Friday, January 25, 2008

Scott Ritter on going to War with Iran

Former Chief weapons inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter illustrates how Bush's rhetoric is "fabricating and misrepresenting exploit the ignorance of the American public" in an effort to justify going to war with Iran.

listen to Scott Ridder speak about Bush's latest war mongering

Frogs in a pot:

"They say that if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water,
it will leap out right away to escape the danger.

But, if you put a frog in a kettle that is filled with water that is cool and pleasant,
and then you gradually heat the kettle until it starts boiling,
the frog will not become aware of the threat until it is too late.
The frog's survival instincts are geared towards detecting sudden changes.

This is a story that is used to illustrate how people might get themselves into terrible trouble.
This parable is often used to illustrate how humans have to be careful to watch slowly changing trends in the environment, not just the sudden changes. Its a warning to keep us paying attention not just to obvious threats but to more slowly developing ones.

An example:
Let's say that every year, the local well had an inch less of water in it. A person might realize there's a problem if there's suddenly NO water, but a slowly dropping level might not be an obvious crisis until it's too late!
Can you think of other examples?" taken from

What's going on?

And so I wake in the morning and I step outside and I take a deep breath and I get real high and I scream at the top of my lungs what's going on?

Twenty - five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination
And I realized quickly when I knew I should
That the world was made up of this brotherhood of man
For whatever that means
And so I cry sometimes
When I'm lying in bed
Just to get it all out
What's in my head
And I am feeling a little peculiar
And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream at the top of my lungs
What's going on?
And I say, hey hey hey hey
I said hey, what's going on?
Ooh, ooh ooh
And I try, oh my god do I try
I try all the time, in this institution
And I pray, oh my god do I pray
I pray every single day
For a revolution
And so I cry sometimes
When I'm lying in bed
Just to get it all out
What's in my head
And I am feeling a little peculiar
And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream at the top of my lungs
What's going on?
And I say, hey hey hey hey
I said hey, what's going on?
Twenty - five years and my life is still
Trying to get up that great big hill of hope
For a destination

If I may quote the 4 Non Blondes....

Also... whose Mike Gravel?

Grow a brain people!! Sheeeeet!! Is there no hope?

May 4, 2007 transcript of interview with Mike Gravel from


Harris: ... so, I want to know if you would share with us what you think should be next for us in Iraq.

Gravel: What should be next is to get out, and one of the things that we should do is—. There’s a civil war going on, and so when you hear Hillary and the others say, “Well, we’re going to get out,” they’re not getting out; they’re talking about just pulling back the combat troops. That still leaves 100,000 American soldiers there and 50,000 mercenaries and then all those war profiteers that are over there ripping it off at the expense of the Iraqis. So we’re going to leave all those people there and “Sure, we’re going to end the war.” You can’t end the war. Our presence is causing the war, our very presence. So if we leave any troops there at all, the insurgents will continue the war and they’ll continue killing other people. So their plan is a non-starter.

My plan would be very simple: We pull our troops out. As we’re pulling our troops out—that takes about 60 days—we turn around and get the puppet government ... and I want to say it, the word is probably ... the puppet government that we’ve set up ... we get them to draft 3 million young Iraqis. These young Iraqis are unemployed. Who do you think is part of the insurgency or these militias? It’s these young people that have no way of making a living and so they do this “insurgency” with banditry—the whole nine yards. What we do is draft them, put them in uniforms. OK? No civilian clothes. No arms. No arms. Begin to disarm them and turn around and give them the tools to rebuild their country with their own hands. And get the damned American war profiteers out of the country. Let them build their country, let them have some pride.

We had a program like this in the ’30s. It was called the Civilian Conservation Corps, the CCC. That’s what we need to do with Iraq and then get out, and use diplomacy, let them form their own government. It’s their country. Politicians in Washington feel we’re going to cut the country up in this way, that we’re going to get them to do this with their oil. ... It’s their oil! Let them do what they want with it. Who are we to go tell them what to do? Can you imagine if we had a million and a half, a million five hundred troops in the United States—and that’s about the proportions now population-wise. If we had a million and a half troops in the United States that had the power to go anywhere with their weapons and to kick in any door and to shoot anybody when they panic, what do you think would happen in the United States of America?

Harris: Our editor, Robert Scheer, in a recent panel with Nancy Snow and a bunch of other folks, Chris Hedges ... said that we are in fact afraid to let these Iraqis make their own history. Why do you think we are so fearful of leaving and allowing them to shape, as you said, their own future?

Gravel: Two reasons. One, we want to continue to control the oil and the media people on the Hill are getting briefings that we’ll lose control of this oil. That’s why we went to war. Who cares if we lose control of the oil? They’re going to sell it. They can’t drink the oil. What we should be doing is spending our treasured resources to get off of oil and to get off of that dependency. And of course, I have the proposal for a carbon tax that will begin to do it but we’ve got to first get our heads screwed on right.

It’s very simple. Energy is not an American problem. Energy, the environment, is not an American problem; it’s a global problem, and we need to work with other people from a global point of view. So I would have a carbon tax and under my administration we would set up a global institution and we’d ask other countries to come in and join us and to put carbon tax on their people and then we would take that money and integrate the global scientific community and the global engineering community into getting us off of carbon in a decade. When I say global ... the Chinese are ahead of us in fusion. The French are ahead of us in fission. The Israelis are ahead of us in photovoltaic. We’re ahead, of course, in weaponry. A lot of good that’s going to do us in the long run.

Scheer: ... I know you said earlier that you don’t need as many mavericks. I would hope that people are learning from you and I hope that we actually have more mavericks. I think we need more mavericks right now, more people who—.


read the rest of the interview in its entirety here
or listen to the interview here

Please visit Mike Gravel's website:

There's something to be said for blind optimism If the few political leaders that are not part of the bought system don't believe in themselves then there is no chance of at least exposing a tired, apathetic public of what we want and deserve from a politician.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Democrat Kucinich Quits White House Race

But he doesn't quit the good fight. Please go to the website and continue to show your support for this leader of uncompromising integrity.

By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer Jan. 24, 6:15pm

CLEVELAND - Democrat Dennis Kucinich is abandoning his second, long-shot bid for the White House as he faces a tough fight to hold onto his other job — U.S. congressman.

In an interview with Cleveland's Plain Dealer, the six-term House member said he was quitting the race and would make a formal announcement on Friday.

"I will be announcing that I'm transitioning out of the presidential campaign," Kucinich said. "I'm making that announcement tomorrow about a new direction."

Kucinich has received little support in his presidential bid; he got 1 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary and was shut out in the Iowa caucuses. He did have a devoted following.

Kucinich, 61, is facing four challengers in the Democratic congressional primary March 4, and earlier this week he made an urgent appeal on his Web site for funds for his re-election. Rival Joe Cimperman has been critical of Kucinich for focusing too much time outside of his district while campaigning for president.

His decision comes a month after the death of his youngest brother, Perry Kucinich.

Kucinich said he will not endorse another Democrat in the primary.

Kucinich brought the same sense of idealism to his second run for president as he did in his first bid. He said he was entering the race again because the Democratic Party wasn't pushing hard enough to end the Iraq war.

Once dubbed the "boy mayor" of Cleveland, he made an unpopular decision to refuse to sell a publicly owned utility that pushed the city into default and drove him from office.

After the city's financial troubles, the mayor faced death threats, and was forced to wear a bulletproof vest when he threw out the first ball at a Cleveland Indians game. He barely survived a recall vote.

But he lost his bid for re-election as mayor of Cleveland in 1978 to Republican George Voinovich, who went on to become governor and then U.S. senator. His life and his political career were derailed. Kucinich spent more than a decade trying to get back into politics — traveling around the country and then working as a teacher, consultant and television news reporter.

In 1994, Kucinich was elected state senator and he then won a seat in Congress in 1996. His once unpopular stand against the sale of the municipal electric system was praised as courageous. In 1998, the Cleveland City Council issued him a commendation for having the foresight to refuse to sell it.

During his time in Congress, Kucinich has been one of the most outspoken liberals, opposing international trade agreements like the North America Free Trade Agreement and marching with protesters in Seattle during a meeting of the World Trade Organization.

As a presidential candidate, he has proposed a Department of Peace, backed universal health care and supported gay marriage. He also pushed for impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney.

At a debate last October, Kucinich delivered one of the night's lighter moments when he confirmed seeing an unidentified flying object at the Washington state home of actress Shirley MacLaine. With a smile, he said he would open a campaign office in Roswell, N.M., home to many alleged UFO sightings.

Kucinich married British citizen Elizabeth Harper, in 2005, ensuring his 2008 campaign would have one dramatic difference from his first campaign. Kucinich told New Hampshire audiences during the 2004 race that he was seeking a mate. Women then vied for a date with him during a contest arranged by a New Hampshire political Web site, but nothing romantic evolved from Kucinich's breakfast with the winner.

(This version CORRECTS SUBS 3rd graf to correct spelling in quote; ADDS graf on UFO sighting.)

Viggo Mortensen to snub Oscars!?

Thought you'd appreciate this Ben.

taken from azcentral

Viggo Mortensen is prepared to snub the Oscars. The 49-year-old actor is up for a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of a ruthless Russian gangster in ‘Eastern Promises,’ but will boycott next month’s prestigious Academy Awards if the Hollywood writers’ strike is still unresolved. “If there’s a strike I will not go but I have a feeling they’ll solve it. I hope they do. I’m sure my mother would like to see me on TV,” Mortensen said Mortensen is up against George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones and Johnny Depp for the Best Actor accolade at the awards ceremony on February 24.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Weekly Feature!

We have a new weekly feature for all you loyal fans of the web publication Shire Shenanigans. It's Wednesday Workouts with Benito! We're kicking off our new feature with a fun little exercise called Glute-ham raises. Watch and weep.

Notice how slowly he lowers himself and also how he pushes back up with as little as possible so as to maximize the glutimus maximus.

Glimpse into the Oscars

This maybe the year remembered for most films recognized by Oscar that weren't formulaic Hollywood Oscar bate fare but made with the artistic intent of the filmmakers in the forefront and not the studio. Let's just hope Atonement doesn't win the top prize just for that fact as it is the only quintessential Oscar bate film nominated this year. (I actually haven't seen it, but that's the impression I get.) It shouldn't win, as it was the only film nominated for best picture and not nominated for best directing as well, which "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" was nominated for instead. A film about a man paralyzed by a massive stroke whose only form of communicating is through blinking. (Seems perhaps reminiscent of "The Sea Inside" which stars the same Javier Bardem who gives the chilling and haunting performance in "No Country for Old Men".)

I like films as much as the next gal, and everyone likes it when a film that isn't Oscar bate gets nominated for best picture. I haven't seen Juno yet, but apparently the director wasn't really thinking his movie was Oscar material. I mean, after all, it was written by a stripper:

Another film I was sort of surprised got nominated was "There Will Be Blood" by Paul Thomas Anderson, director of films like Boogie Nights and Magnolia. If you like watching fervent, possessed evangelical type characters freaking out in more terrifying ways than anything in the Exorcist then you'll like "There Will Be Blood." While not quite as disturbing and effecting as the Cohen Brothers' "No Country For Old Men" (also nominated) for me it was Daniel Day Lewis' performance, not the demented evangelical's, that made the movie for me. Mr. Lewis' was so sensationally compelling and entertaining it sort of makes up for the film's muddled purpose and nowhere going plot about a greedy oil man who loses sight of what's important (if he ever had sight of what was important)--basically his character goes from bad to worse and crazy). Both movies take place in the desert west, both eschew typical Hollywood story arcs, both films dominated Oscar nominations with 8 nods a piece, and both movies just end . . . with any pretense of film formula never surfacing--and questions lingering. The desert scenes; the cinematography and subtle artistry in No Country For Old Men are exquisitely done, though, and at the very least should make the film a cult classic.

The final film to be nominated was Tony Gilroy's "Michael Clayton" starring George Clooney which apparently was too high brow for me because I found the film utterly unengaging.

On to the predictions:
I suppose Hollywood has a precedent for giving top prize to horror flicks (Silence of the Lambs). So even though No Country ends on a flat note (some critics argue this is part of its artistry and genius. << spoilers.) I say this film wins Best Pic followed up in order of likelihood: Juno, There Will Be Blood, Michael Clayton, Atonement. It really is a testament to the cinematic accomplishment of No Country that a film that can end so anticlimactically without conclusion the way it does can still garner a 95% rating on Btw, No Country is not for the faint of heart. I doubt I could sit through this film again. A good film does not necessarily mean a likable film!

Missing from the list of nominees was "Into The Wild" which I wasn't really surprised by (although I did like the film) but other pundits expected it to be recognized.

In other Oscar news, Aragorn, I mean, Viggo Mortensen has been nominted for Best Actor for his performance in Eastern Promises! and Lady Galadriel from Lothlorien-- I'm sorry... I mean Cate Blanchett has been nominated for Best Support Actress in "I'm Not There", the creatively realized biopic about Bob Dylan's life as well as best actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

And now for the random video of the moment:
Why college students of all political affiliations pull for Texan (*gasp!*) Republican (*gasp!*) Ron Paul for President.

"U.S. Representative Paul (R-Texas) is running for the Republican presidential nomination on a platform of restoring the country to the values of the Constitution and founding fathers. Specifically, he wants to pull troops out of Iraq, repeal the income tax, abolish the Federal Reserve and put America back on the gold standard." quoted from the above "college students" link.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Home and Body Improvement with Ben

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Today we have a really exciting show for you folks. We are so fortunate as to have the great and venerable Ben with us today. Welcome Ben, it is wonderful to see you again!

As you saw in the video, while talented and proficient in his work, Ben still manages to be humble in his daily activities, not letting his skills and prowess swell his head, but instead in a show of humility lowers his head to the garbage pale and actually kisses the garbage, for he acknowledges it too serves an important purpose for him in his labor of love.
To schedule a dynamite training session with Ben at his current studio in Lenox, call 413 695 8152.

I had the distinct honor of helping Ben out a little bit yesterday burn the old rotten wood from the Barn and other wood scraps from the barn to studio conversion job.

The fire before we threw on a giant slab of wet wood that was part of the wall of the barn.

Here the wet wood wall from the barn is incinerated by the super hot fire from all the dry wood I stuffed into the firepit to its absolute capacity.

Some fine craftmanship by Ben on his barn and what will be his new personal fitness studio.

Ben deftly installs a new window and carefully cuts and reinstalls the old pieces of wood around the window. What a pro job.

Jumping Jehosafat Giha

And now for something completely different. (video is from last year at Catamount)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Gov't runs a racquet: "I am coming to you"

"You will explode in two minutes!"

Solomon Shinerock. Special bulletin just for you: Those IDs the government is trying to push on the people is a clear and direct result and reason for 9/11. Of course that is just a small part of a bigger picture, but anyway... as far as motivation for attacking our own country....

"'It certainly seems to be an effort by the federal government to create compliance with REAL ID whether states have an interest in doing so or not," said Don Cookson, spokesman for the Maine secretary of state's office.

The Sept. 11 attacks were the main motivation for the changes: The hijacker-pilot who flew into the Pentagon, Hani Hanjour, had four driver's licenses and ID cards from three states. [one of which survived the fiery inferno to positively ID him!]

The Homeland Security Department and other officials say the only way to ensure an ID is safe is to check it against secure government data; critics such as the ACLU say that creates a system that is more likely to be infiltrated and have its personal data pilfered."
secure drivers licenses
In other related news, the government is trying to create reasons to go to war with Iran:

"I am coming to you. You will explode in two minutes!" wait.. where's John Stewart on this one? Ahh... there he is.

Now about this comical "threat" the (supposedly) Iranians made. Dan Schmolze, the man who always has a sharp sense for common sense in affairs like this--do you really think this audio is legit!? I trust Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about as far as I can throw him and Donald Rumsfeld together.

Bush says: "Iran is a threat to world peace." Uhhh... no... last time I checked Bush was a threat to world peace.

on a lighter note...
Why there's no money to help me go to college :( it all went into high falutin' fernature.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Flying Jehosafat Giha

I lost my camera at Catamount. Apparently forgot to zip my jacket pocket after putting my camera away. Roger was dressed up in funky outfit and on those teeny skis that are like a little bigger than the ski boot. Was filming him looking goosey. Roger has about 35 pairs of skis--all different kinds. Roger's the guy I've been skiing with this past week. We both live near by and ski the same trails and he struggles to keep up with me on my racing skis which are damn fast, but he does. So, no picture updates for awhile.

In other news, it's better not to sign a lease for an apartment before being accepted to the associated school. "We haven't gotten your transcript yet--we're not sure they'll be room to accept anymore students." ... --pause-- "But I just signed the lease for the apartment in Amherst." --Fool of a Took! Fool of a Root more like it. "Well, I don't want you to be stuck with a lease and not be able to sleep tonight, let me see what I can do." Councelor leaves and comes back about five minutes later. "Okay, the director of Admissions accepted you." So by the skin of my teeth in typical Jacinto fashion, I am accepted to Umass right then and there. How bout them apples. But I will be doing late registration which means slim pickins on the classes. Looks like I'm gonna major in English rather than Environmental Science. Too much science and math in the kind of work I'd want to do in ENV SCI. I'd rather read and write. So I'll be a Junior! I actually gradjimicated from BCC thirty-six years posthumous to the fact. Feels good to be movin' on. I'll miss the cement hegemony on the hill that is BCC. Here's to new beginnings.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Dude, you're getting a Dell!

Well, no, I already have one. But, dude, you should get a Dell!

Tech support remotely accessed my computer and did a bunch of tweaks to get it running well again, then it recommended a great software "Picasa2" for managing and editing my photos. So no more red eye! I hear there are cheap flights to Europe right now--can't vouch whether they're red eye or not, and I don't think the remove red eye feature will remove the red eye status of such a ticket. Oh well, only so much a piece of software can do I guess.

more snow

I forgot to post these fotos and videos:
Little Cute Root goes sledding with Aunt Annie and Amira.

In other news, trying to get my higher education sorted out. Met with one of my potential roommates at Umass. She kinda left me with the impression Umass won't be a good fit for the same reasons Illona was saying. She is also a BCC alumni. And like many other BCC alumni, effectively said she was spoiled by BCC. So I am trying to mentally prepare myself for a downgrade in education and an upgrade in financial tuition. Or maybe I should just attend BCC one more semester and do more research to find a better fit. Awful lot of money to throw at the wind as it were.

Umm... more snow pics because I like the snow.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

more snow

more snow for the snowy at heart. Ride home after skiing today.

Richard the Reliable plows.

Went skiing yesterday and today with a "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" type character--ala Steve Martin from the movie. He kept going on about all the ways in which he conned ski resorts out of coupons and lift tickets and such. Had lots of funny Dirty Rotten Scoundrels-esque stories about how he'd finagle his way in and out of trouble. Funny chap. Well, skiing solo has its benefits. Can go where you want at yer own pace and meet interesting and friendly people on the chairlift. Today was good skiing because with each run the snow became fluffier and powderier as it was coming down hard all morning.