Happy Birthday Lena Horne

Today is the day, that in 1917 the world was first graced by the presence of the lady who did more than make Stormy Weather a famous film and song. She was the first black woman to sign a long term contract with a major Hollywood film studio. In her contract she required that she never be put into stereotypically black roles, and appeared in films spanning decades. The set of Stormy Weather was where she met her second husband in 1947. A wonderful role model, a fascinating woman, a lovely voice and grace beyond measure.




I will be doing interviews with David Weber and Tom Kratman later this year, and probably at least one more with Michael Z Williamson.



Something fun...

... if you have a low and vile sense of humor that is. Author, swordseller, button maker, and mead maker extraordinaire "MadMike" Williamson is having apparently a bit peeved by the stupid, and making plans to deal with them. Help fund his company. Cabinet positions still available.


The Imperial Family

The Imperial Family at the head of the Evil Empire, has lost a member. John Walton, son of Sam, and one of the richest men in the world died in an ultra-light crash.


EU round up

After working hard to pull them into the European Union, and out of the Iraqi War, some speculate that the French and Dutch really did not want to be sharing their elitist paradise super state with a mostly Muslim nation. The Brits on the other hand seem to prefer the EU to be an exclusively economic forum. Michael Mandelbaum thinks that getting the nations not yet a part of the EU involved would help the US, I disagree. Involving our allies, like The UK, Turkey, and Poland, or places like for former Yugoslavia in an economic state or even political superstate where unemployment is as high as it is in Germany and other members, and where corruption is paid less attention than third world birth rates is not good for America. What America should be doing with our allies is pulling them into a tighter trade relationship with us directly, not making encouraging them to become part of a hodgepodge of sharply contrasting ideologies that will eventually gut what little structural integrity the social, and economic infrastructures of those nations. If Bush had worked harder at pulling some of our allies into a closer relationship with us, we would have more allied boots on the ground in Iraq, and quite probably have used those troops to break the back of the insurgency by now. What could we do to encourage trade and closer ties? How about giving some of the same economic concessions we give to nations who don't do a positive thing on the world stage? China gets gravy by the gallons, and yet they sell weapons to places like Iran. How about offering accelerated visa processing for nationals of certain countries coming to the US for business or education? The current administration screwed the pooch, and now we'll get to see if Turkey, the Ukraine, and get into the EU, if they stay out, and what happens to them in either case.



Competing views of China

On the one had we have Powell who is a fairly astute man claiming China is not a threat to the US. This should be reassuring, it may prove to be true, but I'll not hold out much hope. On the other hand we have an articles telling us that China is more of an economic threat than Japan ever was, and hearkening to the points made by Don Rumsfeld about China's military capabilities which paint the Chinese as the biggest threat since the USSR.



Hill reverses on the Hill

Republican Bradford Hill, who represents the Fourth Essex District in Massachusetts has done what appears to be a first. He's publicly renounced his support for the Constitutional Amendment that would ban same sex marriage and but allow Civil Unions. He went to a meeting in one of the strongly republican towns he represents and was greeted with applause when he stated he would not vote for the bill should it make it to the legislature again.



Almost retirement age.

Integration in the USMC is officially sixty four years young. Doing so would put them decades ahead of our nations schools systems. This would all be at the behest of President Roosevelt and executive order 8802.


It's incidents like this

It's incidents like this that make the carpet bombing of the entire middle east, even the so called "moderate" nations seem so attractive, even to me. I'm while not a Wiccan I do find their creed of "Do what thou will so long as it shall harm no other." to be a very reasonable, and attainable goal. People who run about killing their daughters, their adult daughters, for shaming the family name by either refusing to marry, or 'worse' marrying outside their faith, disgust me to the point where I'm glad I don't have to worry about wishing ill, or encouraging ill of people like this.

Maher Shakirat summoned three of his sisters to discuss a family uproar after one of them, Rudaina, was thrown out by her husband for an alleged affair. Maher listened to Rudaina's denials, and her sisters' pleas that they were not covering up the affair. Then he forced the three women to drink bleach before strangling Rudaina, who was eight months pregnant. The other sisters tried to flee but Maher caught and strangled Amani, 20. The third, Leila, escaped but was badly injured by the bleach.

I'm pretty sure I can come up with a few pithy phrases to accurately describe these type of people, but it would do my blood pressure no good.



The answer is yes and no

US troops are questioning the average Americans support for the war. The short answer is yes we do, and no we don't. For the most part the average American supports our troops to the hilt. On the other hand the political spin that has accompanied the war is outrageous, from both ends of the political spectrum, and is assuredly not supported. Those pushing the war which is based on bad intelligence, are not supported. I suspect some, of the men and women are expecting a reception similar to those that a lot of Korean or Vietnam veterans received, I don't think they will get it.



Killen Update

Edgar Ray Killen, convicted killer, confessed Klansmen and octogenarian has received sixty years for his part in the deaths of three civil rights workers a generation ago. The sixty years is twenty years each for the deaths he is convicted or orchestrating. The sentences are set to run consecutively, meaning this vile old man will never again be free to walk the streets. His lawyer has stated he will appeal on the grounds that the jury should not have been allowed to consider manslaughter.



Predators turned prey

I wish I could have been present to see this, picture if you will a gang of men hell bent on convincing a twelve year old girl child to marry. The men beat her repeatedly. Seven men set out, kidnapped and brutalized in their lordly manner a young girl to force her to marry one of their number. Little did they, or anyone suspect that how ever noble they might believe themselves to be, that they would be so effectively trumped by true royalty. Three lions drove off the girls attackers and guarded her until her until less unsavory men arrived to deliver her back to the arms of her family.



I'm not sure what is sicker...

I'm not sure what is sicker, this idiots crimes including the molestation of a 3 year old, the rape of a 13 yr old, and the rape leading to death of a dog, the media's reaction which is to talk first of the dogs death and only mention the two humans raped as after thoughts, or my joke.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

My joke was that the dog probably died of embarrassment from having been raped by someone less intelligent than herself.


How poetic

On the anniversary of the day he caused the murder of three men, a klansmen has been convicted of the murders. True he was convicted of manslaughter and not a more serious charge, but with his age and health Edgar Ray Killen will never be a free man again. It's just to bad he didn't get convicted of something warranting the death penalty.


More equipment difficulties

''Most infantry, logistics, and security battalions require approximately twice the number of .50-caliber machine guns and more M240G and MK19 machine guns than they would normally possess," according to the 40-page report, entitled ''Marine Corps Ground Equipment in Iraq."

The Marine Corps are seriously undersupplied. This isn't stopping them from winning battles, or dominating the opposition each and every time they take the field, it is almost certainly contributing to more casualties than would be the case if the they were properly supplied. Among the problems are over one thousand Humvees that are not uparmored. The Humvees that are armored are requiring much higher maintenance because they were never designed to carry the armor in the first place. Tanks and other vehicles are past their designed life time and rapidly in need of replacement. The report which stretches to about forty pages estimates that as little as thirty-nine percent of marine equipment could may be battle ready by 2008. This is not the first, nor will it be the last equipment issue are troops are to be tested with.



Update: Head hunting

About three months ago, I made mention that head hunting was what I'd like to be doing in the Darfur area, it seems I'm not the only one. Fortunately it does seem that some people are working hard to repair the social blasphemy that is the Sudan. My only hope is that the men and women who are brave enough to take on criminals supported by their own government live long enough to inspire others. This is after all a country that hasn't had anything 'the west' would call free elections in the last forty years. They are moving that way, but they have further to go than most people can imagine.



I guess it's true

One of my favorite authors once wrote "take an otherwise reasonable person, make them a devout, fanatical anything and their mind turns to mush." As is often the case when she writes about the many foibles of man, she hit this one dead in the black.

There fanatical while over used in no small measure is the only appropriate word for these five individuals, four nuns, and one priest. They crucified a woman to salvage her soul.


Online Payment

It appears the online payment game is about to add another chair to the table. While eBay owned PayPal is synonymous with e-payments, it does have some less know rivals, including 2Checkout, Bidpay, IBill, and ProPay the new player is one of the biggest in the world. Google, who've had one and a quarter billion in revenue in the first quarter is looking to diversify its income which is almost exclusively advertisement based. How well it will work, and how secure it will be is of course anyone's guess.



Two black patriots of old

Salem Poor, and Peter Salem of Massachusetts earned their pages in American History before there was even an America. Taking part in the Battle of Concord, and then in the battle of Breeds (Bunker) Hill, they are each credited with shooting down British officers and helping to turn the fight to the revolutionaries favor. Salem Poor was at Valley Forge with Washington.



ACLU vs Westboro?

Well maybe. It would be very interesting to see the ACLU go up against the nearly hundred member strong Westboro Church. A student has threatened to get the ACLU to sue his district after a math teacher stated in class:

homosexuality isn’t natural and that hanging out with gays is just as sinful as being gay.

If teachers aren't put through homosexual sensitivity training. The ACLU has not agreed to help, and the teacher in question is quitting his job to go into the high tech field, but not before the case attracted the attention of Fred Phelps and congregation. There have been several incidents of harassment on the school campus, and the far right is reacting in its normal manner.


Iraq: Good News Bad News

The Bad.

Capt. Phillip T. Esposito and 1st Lt. Louis E. Allen were killed by one of their own. Not as previously believed by enemy action. Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez is being held on two charges of premeditated murder, it is believed he did this as revenge for disciplinary action taken against him.

The Good

Abu Talha, described as the leader of insurgent forces in Mosul has been captured, apparently without a fight. This is very interesting. It make me wonder how far inside the insurgent groups our intelligence groups have penetrated, or if they just were tailing him and waiting for the right time to pounce. I suppose we'll know in fifty or so years when everyone involved is safely dead.


Ultra liberal Massachusetts?

I've lived in this state my whole life. I've got friends in the military, in politics, teachers, medical professionals, computer geeks and more in jobs ranging from stay at home parent to retail warrior. My friends live everywhere from Maine to Missouri, California to virgin, Texas to Michigan, Saskatchewan to Queensland and I'll never understand how people can actually apply that particular label to this state. Are we more liberal than say Texas or Utah? Yes we are. Are we in the same range of liberal as California and some other places on the left coast, not even close. Our governors have been republicans since 1988 or so. And yet people act all surprise when there are any rightists in the state, hell our current governor is a Mormon. This particular group of rightists are really not hugely to the right of a lot of Bay Staters, wrong headed, but not nearly as far gone as of Phelps, or some others.


Schwarzenegger gets Dangerfeild treatment

Returning to his alma matter to deliver a commencement speech to this years departing class, staff, and families the Governator got no respect. He was jeered, he was booed, he was red in the face. The police were roundly booed for taking down a sign criticizing the hugely expensive special election. Arnold was nearly downed out by the rather fervent crowd on more than one occasion.


unshocking news.

The official Terri Schiavo autopsy (imho, any medical exam in the last ten years has to count as an unofficial autopsy) shows that her husband, the person custom dictated as her next of kin and guardian, was right. The man who led the autopsy team had this to say of the extremely shrunken brain of Terri Schiavo:

"This damage was irreversible, and no amount of therapy or treatment would have regenerated the massive loss of neurons," said Pinellas-Pasco County Medical Examiner Dr. Jon Thogmartin


"For years and years, the courts have found there was no abuse of Terri, no evidence of abuse and that is what the medical examiner found," Michael Schiavo's attorney George Felos said Wednesday.

another telling remark about the issue:

Medical examiners said they were surprised by the extent of Schiavo's dehydration and the high amount of sodium found in her skin and organs. Her brain was smaller than that of Karen Ann Quinlan, who died in 1985 after spending 10 years in a vegetative state that first drew national attention to the right-to-life debate.

and last:

At least 19 judges considered the case over the years, and all sided with Michael Schiavo. The family battle drew national attention after Michael Schiavo got a court order to remove the feeding tube.

With any luck the "Michael Schiavo's an abusive husband" camp will all shrivel up and die.



Security council

Bush and Putin are meeting to discuss who should get a seat on this body. Contenders include Japan, Brazil, Germany , and India, and Kofi's pushing two African nations, probably his buddies in the Sudan or Zimbabwe.



More stem cell progress

Scientists have been able to get stem cells to grow brain cells. Unfortunately this is being done with mouse stem cells and not something higher up the evolutionary chain, possibly even another primate so that we'd have a fairly close idea of what we could expect to encounter in reproducing this for humans. Still, progress is good and when you consider the effects this could have on things like Parkinsons disease, one is gladdened this research is being done.


Those wristband

You know that little white band Tony Blair and other prominent Brits have been wearing to show their desire for fairer working conditions? Well it appears that Oxfam, Christian Aid, Cafod and other charities need a good researcher. The company that they bought them from is of the variety they are campaigning against. Why is it that I hear Alanis singing?



Despite all evidence to the contrary, Michael Jackson is not completely oblivious. Still glowing from getting ten not guilty's he has stated he will not share a bed with children anymore. Not surprisingly there were three jurors who wished to convict and were only stayed by the other nine arguing there was reasonable doubt I suspect that we'll probably never know for sure what happened, but I don't think Michael Jackson really is a competent adult.


Two people to hate.

With the Jackson trial over, the mainstream media will be foaming about for a story to feature for the trial of the century of the week. This couple are certainly deserving of all the hate the world can aim at them. Grandpa raped his thirteen year old granddaughter, Grandma said she got what she deserved. What a wonderful set of rolemodels, truly.



Israel, America, and China.

Israel is currently caught between one juggernaut, and a nation that see's itself as a once and future member of that category. On the one hand the US has supplied Israel with more military and diplomatic muscle than anyone in the world, on the other hand they make a great deal of money by being the second largest arms supplier to China. In the face of this knowledge the US cut Israel out of it's development of what all concerned parties expect to be the premier fighter in the F-35 upon its scheduled delivery in 2012, and suspended the flow of information on what other items may be in the Pentagon's ubiquitous bag of tricks. One Israeli columnist speaks rather plainly on the issue. She points out that while the US does place high demands on her homeland, China is actively aiding and abetting her nations enemies, including supplying Iran with missiles that can hit Israel. In order to maintain it's life as a nation Israel can not afford to alienate America anymore than they can afford to keep arming their own enemies at one remove.


More delayed justice.

Did you ever see the movie "Mississippi Burning" ? Well one of them men responsible for the deaths depicted in that movie has been brought once more into the halls of justice. Edgar Killen has had one previous dance with lady liberty on this issue that ended in a hung jury. I suspect this time something else will be the result. It maybe forty years late but when coupled with the renewed hunt for participants in the Till case, law enforcement and minorities may experience a warming of an often tumultuous relationship.



A generation together

A whole generation has grown up able to marry with ease in places like Virginia without ever thinking about it. They have two courageous people to think, one white, one black and of course a unanimous decision by the Unites States Supreme Court. Loving Vs Virginia was decided on this day in 1967.



One of the greats

Elvis has one, and now in his own life time a man who is for my money a far better musician is going to get one. B.B. King born in Berclair Mississippi in the lee of World War One this man would spend his early days as working in the cotton industry before moving on to make the music so many of us adore.




A lot of talk has been made about how the military is falling short of its recruting goals. This is only partly true. There are men and women already in the military who are resigning at high levels, and there are recruiters doing some impressive numbers. As is not news, the MSM has manged through their normal fear mongering to convince a lot of people not to sign up. Well, that and the fact that lots of people don't trust our beloved President.



HAL-5 new tech and new hope.

An interesting development out of Japan may give new hope to disabled people around the world. A thirty-three pound robotic suit that can move help weak and disabled people move. It's designed for aiding people in moving heavier objects than they would normally be able in general industry but the applications are numerous. Search and rescue, fire fighting, and dozens of other fields could benefit from this.


Media Malaise

It's amazing. This morning I get up and the TV was running Good Morning America, and they had the same story as the radio station I was listening to before I managed to turn it off. They devoted an entire segment to this entirely meaningless story. What story you ask? Not some investigation into corruption, nor a story on Darfur. It wasn't a story on what the American troops in Iraq are doing in their off time. It wasn't even a story on pedophile priests, or John Kerry's release of his military records. It was a story about a bear that got into some house virgin. Twenty minutes of this so called story. They even had cameras in the house that still hasn't been cleaned. Sad.



Iraqi resistance fading?

While the body counts announced on the news several times a day would seem to indicate the very opposite, they may be misleading. Two of the Iraqi insurgent groups have been in contact with Iraqi officials. They have been discussing the possibility of bringing their armed resistance to an end for several months. What is most significant however is that they two groups are said to represent over half the bodies in the insurgency.

We can all hope


James Byrd Junior

Less than a decade ago on this date a man was killed in a macabre publicity stunt for a gang with suspected ties to the Ku Klux Klan. He was attacked by three white men, his throat was cut and then he was dragged more than two miles down a country road. While his body was dragged his head, genitals, and a large amoung of skin came off. The rest of his body was left in front of a black church. Yesterday we remembered D-Day and those who fought, today we recall a father killed over skin color.



Fifty years long

American law enforcement agencies have traditionally prided themselves on their lengths that they can and will go to bring the law to those who deserve it. That reputation is about to get a shot in the arm.

In August of nineteen fifty five, a young boy was visiting his uncle, and family in Mississippi this Chicago native of fourteen years old did something whose consequences that he wouldn't live to regret. He whistled at a while woman, and three day's later he paid with his life. Mutilated and dumped in a river the promising life of Emmett Louis Till would end. A short time later men who later confessed to killing him would be tried and acquitted by an all white jury. His mother ordered an open casket funeral for the boy, a move that would stimulate the civil rights movement incalculably.

This week the FBI decided to bring justice to this case.


Collin Kelly

What happens when decades of military tradition meets a firey Massachuesetts nine year old and the two lockup in a contest of wills?

The nine year old wins of course.

Collin Kelly, age nine of Framingham MA decided he wanted to decorate the graves fallen, and in some cases forgotten veterans. Unfortunately the military cemetary only allowed family members to do so. After a short battle between Collin, who enlisted the aid of powerful allies like his Mom, and a few veterans, the buerocracy that threatened to choke the civic ardor of someone sure to be among the leadership of the next generation, Collin and his allies won. The graves were decorated in time for Memorial Day.

collin kelly 9




Ok this is one of those times I wonder about the wit of people. Some Canuck offered a million five to a Peruvian teen to lose her virginity to him since she was offering to sell it to him. This isn't the part I wonder about though. The girl is quite attractive, and is already a model and actress. Hey Stooopid! Why didn't you bring here to Canada, put her and her family up and get her connected to studio's and such? You could do all that for a hell of a lot less.

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