October 31, 2004

Alternative realities


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Here is the full text of Osama bin Laden's Letter to America yesterday, which is interesting reading, and an excellent commentary by Wayne Brown of The Jamaica Observer examining the impact of Osama's trump and predicting chaos after the election:

"With Election Day almost upon us, it's not clear whether President Bush is running a campaign or plotting a coup d'etat. By all accounts, Republicans are spending these last precious days devoting nearly as much energy to suppressing the Democratic vote as they are to mobilising their own. Time was when Republicans were at least embarrassed by their efforts to keep African/Americans from the polls. For George W Bush, Karl Rove and their legion of genteel thugs, however, universal suffrage is just one more musty liberal ideal that threatens conservative rule. Today's Republicans have elevated vote suppression from a dirty secret to a public norm."

I also heard an interview with George Soros yesterday on National Public Radio. In it he said that he is working against the Bush administration because he sees disturbing signs of things that were happening under Hitler before WWII, particularly the harsh recriminations brought against those who criticize Bush. He said he and Bush share the goal of bringing freedom to the world, but they have very different ideas about how to do so. He says that Bush has Messianic fantasies, doesn't deny his own, but notes that, unlike Bush, he can admit his mistakes and try to learn from them.

I had an image of Soros entering a situation with birdseed in his open palm, sitting quietly, waiting for the birds to find him. In contrast, was a vision of Bush entering a similar situation with an Ouzi, shooting what moves, and intimidating the survivors.

Soros expects the beneficiaries of his financial assistance to be suspicious of his motives. He encourages that suspicion, and responds to it by being scrupulously open about The Open Society Institute and the reasons for his political activities. An excerpt from Soros' final appeal not to elect George W. Bush:

"I have been crisscrossing the country for the last three weeks arguing against the reelection of President Bush. On my travels I have heard many doubts about John Kerry. Why can't he project the same certainty as President Bush? Admittedly, he won the debates, but does that qualify him to be our Commander in Chief? Will he be as single- minded in pursuing the war on terror as George W. Bush?

Let me address these concerns. John Kerry has presented a cogent and coherent case but the Bush campaign managed to define him before he could define himself. They made fun of his explanation of the various votes he cast on the $87 billion appropriation for Iraq, although it made perfect sense. He was practically not heard, except in snippets, until the debates.

But the trouble goes deeper. The war on terror as defined by President Bush is a one-dimensional presentation of reality. We cannot fight terrorism by military means alone. We can use military force only when we have a known target; but it is the habit of terrorists to keep their whereabouts hidden. To track them down we need the support of the populations amongst whom they hide. Offense is not necessarily the best defense if it offends those whose allegiance we need.

John Kerry is aware of this other dimension. That is why he cannot be as single-minded as George W. Bush. He is nuanced because reality is complicated. This has been turned into a character flaw by the Bush campaign. Yet, that is exactly the character we need in our commander in chief. John Kerry is prepared to defend the country as he showed in Viet Nam; but he has learned first hand the devastation that war can bring and will use military force only as a last resort.

By contrast George W. Bush revels in being a war president. His campaign is shamelessly exploiting the fears generated by 9/11. Vice President Cheney is conjuring mushroom clouds into our cities. But fear is a bad counselor; we must resist it wherever it comes from. President Roosevelt had the right idea when he said, "We have nothing to fear but Fear itself." If we re-elect President Bush the war on terror will never end. The terrorists are invisible, therefore they can never disappear. It is our civil liberties that may disappear instead.

An open society is always in danger. It must constantly reaffirm its principles in order to survive. We are being sorely tested, first by 9/11 and then by President Bush's response. To pass the test we must face reality instead of finding solace in false certainties. This election transcends party loyalties. Our future as an open society depends on resisting the Siren's song."

Osama, in his latest tape, refers to Benjamin Franklin's warning - I think he means about Jews, but this is the warning Google found for me "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

Photo note: Osama, Bush. Two pumpkins --something's way off about both of them. Happy Halloween

Posted by Dakota at 06:41 AM

October 29, 2004

Tree, Transforming


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My Ladies' Group met yesterday for the first time in about six weeks. We were a small crowd, three and our leader. I arrived a little early and discovered a tiny seaside cemetery dated 1740. Perhaps I will publish a photo when I see what I harvested.

Since we hadn't met in so long, it took us awhile to catch up. It's very hard for any of us to appreciate our own process of becoming who we really are --goddesses all. (Keep in mind everyone has that potential , lest you think us arrogant).

I began my part of the discussion with what I have been struggling with over the past few weeks right here in River City. My dilemma, as I saw it, was that I could not appreciate the contrast provided by the Bushies. I constantly lose sight of the big picture and find myself wallowing in hatred . I have trouble keeping in mind that a vigorously renewed desire for peace and democracy has arisen from this mess. We all agreed that I have had a rather excessive response to what has been happening, and that my anger may have roots closer than Washington D.C.

Everyone reminded me about the energy pattern that I carry in my solar plexus , and how core pieces of my life still hold that pattern in place. The pattern, which could be called "The Servant" , is one in which entitlement is pathologically missing, leading to unwelcome intrusion and distraction from life purpose. One of the more annoying things to me about this pattern is that the continual, low level fear of intrusion, keeps me shut down in wariness. This often causes me to miss the flow of life. It also manufactures alot of stuck chi in my body which really hurts.

Everyone pitched in in their best shamanistic fashion to move my rusty old dial from servant to goddess. I'd say we got about as far as civil servant. That is, a servant with quite a bit of entitlement. We may have gone further than that, I'll have to cruise around on my new setting for a while and see.

Archetype Test I got Magician, Jester, Creator, but there was no servant category., what can I say.

Photo note: Isn't this just a perfect transformation-in-process ?

Posted by Dakota at 07:46 AM

October 27, 2004

What's next?


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Well, the Red Sox won last night. Isn't that nice? It has lifted many a spirit in our fair city. Those of you who care savor the moment a bit longer will have to go elsewhere, since that is the full extent of my commentary on the subject.

That taken care of, the election is foremost on everyone's mind. Like childbirth , the event captures such an enormous amount of attention, that it clouds our ability to consider the enormity of what happens next.

On Sunday, The New York Times did a little speculation about the alternative outcomes. If Kerry wins, the Gruesomes, Wolfowitz, Rove, Rumsfeld etc. will be out of power, neutralized, castrated (though they didn't use those exact words). Doctor Senator Frist will become the most important Republican. If Bush wins, the Democrats will have to reconsider their position, and agree never to to nominate a smart person again. Stuff like that.

Should John Kerry win, exactly what makes us think that The Group That Runs George W. are going to be a good sports about losing--that they will simply step down in an orderly manner, conceding their defeat. Four years ago a little lie circulated that Clinton's staff trashed all the computers in the White House upon departure. This wasn't true, but guess who created and spread the rumor?

These folks are not known for their fair play, their honesty, their scruples or their willingness to stop. The stakes are huge. They are four years away from entirely eradicating democracy and wielding absolute power. They aren't going to be gentlemen about a loss. A loss will put a big chink in The Master Plan . Oh, and many of them will face criminal charges when records are declassified. George W. will have to be certain to do blanket pardons (can a president pardon himself?) before he departs.

And is Unpresident George W. going to find happiness as an inspirational speaker ? Will working for his dad at the Carlyle Group be satisfying enough after being President of the World? I hardly think so. If Kerry wins, do not expect this man to leave his throne without some major nastiness.

At least a military coup isn't possible, since our military is otherwise occupied.

And if Bush wins? Reality cannot be staved off forever. It's getting harder and harder for Bush to hold up his underwear with a clothespin . Oil prices are at an all time high. It was just revealed in a British court martial that secret plans about the invasion of Iraq were given to the British military a full five months before the invasion happened. Tons of explosives have disappeared
from a military complex in Iraq ostensibly under our watch, and the Pentagon is evading responsibility. I heard that Bush called Kerry's criticism of this colossal error a slap in the face to our troops overseas. More funding is needed for the war. The flu vaccine is in short supply because of the administration's failures. I am told that there was a small uprising at the famous Lahey Clinic yesterday in the line for a flu shot. Little old ladies are standing in other lines for hours to vote early in Florida. Voting machines are malfunctioning, and voters are being intimidated . This actually may be our last election.

Maybe some of the girls will wake up when Roe vs. Wade is overturned. Then again, maybe we'll all just watch Fox News and read the paper holed up in our gated communities until the raging masses storm our barricades, and we can no longer breathe the air or drink the water, waiting for nuclear winter to set in. On the bright side, at least some of our children won't have had to pay those exorbitant inheritance taxes, and our Humvees will come in handy.

Photo note: Wasn't this a perfect hit. The flag, the sox and the pumpkins.

Posted by Dakota at 06:08 AM

October 26, 2004

Cheat Sheet for Election Night


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This is an entry, copied in it's entirety from Dan Aibel at Contrapositive . He did alot of work for all of us, so that we can follow along on election night and have an idea what's happening. This is important, since the media can be expected to begin announcing results at around 4:30 PM on November 2. They are not unbiased. Neither am I.

Bite-sized for Easy Swallowing
Friday, October 22, 2004

ELECTION NIGHT CHEAT SHEET As promised, here's your hour-by-hour guide to election night 2004.

There are bound to be at least a few mistakes and misjudgments buried in here. (Spot one? E-mail us.) On the whole, though, this run-down should give readers an idea of what to expect as the evening of November 2 unfolds.

Three preliminary notes:

1) For the purposes of this post, best-case results for a candidate are results in which he wins every state he has a realistic chance of carrying, according to recent polls.

Expected results are the results each candidate's camp is counting on to provide the margin of victory. (These numbers are based on CONTRAPOSITIVE's own research and analysis, rather than public statements by either campaign.)

Finally, the needs category refers to the totals required for each candidate to maintain a realistic chance of ultimately emerging as the winner.

2) Results in many of the battleground states will likely be slow to trickle out, and in some states it may be hours (or weeks!) until we know the winner. So the hour-by-hour tally below is very much a theoretical snapshot. The actual counting of votes is likely to be a more fluid process, especially if the numbers are close.

3) All times are EST.


58 Electoral Votes in play

Polls close in Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. (Some Florida and New Hampshire polling stations close as well.)

ANALYSIS: If it takes more than a few minutes for the networks to call Indiana or Virginia for Bush, that may bode well for John Kerry.

And if Daniel Mongiardo or Inez Tenenbaum are able to keep the numbers close in early returns from their respective Senate races in Kentucky and South Carolina, it means the Democrats have a chance of taking over the Senate.

Having learned from past mistakes, the networks are unlikely to have much to say about the early returns from New Hampshire or Florida. And CONTRAPOSITIVE doesn't expect any reputable news organizations to call the Sunshine State one way or the other till at least 8pm.

But if word trickles out that John Kerry is ahead in New Hampshire, we may be in for a long evening. By contrast, if Bush pulls ahead in that state, Florida starts to look like a "must" for Kerry.


Bush expects: 55
Bush needs: 55

Kerry best-case: 16
Kerry expects: 3
Kerry needs: 3


83 Electoral Votes in play

Polls close in Ohio and West Virginia.

ANALYSIS: This will be our first real sense of where the presidential election stands. Ohio's results may trickle in slowly, but the candidate who winds up with that state in his column will be breathing a lot easier, and the candidate who loses it will have almost no margin for error.

If Kerry winds up ahead in West Virginia, Karl Rove will be cursing the repeal of steel tariffs. The phrase "one-term president" will likely find its way into the thoughts of senior administration officials even before it passes through Dan Rather's lips.


Bush expects: 80
Bush needs: 75

Kerry best-case: 41
Kerry expects: 23
Kerry needs: 3


260 Electoral Votes in play

Polls close in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

ANALYSIS: A lot to keep track of here.

But first and foremost: If Bush wins New Jersey, it's over. Find a bad movie on cable, break out the booze, and cry yourself to sleep.

And in Pennsylvania: If Kerry is down here, it'll be wise to at least keep the booze close at hand.

Also of note: Keep an eye on the Senate race in Oklahoma--if Rep. Brad Carson is unable to give the Democrats a pick-up here, the Republicans will almost certainly retain control of the Senate.

And in Florida, Betty Castor's numbers will be another indication of where Democratic prospects for control of the Senate stand. Not quite as important as a Carson victory for Democrats, but close.

Speaking of Florida: Both candidates can win the election without picking up this state. The task is harder for Bush--especially if he doesn't win in New Hampshire.

So, to be clear: If, sometime between 8pm and 9pm, Kerry gets the call in both Ohio and Florida, it means George W. Bush is headed for the door. At that point only the Supreme Court will be able save him.


Bush best-case: 201
Bush expects: 161
Bush needs: 143

Kerry best-case: 179
Kerry expects: 150
Kerry needs: 91


281 Electoral Votes in play

Polls close in Arkansas and North Carolina.

ANALYSIS: All things being equal, if Kerry is able to keep either of these states close, the Bush team will have reason to sweat.


Bush best-case: 222
Bush expects: 182
Bush needs: 164

Kerry best-case: 190
Kerry expects: 150
Kerry needs: 112


431 Electoral Votes in play

Polls close in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

ANALYSIS: At this point, the election could be over--but only if George W. Bush has won contested states (Arkansas, Florida and Ohio) earlier in the evening. (In theory, Kerry could also wrap up the election at 9PM, but he would need to have won North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia to do it--far less likely.)

A few minutes after 9PM, though, in all likelihood, the result will still be up for grabs. All eyes will then turn to Michigan. If Kerry wins there (as polls suggest he should) attention will shift to Minnesota and New Mexico.

If the Democratic nominee has taken Pennsylvania and at least one of New Hampshire and Maine--and if things are either split or not yet decided in Ohio and Florida--the contest now enters the nailbitting phase on both sides.

Of the two toss-up states with polls closing at 9PM, Bush has the better shot in New Mexico. A win there could take him to the brink of victory.

By contrast, a Kerry upset in Colorado or Arizona would be a catastrophe for the Bush campaign. Expect smoke to pour out of the ears of conservative pundits if Republicans lose in either of those states.

If Kerry is able to build a big lead early in Minnesota, that will bode well for the Democrats in Wisconsin--which (at least if Kerry is on the plus-side) is likely to be tighter. An even race in Minnesota could be a bad sign for Kerry.

On the Senate side, with the polls closing in South Dakota and Colorado, we should have a reasonably good idea of where control of that body stands. If Tom Daschle and Ken Salazar are both able to squeak by, the Democrats should have a shot at gaining control. Without those victories, forget about it.

Finally, on the presidential front: If things remain close (which is to say, if Bush and Kerry are both near their targeted tallies of 257 and 200, respectively) you will want to keep an eye on the referendum to amend Colorado's state constitution. (Note: Totals below assume that this proposal fails.) You may not have heard much about it yet, but you might just be in for a crash course.


Bush best-case: 372
Bush expects: 257
Bush needs: 239

Kerry best-case: 279
Kerry expects: 200
Kerry needs: 181


451 Electoral Votes in play

Polls close in Iowa, Montana, Nevada and Utah.

ANALYSIS: We will probably know who the next President is sometime before 11PM--or not until December.

But even if things remain close, it's likely that one of the two camps will have lost a state it expected to win by this point. Iowa and Nevada will are the last solid opportunities for either side to pull an upset.

Unless Kerry has won both Florida and Ohio or pulled off a surprise somewhere (e.g. in Missouri, or Arkansas) earlier in the evening, he will need Iowa.

Similarly, unless President Bush has won both Florida and Ohio or pulled upsets of his own (e.g. in Michigan or Pennsylvania), Nevada will be essential for his chances.

To put it in even starker terms: If at this stage Bush doesn't have 259 actual or potential electoral votes--potential wins in states with closed polls but no clear victor--he is extraordinarily unlikely to win re-election.

If at this point Kerry has accumulated fewer than 193 actual or potential electoral votes, for Democrats it will be all over but the crying.


Bush best-case: 392
Bush expects: 276
Bush needs: 259

Kerry best-case: 291
Kerry expects: 206
Kerry needs: 193


535 Electoral Votes in play

Polls close in California, Hawaii, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington.

ANALYSIS: By now we will either have a winner, or we'll be waiting for confirmation from uncontested states. Or David Boies will be headed somewhere on a plane.

President Bush does have a chance of sneaking past Kerry in both Oregon and Washington. But if he's counting on those states for his margin of victory at 11PM, it means he's in deep, deep trouble.

On the other hand, if the election is tight all night long, we could wind up having to wait all the way until 1AM for Alaska, with the country's final three electoral votes, to seal the deal for Bush.

Not a pleasant prospect.

Also at 1AM, Democrats will find out whether Tony Knowles has given them a once-in-a-generation Senate pick-up in Alaska. Depending on what happens elsewhere, a Knowles win will either be icing on the cake, or an almost worthless consolation.


Bush best-case: 399
Bush expects: 283
Bush needs: 266

Kerry best-case: 368
Kerry expects: 294
Kerry needs: 270

[Clarification: Bush needs only 266 electoral votes at 11pm because he is sure to win Alaska's three votes later in the evening. If the night ends in a 269-269 tie, the election will be thrown into the Republican-controlled House of Representative, where Bush is just about certain to triumph.]


The Green Papers: 2004 Poll Closing Times.
Electoral Vote Predictor.

And don't believe the Gallup Polls either

Florida Ballot

If you have trouble voting call the Election Protection Hotline

Photo note: Don't get screwed

Posted by Dakota at 06:02 AM

October 25, 2004

October 24, 2004

Tying the Knot


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The bachelorettes became wife and wife last night, in a very moving ceremony. The service began with a reading excerpted from the The Goodridge Decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court. It set the stage for the event we were about to witness, and moved us to tears. The vows themselves were clearly composed by persons who had already spent twenty years together, and knew the challenges and joys of a long term relationship. Definitely a four tissue event. We are all wondering if the newlyweds will experience a difference in their relationship because of its consecration.

I realized that even though I know both brides well, I had never seen them express any physical affection toward one another. The wedding was an occasion upon which they were free to do so. In fact, such expression was a requirement of the ritual. And so, before witnesses, my friends kissed passionately at the end of the ceremony and danced the first dance together, gazes locked . I realized, perhaps for the first time, that they have quite a romance going here.

Otherwise, the occasion was as traditional as could be. Held in front of a blazing stone fireplace in a rustic craftsmanstyle golf club, with a choice of chicken or beef, centerpieces of floating roses and candles, the usual toasts and dancing after.

Photo note: An autumnal wedding photo. I have searched the net for what I call goose necked squash to no avail, and have come to the conclusion that these babies are gourds .

Posted by Dakota at 06:57 AM

October 23, 2004

Sports entry #1

IMG_0092_320.jpgpumpkin field

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You might ask, how have I managed to live smack in the middle of home turf and avoid mentioning the Red Sox, especially since their miraculous victory? So far it's been easy, given my supreme disinterest in things sporting (even in cases where my own progeny were participants). But, of course, there was a photo opportunity that I couldn't pass up, which beckoned me.

On Sunday at the Farm Stand, workers laid out pumpkins in the field to spell Red Sox - 4 Yankees - (I can't remember). Unfortuately, I was unable to climb high enough in the tree to get the full aerial view, but you can extrapolate from here.

There are two positive things (for me -- I'm sure others will find many more) about the Sox going to the World Series for the first time since 1918. First, there has been a miracle . The Curse of the Bambino seems to have lifted. The underdog has triumphed. I am taking a cue from a dear and close personal friend, and seeing it as a sign that Kerry will win the election.

Second, as has been pointed out to me many times this week, the Sox win has given all of us in their proximity a reason to communicate joyfully with one another. That has, in fact, been lovely. Just yesterday in the Target parking lot, the gentleman who was harvesting carts called gaily to me something about Darth Vader. On other occasions, I have automatically slapped a convenient psychiatric diagnosis on such a person and avoided eye contact, but yesterday I responded with an enthusiastic call back, assuming the communication was about the Sox and the Yankees. I avoided getting into a deeper conversation , since it would have gone quickly over my head .

On the more worrysome side, (forgive me, Esther Hicks, channeling Abraham) crowds and crowd control are of great concern. An innocent young woman was killed in the aftermath of the Sox win. She was hit in the eye by a badly aimed pepper projectile, fired by a riot policeman. Her death is the second this year that has occurred in the aftermath of a sporting event, and now the World Series is coming to town. The mayor briefly considered banning alcohol in Boston restaurants during the Series games. There were huge objections, since restaurant owners had already lost so much revenue during the Democratic National Convention.

I doubt if fans are getting loaded in restaurants anyway. Boston is a college town , and most of the kids aren't drinking in local restaurants. The schools are warning students that they risk expulsion if they are caught participating in a post game riot. Let's hope it works. Perhaps early intervention would be a better plan.

Addendum: On my search for a clickie, I came upon the Quantum Fortune Cookie

My question, "When will my inspiraton be back?" QFT's answer "There are times when silence is a poem. Seek the quiet" Guess I'll do just that .

Posted by Dakota at 06:11 AM

October 20, 2004

God etc.


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Ron Suskind's lead article for the New York Times Magazine "Without A Doubt" was a chilling picture of George W. Bush's Messianic tendencies. Bush has the easy certainty of being guided by God. He also thinks he can manifest anything to which he turns his prayful attention. Jeff Scharlet wrote an interesting response, Our Magical President in which he says that Bush is a New Age Fundamentalist in that he believes that his wishes will come true, if he wishes hard enough. An excerpt.

"I happen to like the idea that faith is a path away from easy certainty, but I know it’s just that -- an idea. Wallis’ idea, and that of one strain of Christianity. It's not an idea shared by many New Age religions. Such beliefs emphasize that certainty is easy, if you'll just give up the illusion of reality, since certainty is as close to you as your own heart. One need not investigate with the tools of rationalism, but rather, simply -- the simplicity of it all is key -- feel.

Bush feels. The press, so far, does not. In grappling with Bush’s presidency, it has expanded its range, developed a more nuanced understanding of traditional Christian fundamentalism, recognized liberal evangelicalism, and acknowledged the limitations of Enlightenment thinking. But it still can’t account for the kind of magic that says, If you believe you can do something -- become president despite losing the popular vote, launch a war without evidence, and maybe, if you REALLY believe, get re-elected anyway -- you can."

Esther Hicks, channeling Abraham , who is big into manifestation, would say that one has to focus on what one wants, not on what one doesn't want. Attention to a subject produces more of the same. Therefore, a war on anything is counterproductive, since it produces more of that thing. Bush does focus quite alot on what he doesn't want, (and gets others to do the same). We can see that terrorists have burgeoned since the War on Terror was declared, as have drugs during the War on Drugs.

Maybe it would have worked better if Bush had gone directly for what he wanted, more oil interests in the Middle East. If he were really good at this, he could have manifested something nice for himself, without all the bloodshed, trauma and destruction.

In my mind, the characteristics of fundamentalism are quite counter to New Age principles. New Agers welcome the feminine, the goddess. They view women as major contributers, not threats - to be silenced and leashed. They are, therefore, prochoice. New Agers are inclusive--- bring on the Sufi, the Kaballah, the Native American drummers. Fundamentalists are exclusive, wrapping their faith around conveniently chosen, easy to understand, handy hints to heaven, most often chosen by self serving leaders with demogogic tendencies . New Agers are focused in the here and now, Evangelicals are waiting for things to get better after death or the revelation, which ever comes first.

The new movie "What the Bleep Do We Know Anyway? " has arrived just in time. Quantum physics and mysticism are used to explain how one does create one's own reality. Maybe someone will show it to the powers that be.

George W. is an inadvertent visionary --but it's hard to be a visionary with a short attention span, since attention is everything in the manifestation game. We need someone in charge who can envision peace and equality in a world where differences are valued and resources shared. I am in the process of trying to manifest such a president. It's a constant struggle, especially since W. is such a tempting target for my negativity.

Later: an excerpt from a piece by Bruce Lincoln at the Marty Center at the University of Chicago entitled "The Theology of George W. Bush" :

"At the end of the chapter [in "A Charge to Keep"] devoted to this theme, Mr. Bush went on to cite a Biblical verse, I Corinthians 4:2: “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”6 The verse is appropriate, but the way he introduces it feels a bit awkward and heavy handed. Although Mr. Bush often alludes to Scripture, he does not frequently cite chapter and verse, as he does here. But this is a way he signals his core constituency, making strategic use of their specialized reading practices. Full citation invites those with such habits to consult the passage. Anyone who does this will find that the sentence he quoted is part of the following paragraph:

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God. (I Corinthians 4:1-5)

One has to wonder: Is this how Mr. Bush regards himself? Is this how he would like to be regarded? More likely, it is another instance of double coding. If such things please you, he wants you to know he is a faithful servant of Christ, acknowledges himself as same, and feels himself accountable to no law save God’s, no court save the Last Judgment. But if such things make you uneasy, he would prefer the question never arise. Following the Doug Wead strategy (“Signal early and signal often”), Mr. Bush employs Biblical citation to communicate with his base, using signs so subtle as to be the linguistic equivalent of winks and nudges.

The practice has three advantages. First, it lets him convey things the faithful love to hear, while also letting them feel they enjoy a privileged relation to him by virtue of sharing his secrets. Second, it lets him veil these things from people who would be put off by them or challenge their propriety on Constitutional grounds. And third, should anyone point out what he is doing, it is easy to deny, while dismissing the critic as verging toward paranoia. "

Addendum: I attributed more evil to the administration than it deserved. Here's a followup on the valium in Iraq. As you can see I myself am quite capable of creating monsters.

Photo note: As close as I've come to a portrait, so far

Posted by Dakota at 09:59 PM

Coming up empty


How many
pictures of
empty bottles
will I

the muse

Esther Hicks , channeling Abraham, advises that one wait in eager anticipation for the return of inspiration, and view whatever one does in the meantime as something done in preparation for the grand event.

Photo note: Just some old medicine bottles in the afternoon sun, casting shadows on the kitchen counter.

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Posted by Dakota at 04:40 PM

October 19, 2004

October 18, 2004

Discouraged, Bogged Down, Pessimistic


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Now here is your typical New England autumnal scene, complete with Canada geese, who, although they look like they are taking off, are, in fact, going nowhere, since their migration patterns have changed radically in the past few years.

Me too. A weekend's worth of capturing electrons produced close to nothing, Even the pretty shots, as above, are cliches. Last week I talked with an artist who said that these days, with digital technology, anyone can take a perfect photo -- there's very little that's new or innovative.

I'm a little discouraged. It's not because the Red Sox are losing either, it's the polls.

I just looked at the "fair and balanced" AARP Bulletin, which supposedly outlines the differences between the candidates, and makes them look very much alike. How is it that the Repubicans can get people to vote against their own best interests? Other headlines in the Bulletin include "Medicare Hike Could Squeeze SS Benefits", "Flu Vaccine Supplies Late But Plentiful " and "Will Your Vote Be Counted?" Come on. Earth to Elderly. Why isn't the AARP coming out heartily in favor of Kerry? Let us not forget that AARP is a major insurance company and that its evil little heart might not be entirely with our senior citizens. I would cancel my membership if I didn't have to keep track of the obfiscations.

The Manchester Guardian, in England, for heaven's sake, is providing the names and addresses of voters in swing states who are registered as independents, so that British people can write to them, and tell them what the world thinks of George W. Bush, and why a vote for Kerry is crucial. I heard it on NPR now I can't find it, maybe you can. It is suggested that the notes be handwritten for impact.

And my dear hairdresser is wondering why Cheney never saw Edwards before the debate. She missed the four thousand pictures of them on the net the next day.

Maybe I'll be more coherent tomorrow.

Posted by Dakota at 06:56 AM

October 15, 2004



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Vitriol is one thing. I have been known to have a bit myself. Death threats are quite another.

I don't know whether you have been following the news about the sexual harassment case against Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly , one of the villains in Al Franken's book . The transcripts read like bad porn. At least we are clear about his sexual orientation, which, luckily for him, is hetero. By far the most disturbing part of the transcript is the veiled death threat to the plaintiff Andrea Mackris, and the not so veiled one to Al Franken.

In a different case, the editor of the Lone Star Iconoclast, a newspaper in Bush's hometown of Crawford Texas which endorsed John Kerry was interviewed on NPR's "Here and Now" -- a very good commentary can be found on The Ivy Bush . At the end of the interview, the editor said that when his paper endorsed Bush four years ago, he did not receive death threats from Gore supporters. That's one big difference.

Photo note: I thought this shot was sufficiently ominous, and liked the bloody color. It's a straw ornament, twisted.

Posted by Dakota at 05:50 AM

October 14, 2004



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Due to an unbelievably early appointment, I have no time to comment on the debate last night. Just a photo.

You can almost
see the rainbow.http://www.alzscot.org/info/alcohol.html#Korsakoff">


I thought W. was obfiscating again. His media training bra was hanging out. Laura told him to stand up straight and not scowl. She didn't say anything about not lying, or answering the questions he was asked. Oh well. Is she Born Again too? How come we never see photos of W. on his knees in a church on Sunday. Oh, I know, he's playing golf. Maybe that's the next Rovian media ploy.

Factcheck.org tells us a bit about what we heard last night. Perhaps it's my bias, but the essence of Kerry's erroneous facts seemed much nearer to truth than did Bush's. I have heard that someone in the great v-yond is weighting errors, like 10 points for a big fat lie and 2 points for a number mistake or different interpretation. Guess who's way out ahead in the putrid point race? Lacking that online reference, Cameron Marlowe's noun-phrase analysis will do nicely. P.S. I found it Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly did it.

Here's an interesting clip of Bush speaking ten years ago . Perhaps he is
rather than lying, a sign of alcohol induced dementia. We shouldn't really be worried, since Ronald Reagan had quite a case of the same problem , and he was known as the great communicator. To the demented deniers in the right wing, he was one of our most beloved presidents too. It's not such a handicap, but that black and white thinking symptom can be dangerous when you have the power to declare war.

Posted by Dakota at 06:18 AM

October 12, 2004



a grip
in Little League

A child
his responsibility

Photo note: A shot taken at the wedding I attended Sunday. The wedding party carved pumpkins and smashed plates the night before. There was only one bride. She is German.

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Posted by Dakota at 06:35 AM

October 11, 2004




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The reason I didn't throw something up today is that I took home a new camera on Saturday, which I am returning. Playing around with the camera stole all my bloggy time.

In the final analysis, I decided that the Canon Powershot S70 just wasn't a six hundred dollar improvement over the camera I have, an S40. It weighed less and had a better eraser -- pluses. Although more explicitly detailed close ups were possible, I couldn't get it to focus at a distance at all. Worst were the unusable exposures that happened when I tried to "bracket" which I feel compelled to do , taking three exposures of everything automatically. My S40 gives me three usable pictures, the S70 gave me one decent shot (if it wasn't more than ten feet away), a dark square and a white square . Hardly worth the electrons.

I really don't need 7 megapixels to blog, since my published photos are tiny. But what if I ever wanted to do wall paper? I could, for example, blow up something like the shot above to fit a whole room if I were operating on 7 rather than 4 megapixels. Can you just imagine? Or I could do a whole wall of Niagara Falls .

Anyway it was a big waste of time, but made me appreciate what I have.

Photo note: These are pictures of the sun shining through a live grape arbor onto an ultarmarine blue fence at a favorite al fresco brunch joint . Also a good example of bracketing. I couldn't decide which was better.

Posted by Dakota at 11:18 AM

October 09, 2004

Why I Missed Part of the Debate


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Out galavanting last night (crone for partying). The occasion was a double bachlorette party in honor of two brides who are getting married this month - to one another.

The original plan was to have high tea at the Four Seasons, but that was scrapped due to scheduling problems. Instead we landed in The Enormous Room , (so "in" that it has no sign, just an elephant stenciled on a glass door, you have to know about it) where we lay prone on platforms covered with oriental carpets and ate Moroccan food from an Enormous Shared Platter full of succulents. Unfortunately, EVERY succulent on the platter contained onions in one form or another, to which one of our guests of honor is allergic. Knowing that this was a momentous occasion, the sweet staff went elsewhere to provide us with onion-free sustenance.

The waitstaff, by the way, was gorgeous -- more than an adequate substitute for a stripper, which we might have hired had we been crass. They immediately asked us for ID, thus alerting us to the fact that little old ladies were a phoenomenon rarely seen in the space.

As to the celebration itself, one of us had the idea to ask men of her acquaintance for advice they might give someone who is marrying a woman. Unfortunately, she asked her obnoxious, narcissistic brother-in-law first, and his answer was so obnoxious and narcissistic that she abandoned the project altogether. Those of us with husbands speculated on what they might have said - ie providing the correct answer to the trick question "Does this dress make me look fat?" and "Always listen to the woman", which is much more difficult in a same sex relationship.

One of us reminded the to-be-weds that it is often difficult for brides stay present at their own weddings, due to hulabaloo and the greeting of out of town guests, and offered tips to stay grounded.

We heard the story of their courtship, and told our own, gave them edible underpants (which seem to be made from fruit roll-ups, icky sticky) and other acoutrements that might serve to spice up a twenty year relationship. We left when we heard that The Enormous Room didn't have decaf - which just confirms the age of the usual crowd.

Rising from the platform to depart, stiff after two hours prone on plywood, was arduous for all of us. Noone whispered "They"re leaving now" -- at least we coudn't hear them over the acid music and the Red Sox.

We reconvened at a nearby coffeehouse, where we noticed an inordinate number of attractive middle-aged men, alone, staring at their laptops of a Friday evening. Since this is of absolutely no use to any one of us, we will pass along the information to all of our straight single friends.

And that folks, is why I missed half of the debate. I thought Kerry was as good as he was on Tuesday, and Bush, somewhat better. I was really impressed by the the questions from the audience, and loved some of the peevish, disbelieving, bored expressions on their faces while Bush obfiscated. I also liked the woman in the audience who wore the tee with the red stripes and the white stars on a field of blue. Very MO wardrobe choice.

I hope that Kerry's joke about being one of the three people in the room who will have their tax cuts reversed, and his intense eye to eye contact with the monitor promising not to raise taxes for anyone making under $200,000, made a difference, since tax cuts seem to be the primary reason some selfish idiots are voting for Bush, in spite of the fact that they disagree with him on every other premise. Here's Wonkette's blow by blow, which is forty times more entertaining than anything I can describe, or what really happened.

I did manage to stay awake long enough to do my part to skew the post debate polls. These were accurately reported on NPR this morning, much to my satisfaction.

Photo note: Bridal shot, double.

Cute clickies to savor.

Posted by Dakota at 08:02 AM

October 08, 2004

October 07, 2004



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The temptation to use this beautiful picture of fog to rant about the way in which the Bush Cheney Machine clouds the issues, is entirely unacceptable.

I heard yesterday that when Cheney challenged Edward's lack of experience in public service in the debate, Edwards deliberately chose not to point out that George W. had exactly the same number of years in public office as he does, before becoming President. Edwards thinks W. is a prime example of an inexperienced leader running amok, and doesn't wish to compare himself in any way to W.

Here's the real fog stuff. Daily Kos reported shocking news revealed by an Iraqi guest on Oprah yesterday, --more on Obsidian Wings . The US is making valium available to the people of Iraq -- cheap. A brief googling tells us that these psychopharmacological interventions are called "calmatives" by the military , and seem to have been in the arsenal for some time . Oprah's guest reported that the women of Bhagdad buy water and vials of valium when they dare to go out, and many are walking around in a fog. These women have been horribly traumatized, and valium, no doubt, offers some relief from their PTSD. It also serves the strategic interests of the military, by tranquilizing "would-be insurgents". Women are once more the victims in this war.

Valium is the oldest of a classification of psychoactive drugs called benzodiazepines. Although they are useful in very short term situations, they are VERY habituating. To quote from Benzo.org. uk

"It is more difficult to withdraw people from benzodiazepines than it is from heroin. It just seems that the dependency is so ingrained and the withdrawal symptoms you get are so intolerable that people have a great deal of problem coming off. The other aspect is that with heroin, usually the withdrawal is over within a week or so. With benzodiazepines, a proportion of patients go on to long term withdrawal and they have very unpleasant symptoms for month after month, and I get letters from people saying you can go on for two years or more. Some of the tranquilliser groups can document people who still have symptoms ten years after stopping." - Professor M H Lader, Royal Maudesley Hospital, BBC Radio 4, Face The Facts, March 16, 1999.

Yet another atrocity that we are commiting in Iraq. Where is the media?

Photo note: It's a pretty picture for not such a pretty picture

Posted by Dakota at 06:23 AM

October 06, 2004

At Least a Tie


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Things got nasty last night, but most pleasantly. I thought Cheney's tactic was to devalue Edwards -- ie I never met that man before, even though I run the Senate and he's a senator-- he has an undistinguished record, whereas I am modest about my many years in government service, planning and implementing the neocon takeover of the government. I thought his protestations about growing up poor , like Edwards, were gratuitous.

Statistics were flying. Both parties had figures at their fingertips, even if all were not accurate. Let us thank Dick Cheney for mistakenly referring us to George Soros' site Factcheck.com .

Here's Cameron Marlowe's noun-phrase analysis of the VPs. I did think that Edwards linked himself with Kerry a bit incessantly, (36 times), but you will notice that George W, the noun, did not register on the phraseometer. Doesn't that tell you something?

To a certain extent, it was refreshing not to have to worry about inarticulate bumbling on the part of national leaders. Cheney was smooth as jambonied ice last night. He didn't grimace and look peevish, just condescending and tolerant toward the screw off whippersnapper. Edwards gave it right back to him, blow for blow - Cheney's own legislative record, his lies about Iraq, his lies about the economy, his conflict of interest in the no bid contracts with Halliburton. Edwards graciously mentioned the Cheneys' love for their lesbian daughter, which did not seem to please Cheney in spite of his thanks . Was that meant for the red states?

Cuteness counts on national TV, and John has it all over Dick in that area.
So it was at least a tie for the verbals, and an all out win for Edwards on the visuals. .

Photo note: You are left to extrapolate the photosymbolism for yourself, heavy handed that it is.

Just a little something from the linguists at Penn, slightly unrelated, but nonetheless interesting.

Posted by Dakota at 06:45 AM

October 05, 2004

A Collection


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Here's a collection of Bush memorabilia. The Two Faces of Bush and Digby's commentary about it on Hullabaloo. Cameron Marlowe has put his expertise to work on a fascinating "noun phrase" analysis of the debate. And here's another technical take from linguist Mark Liberman of Language Log at the University of Pennsylvania. The video clips entitled "How Bush Did" also break it down for us. And finally some rhetoric from the GOP convention.

I am pleased to see that the New York Times, finally taking up its duties, won their lawsuit to have memos concerning the nuclear threat in Iraq released, and did quite a spread on Sunday on the way the administration used misinformation to their own ends.

Voter registrations are up. People are taking an active role in trying to preserve what's left of our democracy. Let's hope it's not too late.

And tonight, on national television, Luke Skywalker debates Darth Vader, to quote a dear and close personal friend. I hope everyone has their analysis kits handy.

Photo note: From my prop closet. A slightly gritty collection of archiac horseshoe crabs, which, to my dismay, have disappeared from the beaches in recent years. (These fellas were already shells when I found them) Let's hope that's what happens to this administration.

Posted by Dakota at 05:55 AM

October 04, 2004

October 01, 2004

A plea


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So far this morning, it seems that the mainstream media is not doing their best to obscure the fact that John Kerry did very well in the debate last night. He took the high road, once again, with impressive force. Bush did not look pleased, and his displeasure was captured frequently on camera.

This is an aside, but important. I thought that Bush's spontaneous comment about putting his daughters on a leash, was particularly revealing. First, using that phrase seemed quite insensitive, since the mere mention of a leash these days brings up the indelible image of Iraqi prisoners. Secondly, Bush's off hand remark displayed his unconscious attitude toward women. Notice that a prime characteristic of fundamentalists of any flavor is their subjugation of women . George does not have the best interests of women at heart, and a little slip like that is indicative of his underlying attitude toward us. He does seem to have Laura on a leash -with a muzzle.

John Kerry's response to him was humble and genuine, "I don't know, I've learned not to do that, Mr. President" - as clearly evidenced by his daughters and his wife .

(Were Bush to have been honest, he might have said something like, "I'm sorry for my daughters' recent inappropriate behavior. They have been drinking quite alot , and we're rather worried about them.")

In any case, the media has been confronted on their distortions of the Bush/Gore debates in 2000. Perhaps they know that they are being watched more carefully this time around, and report accordingly.

Photo note: Please, no spin. The gravy boat in the lower left is photosymbolism for Halliburton.

Posted by Dakota at 11:15 AM

Ferris wheel

IMG_0280_a_240.jpg ferris wheel

Ferris wheel
Cotton Candy

in combination

the bowel

Photo note: I find myself wishing the sky had been bluer, but it does have that cotton candy look the way it is.

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Posted by Dakota at 10:17 AM