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Doctor recommended for optimal cerebral hygiene 

How are those New Year's resolutions holding up?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Sometime in my elementary school days upon seeing that adults could not manage to make it even a month maintaining their New Year's resolutions, I made a resolution to not make resolutions. Sometime in college I decided that if I ever wanted to make a New Year's resolution, I would have to declare on New Year's Day that my resolution was to break my childhood resolution with the understanding that no real resolutions could be made until another year. Sometime in my late twenties, I called upon my loophole. Sometime in my early thirties, I took advantage. My resolution was to try and slow down. To not fidget so much. To relax more. To avoid work, the primary cause I believe for my impatient behavior.

Overweight people have a tendency to sit, while lean ones have trouble holding still and spend two hours more a day on their feet, pacing around and fidgeting, researchers are reporting in findings published today.

The difference translates into about 350 calories a day, enough to produce a weight loss of 30 to 40 pounds in one year without trips to the gym - if only heavy people could act more restless, like thin ones.

NY Times

Guess what I think about that resolution I made some years ago? Yup, I don't like it. While I have not gained much weight (five pounds), my body mass has changed. Let's say that I am less dense than I used to be. Well, physically, that is. Cause mentally, well, being relaxed and less anxious seems to have slowed my mind as well. Anyway, in the last year I have made several attempts to do something about my body mass density. While by no means am I striving to be a neutron star, I sure would like to get started. [Editor's note: Buh-dum-dum, rim shot. Thank you, thank you. He'll be here all week.]

See, I have made three serious efforts to exercise more in the last six months, including running and strength training (weights). Each time I have been fallen by sickness. This New Year's Day for the first time ever I made the resolution (I had never wanted to make) to lose weight (well, lose fat and not care about muscle gain). So what happens after two weeks? I get the worst 48-hour head cold of my life that wipes me out for a week. What happens when I garner enough strength to get back to it? Well, last night, after a great week of nutrition and exercise, I come down with a severe case of rosacea (or something, I am my own HMO after all). Seems that rosacea (a reddy rash) affects some 14 million Americans and can be caused by exercise and some healthy foods. I am going to ignore all the other causes because like work I am starting to believe I am also allergic to good nutrition and exercise.

Oh, well. Fat people are happy, right?!

P.S. Seems cutting down on caffeine and suffering withdrawal causes rosacea, too. Thank you, thank you! The corner Tully's will not have to shut its doors.

rumsfeld's SS

Monday, January 24, 2005

defense secretary donald rumsfeld has moved beyond being a stooge screw-up for the bush administration. as reported in the washington post, rumsfeld has in the last two years created his own secret spy organization, with missions and activities that even congress doesn’t know about.

the so-called “strategic support branch” was created by rumsfeld to operate independently of the cia, without congressional oversight or authority. neither the house intelligence committee nor the senate armed services committee was aware of rummy’s secret adventure, and it’s hard to imagine that the committee members were amused.

sen. john mccain, a member of the senate armed services committee, said "i'm always sorry to read about things in the washington post when they affect a committee that i am a member of."

to sum up, rummy’s private security force, called by some in the pentagon “the secret army of northern virginia," is made up of “special mission units;" elite forces whose existence has not been publicly sanctioned. the post says they include “…two squadrons of an army unit popularly known as delta force, another army squadron -- formerly code-named gray fox -- that specializes in close-in electronic surveillance, an air force human intelligence unit and the navy unit popularly known as seal team six.”

think about what kind of troops those are. they’re stealth killers who leave no traces and take no prisoners. ordinarily i’m happy as hell to have them on “our side,” but under an ambitious mouth-breather like rummy (not to mention a president and attorney general who like torture), there’s no telling what activities might be beyond these people. the phrase “our side” suddenly doesn’t sound so comforting or appealing. kind of like another “SS” from days gone by.

A former senior intelligence official who left his post last year said he had known that the Defense Department was seeking a greater role in human intelligence. But he said he had not known that the Defense Department had begun any such effort, and said he did not believe that the Central Intelligence Agency had been notified.

"I was astounded, and it's the sort of thing I should have known about, given the perch I had," he said of the details reported by The Post.

apparently his perch had an obstructed view. or maybe he just suffered from a walleyed myopia on the lengths to which rumsfeld will go to consolidate his power.

navy vice adm. lowell e. jacoby, director of the defense intelligence agency, said in an interview that rumsfeld’s new unit has scored "a whole series of successes" that he could not reveal in public.

well, no. of course not. on the one hand such revelations might compromise the safety of the teams. on the other, it might cause freedom-loving and law-abiding americans to scream in outrage and demand accountability (a word not known by or associated with the bush administration).

is this concern unfounded? an overreaction? maybe. but then again, maybe not. especially when you learn that rummy’s people think u.s. laws don’t apply to them.

Pentagon officials emphasized their intention to remain accountable to Congress, but they also asserted that defense intelligence missions are subject to fewer legal constraints than Rumsfeld's predecessors believed.

Pentagon lawyers also define the "war on terror" as ongoing, indefinite and global in scope. That analysis effectively discards the limitation of the defense secretary's war powers to times and places of imminent combat.

could there be a scarier phrase than “pentagon lawyers”? sure, their job title is a punchline, and i’m in grateful for that, but when they start saying, “we have latitude to do whatever the hell we want, and it’s all legal,” suddenly the jokes aren’t so funny.

"Operations the CIA runs have one set of restrictions and oversight, and the military has another," said a Republican member of Congress with a substantial role in national security oversight, declining to speak publicly against political allies. "It sounds like there's an angle here of, 'Let's get around having any oversight by having the military do something that normally the [CIA] does, and not tell anybody.' That immediately raises all kinds of red flags for me. Why aren't they telling us?"

why aren’t they telling us? equally important, what aren’t they telling us? rummy has set himself up as a neo-con himmler, with his own little collection of SS forces. until he, and they, are reined in, no one should feel very comfortable.

shut up and vote

Saturday, January 22, 2005

with a week to go before the iraqi election, the excitement is palpable all around that country. candidates are engaged in a rapid-fire exchange of values and ideals, and voters are scrambling to keep pace.

this nascent democracy is bursting with competing visions of the best way to govern, a scenario breathlessly described in the l.a. times:

There have been no public debates or voter fact booklets to help citizens wade through the 111 slates offering candidates for a transitional national assembly, which will write the country's constitution. Iraqis still don't know where they will vote, what the ballots will look like or, because of assassination fears, the names of 7,400 candidates.

what a thrill it must be for this bright-eyed electorate, lining up to vote for the first time in a meaningful election. yes, the campaign has required them to take a brief respite from showering u.s. troops with flowers and confetti--but all involved are certain it'll be worth it.

"How can we vote for people when we don't even know their names yet?" asked Heider Khalid, 21, a mathematics student at Baghdad University. "This is such a critical vote. We don't know nearly enough."

emulating the example set by their american counterparts, iraqis will go to the polls armed to the teeth with information. they'll cast their ballots on the basis of well-considered opinions and well-developed positions on a myriad of issues. the candidates and their teams have made sure voters know where they stand.

It's a jumble of unfamiliar coalition names, symbols and three-digit numbers urging voters to remember a particular slate when they open their ballots on election day. Iraqis will select a single slate of ranked candidates, who will be allotted assembly seats based on how many votes the slate gets.

"We don't know who these people are," (a voter) said. "The posters offer nothing. We don't know what numbers represent which parties. There's a long list of promises, but who knows if they will keep them or not?"

the many parallels with the american electorate are startling. there can be no doubt that our founding fathers would be bursting with pride at this turn of events.

"Whenever there's a lack of information about the people and the parties, voters turn to the next-best thing, which is: 'This is somebody like me,' " said an election official with a nongovernmental organization in Baghdad, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Baghdad resident Ashur Sliwa, a 22-year-old Christian, has tried to keep abreast of the various lists but acknowledged that he had learned little about their goals or platforms. So he was leaning toward voting for one of the Assyrian Christian slates.

"This is an opportunity for me to do something so my people can be represented in the government," Sliwa said.

u.s. officials are equally enthusiastic about the upcoming exercise in democracy. their words are an electrifying endorsement of the process unfolding before them.

"I suspect a lot of Iraqis will know enough to feel they can make a choice," said a senior U.S. Embassy official in Baghdad, who also requested anonymity. "I don't think it's a totally blind thing. It's less adequate than one might desire. But it's certainly more than they had before."

yes, as promised by the bush administration, freedom is on the march in iraq. and the whole world is giddily wondering: where will it march next?

bush's delusions of sanity

Sunday, January 16, 2005

the u.s. president is a dangerously deluded fellow.

he actually believes that his re-election makes him infallible.

from the washington post:

President Bush said the public's decision to reelect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and that there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath.

"We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. "The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me."

notwithstanding the fact that the man can't put together a coherent sentence, this is a textbook example of a total breakdown of logical thought. apparently bush's "accountability moment" has passed, and he's free to resume his gibbering travelogue through dementia.

let's take a long look at our upcoming descent into random pandemonium: "...there is no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath."

well. there it is. not only did bush and his hellkites not make any mistakes, but there is no reason to hold them responsible...uh, for the mistakes they didn't make. personal responsibility is a wonderful philosophy, isn't it? just don't try to apply it to the bleeder of the free world.

just for fun, imagine how such utter disregard of accountability might go over the next four years. don't feel inhibited by the bounds of reason, because this president won't. he's got political capital, and he's going to spend it. it is his style.

go ahead, think about it.

okay, that's enough. it's not a good idea to ponder it too long. because you may start to think that "pompous" and "stupid" are not such a great combination. and we'll have plenty of both in the next four years.

sorry about that propaganda

Saturday, January 15, 2005

by now at least a few people in the u.s. have heard the sorry tale of armstrong williams, the "conservative black pundit" who sold himself to the bush administration.

for the bargain basement price of $240,000, williams agreed to pimp "no child left behind," the president's woefully misnamed education program. at no extra charge, williams also played the race traiter card by promoting school vouchers as a great opportunity for "...inner city school children—often of color."

here's a good summary of mr. williams' right wing toadyism, and here's his abject apology for same. great stuff, huh?

i thought it was so great, in fact, that i wrote him an e-mail:

well, thanks mr. williams for further sullying the reputation of journalism at a time when its credibility is virtually nonexistent.

i've no doubt that your conservative constituents will give you a pass, since you were carrying the banner of the faithful and being a good little propagandist.

i'm sure you'll continue to be well paid by people who find you to be a useful tool. you can look forward to many more years of being the right wing geraldo rivera.

meanwhile the bush disinformation machine marches on. they have lots of taxpayer dollars to spend, and no shortage of sycophants eager to take it.

think of it: the u.s. government secretly paying to spread political propaganda. if you were truly a conservative, you'd recognize that while you were selling out, you were also being sold out.

one question: did you give back the $240,000?

enjoy your money.

i sent this message, mind you, through the mail service at townhall.com; imagine my surprise when i got a "mail delivery failure" message from their postmaster.

now, i'm not saying they kicked back my e-mail out of spite. or that their language filters automatically reject word combinations like "bush disinformation" and "eager sycophants."

but i wouldn't be surprised.

in the interest of fair play, i'm going to resend my e-mail a few more times, just for the heck of it. if it gets through, i'll letcha know.

Mr. Willits Responds

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Mr. Willits created and used, I believe, several boilerplate responses for the hundreds of emails he received. The response I received was creative and entertaining. Although, he may have been truly cantankerous, but I doubt it. The response was too funny.

In Mr. Willits' response he shared that the book is no longer banned. He also asked me for a "full color, frontal nude 8x10 glossy picture" of myself for use in a future book of his own based upon the emails he received over the matter. If only I were a child to slap a solicitation lawsuit against him! I jest. Again, I believe the man responded with good humor. How could I not laugh?!

[Note to self: Do not delete signatures of outgoing emails and also add a line that "responses shall be published under implied consent unless direct notice is given to the contrary" or some such legal mumbo jumbo.]

Mississippi has libraries?!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Well, the title is the obvious joke Jon Stewart directly shied away from (by doing the same I've done to open my post) when opening The Daily Show to announce that libraries in two counties within the state of Mississippi have banned America (the Book).

Do like me (see the reactive note below), e-mail the lead librarian of the ban, Robert Willits, director of the Jackson-George Regional Library System, at rwillits@jgrl.lib.ms.us and tell'em what you think. Try writing something more intellectual than me. Thank you.

Mr. Willits -

There is absolutely no call for a librarian to ban books. You are not the voice for the community. That decision should be left up to publicly-elected officials. And when those people decide to have a book banned, you should lead the fight against the ban, which is wrong in the first place. You are an embarrassment to librarians everywhere. Well, except the yahoo in a nearby county who banned the same book in question, which needs no mention. Oh, wait, that other county is under your control. So... you're the yahoo, yahoo.

Wait, wait, there's no need to disparage Yahoo! by calling you a yahoo. Sorry, Yahoo!. Not sorry to you, Mr. Willits. Censorship is wrong. Retire, retire now.

Bill O'Rights

P.S. Lawyer/writer/t-ball team manager John Grisham has a book banned?!

Hey, you tub-o-lard!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Fittest cities, 2005, as determined by Men's Fitness magazine:

Top 25 Fittest
2005 Ranking
Last year
1. Seattle
2. Honolulu
3. Colorado Springs
4. San Francisco
5. Denver
6. Portland
7. Sacramento
8. Tucson
9. San Diego
10. Albuquerque
11. Boston
12. Virginia Beach
13. Minneapolis

All is not well here in the Emerald City or anywhere else for that matter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined in a study that 85 percent of Seattle residents said they'd exercised at least once in the past month, which was the best of the surveyed cities by Men's Fitness. Well, that ain't good. Nope, it is not, agrees the CDC, which reports that "more than 53 percent of Seattle residents are at increased risk for health problems because they weigh too much." Poor, poor Houston.

Top 25 Fattest
2005 Ranking
Last year
1. Houston
2. Philadelphia
3. Detroit
4. Memphis
5. Chicago
6. Dallas
7. New Orleans
8. New York
9. Las Vegas
10. San Antonio
11. El Paso
12. Phoenix
13. Indianapolis