Saturday, January 28, 2006

A Hair Cutting Spell

I've devised a ritual for prosperity, actually I did so quite some time ago, but I haven't used it lately. I shall do so this Sunday night, to coincide with the New Moon. It involves the simple act of ritual hair cutting. As I am by no means a barber or hair stylist on anything of a skilled or professional level, this takes some time, and caution. On the other hand, when I do take my time, I can do quite well at it.

The first thing that you need, of course, is a sharp pair of scissors. It goes without saying of course that you need a mirror. Narturally, you need to ritually empower these two items, and you should do so by candlelight.

Then, after you ritually empower your scissors and mirror, you attune with your deities, and visualize your magical goal. In this case, as I said, it is prosperity. As you begin cutting your hair, you visualize yourself cutting away all the burdensome and defeatist attitudes that has hindered your progress, that is keeping you bound, and down. As you do this, you cut away.

Make certain that you collect all of your cut hair, gathering it into a paper bag. You can even ritually empower the bag, as a means of containing all the negative energy you have determined to, by this act, rid yourself of. Later, after you have released the circle in which you perform this ritual, you can take this outside, and dispose of it in whatever manner you feel most comfortable. You can bury it, you can burn it, or you can simply scatter it to the winds, visualizing it being taken out of your life, a burden no longer.

Of course, you should never lose sight of your ultimate goal, and that is the more postive visualization of yourself as gaining in prosperity, which you begin your ritual with. As you cut, as you visualize the negative energies fading, visualize at the same time positive forces entering your life and enhancing your road to prosperity.

Soon, the ritual cutting of hair will be completed. Don't be completely horrified by what you see here. Or by what you are now about to read. You see, as you cut your hair, by gazing into the mirror, you are to do so-by candlelight, the same candlelight by which you earlier blessed your ritual items, your scissors, your mirror, etc.

Bear in mind you can always do the appropriate touch ups later by more sufficent light. In the meantime, enjoy the experiment. Who knows, you may discover that you have a heretofore unknown talent here, ready to be nourished and evolve.

Now, in the days that follow, you are to no longer focus on the banishing aspects, but to concentrate more on the positive aspects of gaining in prosperity, in fertility, or whatever it is you wish to gain in. Every morning, or night, or both, or whenever through the day it is more comfortable to do so, simply visualize yourself as gaining these attributes as your hair grows. Also, visualize from time to time your desired outcome, visualizing your hair as having grown back to a certain length in conjunction with this attainmnet. It goes without saying, of course, that your goals should be reasonable ones, otherwise you are simply setting yourself up for future failure. So be realistic, but at the same time, have faith in the prospects of the most positive outcomes that are possible.

You can also follow up these rituals with the application of a magical facial mask, or the creation of a hair tonic to stimulate the growth of your hair, along with the attainment of your magical and/or spiritual goals.

At any rate, give it a try, and don't be afraid of messing up your hair. I would even go so far as to say dont' be afraid to really let loose, to be as relaxed and ritually attunned with the deities as you can possibly be. After all, it is really defeating the purposes to try to attempt this ritual if you are going to be all hung up about how you are going to look afterwards. To this end, it might be adviseable to spend a fairly large amount of time, at least a day or two, in preparing yourself psychically for this, perhaps even going so far as to perform a beginning ritual to rid you of whatever anxieties you might have concerning the possible outcomes as regards your appearrance. Like I said, whatever damage you do can be easily repaired.

Well, that's about it for now, if you try this ritual, be sure and let me know how it goes. Good luck.

Special Announcement From A Temporary Temple

During the course of making some necessary adjustments and would be upgrades of this site, I inadverdantly made a discovery. Simply put, my time on my local ISP is limited to 200 hours a month. Would have been nice if I had known that beforehand, but I guess they skipped over that little incidental detail right about the time they was exaggerrating about all of their other great features. Forgive me if I feel unduly wronged, but I happen to be a person who believes in supporting the local businesses of the community in which I live at any given time. All I ask for in return is honesty, integrity, and commitment to quality service. And to be frank, up until now I have little to complain about in regards to my local ISP, Design And Service.

There was one little minor detail. Turns out that one of the main things that attracted me to the business, so many MBs of free web space, which came with free tech support, came also with a caveat. If you put anything on your own web-site that is offensive, they will remove it from their listings. It is unclear to me whether they will remove it, and you, permanently, but their wording sounded ominous, despite their encouragement that you should "show your creativity".

Also, they seem to have exaggerated the quality of the virus protection that came free with their service. After signing up, I was advised that it would be a good idea to purchase a years worth of extra protection from Norton Anti-Virus-just in case.

On top of that, the best free anti- virus program that comes with the ISP, a program known as Housecall, can't be used with my Firefox browser, which is something I refuse to do without. Incidentally, I heartily recommend Firefox to everbody, but that's by the way.

So what should I do? Well, I don't really know. I guess when my hours are renewed at the beginning of next month, I will go ahead and ride out the remainder of the time I've paid for, then cancel the service and get something else. I'm thinking Netscope, which my aunt seems to be happy with. However, I want something that has adequate virus protection, and is compatable with Firefox. So if anybody has any ideas, I am certainly all ears. Errr, all eyes, I mean.

In the meantime, until the first of February, at the very least, you will hear little or nothing from me. You see, I am posting this by way of public access. Yep, for the time being, my temporary temple is the local library. So I got to mind my p's and q's. You know how those librarians are. Sometimes I get frustrated and curse outloud. And when I see a woman stick a finger to her mouth, I get these ideas. So my time here is indeed limited.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Reverse Winds Of Change

George Bush looked perplexed yesterday in his press conference, although he seemed to have a pretty good grip on theimplications of the results of the Palestinian elections, in which the terrorist organization Hamas seems to have won in a virtual landslide. He put it down to overall Palestinian dissatisfaction with the ruling Fatah Party, and that groups reputation for corruption and inefficiancy.

"People want services". he explained, with a downcast expression. "People want health care."

Yes, and people love irony, I know I do, and as unintentional as this was, Bush seemed aware, uncomfortably so, of the irony of his statements.

He could afford to be ironic in this case, because although in this regard the Palestinian elections were a turning point, and seemed to point to a demand for more responsive government, in other respects these same elections point to a trend that seems to be worldwide.

In Canada, dissatisfaction with the liberal government there has resulted in the election of the conservative party. In Europe, dissatisfaction with the economic conditions and with certain aspects related to terrorism and especially in regards to immigration from Muslim countries has led a number of EU countries to reject the EU constitution. Even France, one of the charter founding nations of the EU movement, turned it down. Additionally, the latest reports out of Britain seem to indicate that the Tories, the conservative party once headed by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, may be poised to retake the government by the time of the next elections there.

And of course it is grave cause for concern in most quarters that the experiment in imported democracy into Muslim countries, especially those of majority Arab populations, might be trending toward the election of conservative, religous based parties. Palestine is only the latest example to join the ranks of Iran and Iraq in choosing leaders who seem more interested in establishing an Islamic based rule by the Koran than in insuring true representative democracy.

Of course, the latest example in Gaza may be as much a case study of iner party unity than anything. The national elections in Palestine was close, originally, the majority enjoyed by hamas over Fatah being slightly reminiscent of the close election of George W. Bush over John Kerry. But a strange thing happenned on the way to the polls. A great lot of the people who voted for Fatah, the party founded by the late Yassir Arafat, decided inexplicabl to vote for Hamas in a great many ofthe various local elections. Wisely, Hamas ran typically only one candidate in each of these local elections, including the ones for the Palestinian Parliament. Fatah, meanwhile, more often than not fielded at times as many as three or four seperate candidates, in each of the sixty six precincts.

Faced with such a divided oppossition, Hamas easily won these elections, and by a large majority. Those people who voted for Fatah in the national elections, then turned right around and voted for hamas in the local elections, in effect cancelled out their own votes.

Now, Hamas is faced with the daunting task of trying to form a new government. Will they suceed? Bush has made it clear he will do no business with any entity that has in it's charter the stated goal of the destruction of the nation of Israel. He also wants present Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to remain in power. So what's a country to do? It seems as though the people have decided.

Yet, suppossedly, the majority of the Palestinian people, want peace. They just didn't trust Fatah to cleanhouse, to rid itself of the corruption and cronysim, and ineficency, that has marked it's past ascendancy. The ball is now, it seems, in hamas's court.

It seems that the United States, is, therefore, once again leading the world, with this trend toward conservative governments and/or ideologies. In the case of the Muslim world, even the conservatives are probably not so pleased at this turn of events. Even the election of Hamid Kharzai in Afghanistan is problematic, insofar as little if anything has been done to eradicate the poppy fields, which has been a traditional mainstay of the Afghan economoy for decades. In fact, heroin production seems to be on the verge of a renaissance.

And in the meantime, the conservative movement here in the United States, which seems to have started the trend, may be in the beginning stages of it's death throes. It will not die a peaceful death, in fact, it might recover sufficiently to hold on to power for a few more years, if not decades to come. There is a lot at stake, a lot riding, on the conservatives here maintaining power. Certain factions in this country are determined to turn it into a feudal empire, and they will not give up easily. Nor do I expect this perverse ideology to ever be completey destroyed.
It may fade away for awhile, it will certainly undertake various reformist elements. But it won't go away for long.

The one area of the world that might be braced to buck this trend, incidentally, are those nations that are better poised to smell the stench of the American carcase. The nations of Central and South America, the most notable and obvious examples being those of Venezuela, , Bolivia, and possibly, soon, even Mexico. The socialist noise circulating in tha part of the world is deafening.

And to me, heartening. The world needs balance.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Between A Rock And Ophras Face

James Frye just can't buy a break these days, but I guess that on his last appearrance on Oprah Winfrey's show I imagine he thought even the devil deserved some sympathy. He seemed not to get any. To be fair, I only saw a few snippets of his appearrance on the show from another venue, I didn't actually see the show-nor am I lilely to ever sit through as much as five minutes of this schmaltz-so I am going solely by what has been reported. To be sure, cable news shows tend to concentrate on the more sensational aspects, so it is possible the appearrance of the author of "A Million Little Pieces" may have been more generally sympathetic than is generally portrayed. I doubt it though. For one thing, the cable news networks would have jumped at the chance to point out yet more writhing excuses from the daytime diva who first brought the inspirational story of James Frye, in the apparrent form of a memoir of the life of a drug addict, to the attention of her viewers and followers of her "Oprah's Book Club" .

When the web-site, "The Smoking Gun" first reported inconsistencies in Frye's account, it set off a firestorm of contoversy that led eventually to Frye's appearrance on CNN's The Larry King Show, where he stood by his account, though he did offer the caveat that he might have been confused on some details as, after all, a good portion of the story took place when he was high, probably wasted, and so his memory might have been faulty.

Yeah, like so faulty, in fact, that a few hours in the slammer somehow turned into three months. Must have been some powerful fucking drugs, Jimmy boy. So powerful, in fact, that the contact high prompted Oprah to call in to Kings show that night to voice her support for the author she had promoted , just another in a long line of authors she has taken under her wing in her persona of latter day DeMedici.

Unfortunately for all concerned, The Smoking Gun kept it's barrels blazing, and sensing fresh blood, so did the media in general. Soon, Frye had no choice but to come clean. Come to find out, he had originally submitted the manuscript of the book as a novel-a novel. But lo and behold, somewhere along the way, either from a publicist, agent, or possibly even the books publisher, he got the idea that the book read better, not as a novel, but as a memoir, a "true life" story of a substance abuser, a drug addict, and how he got his life together.

Assumming this is the truth, this is where my sympathy for Frye comes into play. Being a writer myself, I would find myself hard pressed to turn down an offer for publication that was dependant on my fabricating a false history of myself. I would like to think I would say no. But what if I was in dire sraits, was desperate for the money. What if I legitimately saw this as very possibly my one, my only chance, to become a published author. I'm not so sure I would turn it down,however nasty a taste it would leave in my mouth. To be sure, I would have come clean the minute the book hit the best seller lists, andcertainly before I would agree to appear on Oprah's show to promote it.

Errr, well, maybe not. An appearrance on Oprah's show is an almost sure fire guarantee of a best seller, or at least of achieving respectably good sells. See what I mean? One lie necessitates another, and soon you are living a life of lies, the spider suddenly transformed into the fly.

If it were indeed the publisher of Frye's book that put him in this impossible position, I hope the company, a division of Doubleday, does the right thing and apologizes for it's role in this sorry affair. As for Frye, I wish him well. Evidently, all this publicity has not hurt his books sales, if anything it has enhanced them. James Frye may well go down in history as the worlds most succesful grifter.

And Oprah Winfrey would be well advised from this point on to research any books authors claims before she recommends them, or vouches for their legitimacy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Vampyre Politics

When Minnesota elected Jesse Ventura to the office of governor of the state on the Reform Party ticket, it sent shock waves throughout the political establishment, though it shouldn't have really been that great a surprise. Ventura was, after all, a well known and popular, though certainly controversial, figure in the sports entertainment world for years, had been a Navy Seal, and had even appearred in movies with Arnold Schwaraaeneger, most notably in "Predator", and also "The Running Man". In addition, people were tired of the same old stale prand of politics that people all over the country have become increasingly weary of throughout the years, though politicians never seem to get that message, a message that should be apparrent at the realization that, typically, fewer or little more than fifty per cent of the electorate bother to go to the polls.

Nobody took Ventura seriously , which was a mistake. Of course, he won handily. Unfortunately, he proved to be an even more controversial governor than a media figure, and his term in office was mired in the same petty politics such offices typically bring with it. He decline to run for re-election.

Jonathon Sharkey, who has now filed for the office of governor as an independant, may have a harder time making a case for his qualifications to run, to say nothing of his seriousness. But he has indeed filed for the office. He has even formed his own party, the VWP-Vampyres, Witches, and Pagans. If you think this post has just begun to get weird, read on. You may be right.

To be sure, he is running on a platform that has it's positive points. For one, he is definitely pro-farmer, and promises to give farmers credits and tax breaks to enable them to stay in business. He also is for a minimum amount of jail time for first time DUI and DWI offenders. He wants to start a state run medical program that will guarantee the indigent, unemployed, and disabled of free emergency medical care and prescriptions, while starting a state medical program for everyone else that provides basic and emergency medical care, hospitalization,and prescriptions, with no co-payments or deductibles.

He is determined to etablish a blacklist of any American business that moves to another country, resulting in the loss of American jobs.

He wants to guarantee every Minnesotan child a quality education from K through 12.

Sounds good, so far. Right? The problem is, Jonathon is a little too honest, and indeed points to this as evidence that he is not your garden variety poltiican. A quick perusal of his program makes it unnecessary to point this out.

He declares, for one thing, his intention to run for President of the United States in the year 2008. He explains that he will work harder as governor of Minnesota in those two years before he will, he promises, become President, than most governors do in eight years. Therefore, he asserts that his obvious future plans for the highest office in the land should give no Minnesottan pause when it comes to voting for him.

Well, maybe that won't. But the following I have no doubt will.

Within a very short few sentences into the homepage of his web-site, Jonathon Sharkey reveals himself to be "the sworn enemy of the Christian God". Now this would certainly give pause to a great many voters-even in Minnesotta-noy only to his qualifications for office, but as to his seriousness, if not his competence, despite the fact that he goes on to explain that he does not consider himself the enemy of the Christian followers of that same God. He declares that the constitution expresses the rights of any person to worship as they see fit, and he will respect all religions. He will, he promises, erect a monument in the State House, a table of wall placques that will list the basic tenets of all faiths, from the Ten Commandments to the Wiccan Rede.

While this is all well and good, even admirable, I seriously doubt the majority of Minesottans will be able to look past the declaration of enmity to what probably the majority consider the one true God. Incidentally, among the list of his followers he mentions, in addition to witches, vampyres, and pagans, he includes those he calls "demons".

But then comes the real show stopper. He goes on to avow that, if elected governor, he will "impale"-on the front lawn of the capital, no less-anyone convicted of the crimes of terrorism and drug dealing. He seems to think that no American jury anywhere would convict him of mrdering a terrrorist were he to do so, and he vows to defy the President, or any other government entity that tried to prevent him from doing this. This would occur, he promises, within ten days of their conviction of the crime.

He points to the history of the former Prince of Wallachia, Vlad Tepes Dracula-Vlad The Impaler-as his model. He points to examples of how crime, even minor theft, was practically non-existent during his reign, and of how the Muslem Turks of the invading Ottoman Empire retreated in horror when, upon reaching the banks of the Danube, they were greeted by the sight of ten thousand of the rotting corpses of their fellow countrymen, all impaled on stakes.

To make sure everyone gets the message as to his intentions, he even refers to himself as "Jonathon The Impaler". Impalement, of course, is a particularly grissly form of execution, more horrific even than crucifixion, whereby the condemned has a long wooden sharpened spearlike implement thrust through his torso, after which he is hoisted into the air. The bottom of the spear is then thrust into the ground and secured, as the hapless individual is left to writhe helplessly in the air, attached to the upper end of the stake, to slowly and agonizingly die.

Yeah, might work. On the other hand, I find it curious that he later goes on to say that he will hold prosecutors and judges responsible for any wrongful prosecution and/or conviction in the courts of an innocnt person. Well, if you are going to execute someone in this manner, especially within ten days of their conviction, this might be a good idea. He talks like he would carry out these executions himself. I know if i were to do this I would want to do everything in my power to ensure I got the right person.

It's easy to dismiss all this as ravings, or at best as a play for publicity, which could very well be the case. He, along with his devoted wife Kat, are the head of a coven of vampyres in the New Jersey area, and he has some sort of business interests in occult paraphernalia that I am just begining to sort out. And he has certainly made a name for himself in the Pagan/Wiccan/Vampyre communities, and with the Satanists as well, whom, I have been told, thoroughly despise him. Of course, the Satanists are to a great extent pretentous, and this all might be a case of jealousy, though a good deal of it may be legitimate concens as well over the potential of guilt by association. Sort of the "as if we didn't have enough to worry about" attitude.

He is controversial as well among Pagans and Wiccans, who are worried that he is putting out the wrong image of what Pagans and Wiccans are all about. Still, he seems to be aloof to their concerns. I imagine he figures that he isn't making things any worse for them, after all, as any biogotry felt toward them not only will not be exacerbated by him, but in that nothing they could do, however positive, is going to change any attitudes. He could well have a point there, at least as far as any short term attitude adjustments are concerned, and he is probably much too much the impaient type to concern himself with the long run.

I think it is great fun myself, and I am watching with interest to see just how this all turns out. Hel, I have even joined his and his wife's Yahoo Group, and she in turn has joined one of which I am a moderator. I am stopping short somewhat of endorsing him for office, of course, especially for President. On the other hand, he has some good ideas. For example, he proposes to pay for his educationand, medical, and farm programs by opening up a series of bids for the establishment of non-Indian land casinos, thirteen of them. The highest bidder gets the choicest lot. The monies collected from the bidding would pay for the programs, while the taxes collected from the gaming establishments profits would go toward cutting Minnesottans' state income taxes.

Great idea. Needs some tinkering. The money initially collected from bids will eventually run out, of course, but the need for medical care and education and farm programs will go on forever. Guess he never thought of that. But his thoughts are good, and his heart, in this case at least, is in the right place.

He calls himself a witch, and a vampyre, and a coven magistrate, a worshipper of Lucifer, and his magical name is Lord Ares. All of that is well and good with me, I just wish he would tone down his rhetoric, on the off chance it might not yet be too late. I also wish he would get himself a good editor, or take the time to edit himself. His grammar is atrocous on parts of his site, which I encourage you to read, in order to gain a totally acurrate perspective of this man and what he stands for. The link to his web-site is supplied in the post title.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Osama Ben Planning

Since the new Osama Ben Laden audio tape was recently unveiled, naturally it has caused some stir, and varying degrees of interpretation. It has been interesting comparing them. The Bush administration seems to be adamant in asserting that Osama is no longer a person of great overriding concern, though the far left fringes here in this country seem to think it is another attempt to use Ben Laden as a means of pushing their agenda through fear and manipulation.

Me, I look at it this way. If there are terrorists here in this country or elsewhere, waiting for instructions from their spiritual leader-they just might have gotten them. No, I'm not talking about secret, coded messages. I'm talking about the go-ahead order for whatever may have already been in the works.

I've always said that the fundamentalist Muslim terrorists could possibly be using astrology as a means of coordinating their attacks. This may sound strange, but the fact is that one of their main goals, in fact their main one, is to reestablish Arab ascendancy in the area of the Middle East, actually from Africa to Asia and points in between, all the way to way to the Balkans and Spain, and perhaps beyond. The old Caliphate that existed during the days of the Turkish based Ottoman Empire. They have a romanticized view of their history. To their way of thinking, they were the harbingers of a great cultural civilization, going back to the days even preceeding the Ottoman Empire, back all the way to Muhammeds Arab Empire that began in the 600's A.D.

This Empire flourished for a good while, and patronized the arts and sciences, in particular astronomy, mathematics, poetry-and astrology. True, it was more a hobby of the wealthy ruling elite of the civilization, but it still was held to as high esteem as any other of the arts and sciences. It seems only reasonable to surmise that those who would return to these days of imagined glory would not be adverse to including this long neglected art in their repertoire as well. Especially if they could make it serve a useful purpose-the coordination of terrorist attacks. But how exactly would they go about doing this?

To begin with, it would be helpful to understand that they really might have no other choice. The upper echelons of Al-Queda leadership have long had to remain underground, and have had to watch their backs even before the days of 9/11. They have found it necessary to plan their attacks well in advance. By doing so , they do away with the need of day to day operations and coordinations.

The use of astrology, then, might be compared to a synchronizing tactic. Instead of synchronizing their watches, they are instead synchronizing their plans according to a simple asrological chart. When the stars are in a certain position, it is time for the attack. Ben Ladens last message, therefore, may be comparable to an old war movie or spy movie plot, where the operatives are told by the commander, "gentlemen-synchronize your watches".

So what exactly would they in paticular be looking for as a guide? I personally believe it has something to do with the retrograde movement of the planet Mars. On the morning of 9/11, Mars had just returned to the spot in the Zodiac, in the sign of Capricorn, from which it had some months previously began it's retrograde motion. Retrograde motion, incidentally, is the illussion that a planet is moving backwards though the Zodiac. It really isn't, of course, it's an optical illussion brought about by the relative positions of the earth to the planet in question, which occurs on a regular basis. In the case of Mars, it's retrograde motion occurs once every two years and two months, or every 26 months, more or less. It will stay retrograde for about two months, moving about 16 degrees backwards through the astrological sign from which it started, afetr which it will slowly come to what appears to be a complete stop, called a "stationary", after which it will gradually began moving forward again. Eventually, in about two months or so, it will reach the spot in the Zodiac from which it began this motion. Thus it was on the morning of September 11th, 2001, when Mars had just reached the general area of the sign of Capricorn, the 1st degree, from which it started.

And, it's about to happen again. On February 5th, Mars will have returned to the part of the Zodiac, the 24th degree of Taurus, from which it started it's last retrograde motion the first of October of last year. What will they do? Where will they strike? I don' t have a clue, for that matter, I don't even know for sure that I'm right. The position of Mars on the morning of 9/11, 2001, might be nothing more than a bizarre coincidence.

But what if it's not? It's interesting to note that the day of February 5th of this year, is Super Bowl Sunday. A perfect day to strike, when vast numbers of Americans will be glued to the television, certain to quickly get word of the attack, be it there at the Super Bowl, or somewhere else not so heavily guarded. And, of course, I am assumming the Super Bowl will indeed be heavily guarded, major sporting events of that magnitude usually are nowadays.

On the other hand, people do tend to become complacent after awhile. Whatever, I just hope they make sure and check Micks' road crew and equipment.

Modern Drunkard

I found this great site and I thought I'd share it with my readers-I still can't bring myself to say all my readers, but whoever you are out there, I'm assumming at least a percentage ofyou might appreciate this. The name of it is Modern Drunkard Magazine, and it is rip roaring funny. It's quite brilliant at the same time, and what is more tothe point, it's very true. I promise it's worth a look, and if the link up in the title don't work, I'll fix it tomorrow. Moreover, I am probably going to add it as a permanent link.

That brings up an interesting though. Since I'm a Hellenic pagan, I've been wondering, why not put on a link in honor of all the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece, not so much about them but something that they themselves would appreciate, something that would speak to them.

Modern Drunkard, of course, would be in honor of one of my favorites, the god Dionysius. Unfortunately, while I like him, he doesn't seem to care for me all that much. Yeah, folks, you're reading it right here, an admission that-yours truly can't hold his liquor. I get drunk easy, and if I keep it up I get sick and throw up. Even if I don't get to that state, I have a hangover the next day.

Of course, it depends on what I'm drinking. Vodka and water is something I will never drink again, as long as I live. I'm a relatively peaceful, easygoing person, but a few shots of vodka and water and I'm ready and willing to fight anything that moves or breathes. One night while drinking this concoction, me and a friend went out on the town. Usually, Harold Ray was the one who liked to start the fights, he loved it. Me, I always gave him a wide berth. No, I didn't try to start a fight with him, that night. Because as he pretty quickly established a low profile, I've come to the understanding that he was probably giving me a wide berth that night. I was an insane person.

Now, vodka in all it's other forms don't effect me in this way. Even straight. That's because straight vodka tends to knock me squarely on my ass. As does just about everything else sraight, or mixed if I drink enough of it. Even beer. Ten cans of beer and I'm gone. Blacked out. One night, I drank this much beer, and was dancing all up and down the aisles of Corky's Bar in Cincinnati, urging the barmaid to dance with me and threatening just about everybody else that looked at me. The next morning I woke up with a hangover that lastd all day long. The next day I woke up and was still hungover. I went back to Corkys, where Judy, after giving me these strange looks, told me what I had done. I had forgotten the whole thing.

That was when i realized I had better lay off for a while, which I eventualy did, not too long afterwards. For awhile. I've come to realize since then, over time, that there was a great deal of meaning behind the old myth of Dionysius being torn apart by the Titans. He was suffering from a case of divine hangover. Or worse, he may have been sufferring from a very severe case of Olympian DT's. DT's, of course, are hallucinations that are nightmarish in quality, brought on by alcohol withdrawal. They can be so intense they can kill you, literally.

Now if a God were to suffer from that, would not his hallucinations take on an aspect of reality far beyond mortal comprehension? Something to think about. He was lucky, his father Zeus turned his yet beating heart into pomegranat wine and served it to Persephone, who gave birth to a resurreted Dionysius in the underworld, whereupon he joined her back on earth when she returned with the spring.

A perfect allegory for a spiritual death and rebirth/regeneration. Of course, being the God of Wine and divine madness, and spiritual ecstasy, he was duty bound it seems to spread his rites of divine drunkenness throughout the world.

Of course, you should drink repsonsibly, so I don't recomment going to extremes. But if you are there, bear it in mind. It's always darkest before the dawn. Yeah, I know that's a cliche', but remember, cliche's become cliche's mainly because they are so very very true.

So I recommend the following epxeriment. Tie one on about once a year. Hell, even Marshall Dillon said it was good for you. The way you'll feel the following day will give you all the impetus you need to drink responsibly the rest of the year, if at all. And you can experience the catharsis of spiritual rebirth through hangover without having to go through the living hell of delirium tremens.

In the meantime, when you drink, eat. It will help in the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream on those drinking nights when you want to drink responsibly and not have to suffer though a hangover the next day. The following items are good for this.

Cheese coneys, pizaa, tacos, chili, and buffalo wings. You might have some more ideas, and some of mine might sound sickening, it's all a matter of individual taste. But eat something. It will make the high more enjoyable, it will last longer (in part because you will tend not to drink as fast) and if you do have a hangover the next day it won't be near as bad. Oh yeah, and you're nowhere as near to start suddenly hurling all over your dance partner-or whatever partner you're doing what the fuck ever with.

Well,that's it for now. Enjoy the link. Like I said, if it don't work, I'll fix it tomorrow. It's been a long night. And before anybody asks me, no, I'm not drunk.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Great Cable Robbery

Free! Free! Free At Last!

Of cable tv that is. Sure, I'm going to miss it. But the more I think about it, the less I think I will. It happens every year. If you are a Charter Cable subscriber, you will get a message sometime in either December or January, that goes something along the lines of this:

"Due to increasing expenses, in order to provide you with the quality service and features you, as a valued Charter customer, have come to expect, and deserve, we regret to announce that we must increase our rates in order to adjust for these increasing costs."

AS IF!!!!!!!!!!!!

What they never bother to point out is, well, the real fucking reasons they are raising the expenses, and following is what amounts to I feel a pretty comprehensive list of reasons.

1. They can, because nobody is going to do a damned thing about it.

2. They damned well want to, so they are damned well going to.

3. In a good many parts of the country, they are a monopoly. In my neck of the woods would be a prime example of this. Here, there is no competition, at least in the way of cable.

4. Okay, maybe rising costs are one reason. But five percent a year, every year?

5. Now, finally, we get to the real meat and potatoes of the issue, the real, honest to God reason that, with the exception of pure unadulterated greed (which, being the gentleman that I am, I decided not to mention. WHOOPs! Guess I gone and done it anyway). And what would that reason be?

Charter Cable, in addition to being a regional monopoly here in good old Mt. Vernon Kentucky, is a corporation. Following? Get it? Yes, a corporation, meaning there is a primary group of people that it has to answer to, first and foremost, over and above it's customers, over and above even the city council here and governing bodies other places, more even than the various regulatory agencies charged with overseeing the company and the industry of which it is a part.

And that group of people would, of course, be the stockholders of Charter Cable. And the only thing that is important to those stockholders, of course, are company profits. As long as they are happy, then the company stays stable. And doubtless the profits will continue to grow so long as fools like me continue to sit back and take it. As for me, no more. I for one have had enough.

In return for my ever increasing cable bill, what the hell do I get? Have you ever taken the time to really check out what your options are when you subscribe to expanded basic? Let's take a few examples, some of the better known cable channels. USA, TNT, TBS, are three that come to mind. Look at the schedule for any one of these channels on any given night.

CSI-Special Victims Unit (and all the other derivatives of the CSI brand).
Law And Order

What the fuck is this? Not just on one night, not just on one channel, but almost every night, on almost every channel, and not just at one time, but running throughout the entirety of "Prime Time", you will see a succession of these and other similar shows.

Sure, every now and then you will find a good movie here and there. If you see it scheduled for a time when you have something plannned, have no fear. It will be broadcast again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And-

Discovery and The Learning Channel are no better, in fact, they may be even worse. I dare you to sit through a night of that shit and tell me you've learned something new.

And as for the History Channel-don't even fucking go there. Sure, there is the occassional historical documentary that is worth watching. But since when in the fuck did shows about UFO sightings become qualified to be categorized as "history"? Not to belabor the point, but just what planet are these morons from?

FX is probably the best of a bad lot. It does have one prety good original show, called The Shield, about a crooked gang of cops headed by veteran actor Michael Chiklis. And USA as well, to be fair, has an original show called Monk that is pretty good, featuring Emmy winner actor Tony Shalhoub. And there are others, but even they start to get banal after so long, and even FX is starting to, in general, become not a lot better than the rest. They, too, are starting to become heavy handed on the tv reruns, are showing less movies. They are still probably the best of a bad lot, unortunately, that is becomming less and less a badge of honor.

Even MTV ain't worth a rats' ass anymore.

So there you have it. I am now simply a Basic Cable subscriber. In addition to all my local channels, I also get PBS, C-Span, and, to my surprise, CNN, and to my delight-ESPN. All this and will be saving twenty dollars a month as well. What more could I ask for?

Well, to start out with, I might ask for my city council to show a little backbone the next time the Charter Cable representatives apply for a rate increase. As of now, to my knowledge, only one man, Jackie Renner, has had the intestinal fortitude to question their need to raise rates. But he was the lone voice out of a group I seriously suspect might be the recipients of free cable.

I could also dream, that maybe I might lead the great cable television revolt. That's what it would take to change things, but I am not hopeful for the prospects of this. There are reasons, I suspect, that among the litany of channels Charter offers in it's expanded cable package, are four childrens/cartoon channels.

So, since I seriously doubt the availiable satellite outlets are or would be in the long run any better, (in fact, they are an aggravating group of nuisances with their daily telemarketing calls)
I'll just for the time being be content with basic cable.

I just wish more people would, they might be surprised how easy it is to get along without expanded cable, that is to say, those that haven't yet upgraded to HBO or Showtime. But with Basic, at least the old folks and the religously inclined get the Christian channels.

And, naturally, the Charter executives made damned sure the housewives stuck on basic still have access to the Home Shopping Network. The motherfuckers.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Blindsided Justice

Lady Justice used to be depicted as blind, a symbol that, suppossedly, all received equal representation in the courts, regadless of economic status or any other social consideration. True, some cases are so egregous it has been hard to live up to those standards, while at other times, depending on the victim, her sense of smell tends not to make up for her lack of vision.

The case of Deana Wiliams of Georgetown Kentucky is a case, one of those rare ones that might tend to fit into both categories, and yet neither.

Her case revolves around the murder of one Ashley Lyons of Georgetown, a young teenaged girl, and pregnant, whose body was discovered by her father and brother in a Georgetown Park a year or so ago. Following a brief investigation, the murderer was finally apprehended-it was Ashley's former boyfriend, and father of the unborn child named Landon, who had only reently been sonagrammed, to the excitement and delight of the unwed mother.

Eventually, the conspiracy was unravelled. Not only was the former boyfriend involved, but along with him a friend, who supplied the gun which was the murder weapon, as well as Deana, his girlfriend at the time of the murder, and Deana's father as well. They were accused of knowledge and complicity in the case.

The murder and the sonagram became a subject of further controversy, and even spilled over into the 2004 presidenial campaign, when Kerry and Edwards refused to endorse a law that would have made the murder of a pregnant woman that caused the death of the fetus applicable for a double murder charge. Ashley Lyons' mother Sue spoke out against the Democratic ticket about this issue, which in Kentucky became wrapped around a state proposal known as "Brandon's Law", named after a fetus that died as a result of a car accident caused by a drunken driver.

The case also was mentioned in the magazine National Review, in particular singling out John Edwards due to his sudden failure to hear the voices of the innocent dead, harking back to a spectacular case early in his legal career, one that in fact was instrumental in jumpstarting his legal as well as his political career.

It became, therefore, a political as well as a criminal issue, and the people of Georgetown, as well as Kentucky, understandably demanded justice for Ashley and her unborn child. Retribution in the courts was relatively swift, and for the most part appropriate. But something got lost in the shuffle, and that something was equal justice.

Not having the funds necessary to retain a high powered attorney, Deana Williams, then a mere teenaged girl herself, was appointed an attorney by way of the court, who convinced the girl that things would go much better for her were she to plead guilty. She did as her court appointed attorney said, even though she insisted that she knew nothing about the plot.

The judge in the case sentenced her to seventeen years in prison. She immediately insisted that she had been mislead, in that her lawyer had promised a relatively lenient verdict. She had, she insisted, been mislead.

Had she been, really? I don't know, nor do I mean to infer anything whatsoever about her actual guilt, or innocence. All I know is, if she was truthful about the manner of her representation, or lack thereof, while some may say she deserved it, it's not so much that she got a raw deal-justice herself was stabbed in the back.

Ashley Lyons has recently had a memorial put up in the park where she was murdered, in her honor, which is certainly appropriate. But the memorial that may be most important as just one example of the myth of equal justice that has perhaps always existed in the United States justice system is a girl by the name of Deana Williams.

She may well deserve to be where she is today. But American Jutice herself deserves better.

The Greenpeace Japanese Whale Wars

The nation of Japan might be looking at the environmental group Greenpeace as an annoyance, but I'm sure the Japanese Whaling industry considers them to be about on the same level as the Western world tends to view Al-Queda. After all, there are livelihoods at stake here, indeed the industry as a whole stands to lose both in monetary terms and to an extent in public relations. Whatever the case, Greenpeace is adamant, that it will put a stop if at all possible to what it considers the abominable practice of "scientific whaling" which they seem to think, and probably rightly so, is a disguise for simple corporate plunder of marine life.

To this extent, they have employed two old vessels to the area around the Antarctic-the Esperanzo and the Arctic Sunrise. One of these shops was rammed by a Japanese fishing vessel in the Antarctic waters . In fact, one of the Greenpeace activists came dangerously close to getting harpooned.

The Greenpeace statistics I would not recomend be taken at face value, but for what they are worth for the moment, here they are. In the eighteen years since scientific whaling became permitted by the U.N, 6800 whales have been killed by the Japanese whalers. In all the 31 years prior to this only 840 whals were massacred. Quite a significant increase, as noted by the environmental group, for a program that was intnded as ameasure to protect the whales.

The first question I would ask is, just what the hell is scientific whaling to begin with? Is it the oceanic equivalent of thinning out the herd? If so, it seems unecessary, as I believe the herd is dangerously thin to begin with. Is it providfing tracking reseach to scientists in exchange for being allowed to kill a percentage? And do they stick to these quotas? What if they do not? If they do not, would anyone be in a position to know? If they know, do they really care?

Finally,as this possibly involves the U.N., the question which might be the most important of all? Does this have the makings of a "blubber for food" scandal?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Judge Cashman And The Vermont Controversy

There is bullshit, and then there is damned bullshit. When Bill O' Reilly claims he is not calling for a boycott on the state of Vermont, even though he puts forth on his show and web-site a poll question asking if "the folks" would support such a boycott, that falls into a third category all together-Goddamnd Motherfucking Bullshit.

Personally, I think Judge Cashman went way too overboard in exercising his judicial discretion by sentencing Mark Huelett, convicted of raping a ten year old girl over a four year period-beginning when she was six-to a sixty day jail sentence. His point was that, though Huelett was a level one offender, unlikely to reoffend (according to state mental examiners) he would not in prison be qualified to receive the treatment he needed, and so a long term prison sentence might cause him to become a repeat offender. This way, Cashman insists, he will get the treatment he needs, which in the long run will be better for society.

Personally, I think his reasoning is dubious at best, and might not even be a legal use of the judges discretion. If so, it is up to the appropriate officials of the state of Vermont to sort it all out, and it is up to the people of Vermont to, if they are displeased with the way it eventually turns out, express their displeasure at the ballot box.

But this knee jerk reaction from a wide variety of pundits and others strikes me as a little bit of grandstanding, the kind of thing where you damn well better not question their bombast on this issue,or your own morals will be called into question.

What the fuck ever. Personally, I'm wondering just exactly why there hasn't been an investigation into the degree of culpability by the parents, who seem to have been present at least physically during the four years during which all this went on for evidently at least a once weekly basis. I mean, I heard they are suppossed to be disabled, but can they really be that stupid? How could you not know something like this was going on for so long under your own roof with your own six, seven eight, nine, and finally ten year old daughter?

But there is more at play here, I fear, than mere righteous indignation. A good deal of this may have political ramifications. Coming on the heels of the recent Supreme Court nominations controversies, and the on-going struggle between left and right, "activist" versus "mainstream" judges, throughout the entire judicial system, in fact, I find it curious that the judges' detractors repeatedly infer that he might be of a libeal bent, though he is in fact a Republican.

In other words, this may be a salvo in the up-and-coming political year, in which judicial nominations and the status of the courts, especially the Supreme Court, will be a very important factor.

This is to be expected. But to threaten the economy of an entire state by hinting at the possibility of a boycott is really uncalled for, and is actually yet another attempt to bring all the states in line with the current popular witch hunt mentality. Once this is accomplished, it will be that much easier, the preedent having thus been set, to use other maneuvrs to bring them into line with the popular, and maniplated, sentiment of the day, whatever that might happen to be-by whoever might inadverdantly be calling the shots.

In the meantime, I'm going to stock up on good old made in Vermont maple syrup.

Bode Miller-Hung Over Until The Olympics

Have I missed something in all this controversy about Bode Miller, and the oh so shocked crowd that seem to think he is obligated as an athlete to pander to their prohibitionist views? Just today, the firestorm was further inflamed by the report that Miller claimed to enoy skiing down the ski slopes with a buzz. Yet, when I first noticed the reports, and paid any attention to them, I got the impression that he had actually said that he felt pretty rough when, following a night of drinking, he tried to ski the very next day. Now, if this is what he said, it doesn't exactly sound like a ringing endorsement, to me, of wild partying, especially the night before a scheduled sporting event. Thus, shouldn't he be commended for pointing this out?

But now, the story seems to have changed from the original version which I first heard, so I'm going to try and do a little detective work here. See, I've been in this predicament myself, though it's been a while back. But I do remember clearly the day when I had to get up and walk to work the morning after kicking back a few Buds. I felt awful, to be sure, but I dragged my sorry ass out of bed, took a quick shower, and walked the some twenty blocks, being without transportation at the time. This was a temproary janitorial job I was going to, and it entailed sweeping and mopping a gymnasium floor, if I correctly recall. One thing I remember all too clearly was that I felt like seven layers of hell wrapped into one, until about the first hour. But, lo and behold, once that first hour passed, I felt pretty damn good.

But not good enough that I cared to repeat the experience. I stopped drinking shortly afterward, and stayed dry for a long time. When I did finally get around to drinking again, it was seldom, it was moderate-and it was never on a work night, or prior to any important undertaking. You see, no matter how good something might feel initially, those paybacks just ain't worth it.

I'm sure Bode Miller found that out. Sking in a competition has got to be a little more demanding than sweeping and mopping a gymnasium, though the cold fresh air might, indeed, feel all the more exhilerating.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Dr. Martin Luther King-The Man

J.Edgar Hoover did the world one really big favor, as far as I'm concerned,though that certainly wasn't his intention. But in conducting illegal surveillance on the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., acting probably with the tacit approval of the Kenedy Administration, he did indeed uncover the truth about King. That truth was disgusting and sordid to Hoover,but that reveals in itself the kind of man Hoover was as much as it does about King. The kind of man Hoover was? Well, not much of one, regrettably. As for King, he was, thankfully, a man, a real, honest to God, flesh and blood man. A "tomcat" to Hoover, a subversive with communist connections-but a man, nevertheless. A real, honest to God, flesh and blood man, the kind of man who knows what he is about, warts and all, and yet still determined to rise above his follies and foibles, his flesh and blood limitations, and make a better life, not just for himself, but for everybody.

One thing that is often overlooked about his presence in Memphis those last days leading up to the time of his assasination, is that he was there in support of a garbage workers strike. Although there may have been a preponderance of black workers, I think it's safe to assume there was an appreciable amount of white garbage workers in Memphis Tennessee as well. Even if not,there can be no doubt that Kings actions were in support of working folks of all colors, all races.

What he accomplished is beyond scope, and really hard to understand, coming from a context of those who lived after the era of the civil rights movement. To an extent, those days seem as distant and as mythical as the antediluvian age. But they were real. Real people were marginalized, sufferred,and were murdered, and all of us sufferred a loss of our humanity due to the nature of what was really an ongoing misery of the human condition. Along with the likes of Ghandi and Mandela, King belongs to that very small class of people who honestly helped,and lead the way, in making life better not just for a few, but for humanity as a whole.

It is way too easy to mythologize a man such as him, and this does him no real honor. Nor does it help the average person, in fact, it defeats the whole purpose of Kings very real message,that people, real people, can change, can make things different, can make the world and humanity better.

I am happy to honor Dr. Martin Luther King on this day. But at the same time, I am glad to know it is a man that I so honor. That does not detract from his legacy, not in the least. In fact, when you stop to think about it, it makes him all that much more of an inspiration.

Delegate Zero

Also known as Subcommandante Marcos, the Mexican revolutionary from the State of Chiapas has been identified by Mexican Intelligence sources as a former university professor named Rafael Sebastian Guilen Vicenze. After some six or seven years of self-imposed exile, he is once again making the rounds of various areas of Mexico, where he is being greeted largely as a hero. This despite his somewhat checkered past, which included heading up an insurgency which ended with the loss of well over one hundred lives.

Since then, he has retired to a remote jungle area, where he has been the head of a project of experimental communities, all of which have met with notable success, though dependant on outside financial contributions and other support. He would like to see this project expanded throughout the country. More to the point, he is unhappy, very unhappy, with the recent results of globalization, particularly with what he sees as the devastating effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement on Mexico, especialy on the underpriveleged Mexican worker and family.

Yet, as civilian leader Delegate Zero, Subcommandante Marcos has no desire, he says, to run for any political office, including the up-and-coming Mexican presidential elections. At the same time, he is expresing grave reservations as to the qualifications and intentions of the current front-runner for the position, a former Mexico City mayor by the name of Andreas Manuel Lopez Obrador, who heads up the left leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution.

On the face of it, he would seem to be yet another in a long line of socialist oriented politicians who have emerged in Latin American politics, such as Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and Evo Morales of Bolivia, and of course Fidel Castro of Cuba. As such, one wonders exactly from where and whom Marcos is drawing his support, or hopes to. And if he holds true to his word to seek no office for himself,who then will he support? Or is he merely, like Caesar, aiming at public acclamation before revealing his true intentions?

It may not be such a bad thing, this sudden attraction to socialism in Latin America, it may give pause to the monolithic stampeed of international corporatism in it's obvious attempts to do what big business does best-wipe out the competition and establish a monopoly, or to put it more aptly, a loose confederation of monopolies, dependant on corrupt politicians on both sides of the border for it to flourish. The ultimate casualties of course would be the rights of workers, as well as the environment, to say nothing of true democratic politcal representation. Oh, and I almost forgot yet another eventual casualty-capitalism.

In fact, for all their faults, the Latin American socialists, may well provide the one thing that capitalism, as well as democracy, seems to require in order to not only survive, but to thrive-competition. This is a lesson that has not been lost on me since the fall of the Soviet Union, and the almost immediate launching of what George Herbert Walker Bush, when still President, termed, "The New World Order".

The old world Europeans, back in the days before the discovery of America, had another term for it-feudalism. If Subcommandante Marcos is to be yet another general in the front of the war on globalization, I hope he has a secure armor, as he will need it. I wish him well.

On the bright side, Vincente' Fox, nearing the end of his term, will not be allowed to run for re-election. Thankfully, Mexican law now forbids more than one term in office for the presidency of that country. Hopefully, by the time this situation all plays out, this will indeed be as good a thing in reality as it would seem to be now.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Environmental Impacts

The last year or so has been a great year for the mining interests, and it's easy to see why. One of the most powerful Senators in the U.S. Senate is Republican Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is, like most Republicans, friendly to business interests. Additionally, McConnell happens to be married to Ms. Elaine Chaou, who is the Secretary of Labor in the administration of George W. Bush. And she is, like most Republicans, friendly to business interests.

Unfortunately, while it has been a great year for the mining interests, it has not been that great a year for the miners they employ. Not only was the recent disaster in West Virginia which claimed the lives of twelve miners out of thirteen testament to that, but on the heels of this tragedy, and all but ignored, was the recent colapse of a mine in Pike County, just outside of Pikeville, that claimed the life of a miner.

Of course, the point can be made that mining safety has vastly improved. The mining interests would claim this to be the result of improved technology,which is true, but it is also true that it is due to years of oversight by labor interests, who had to fight tooth and nail to achieve influence. In fact, it took an appreciable amount of bloodshed, as a perusal of the history of mining and mining unions in Kentucky and elsewhere will quickly attest.

There has also been a coal boom,so miners have a degree of job security over and above that of most industries, for now. Yet, the fact that so many mines are operating in the face of flagrant violations, which are seemingly being ignored in some cases, is certainly troubling. But it is a sad reality that as long as politicans give the industry pass, the majorityof the people will, when the alternative would obviously be higher energy costs.

Environmental impact is another aspect of the mining industry that is disconcerting. The most obvious example of this would be the Martin County coal spill earlier in the year, which sent tons of coal waste from a sludge pond breaking it's boundaries and spilling over into the drinking water of the county, a disaster of such proportions it took months to litigate. It was finally settled, after months of wrangling, but this was strangely underreported by the suppossed "liberal media".

But more than this singular incident, flagrant and staggering though it was, is the ongoing ressurrection of the process of strip mining, which seems to be about to once more commence, despite federal law that was passed decades earlier to put an end to it, or at the least to minimize it's negative impact on the environment. According to federal law, whenever stirp mining occurs, it is to be followed by land restoration, a mandate by which the original contours of the land is to be restored to as great an extent as possible.

Now personally, I have my doubts as to the degree with which this federal law was enforced to begin with. The phrase "to as great an extent as possible", if that is he way th federal law is actually worded, seems to me to leave some wiggle room. Andif that weren't bad enough, somebody seems to have found another littel known exception to the federal law-it can be disregarded in the event of need for community expansion.

And so the race is on. Pikeville will be just the begining, and I see no end in sight. Add to all this the increasing influence of the Republican party in the state legislature,the governorship of the state of Kentukcy being held by a Republican, all but a few of Kentucky's Congresional delegation being Republican, both Senators being conservative Republicans, and one of these married to a Secretary Of Labor who is more a shill for business inteests than she is an advocate for labor interests, and it all adds up to cause for alarm. And it is not even an anti-business stance on my part, it is simply a concern for the lack of balance and perspective that accompanies one party domination over state politics. Were the oppossite party in power, I know from experience there would be equal cause for alarm from the other extreme viewpoint.

One bright spot, and this is a fairly recent development, is the recent pro-environmental stance adopted by certain branches of evangelical Christianity. Frankly, I don't think there was any magnificent plan involved in the creation of the Kentucky mountains, or any other aspect of creation. In fact, I don'teven likethe word "creation", I find preferable the word "formation", as it is far more accurrate a portrayal of what actually happenned.

At one point in the geological history of Kentucky, it was struck by a meteor, which landed exactly on the spot of the present day town of Middlesboro. The impact crater can be seen to this day. This meteor strike possibly played a significnt role in the formation of the mountains of Kentucky,and possibly beyond, and Cumberland Gap as well. The coal that lay within the mountains is probably the result of this impact as well. A lot of the flora and vegetation of the day was doubtless killed, and buried, and formed into coal as a result of the tremendous heat nd pressure it overwent for a significant though unknown, to me, period of time.

I would imagine that most Christians would view this event as a divine act of God in the formation of this world, and understandbly,they would want to treat God's creation with the respect it deserves. Personally, while I do not subscribe to the theory of a divinely directed or intellient creation, I do consider the prospect magical, and even divine, in the sense that the energies that formed the gods, and all the universe, can be seen here at work, and cetainly can sense the work of nature in enabling the strengthening and the adapttion of life to this set of circumstancs.

However you choose to view it, it should be obvious that nature should be respected, and any changes in the environment should be approached with caution and due dilligence, and not undertaken lightly or haphazardly. Unfortunately, too many people don't seem to understand this, and out of those that do, a significant number of them don't seem to really care. While out and about on my forays into town I got to know a girl at the local jail, a prisoneron work release. She was from Bell County, in fact she was from Middlesboro. When I mentioned something about the impact crater her town was buildt within, she gave me this curious look. "No, I didn't know that", she said.

One of the last times I saw this girl was on an upper floor of the County Court House, where a male work release prisoners was engaged in trying to drag her into the men's bathroom. All ofwhich seems symptomatic of the human condition. Life goes on all arond us, and we make our way through it, oft times unaware. But it goes on, nevertheless.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hal Rogers H'ain't No Dan'l Boone

Since Washington lobbysit Jack Abramof pleaded guilty to bribery charges involving several Washington politicians, mostly Republicans, a good deal of them, as well as some Democrats, have opted to return money they had received from the man-or donate said money to charity. Pesonally, I am of the mind that if they took that money in good faith, assumming the contributions were legal, they would not only have the right to keep the money, they would be well advised to do so. Personally, I am not impressed by the show some of these folks are putting on, including Democrats such as Hilary Rodham Clinton, herself a recipient of largesse from the lobbyist. After all, there is nothing illegal about campaign contributions, and this is not the reason Abramof was charged.

Yet another Washington Congressman who has received contributions from Abramof is my own Kentucky Fifth District Republican Congressman, Harold "Hal" Rogers, whose original and major qualification for the congressional seat he firmly holds is the little "r" that is generally displayed following his name.

Put it this way, the man is no Daniel Boone, despite the fact that certain of his supporters saw fit to replace the name of the famous frontiersman, one of the all time great early Americans, on the former Daniel Boone Parkway, a road that goes through a large section of Kentucky's Daniel Boone National Forrest. As out of line and innapropriate as it may seem, this road now bears the name "Hal Rogers Way". Still the same road, maybe with some improvements, but it just don't seem right.

Not that Rogers is a bad Congressman, as a matter of fact, he's a pretty darned good one, especially when you consider the fact that, in order to insur re-election in this district, he really doesn't have to do a goddamned thing. Still, he does what any good Congressmn is supppossed to do, I guess mainly out of pride in position. He brings home his share of the pork to the Fifth District. Now, I said he was a good Congressman-not a great one.

And, he has done more than this, really. Most notably, he is the brainchild, the founder, of Operation Unite, an organization dedicated to fighting drugs in Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky. It works, or is suppossed to work, in conjunction with educators and law-enforcement personnel, in addition to social services agencies, in attempting to do it's part to rid this part of the state of the scourge of drugs, especially the abuse of such drugs as Oxy-Contin, better known as "Hillbilly Heroin", and Meth, in addition to crack cocaine, marijuana, and all the other illicit drugs that afflcit the region.

It takes a three pronged approach to this. Law enforcement, by co-ordinating agencies to conduct stings of drug users, and pushers, is just one aspect. There are also resources dedicated to rehabilitation, which the organization rightly realizes is the key to insuring lives are put back together whenever possible. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, education, mainly through the public school system, in order to hopefully reach the vulnerable and instill in them the knowledge as well as the common sense they need to understand and avoid the dangers of engaging in this destructive lifestyle.

I would have to say Rogers deserves credit for this idea, it is one that has been greatly needed in this state, and similar programs elsewhere would be equally appropriate. Therefore, I decided I would not begrudge him what I assummed was the heartfelt gesture in turning the $3500.00 in campaign contributions he had received from Jack Abramof over to the coffers of Operation Unite, an organization which can certainly not receive too much money.

There is only one problem, which I just learned as of today. Veering over to the organizations web-site in preparation for this post, I made a somewhat disconcerting discovery. The last time the web-site has been updated, as of twelve o'clock noon today, EST, the 13th day of January, 2006-was in October of 2004. More than onr year. Somewhat strange for an organization that seems to depend to at least a large degree on citizen donor support, in terms of both financing and volunteer participation.

Yet, you can see it for yourself. Assumming I clicked on the correct link earlier today, and not an old and outdated one,you can click on the link in the post title and see for yourself. October, 2004, the last update. And that was a reference to an earlier event, like in September of that year, if I remember correctly. Otherwise, there's nothing happenning, as far as I can see.

So, I wonder just what's up with that?

The Ashkenazi Jews-Four VERY Used Up Women

According to a recent bit of research that I found most enlightening, 40 per cent of the Ashkenazi Jews of the world, are all descended from either one or all of the same four women. An Ashkenazi Jew, by the way, is one of thoe Jews who settled in the Central and Eastern European area, I believe around the seven or eight hundreds A.D. It is not known to what degree these women were related, or indeed even if they lived in the same span of time, even in the same century. But comparisons of DNA strands revealed the same mitochondrial DNA links that apply to this 40 per cent of the population. And, evidently-and this is important-these Ashkenazi Jews, or the four women from whom they are descended, are also descended from Ancient Jews who left Israel (then known as Judaea) in either the first or second century A.D.

So this puts to rest, I hope, a recent theory I happenned to run across, which was all the more bizarre in that it originated from a person who was himself a Jew. This theory, which never got much traction, (in fact I believe it was largely ignored and even derided in most academic circles), stated that the vast majority of Jews, if not every single one of them, were descended not from the Jews of ancient Israel and Judaea at all, but are in fact desendants of an Alto-Altaic tribe known as the Khazars.

These were in fact a Mongoloid race from central Asia, akin to the Huns, who were converted by one of their kings to Judaism. Or, as the proponent of the theory stated with a hint of revulsion, Talmudism. They were a fierce, warlike tribe of people who passed this warlike trait on to their present day descendants, who founded the concept of Zionism. They have sought to conquer the world by way of extortion and bribery since then. In other words, the present day Jews, according to this theory, have no special rights to the Holy Land. They are no more descended from Abraham than am I.

Now, I can believe a great deal of the present day Jews of Central and Eastern European stok are actualy descended from these Khazars-but all of them? And Zionism is a plot to conquer the world, by these people who aren't truly legitimate Jews, by race? Some things are just too bizarre to be believed, so damn scary you hope they are not true, but too compelling to ignore. Yet, this story has never been spoken out loud by any legitimate source, and so I have never heard it discounted.

So what religion were these Khazars before the time of their conversion to Judaism, or, "Talmudism"? Well, suppossedly, they were "phallic worshippers", which, according to the author of this theory, was "a filthy practice."

This, obviously, can mean nothing else than that they worshipped the dick. It would be referred to in more polite company, I guess, as a fertility cult, but to specify "phallic" worship, in this case, leaves no doubt as to what the author had in mind.

If true, it brings up yet another interesting point. I have always felt that, one way or another, conscously or unconscousy, a person will naturaly gravitate, in one form or another, toward the religions of his or her ancestors. So if this theory is true, I guess that explains why there are so many gay Jews.

Be that as it may, if this research holds true-and it has been given high marks in scientific circles for it's thoroughness and attention to details-then at least these forty per cent of Ashkenazi Jews are indeed descended from four women who were themselves descendants of Jews from the Holy Land.

Four women! All I can say is, must have been some damn good stuff.

New Orleans-Now On Fire

A four and a half acre fire earlier today shot walls of flames high into the sky, visible for miles, as smoke filled the air of New Orleans with the potential of yet further contamination, as a big pile of refuse, made up of paper, wood, discarded clothing and furniture, as well as mechanical items, such as refrigerators, and possibly other items which held coolants and other chemicals, seems to have gone up in flames in a conspiracy of spontaneous combustion. Most of the refuse, if not all of it, originated from the areas of New Orleans, in particular the Ninth Ward, which had been heaviest hit by flooding.

Yet, George Bush, on a visit to the city yesterday, would have us believe that New Orleans has made great progress, is on the road to recovery, and is more now like, in his words, the city he used to visit (as though he ever visited the Ninth Ward). He went on to encourage other families to visit the area. As he spoke these words, however, there were no signs of Jenna and Barbara, the Bush's daughters. But to be fair, these girls are doultess not used to invitations to places that are accompanied by the notation, BYOB.

From what I've pieced together, the only parts of New Orleans that are or would be appropriate as a tourist destination, as of now, are those parts that were not greatly affected to begin with, relativly speaking. Sure, the French Quarter would doubtless be a good spot to come for the food, drink, and jazz and blues music. Unfortunatly, the accommodations are not up to the level they once were as far as availiability for large numbers of tourists, and pollution, and the prospect for contamination, is still an issue, as these problems pay no attention to geographical boundaries. At least, they can only be held in check up to a point with any degree of assurrance.

As for the residents of the Ninth Ward, and other poorer neighborhoods, they are adamant as to future plans for their respective homes and streets. One man informed Ray Nagin, the mayor, that he would protect his property with a baseball bat, if he had to. There is a great deal of controversy over tentative plans to turn certain areas into open parks, on the grounds that rebuilding in these areas would be too expensive, and innapropriate due to future safety considerations.

Of course, it could be pointed out that ensuring the levees are properly buildt and maintained, and that there should be regular tests conducted of the pumping system in order to insure any future flood waters are pumped out in a timely manner (as much a reason for the flood here was a failure of these pumps, as it was the levees failing) would be two good first steps.

On a related front, there is now a move to force a recall vote on Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, on grounds of incompetence. Unfortunately, a successful recall drive would necessitate the collection of enough legitimate signatres to equal one third of the voting population of Louisiana. At last word, Ms. Blanco was unnavailiable for comment. She was in the Netherlands, studying flood control.

Kenya-Elephants On The Rampage

It seems that a number of factors are heightening the effects of normal draught conditions in certain parts of Africa, as of now, at least and maybe especially in the nation of Kenya. There, a number of deaths have been blamed on rampaging elephants, desperate to find water sufficient for their needs,which are considerable. At four and a half tons, the elephant is the largest land mammal on the face of the earth, eats in food roughly one third of his body weight per day, and his normal water intake, unless I'm mistaken, is to be measured not in the ounces or gallons, but in the hundreds of gallons, per day.

Unfortunately, in Africa, drought conditions are being heightened evidently by global warming, in combination with damage to the natural encironment. This could be due in part to the shrinking of the rain forrests, in all parts of Africa,and if I had to wager a guess, I would imagine the increasing diversion of water from rivers to provide water necessary for farming is a factor as well.

Elephants, in addition to being huge, are also among the more intelligent mammals on the face of the earth, and evidently their increasing desperation to find the water as well as the food they need, has lead to their rampaging, and so they are responsible now, at last count,for the deaths of at least two farmers.

It's hard to fault them. Elephants have an emotional attachment to their kind, especially their mates and offspring, which I witnessed once on a visit to the Cincinnati Zoo. There, while in the process of giving birth, a female elephant was locked up, out of view, while her mate, the male, was obviously worried, and swayed back and forth in utter anxiety. Imagine the desperation then of these animals in Africa, who due to poachers have more than enough reason to be wary of man to begin with. Elephants are very intelligent indeed, and as the old saying goes-they never forget.

Hopefully, this issue will be resolved to the beneit of both species. The elephant is now half in numbers to what it was when censuses first began to be kept concerning them. It would be a shame if this magnificent creature were to be further endangered due to lack of availaible sustenance, and this due to the recklnessness of man.

Jill Carroll-Still No Word

As of now, the 28 year old free lance journalist who filed reports on behalf of The Christian Science Monitor, has not been heard from, but there can be little doubt as to the trouble she is in, assumming she is alive. Disguising herself as an Arab woman, she had travelled to the Adal section ofBaghdad, a Sunni Arab nighbohood which has a reputation as one of the toughest parts of the city, in order to meet Adnam al-Dulaimi, the head of The Sunni Arab Iraqi Accordance. Unfortunatley, al-Dulaimi was not there, but Carrolls' abdutors were, and in the process of taking her captive, killed her translator.

This in itself belies, to my mind, any indication she might have been abducted by one of the roque elements who have made kidnapping of westerners a thriving enterprise, or who would try to, anyway. These are kidnappings of opportunity, and there seems to be more to this. The abductors knew Carroll would be there, and were waiting. There is or has been as of yet no word as to the possibility of collusion with al-Dulaimi, but his absence from the area is curious to say the least.

Carroll had a reputation as strong willed and brave yet at the same time, a professional and cautious reporter. Yet, she is a woman making her way through a country that is for the most part virulently anti-Western,and certainly anti-American. And she worked for a newspaper which is an arm of a Christian denomination, however objetive in it's reportage, and even liberal in certain of it's editorial positions, it may be.

The easiest assumption to make is that she was captured by one of the pro-Saddam factions, former Ba'ath Party insurgents. If this is the case, they may try to break her will, tear down her resolve, in an effort to prepare her for an appeal via tape to an American and Western audience, possibly as a means of striking fear into the hearts of any other journalist who may tread the soil of that beleageured nation. It is easy to say she will not be so easily broken, but remember,these are Ba'athists I'm talking about. It would be no surprise were she to be brutally raped, even purposely disfigured. Or, of course, simply executed, after being forced to make an appeal for American withdrawal, which of course they would know will never be acceeded to.

Of course, she could possibly be the captive of one of the more radical Islamic factions, such as Al-Queda in Iraq, which could be even worse. Their feelings about the role of women are pretty well known, and it is unlikely they would have a high level of tolerance or sympathy for an American woman, especially a journalist, disguising herself as an Arab woman. If they are her abductors, she is probably a dead woman, whether she is presently breathing or not. They might kill her on tape, or they might not. They will almost certainly kill her, barring her being found and rescued, assumming that is still an option.

I am hoping for a miracle, of course, but I do not expect one. The only appeal to her captives would be to simply point out that to murder this woman, to mistreat her in any way, would do their cause no good, in fact would only increase the degree of civilized animosity towards them. Of course, this too would be a vain hope, probably, as in truth they probably don't care. More to the point, it's not exactly a civilized audience they are trying to reach.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Concerned Alumni Of Princeton-What Would Burr Do?

I think personally that a lot of Republicans and conservatives may be making a little too much over the reaction from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's past membership in the conservative Princeton organization, Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP). They point out that this group has in the past claimed members such as former judge and frequent Fox News analyst Napolitano,as well as conservative radio host and pundit Laura Ingraham.

They go on to insist that there is no evidence that Alito had any involvemnt with any of the groups more controversial positions, writings, and declarations. Their position against Affirmative Action programs, for example, in the placement of women, minorites, the handicapped, and gays. They went on to crow that the recent acquisition and perusal of documents from the group from the Library of Congress, in the aftermath of the rather entertaining spectacle of the back-and-forth yesterday between committee chairman Senator Arlen Spector (R-Pennsylvania) and Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), showed no evidence of any degree of particiapation in the group from the nominee. In fact, he wasn't even mentioned.

Alito insisted that his sole degree of support for the group stemmed from his agreement with their position in support of the presence of the ROTC on the Princeton campus. Otherwise, he disavowed any agreement with any of the groups previously mentioned, more controversial positions, and further asserted he did not even belong to any of the gender segregated eating clubs which were a feature of the campus during the time in question, the 1970's.

It was hard not to feel some degree of sympathy for Alito, who will almost certainly be confirmed in his position as Associate Justice to the Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Conor. It was almost impossible to not feel sympathy for his wife, Ms. Baumgartner, who broke down in tears as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) apologized forthe behavior of his coleagues, almost himself at one point near to breaking down in tears. Alito's wife beame so emotional she had to leave the room.

It was high drama, to be sure ( it was certainly worth the price of admission), but it ignores one simple fact that is very easily overlooked. And that is, how could Alito not remember having belonged to the group? How could he "not recollect", as he claimed,the more controversial aspects of the groups mission? When pressed, he certainy remembered the groups stance as to the presence of the ROTC on campus, but even here, the timeline is in dispute.

The controversy actually began during the late nineteen sixties, during the height of the Viet Nam War. By the time of Alito's purported involvement with the group,however, this seems to have become a dead issue. Nothing more than, at most, a few murmurs from die-hard faculty radicals, is my guess, but nothing that had enjoyed any degree of support, either among faculty or the student body as a whole.

Yet, Alito insisted that this was his one reson for joining the group, and that he knew nothing else about them. Yet, he put his membeship, his association, with the group, on his resume when applying for a job in the Reagan Administration in 1984.

Anybody can change, and should be given the benefit of the doubt, and a man of the stature of Alito is certainly no exception to this all too often overlooked rule of humanity. On the other hand, it is one thing to disavow a support or affiliation with prejudice, as Alito rightly did. It is quite another thing all together to conveniently forget, or, as he put it, to "not recall" it.

It was right for Kennedy and the other Democrats on the comittee to bring this matter to the attention of the nation, as well as the matter of Vanguard, where there was some legitimate question as to whether Alito had recused himself from ruling in a case, as an appellate judge, as he promised he would do, when the case came before him. The reason for this was that he had owned a mutual fund with the company, and so there would be a legitimate question as to his ability to judge impartially in the case. However, as it was pointed out, Alito had played no role in the management of this mutual fund, and so his sitting on the case was not improper. Still, he later recused himself,to avoid any apearrance of impropriety,and so the matter in this case seemsto be settled. Still, it was a legitimate matter for discussion before the committee.

And so much more with the matter of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton. It is still troubling, to me at least, not so much that he belonged to the group, but that his memory seems to have become so faulty concerning his past association. Like it or not, it does go to the question of his integrity, though in no other instane before this committee was any legitimate question raised concerning this. I have to wonder if, in this one instance, he is actually the victim of bad advice as pertaining to any discussions of the matter.

Whatever the case, Kennedy and the other Democrats came away looking like bullies, fools, and shills for the extreme left, all of which may be accurrate appraisals, sad to say. And it gave the Republicans a chance to make hay,which of course is what they did, and to great political effect.

Alito will be confirmed, and probably should be, barring any further radical revelations pertaining to his past or his character. His past will probably remained shrouded in mystery over some of these matters, which are more than likely incidental anyway. I have no idea what kind of Supreme Court Justice he will make. Of course he will tend to be conservative, which is not necessarrily a good thing or a bad thing, in and of itself, it is just a thing.

It just depends on the context, and on the case being decided, and even then, it is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I am hoping for the best from this Princeton alumnus. Burr would be proud.