how much traffic is going to my site

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Home Sweet Prison

As I opined on my personal web site in 1998, "New prison construction and staffing is a major growth industry, which speaks volumes on [economic] expectations. A discontent, riotous public must be confined." Predictably, it now seems that not only are they confined, they are to be put to work as prison laborers which benefit private industry; many of which are directly connected to state politicians and their supporters.

Even though government officials tout the US as being the global leader in "Freedoms" and endeavours to "Grow Democracy" in the rest of the world at gunpoint, the US is by far the world leader in the percentage of its population which is imprisoned. Prisons are now big business, and rural areas which have seen downfalls in their economy due to massive manufacturing moves overseas and failing agricultural infrastructures are embracing huge new prisons as their financial saviors.
To gain the potential benefits of a new local prison, county and local leaders have often felt compelled to launch vigorous lobbying efforts and offer significant concessions to state or private prison builders.
Small towns commonly purchase the land and promise to build the water and sewer infrastructure necessary to accommodate the prison. Civic leaders in Rush City, Minn., for example, raised $700,000 in individual and business donations, added it to a $40,000 city contribution and used the total to buy acreage for a prison building site, a condition set by the state in exchange for selecting the town. The neighboring town of Braham, initially selected for the prison, had raised over $800,000 for the same purpose before losing the prison when soil tests found the site was unsuitable.

In Shelby, Mont., officials used a $500,000 community development block grant and an $800,000 US Economic Development Administration grant to pay for infrastructure for the facility built there by Corrections Corporation of America, the country's largest private prison firm.
Big House On the Prairie
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis FedGazette

Private Prisons Industry and Amendment ESouth Dakota prisons have factories manned by $.25 per hour inmate/workers that compete with our South Dakota small businesses. These factories go by the pleasant sounding name of "Pheasantland Industries." Products and services provided by these South Dakota slave factories include:

• Printing of brochures, letterhead, and business cards.
• Furniture of all types including cabinetry.
• Mattresses and pillows.
• Clothing including screen printing.
• Data entry services.

By 2011, one in every 178 Americans, more than 1.7 million inmates, will be in prison at projected rates, reports say. The total US incarcerated population in just five years will outnumber the residents of Atlanta, Denver and Baltimore, combined. That includes more than 192,000 new inmates, a population explosion that will require $15 billion in new operating costs and $12.5 billion in new construction costs to handle.

South Dakota Prisoner Numbers to Grow, Study Says - Argus Leader

What a country...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Getting the Best of Myself

An Unintended Skylight
Spring is upon us and I am endeavoring to complete the task of rebuilding a termite infested, improperly constructed and insulated fuel-screw McMansion built by profiteering carpetbagger developers in 1987 amidst the suburbs of Atlanta; which leaves less time than usual for my online rantings. That being the case, I've decided to post a "Best Of" listing of the more interesting posts since this blog was begun. Those who have not kept up from day one (most everyone?) might find some of these screeds enlightening. Clicking on any given link will open a new browser window/tab where you may read the associated missive and conveniently return here when finished.

May 24, 2006
The Use of Depleted Uranium as a Weapon
Could part of the outrage aimed against the US and its involvement in the Middle-East be fueled partly by the use of depleted uranium in military projectiles?

June 13, 2006
Thoughts on Abortion
The irony of GOP opposition to abortion.

June 16, 2006
Imported Goods and Your Economy
Barons embolden the Next Big Threat to America.

July 15, 2006
Lost Dreams of Optimism
Petulant whining about our pathetic excuse for a democratic political system.

November 11, 2006
The Reasons Why
Reflections on the GOP backlash over the recent Democratic Juggernaut.

December 25, 2006
Holiday Message
A timely assault on the lack of Christian behavior during the Christmas season.

February 20, 2007
I Hope They Get It
A Perspective on Iran.

March 07, 2007
The Irony of Modern Conservative Tenets
My thoughts on what it means to be a conservative are apparently at odds with not only the GOP, but the rest of the country as well.

March 16, 2007
"I'm a Uniter, Not a Divider"
The world reacts to BushCo Imperialism.

March 16, 2007
Blood and Avarice
Raw, unbridled capitalism realized demonstrates its most vulgar ramifications within the Diamond Trade.

March 22, 2007
Forcing the Hand of God
Lunatic authoritarian eschatologists are being led by legions of snake-oil salesmen who prey upon their callow, misguided visions for the future.

March 27, 2007
Stop the Press: My Head is Exploding
Newt Gingrich on journalistic integrity.

Bee My Honey - Just Don't Call On The Cell Phone

Click on Images to View Larger Versions
Honey Bee Keeper and HivesStogie at Ybor City Stogie has rightly reminded me that I have been reticent investing enough effort into my non-profitable distraction of blogging on current events. Thus, I am obligated to take a few moments from carousing, watching Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, pretending to work, and hunting for the elusive woman of my dreams before I die in order to bring you this shocking scientific hypothesis which has the potential to negatively affect every living thing on the planet.

Yes, it's time to again address those pesky cell phones - the modern technical era scourge of humanity that vexatiously interrupts dinner dates, contributes to untold automobile traffic accidents, inflicts brain cancer, and apparently disrupts the lifestyles of the major pollinators of our food crops. It's not bad enough that one can hardly maintain a personal conversation with another human being without being interrupted by ring tones vaguely resembling a bastardized version of Evanescence or being run down on the freeway by some dizzy blond trophy wife weaving in and out of traffic in her three ton SUV while arguing with her office bound meal-ticket, but now they are suspected of causing Colony Collapse Disorder within bee hives worldwide through their ubiquitous emissions of electromagnetic radiation.

European Honey Bee Pollinating a Blueberry BlossomNeed I remind anyone that should this prove to be an accurate explanation for the disappearance of millions of bees in this country, primarily occurring on the more densely populated East and West coasts, the impact goes far beyond the more obvious financial losses of an overzealous, highly profitable, yet seemingly pointless communications industry. This could well effect food production worldwide, resulting in the deaths of millions. For countries who depend on agriculture for their already meager existence, this would result in total chaos. While corn and wheat are wind pollinated and would remain unaffected in the beginning, they are lacking in nutritional value and are hardly a suitable staple sans fresh vegetable and fruit supplements. Worldwide afflictions of scurvy anyone?
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers, like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.

The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.

CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London's biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned.
Are Mobile Phones Wiping Out Our Bees? - The Independent UK

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Things I Make When Not Bashing NeoCons

Click to view a larger image

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Bitter Reality

No commentary necessary.

Red State Revisited

Yesterday, I again made the mistake of venturing out amidst the Cobb rednecks. While most readers would criticize my actions and proclaim "Why bother?", you must understand that it is impossible to remain imprisoned in a cul-de-sac of Reich-wingers and not occasionally attempt escape. While hope springs eternal that I might actually meet someone who shares my particular progressive, realistic world views, alas, I am grossly outnumbered and this trip proved no different or less objectionable than any other. You would think that somewhere out there in this backwater county which is overflowing with 80ish IQs there would exist just one nice, single 20-40 year old female who shares my disgust of BushCo's regressive policies and total lack of diplomatic tour de force. Perhaps one that would even find me endearing enough to take home and play with for a while - if not for a lifetime. But I digress...

This day's repetitive, yet delusional theme was "We sure are lucky Bush was president when 9/11 occurred." Uh... OK. And why is that, again? So that we could embark on an imperialistic, low-priority, destabilizing invasion of Iraq to overthrow a longstanding US sock-puppet, tin-pot dictator who posed no threat to the US? So that we could pull out of Afghanistan and allow Osama Bin Forgotten and his rag-tag extremist army of dozens to escape into Pakistan? To enrage thousands of previously pro-American Iraqis into fleeing their own country, leaving the remaining agitated populace inclined to seek solace amongst previously floundering terrorist organizations worldwide? To supplant American well being and civic infrastructure by providing record profits for Halliburton, KBR, Lockheed et al?

Pick one, pick all. They each bear a striking resemblance to reality.

Cripes this place is packed with the misguided and bankrupt theological hypocrites. And the Cobb women I meet are utterly revolting, mindless clones of the most tawdry sort seen on American Idol and Girls Gone Wild. As for me, I'm gonna go try and shower the "red" off. Then it's time for a permanent vacation - far, far away from here.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Big Lie About 'Islamic Fascism'

Old column by Eric Margolis, but I'm reposting as a refresher for the slow learning red-staters around these here parts. Realize that Margolis brands himself a conservative, but rejects NeoCon-ism. Yet regardless of his political affiliation, real or imagined, the words he pens bear a striking resemblance to reality, unlike so many other vapid screeds.

The latest big lie unveiled by Washington’s neoconservatives are the poisonous terms, `Islamo-Fascists’ and `Islamic Fascists. They are the new, hot buzzwords among America’s far right and Christian fundamentalists.
The term `Islamofascist’ is utterly without meaning, but packed with emotional explosives. It is a propaganda creation worthy Dr. Goebbles, and the latest expression of the big lie technique being used by neocons in Washington’s propaganda war against its enemies in the Muslim World.
This ugly term was coined - as was the other hugely successful propaganda term, `terrorism’ – to dehumanize and demonize opponents and deny them any rational political motivation, hence removing any need to deal with their grievances and demands.
It is grotesque watching the Bush Administration and Tony Blair maintain the ludicrous pretense they are re-fighting World War II. The only similarity between that era and today is the cultivation of fear, war fever and racist-religious hate by US neoconservatives and America’s religious far right, which is now boiling with hatred for anything Muslim.
Under the guise of fighting a `third world war’ against `Islamic fascism,’ America’s far right is infecting its own nation with the harbingers of WWII totalitarianism.
The Muslim World is replete with brutal dictatorships, feudal monarchies, and corrupt military-run states, but none of these regimes, however deplorable, fits the standard definition of fascism. Most, in fact, are America’s allies.
Claims by fevered neoconservatives that Muslim radicals plan to somehow impose a worldwide Islamic caliphate are lurid fantasies worthy of Dr. Fu Manchu and yet another example of the big lie technique that worked so well over Iraq.
However, there are plenty of modern far rightists with neo-fascist tendencies. But to find them, you have to go to North America and Europe. They advocate `preemptive attacks against all potential enemies,’ grabbing other nation’s resources, overthrowing uncooperative governments, military dominance of the world, hatred of Semites (Muslims in this case), adherence to biblical prophecies, hatred of all who fail to agree, intensified police controls, and curtailment of `liberal’ political rights.
They revel in flag-waving, patriotic melodrama, demonstrations of military power, and use the mantle of patriotism to feather the nests of the military-industrial complex, colluding legislators and lobbyists. They urge war to the death, fought, of course, by other people’s children. They have turned important sectors of the media into propaganda organs and brought the Pentagon largely under their control.
And now they are furiously whipping up war fever against Syria and Iran as a last desperate effort to keep themselves in power after the debacles they created in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Lebanon.

The Big Lie About 'Islamic Fascism'

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tracking Opinion

Click to Enlarge
Just to satisfy my curiosity, I began tracking repeat visitors to my minor little corner of the blogosphere. This map depicts the results as of this morning. As with PC-Relay, Rime, and FidoNet -- which were popular Bulletin Board System (BBS) message distribution mechanisms from the 80's which not only spanned international borders, but were harbingers of the modern Internet -- I find it fascinating to observe how the Internets have enabled otherwise silent voices to be heard above the din of mainstream media worldwide. The Tubes of knowledge are surely what will save us from the perverted agendas of governments gone mad.

The Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt

Interesting story in Rolling Stone, entitled:

The Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt by Erik Hedegaard
He was the ultimate keeper of secrets, lurking in the shadows of American history. He toppled banana republics, planned the Bay of Pigs invasion and led the Watergate break-in. Now he would reveal what he'd always kept hidden: who killed JFK.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

More Spring - Again

More spring stuff from the native wildlife refuge area of the yard.

Click on the pictures to open a larger version.

Monday, April 02, 2007

More Spring

More spring stuff from the native wildlife refuge area of the yard.

Click on the pictures to open a larger version.

Only problem is, the mosquitoes aren't far behind. Spring seems to last only a few weeks these days, and then it becomes a hot, humid southern summer.

Iraq Perspective

Just a reminder of how we got into Iraq, and who led us there.
The only thing left to your imagination is why?

Click on any image to open an associated video.

These are scenes from pre-war Iraq.
How many of these children are still alive?
With the streets in turmoil, Iraqi's are begging for the US to invade, bomb their power and water processing plants, schools, homes, and family members in order to liberate them from the evil US sock puppet tin-pot dictator, Saddam Hussein.
Well Done!
And George, Dick, Rummy? You and your pals can continue to profit for decades while fighting the thousands of new terrorists who now hate the US and want your flaming heads on a stick.

Sunday, April 01, 2007 and Homeland Security

Noticing a huge increase in blog hits, I investigated the HTTP referrers log, where I discovered legions of frantic Googlers decrying the demise of and stumbling across my previous post, Fascism Today in their search efforts. To confirm what I already suspected at midnight last night, I performed a route-trace on the domain. It seems there are a lot more gullible people out there on the Internets than even I considered.

Good one, Eric!

Great Moments in Presidential Speeches - Episode 1

The latest in David Letterman's painful series of Great Moments in Presidential Speeches. Watch for the new Easter Egg.
Click here for the latest eloquence from our selected leader.

Fascism Today

James Madison, 4th President of the United States, once quipped:

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

With that in mind, check out today's screenshot from, a popular, yet subversive, New Jersey based, anti-BushCo web site. Something to think about, eh?

H. R. 3162 - aka - The USA PATRIOT ACT
(a) DOMESTIC TERRORISM DEFINED- Section 2331 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
  • (1) in paragraph (1)(B)(iii), by striking `by assassination or kidnapping' and inserting `by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping';

  • (2) in paragraph (3), by striking `and';

  • (3) in paragraph (4), by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and'; and

  • (4) by adding at the end the following:

  • `(5) the term `domestic terrorism' means activities that--

    • `(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

    • `(B) appear to be intended--

      • `(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

      • `(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

      • `(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

    • `(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.'.

(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 3077(1) of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
  • `(1) `act of terrorism' means an act of domestic or international terrorism as defined in section 2331;'.

We could be there already... Newt should be so proud!

Olbermann’s Special Comment on Gingrich:
“We fight for liberty by having more liberty and not less”


How Low Can You Go

Borrowing a phrase oft associated with the West Indian limbo style of party dance, I steer humble readers towards this recent screed by America's most belligerent anti-Constitutionalist enemy, Georgia's own unsavory contribution to the PNAC NeoCon wallow, Newt Gingrich; wherein he states:
We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto," Gingrich said to cheers from the crowd of more than 100.
Gingrich Decries Bilingual Education

Wow, A crowd of more than 100.
How the mighty have fallen...

First, I have never cared for Newt. He was a popular, yet pretentious media-whore around the city in which I lived in the 80s - before his rise to national prominence. Much of his behavior and many of his supporters played out to be rather contemptible, sub-human entities.

With that said, however, I do agree that is it inefficient to provide multiple language government services. Foreign countries such as India and Japan heavily promote the teaching of English as a secondary language. There is a reason - it is the language of US markets. As well, laws, contracts and other rules and regulations are susceptible to subtle translation errors that make enforcement and comprehension more vague - even when the translator is skilled in both languages. Resultantly, I believe English should be the de facto language of the US government.

Being a cheapskate, my objection stems solely from the addition tax burden and personnel skill requirements mandated by multi-lingual employees. Have you read your average corporate inter-departmental email or report? Generally, we have barely managed to grasp one language, much less master two. I suppose this a bitter indictment of not only our faltering system of education, but our cultural arrogance as well. And yet, I do not see the logic in funding a self-energizing cycle of separatism.

The need for multi-lingualism may well be a reality in many parts of the country, but it nevertheless remains an inefficient, inequitable exigency. What is demanded as a requirement for taxpayer funded government services is at the same time the failure of a segment of non-English speakers to follow suit. It promotes cultural division and segregation while placing the requirements of a means of communication with a segment of the citizenry unfairly onto all taxpayers. Learn secondary languages as early as you please, but English should remain the vernacular of official discourse.

Truth be told, the official language should not be English, Spanish or French, but a Native American language. Unfortunately, there was little cohesion between tribes, and no existing national language which could adequately address the legal and scientific jargon of the invading Europeans - thus English became the de facto standard by default.

Yet I take extreme exception to Newt's use of the phrase "language of living in a ghetto." I'm sure the people of Spain and Mexico City, for instance, are enthralled to hear what ex-speaker Gingrich thinks of their society. Then again, I doubt they care one iota.

While the failed Orange County, California government and its bilingual schools may well be a conspicuous example of the inherent inefficiency of accommodating excesses in diversification, surely Newt's exemplary education at Atlanta's right-wing, pseudo-aristocrat brooding tank known as Emory University has failed to imbue his feeble, warped mind with the cultural appreciation, reasoning capacity or human empathy of an artichoke. Can this arrogant, pedantic man be any more offensive or clueless to the human condition? I sincerely hope not...

But that is the sad state of modern politics:
Just How Low Can You Go?

h/t - Ybor City Stogie