The Skunk and Tiger

"Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."-Horace Mann

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Rush Limbaugh: Still a Cold Hearted Prick.

I make no apology for name calling. Not after Rush Limbaugh continues to vilify the motives of Michael J. Fox and make light of such a disease as Parkinson's. I have never claimed to be an expert on any subject, but I have had the privilege to work with individuals living with Parkinson's. I have seen people so paralyzed that even a normally involuntary act such as blinking takes immense concentration. I have also seen the effects of the medication, which is what causes the tremors that are often seen with people ho have the disease such as Michael J. Fox.
The place I grew up adored this Right Wing Bully. Often I would hear his sexist and racial tirades on the radio, and on a short lived television show were he hosted an audience of automaton 'ditto heads.' Once on his show he compared Chelsea Clinton to a dog. She was thirteen at the time, but a fair target for Limbaugh.
Like Rush, like many talking heads on the Right, continue to push this lie that there is this "infallible victimhood" when it come to activism on the left. Instead of taking a critical look ones message or issue, they take the easy route and attack the messenger. Weather it is victims of terminal diseases or 9/11 widows, the Conservative Propaganda Machine draws no boundaries. With little grasp of understaning complicated and important issues, Rush and his ilk can only prop up the only issue that matters to them tax cuts for the uber wealthy, and they are willing to step on anyone who gets in their way.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Departed

I escaped with my brother-in-law to see The Departed. Anne is not a fan of gangster or violent movies so it is probably good that she passed on The Departed which I found to be high in blood, guts and guns- even for a Marten Scorsese film. It was Tarentino level violence but with classic Scorsese storytelling and realism. Where many action or crime movies fail to build or maintain suspense, The Departed is triumphant. Jack Nicholson is scary, easily on a par with his role as Jack Torrence in the Shinning. Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon give worthy performances. While Scorsese is famous for gangster films, The Departed, has more of a Shakespearian tragedy feeling to it. The are a few scenes that seem more shocking than necessary. I did not get tired of hearing the Rolling Stone's song Gimme Shelter over and over, it fits, but others may get annoyed. However it is more than worth your 6 or 10 bucks. Definitely worth owning when it comes out on DVD.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Now on Myspace.

I broke down and created a Myspace page. Not Sure what I am going to do with it, other than waste more time, but check it out at

I'll still be primarily using this blog. I love Blogger.

Vote NO! on Prop 2

Do not be fooled by the name Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, proposal number 2 on this November's ballot. First off the amendment is being Financed by out of state entrepreneurs who are interested in the destruction of Affirmative Action. These individuals were successful in passing a nearly identical bill in California called Prop. 209. A report on The Potential Impact of MCRIis worth reading. Here is a list of some of the detrimental effects of Prop. 209 and what we can expect to see if MCRI should pass.

• Ongoing legal challenges–including litigation, administrative complaints
and threats of legal action–against the state, counties, municipalities and
school districts that are perceived, rightly or wrongly, as operating
educational, employment or contracting programs that consider race,
gender, ethnicity or national origin

• Diminished access by minority- and women-owned businesses to
government contracts

• Drops in hiring of faculty of color and women faculty in the state’s public

• Nullification of the Grutter v. Bollinger decision in Michigan, because that
decision permitted, but did not require, consideration of race and ethnicity
in college admissions

• Decreases in college enrollment of underrepresented students of color,
particularly in the state’s more selective institutions, that are likely to
worsen over time, making it very difficult to maintain a diverse student
body, provide significant access to opportunity, or prepare students for
life and work in the 21st century

• An accompanying decrease in diversity among the public college and
university graduates that businesses in Michigan and throughout the
country seek to hire, quite possibly causing businesses to look elsewhere
for employees

• A resulting decrease in the number of doctors, lawyers and other
professionals willing to serve the state’s and nation’s underserved
communities, with serious implications for health status and leadership
development in communities of color

• Elimination or amendment of targeted programs and services designed to
increase access and opportunity, including:

 College outreach programs that take place using public
facilities or funding and that target participants based on
race, gender, ethnicity or national origin, such as pre-college
preparation programs or summer science programs
designed to increase the participation of girls or minorities in
science and math

 Recruitment or apprenticeship programs designed to
increase opportunity for minorities and women in the skilled
trades—fields in which their access has historically been
very low

 Higher education funding for minority health professionals,
who are more likely to practice in under-served

 Outreach and funding for minority and female math, science
and technology teachers

 Government outreach programs that ensure that women-
and minority-owned businesses have a fair chance to secure
government contracts

 Scholarships, fellowships and grants at all levels of
education that take gender, race, ethnicity or national origin
into account, including those designated for students
descended from various European nationalities

 Review systems designed to monitor and address barriers to
achieving full participation, such as discrimination based on
race, gender, ethnicity or national origin

 Efforts to ensure adequate representation of women and
minorities on boards and commissions, including advisory
boards dealing with corrections, education and public

Please Read the Reoprt. And Please Vote NO on Prop. 2 this November 7th.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Another Benefit of Joining The Military!

Solders now have the privilege of having their Blogs spied on. They might leak out sensitive information, like the fact that Iraq is an irreversible quagmire.


Bloggers: "Big Brother is not watching you, but 10 members of a Virginia National Guard unit might be," according to the Army. The Manassas-based Guardsmen are on a one-year assignment to clamp down on both "official and unofficial Army Web sites for operational security violations."

The team, working "under the direction of the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell" hunts for "documents, pictures and other items that may compromise security" -- and then orders the parties to take the offensive content offline.

Not that the material is top secret or anything, an Army News Service article notes.

The most common OPSEC [operational security] violations found on official sites are For Official Use Only (FOUO) documents and limited distribution documents, as well as home addresses, birthdates and home phone numbers.

Unofficial blogs often show pictures with sensitive information in the background, including classified documents, entrances to camps or weapons. One Soldier showed his ammo belt, on which the tracer pattern was easily identifiable.

Since the relatively wide-open days following the Iraq invasion in 2003, the Pentagon has been slowly tightening the screws on military bloggers. Officers started busting frontline diarists for their websites. In Iraq, new rules required bloggers to check with their commanders before posting. Then, in August, a message came highest levels of the military that "EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, NO INFORMATION MAY BE PLACED ON WEBSITES THAT ARE READILY ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC UNLESS IT HAS BEEN REVIEWED FOR SECURITY CONCERNS AND APPROVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE MEMORANDUM WEB SITE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES, DECEMBER 7, 1998."

"So much for military blogging," said one officer, deployed in Iraq, when the ruling came down. Not that the officer -- an active blogger back in the States -- was doing much public writing while on the front lines. "The Army's guidance on OPSEC [operational security] has been broad and ambiguous enough to chill my speech," he wrote to me. "Discretion is clearly the better part of valor where OPSEC rules are concerned, because the sensitivity of any particular detail is in the eye of the beholder."

Other soldiers, even ones stationed back home, took similar measures.

As of today, May 5th, 2006, I am officially shutting down my blog... There are certin [sic] commands out there that do NOT want me to blog... they have been trying very hard to find out who I am and shut me down... I really don't want to end my military career over a blog - it has gotten THAT bad!

Others -- thousands of others -- have continued on, trying to stay within the rules. The Virginia National Guard Web-trolling team "uses several scanning tools to monitor [these] sites for OPSEC violations," the Army notes. "The tools search for such key words as 'for official use only' or 'top secret,' and records the number of times they are used on a site. Analysts review the results to determine which, if any, need further investigation."

"Pictures of [soldiers'] compounds or weapons" are also considered off-limits.

In an age when so many troops have access to the Internet -- and "open source intelligence" is becoming so critical -- it's only natural that military higher-ups have grown concerned about what's posted online. But OPSEC isn't the only dimension to the counter-terror fight. This is, as the cliche goes, a battle of hearts and minds, after all. That battle largely takes place in the press, broadly defined. And, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld observed earlier this year, "our enemies have skillfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but... our country has not adapted." Just the other day, the New York Times shrieked about Iraqi insurgents using YouTube to spread fear.

So you would think that the Defense Department would be doing everything it could to encourage positive coverage of the war –- to bring stories of brave American troops, risking their lives for Mideast democracy, to the Internet browsers everywhere. But Rumsfeld's penchant for secrecy -- and the military's fear that even the smallest, most innocuous detail about American operations could give insurgents the upper hand –- has scuttled this crucial media mission.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

TIme for Fall, Time for Pumpkin Sheets!

From Anne:
Here are our new flannel sheets from LL Bean, in"Orange Sky". I was afraid that they would clash with the dark wood, but they look great. I think they warm up the room significantly. The photo that shows the darker color is more like the real color. You will notice they are prominently featured with the (white) back facing of our quilt. Not exactly the style I was going planning to get a new bedspread for Christmas...not sure about the color yet. Maybe cream?


Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Friend Derry

Derry stopped by saturday, we had a great time. Here is a photo back when we visited him in Washington D.C. in 2003. Now he is returning to Washington to work for the INL a bureau within the State Department, so we are pretty excited for him.
Derry brought some excellent Pale Ale from Bell's Brewery in Comstock. Derry knows his beer, it was good.
....Yeah, this weekend was awesome, I was even able to put down the rest of the topsoil. It will take us a while to complete, but we are slowly taking back our yard.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


The Link Between Religion and Violence

Sam Harris has a new book out and I think every Christian should read it. I do not always agree with every point he makes, but I do agree people of faith, any faith, need to take a closer and more critical look at the history and consequences of religion and apocalyptic belief.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

One Year of Blogging

A year ago today the Skunk and Tiger was launched. I do not know if anyone has enjoyed my rants but the Sam photographs have been a hit. I have my friend at The Freddy Factor to thank for sugesting I start a blog.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Grandholm/Devos Debate

I (of course) think Granholm won the debate. I hate how DeVos enunciates every sentence as if it is a question. "I'm Dick DeVos? I am for real change? These kind of attacks are disappointing?" It would truly be a disaster if anyone affiliated with such a dubious company like Amway became Michigan's next governor. Yes, I do have a problem with Amway, it is a pyramid scheme that takes advantage of disenfranchised people. It is a franchise built on the backs of the disenfranchised. Check out Michlibfor a breakdown of the debate. I was also "disappointed" with that muskrat look a like commentator that kept berating Grandholm over the Ten Commandments (mindless wedge issue) after she answered the question three times. Just ask the question Herr Muskrat, this is a debate not an interrogation.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Our Backyard part II

Here is the progress we made today.

Our Backyard.

It killed 2 lawnmowers. Choked one Sod Buster. It is too thick for any rototiller. Our Yard was neglected for at least 5 years prior to us moving in last May. Anne and I have started the slow process of breaking the ground and putting down new topsoil. This will be tricky as many parts are uneven and clumpy. I cut down some small trees on the east perimeter. We will have to use bolt cutters to remove a chain link fence hidden back there. We hope to get some grass seed down before the first frost.