Monday, February 28, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

The whip hand? What the hell does "The Note" mean by that?

"WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 —

The horrific car bomb explosion outside of Baghdad — killing more than 100 and sure to dominate cable and network news all day — shows just how politically strong President Bush is right now.

We only reluctantly draw political lessons from human tragedy, but today's news is yet another reminder that on a range of issues — national security, foreign affairs, budgeting, dealing with the nation's gathered governors — the President has the whip hand.

Events and positions that would have brought hailstorms down on past presidents (say: Bill Clinton) don't seem to be seen as "political" problems for this administration right now.

In fact, with the oh-so-prominent exception of Social Security, it is amazing how relatively free and unscathed the White House is to pursue its at-home and abroad agendas."
* * **

Zogby has Bush down to 46% approval in his latest poll. Doesn't sound like a "whip hand" to me. Seems to me that the moderate Repubs have the whip hand if anybody does. They vote with the Dems, Bush is screwed as far as scamming Soc Sec, cutting Medicare, et al.

Sen Joe Biden thinks Hillary Clinton is about a shoo-in to win the Dem nominee for prez in 2008, but he may run, himself, anyway. One of the bloggers thinks---thinks, I say---that he's read that Hillary sits on the board of Wal-Mart, and if she in fact does, he'd absolutely refuse to vote for her. But does she? I have zero idea. Doesn't seem like a smart thing to do, and she's no dummy.

And now Gonzales has announced he'll be very stern and prosecute indecency wherever he finds it. He'd best start with prosecuting himself first. Torture is about as indecent as it gets.

I'm hoping Chief Justice Renquist can hang on until BushCo is out of office or impeached, one. Personally, I prefer impeachment. That would keep those corrupt, arrogant and greedy bastards busy enough so that maybe they can't focus so much on ramming through their horrible ideas.

DeLay is in a world of crap again too. Apparently there's an outfit that's been sending scary scam letters on Soc Sec to people, and they warn those people not to tell, after they ask for donations. Then they use those same donations to pay for DeLay travelling overseas or wherever. Nice. All the more reason it was so very important to gut the House Ethics Committee.

Want to see a selection of what a group of Dem bloggers has to say? They're pretty stringent. Go to:

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing's another one! Wonder if the two groups will eventually link up?

In the matter of Bush's trip to Europe, it seems our media reported one story and the Europeans reported another. Take a look at:

Enjoyed the Oscars tonight. Nice to see awards go to a wider selection of people and movies and all. Very pleased that Jaime Foxx won Best Actor, Clint Eastwood Best Director, Hillary Swank Best Actress and pleased for all the other winners too, especially Morgan Freeman. Chris Rock did a good job, but I swear he looked terrified a couple of times. He had cause. There was one awesomely huge audience watching all over the world.

So now I'll go finish reading at least the Sunday edition of the LA Times.

Just Observing

Just Observing

Geez! Bored outta my skull watching that parade. Seems like everything is flat out canned/phoney/scripted/pedestrian for both interviewer and interviewees. Will go back to tv at 8PM when they all have their rearends in the seats and the actual Oscars broadcast begins. Until then, forget it.

Just Observing

Just Observing's Oscar night. Gonna be interesting to see how Chris Rock does as MC. The pressure on him must be something is the responsibility he's carrying for the success of the show. In a couple of minutes--it's almost 3PM (PT) they'll be walking that infamous red carpet. Whether I have anything more to say tonight is anybody's guess, but I'm for Jaime Foxx for Best Actor. Here we go!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Well!!! Check this out: And it's not just for Bush! Ambitious group here, to say the least, considering the Repubs are in control of the House Judiciary Committee...and they're the ones who bring impeachment charges.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

This thing about drove me nuts! Thought I had it then realized it
was upside-down. Now I realize that in dealing with the digital, I didn't deal with the analog. Blast! Enjoy!

This is some fascinating work from Israel. Once the image comes up, move
your mouse around, and the image will react to your movements. Eventually
you will find the spot on your screen where the analog clock is in sync with
the digital, and moving in the right direction.

Just Observing

Just Observing

I just wonder how many folks know about directional mics, framing, and such that produced the scene that brought Dean down and that he's still being tarred with now that he's Chair of the DNC? Let's hope they read the Miami Herald. Here's their article:

'Dean Scream' Clip Was Media Fraud
By Edward Wasserman
The Miami Herald

Wednesday 23 February 2005

The news media got an unusual bashing during last year's bitter electoral campaigns. They got slapped around from all sides, and everybody argued about how the media tried either to undermine Bush or discredit Kerry or both.

Still, it's never clear why some media wrongs are made into a big deal while others slip by. Take the CBS "60 Minutes" report on Bush's military nonservice: The story itself was old, the dubious evidence was of dubious importance, and the broadcast had no discernible effect. It became a major scandal anyway.

On the other end of the scale is an instance of clear-cut media wrongdoing that involved unquestionably fraudulent evidence and had dramatic consequences. This one, however, has gone largely unremarked. It is the famous incident involving Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean that is known as The Dean Scream.

And with Dean's recent appointment as Democratic Party chairman it's being hauled out as constituting the ceiling on whatever political ambitions he might still have, proof that he's shaky, unstable, unfit to serve - Howard Dean's Chappaquiddick.

You've seen the clip. After Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at the Super Bowl, it's the most famous news video of 2004. Dean is addressing campaign supporters after he lost the Iowa party caucuses in January. He's screaming for no apparent reason, practically shrieking, ticking off the states where he's vowing to continue the race. His face is red, his voice breaking. He looks deranged. It's a portrait of a man out of control. It's documentary evidence that Dean lacks the temperament for high office.

In fact the Dean Scream was a fraud, probably the clearest instance of media assassination in recent U.S. political history.

Last year, a young cable news producer attended one of our twice-yearly Ethics Institutes at Washington and Lee University, in which students and journalists gather to discuss newsroom wrongdoing. He brought two clips.

The first was the familiar pool footage of Dean in Iowa. The candidate filled the screen, no supporters were visible. Crowd noise was silenced by the microphone he held, which deadened ambient sounds. You saw only him and heard only his inexplicable screaming.

The second clip was the same speech taped by a supporter on the floor of the hall. The difference was stunning. The place was packed. The noise was deafening. Dean was on the podium, but you couldn't hear him. The roar from his supporters was drowning him out.

Dean was no longer scary, unhinged, volcanic, over the top. He was like the coach of a would-be championship NCAA football team at a pre-game rally, trying to be heard over a gym full of determined, wildly enthusiastic fans. I saw energy, not lunacy.

The difference was context. As psychiatrist R.D. Laing once wrote: We see a woman on her knees, eyes closed, muttering to someone who isn't there. Of course, she's praying. But if we deny her that context, we naturally conclude she's insane.

The Dean Scream footage that was repeatedly aired rests on a similar falsehood. It takes a man who in context was acting reasonably, and by stripping away that context transforms him into a lunatic.

But that clip was aired an estimated 700 times on various cable and broadcast channels in the week after the Iowa caucus. The people who showed that clip are far more technically sophisticated than I and had to understand how tight visual framing and noise-suppression hardware can distort reality.

True, some network news executives commented afterward that perhaps the footage was overplayed and offered the bureaucrat's favorite bromide, that hindsight is 20/20. But the media establishment has never acknowledged this as a burning matter of ethical harm.

That's because the Dean Scream incriminates the entire professional mission of television news, which is built around the primacy of the picture. TV producers don't profess to offer meaning and context; they get you the visuals, unless they're gory or obscene. The notion that great footage would be not shown just because it's profoundly misleading - that's a possibility few TV news executives would entertain.

That's why they're not eager to see the Dean Scream enter the canon of journalistic sin. And if that leaves Howard Dean's political future hobbled by a lie, so be it."
* * *'s that for responsible journalism? The existance of the article above shows responsibility. The writer tells the truth and the publisher publishes it. Getting to be very rare in television and some other forms of media. Radio is very very bad. Too many bloggers are not careful. It pays to cross-check what one hears and reads and sees. Because of the internet, we can read overseas reports and check them against our national reports, and we damned well should.

Do keep in mind that nobody working professionally can be really objective. That's because that professional has X amount of material, there's just so much space or time and so one has to make a choice of what items have to be left out. That choice is almost always subjective, and has to do with what makes the best story, article, newscast, etc. There's a point to be made...that's slant. Mess of other things to think of as well. Bottom line is that nothing can be completely objective, so don't expect to get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Sad but true.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

"I guess Bush/Cheney supporters must be very proud to know that their champions are universally despised, have been illegally bribing newspeople to spread their propaganda, coddling fake gay newsmen in the press corps, making utter fools of themselves internationally, blatantly lying about Social Security, covering up their failure to prevent 9/11, outing an important CIA operative, ruining the U.S. military, failing to find bin Laden, being outsmarted by the Iraqi religious leaders, bankrupting the U.S. economy, and etc., etc. When will it ever end? Or is this it? The end of the American century and American democracy. Stay tuned, things can only get worse."

Just read the above on: , one of my favorite blogs. The guy who writes it is "A retired UCLA Professor of Anthropology" and he does NOT appreciate this Bush administration one damned bit. An interesting and intelligent thinker.

Just Observing

Just Observing

I have always liked Joe Biden because he's about as plain spoken as a six term Senator can be. When he's pleased, you know it. When he's pissed, you know that too. I believe he has character and strength and would make a terrific president...and I don't think the Repubs have anybody who could stand up to him in a fair fight. I sure hope he decides to run. Yeah!!!

Feisty Biden toying with run for president
6-term senator on California swing to gauge interest
Carla Marinucci, Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writers

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Outspoken Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware confirmed Wednesday that he is seriously testing the waters for a 2008 presidential run -- even as he acknowledged that Sen. Hillary Clinton would be "the overwhelming, prohibitive favorite'' to become the nominee of his party.

"I'm sounding it out,'' said Biden, 62, during an interview with The Chronicle editorial board. "In all my career, there's more at stake than any time since I've been a senator ... (and) I have some pretty clear ideas about what I think should be done.''

But Biden acknowledged that his reputation as a blunt, plain-spoken critic on foreign affairs issues -- on display recently during his confirmation hearing grilling of Condoleezza Rice -- could affect his chances. "I just don't know, very honestly, whether the Democratic Party is ready for me ... (and) would be comfortable with me as the nominee.''

Read the rest at:

Apologies for not hot linking that URL, but I don't know how to get that done here.

Just Observing

Just Observing

Hah! Hunter Thompson's parting shot...

">"He knew who I was, at that time, because I had a reputation as a writer. I knew he was part of the Bush dynasty. But he was nothing, he offered nothing, and he promised nothing. He had no humor. He was insignificant in every way and consequently I didn't pay much attention to him. But when he passed out in my bathtub, then I noticed him. I'd been in another room, talking to the bright people. I had to have him taken away."
> --Hunter Thompson, on meeting Dubya at a Super Bowl party in Houston
> in 1974


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Well! Just learned that novelist, Anne Rice (Interview With A Vampire, et al) has paid $8 million for a villa near downtown La Jolla here in San Diego. The 11,000 square foot, furnished, six bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, panoramic ocean views, house was built in 1993, so it should be in excellent condition. Let's hope it's not to close to the edge of a cliff or, considering what's happening to others with this damned continual rain, it could slide right off and land in pieces on the beach below. Or whatever is below.

Tornado drifted over Chula Vista this afternoon, but never touched down. Sheesh!

Back to Anne Rice: When her husband died in 2002, she stayed on in their home in New Orleans for awhile, then sold it. At that time, she said she was through writing vampire books...and her fans were getting more and more demanding. Showing up at her house and all such rude behaviors. So she bought some other place and lived there, but wasn't far enough away for privacy. So now she'll be here. Privacy will be no problem. The Bush twins could walk down 5th Ave through the Gaslamp and except for press, about the only reaction would be that people dining in the sidewalk cafes might glance at them and say something like, "wonder which club they're hitting" and that would be about it. Most of us really don't care about celebrities. They're just people after all--and mostly they're nice people, so leave them alone.

Writers are lucky. The great majority of folks have no idea what they look like, so they can go anywhere. Was sitting on the patio at the Marriott Yacht Club one evening when Pierce Brosnan walked past to his table. Had he not walked close to my table, I wouldn't have noticed him at all. I glanced up, had this quick thought that his eyes really are that sort of sparkly, icy blue, and never thought another thing about him. That's just the way it is.

Now that the rain is mostly gone for the moment, maybe the hillsides and the eyucalptus trees will quit sliding down and falling over. What a mess. Floods and sinkholes. Good that tornado never touched down but just continued on toward the mountains. With luck it will just fizzle out.

Drove out to La Mesa early this afternoon, had taxes done. Glad that's over with. Now trying to catch up with all the papers I didn't get read from Sunday on. Also have a manuscript to read. Author lives up in Hemet. Hope it's a good read and doesn't need much work. She brought it to the conference, and somehow, I've ended up with it.

New waitress at the breakfast hotel. Name is Rachel. Geraldo brought her out and intro'd her. Nice gal. Had breakfast by myself this morn. Read the paper, smoked, enjoyed toxic amounts of coffee. Couple of tables of men on the patio from whatever group is meeting there. Mostly they were on their cell phones. Was nice.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Man, I don't think this storm is ever gonna go completely away. About every 20 minutes there's an absolute downpour. Flood warnings all the time. I'm not happy.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

The writers' conference goes forward. Once it's started all you can do is stand back and let it roll. The attending writers just take over, and they're now having a blast. Mark Clements' read and critique Rogue workshop started at 9 last night and wrapped up at 6:01 this morning. Did I or did I not warn that the writers' don't have sense enough to sleep? I did, and they don't.

Blue skies and sun for most of the afternoon, but just before noon, the second I hung a left off Rosecrans for Shelter Island Drive, one of those clouds burst and damned near couldn't see the surface of the street, the rain was pounding down with such fury. Then the wind direction changed and that storm headed east. From there on, we were tucked in and content on that walkway, just smokin' and talkin' and drinking whatever.

Learned a little goody today: One of the guys said yesterday that if you add the words, "in bed" to the fortune in any fortune cookie, it makes perfect sense. I said he had to be kidding. Today he comes with a strawberry-colored fortune cookie. Tossed it across the table to me. The fortune said: "You will be in the best position." Add his two words yourself. :)

That went around the table, and left everybody laughing. I'd bet money that before the weekend is over half of them are gonna go out and eat Chinese just to double check.

Agents' panel this afternoon. They were asked what absolutely turned them off and caused them to reject a manuscript before they finished the first page. Misspellings. Bad punctuation. Not formatted properly. "Cute" fonts. Bound pages. Not all those things at once--just the sight of any one of them.

Which caused me to think that entirely too many emailers are extraordinarily careless with proper language regularly, and if that carelessness causes them to continue in other areas, it could cost them dearly. Corporations are currently forced to spend money sending their people to writing classes so they can write a decent report or whatever it is they need to write at work.

Didn't want to hang around for the banquet. Stopped on the way home and got a cheeseburger at Carl's. Just had a yen for one. Don't know when I last had one, but it was the only way to go tonight. I'm content.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

From Information Clearing House:

"What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson - (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President Source: in a letter to William S. Smith, 13 November 1787

Our Founding Fathers were some plain-spoken people! The Information Clearing House--I don't know the URL or I'd post it--always opens with wonderful and very pertinent quotes. This administration should be reminded of the FFs statements from time to time...

Just Observing

Just Observing

Norton anti-virus is running now and slowing things down a bit, but no problem. I'm in no hurry.

The writers' conference kicked off today. Hotel is full of people who've flown in and driven in. Haven't seen some of them since last year, and one literary/screen agent and I hadn't seen each other for many years. Some serious hugging going on at that conference, with folks just delighted to be together again.

Batch of us at breakfast on our usual hotel patio this morn too. Had to put three four-top tables together so everybody could sit. In spite of the fact that people ordered breakfast whenever they got there, Geraldo, master waiter, covered us sweat.

And over at the conf hotel, I find Dario behind the bar. Next thing I knew he had a pot of coffee, cups, an eight-top banquet table, complete with white cloth and ashtrays all set up for us on the covered walkway outside, next to the inside hall that leads from the lobby to the dining room and bar. Both hotels are damned lucky to have those two guys.

Took awhile before one of the hotel managers and the assistant director of the conference rolled a patio heater over though, but they did, bless 'em. Thought we were gonna freeze to death with that wind blowing straight from the Pacific into the harbor and onto the walkway. Man!

But the rain predicted didn't fall. Cloudy mostly, but full sun and blue skies did appear for a couple of hours. In any case, I left at 5:30, having nothing really to do, and with the sun setting it was just too damned cold.

Good thing too. Had a phone call from a writer up in Hemet to return about a writer of his who will appear at the hotel for the conf in the morning, who he wants to talk to J and I about her book. He says it's ready for an agent right now. If he says it, I believe him, since he's been published at least a dozen times himself and his books sell very well indeed. He'd know.

Have a raft of emails to go through, so....
It's a wrap.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Let's talk about Robert Novak of the Washington Post. The guy who outed CIA's Valerie Plame. The guy who is letting fellow journalists from the NY Times and Time Mag take the fall for him. The guy who protects the source in the White House who gave him the Plame info and who also will not come forward to save two journalists from going to jail for not revealing his identity. Talk about covering your ass!

Fact remains that Novak, in spite of the WH leaker/source calling five other journalists...none of whom printed a word about Plame, knowing that to reveal her name is the next thing to treason and is indeed a crime...Novak put it in print. If anybody should be going to jail, it's Novak. Having done what he's done, there he is, still on CNN, still working for the Washington Post, still going to DC parties...

That individual is despicable. But in this administration, he fits right in. I no longer will read him, I no longer will see any tv program he's involved in. In my world, he's blackballed. He has no honor.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Question: Any of you guys out there ever sported a Mohawk haircut when you were a kid? If so, I have a little tale to tell you.....

Yesterday, in a town in northern Illiniois, T took his son, C, off to the barber and C got a Mohawk. The grade school C attends held what they call a "Wild Hair Day" today, and the kid with the wildest hairdo earned an award.

C was all kinds of excited. Home from the barber, C pulled a muscle man pose and did his best to look mean and tough so his mom could take his picture. He could hardly wait to get to school.

So this morning, his mom gets a phone call from the principal, telling her to come get C. Seems the his 5th grade class got as tickled and excited as C was about that Mohawk haircut and thus a "disturbance" was caused. Thus C would not be allowed back in school until his Mohawk was cut off.

Mom calls Dad. Dad goes to the principal's office. Wants to see the rules on paper that says anything about a Mohawk or any other hairstyle. There are none. Nevertheless, principal says C's out until. Dad asks the principal if she's gonna pay the ten bucks it's gonna cost him for the barber. Principal says no. She has clippers at home and will go and get them and cut off C's hair herself. Dad takes C to the barber and C not only misses seeing who won the award for the wildest hair style, but goes back to school...bald. And very upset.

Additionally, C has missed the awards ceremony.

Whatcha gotta say about that one?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Well now, really!!! Take a look at this:

The World Publishing Company newspaper--the only one--in Tulsa, OK, has threatened Michael Bates, a blogger there, with legal action for linking to their paper. Absolutely outrageous. Apparently the paper's lawyer has no clue about "Fair Use"...and linking isn't use at all! Pitiful.

Or that lawyer and paper know damned well they don't have a leg to stand on but just intend to try to use scare tactics on Bates so that he'll just buckle under and never be critical of them again. Got news for them. They picked on the wrong guy, for the wrong reasons. The high-rollers want to continue to run that city as they've long done with no interference. Bates protests and writes about it. He's opposition and they just can't tolerate it. Sorry about that. There's freedom of speech in this country, still.

Just Observing

Just Observing

Just a couple of hours more and I'll be on my way to Old Town for the regular Tues writers' gathering. Lookin' forward to it...and watching the weather outside my office window here. Supposed to pour rain on and off through Friday. Sheesh! The SCWC*SD (Southern Californina Writers' Conference*San Diego) kicks off Friday. Trust me, we don't need any rain, considering the hotel where the conf will be held. That hotel has some of the worst excuses for patios I've ever seen. Many of the writers smoke, including me, so out on the patio we go, coffee or drinks in hand, since the interiors of everywhere in the State are non-smoking. One of those patios is only a single umbrella table wide...and umbrella tables are worthless when it rains. However, on the far side of the bar, with window-doors all along the hallway inside, there's solid overhead...and we can get a portable heater...and run the tables sideways. That's where we'll be, smoking and non-smoking writers both. That's the "living room" where everybody hangs out between workshops. Now, if the wind will just not be blowing in our direction, we'll have it made.

J, C and I all ended up down at our normal hotel on the patio for breakfast this morning. Gonna breakfast there during the conf and then drive over to Shelter Island where the conf hotel is. Will kick back until about 11:30 and then roll. Arriving at the conf hotel is like entering chaos. Writers are nuts. They won't go to bed. They're out on that patio or in one of the Rogue Workshops until the wee hours...talking.

The world of writing is a silent one. Maybe music in the background for some. Otherwise there's just the taping of keys or scratch of pen. Silence prevails when writers are writing. So when we get together with others who talk our language, man, nobody shuts up. Great fun! Most writers have day jobs...and some of those are fascinating. Do they matter during a writers' conf? No. Not at this conf. The only thing that matters is that the person you're talking to is another writer. That's important. Nothing else is. Whole different world. This conf--if you're interested--can be looked over at Just click on San Diego and you have us.

Or you can read a review at which is a rather new newspaper for writers here. They'll be at the conf too.

Think I'm gonna ask MSG to get a count of how many writers attending also write blogs. Now that should be interesting. I'm wondering because one of the writers here just emailed me to find out how to get one and get started. Wonder if he will. If he does, there'll be some interesting reading. Will let you know.

Meanwhile, C just ordered up a brand new Dell 3000 computer last night. But here's what we're trying to find out: the old computer has about $1000 worth of Everquest on it. But it's so contaminated with pop-ups and crap that it's unusable. it possible to download Everquest onto a CD without the contamination and load it into the new Dell? One of the writers is gonna ask another who has a friend who came to the conf a couple years ago...and who is a chief animator artist for Everquest. If anybody can find out, he certainly should be able to. No way would C or I attempt to do it ourselves. Our usual compter tech gave an estimate of $70 to do that. So guess it is possible. I hope. Will see.
And that's a wrap.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Happy Valentine's Day to all you romantic souls out there. Enjoy the champagne, the flowers, the chocolates, the laughter, the love, and be happy!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Here's a bit of background...short, sweet and effective. So...

To learn the truths about the Social Security Insurance problems or lack of problems, go to: Just highlite that URL, copy, and paste into your search bar and you're there...or type it in. Believe me, it's worth it to just get the whole deal in clear and simple language. Sen Boxer talked about SS in a speech at a Senior's Center and laid the whole thing out. I had no idea the Repubs have been working on getting rid of SS for the last 60 years!!!

Once again, it's a case of follow the Wall Street. Sen Boxer was once a stock broker, and she lays out just who wins and who loses and why...and where the $$$ are gonna go.

On to other things: Remember my talking about the head maintenance guy down at the hotel where we breakfast on the patio in the morning? And that Tommy works as a pro bouncer on weekends...and that he was hired to be a bodyguard for the birthday girl at a Sweet 16 party downtown that MTV filmed? Well word came out in the paper this morning in Diane Bell's column. Here it is:
Extravagantly Sweet 16
MTV seems to have found a party niche in San Diego. Last month the lavish coming-of-age celebration of two La Jolla High students was aired on MTV's "My Super Sweet 16" show. On Tuesday, the same MTV program is broadcasting Natalie Viscuso's birthday bash with about 700 young guests at her father Mike's On Broadway nightclub downtown. MTV cameras trailed the La Jolla High student for about a month prior to the glitzy event, which took place Jan. 30. Her Hollywood-themed party featured several DJs, go-go girls, tattoo artists, chocolate fountains, eight cakes, 14-foot gold Oscar-style statues, an ice sculpture, a 20-foot-wide screen Play Station and a miniature HOLLYWOOD sign. The only ingredient missing from the disco scene was booze, but this underage crowd made do with an oxygen bar and plenty of Red Bull energy drink – not that these teens needed more energy, says On Broadway party planner Jill Hauser. She isn't disclosing the exact price, but says when the accounting is complete, it could run up to $200,000 (with staffing and security being the highest costs).

Hah! This should be a blast to see. Tommy will be the bald, black-suited, black shirted, black tie guy sticking close to the girl...even on the dance floor.
That's a wrap.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing has some excellent posts on the subject of torture....and the man has the background qualifications to talk about it.

And this guy knows computer security and cryptology! Amazing! Go to He even has a free monthly newsletter, Crypto-Gram.


Just Observing

Just Observing

Down at the conv ctr are some of the tallest escalators around. Of course everybody has ridden escalators many many times in every kind of place--airports, department stores, whatever. I've seen young adults, male and female, running up and down them, skipping steps, little kids trying to climb the steps, people with dogs, people crowding two or more on one step, guys with baggy trousers, women with long skirts, etc. And none of them seemed aware that they are riding one very dangerous piece of machinery.

Along the sides, about an inch or so from the bottom, there's a row of brushes. Guys have been known to polish their shoes against them as they ride up or down. What they don't know is that the machinery just behind that row of brushes can grab that loose shoestring and quite literally tear their foot off from their ankle. A long-haired young woman leaned down to pick up something she'd dropped. Her hair got grabbed and she lost a large piece of her scalp. Little kids have fallen on those steps and lost their fingers when they fell. If you want to have your hair stood straight up, just Google "escalator accidents".

So here's the way you ride one. One person per step. Stand in the middle of the step. Hold that handrail with both hands if possible, but at least case of a sudden stop. Keep any part of yourself or clothing or bags or packages away from the sides. Do not ride with shots untied. Don't lean over the rail to look down on the floor below or you chance losing your head as the escalator going up rides close to the wall above, forming a very solid V shape. Hold onto children's hands at all times. Don't walk up or down those steps when the escalator is stopped unless directed to do so. Just remember that escalator can weigh up to 60,000 pounds and it is a machine with moving parts....and a machine can fail at any moment.

Okay? Okay. Stay safe.

Just Observing

Just Observing

Now this should be one interesting news site. Certainly worth keeping an eye out for. Be very nice to be assured of getting honestly reported news. Wonder how much of the world they'll end up covering. Also need to check these folks' backgrounds once we can see who all is involved. Yes? Yes.
So take a look at their news:

Writers, publications to launch open source alternative press association
Filed under: General— site admin @ 2:24 pm Email This

Writers and Progressive Publications to Launch Alternative Press Association


Contact: Larisa Alexandrovna | Associate News Editor – Raw Story |

February 10, 2005 – Raw Story editors, along with several other independent progressive journalists and publications, will be launching the Open Source Press Association (OSPA) as an alternative to media agencies such as the Associated Press.

The OSPA will function on four levels: ethics in journalism, alternative press membership, networking and projects, resources, anti-smear council, and resources and distribution.

The Ethics in Journalism Board will vet journalists, publications, freelance writers and organizations for free membership, monitor unethical reporting, and present annual excellence in writing, reporting and publication awards. The board will be made up of founding publications, journalists, blogs, and organizational representatives that run the gamut of progressive press.

The alternative press, including publications, journalists, writers, and organizations, will allow for members to share resources, funding and act as a more inclusive fourth estate. This body will not be a corporate; it will not be beholden to anyone to report on certain topics. The ethics board will provide stringent reporting standards for journalists, publication, etc., and various other standards to be followed by other writers writing in different sub-genres of journalism.

The Networking and Projects arm will allow for a collaborative, safe, environment for publications to post projects in need of writers and for writers to post work in need of publication. The collaboration will be Web-enabled or function through an office.

The Fairness in Journalism Council arm of the OSPA will function as a safety for members who are attacked, threatened, smeared or discredited unfairly for reporting the truth.

The arm of Resources and Distribution will allow members to share legal council, have free access to knowledge bases; including a proprietary OSPA knowledge base, provide a single RSS feed of information, syndication and aid in distribution. Members will have access to publishing, agents and educational resources as well.

The OSPA is designed to bypass the sometimes inaccurate and unquestioning reporting of the mainstream press. It

is designed so that journalists like the late Gary Webb are able to find work; so that publications working hard to get the truth out are not silenced by financial burdens or smear campaigns. It is designed to allow for the true fourth estate – the media – to be reborn in truth and founded in ethical principles, not corporate bottom lines.

Journalists, publications, and reporting organizations are welcome to submit statements of interest. OSPA hopes to begin credentialing membership organizations soon.

Contact Larisa Alexandrovna at to express interest. The group will be setting up an autonomous website soon.

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Copyright (c) 2004, 2005 by Raw Story

Just Observing

Just Observing

If you can possibly watch this series on your computer, do so. As the crew travels across the red states, Chris talks to everyday citizens about who they voted for and why. Absolutely fascinating. Day 10 he's in Crawford TX where Bush's ranch is, and talks with the publisher of the Iconoclast newspaper there that endorsed Kerry for prez. Do scroll down and start with Day One. Each video clip is about 3 minutes long. Just click, on the right, which video player you want to use and off you go! I wouldn't miss a day!

VIDEO SPECIAL: Chris Hume | "Red State Road Trip" Day 10

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Almost forgot. Saw something today that I've only seen in drawings before. Right here in the neighborhood, about a mile away, coming back from breakfast. House on my right, in the middle of the block, had an American flag flying from a regulation size flagpole. But that flag was flying upside-down. That's a distress signal. Will watch in the morning to see if it's still in that position.
That is a wrap.

Just Observing

Just Observing

Just back, on this rainy night, from Coronado. Drove over to attend Roger Conlee's book-signing at Bay Books. Been so long since I've been over there, I'd forgotten the bookstore's location. Had to drive around a bit, but found it. Was surprised not to see some Navy SEALs there. They usually are. Did see a couple of writers who've attended the writers' conference. Brought back memories of my book-signing there one summer eve. Took I-5 over and back. Quicker to hit the freeway, but commuter traffic was still rolling.

Listening to LA News on the drive home, heard there's a section of one of the freeways up there where cars are suddenly getting flat tires. Whole mess of vehicles pulled over with drivers out changing tires. That's damned miserable, something like that. I feel for them.

Also heard that the auditing team sent to Los Alamos absolutely couldn't get into Dept X. Scientists and managers in that one do top-secret nuclear work and flat would not let them in, even though the auditor told them the audit was a matter of national security given the materials they work with absolutely have to be accounted for. This is the department that allegedly lost two hard disks of their work to China. Not the kind of hard disks you want to escape the US. Think the stuff is gonna hit the fan on this one. Los Alamos security has not been what it should be, by any means. Something to keep an eye on here. You'd think a "black op" was going on in there. Don't like this at all.

Anyway, I just lit a smoke and rolled on home.

This privatizing Social Security bit is a shell game. Don't fall for it. Really torques me. And BushCo has totally blown the North Korea nuclear business, with his big mouth. Meanwhile, they're carrying on talking about Iran the same way they hyped the war with Iraq. Even using some of the same language. Mess of liars in the White House. And now they've passed or are about to pass a bill that gives Homeland Security permission to ignore any law that interferes with whatever they want to do. Is there trouble in River City? Damned straight...and it's getting worse by the day. Gonna be a hell of a ride until 2008.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

The new San Diego newspaper is up and running online as of last night. URL is If you go there, be sure to click on "Government" on the left side and read Keith Taylor's article on the Green Party. Very interesting take on who they are and why Taylor is interested in them.

I'm gonna have to find out how to get the links underlined on this blog so people can just click on them and go there, rather than have to type the whole URL.

Saw a photo of Condi Rice and the prez of France in the LA Times this morning. Talk about a strained relationship. And that strain shows in the cords of her neck which stand out like ropes. But then she's there to make nice...when she obviously doesn't feel nice at all toward most of Europe. Wonder what levers Bush has given to her to use, now that he really wants Europe's aid in Iraq?

I keep thinking about how circumstances would not be what they are now if John Kerry were prez. I doubt he'd eliminate funding from the Community Oriented Police program, for one thing. I doubt if vets would have their prescription costs go up or have to pay a fee to get care. I doubt our relations with the rest of the world would be so bad. I doubt the Geneva Conventions would be discarded as "quaint". I doubt torture would have been approved. I doubt that the promised 10-day home leave for people serving overseas in a Fed Agency for two years would have had that leave cancelled because this admin refuses to pay their transportation home and back. Certainly the people in the BushCo admin think nothing of flying all over the world whenever the mood...or photo op...strikes them. And I doubt that Social Security would be in danger of its life if Kerry had been elected prez.

Now we'll see what Howard Dean can do as head of the DNC, and Kerry has given a million dollars to begin funding for the purpose of building a national Dem base. This is good.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

From The Drudge Report:
Tues Feb 8 2005 9:27:01 ET

Last Friday when promoting social security reform with 'regular' citizens in Omaha, Nebraska, President Bush walked into an awkward unscripted moment in which he stated that carrying three jobs at a time is 'uniquely American.'

While talking with audience participants, the president met Mary Mornin, a woman in her late fifties who told the president she was a divorced mother of three, including a 'mentally challenged' son.

The President comforted Mornin on the security of social security stating that 'the promises made will be kept by the government.'

But without prompting Mornin began to elaborate on her life circumstances.

Begin transcript:

MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.

THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?

MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)

Once a smartass, always a smartass. Needs his ass kicked until his nose bleeds.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Perfect example of saying one thing and meaning the opposite, from the Washington Post. Just check out that last sentence:

"The White House will brandish independent studies on program effectiveness, appeals for lawmakers to set priorities, and, on occasion, some rhetorical creativity. The deep cuts to community development, for example, have been titled the 'Strengthening America's Communities Initiative.'"

Robert Pear and Carl Hulse write in the New York Times:

"President Bush's budget would more than double the co-payment charged to many veterans for prescription drugs and would require some to pay a new fee of $250 a year for the privilege of using government health care, administration officials said Sunday."

When Bush talks about supporting the troops, he ain't talkin' about supporting those troops...otherwise known as wounded veterans... who won't be returning to duty. You get that?

J came marching onto the hotel patio for breakfast this morning, and hands me a plastic bag, within which is a beautiful tomato and a melon. There's no fridge in J's apartment for the melon and tomato bought at a Farmer's Mkt yesterday, so I'm the beneficiary.

A joined us about half an hour later, tried to instruct me on how to get the address toolbar back up on my computer monitor's front page...but I'd already tried those suggestions with zero success. Damn and hell!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Halftime at the Super Bowl, so I'll jot down a few things. The wind shifted from blowing westward to blowing eastward, right off the Pacific...which on these shores is one cold, treacherous piece of water. Yesterday: warm and sunny. Today: dark and stormy with light rain from time to time. At least in this part of San Diego. This city has nine separate micro-climates, so it may well be sunny somewhere else within the city limits, rainy here, fogbound there. Which is why our weather people are constantly tearing their hair out when predictions go wrong.

Pizza day here too. From Giovanni's Italian Restaurant. Double cheese. Yum!!!

Speaking of movies, the ones I'd really like to see are "Sideways" and "Hitch". And possibly, "Mr.Mrs". "Hitch" stars Will Smith, and he's always a kick. Think of him and I grin. Can't help it. "Mr.Mrs" has a set of very interesting posters. And "Sideways" has to be outrageous. Anybody see Mel Gibson's religious film? I had no interest in that one. Didn't see Moore's "Farenheit 9/11" either, for the same reason. Both propaganda heavy, seemed to me.

I keep reading that since we're there and since there have been elections in Iraq, that's what we should all be paying attention to and to hell with before...go forward. Ah, and wouldn't BushCo love for us all to forget how we wound up in that country before? You bet. Yes, we have to focus on the future. But that doesn't require forgetting the past. Johnson managed to pull off a very successful election in Vietnam too, but consider what happened afterward. Also did our best to train the south Vietnamese to take care of security for that country...for all the good it did in the end. The only way Vietnam ended up as it is now was for us to get the hell out of their way and let them settle it. Which they did. I suspect the same will have to happen in Iraq. People will just not tolerate invaders telling them what to do forever, easily. Hard to tell how all this will turn out.

We'd best pay some attention to what's happening here at home. Too much is not good at all. Bad as he is, I'd like the Chief Justice of the Supreme's to outlast Bush's term in office, for fear of getting somebody a hell of a lot worse. That is one scary thought.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

J carried on all week about Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" being "almost a perfect movie" to the point that C and I went off to see it after breakfast on Marie's patio this morning. How we did it, I don't know but we ended up at the theater an hour early. No matter. See it we did. Now I know why J said the audience was absolutely silent afterward, walked down the sidewalk and out to their cars, still silent. There's much to think about by the time the ending comes. Always read the LA Times during breakfast and in the Calendar section their critic gave away the ending event. Totally torqued both of us. Just one sentence was all it took. Damn!

So I was sitting on the patio, reading and sipping coffee. In the process of my lighting a cigarette, this guy comes out of the dining room and says, "Don't light that! Don't you know those things will kill you?" Instant anger. Told him to mind his own damned business. Have no idea what possesses people like to intrude on somebody's privacy and proceed to tell them what they should or shouldn't do. Spare me from the righteous who think they have that much authority over complete strangers. Sheesh!

Just saw a bit on Indy-blog about a piece in Salon. CIA has it on their website. The US losing power and place in the world. China and Japan financing us. China building power all the time. Thank you BushCo for doing your best to destroy the nation and put it at still more security risk. But then he and his fundie base are just longing for "Armageddon" to bring on their "Rapture". And they have the nerve to ridicule the suicide bombers and their belief that they're going to heaven and join their however many virgins. Mental instability reigns.

Just would never have believed that supposedly intelligent people could be so incredibly gullible. Somebody should have kept count of how many times, so far, the world was supposed to come to an end.

And now scientists are speculating that somehow we should introduce greenhouse gases on Saturn's moon so that, possibly, it would warm enough to produce an atmosphere that would allow whatever life forms that might have been there, to rise again to life. I'm thinking that's a damned risky idea any way you want to slice it, if it's even possible.

Seems like humans just cannot leave well enough alone.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Adding insult to injury! From Washington Whispers:

"Here's the long shot of the year: Congressional Democrats will OK a constitutional amendment allowing naturalized citizens like California Gov. Arnold Schwarzen egger to run for president if Republicans help kill the 22nd Amendment barring third terms, thus clearing the way for another bid by Bill Clinton and, presumably, President Bush. Right now it's the talk among political strategists, but look for it to spread on Capitol Hill when Sen. Orrin Hatch reintroduces his plan to let naturalized citizens run for president after 20 years."

All this Californian has to say about that is for me, it will be a cold day in hell before I'd ever vote again for any Dem that falls for this chestnut. Sheesh!

Just Observing

Just Observing

Go to:

And there you will have the rules of flag etiquette...that apply to the flag of the United States. Unless people have been in the military, they usually have no idea what those rules are.
New wrap.

Just Observing

Just Observing

Been wondering about the truth of Bush's Bulge during the Pres Debates? Take a look:

A good idea of why citizens should trust this administration....
Maybe a wrap.

Just Observing

Just Observing

From ABC's The Note:
How many White House reporters know that Vice President Cheney was on Rush Limbaugh yesterday helping to sell the Social Security plan?

One grad school professor's comments on teaching teachers how to teach the Constitution:

"Talk about examples! We've got citizens who
believe that Amendment II means bears can be
armed with anything, and most people haven't the
faintest idea what Amendment X means. Most
Americans think a president runs the country,
missing altogether the order of the first three
articles. I make the Constitution the
centerpiece in my social studies classes. I
refer to it as the nation's scripture. I require
that everyone read it, line-by-line, and use it
to answer a list of two-dozen questions, such as:
What authority did the Court use to rule in Roe v
Wade, Brown v Board of Education, Engle v Vitale,
and Tinker v Des Moines. I also require that
every one of them (62 divided between two classes
this semester) write three weeks worth of daily
lesson plans appropriate to a selected grade
level (K-6), anchored in a basic constitutional

To which I say, I'm grateful for guys like this...and we need more of them. Lot's more.

Just Observing

Just Observing

So make up your the Constitution worth fighting for or not? How well has the BushCo mantra of FEAR! FEAR! worked on you? There are entities who will do ANYTHING to get what they want. BushCo now runs this country. How far do they intend to go to dismantle it? Take a look at:

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

So now he's officially Atty Gen Gonzales. We have some sick puppies running this country, you ask me. And there's SecState Rice struttin' her Bush-contaminated self while she tells Europe to forget US co-operation re. Iran. Top that off with Bush kissing Liebermann..the only Dem (name only) standing to applaud his Soc. Sec bull. Shit.

M joined J and I on the hotel patio this morn. Handed us both a package of manuscripts (the first 30 pages of each--not the whole thing). Don't know how many J received, but I have three. Two fiction and one nonfiction. Last year, before it was over with, I ended up with about a dozen to comment on. Writers attending the upcoming writers conference send in their first x-number of pages of their books for advance manuscript critiques. So we read, critique, and at the conference have fifteen minutes, one-on-one private consultations with those authors. This gives them a chance to ask questions, discuss writing problems, agents, and so on.

I have three guys' work to look over since I specialize in military novels. One is writing about Korea, one about Vietnam, and one about war set in the future. Don't know yet whether that one is fantasy or hard science fiction. Haven't read a word of any of them yet. Just their cover letters. At least one has also written a synopsis. I never read those until after I've read the first 30 pages of the actual book. But I'll say this...those are some damned interesting cover letters. I'm looking forward to reading their work.

First I have to get calmed down. That Gonzales business, to say nothing of the SOTU speech Bush gave, made me madder than hell. This nation had better prepare to be ripped off like nothing the people who voted for him can imagine. These next four years are gonna be a bitch. To say I'm not a happy camper is an understatement. So I have to forget that. Not about to inflict my anger on these innocent manuscripts. When I go to work on them, it will be strictly the craft of writing and nothing else.

So this morning comes Tommy, the head of maintenance at the hotel, in a wet suit. And what's he doing? Repairing the wiring of a light in the pool. And there he goes, bare wires in one hand and a tool to pull the broken wire in the lamp out in the other. Right into the pool. Electricity is turned off, but we're sweating residual electricity still there. All turned out well. But whoa!

Meanwhile, the Judge dealing with the mayoral situation ruled that if those damned bubbles weren't filled in on the ballots, those 5000-plus votes for Frye, who was the write-in candidate, didn't count according to State law, which in this case, he said, overruled city law because both state and city held the election on the same day. That leaves Murphy as Mayor of San Diego for a 2nd term. It will now go to the Appeals court to set precedent. Frye would be mayor if those bubbles had been filled in. The fact that voters had to handwrite her name on the ballot, which shows intent, means nothing as far as this Judge is concerned. Ah me. Murphy had already started taking revenge on various people who supported Frye. And he's okayed transcripts of the closed meetings he likes so well, but those transcripts will never be released, he decided.

And since the Strong Mayor form of government was also voted in, that took him off the council, leaving 8 people on it. Who's gonna break the ties that will come? A 9th district will have to be carved out to get an uneven number of councilmembers eventually. Fun, fun, fun.

Just Observing

Just Observing

The six treacherous Dem Senators who voted for Gonzales...and thus, torture. Here they are:

Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Ken Salazar of Colorado, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Bill Nelson of Florida, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

Mark them well for 2006.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Have in my hands a new book, "At Risk", written by Stella Rimington, the former head of Britian's MI5. Though it's a novel, like "Overworld", which is a memoir, it's another lesson in tradecraft. I find the intelligence world fascinating, but reading about it is as close as I intend to get, except for a few people who are friends and fellow writers. In any case, Ms Rimington writes a hell of a good book.

Heard an interesting discussion this morning about political word-handling. PR, in short. Believe it was David Brock of Media Matters who explained that in the public relations world of BushCo, "crisis" may become "challenge" which will become "opportunity". He was talking about the Social Security dismemberment this admin hopes to pull off. I do, of course, recall that the original reason for waging war on Iraq was WMDs, which eventually morphed into freeing the Iraqis, etc.

Breakfast on the patio was fun. J and I had just finished when B showed up. Then A came, announced a friend was coming. Shortly friend J sat down--by then we'd moved another table over to ours, then W strolled in. Poor waiter ran back and forth with everyone ordering separately and as they arrived. Immediately, A and J, who hadn't seen each other for awhile went into a catch-up conversation of their own. J, B, W and I talked politics, morality, religion, police work, protest marches, the border situation and money.

In talking about protest marches--we had one recently here--we talked about the situation of unruly marchers and why the police do what they do, when they do, and how the protester should respond. It had a lot to do with mob psychology. For instance, if the protestors are to stay on the sidewalk, and one steps off onto the street, he/she will be immediately ordered by a police officer to step back on the sidewalk. If they're smart, they'll simply do that. If they're not smart and protest, the officer will take hold of them and arrest them. Just that simple. It's for safety.

The protester was ordered to the sidewalk...because if he stays off and proceeds to walk on the road, other protesters will do the same, and shortly they're everywhere and things can get out of hand very quickly. So say he refuses. That is disobeying a direct and lawful order, and cause for arrest. At that point the officer will take hold of his arm to put him back on the sidewalk. If he still resists and continues to argue, the officer will put him in an armlock and chokehold and take him away. The reason being that at any sign of a confrontation, other protesters will begin to crowd over to protest on the protester's behalf and add their arguments as to why the protester should be allowed to walk on the street or argue (free speech), and then a mob begins to form and the next thing you have a riot, and people will get hurt. If the protester begins to fight, he will be hit on the leg with a baton, and put on the cement to be handcuffed. By then, one or more officers have come to the scene to help control the other protesters or aid the officer to avoid an all out riot. Bottom line, if you protest in a march and an officer gives you an order, don't argue, don't ask why, just obey it, because what he's trying to do is to keep calmness and order and not have one person's behavior cause the situation to escalate into real trouble where people are injured.

And yes, the birds did get some biscuit crumbs before the others arrived.
It's a wrap.

Just Observing

Just Observing

So where are the new troops going to Iraq coming from? Iraq Calling milblog is meeting them coming as he's leaving, and he writes:

"I've been talking to some of the incoming guys. Lots of Hawaii National Guard guys. Some of the companies came from American Samoa and Guam."

Temporary wrap...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Just Observing

Just Observing

Yikes! Almost forgot! Keep an eye on MTV for a program titled, "Sweet 16". Down on the patio this morn, the head maintenance guy, Tommy, stopped to chat. Now Tommy is a tall, muscular, bald guy, and he has another job on weekends: he's a bouncer at a nightclub. A really good and efficient one. Been doing it a long time. Has built up a rep.

So the company for which he works gave him a call the other night. Seems one of the wealthy in La Jolla had a daughter just turning 16. He was throwing her a party downtown at the On Broadway nightclub (no liquor that night). Would Tommy act as her bodyguard for the night? Tommy would. So into the Hummer limo he goes with the 16 year old and a bunch of her friends. The second they walk into the club, they're met with a camera crew shooting their entrance. Tommy, in his usual bouncer gear--black suit, shirt, tie-- had no idea. And the cameras stayed on that 16 year old birthday girl the entire night...and on Tommy as well. Oh, he had a time that night. We'll see how much MTV shows. Heh!
Wrapping again.

Just Observing

Just Observing

For any of you who remember the solider CB's blog that he posted from Mosul...the blog the military brass caused CB to stop writing...well hear this: Colby Frizell (his real name) has just signed with a publisher to write a book. Hah! That'll teach 'em.

The Senate Dems are raising hell with Alberto Gonzales on C-Span 2 even as we speak. Since they're not going to filibuster, and since the Repubs are in the majority, if the vote to confirm his nomination for US Atty General goes straight party line, Gonzales will have that position. So we'll wait and see which Senators vote for torture and which ones don't. To even have someone like Gonzales who affirms torture being considered for that office is just plain damned sick. And that includes the individual who nominated him in the first place. Bush.

To have Gonzales as Atty Gen disgraces the nation. To have Rice as SecState does the same. How much is it gonna take to cause the nations of the world to spit in disgust when the name of our country is mentioned? Not a hell of a lot more.

Got a kick out of an article in the paper this morn that talked about scientists finally figuring out that birds have brains and can use them to good effect. Could have told them that just from watching the little ones down on the patio at breakfast time. No sooner plant our behinds in our chairs than the birds are lined up on top of the backs of the vacant chairs, chirping away and wanting their biscuit crumbs immediately. And if they don't get those crumbs once the biscuits hit the table, then they try to make off with the whole damned biscuit. Trust me..they know exactly what they're doing and why.

Roger Conlee is signing his new book, "Every Shape, Every Shadow" a week from this coming Thursday over at Bay Books in Coronado. You can read excerpts at . Am I going to have that book? Damned straight.

Enough for the moment. Wrapping now.