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

Saturday, October 27, 2007

FEMA's Show Biz Debut

By Justin Hudnall
From The Huffington Post

When FEMA announced this Tuesday, October 23rd , with only fifteen minutes warning, that it would conduct a news conference for the California wildfires, no members of the press were able to physically attend.

So, faced with an empty house, desperate for a good review, and holding a script too good to waste, it did the only logical thing:

FEMA put on a show.

Drafting its press officers to pose as reporters, Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson conducted a Q & A session with scripted questions, allowing him the opportunity to do a little bragging while informing the public.

BBC: "I'm very happy with Fema's response," Mr Johnson said in reply to one query from an employee.

From USA Today:
Here's a sampling of the questions:

QUESTION: Sir, there are a number of reports that people weren't heeding evacuation orders and that was hindering emergency responders. Can you speak a little to that, please?

QUESTION: Can you address a little bit what it means to have the president issue an emergency declaration, as opposed to a major disaster declaration? What does that (inaudible) for FEMA?

QUESTION: Sir, we understand the secretary and the administrator of FEMA are on their way out there. What is their objective? And is there anyone else traveling with them?

STAFF: Last question.

QUESTION: What lessons learned from Katrina have been applied?"

You can feel the eagerness in the FEMA performance, and you've got to give them credit for their spirit. Watching Johnson was reminiscent of the archetypal downtrodden theater kid who just has to get back on his high school stage and prove he's got what it takes, no matter that the last show was a disaster.

The only flaw was that an actual reporter from The Washington Post was listening on the phone during the production, suspicions were aroused, and pretty soon the jig was up.

The Department for Homeland Security has criticized and distanced itself from FEMA on Friday the 26th after the details of the charade came to light, stating that it had no knowledge of the fake press conference beforehand.

Deputy Chief Johnson, hangdog drama-kid to the bitter end, promised to do better next time.

But all was not a total waste.

Though the outcome was not an intentional one, FEMA's farce did take a dramatic step over a very important and ominous line, and in doing so it delivered to the American people this surreal and almost Zen-like spectacle: An agency of the United States Government, having "press conferences" with itself without any press, questioning itself, praising itself, to itself.

Actors played every role in what was supposed to have been a transparent connection between a government and its people, poignantly echoing something Kurt Vonnegut said once:

"The American People are not a people anymore; they are an audience."

In this instance, literally.

Sam in the Woods

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Autumn Colors 2007


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Baby Room and other Developments.

I have not posted in over a week. There has been so much to do. My Cheve had one more problem that was not worth fixing so for the first time in seven years we purchased a new car. I don't know if I should be posting what we drive but I will say it is awesome, the first time I have owned a car that I actually wanted.
Anne and I celebrated our Fifth anniversary at the English Inn bed and breakfast. The food was unbelievable and our room had a fireplace. I always feel like a real man when I start a fire. I had to call the front desk to figure out how to open the vent. If you do not like staying overnight you can make reservations for the restaurant only. We had the extra treat of a complaining old couple at the table next to us. I love eavesdropping on frivolous criticism. Apparently something was to crispy. Our meals were perfectly crisp. I had rack of lamb. Anne does not like to eat animals who produce wool, but I still love her. I am so blessed to have these years with her and look forward to many more.
Once we returned home I finished painting the baby's room, we are nine weeks away
Those are not the drapes we will be using, they were moved there to block the sun while working.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Reading #3

Author Naomi Klein: America is succumbing to fascism
by Nick Langewis and Mike Aivaz at Raw Story.

James Dobson and the Implosion Factor
By Bill Berkowitz at Talk To Action.

US demands air passengers ask its permission to fly By Wendy M. Grossman at The Register

Come On People Anne Coulter Needs Some Attention!by Rachel Sklar at The Huffington Post

Panda Puffs

This is the hippy cereal we are feeding our child. I love it and cant stop eating it, even-though the art on the box is freaky. But it tastes so delicious. Those Pandas look sad. Pandas always look sad, but these two are real downers. The one in the background is moaning "Panda-Puffs is Pandas! Its Pandas!" I think I would still eat it even if it was real pandas. MMMMMMM, Peanut Butter Pandas!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Drive XV

In celebration of the 15th anniversary of R.E.M.'s epic Automatic for the People, first released in October of 1992, is offering a download of a free tribute album. I have to admit it is pretty good. I am not sure if I like The Wrens whining version of "Nightswimming" although it improves a little at the end. "Monty Got A Raw Deal" is a coveted but lesser known R.E.M. song unfortunately Catfish Heaven's rendition is too much like a bad Springsteen B-side. Meat Puppets bring something different to "Everybody Hurts" but it works. Dappled Cities version of "Try Not to Breathe" sounds like someone climbing stairs with accordions for feet, but you will like it. The biggest surprise for me was "Find the River" reinvented by Dr. Dog. I have never heard of Dr. Dog but defiantly interested in hearing some original music. I almost prefer Rogue Waves "The SideWinder Sleeps Tonite" to the R.E.M. original. Almost. If you love AFTP you will not find much to complain about, for me Tribute albums promise to disappoint as a whole, rarely offering more than three redeemable (re)tunes, but Drive XV finds its way on at least Nine of the Twelve tracts.

you should see the drive xv player here if you have flash

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blackwater Founder Sued over Iraqi Deaths

FromMedia Mouse

Yesterday, the Center for Constitutional Rights announced that it is suing Blackwater on behalf of an injured survivor and the estates of three men killed in a September 16 incident in which Blackwater killed 16 Iraqis and wounded 23. The suit names several entities--including Blackwater founder and West Michigan native Erik Prince--as defendants in the case. The lawsuit claims that Blackwater and its affiliated companies violated United States law and "created and fostered a culture of lawlessness amongst its employees, encouraging them to act in the company's financial interests at the expense of innocent human life." The lawsuit further alleges that Blackwater violated the federal Alien Tort Statue in committing extrajudicial killing and war crimes, and that Blackwater should be liable for claims of assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training and supervision.
The case, if it goes through, will likely reveal unknown information about Blackwater USA. The Center for Constitutional Rights legal complaint in the case repeatedly asserts that "reasonable discovery" is likely to reveal more information about the corporate structure of Blackwater, killings by the company, and its employment of foreign mercenaries. Moreove, the complaint alleges that Blackwater founder Erik Prince formed a variety of different Blackwater corporate entities--including Prince Group LLC--"to shield Erik Prince from any legal and financial consequences for his reckless indifference to the laws of this and other nations."

(I finally picked up Jeremy Scahill's book on Blackwater at my local bookstore.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New Avengers #35

I can't quit my addiction to comic books, and sometimes it is hard to find a good one. New Avengers, issue 35 pictured here, is turning out to be one of my all time favorites. This cover is awesome, and Wolverine does not even appear until the last page, so thats even better. I wish I had started collecting the title from the beginning, but I did not catch on until about issue #27. I wish more of the X-titles good be this good.

Speaking of comics, the movie based on 30 days of night is coming out on the 19th. I am hoping to see this, never read the graphic novel but the story is so awesome. Vampires migrate to Alaska to enjoy thirty days of darkness. I am not totally into horror movies unless it involves vampires, zombies, giant monsters, or Anthony Hopkins. I love many of Stephen King's books and have most of them in hard cover. His books do not always translate well into movies. However, the Mist, based on a short story, comes out November 21. From what I have seen it looks fantastic and very reminiscent of the originally story.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Immigration Reform.

A friend sent me an article Oklahoma's new bill fighting illegal immigration.

Here are some of my thoughts in general about this issue.

The number one way to fight "illegal immigration" is to go after the employers of undocumented workers. I am weary of efforts made to punish those who come here looking for a better life. US corporations build factories in Mexico and other impoverished countries because the labor is so cheap there and they do not have to follow the same safety, health, and pollution regulations.
I also disagree with the notion that Mexican's are "not Americans." The countries south of our border are still in America. This ethnocentric idea that only US citizens are true Americans is ignorant at best. The United States boasts of being a country of immigrants but whenever a new wave of immigration appears a xenophobic attack is launched against whoever it is crossing our boarder. The same happened when Italians and Irish came to this country. Yes, it is wrong to come here illegally, but the people coming here are being exploited on both sides of the boarder. I disagree with those who want to have private militias (the Minutemen) patrolling the boarder or those who want to refuse children of undocumented works health care and education; this false patriotism is just veiled racism.
If there are no jobs for undocumented workers, they will stop coming. The jobs that they used to do will have to offer decent wages, and hopefully they will begin to seek answers in their own countries and we should help them change their corrupt governments and at the same time prosecute the corrupt corporations that exploit their situation.

Thom Hartmann one of my favorite authors wrote a collum about the split in the Rebublican party over Immagration reform.

by Thom Hartmann

The corporatist Republicans ("amnesty!") are fighting with the racist Republicans ("fence!"), and it provides an opportunity for progressives to step forward with a clear solution to the immigration problem facing America.

Both the corporatists and the racists are fond of the mantra, "There are some jobs Americans won't do." It's a lie.

Americans will do virtually any job if they're paid a decent wage. This isn't about immigration - it's about economics. Industry and agriculture won't collapse without illegal labor, but the middle class is being crushed by more.

Monday, October 08, 2007

New Baby Photo.

Here is the latest baby ultra-sound pic. You can not see much because of positioning, but it is her face, if you squint you can see her better. I asked Sam what we should name is sister, and he said "Name the baby Sam." We do have a name picked out and the initials are NCB.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sunday Reading #2

I know I must come across as a hateful snob sometimes, but what are blogs for if not to vent opinions about the world around you? I like spouting off on politics, religion, and other sources of anger while trying to sound smart and sophisticated, but in doing so I may appear jaded or indifferent. If I have offended anyone I am sorry. I have more friends than I deserve, and they all have different beliefs and ideals, I realize that, and I would not try to change anyone nor do I expect people to agree with me. It is very cathartic for me to journal everything I am experiencing and reading. I try to express my strongest beliefs by blog, as to not annoy people outside of the internet. My life keeps getting better but I realize there are things bigger than that. All I want to do is share what I think is true and I hope my friends and family will keep reading, even if I am wrong.

Here are some good reads.

For a Trusty Voting Bloc, a Faith Shaken!
Laurie Goodstein at New York Times

McCain and the Monks of Myanmar...
Arianna Huffington atHuffington Post

The Right's Continuing Mischaracterization of Limbaugh's "phony soldiers"
Posted at: Media Matters

The Declining Reputation of Christianity
By Carlos at Talk To Action

Blackwater: Does USA's Most Powerful Private Militia Fuel Iraq's Insurgency?
by Anthony Barnes atOpEdNews

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Painting the Baby Room. And BumpHead Sticker

I watched Sam all day with my brother in law so Anne and her mom could paint the baby room. We have settled on a name and it is none of the ones we were considering. We will let you know when she is born this way everyone is forced to say they like it. The room is looking real good. Peter and I took Sam to a Pizza/Game type place. There were so many kids there and I think I was the only one really watching my kid. It was one of those places where the giant inside play structure looks like it has not had a good cleaning in a bout a decade. Sam got scared in one part and I had to go inside to rescue him. He had a lot of fun and Peter played a bunch of games and gave Sam all the prizes. Sam is very social and played with all the kids there as if he knew them.

I was hoping to buy Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, because there is a new Riff Trax, but Meijers does not stock that high quality of a movie. At Meijers I saw the most ignorant bumper sticker ever created. And I have seen many in my lifetime. But this one is the king of all BumpHead Stickers. I know I have said many times but the fact remains: all debate in this country has been reduced to this kind of broad generalization and stereotyping and it does not bode well. The driver was gunning across lanes through the parking spaces too. Jerk.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Thunderbird, Global Warming, Ultra Sound

Anyone find it strange that it was 84° degrees in Mid-Michigan in October? Global Warming is a hoax and Al Gore is full of it, but its 84° in October in Michigan and its been hot all week and will continue this weekend. This is hot weather for Kentucky this time of year. In about ten years I think we will know who is right Al Gore's sources or Exxon's "experts." I plan to still be blogging ten years form now, if I don't get bored and lose interest, so check back here on Oct 5 2017. I willing to bet Al Gore will be proven right (Our pollution is attributing to the majority of Climate Change) to but it will be too late. But at least I will have bragging rights. I am willing to even bet someone, bring it on Deniers! Check Out World View of Global Warming

Ok. Enough of my rant. Today we had another Ultra-Sound of our little girl. I feel so different about this baby, I don't know if it is because its a girl, or because we are more prepared, but the anticipation is driving me crazy. I have even been having baby dreams. All I know is I must be boring the crap out of all my friends who don't have kids. I remember that before I had children I could not stand it when strangers prattled on and on about kids and their mundane activities, I now I never can shut up about mine.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sam Bunny

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pilot Knob and Deuteronomy!

I believe this is a photo I took of Pilot Knob in the Bluegrass State. Poor Michigan has no Knobs. Not my best photograph. I hope I get a second chance someday to take a better one. The day I took it was humid and hazy not the best weather, but I had fun going around taking random shots with my friend Tiffany.
I recently took some more black and white pictures of Sam and will post them soon.
Still reading the Bible, half way through Deuteronomy. It seems to me that the first four books of the Bible have very little to do with morality, God's love, or even . It is very apparent that the primary message of these first books is that only the Levites, God's chosen people have a right to live in the land of Israel. I hope to touch on more what I have read. I am trying to read with an open mind and heart, I guess it is no surprise that I can not come to terms with a fundamentalist interpretation, but when I actually sit and read the Bible it only confirms that the Bible can not be completely inspired by God, inerrant or infallible.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 Liberty U. student pleads guilty to having bombs

Update on the Liberty Student Bomber. Mark David Uhl a student at Jerry Falwell's holy roller college who made his own napalm bombs and planed to use on other fundamentalist christian protesters at the Reverend's funeral. He will be sentenced in November. White Christian Terrorists get due process. If he had been a Muslim he would most likely be rotting in Gitmo with no trial.

read more | digg story

Monday, October 01, 2007

U2 - October Lyrics & Cover Bands

And the trees are stripped bare
Of all they wear
What do I care

And kingdoms rise
And kingdoms fall
But you go on...and on...

I don't usualy post lyrics but this time of year reminds me of my favorite band.
Check out this cool U2 cover band Zooropa. I hope to see them live someday. I think it might be a while before I see the real U2 live again. Also a depressing yet captivating film on tribute bands, titled Tribute (2001), is one of my favorite documentary films. Definatly worth a rent. Check out a review at

U2's next album is supposidly "writting itself" according to producer Daniel Lanois. Whenever you hear U2 is back in the studio you know their next release is only a few years away. I betting just in time for Christmas 2010. Oh yeah!