observations from a slightly mad german-american

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Pass the salt, please.

Two men participate in an online forum/newsgroup. One has fantasies of eating people. The other has fantasies of being dinner. They meet. They eat. One dies. The other eats some more. He later is cleared of murder, and is convicted of manslaughter. Sentence: 8 1/2 years.


Read the story at the Guardian.

More Activist Judges

This was timely. I received this from my friend Tim today. He has also been pondering the Activist Judge thing.
One thing that has really annoyed me recently is the term and the use of the phrase Activist Judge. One more newspeak word from our friends on the right? Why don't they just come out and say "judge who has once again interpreted a law in a way that makes society a little more tolorant than we can handle?" Since when has an "Activist Judge" ever ruled for more intolorance? I think these are people who have balls enough to interpret laws in conjunction with the Constitution to the best of their ability without being affected by whatever form of intolorance may be popular at the time. Their critics for example, G.W.Bush, accuse them of acting out of step with the public. I wish that "Activist Judges" would have been brave enough to strike down and condemen the Jim Crow laws for the un-American and hateful establishments of oppression that they were, even though they were very popular at that time. Judges aren't supposed to be in the business of going by whatever the public happens to think at the time, just determine what is the most fair, based on the Constitution and previous decisions.

Now Even Bush Admits WMD Doubts

Read the Guardian Story.

I still haven't held to my promise to explain what I felt the real lie was.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Activist Judges

I don't know about you, but I have been hearing the term "Activist Judges" bandied about a lot lately, particularly by the right-wing radio hosts and Republican lawmakers. I found myself wondering what the users of the term defined as an Activist Judge.

Is it "those judges that go beyond the Constitution, or interpret it ex-treme-ly loosely, to reach their decisions"?

Or, it is "judges who make decisions that pleases the Left more than us?"

And, if activist judges are a bad thing, why all the praise from the right for the "10 Commandments" Alabamba judge?

Monday, January 26, 2004

What do you do?

There was a murder in florida a few years ago (1999) that attracted international attention.

A six-year-old girl suffered a brutal, grisly death in the house of her babysitter. Her skull was fractured, her liver cut (internally), The poor girl suffered a brutal, grisly death. It turns my stomach.

Trying such a young person as an adult, with the death penalty or life imprisonment as possibilites, also seems unthinkable.

Guardian - Parole for youth given life jail sentence at 13

BBC - Boy, 14, gets life for murder

BBC - US boy killer's life term lifted

Another Response to "Hey About those WMD's..."

Another friend has responded. All italics are from the author.
The thing about WMD's is, how come the mainstream media didn't try to understand what was meant by WMD's in the first place? Doesn't it seem strange that they kept saying WMD without specifying precisely what they meant? In context, before the war, it seemed like they were using this term to mean a motley assortment of the big scary: "nuclear, biological, chemical weapons." However, they used it to mean a big, scary, illegal, dangerous, threatening, non-conventional, who knows-what-but-can-kill-us-all weapons! They especially loved the fact that because, WMD is sort of a general term, the word "nuclear" could be included in it’s definition and still be used to apply to weapons Iraq might posses. I mean, it was common knowledge that Iraq did not have nuclear weapons, and the possibility that they were going to be developed anytime soon, was extremely remote. So what’s left? Chemical weapons? As the U.S. sat back and gave Iraq money, arms, and support, Iraq was using these illegal WMD’s, chemical weapons, against arch-enemy Iran. The point is, who cares? Illegal under international law? Yes. Imminent threat to the U.S.? No way. Not even close. I mean, for almost ten years Iraq used them against Iran. The war ended in a stalemate, with Iran having inflicted heavy damage on Iraq on the balance. These chemical weapons would not have even hardly mattered to a heavily equipped, well trained, well financed, modern, state of the art army of the U.S. What’s left, biological? Biological weapons development is in a suspended infancy. Biological weapons development is a very technologically challenging, very expensive way of producing a weapon that is, as of yet, highly ineffective and impractical in combat. The Soviets were by far the leaders in this area, and they pretty much ruled out ever using them, due to ineffectiveness on the battlefield. So it’s highly unlikely that Iraq had anything more than a whimsical biological weapons plan. If they did have anything - again, who cares? It wouldn’t have been a big deal anyway.

It didn’t surprise me in the least, that no WMD’s have been found. I don’t think that Iraq would think that possessing chemical weapons would help them very much in a fight against the U.S. or NATO. Not that Iraq was thinking this, but on the flip side, it would have given the U.S. or NATO a reason to fight them. But it didn’t matter, because, the U.S. used it as an excuse anyway. The nature of Saddam's totalitarian, all powerful grip on the public, would practically demand that the dictator, not appear to give in to international demands in public, i.e. we can have them if we want them.

It’s a total sham that the war supporters are now saying one of two things right now –

1. Iraq had programs for WMDs. And there’s no difference between having them, and having the actual weapons. Or

2. We were all so misled! Why were we so misled, even the Democrats were misled!!!

Isn’t it perfectly obvious? Honestly! There are no subtleties here! Pick up almost any European newspaper from the start of the war drumming up to the point where the U.S. went to war. You’ll see a very clear, systematic public campaign, designed to get the public behind a war. Every argument to the contrary was dismissed out of hand. The logic did not stand up at all. Outside the U.S. it was very easy to see what was happening. A child could understand. I hope that there doesn’t have to be an explanation about why having WMD’s and having a program to develop them are two totally different things.

There are perfectly obvious reasons for going to war with Iraq. But those reasons are not glamorous, not an easy sell and are illegal under international law – Iraq is not friendly to the U.S. and sits on top of very strategic geography and has the potential to control up to 40% of the world’s oil production. Plus, this U.S. – installed dictator is a warmonger. Simple.

[name witheld by Brian]

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Oh yeah,

Clinton and Kennedy are scum.

WMD Clarification...

OK, my feelings about the the Bush Lie....

The Lie: That the reason for the US going to war was to protect Americans from attack by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

We went to war for other reasons.

I keep meaning to go deeper, but I keep falling asleep in front of the computer. Will have to do so later.

Response to "Hey, about those WMD's"

Received a response from a friend on the other side of the spectrum.

Interesting post!

Tis interesting that we haven't found them yet. I think that most
people (Democrats included) are surprised that we haven't found any.
Clinton and Gore both spoke of them. Senators like Ted Kennedy spoke of
the threat of Hussein while Clinton was in office. There are many, many
democrats on record talking about Saddam Hussein's quest for WMD's.

Here's another article about it:

I'm not trying to defend Dubya. As you know, I'm not a Republican and
I'm quite disappointed with the job Bush has done. I certainly won't
vote for him.

Do you think it was an intentional deception by Bush? If so, why did
the previous administration express the same information regarding the
threat? Why did the British and other nations agree? If it wasn't an
intentional deception but instead poor intelligence, can we call it a

[name witheld by Brian]

More on Miyazaki's Films

I was thinking some more about Miyazki. You know, one of the things that sets this guy apart from other "family" filmmakers is his basic assumption about children: They are smart. That they have imaginations that can be inspired by art. That they can grasp abstract notions. He doesn't pander to children. He engages them.

We have one more movie of his -- I don't remember the name -- on our netflix queue. I don't know what we're going to do after we watch that one. Might as well sell the TV. I can only see it going downhill.


The USA, in it's post-Articles-of-Confederation state, represents one of the greatest social experiments in recorded history: Can this republic of many states survive with her essential liberties intact?

And the answer is....

Friday, January 23, 2004

Hey, about those WMD's....


You Bush-rah-rah types can say all you want to spin this war and Bush's lead-up to it...

But the fact remains that Your Man stood in front of our nation and said that our boys would have to go in harms way because Saddam Hussein with his WMD's posed an imminent threat to the United States.

The fact remains that Your Man appointed his own team of weapons investigators to comb Iraq.

So what of that team's leader? He's quitting. He says there are no WMD's to be found.

Read up...

BBC Report | Guardian Report | NYTimes

Now, I can't tell you how many times I Bush apologists saying "So what if they don't find any WMD's? That doesn't matter. All that matters is that we got Saddam. You liberals need to move on and get a life."

To them I have this: IT DOES MATTER. Your people tried to impeach a president for lying about an extra-marital affair. Your people spent A LOT of time and money on that deal.

But, Your Man's lie has cost over 500 Americans and 8,000 Iraqis their lives. Your Man's lies have disrupted families across the nation who find mom or dad on extended deployements (and with dangerous duty pay cut). Your Man billed himself as a uniter, not a divider. But Your Man lies now has one half of the country accusing the other half that questions Your Man's actions of being unpatriotic. Your Man's lies have resulted in how many billions of extra expenditures that weren't in the budget? How large of a debt burden is Your Man leaving to my kids? Your Man's lies found a way for his buddies to make a lot of money.

It does matter.

Movie - Sprited Away

One word: Wow.


Miyazaki... Where does this guy get his ideas? The imagination he pours into this movie is amazing. The imagery is magical. The story and the characters are compelling.

I leave his films with a sense of awe or wonder.

And my three-year-old loves this one too.

And I thought I was going to be bored watching family-friendly movies....

Some fruits of their labour....

You might recall that a few weeks ago, The European Space Agency tried to land a Mars rover, but were unable to establish contact with it after its (assumed) landing. Unfortunate.

But, they also have a probe orbiting the planet, and this BBC story shows at least one of the pictures from it.

More pictures on ESA's website.

Cool stuff.

Thursday, January 22, 2004


If there is one defining characteristic about the press, it's this: They love to build a pedestal, put somebody on it, and then find a reason -- any reason -- to shove him off. They did it to McCain in 2000, Tsongas in '92, Gore in '88 and Hart in '84.

Now it's Dean's turn.

The sad thing is that the American public eats up just about whatever excrement the press dishes out. No thought. Just consumption.

IT WAS A POLITICAL RALLY, FOLKS! Rah rah! Let's go get 'em! It's his job to inspire his troops to action in what promises to be a long fight.

As to the issues and the man, which is what matters...

People would be impressed if they took a total of 90 minutes over the course of a week, and listen to this guy speak. Especially key in on talks to specialized groups -- doctors, clergy, etc. -- and find out just what he brings to the table.

This is a man who accomplished a lot during his tenure as Governor.

Compare his gubenetorial record to that of the White House's current occupant.

Don't let the press get away with believing you're a mindless drone.




Cast an imformed vote....

(p.s. I will post links to videos and the stories behind this rant later. It's getting to be bed-time for me.)

Friday, January 16, 2004

Movie - Kiki's Delivery Service

Another animated film from Miyazaki (Castle in the Sky, Junkers Come Here...)

Very charming film about a young witch who turns 13 and must leave home for a year to train. Nice story about searching within to find your place in the world.

I like Miyazaki's touch. When I have time, I'll have to find the words to describe what I see in his films.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Movie - Secret of Roan Irish

Mystical film about a girl's exploration of a family secret. Family friendly. I found it captivating.