Six Seconds

Liftoff is always three seconds too long. In that blink of time it takes to realize you're hurtling along in a tube of steel, aluminum and plastic, the inevitabilty of The Moment presents itself. This is a Moment of great unnatural properities. Soon this will be a either a giant, fiery, failed Experiment, or all rules will be broken. Soon, this feat of Man escaping Physics and Fear becomes a droning nothing. Just some time in a fairly uncomfortable waiting room chair.

Then the last three seconds arrives, and they last just as long as the first three. The cold, hard earth sneaks up, and the horizontal, downwards, upwards view (everything but foward) exacerbates the tension. But soon enough, back to our earthly business.

Until those three seconds arrive again.


Infernal Infringements

After not having blogged for months, i'm on a roll...2nd one today.

I was reading "reader emails" on cnn.com about flag burning, and it literally makes me feel like i'm going to throw up in my mouth.

Take this one: "I am completely against being able to burn our flag in protest. Our flag is a symbol of freedom and when I see it flying, it reminds me that I am an American, proud and free. If you are that unhappy with America and what she stands for, then find another country and leave, but leave my flag alone!
P. Proctor, Statesville, North Carolina"

Do a lot of Americans really believe this? Even if most Americans are reminded of their freedom ,and feel uncontrollable patriotism and love for America when presented with a flag, do they not see the disconnect? Isn't it blindingly obvious that restricting the desecration of one inanimate object is a slipperly slope that would lead to further restrictions of first amendment rights?

If flag burning became illegal, how many of these acts would also become illegal?

- burning a photograph of a flag
- burning a home-made flag that is not made to "correct specifications", say missing a star
- burning a picure of the President, or the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights
- shredding, deficating on, painting, or otherwise desecrating a flag

Clearly, it would be preposterous to amend the Constitution to outlaw this one specific act. I am not saying I support flag-burning, but I support the openness of the constitution, and the freedoms that it guarantees to every American.

And to these true "Patriots" that are in favor of amending the constitution, take a moment to think about what you are asking the Congress to do. The freedom you enjoy today would be slightly limited if this were allowed, and it could lead down a dangerous path of further rights infringements.


The Wealth Of Nations (or, Individuals, or What is Republicanism anyway?)

Time for a quiz. Guess where this quote came from earlier this week:

"I love it when I'm around the country club, and I hear people talking about the debilitating effects of a welfare society," he said. "At the same time, they leave their kids a lifetime and beyond of food stamps. Instead of having a welfare officer, they have a trust officer. And instead of food stamps, they have stocks and bonds."

A) A bleeding-heart liberal on the Bush administrations tax cuts to the wealthy
B) A billionaire investment mogul
C) A professional golfer
D) A New York Times editiorial interview with the president of MoveOn.org

Well, the answer is B - Warren Buffett - during an interview discussing his plans to give away over $30 BILLION dollars to charity.

Why is this noteworthy? Warren Buffett is a famous liberal Democrat - he opposes tax cuts, he is pro-estate tax, he complains that the taxes he pays on his home in Nebraska are too low, he supports welfare and public services - yet he is the worlds 2nd richest man, and is indirectly supporting the original intent of the Republican Party's agenda. He is giving his money to the foundation of the worlds richest man, Bill Gates (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), further supporting this idea.

Per Wikipedia, "In broad terms, Republicans believe the private sector is better suited than the bureaucratic government as the trust of a nation's direction and purpose." Essentially, the believe is that individuals more efficiently allocate funds to needy sectors of society than the government can, making taxation for this purpose ineffective. Furthermore, "the party founders adopted the name 'Republican' to indicate it was the carrier of 'republican' beliefs about civic virtue, and opposition to aristocracy and corruption." How far has Rebublicanism moved from this original mantra?! Conservatism, Rebublicanism - today they stand more for aristocracy, corruption, and greed than ever before, and it is the Democrats that have taken the moral high ground.

Is this a broader role-reversal? Are liberal Democrats the New Republicans? It's worth a few moments of pondering at least.

It would be nice of the Middle Eastern oil billionaires to act in the same way as their American counterparts and allocate even a fraction of their vast fortunes to their own societies. That's an entirely different blog...


bcc: All

I'm going to start off by saying this isn't like me. Some things are meant to be personal, and politics are touchy at best. But this is fun.

I'll say that while I certainly lean to the left, i don't necessarily subscribe to a standard set of political principles. I'm a "practical liberal" i guess. Pratically liberal? Maybe. Regardless, this is sweet.

A few weeks ago Chairman Bush presented his "National Strategy For Victory In Iraq," which was more or less a huge PR campaign to try and regain a smidgen of public opinion regarding this mess of a war. Before I lose your attention, here's the cool part. It's available from http:// www.whitehouse.gov . Download it yourself if you want: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/iraq/iraq_national_strategy_20051130.pdf ! Don't worry, I already did. Go to File / Document Properties and check out the author. It's "Feaver_P."

Why is this interesting? Well, Peter Feaver is "an experton public opinion about war, not war itself" (Nicolas Kristof, NY Times last week). he's a Duke University professor, and is the original author of this document.

It's just amazing that despite the absolute barrage of criticism this administration has received, it wouldnt' do it's homework and fix this little piece of metadata.

I wasn't the one clever enough to discover this, and there are about a billion blogs out there with a lot of commentary, but this excerpt from a particularly salient one is worth reading:

Dr. Feaver was recruited after he and Duke colleagues presented the administration with an analysis of polls about the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004. They concluded that Americans would support a war with mounting casualties on one condition: that they believed it would ultimately succeed.

So, if you are the president, after receiving this news, do you :

A) Convene a top to bottom strategic review of your war efforts in Iraq, seeking feedback from commanders in the fields, expert military strategists and the Pentagon to ensure you are on the right track for ultimate victory; or

B) Deliver a fake "Major Address on the War" on a stage with quasi-facist set dressing in front of a crowd of uniformed soldiers legally required to cheer for you and then release a propaganda document disguised as a strategic plan whose every third word is "Victory"?

If you have any question which road this White House took, let me be the first to congratulate you on your recent recovery from a five year coma:

That finding, ....was clearly behind the victory theme in the speech and the plan, in which the word appears six times in the table of contents alone,

"This is not really a strategy document from the Pentagon about fighting the insurgency," said Christopher F. Gelpi, Dr. Feaver's colleague at Duke and co-author of the research on American tolerance for casualties... The document is clearly targeted at American public opinion."


I'm just happy we're ignoring the genocide in Darfur, and headlines like this

Sweet dreams,


Red Earth

There were two disturbing, but unsurprising, headlines in the NY Times today.

The first, "The National Parks Under Seige" details how the management policy of the National Parks Service, which has been largely unchanged since the service was created, is being re-written in favor of (surprise!) commercialization in the face of conservation. It eases pollution controls, removes rules requiring motorized vehicles to have the "least possible impact," and requires park service employees to go through Washington for promotions. The engineer of this policy? Paul Hoffman, "a former Congressional aide to Dick Cheney and a former head of the Cody, Wyo., chamber of commerce."

The second, "Artic Map Vanishes, and Oil Area Expands" is truly amazing. A 1970's map of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has vanished, and the new map, drawn up by the USGS prior to legislation regarding drilling for oil in the refuge, conveniently excludes indiginous peoples' lands which had been a barrier to opening up the area. While the Times does a nice job keeping the article as factual as possible, it's still hard to imagine a more compelling conspiracy theory. Hollywood couldn't do better.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. calls Bush "the worst environmental president in our nation's history" while discussing his new book, "Crimes Against Nature." Paul Krugman has said that Bush "values loyalty above expertise."

Even though his political capital is drying up amid plumetting approval ratings, I fear the the worst is yet to come. This administrations neverending cronyism and quid pro quo politics is truly appalling. The decision making process is more akin to a school boy choosing a wiffle ball team at recess; the best players are left on the sidelines, while the ranks are filled with friends, siblings, and sycophants.

I can't wait for this recess to be over.



dusty sneakers in a sunny corner of the room. basket of crumpled tissues, several on the floor, from an early victim of fall. a few shots left on that roll. clean laundery, still unfolded, recently strewn on the bedspread.

still, filled with suspense, waiting for at least a new paragraph, i read on. three stories, intersecting only in my mind. focus.

at least it's sunny in that corner.



the unmade bed, chaotic, peaceful, a remnant of a slower time
hurried as usual, conclusions reached before beginnings. looks
like you sleep on your side, a few lucid missteps in that fold

some leaves on the sidewalk, blown into a pile, no rake in sight
is this the order of things to come, or maybe what has already been?
there's no here in my restlessness or now in my slumber, only whys
overexposed pinpoints of light burning, disappearing, laughing so

symptoms of who



kinesis, not for too long. sitting (laying), perfect tingle of fall, summer lingering a bit longer. bells chiming, ice cream mi amigo? je pense qu'elle est parfaite, mais je sais que cela est la noix vraie. drums echoing off the school walls and buildings and hills. the J rumbles by, again, predictably, archaically shuttling and hustling. sneeze. laugh. yell. "wow, you're popular." honk. scream.

"sounds like a day in the park" or maybe "it's cocktail hour"

windy. arms barely touched. or did they?

birds are the audience, impolite observers, stuck on the ground you are! keys dangling, clop-clop-clop; must get in shape this year.

diesel smell, glass shattered, a picnic comes to an end. there was a bbq, ice cubes hissing on jet-black coals, hair standing up on my neck again. cooler than it looks, but wait till the sun sets. sage fuzz vellux awaits.

repetitive questioning, themes, didn't write back to myself. inspired? another need, not readily available to the senses, even though I feel senseless, and sensible. so many distractions, just as well. O! not again. but she makes me tick.

again in the sun, soaking, basking, back to the drawing board. trying to save this lapse, momentarily infinite and infinitessimal.

some child crying, laughing, calling for mommy. it's blue out.



Public Function ReturnToHere(Ret as MarkState)

Static ThisSpot as Variant

Select Case Ret

Case MarkState = 1
ThisSpot = Me.Bookmark

Case MarkState = 2
Me.Bookmark = ThisSpot

End Select

End Function


and with that, I can avoid the user losing his/her spot on the form (b/c as you all know, users are unpredictable beasts)

hopefully no more geekposts