This is amazing - you won't believe your eyes

This illustrates how our perception of color is influenced by surrounding colors. Check it out.


The Dirty 15

Here's a list of the asshole Dems who jumped ship and made CAFTA a reality:

Melissa Bean (IL)
Jim Cooper (TN)
Henry Cuellar (TX)
Norm Dicks (WA)
Ruben Hinojosa (TX)
William Jefferson (LA)
Jim Matheson (UT)
Greg Meeks (NY)
Dennis Moore (KS)
Jim Moran (VA)
Solomon Ortiz (TX)
Ike Skelton (MO)
Vic Snyder (AR)
John Tanner (TN)
Ed Towns (NY)

These people should never get a dime from labor unions or the progressive community again. That goes for the ones who represent marginal districts too. The idea that this was a "tough vote" for a Democrat who represents a swing district doesn't hold water. Polls show that Americans are sick and tired of Congress passing these corporate-written "free" trade deals that sell out ordinary workers. If any of these people represent you, I urge you to RAISE HELL!


That's my term for otherwise nice people who supported Dubya. PMS or Poor Misguided Souls is something to help me come to terms with these people. It stems from my trying to make sense of my Dad and his wife. They are kind, generous and thoughtful of others. They are pillars of their community and are very fair in their opinions. I don't have a clue why they supported Dubya other than they just didn't like Kerry. It just doesn't fit them. Hence the term. Too bad it's already in use. I was at a red light today and saw the sweetest little old lady. She looked like the type who would invite you in for cookies or lemonade on a hot day. As she pulled forward I saw the W04 sticker on her car. I immediately shook my head and said to myself "PMS". It's fun - give it a try. Then there are times when you see a large SUV with a perosn behind the wheel who looks like an asshole and drives like one. If you see a W04 sticker on that vehicle just say to yourself, or out loud, "ASSHOLE!"


Tommy gets caught raiding the cookie jar... again!

Our conservative Christian president

As far as I know this is a genuine still from a video. It shows Bush giving the finger to the press before or after a meeting on the CAFTA vote. I would like to hear the reaction of the genuine Christians who voted for this asshole. Do they feel as if they were hoodwinked? Do they regret their vote? Probabaly not.

CAFTA passes by 2 votes

God Damn It! What is wrong with these people? CAFTA is even worse than NAFTA. Didn't we learn anything by that debacle? What's worse is 15 Democrats jumped ship and voted for it. I can't wait until I get their names. They WILL get letters.

Read all about it

Judge lectures Bush administration

A judge, in sentencing an Algerian man for plotting to bomb the Los Angeles airport, had some nice things to say to the Bushies.
U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said the successful prosecution of Ahmed Ressam should serve not only as a warning to terrorists, but as a statement to the Bush administration about its terrorism-fighting tactics.

"We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel," he said Wednesday. "The message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart."


Story here


Back in the saddle

I'm slowly trying to get myself back to the blog. Still have lots of work to do between now and Sunday night. Not to mention that job at work that has a Friday deadline. I should be done by Monday :-(

By the way - a month or so ago I mentioned an anti-spyware proggy called CounterSpy. I'm still using and wouldn't be without it. There is a link for CounterSpy on the right. Get the trial version and give it a go. If you find that you like it the cost is only $20. Well worth it in my opinion.

Shock and Awe Revisited

Shock is when you find out your 401(k) plan is in bankruptcy. And Awe is going to be when your Social Security funds aren't there because Dubya put them into the hands of the people who bankrupted your 401(k) in the first place.


Aeon Flux

Hot Damn! They made a live action flick out of my favorite animated series. Ok, so it's the only animated series I really ever got into. It reminded me of Heavy Metal magazine which I read religiously in the 70s and 80s. Charlize Theron should be excellent in the title role. Check out the Aeon Flux web site.

Telnaes 07/20/2005

Finger Licking Good

Thai cuisine offers a myriad of delicious choices, from spicy curry and fragrant soups, to fresh seafood and stir-fried treats. But when you are in Thailand and subject to menus that have been brutally translated into English, be prepared for anything! Here are a few examples of entrees that I've seen listed on various Bangkok restaurant menus:

Grilled Lamp
Pig Intestin with Savory Sauce
Fired Chickern
Pork Having Sunbath One Time Only
Broken Fish Trap

Deep Fried Crap


No Rice for ASEAN

It’s not just Egypt, the US, and the UK that are on high alert for terrorists these days. Oodles of extra security preparations are in place for the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Ministerial meeting in Vientiane, Laos this week.

This annual security conference is billed as Asia’s largest gathering of politicians. As for the increased security measures, some of them will be startling for the laid back citizens of the usually tranquil Lao capitol. For example: no tuk-tuks (three-wheeled vehicles) will be allowed on the streets of the city center. This would be akin to having San Francisco halt cable car service for the week. In other words: it’s hard to imagine. In addition, all land border crossings - such as the Friendship Bridge that links Laos with Thailand - will be closed. This measure will temporarily prohibit backpackers and other “solo” travelers that aren’t part of a group tour from entering the country. That’s also hard to imagine, but apparently that’s what the government is planning. Meanwhile, Vientiane police are conducting spot-checks on motorists, and authorities have clamped down on travel between Vientiane and outlying provinces in order to “keep out troublemakers.” This appears aimed at Hmong militants and anti-government rebels that have been blamed for a series of minor bombings and other incidents that have occurred on a sporadic basis since early 2000.

Even though the meeting hasn’t yet started, it’s making news for the fact that Condoleezza Rice will not be appearing. Citing “other travel plans” she is skipping the event and sending one of her deputies instead. That may not seem like a big deal but this will be the first time since 1982 that an American Secretary of State has not attended this important Asian gathering. Needless to say, ASEAN members are not happy about Rice’s decision to skip the meeting, seeing her absence as a sign of diminishing US commitment to the region.

One major issue that may be decided at this meeting is whether or not Myanmar (Burma) should be allowed to serve as next year’s host. In the past, ASEAN has used a revolving system that allows each member country (there are ten) to serve as the annual “chairman.” However, in light of that country’s continuing poor human rights record, some members are demanding that Myanmar be skipped in the hosting rotation. Rumor has it that Myanmar may in fact decline the chairmanship in order to avoid further controversy.

Meanwhile, Vientiane is sprucing up its dusty streets, old buildings and historic temples. The pleasantly sleepy town will be doing its best to look its best for the visiting dignitaries. Even a new 14-story hotel – the tallest building in Laos – has opened for the occasion. More than 2,000 participants from 25 countries will be in attendance, along with over 700 media personnel, making this the biggest event to ever hit the poor, land-locked country. And despite Laos’ distinction as being the “most bombed country per capita in the world” (thank the USA and their role in the Vietnam War for that claim to fame), you can be sure that the sweet and friendly Lao people will do their utmost to welcome their guests and make the event run as smoothly as possible.


Absolute Power

Believe it or not, the United States is not the only country with a screwed up government. In Thailand, things appear to be going from tolerable to frightening. In his latest power grab, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (ex-telecommunications mogul and perhaps the richest man in Thailand) has issued an emergency decree that gives him unprecedented new powers. His grab-bag of new perks includes the right to censor news, detain suspects that haven't been officially charged, confiscate property, expel foreigners deemed to be “troublemakers,” check e-mails, and tap telephones. Hmm…has the familiar smell of post-9/11 Bush actions, doesn’t it? All of the new Thailand measures are justified by Thaksin (pronounced, ironically, as “Toxin”) on the grounds of “protecting the national interest and security.” Once again, this has the eerie odor of “Homeland Security” written all over it.

Why the sudden need for such over-the-top actions in Thailand? Last week there was a coordinated series of bombings in the southern city of Yala. This prompted Thaksin to ask his cabinet for the “absolute power” to “stamp out unrest” in the region. And the region certainly is a mess. The Yala attacks are the latest in a spiraling wave of insurgency that has occurred in Thailand’s Deep South since early last year. Most incidents have occurred in the three southern, mostly Muslim provinces, that border Malaysia. This region has been the scene of almost daily disturbances, ranging from shootings and bombings to beheadings and arson. Police officers, government officials, school teachers and even Buddhist Monks have been victims of the attacks. The violence in the past 18 months is unprecedented; over 800 people have died.

Thailand has endured an active separatist movement in the South for decades. As recently as the 17th century, the province of Pattani was a separate kingdom with its own rich history. In 1902 it was formally annexed to Thailand (then known as Siam). Due to its previous independence, many people in Pattani still argue for a separate state. Is this the main reason for the recent violence or are there other factors percolating under the surface? Whatever the case, the Thai government has done nothing to effectively stifle the unrest.

Naturally, Thailand’s media are up in arms about the possibility of news coverage being censored. One highly-regarded figure is also skeptical of the government’s plan. “Authorities have worked inefficiently,” says former PM Anand Panyarachun. “They arrested innocent people instead of the real culprits, leading to mistrust among locals. So, giving the government broader power could lead to increased violence and eventually a real crisis.”

That’s what I fear also. The Thai government is fanning some very dangerous flames.


Missing In Action

I said it before but I apologize for being so neglectful of Wild Sects. I can't thank Bangkok Bertha enough for the excellent posts in my absence of mind.

This move has been taking all of my energies. I lived in my old house for 7 years. It's amazing the crap one family can accumulate when given the space to store it. We finally started sleeping in the new house last Friday. We still have much to do in the old house including, but not limited to, emptying the basement and attic, sorting through the tons of garage sale items, repairing drywall in a bedroom ceiling which incudes installing a sheet and a half of drywall, mudding the whole ceiling, sanding and then painting the whole room. Then there's the yard.

I have 2 weeks to complete all this while dealing with a 2 week deadline on a large project at work. Needless to say I'm swamped. Please have faith that I'll be back at the keyboard just as soon as I regain my sanity.


Comedy Central

That George W. Bush sure is a funny fellow. There are few standup comics working these days that can rival him for pure zaniness and unpredictability. I was reading a Reuters article in the Bangkok Post today and this is what Dubya had to say about his mystery choice for the Supreme Court vacancy:

"My nominee will be a fair-minded individual who represents the mainstream of American law and American values. The nominee will meet the highest standards of intellect, character and ability."

Unlike you, eh, George?


Directive from Karl Rove

"Pay no attention to the man behind the cretin"


Jules Shear by request

Hank posted a cool comment about Jules and Wild Sects and wanted to hear You Just Don't Wanna Know (4.0mb) from Got No Breeding. Always happy to oblige another Jules fan.

Just in case Hank didn't get a chance to hear the unreleased Jules song, Bad Connection, that his manager sent me, here it is.


Commentary Today

I just found a web site that gives commentary from both the sane side and the religious right wing nutjob fanatical neocon side. It's called Commentary Today. Enjoy!


Liberal or Conservative?

Voting ends Sunday


Sorry to be so neglecting of Wild Sects but it's been a busy week!

First there was the Dodd family reunion here in Atlanta. Relatives came from Ohio, Missouri, West Virginia and Florida. It was a blast. Got to get reacquainted with cousins I hadn't seen in 35 years and even met one I had never met before. It was a great time. Needless to say there was several instances of various forms of inebriation. Especially with a cousin from Ohio who I grew up with and have seen every couple of years since then. He ended up staying all week.

Second there was the fact that I finally found a home suitable for my immediate family to move into. Just signed the papers yesterday. We'll be moving throughout the next week so once again blogging will be sporadic at best. Thanks to Bangkok Bertha for the great School Daze post. At least SOMEBODY is doing their job :-)


School Daze

The e-mail from my friend Stan in Orlando was short and succinct: "I found a copy of the Eagle Eye on the bus this week. Would you like me to send it to you?" I e-mailed back and told Stan to send it to me ASAP. I hadn't seen an Eagle Eyein years and was eager to see one again. And just what is an Eagle Eye? You'd be forgiven if you thought it was yet another government "intelligence" agency. It's actually the student newspaper at Orlando's Edgewater High School, my old alma mater. When I said that I hadn't seen a copy of the Eagle Eye in years, I was not being totally accurate. I was a staff writer for the paper back in 1976 and 1977, which - if my rusty math skills are correct - is about a three-decade span of time. Ouch! Age ain't nothin' but a number, right?

Stan mailed the newspaper to me promptly but since he lives in Orlando and I live in Bangkok it took ten days to reach me. Once I had the coveted newspaper in my hands, I read it from cover to cover. Perusing the Eagle Eyebrought back a flood of high school newspaper memories. I remembered all those afternoons in journalism class, writing articles for the paper. I was in the sports department, writing up roundups of football and basketball games, and anything else that fell into the category of a competitive event (bowling, talent shows, you name it!). Being a music freak, I also got to write album reviews, critiquing the latest records (remember those black vinyl beauties?) by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bad Company, and Led Zeppelin.

These days, it's safe to say, the song does not remain the same. Music changes and so do people. And that's the beauty of time; things change and we keep learning from new experiences. Reading the 2005 version of the Eagle Eyegave me valuable insight into the mindset of the digital generation youth. After living in Thailand for nearly a decade, it's safe to say that I'm more than a little out of touch with the typical American teenager. What are their dreams, hopes and fears? I found some of the answers in the newspaper I was reading. The copy of the Eagle Eye that Stan sent me was dubbed the "Senior Issue" and contained several pages of "reflections" by graduating staff members. One writer, Hanif Ali, described his high school experience as "a field of bewilderment riddled with landmines of sentiment, convoluted and altered by my naivety." That was good for a chuckle. But his closing line was what really caught my eye: "I find myself breathing in a new independence, and it's refreshing." It sounds like this kid might have a bright future in journalism.

Amidst the plethora of senior year remembrances, I was also pleased to see some good examples of editorial writing. In this day and age where so much of the American media appear to be nothing more than government mouthpieces, it's refreshing to see some intelligent dissent being written. Apparently not all of the young Eagle Eye staff writers are swallowing the propaganda the current government is spewing out. Some are challenging what they've been told, and writing honestly about what's on their mind. And that's something that I find very refreshing.