Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I just want to share this pic/ Bush and Putin


I have little to add, except I found it on "", which I believe is Slovenian. Quite the graphic.

But why are they naked?

"US and climate top global fears"

Holee cow, I did a double take on that. That was the small blurb for a part of Guardian UK's latest online world section coverage. The full story is
here at Guardian UK online

One of the interesting parts, when you read the whole story, is that this is based on a 45000 plus interview survey on major issues. We land pretty strongly at the top (bottom?) for many people, along with global warming:

Growing numbers of people worldwide view environmental problems, pollution, infectious diseases, nuclear proliferation and the widening gap between rich and poor as the most menacing threats facing the planet, according to a 47-nation survey published today by the US-based Pew Global Attitudes Project.

The survey, which conducted more than 45,000 interviews, finds that global opinion is increasingly wary of the world's dominant countries but also unimpressed by aspiring leaders in Iran and Venezuela who challenge the international status quo. In contrast, the UN receives strong support.

The UN! Wow! one day maybe we'll find a way to respect international policy/ law/opinion. Further down, the article notes:

The US comes in for sharp criticism. "Global distrust of American leadership is reflected in increasing disapproval of the cornerstones of US foreign policy," the survey says.

"Not only is there worldwide support for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq but there is also considerable opposition to US and Nato operations in Afghanistan ... The US image remains abysmal in most Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia and continues to decline among the publics of America's oldest allies."

Now we might expect a certain resentment of the US in some muslim areas, but look at some other numbers:
Nine per cent of Turks, 13% of Palestinians and 15% of Pakistanis take a favourable view of the US. In Germany, the figure is 30%, in France 39% and in Britain 51% - all down on previous surveys. Only in Israel, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya do majorities believe US forces should stay in Iraq.

This might not be all bad news, but it's sobering as many Yanquis are unable to grasp the possibility sentient life (with money, no less, and opinions) might life outside our borders, PR, or Guam:
In an implicit rejection of the Bush administration's "freedom agenda", the survey also finds "a broad and deepening dislike of American values and a global backlash against the spread of American ideas and customs. Majorities or pluralities in most countries surveyed say they dislike American ideas about democracy."

OUCH! Well, at least we can take solace in this:
Rising powers such as China and Russia get mixed reviews. Russia's Vladimir Putin scores worse than George Bush in terms of confidence that he will "do the right thing" in world affairs - 30% believe he will, against 45% for Mr Bush.

Our man George II is more admired than Vlad the Mad Putin. Of course, Putin was the one who said of II, "I hope he's smarter than he looks." He he he... well, who knew Putin knew more than we did, dammit? It's like he some kind of spy or something...

Once more, I implore us, US, U.S. to believe-- there IS life out there! Unfortunately, I think when we think of it we believe that it all comes down to some cuddly, butt-ugly alien with a fat head and a glowstick for a finger. That, my dears, is sad and potentially dangerous to our safety and harmony as a society.
U.S..go.. HOME....

The late great US Constitution...

THe cat, which was never really in the bag anyway, is out-- Dick Cheney is god. Or, so he seems to want to think: Cheney V. Constitution at Slate

Seems herr Dick is claiming the VP is not a part of the executive branch of the government, which means he is perfectly within his satanic, svengaliesque rights to ignore a fairly clear order, as noted on Slate:
In early June 2006, J. William Leonard, the National Archives' director of information security oversight, wrote David Addington, Vice President Richard Cheney's chief of staff, stating that Cheney was "willfully" violating Executive Order 12958, signed in 1995 by President Bill Clinton (see below and on the following page). The order implemented a "uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information." Cheney was also ignoring a 2003 directive by President Bush that specifically requires any agency "within the executive branch" to make records of "security classification activity" available to the Archives.

Of course, Cheney's response was "neh neh neh, you can't make me!" Essentially. The excuse went like this:
Cheney's rationale for noncompliance is that the vice president's office is not an agency of the executive branch. "The reporting requirement does not apply," Cheney's spokeswoman (yes, he has one; her name is Lea Anne McBride) explained last year to the Chicago Tribune, because the Office of the Vice President "has both legislative and executive functions." The vice president's office has made the same argument to keep secret its travel expenses and even the identities of the people who work there.

and even more amazingly, later after several people hadn't respomded to information requests, Cheney's chief of staff "wrote Sen. John Kerry with a new justification for withholding the information: The president's office and the vice president's office are indistinguishable":The Letter

This, my friends, is some shit. You can check out the actual documents at Slate, and wrap your brain around the phenomenal Dude with 'Tude, Dickfield S Cheney.

Monday, June 18, 2007

More musings... pretzels, watches, lies, oh my!

Well, the Spurs won, so that makes me quite happy...

On other fronts, an intrepid reader mentioned the watch story might well be a error, since, and I think I quote, "the White House has video of him removing it".

Now, don't get me wrong, if I'm off I'm off, but two things: 1- why take off the watch? fear of thieves? Wrist pain?

and 2- this is the same white house who declared we had evidence once upon a blue moon of WMD in Iraq, so bedad we're going over.

Would they lie about the watch? I don't know. Have they lied? Sure as hell.

It doesn't make me happy to say that, either-- I'm not going to be watching Lil Bush. I want to be able to trust or at least respect my leaders, hope they have integrity and pride.

Or at least won't nearly choke on a pretzel on a two-week presidential vacation.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Searching for Pedro Guzman

LOS ANGELES -- The family of a mentally disabled man claims that the federal and local governments mistakenly had an American citizen deported and said U.S. officials should help find him in Mexico.

Relatives of Pedro Guzman, 29, are suing the Department of Homeland Security and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in Los Angeles federal court.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit this week over what the civil rights group contends was the wrongful deportation of a developmentally disabled man.

Pedro Guzman was serving time in Los Angeles County's Men's Central Jail for misdemeanor trespassing when he was deported to Tijuana on May 10 or May 11, according to the ACLU.

The family said they've been looking for their loved one in Tijuana for a month. Michael Guzman said his worst fear is that his brother is "no longer living."

He said Michael can't read, gets lost and often can't remember the family phone number.

The suit said Pedro Guzman was sentenced in April to 120 days in jail for a misdemeanor trespassing violation. The suit said that sometime after that the Sheriff's Department identified him as a non-citizen, obtained his signature for voluntary removal from the United States and turned him over to federal authorities for deportation.

More here!

As I read this over on ManEegee's blog, I remembered a student of mine in Chicago who had a schizophrenic brother. His brother, who when he lapsed into another personality only spoke Spanish, was not allowed to return to the US after a family vacation in Mexico. He ended up in a Mexican prison for two months while things sorted themselves out.

Reading this further reminded me why my mother was nervous about going into Mexico, despite her fluent English and frankly pale skin-- she was always worried she would not be let back in by some backwards racist INS agent. Having met several now, I understand that a jo is a job, but some jobs seem to attract some frankly insensitive and underintelligent types. The hysteria fanned by rightwing xenophobes doesn't help either.

I'm still waiting for people to understand if they tell me to go back where I came from, I'm headed home to Texas, where my family has been since before the southern losers invaded it. They were there grillin' out when the Spanish came by to marry into the fam and create the raza cosmica. I'm wishing for any paleface who spouts off about English only and white power remember that the english barely stayed alive in the east,and our ancestors were here a couple of hundred years longer. Hell, we're about two centuries more civilized out here! At least until the Anglos came, no? *grin*

peace n power out

Is no one safe?? Prez gets watch lifted

Thanks to Steve Peralta at Neo Aztlan:

A little off topic, but too good to pass up. For those who don't
already know, Bush was visiting Fushe Kruja, a small farming village
outside of the capital Tirana. After having a cup of coffee in the
local cafe he reached out to greet the crowd and got his watch lifted.

Dutch public news outlet Nos News has video of it here:

Check it out before it mysteriously disappears.

Wow.. doesn't THAT suck...

On the other hand, one more win and the SA Spurs bring home numbah FOUR!! WOO! GO SPURS GO!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

D-Day and more

Greetings all on this D-Day, yet another day my students don't remember as they have little history retention.

I was thinking today that there has to have been at one time the sense of a just war, and if there was ever one for Americans back in the day, it was WWII. It seemed so clear to us who was good and who was bad, so very transparent. We know now of course that it wasn't neat or clean, but there did seem to be a sense of universal humanity's need to survive this overwhelming darkness personified most in Hitler. I don't think we were more simple back then, same as I don't believe there was ever a "good ol' days".

Since then, it seems our ability to distinguish "good and bad" on a personal level has lessened, with the rise of newsmedia giants allowing mass manipulation on a huge scale. More often, I hear people responding to a situation with the blindest of reactionary impulses, simplifying what once we knew wasn't so simple, and demonizing anything not like "us".

Is it simply that as a nation we have to grow up? Do we, like the Roman Empire, need to collapse before we can grow? Do we need to be five hundred years old? When in the calendar of human endeavor does a society become, nominally, "civilized"?

I'll settle for civil-- enlightened and fearless we work out later. D-Day reminds me that at one time almost the world had to face fear and mass destruction, and somehow the forces for good seemed to win--for a while, at least.

Go hug one of our WWII vets today, and thanks him or her for the struggle. I feel we could take a moment to try ourselves to be fearless and on the side of "good".

D-Day memorial Foundation

On another, unrelated note, the man arraigned for the murder of Amancio Corrales in the Yuma, AZ area has had the grand jury lessen the charge from murder to manslaughter and abandoning a body. Apparently, there wasn't enough evidence by GJ standards to indict for murder. Yes, they can change it if more becomes apparent, but how wonderfully screamingly loud of a nasty-ass pride month announcement is that?

I can really learn to hate this place...