Saturday, July 21, 2007

Contaminated Chili & Vanishing Brands

I scanned the shelves of my supermarket yesterday for my old favorite Peter Pan Peanut Butter. Couldn't find it anywhere. From a brand that used to monopolize the peanut butter shelves to a ghost is an amazing feat, but all it took was a few cases of salmonella turning up in the creamy stuff to effectively kill the brand from my store. I am unsure if that's the case elsewhere, but I suspect so.

Now another brand sees death looming in it's path. Castleberry's Hot Dog Chili Sauce as well as Austex and the Kroger brand of the same stuff as well as Morton House Hash are being recalled. Seems that four people have been hospitalized with botulism that may have come from the canned food. Botulism is something that has effectively been eradicated from our food supply and about the only way you can get it now is in a diluted version called Botox that is used for instant face lifts.

Fault pasteurization is the usual cause, something that should have been checked on a regular bases at the factory in Augusta, Georgia. At least it didn't come from China this time, but the strange connection is that the bad batch of Peter Pan also came from Georgia. Makes me wonder if the health inspector in that state are being as thorough as they should. Who knows?

Between the tainted pet food from China and the botulism and salmonella, I find myself being extra careful with what I put in my mouth. I check labels for country of manufacture and look for puffiness in the packaging that might signal contamination.

Back in the good old days when the FDA had teeth, Americans ate with the knowledge that their food was inspected and were reasonably sure it was safe. Today, when imports are examined by Homeland Security instead of health inspectors and the FDA is a shadow if it's former self Americans should be cautious.

The old adage, "Let the buyer beware" has never been more germane, and thanks to our delightfully "hands-off" government perhaps it would make sense to have a biological testing kit handy before each meal. I wonder if our King George has a food taster?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Dick Cheney & George Bush's Colon

Well finally Dick Cheney will stop pretending that he is the Vice President and assume the powers which we all know he already has. Saturday, President Bush will undergo a colonoscopy and be "out" for a couple of hours. During that time Dick Cheney will be acting President. Acting? Oh yes and there has to be the mandatory, "out, you mean more than usual?"

Aside from the jokes, this makes for interesting musings. I have spoken with folks who have little doubt that Cheney will use his "acting president" powers to do something drastic. I don't suspect anything that abrupt, but I do fervently pray for Bush's doctor and anesthesiologist to not screw anything up. The last thing I want to see is Dick Cheney sitting in the Oval Office.

So as long as we are making predictions, I predict that Bush will have a couple of small polyps removed during the process and afterward he will be just fine. Surprised? Well I just want him healthy for the War Crimes trials that should be taking place if the Congress does it's job.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Christian Broadcast Network Defends Obama? Is this a sign of the End Times?

Mitt Romney made a wild accusation at Barak Obama regarding the teaching of sex education to young children. The way Romney tells it Obama would be teaching from "Heather Has Two Mommies" in kindergarten. Hold the phone! Seems like David Brody, commentator at CBN, the Pat Robinson propaganda machine comes to Obama's defense with the....(drum roll) TRUTH!

OMG! It's real. Brody corrects Romney with the actual statement by Obama hat any sex education for youngsters should be age appropriate. IN other words he thinks telling little ones the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching is important to keep them safe from predators. Bravo Barack! He also says it's appropriate to give science accurate info when they begin asking questions. No storks or finding babies under cabbage leaves.

My only worry is that a CBN reporter came to the defense of a Democratic candidate. I am looking toward the sky now for those 4 horsemen!

Asbestos Found In NYC Steam Pipe Blast Dust - Now They Tell Us!

Why is it the first reaction of every government official to a disaster is to minimize the risk? Like the old picture of the police officer standing next to the accident directing traffic, "move along, nothing to see here".

Well patently that is false,there is an accident to see. In the case of disasters like the steam pipe explosion in New York City, where any fool could see an eruption of debris and dust mixed in with the steam, the authorities immediately said there was no danger of asbestos exposure. Oh really? Well today it seems that was not true. There was asbestos in the dust, just like on September 11 when the Mayor, a Mister Giuliani told workers the site was safe. Surprise, it wasn't!

The same thing happened in Japan this week after a nuclear plant was damaged by an earthquake. "No problem, very little contamination, only a few hundred gallons of contaminated water."

Surprise! Lots more leakage than that occurred and the officials acted just like here in the US, they first lie and then slowly tell the truth.

Here is a novel idea. Say that you are still studying the matter and until the exact extent of the exposure is known, the area will be off limits or we will take all precautions for rescue workers and assume it was a major problem until proven otherwise. Safe rather than sorry would seem to be a good move.

After all wouldn't it seem better to relieve the public after several tense days with the real facts rather than a stream of ever increasing lies?

Oprah and Obama - Will the Big "O" Help?

It isn't an outright endorsement, but Oprah Winfrey is holding a fundraiser dinner for Barack Obama. At $50,000 a seat for a VIP dinner as well as a bigger less pricey fundraiser, she will probably rake in a lot of cash, and cash is what campaigns run on. The Oprah connection is unique, because the star of TV and film hasn't endorsed any candidates before.

Authors getting a plug from Oprah have become overnight superstars. I suspect this semi-endorsement will be a big boost for the Obama campaign. I, for one, am glad to see it.

I have followed Barack Obama since before his speech at the Democratic Convention pushed him into the limelight He is arguably one of the most intelligent politicians to ever run for public office. His books are insightful and revealing about his character and beliefs, and his straightforward manner will go a long way toward winning him votes.

Pundits complain that he is too young and inexperienced to run for President. I find his youth a good thing. I think our country needs a little injection of energy and youthfulness. It needs a fresh view of how to run things. Obama is just such a person. His straightforwardness and honesty will go a long way toward diffusing the cynicism that dominates our political system. After 8 years of the Cheney/Bush dictatorship, a young honest and open president will be just what people are looking for.

Obama is no magician. He will not be able to instantly change government, but he can at least shine a little light on what has become a dark cave of secrecy. He can head up an administration that can throw open the windows and let the public really see what is going on. That isn't magic, but it will be exciting, and it's time we had a president who brought some excitement to the office.

So pundits may predict that he can't win, and scholars may dispute his viability, but I am not naive enough to thing that American voters pick heir candidate on sound reasoning and the advice of experts. Americans pick a candidate they feel good about. Our current President is a prime example. He is an idiot, but he seemed like a nice guy. So, to me, Obama is not only smart, honest and a good leader, he seems like a nice guy and that might make all the difference.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

McCain Snaps at Press - His Campaign at an End?

When a candidate stops talking about his campaign he probably doesn't have one anymore. That's the case with John McCain, who in a moment of frustration told reporters, “I’m not going to talk about my campaign anymore... I will not discuss it or any aspect of it. Thank you.”

And with that comment he ceased to be a viable candidate. His campaign troubles were the only thing interesting about McCain in recent months. Since he started towing the Bush party line, he was a non-news item. After all, the reporters are already just printing the White House press releases verbatim, why do they need someone else to repeat them?

McCain's trouble have made for interesting press coverage, but now with his press staff gone and his finances depleted he has no choice but to throw in the towel. The problem is he doesn't know he's already out of the race.

Note to John McCain: Call a press conference and tell reporters you want to spend more time with your family, the gracefully walk away. It's not pretty watching you self destruct!

CIA Torture Experts - Give Sadism a Bad Name

More information about CIA torture techniques and the training they gave interrogators has surfaced. It’s not a pretty story. Seems the CIA hired a couple of “experts” to develop guidelines for the torture otherwise known as SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape). Not only is this a detailed instruction manual of how-to torture techniques, it’s full of typos that even a Dyslexic like myself could catch.

Funny how the CIA is willing to pay these “experts” $1000 a day plus expenses to produce crap. Why do I call it crap? Well for those not faint of heart I will give you a little background on my experience. I am a BDSM enthusiast, and have been for decades. I have lots of experience with inducing pain to elicit confessions (though mine are always with consensual adult partners). I have learned that people under extreme duress, even though it is part of a “play” setting suspend their disbelief sufficiently to respond physically and sometimes psychologically as though the situation was real. Specifically, using techniques far less drastic that the CIA, I have found people will do or say just about anything to stop the pain or stress if it exceeds their stamina. In a BDSM situation it means using a safeword, but in a torture interrogation there is no safeword, so subjects will tell the interrogators whatever they want to hear, as long as the pain stops. People will confess to stealing the Lindberg baby just to stop the torture. How valuable would that confession be?

It is tempting to use the ticking bomb scenario to justify torture, but in reality it gets you nothing. It is both tragic and amusing how people who should understand this are so eager to use ineffective and illegal techniques when given the chance. And they call me twisted? Clearly the CIA has just tapped into a bunch of closet Sadists who never got a chance to learn how to safely experience their fantasies and are now inflicting grievous harm on prisoners in the name of our country.

Cindy Sheehan Calls for War Crimes Trials of Bush & Cheney

Why does it take Cindy Sheehan, a grass roots activist, to state the obvious truth that Bush and Cheney must be impeached? Why hasn't the leadership in the House and Senate taken up this issue and done something about it? Why did it take a wacko program like MSNBC's Hardball, to broadcast the charges that should be brought against these war criminals?

Lots of questions and few answers. I suspect it is partly because the media has a stake in keeping the Bush/Cheney bunch in Washington. After all, it was the GOP dominated government that allowed the media to be gobbled up by 5 or 6 big firms. But I digress.

Cindy Sheehan, who I have had a chance to meet, is sincere and a driven woman. She believes she can make a difference, and so far it looks like she is right. On her way Washington in a cross country trek to raise consciousness about the war, she is asking the right questions. If only our alleged leaders would do the same?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Texas Legislature Begins Giving Away The State - Starting With The Texas State Railroad!

Sometimes it’s hard not to cuss! The blasted Legislature of this confounded state have just given away one of our state treasures. Given away! That means for nothing, nada, zip, bupkis, no denero! The wonderful and cherished Texas State Railroad is being given to a private company to run as of Sept. 1!

What the heck is wrong with these guys and gals down in Austin? The Texas State Railroad is a living piece of Texas history. One of the last remaining steam railroads operating in the country and along an incredibly scenic part of the Piney Woods, it is part of our heritage. The railroad and state park operate at a loss, no surprise, lots of state parks and monuments do not make a profit! But Gawd forbid you not make a profit in the Great $tate of Texa$. I would ask that same Legislature if they operate at a profit? Well the answer would undoubtedly be yes, a big profit from contributions by companies like American Heritage Railways who is getting the railroad for free. The pockets of quite a few politicians were probably lined for this boondoggle, and since railroads are anachronistic in this area, it will probably go unnoticed.

Well I noticed! What will these pirates privatize next? I would suggest the parking lot at the State Capitol for starters. After all these freeloading guys and gals get free parking. No profit in that! Next let’s privatize their health insurance and have them pay the premium like lots of Texans have to do. Surprise! I figure it would only take a couple of months before state wide health insurance would be proposed.

Personally, I am looking at the roll call for this vote and I will vote against any member who endorsed it Democrat or Republican. It’s times like these that I feel like my grandfather, he never voted for anyone, but he always voted “agin ‘em” .

Kay Bailey Hutchison's Brain-Dead Response As Promised

OK, I posted an open letter to Kay Bailey Hutchison, allegedly my Senator, here on my blog.

The letter was a request to terminate Alberto Gonzales for lying to Congress again. In the letter I mentioned the Patriot Act, and how he knew of abuses and lied to Congress about that very topic.

As predicted, I received a form letter that does not address anything I wrote about. It does address the Patriot Act, a key phrase that was no doubt caught by either software or an intern and prompted a response about that act not about Gonzales.

I have grown to expect this kind of brain-dead response to my letters. I know none of them ever reach her desk, and yet I continue to write. Why?

Because if I stop I will just fall into lock step with the rest of the drones who inhabit our country. The comatose people who stagger through their lives without giving a thought to the leadership they elect. Our alleged leaders count on these sad people. If everyone actually cared enough to find out even a little of what was going on in Washington, there would be a revolution of epic proportions. Washington would look like the scene in Frankenstein where the villagers storm the castle with pitchforks and torches!

Well I am fresh out of torches and pitchforks, so I write and vote and try to influence other people to do the same. It may be futile, but pitchforks are no match for whatever resources our elected leaders have at their disposal. Besides, I still think the ballot box has some power.

For all those of you who got this far in my rant, here is your reward, a copy of the brain-dead letter from Senator Hutchison.

Read it and weep!


Dear Mr. Haberman:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the USA PATRIOT Reauthorization Act. I welcome your thoughts and comments on this issue.

Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, the U.S. Congress enacted the USA PATRIOT Act, comprehensive legislation granting law enforcement agencies enhanced surveillance abilities and providing for severe penalties for those involved in terrorist activities. This measure was passed with bi-partisan support in both the House of Representatives and the Senate and was signed into law on October 26, 2001, by President Bush.

On December 9, 2005, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives reported the conference report to accompany H.R. 3199, the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act. Among other provisions, the conference report for H.R. 3199 makes permanent fourteen of the sixteen USA PATRIOT Act sections that were scheduled to expire at the end of 2005. It provides for greater congressional and judicial oversight of orders for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) business records and FISA roving wiretaps, requiring both to sunset at the end of 2009. It expands law enforcement wiretap authority to cover more than twenty federal crimes. In addition, the conference report establishes judicial review and enforcement procedures for national security letters and revises federal criminal provisions relating to seaport and maritime security. This legislation reinforces federal money laundering and forfeiture authority, particularly in connection with terrorist offenses; it intensifies federal regulation of foreign and domestic commerce in methamphetamine precursors; and it makes substantial modifications in federal capital punishment procedures.

On February 10, 2006, S. 2271, the USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act, was introduced by Senator John Sununu (R-NH). S. 2271 modifies "Section 215 subpoenas," granted by the FISA Court, so that recipients would have the explicit right to challenge the subpoenas' nondisclosure requirements. In addition, this bill clarifies that libraries functioning in their traditional capacity are no longer subject to National Security Letters, which are subpoenas for financial and electronic records that do not require a judge's approval.

After thorough consideration, H.R. 3199 and the additional provisions under S. 2271 were approved by the full Congress, and on March 9, 2006, President Bush signed both pieces of legislation into law. I supported the passage of the USA PATRIOT Reauthorization Act, because it provides law enforcement officials with the means to detect and prevent acts of terrorism while at the same time preserving the civil liberties of all Americans.

I appreciate hearing from you and hope you will not hesitate to keep in touch on any issue of concern to you.

Kay Bailey Hutchison

Monday, July 16, 2007

Freedom Video! Watch it and Get Angry Enough to Do Something

If watching this doesn't get you angry enough to write your Congressperson or Senator you are either brain dead or a Neocon!

Top Press Aides Jump Off the McCain Ship

How many more nails do we need to seal John McCain’s political coffin? Today his top press advisor walked out, leaving the McCain campaign along with four others in his staff. The exodus from McCain’s group looks like the rats leaving the Titanic.

Wonder if McCain understands he is out of the race? He hitched his wagon to Bush’s star and it not a much of a heavenly body anymore. McCain should have stayed the straight talker and the GOP rebel; instead he caved and became another Bush lap dog. What a pity.

By the way, my official prediction a few months ago that he made a deal with the GOP to get the nomination if he would lay ball with the administration still stands. The GOP just screwed him on their end of the deal that’s all.

Bush Moving Toward Cheney's Stand on Iran - Get Ready for a Generational War

As Bush looks toward his future filled with brush clearing and organising the secret files in his Presidential Library, he is thinking of his legacy. Since he is bought and paid for by the energy and defense industries, that legacy will be bloody and costly for Americans and profitable for his employers. What better way to leave office than with a "generational war" in the part of the world that has the most oil reserves. It's a win-win for big oil and big defense!

Reports are leaking out that the White House is moving toward Dick Cheney's position on Iran. No surprise there since he is the brains behind the president. According to the Manchester Guardian, neither Bush or Vice President Cheney trust any future president -- Republican or Democrat -- to deal with Iran "decisively." In other words these guys are so full of themselves they think they can predict the future with precision. They also think they are the only ones who can do it.

This is called pomposity, and it's the kind of egomaniac thinking that makes the rest of the world distrust America. So far the Bush/Cheney predictions have been notoriously inaccurate. They predicted a short war in Iraq. They predicted Saddam had WMDs. They predicted abstinence only education would lower the rate of unwed mothers and STDs.

If you are keeping track, that's a 100% failure rate. I could list many more but why belabor this? The fact remains that these guys are not very good at diplomacy, governance or predicting the future. How dare they make moves that will most likely end in the only prediction they have gotten right so far: a generational war! It's not a prediction if you take steps to assure its outcome, and that is what they are doing.

They must be stopped. I know this sounds like the same old rant that I have made so many times, but I can't help it. I feel a little responsibility to future generations and my own old age. I would love living in a world were America was not bogged down in an unwinable war. I would love to live in a world where diplomacy was always preferred over armed conflict.

Maybe it's a pipe dream, but I have to think there are at least a few Americans who feel the same way. The answer to this problem as I see it is to impeach both Bush and Cheney immediately and put them on trial for war crimes. This would give us a renewed respect in the international community and stop the madness that is pushing us closer and closer to a bigger war.

Write your Congressperson and Senator and demand action. Eventually they will get tired of the letters and do something!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Murdering Gays - "God's Work" Says Suspect

A man from Cypress, Texas is being held in the murder of a Southwest Airlines flight attendant he believed was gay. Terry Magnum went to the Montrose area of Houston looking for Gays to kill as part of his "mission".

"I believe I'm Elijah, called by God to be a prophet," said 26-year-old Mangum, " ... I believe with all my heart that I was doing the right thing."

Funny, I never remember Elijah murdering people in the Bible, but maybe I don;t read the same version as Terry. Magnum apparently believed God spoke to him and told him to do it.

Another example of crazy fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is one of the most dangerous problems we have in the US and someone should really look into whatthese wacko preachers teach their flocks.

Marines Urged to Perform Beatings in Iraq

After reading of the testimony of a Marine corporal during the murder trial of Cpl. Trent D. Thomas, I am sick. The witness told of being instructed to "crank up the violence level", by his superiors. This meant beating Iraqi's and other violence was being encouraged. According to the witness Cpl. Saul H. Lopezromo, this soured him on the Marines.

No doubt it soured him! More over it sours me on the superiors who are ordering this kind of illegal and inhuman action. I can only think that the "cranking up the violence" will do nothing but crank up the insurgency. What the hell are these guys thinking?

Sounds like the command wants more Abu Ghraib style scandals, and for the life of me I can;t see how that will do anything but prolong this nightmare. The only thing I can figure is that's what the Bush administration wants. More war means more profits for defense suppliers, and after all, that's who Bush works for.