Thursday, January 29, 2009
Now, here's the count-down—
And, on the other hand, it's now been five weeks, or it will be this coming Saturday night, since my hip and pelvis got rejoined in the OR over at St Charles Hospital. So, next week I'll make an appointment to see the orthopedist who did the rebuild and see how it's going. I’m really tired of this.
Yeah, I have it easy compared to a lot of other people with Osteogenesis Imperfecta. I have it easier than a lot of other people, period. Our local paper ran a 3-parter on a woman I’ve spoken to, and see often, over at the pool; she has a disorder that they can’t even diagnose—but it’s taking her down as sure as termites wreck a house. She’s less than half my age, but she’s on daily dialysis because her kidneys are failing; she walks with a cane because she has severe osteoporosis and has only semi-controlled seizures. Her muscles are atrophying. When she was a teen-ager blood leaked in one of her eyes and she lost it. I don’t have anything like all that.
Easy, though, is a comparative term. My easy might be your hard, or your hard might be my easy. It’s like comparing stories of abuse. Who’s to say who had worse abuse? Or a happier childhood or...
So, anyhow, I’m tired of this being the way it is. I’ll be glad to get back to relatively unrestricted freedom; even using a cane will be an improvement.
I’ll try taking the camera with me to the dr’s appointment and see if I can get a shot of the x-ray. If I can, I’ll try to post it here. Just because.
Counting down toward....er...ah...?
What I first wanted to say was this: the Huffington Post has an article today on the CD that one of the candidates for chairing the Republican party has put out. He made the news—some news, anyhow, not all of it—for including a song "Barrack the Magic Negro," if you remember that. Now it turns out that on the CD is another ditty "The Star Spanglish Banner," "Jose, can you see...". Jesus. Salsman, the candidate admits that the Obama song may not be in good taste; taste, you see, being something inconsequential as opposed to racist which no good Republican would ever be, no. Huh-uh.
So, making fun of the elected president's skin color is, oh, you know, like the difference between ranch dip and fry sauce. Nothing implied.
However...sticking another song on there making fun of hispanic-latinos is, oh, hell, you like catsup with your fries or salsa? that's all. Nothing implied. Purely...circumstantial. Accidental. Lie, you know, finding a trout in a glass of milk: no, no, doesn't mean the milk's been watered down. Not at all.
What a crock of shit!
Not only has the Republican Party been over-run and captured by religious fanatics, it's also been over-run by barely covert racists. At least, thirty or forty years ago, they were quiet about how they felt toward people with different colored skin. No more. Maybe, though, it's for the best: at least it's out there like an open fly. And they're exposed their dick-dom, that's certain.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Government thuggery exposed. Again...
Like I said the other day, now that the thugs-in-chief are off the scene, we're learning just how awful their collective thuggery was.
This is from today's Raw Story
|David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster|
Published: Thursday January 22, 2009
Ex-analyst believes program actually the remnants of 'Total Information Awareness,' shut down by Congress in 2003
On Wednesday night, when former NSA analyst Russell Tice told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann that the Bush administration's National Security Agency spied on everyone
in the United States, specifically targeting journalists, the Countdown
host was so flabbergasted that Tice was invited back for a second interview.
On Thursday, he returned to the airwaves with expanded allegations against the NSA, claiming the agency collected Americans' credit card records, and adding that he believes the massive, warrantless data vacuum to be the remnants of the Total Information Awareness program, shut down by Congress
Asked for comment by Olbermann's staff, the agency responded, "NSA considers the constitutional rights of US citizens to be sacrosanct. The intelligence community faces immense challenges in protecting our nation. No matter the challenges, NSA remains dedicated to performing its mission under the rule of law."
Olbermann ran the quote under a banner which read, "Non-denial denial."
"As far as the wiretap information that made it though NSA, there was also data-mining that was involved," Tice told Olbermann during the pair's second interview. "At some point, information from credit card records and financial transactions was married in with that information."
Our patriots, their terrorists, revisited...
Is terrorism defined by skin color?
I have a nagging feeling it still is. 37 machine guns, 60 hand grenades, pounds of C-4, grenade launchers...if these had been collected by a group of black or brown people it would be front-page news all over the country—probably with headlines saying, more or less “Terror Cell Busted?” But, since it was collected by a white guy (working alone? I doubt it!), it didn’t get that kind of coverage at all. Just a little story about a guy who had some odd choices in weapons...
Wednesday, January 21, 2009 - Page updated at 09:24 AM
Grenade launchers, machine guns, C-4, weapons cache stuns agents
By Mike Carter
Seattle Times staff reporter
A 65-year-old Spokane man has been ordered held in custody on federal charges of illegally possessing automatic weapons and illegally storing explosives in a Bellevue commercial storage shed while agents investigate how he came to possess a huge military-grade arsenal that included grenade launchers, machine guns and plastic explosives.
Ronald Struve, heavyset and bearded, appeared in Seattle before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Alice Theiler on Tuesday after being extradited from Spokane, where he was arrested Jan. 7 during a raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
In four searches in Bellevue and Spokane, agents seized 37 machine guns, 12 silencers, two grenade launchers, more than 60 high-explosive grenades, several pounds of military-grade C-4 plastic explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Most of this material was stored in commercial sheds near businesses and homes, said Assistant U. S. Attorney Thomas Woods.
At a detention hearing set for Friday, Woods said he will present evidence that Struve possessed "anti-government material."
According to a complaint filed earlier this month, Struve "planned to use the items at some uncertain date in the future."
Two law-enforcement sources familiar with the case, but who spoke on condition of anonymity, used the term "Armageddon" to describe what Struve was apparently awaiting in stockpiling the weapons.
Agents have served four search warrants — three in Spokane and another in Lynnwood.
The Lynnwood shed was empty; however, agents recovered eight machine guns and additional grenade rounds in a search on a storage shed in Spokane.
The search of the Bellevue storage shed did not require a warrant because agents were given permission by a man who purchased the contents at an auction.
ATF Special Agent Heidi Wallace said much of the recovered ordnance was almost certainly stolen from the military because there is no other place to get it.
Woods said the investigation is continuing and that a grand-jury indictment is possible. So far, agents have questioned at least two others — including a man who rented the shed in Bellevue. No other arrests have been made.
Wallace, who was at Struve's court hearing Tuesday, said there was no evidence at this point that Struve was involved in domestic terrorism.
Struve first came to the ATF's attention in November, when the man who had purchased the shed's contents contacted the agency after he found it full of boxes of firearms, shells and other military-style hardware and wanted to know if the weapons were legal to keep.
The bureau sent Wallace to the buyer's garage, where he had stacked the contents from the storage unit. What Wallace found were "many boxes, plastic bins and ammunition containers."
The first box contained what appeared to be several machine guns. Likewise, the second box contained military-type firearms. In the third box, Wallace found "two grenades and other possible explosives."
Other agents were called, and what they found was startling — and worrisome.
"In all my years, I've never seen this sort of firepower in one place," said ATF Special Agent Nick Starcevic, the Seattle office's senior operations officer.
One box contained 54 M406 high-explosive grenade rounds — 40-millimeter shells that can be launched from a shoulder-fired weapon to distances of 300 yards or more, according to military specification.
Its explosion creates a "kill radius" of up to 16 feet from the point of impact and injuries dozens of yards beyond that.
Agents also found several other anti-personnel grenades, including a Korean War-era "Chicom" stick grenade.
In another box, agents found six blocks of C-4 plastic explosives.
Agents counted 32 apparent machine guns, including M-14s, M-16s, and several "Sten guns," a mass-produced submachine gun known for its high rate of fire — upward of 500 rounds per minute.
They also found nine silencers and the parts for several others, as well as thousands of rounds of ammunition and various other military hardware.
"All of the military explosive items seized are considered contraband and cannot be possessed by anyone other than the military," Wallace wrote in a search warrant. "The majority of the items seized appeared to be stolen military explosive materials."
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Criminal behavior by KBR
So now that the Cheney-Bush administration is out of power, we begin hearing things about just how bad that gang was. As if the billions that vanished into the sand dunes wasn't enough; the lies about fabulous rescues of injured GIs, the horrors of the seige of Falluja, and the infamous WMDs. We have been under the thumb of a gang of thieves. And we'll pay for it for generations.
Contracting company—KBR—electrocuted GIs in Iraq
WASHINGTON (AP) — An Army investigation called the electrocution death of a U.S. soldier in Iraq a "negligent homicide" caused by military contractor KBR Inc. and two of its supervisors, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.
An Army criminal investigator said the manner of death for Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, of Pittsburgh, has been changed from accidental to negligent homicide because the contractor failed to ensure that "qualified electricians and plumbers" worked on the barracks where Maseth died, according to the document.
Heather L. Browne, a spokeswoman for Houston-based KBR, said in an e-mail that the company maintains that its activities in Iraq did not play a role in Maseth's death.
The Green Beret died of cardiac arrest on Jan. 2, 2008. He was electrocuted while taking a shower in his barracks in Baghdad. He was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, Ky.
The document obtained by the AP, dated Dec. 16, said the case was under legal review at Army's Criminal Investigation Command headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va. A spokesman for the Army's criminal division, Christopher Grey, said the investigation is continuing and he could not comment.
Last year, Maseth's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Allegheny County, Pa., against KBR. It alleges that KBR allowed U.S. troops to continue using electrical systems "which KBR knew to be dangerous and knew had caused prior instances of electrocution."
Maseth's mother, Cheryl Harris, testified on Capitol Hill about electrical problems in military facilities. Since then, the Army has made changes such as creating an electrical code for U.S. facilities in Iraq. At one point last year, the deaths of at least 18 U.S. service members and contractors were under investigation as possible electrocutions.
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said in a statement that the Army CID's investigation validates the work by Maseth's mother.
"We must not only ensure that full accountability is served in this case, but that the Pentagon is also doing all that it can to prevent future electrocutions of American personnel in both Iraq and Afghanistan," Casey said.
KBR was previously owned by Halliburton Co., the oil services conglomerate that former Vice President Dick Cheney once led. Congressional Democrats long have complained that KBR has benefited from its ties to Cheney.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Oh, it's a happy day...
History is a daily happening, yeah. Today is very historical. I feel like I have to make some sort of commentary about it, because, well...jesus christ. A person of color, the first out-and-out liberal, has just become the POTUS.
I never fantasized I’d see it happen. I couldn’t. My experience with national politics and politicians has been a downward spiral. I voted for the lesser of two evils so many times it almost became automatic. I didn’t think that when I marked Obama’s name on my ballot. But I wasn’t sure he’d win. I really wanted him to win, very much. But there’ve been so many disappointments....But he did. And then I started holding my breath: there are so many nuts with guns out there, and so many stunts to derail the inauguration.
My ex-wife called this morning and told me how she’d got up to listen to the inauguration and the radio wouldn’t work. She went out and sat in her cold car, surrounded by ice crystals, turned on the car radio and listened and cried for joy. That’s about how I feel. It started watching the celebration in Grant Park. That’s when we all started phoning each other and saying, “We won, we did it.” Then the breath-holding and child-like prayers—please, please let it happen. It happened.
Watching the whole thing on TV is watching the faces of the people. So many smiles and grins, people crying with happiness and relief, people dancing and waving. A national day of celebration of hope.
I didn’t think I’d see it.
But I did and it's wonderful.
Monday, January 05, 2009
My mind is like tattered tatters
I'm still lurching around the ruins of my mind; Jesus, it's a mess in here/there. My attention span is a bit better, since I've cut back on the vicodin, but the physical discomfort is up. Balance that out? At least with the vicodin I don't get bored: I can't remember enough to be bored—oh, I just spent the last two hours on the bed, looking out the window, and holding a cup of coffee in my hand? Oh. OK.
The world is lurching along, too. Israel is doing to Gaza what they shouldn't do. We're not the only amnesiac country. I'm waiting for Israel to move into the "rescuer" phase; they hang onto the Victim part real well, and don't like it when people say, Uh, you're persecuting the civilians there in Gaza...It's the Laurel and Hardy Theory of History: "Now see what you've made me do!" It's awful. I guess it's normal, though, because it sure is one of the recurring themes in history. It's not our fault, we were forced to do this. The big deal is to avoid taking responsibility.
And a fair amount of bad news about old friends: this one is dying of cancer, that one is going blind; so and so has emphysema, and who's his face needs a liver transplant. Bad. Normal, but not not good. I'm still not a spiritual giant.