact that you've dedicated good time to keeping us up-to-date on the Chicago Poetry Scene; I must disagree with you. Things are as dim for Chicago Poetry as I've ever seen the scene. And I've seen some really dead scenes in my day.

It's not that people aren't trying, God knows. I know you do your best, as others do. And I can only claim seven years of knowledge on what went on around here. But I know what I see, and what I see isn't necessarily good.

There's much less out there than before. I know Wednesdays used to have three or four venues going on, and I used to have to decide which venue to go to Fridays. Look at the other dates, I'm sure you remember more venues going on any day of the week.

Plus there's less on the radio than used to be. Yes, I know you now do internet broadcasts, but it's not the same -- we've lost the chance that someone will stumble on one of our poets on the radio and LIKE them.

Some of the old standbys are still going on, thankfully enough. Weeds, The Cafe, The Green Door, Coffee Chicago -- all are good venues still going on. However, there are other venues which have gone and haven't been replaced. Venues which are missed more strongly because there's nothing to replace them with.

And that's why I have to disagree with you, CJ, over the above comment. I know what I see, even from my distant perch of Munster, Indiana.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Shuttle Launch

NASA Launch Debris Images

I remember visiting Cape Canaveral about three years ago, during a vacation. When we passed by an old external fuel tank, the hostess told us that they used to have the whole thing covered with metal, but when they figured they didn't need the covering, they saved thousands of dollars in fuel.

Then came that wintery Saturday in 2003, when I turned on the TV and saw Mission Control looking as it usually does, but a voice-over said they'd lost contact with Columbia. Sure enough, I turned out to be the first to tell a group of people there the news, in part because many of them had been there the night before and I just got there.

Turns out the unprotected insulation (protection removed to save fuel during launch, it turns out) punched a hole in the leading edge of the left wing of the Columbia. The shuttle didn't have a chance (although once again the cockpit was the last item to fall apart, in a cruel twist of fate leaving the humans to know they were doomed).

So now I'm watching the prelude to today's launch (would be at work; as it turns out I had something else to do) and I notice there's been an adjusted form of the last setup. While they supposedly didn't have any foam in the area from where the chunk that hit Columbia fell, they still had the insulating foam sitting naked on the launch pad.

With eight million changes supposedly done to make sure things were better, the one change that I wanted to see -- the whole thing covered with heat-proof solid shielding -- was the one thing not done. How long before the next deaths? I see NASA puts the risk at 1 per 100 launches. Add the cover, you can increase that number to at least 1 in 250, maybe better.

Monday, July 25, 2005

What Daley Will Be Remembered For

For me, the litmus test for Daley is this:

When the Elder Daley wanted to create a new University for the city of Chicago, he looked over a bunch of sites near the loop. Of all the sites, only one area was considered safe enough to go into at night: Greektown, a strong base of Daley support. Daley said "To hell with them" and built the university over much of Greektown.

The only way he left office was in a casket.

As for the younger Daley, he waned to build a new airport in Chicago. When he looked over the area, he realized it would be built over the largest white area in South Chicago. Too chickenshit to do anything down there, he turned around and started blocking the Peotone proposal.

Thing is, had he gone ahead with the building of the Hegewisch airport, we might be getting a workable schedule for the rebuilding of the O'Hare Airport. That southern airport would make for a much more airplane-friendly Midway (ever seen how tightly things are packed there? They have to use engines in overdrive to stop the planes), and could even work overtime as O'Hare was rebuilt into a modern airport.

But...instead we got him trying to block Peotone while rebuilding O'Hare in his image -- in a bad image, let me add.

In the end, Mr. Daley will be remembered well (as people will have to, as they've kept him in office too long to think objectively about him) but don't be surprised is he misses the "Best of Chicago" list by a wide margin. He's a good administrator, but when things NEED to be done he's not the person to do them.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sunday Song Lyrics: Improper Dancing

By Electric Six

Everybody's doin', what they shouldn't be doin
Everybody's doin' it in the middle of the street
Everybody's movin' what they shouldn't be movin
Everybody's moving it in the middle of the street

Improper dancing in the middle of the street [x3]
Somebody better notify the cheif of police

Everybody's freakin' who they shouldn't be freakin
Everybody's freakin' in the middle of the street
Everybody's showin' What they shouldn't be showin
Everybody's showin' it in the middle of the street

Improper dancing in the middle of the street [x3]
Man those people must have demons livin in their feet

And I want to reach into the fire of your heart
I want to program all those beats right from the start
Have you ever been to NEW YORK CITY?!

And music starts to play (play)
Bodies start to sway (sway)
Debbie Lee's the DJ in the middle of the street
Beats are droppin; Bodies rockin
Hearts are stoppin; Electric shockin
I can't believe what I am seeing
In the middle of the street

Improper dancing in the middle of the street [x3]
Somebody better notify the cheif of police



If nothing else, the lead singer makes you pay attention. I love the "Stop -- CONTINUE" part, wish it had come in the bridge part of the song, or to introduce the third verse.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Why Daley will go down...

Remember Meigs field?

I do.

I also remember the day it was torn up.

I found out when I made it to work (I was working at a business that made news for people). When I entered, the TV was on and on it was a picture of a couple of runways with big "X"s torn through them. Then I saw Mayor Daley blustering on about the safety of the nearby skyscrapers being why he tore up the airport.

Thing is, when he tore up Meigs field, he had just won an election where there were three people ballot but for all intensive purposes he was unopposed. And it wasn't that anyone of any clout wouldn't run against him, it was that there was nobody of enough clout to run against him. That's probably why he felt safe enough to tear up the airport in preparation for a casino on the island (or so I still believe).

Thing is, there were four guys who were in run-offs. I don't know whether he felt things were in the bag or whether he figured he could do without them, but he tore up Meigs Field the day before the run-off elections. And guess what: all four of the men he "supported" lost.

And after that? Well...look at the headlines. All the corruption in Chicago (it's a big city, there'd be corruption even if it was run by fundamentalists on a vow of poverty and chastity) is now pointing up in his direction, and even if there was nothing being done by him, he's gonna be stuck with the responsibility. Already there's plenty of people hoping to get at him, that field will be narrowed down to two or three (maybe one, if everyone gets together and agrees to cooperate).

More on Daley Later

Friday, July 22, 2005


I've been visiting with friends and family. Nothing else to report, yet. Definitely some stuff to chew on, though.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Strange, Sad Story of Madalyn Murray O'Hair

I mentioned her in my previous post, but I feel she needs her own posting.

I remember first hearing about the disappearance of Madalyn and her family (of the willing) a few years after the deed. When the subject came around, I felt she had been murdered, as she would not have just gone quiet. My friend disagreed, believing they were living elsewhere with lots of money, far from scrutiny.

Turned out that, while I was right, there were plans along my friend's line of reasoning, and it could easily have been the other way around.

Of course, what's interesting is not of the murder, but the way she lived. She was belligerant to the point that even her ideological allies were made uncomfortable, and seemed to do things to piss people off. Indeed, it seemed the only people who could put up with her were ex-cons; and Madalyn seemed to like hiring them because they were easy to abuse and cheap.

But you know the rule: You Get What You Pay For. One hire (David Waters, now dead from cancer) turned around and stole lots of stuff from them, and when O'Hair took her revenge in the form of a letter outing his criminal past, Walters took his -- by kidnapping, torturing, looting; then killing the O'Hairs.

Now everyone -- Billy Murray included -- wants to believe that the murder was something beyond the pale of God's justice. Even the most fundamentalist of Christians, who would seem at home with God's justice, want to believe that God is a cream-puff at heart.

Here's a thought: What if God felt the time had come for his revenge and chose a criminal to carry out His plans? Consider what had happened: The thiefs stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the O'Hairs, then found the stuff missing, taken by theives who enjoyed the extreme luck of finding the stuff and having the key that worked in the lock. One of the primaries was killed after the O'Hairs, and the other suffered from an extremely painful form of cancer before finally dying in 2003. And the survivor comes from a fundamentalist (bible only) Christian Denomination. Nobody in O'Hair's organization mourned her death, but instead took over her company and continued in her stead, not even caring about her and her kids.

And finally: Mrs. O'Hair WAS prayed over when the body was found.

It's amazing that when some good is done God is readily invoked, but when something seemingly bad is done that appears Karmically called for God is suddenly absent. Why? If God can act through people for good, why not have Him act through people in a radical correction of Evil? Maybe IF I make it to Heaven (I'm not taking anything for Granted) I'll run into David Walters, who I'm sure will still be walking around in a daze wondering what the heck he was doing there after his life. Maybe he came to Christ during his time in the Federal Prison -- it happens quite frequently. Sitting in a cell gives one time to ponder over life and the higher things, especially a federal prison, safe from the Texan sense of joy over the suffering of criminals.

(And one last thing: Why the %&*^*&^% would Madalyn Murray O'Hair settle in Texas? Why not New York, or San Francisco? She definitely gathered enough money to afford the move.)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Home Schooling 4: Differences in Public Schools, 1955-2005

One thing that always bugs me when it comes to debates: When people make an effort to narrow the focus to the immediate question by forgetting important inforrmatoin. As I noted in one of my earliest blog entries, there was ten plus years of what was an occupation of Iraq without it being called as such, and in many ways what we're going through in that would have happened anyway.

Same with the Home-Schooling stuff. Everyone doing it seems to forget what has happened in the meantime -- both the home-schoolers who, having started on their home schooling odyssey, have come to believe that children would be better off totally uneducated than suffer through public schools, and the anti's who have come to believe that the 1964 Madalyn Murray O'Hair ruling is the only possible explanation for their flight from the world.

There's more to this than any of the above. There's also the mythology that our public schools have been in a decline since the mid fifties -- something which even those supporting our public schools believe in some form or fashion. And much of this is steeped in ignorance of (at least some part of) what has happened since:

  • Public schools used to be able to depend on a cheap, educated, settled sourse for their employees: College Graduated Wives, who had few options for jobs in the fifties. Since then, expanded opportunities for women have forced schools to spend more money on teachers and accept a lower quality of teacher. Now, many schools are hitting on a new angle: "People who've made some success in their lives, but want to serve the public good." A sure sign of desperation in this society, where anything outside of a strict devotion to the personal bottom line is by definition suspect.
  • There has developed a tradition of dissing schools in the United States. From rappers talking trash about school to MLM exploiters talking about how all the richest men in the world either dropped out (of Yale, Harvard or Stanford) or never attended school, America has learned the joys of dissing school. This when all the other industrialized and industrialized-wannabee nations of the world are pouring their love and money into all their school systems.
  • Social Promotion. When I went to school, a lot of my fellow students were held back -- and this was during the seventies and early eighties. Now these school districts are so worried about holding students back that they let kids who would benefit from an extra year of school go up with the rest. Stupidity grows.
  • Entitlement (interrelated with the point directly above). Nowadays students and their parents expect automatic promotions up grades. So much so that sometimes the parents will yell at, threaten and even assault a teacher who THREATENS to fail a student. That student should be ashamed, but here's the parents making him feel proud by their defense of him.
  • School buildings need so much more today.Used to be you built a cinder-blocked building with windows, blackboards, desks, some pipes for heating and a plaque stating the name of the school and when it was dedicated. Now you gotta have air conditioning, computers and the wiring for broadband, styling, enough parking space for the parents driving their SUVs to pick up the children, multiple gyms (so that you can give kids recess in the rain) and tin roofs.
  • Funding ChangesUsed to be schools were funded by local property taxes -- not a perfect form of funding, but enough for most districts at the time. Nowadays much of the funding comes from Sales Taxes and Lotteries. Sales taxes are a good idea as it gives a centralized point of equal funding for rich and poor districts; but the Lottery is a stain on School Funding by virtue of its being a Sin Tax. And any service which depends on another's sins is automatically sullied by this relation.

Understand this: I am a supporter of public schools. Fact is, the education of the children is something that everyone should be interested in, and it's amazing the jobs lost because of how uneducated Americans have become.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Sunday Song: Bad Time

(Note: I'm taking a break in my "Home Schooling" postings. Will post the fourth part tomorrow)

song done by Grand Funk Railroad, written by Mark Farner

I'm in love with a girl that I'm talking about
I'm in love with a girl I can't live without
I'm in love but I sure picked a bad time
To be in love, to be in love

Well, let her be someone else's queen
I don't want to know about it
There's too many others that know what I mean
And that's why I've got to live without it
I'm in love with a girl I'm talking about
I'm in love with a girl I can't live without
I'm in love but I feel like I'm wearing it out
I'm in love but I must have picked a bad time to be in love
A bad time to be in love
A bad time to be in love
A bad time to be in love

Well, the stories crawling back to me
From my friends and the people that I wanna see
The things they say I know just couldn't be true
At least not until I hear it from you
'Cause I still love the little girl, I'm talking about
I'm in love with a girl I can't live without
I'm in love but I feel like I'm wearing it out
I'm in love but I must have picked a bad time to be in love
A bad time to be in love
A bad time to be in love

You know that I love the little girl I'm talking about
I'm in love with a girl I can't live without
I'm in love but it feels like I'm wearing it out
I'm in love but I must have picked a bad time to be in love
A bad time to be in love
A bad time to be in love
A bad time to be in love

For those not in the know, Grand Funk Railroad (sadly, the train looks like it's derailing) is a band formed in Flint, Michigan in the late 1960's. Despite bad reviews and little radio airplay, the band was a major success through the early seventies. Looking at the timeline it's amazing that the band was able to release two LPs a year in the early seventies; nowadays once every two years is considered excessive.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Home Schooling 3: Why you might consider it.

Now don't get me wrong, I still believe we'd better improve the public schools (and no, unlike most conservatives I don't believe that LESS money is the way to do so). However, I must admit that there is plenty to say in favor of home schooling:

  1. Full focus on the child, vs teachers scattered over 30-150 students
    quite simply even the most dedicated elementary teacher has to spread his/her time amongst twenty-thirty students. And if your student is one of the good students, your child will be ignored for the problem child, the child not quite getting it, and the cranky ones. High school, the same teacher has to juggle two-three different classes for 150 people and make sure there's enough for the average child to make it, with little or no time to help someone having trouble over a single point. As a home-schooling parent, you can see what you child needs and go straight to it.
  2. Child can run forward in a subject if he wants to.
    Sounds like a horror story you hear from the right, but a then-friend (I lost track of her soon after) said she was pissed over a teacher who said the student was too far ahead, and had to forget some stuff to fit in the classroom.
  3. You teach what you want
    While it's obvious what the christian right wants taught (six days of creation is exactly 144 hour long, if it's human and has a heartbeat it's filled with holy life, etc); there is something to be said about deciding what your child should know. After all, you do have a responsibility towards the child, why not give him the best you can?
  4. Follow your child in his interests
    Here's where home-schooling can really shine. If a child has an interest in a subject vastly different from the normal cirriculum and you see its worthiness, YOU CAN LET HIM/HER GO THERE! This is something public schools just cannot do, as they're stuck with having to deal with a group of students, not just a single one.

You will need lots of dedication and interest, though. Plus you'd better have a strong connection to both family and an outside community.

This is why home schooling is a conservative Christian phenomenon, and will stay so until it gathers enough steam to disrupt public schooling (which I say it can do, and am guessing it WANTS to do). Liberals are totally fixated on everyone's "Freedoms" that they give short shrift to responsibilities and community. Libs talk about "a diverse community" when in fact a community is based on SHARED ASSUMPTIONS, BELIEFS AND HABITS -- something Liberals abhor, and something which conservative christians come by easily, since they attend church and make friends within that group. Christians also reach out among themselves, both within denominations and outside of them.

Also, too many liberals have learned to take the easy way out -- depend on the government and other paid tools to give them what they want. Conservative Christians, despite certain mistakes, are learning to depend on themselves; that has served them in the past and may serve them in the future. After all, one of the complaints in latter-day Rome was that the infrastrucure was falling apart and Rome was losing people, but the people still in Rome were kept entertained and happy.

Next: differences in public Schools from 1950 until today

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Home Schooling 2: Where I fear it's going

There's something about this "Home Schooling Movement that worries me. More to the point, it makes me fear for the public school system we have.

As flawed as it is (rich districts, poor districts; diverted spending, "unions too strong for teaching," etc.) it's better than what I see possibly coming. We could easily lose it; or have it replaced by worse alternatives.

Here's how I see this happening
  1. When home schooling reaches a certain percentage of the population --about ten percent, I believe -- they'll become a political force and begin to have wants. One of them will be, of course, full funding for their home schools. Another might be a revocation of taxes for schools; but that will be for later.

  2. An unholy alliance will be developed by Home Schoolers, Private Schoolers and Liberals in the Childless Playgrounds once known as Cities. Funding will come from the Corporations who want to replace the public school districts with their "for-profit" alternatives; the Home Schoolers and Private Schoolers will work their networks, pastors/priests and sympathisers, and the Urban Childless Playground Liberals will be wooed by the siren call of "your money is better off in your pocket" (making their effort to forget that Government spending is supposed to redistribute money to benefit the public as a whole).

  3. Upon the success of this plan, enough money is removed from the public schooling pool that schools are unable to be funded. The public schools continue on for a while, but with thier building stock crumbling, constant strife between teachers and administrators and continuing public perception (greatened by the constant noise from the Private Schooling Corporations and the Private and Home Schoolers' support bases, the schools close up shop, or are replaced by more costly, lower quality private schools (remember: with private companies and corporations there's someone at the top waiting for a cut of the profits. Ponder that, and who pays when their demands get too grea.).

Thing is, for every parent that's dedicated enough to home school and three parents willing to pay for private schooling, there's at least eighty families without the money, the time, the dedication and/or the gumption to do any of the above. For them, there needs to be a public school system to insure the chance is there for a good education for their children.

I should know. My parents talked about private school, even raved about how good it was...and ONLY talked. While I went to good public schools enough of the time (and towards the end of my time there) to allow me a chance at further education, I'd hate to see where I'd be if my only choice was some private school scraping the bottom of the barrel for the sake of their shareholders -- and I'm almost certain that's where I would have been stuck into by my parents.

Thankfully my Father has done better since then.

Next: Why you might want to home school.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Home Schooling 1: Problems I Have With it

The issue of Home Schooling just won't go away. Indeed, it grows hotter with every year, with more people doing it.

Here are some of the problems I have with it:
  1. Who are the kids going to socialize with? Part of the problem is that these kids generally don't meet up with the neighborhood kids during most of the day. Plus, with the different schedule and lack of similarity in the education (more on that later), the kids have no one to chat with -- especially no one to chat with whom they HAVE do deal with. This is the way the world seems to be going with its embrace of technology and living arrangements -- the utter lack of a middle ground in anything resembling pubic debate is proof of that -- which is the pity, since it's having to deal with the whole range of humanity which makes humans of us.
  2. The parents are control freaks. After all, anyone wishing to control their children's education to the point of withdrawing them from any sort of school must want them to believe in a strictly narrow window of knowledge, with nothing outside their belief system to bother them.
  3. While at present it's mainly a religious conservative movement (complete with nothing over 6010 years old in the world), there will develop a lack of consistency in what's taught if the movement expands beyond that. How will people begin to talk to each other, if the only thing they share is sports move and simple arithmetic? That, I believe, is a strength of public schooling -- the shared knowledge that allows people from all over the nation to be able to talk to each other, and not just their political compatriots.

Next: Fears I have over Home Schooling

Monday, July 11, 2005

Today, Grand Rapids; Tomorrow, Michigan???

Dick DeVos Enters Race for Governor

Crap. Just when I think things couldn't get worse.

Dick DeVos, son of Amway cofounder Richard DeVos, thinks he can win Michigan. Sad thing is, he could probably win that state. The present Democratic Governor seems to have messed things up (like James J. Blanchard, the last Democratic Governor of Michigan), and seemes to be as unlikeable as Blanchard was likeable. Plus DeVos has the money to run his own campaign, allowing the Michigan Republican party to place its funds elsewhere. As long as he keeps his nose clean and his advertisements generically fuzzy, he may win.

Our state still hasn't recovered from Engler. And that guy would probably still be governor of that state if it weren't for term limits.

I've written and archived a bunch of stuff on Amway/Quixtar and hope not to mention them any more than I just did. There are better, more up-to-date forums for that, and I'm not about to do what it takes to join them (I've done my time). My hope is that those disaffected by Amway/Quixtar will rise up and make him take responsibility for the harm his family's allowed for forty plus years.

(by the way...Hello, Amway. Nice to know you've visited my Blog. Hope you enjoyed it (and come back).)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sunday Song Lyrics: Simply Irresistible

By Robert Palmer
How can it be permissible
She compromised my principle, yeah yeah
That kind of love is mythical
She's anything but typical

She's a craze you'd endorse, she's a powerful force
You're obliged to conform when there's no other course
She used to look good to me, but now I find her

Simply irresistible...Simply irresistible

Her loving is so powerful, huh
It's simply unavoidable
The trend is irreversible
The woman is invincible

She's a natural law, and she leaves me in awe
She deserves the applause, I surrender because
She used to look good to me, but now I find her

Simply irresistible...Simply irresistible
(Simply irresistible) She's so fine, there's no tellin' where the money went
(Simply irresistible) She's all mine, there's no other way to go

She's unavoidable, I'm backed against the wall
She gives me feelings like I never felt before
I'm breaking promises, she's breaking every law
She used to look good to me, but now I find her

Simply irresistible
She's so fine, there's no tellin' where the money went
(Simply irresistible) She's all mine, there's no other way to go

Her methods are inscrutable
The proof is irrefutable, Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
She's so completely kissable, huh
Our lives are indivisible

She's a craze you'd endorse, she's a powerful force
You're obliged to conform when there's no other course
She used to look good to me, but now I find her

Simply irresistible...Simply irresistible
She's so fine, there's no tellin' where the money went
(Simply irresistible) She's all mine, there's no other way to go
She's so fine, there's no tellin' where the money went
(Simply irresistible) She's all mine, there's no other way to go
Simply irresistible

Why this song, and not Addicted to Love (with what is probably the most notable video ever made)? Well, back when the song was popular, I commented to a friend that I did not like the song. He responded that "Any song that woudl make teenage girls look up a dictionary was a favorite of mine."

Sadly, my friend died recently, of a brain bleed. His web site is now one of these monument sites, which will stay put until it's time to renew the isp or url address, at which point it will probably disappear forever, and with it all memory of him on the web.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Parisian Bombing????

One thing I can't get out of my head:
  • 6 July 2005: London gets 2012 olympics
  • 7 july 2005: London suffers from "Terrorist Attacks

For some reason, I can't help but link the two items together. Or wonder what would have happened if Paris had won the 2012 Olympics.

Would we now be hearing of bombings in the Paris Metro? Would they have used the Chatelet stops as their focal point? Would the right-wing noiseheads be cooing over "Paris getting what it deserves?"

And, of course, nothing abou any link with the Olympics selection.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Multiple Vacancies in the Supreme Court

The news hounds hope for multiple vacancies in the Supreme Court

Be careful of what you hope for; you might just get it.

Quite simply, the court has been gradually going to the right for the past few decades. The inability of the Democratic Party to put forth anything resembling a Liberal into the presidency (and sorry, Clinton doesn't count. He was a distraction with the intended (and successful) intent of firing up the religious right and putting the Republicans in charge.) has led to a general drift to the right as the right has gained in power and influence. O'Conner, definitely to the right when sworn in, now can be considered left of center upon retirement. Same for Kennedy, IMHO (since Republicans then didn't consider Abortion worth fighting for then, but do now).

It's kind of interesting that, with everyone supposedly getting mobilized, the only stand named are the anti-contraceptive lobbies. Makes ME wonder if that's who we're going to deal with, with this Gonzales friend of Bush as the distraction at the moment. I'm sure he's told the press to push up the anti-contraceptive lobbies, so that the public accepts at some level when an extremist anti-contraceptive is finally put to the senate.

And besides, I'm thinking of something else. I'm afraid -- that Frisk, DeLay and the right wing pundits know something most of us don't. Something deep, dark and powerful. Something that could kill the Democratic Party.

And the only thing stopping them is the fillibuster. Remove that, and you can kill the Democrats.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Toe is better.

Rested yesterday, worked today. Toe is much better, problems now came from tight muscles in leg (that transfered themselves up and down my arms).

One thing I've noticed: something goes wrong in one place and your focus is on that even after it's going right. Had almost no sensation there, but it seemed every time I felt some sensation (out of the ordinary) there it seemed to attract more than its fair share of attention.

I've been taking antibiotics since Thursday. I'll finish them off (as you're supposed to). Also started taking acidophilus pills in response to the antibiotics. Will finish that off as well.

Back to my rants tomorrow.

(Oh, by the way: Hope you had a happy Independence Day. As you can tell, mine was happy in part because of what I'd been suffering before.)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Weekly Song Lyrics: Michael Jackson

Lyrics by Culturecide, crudely placed over Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me."
I'm just an average man, but I've got a dream
I work from 9 to 5, but only temporarily
All I want is to be left alone, but I'm never lonely
I don't need anyone but Michael & me.

Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson
I wanna be like Michael Jackson

When I come home at night, I lock the door real tight
I play Michael's albums again and again
Dancing in the mirror, I look a lot like him
I'm not really sure I'm afraid to be myself
'Cause I open up my eyes and realise I don't exist
People say I'm OK, thank you very much
But myself always reminds me of nothing too much, that's why

I wanna be like Michael Jackson
I wanna be like Michael Jackson; tell me is it just a dream?

I wanna be like you. I wanna be like you.
Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael

Michael appears amidst smoke and fire
A luminous figure, he comes to me with his beautiful smile
With his glittering glove he removes the mysterious shades
And he's gazing at me with the eyes of a god.
Michael Jackson! Michael Jackson!
I wanna be like Michael Jackson!

It's actually quite amazing that this was able to sneak into the record stores back in the eighties -- even with the explosion of the underground that forced every conscientious record store (read: independent and college-town record stores) to expand their selection beyond what was to become the "Big Six Record Companies" (now I think the big three and those bankrupt remains). After all, this was worse than pure piracy -- this was mockery, and of a way that could never be allowed by the record companies and original artists.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

My Sore Toe

The last couple days has been painful for me. Walking has especially been troublesome, and I love to walk.

The trouble started on Wednesday, with a small pain in the big toe on my left foot. I barely noticed it until the end of the day, when it throbbed when I went to sleep.

Thursday I was lucky to get a morning off, so I went to a doctor and had him look at it. He said there was an infection that started near where the cuticle was, so he gave me a prescription for an antibiotic. Got that filled, worked the rest of the day.

Friday I took off. Toe was too painful and big. It was getting better in the evening, though.

Today (Saturday) I worked. It was okay except when I walked, and at that point it wasn't just the toe that hurt -- the pain went up and down my left leg. My right leg felt it, as well. Spent much of the time with the left shoe off so my toe could feel comfortable.

I'll take it as easy as I can Sunday, and hopefully when I'm back at work Monday (for some of us, July 4 is just another workday) I hope to be able to do what I want and need to do without hurting. In the meantime I chose to do fireworks at the place that, last year, had inferior fireworks because there I could drive up to where I could sit and watch.

Here's the thing: when your body goes wrong, you learn to deal with it. More on that in a few days -- I wish to relax and get better.

Friday, July 01, 2005

P2P Networks: Are We Being Guinea Pigs?

Think of it as a holy grail -- the ultimate computerized Trojan Horse:
  • A program which runs on a system built from the spare cycles of thousands (or millions) of computers.
  • A decentralized system so that no specific computer or sets of computers is necessary for the whole.
  • Redundancy programmed in -- for the same reason as above.
  • Invisible so that you can't tell that it's running underneath your system.
  • Wanted by the people whose computer it runs on.

Sound familiar?

Should. Sounds very much like the peer-to-peer programs we have online -- Grokster, Morphius, LimeWire, etc.

Think of it:
  • Today's computers are powerful enough to run multiple programs at the same time. A few spare cycles won't be missed, especially by people who use their Dells for web browsing and the occasional letter.
  • Snip Chicagoland from the internet, and the system works itself around. Remove an intriguing webpage, and there's multiple mirrors posted (and
  • When you have the same program multiplied over thousands of computers and a number of people willing to be centralized points, any one centralized point disappearing can be worked around. You could even have similar things going on in four or five different sections so that you could compare what's going on.
  • With T1, T3 and Cable connections, there is no problem having things zoom through. There's plenty of space for an undercover network to run -- just add some speed and set it aside for nondiscript, discreet uses. You can even make it so that it doesn't show up when you're monitoring.
  • Three words: MP3 File Sharing.

Right now, we're accepting these items into our computers with the hope of gaining something we would probably not otherwise care enough to buy, but I'm sure this won't be the end. At some point it wouldn't surprise me to find that newer computers need at some point to be connected to the net to work, or be updated, etc. At that point, you won't need to make people want things to hook up on the internet -- you can make them hook up just to run the damn thing, and thus make them complicit in whatever nefarious stuff is being done by Big Business, Government, etc.

As for the music companies, I have a smidgen (and only a smidgen) of sympathy for them; as I have the feeling they're the unwilling patsies for all this. While one can readily argue they deserve the troubles they've suffered from file sharing (and I would whole-heartedly agree with this), I get the feeling they're still being used by forces who want to control and profit from us.

And lest you think I'm just smoking out my ass, consider this: Napster was cracked down on only when a decentralized form of such networks was seen as workable. Now Grockster is made illegal -- as there's now enough of a want (not demand, as demand implies the willingness to pay) for these sort of networking programs (look at the download stats for; notice how LimeWire is always on top). Using this analogy, LimeWire will probably be declared illegal when there's enough broadband penetration and secure enough, always-on programming to insure people will be hooked up whether they want to be or not.