Flimsy Sanity: August 2005

Flimsy Sanity

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. - Friedrich Nietzsche

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Looting Cops

Speaking of losing faith in humanity.

"Law enforcement efforts to contain the emergency left by Katrina slipped into chaos in parts of New Orleans Tuesday with some police officers and firefighters joining looters in picking stores clean...

"Some officers joined in taking whatever they could, including one New Orleans cop who loaded a shopping cart with a compact computer and a 27-inch flat screen television.

"Officers claimed there was nothing they could do to contain the anarchy, saying their radio communications have broken down and they had no direction from commanders.

"'We don’t have enough cops to stop it,' an officer said. 'A mass riot would break out if you tried.'

"Inside the store, the scene alternated between celebration and frightening bedlam. A shirtless man straddled a broken jewelry case, yelling, 'Free samples, free samples over here.'

"Another man rolled a mechanized pallet, stacked six feet high with cases of vodka and whiskey. Perched atop the stack was a bewildered toddler.

"Throughout the store and parking lot, looters pushed carts and loaded trucks and vans alongside officers. One man said police directed him to Wal-Mart from Robert’s Grocery, where a similar scene was taking place. A crowd in the electronics section said one officer broke the glass DVD case so people wouldn’t cut themselves.

"'The police got all the best stuff. They’re crookeder than us,' one man said...

"At least one officer tried futilely to control a looter through shame.

"'When they say take what you need, that doesn’t mean an f-ing TV,' the officer shouted to a looter. 'This is a hurricane, not a free-for-all.'

"Sandra Smith of Baton Rouge walked through the parking lot with a 12-pack of Bud Light under each arm. 'I came down here to get my daughters,' she said, 'but I can’t find them.'

"Some groups organized themselves into assembly lines to more efficiently cart off goods...Inside the store, one woman was stocking up on make-up. She said she took comfort in watching police load up their own carts.

"'It must be legal,' she said. 'The police are here taking stuff, too.'"

Pilfered from Crabwalk

From the Times Picayune Weblog

Found this - Seems to me divine intervention was saying "Screw You"

Searching for Jesus' finger

Wednesday, 2:10 p.m.

By James Varney
Staff Writer

In the garden behind St. Louis Cathedral on Royal Street lies an
incredible tangle of zig-zagging broken tree trunks and branches, mixed with
smashed wrought iron fences.

But right in the middle, a statue of Jesus is still standing, unscathed by the storm, save for the left thumb and index finger, which are missing.

The missing digits immediately set off speculation of divine intervention.

New Orleans has a long history praying to saints for guidance and protection in times of great peril. In fact it was Our Lady of Prompt Succor who was said to be responsible for saving the Ursulines Convent in the French Quarter from a raging fire that consumed the rest of the city centuries ago.

Since then, New Orlenians have prayed to the saint for protection from natural disasters. On Saturday, Archbishop Alfred Hughes read a prayer over the radio asking for Our Lady's intervention to spare the city a direct hit by Hurricane Katrina.

Many in the Quarter are now saying it was the hand of Jesus, the missing digits to be precise, that flicked the hurricane east just a little to keep the city from suffering a direct blow.

And the search is one for those missing fingers.

Shortly after Katrina passed, several men went to Robert Buras, who owns the Royal Street Grocery and told him they know who has the finger. Buras said he'd give them all the water and beer they need if they bring him the finger.

They told him they'd find it and asked to be paid upfront. But Buras told them he wouldn't take it on credit

"I'm going to find Jesus' finger,'' Buras said. ''I've got a lead on it.''

Who'll be driving Where on What

Where is the public outcry today that was heard in the 70’s and 80’s when gasoline prices rose only 30% in a year? (Unlike the current 100% rise) Do we care? Have we become a nation of sheep that no longer challenges those in power? Or worse, have we become indifferent saying, “What’s the use, the Iraq war is all about oil and this administration is all about making money on oil”. Have we a president that is so afloat with support from the oil industry that he’s intoxicated with power? We’d better wake up and get a reality check. And please, may the neo-cons take note that this editorial is not about engaging in Republican or Democratic pseudo-politics. This writer voted for Reagan and Bush Sr. This is about mis-focused power and to put it bluntly, piss poor planning. Has this administration informed the public of a national gasoline/diesel fuel plan that would be put into effect if terrorists sabotaged several oil loading complexes in the Middle East, or for that matter a minor interruption in the major world pipelines took place?

The American automobile manufacturers are being allowed by the U.S. government to submit bogus mpg data to the EPA to help sell more U.S. automobiles, which in turn will use up even more fuel stocks here at home and drive up our foreign deficit of payments. From state to state, MSRP stickers blatantly lie about the expected gas mileage rates for U.S. made gas-guzzling automobiles. (Foreign cars have accurate MPG data)

Gasoline rationing would open the door to a weaning off process, both as individuals and as a nation. During the Oil Embargo in 1973, gasoline supplies trickled almost to a stop. Tempers rose in the gas lines as the days went into weeks. There were a few bright spots though during this period. Jersey Bell Telephone re-designed their fleet of cars used by their supervisory personnel. They replaced the gasoline engines in their Plymouth K cars with electric motors and filled the trunk of the cars with banks of batteries. Good old Yankee ingenuity saved the day. A visitor from another planet might ask at this point, “You made it to the moon and back, why didn’t you apply all your technologies and resources to perfect better batteries and electric motors and not suffer this problem again”? I’m afraid the only answer I can come up with is “greed moderated conflict of interest”. U.S. leaders are tied hook, line, and sinker to the automobile and oil industries. There’ll be no solutions until we the people are totally fed up with our leaders’ self serving interests and demand they set a course that will initiate rationing, mandate we have the world’s best oilless electro-mobiles by 2007, and develop state of the art land public transportation systems before we send astronauts to Mars or any other outpost in space.

Ron Beauchain
Stuart, FL
I found this reasonable sounding reply on a blog while surfing - there is much more if you are interested in oil prices written by lots of people with different views. The original post is written much better, I just chose parts. I myself think the oil industry learned from the diamond people - create a shortage by withholding and then raise the prices - just a gut feeling, I don't know much for sure.

Listening to CNN

The first thing the govnt. did in regard to the hurricane was waive the clean air act. - Shows their first thoughts are for their fat cat buddies.

I had a good laugh

I went to the second hand store and they were all upset because someone had gone through the deposits during the night and helped themselves. I so wanted to say "So how does it feel?" because that is why all those old ladies volunteer - to get first chance at anything worth having. I still go because sometimes they miss things - (got a set of salt shakers that I sold for $77 once) but it is rare as there are so many of them - if one doesn't want it, the other one will. About the only constant thing available is Beanie Babies and old coffee pots. It is rare to uncover anything and when I take things up to pay for them, I've heard "I never saw that" more than once. About the only thing they don't collect is books and they mark those with big black magic markers - for meaness I think.

Trust Scientific Papers

This article says that about 50% of scientific research is wrong.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I agree with Bush on this one thing.

I agree with Bush on stem cell research - no government money should be spent to subsidize rich corporate hogs. Let the medical establishment fund stem cell research - they have more money than the government and will reap the profits no matter who develops new medical advancement. Last year, health-care spending in America reached an estimated $1.8 trillion, more than 15% of GDP. Some $200 billion of that went on prescription drugs. Global drug sales have almost doubled since 1997, and will rise to more than $700 billion by 2008. By the standards of other industries, most big pharmaceutical companies are hugely profitable: operating margins are more than 25%, against 15% or so for consumer goods. In reality, only around 14% of revenues go to fund Research and Development activities for pharmaceutical companies. Most new research is done on your tax dollar by Uncle Sam, with the drug companies reaping the profits at little or no expense to themselves. Your drug dollars are also paying for 625 industry lobbyists--a contingent larger than Congress itself. You're also subsidizing anti-consumer legal battles, like the one against that Maine law designed to get competitive drug pricing for Medicaid and uninsured patients that was just upheld by the Supreme Court. And all those lawsuits to prevent or stall low-priced generics from getting onto the market after patents expire. And then there's the annual $2.6 billion in consumer advertising--a tenfold increase in just a decade, and all those free samples and other rewards to doctors. To frost the cake, in December, 2003, at a conference in London, Dr. Allen Roses, a senior vice president of GlaxoSmithKline candidly admitted that fully 90% of prescription drugs only work 30% to 50% of the time.

Interesting, I thought

According to a global survey by Transparency International, Finland is perceived as the least corrupt country. (The United States is tied for 17th.)

What? No sales to North Korea????

Arms Sales "Over the last four years, China has purchased more weapons than any other nation in the developing world, signing $10.4 billion in deals from 2001 to 2004. Such statistics could be used by those in the United States government who have argued against any decision by the European Union to lift its arms embargo against China.

For that same four-year period, India ranked second, with $7.9 billion in arms purchases, and Egypt was third, with $6.5 billion in deals.

But India surpassed China in total purchases in 2004, agreeing to buy $5.7 billion in arms.

Saudi Arabia was second in signing arms deals last year, with contracts valued at $2.9 billion, and China was third in 2004, signing $2.2 billion in contracts for arms purchases."


A philosophy of life to consider

I figured out years ago that the human species is totally fucked and has been for a long time. I also know that the sick, media-consumer culture in America continues to make this so-called problem worse. But the trick, folks, is not to give a fuck. Like me. I really don't care. I stopped worrying about all this temporal bullshit a long time ago. It's meaningless. - George Carlin

Decorated Vietnam Vet talks of Similarities

A view from a psychiatrist who served in Vietnam and got a bronze star for valor.

Support the Troops

All the "Support the Troops" yellow ribbon folks may not be interested in the actual profile of the troops. This article talks about reported crime and number of criminals in the service but one wonders how many crimes go unreported. Today one soldier got a light sentence for the death of Afghanistan prisoner (by all reports detained by error - wrong place, wrong time) when actually many soldiers participated in his death. The following is from the blog "Body and Soul":
Mr. Dilawar was a frail man, standing only 5 feet 9 inches and weighing 122 pounds. But at Bagram, he was quickly labeled one of the "noncompliant" ones.

When one of the First Platoon M.P.'s, Specialist Corey E. Jones, was sent to Mr. Dilawar's cell to give him some water, he said the prisoner spit in his face and started kicking him. Specialist Jones responded, he said, with a couple of knee strikes to the leg of the shackled man.

"He screamed out, 'Allah! Allah! Allah!' and my first reaction was that he was crying out to his god," Specialist Jones said to investigators. "Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny."

Other Third Platoon M.P.'s later came by the detention center and stopped at the isolation cells to see for themselves, Specialist Jones said.

It became a kind of running joke, and people kept showing up to give this detainee a common peroneal strike just to hear him scream out 'Allah,' " he said. "It went on over a 24-hour period, and I would think that it was over 100 strikes."

Bush image

This image is so different than the "pray for guidance every morning" Republican picture of Bush.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Another quote

"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering, April 18, 1946, while awaiting the Nuremberg trials.

A Rush Quote

"And now the liberals want to stop President Reagan from selling chemical warfare agents and military equipment to Saddam Hussein, and why? Because Saddam 'allegedly' gassed a few Kurds in his own country. Mark my words. All of this talk of Saddam Hussein being a 'war criminal' or 'committing crimes against humanity' is the same old thing. LIBERAL HATE SPEECH! And speaking of poison gas . . . I SAY WE ROUND UP ALL THE DRUG ADDICTS AND GAS THEM." - Rush (oxycontin) Limbaugh, Nov. 3, 1988

Bush was so sure Iraq had WMD's because we sold them to him and where are they anyway?

Manipulation of intelligence, media and next academia

An explanation of why we no longer have a free press and soon will not have education but only indoctrination at all levels of schooling.

Base Closings

Why aren't we discussing the closure of overseas bases? I'm almost positive the natives are not thrilled with armed foreigners trained to be aggressive in their midst. I'm almost positive keeping soldiers (and sometimes their families) overseas costs more than domestic garrisons. Department of Defense's overseas bases include some 800 locations ranging in size from radio relay sites to major airbases.

"The U.S. military has left behind a legacy of environmental problems throughout the world, giving rise to a multitude of complaints by host governments, community groups, and environmental organizations. In the Philippines, only after the U.S. military evacuated Subic Naval Station and Clark Air Base in 1992 did Filipinos discover what one U.S. official called a "horror story," including tons of toxic chemicals dumped on the ground and into the water, or buried in uncontrolled landfills. In Panama, 21 people already have died from explosions of ordnance left on firing ranges, prompting fears that more accidents will occur after the U.S. leaves. And in Germany, where half of all overseas U.S. troops are still stationed, industrial solvents, firefighting foams, and waste have destroyed local ecosystems near some military bases. The Army estimates that cleanup of all U.S.-caused soil and groundwater pollution overseas could cost more than $3 billion."Overseas Military Bases and Environment

This article America's Empire of Bases by Chalmers Johnson
is fascinating I think.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Some of the most interesting things are said by anonymous

When you go to work, if your name is on the building, you're rich. If your name is on your desk, you're middle class. If your name is on your shirt you are poor!
- Unknown

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Cops aren't even on this chart

When I had my bees stolen, I went to the law. They were more than useless as the thieves were their friends. I have no respect for the law as many are lazy or crooked or both. Anyway, I saw this and thought you might be interested in just how dangerous their jobs are:

 The 10 most dangerous jobs
OccupationFatalities per 100,000
Timber cutters117.8
Pilots and navigators69.8
Structural metal workers58.2
Drivers-sales workers37.9
Electrical power installers32.5
Farm occupations28
Construction laborers27.7
Truck drivers25
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; survey of occupations with minimum 30 fatalities and 45,000 workers in 2002

How about a little truth?

This Slate article about exaggerating the dangers of meth is another example of creating another moral panic. The drug war is so stupid to my mind and the lesson to be learned by prohibition is that organized crime (a more subtle version than the Untouchables) needs these laws to flourish.

Norway - Voted best place to live

This ranking by UN is interesting. A lot of Norway's prosperity seems to be because the government owns the oil industry. I find it interesting that Iraq's only hope for any standard of living for its own people is oil and Bu$hco and his buddies want to privatize it. What if US made it's oil a national resource? Better way to pay debt than mortgaging the next three generations. And while we are at it, the airwaves belong to the people too - that would bring in tons of cash too.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Big Pharma

“The public is being allowed to believe that drugs are safer and more effective than they really are,” says Dr. Marcia Angell, who for two decades was editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine. “Journalists, as well as the public and physicians, have bought hook, line, and sinker the idea that these drugs are getting better.”
In reality, she says, based on research for her 2004 book, The Truth About the Drug Companies, of the 415 drugs approved between 1998 and 2002, only 14 percent were truly innovative, 9 percent were drugs that had been modified in some way, and 77 percent were simply “me-too” drugs, copies of medicines already on the market, created not necessarily to improve health but to fill a spot in a company’s product portfolio.

Check this out on problems with the media and their love affair with pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Today some guy called trying to raise money for "Policemen yada yada" - I didn't listen past the word policemen. I was polite and told him that all my charity money is already earmarked and he got really snotty and said, "Don't you care about missing children?" I never can think on the spot so I sputtered a little and hung up. I could have had a number of better comebacks like:
Every time I've see a policeman he is hassling me not helping me.

Is it true that many telemarketing calls come from prisons?

If I get ANY extra money, I funnel it straight to the ACLU.

How come only bullies want to go into law enforcement?

How come it costs $10 to see who the 23 sex offenders in my town are - if you are so concerned about children send ME $10 so I know who they are and can warn the kids in the neighborhood.

I looked up crime statistics in my state and there are more policemen than people in prison, that's like having as many teachers as students.

I once did a paper on police corruption and they are known to help themselves after robberies and drug busts and when they appear in court they even have a name for it "testilying"

If only they would give me an hour or so to answer - next time I'll tell them to stay on the line while I think for awhile.

Some People Think they Are SOOO SPECIAL

Went to a crowded rummage sale Saturday and had to park about a block away. I am standing in the driveway waiting to see the goodies and this huge pickup just drives into the driveway of the garage sale house and the guy gets out and pushes his way into the sale - leaving his dog to bark the whole time he is gone. Now it is one thing to have a barking dog disrupt the neighborhood, but making him mobile....well, REALLY!!!...and no, it was not the guys own driveway - I see him at all the sales.

Politics Suck

I know my opinion on politics ain't worth a spit. As I see it, Washington is like a corrupt courtroom whereby the poor get poor lawyers, the rich get great representation and the judge's mind is made up before he hears the first testimony. The media, who used to be the jury, is no longer free of prejudice. Metafilter had an entry comparing what some Republicans said about Kosovo and it sounds identical to what protestors say about Iraq. The same actors play different roles on demand. I remember a high school civics debate about whether a representative should vote his conscience or the will of the people in his homestate. What a moot point as they vote neither but vote in favor of the highest bidder. Maybe it was always so but it seems to me the abuse has gotten more blatant.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

This guy makes my mutts look cute

Check this out.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Almost no one, no matter what that person might do, sees himself as being bad or unreasonable. Everyone thinks of himself as being good and can justify their actions to themselves no matter how selfish, abusive, and absurd. It's always the other guy in a dispute who we think of as being the nut.

The US leadership does not want to admit it is at war to gain rights over oil production so it has to play the terrorism flypaper angle. Sure Bush should have visited the army hospital and attended a few funerals to fake compassion but he chose fundraising dinners and vacations and missed the chance to SHOWBOAT. So here comes a dead boy's mom amassing media attention and I am not surprised at the venom of the right toward Cindy Sheehan and the claim she is showboating.

Who disparaged the founder of MADD, Cindy Lightner (well there is my brother who says he belongs to DAMM - Drunks against Mad Mothers) or Adam Walsh for gaining careers out of the loss of their children. People who lose children to senseless violence sometimes get militant - notoriety and the ability to effect change is just the random toss of the media's dice.

Ralph Nader to Cindy Sheehan

Please check this out. Ralph Nader writes good essays and letters - no wonder the "powers that be" ridicule him.

Am I way off in this observation?

Judith Miller reminds me of Susan McDougall in a way. Lots of people implicated but some low level woman goes to jail. Same thing with Martha Stewart when hundreds did way worse things - including Bush selling his stocks right before it tanked - and he was on the board of directors.

Class Action Suit - $5 Settlement

This from Boing boing about Sony making up reviews for their movies and offering $5 if you were damaged. Should bring out some small time liars but Sony deserves it.

A matter of Privacy

"While reporting on the vast amount of information Google has indexed and amassed, CNET reporter Elinor Mills put together a dossier on Google CEO Eric Schmidt--by Googling him. In retaliation, Google has now imposed a year-long news blackout on CNET."
- from a good blog Rebecca's pocket

May cause drowsiness

Some of the common side effects of the drug I am on are "Abdominal pain, abnormal walk, loss of muscle tone, agitation, aggression, anxiety, chest pain, constipation, coughing, decreased activity, diarrhea, dizziness, dry skin, fever, headache, inability to sleep, increased dreaming, increased duration of sleep, indigestion, involuntary movements, joint pain, lack of coordination, nasal inflammation, nausea, overactivity, rapid heartbeat, rash, reduced salivation, respiratory infection, sore throat, tremor, underactive reflexes, urination problems, vomiting, weight gain
increased heart rate, low blood pressure and EKG changes, memory loss, muscle rigidity, altered mental states and instability of blood pressure and pulse; potentially fatal". (I'm surprised it causes not only constipation but also diarrhea) The pharmacist puts the note "may cause drowsiness" which isn't even listed as a side effect. Ha ha ha, I could just die laughing.

I notice they almost always put that "drowsiness" warning on all pills. I suppose that is to lull us into thinking they are concerned about the effects these drugs might have on us and are acting as well educated professionals who study the side effects and warn us of the most dangerous ones.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I have been lax on entries

Not that anyone cares, but I have been rather "down" of late and so I have neglected to blog - who needs to hear more gloom and doom. Continual bad news about my bedridden father and now my favorite aunt's health is also in jeopardy.

The oil trade has moved into our community and houses are selling for twice what they are worth. Some people say that this area will be the next Texas size boom. Everyone seems eager to get in on the bonanza so lots of houses are for sale. It reminds me of 15 years ago when the same thing happened in North Dakota and the natives were left paying for enlarged schools and paving, sewer, water costs for failed developments as the speculators ran off with the profits. The good news is that restaurants, bars, and casinos are making some money.

Different atmosphere????

People will pay different amounts for the same item depending on who is providing it. The economist Richard Thaler, in his 1985 ''Beer on the Beach'' study, showed that a thirsty sunbather would pay $2.65 for a beer delivered from a resort hotel but only $1.50 for the same beer if it came from a shabby grocery store.

Factoid from 1987

Seven million American children disappear. Instead of merely listing each dependent child, when tax filers were required to provide a Social Security number for each child, seven million children (children who had existed only as phantom exemptions on the previous year's 1040 forms) vanished, representing about one in ten of all dependent children in the United States.

Free BBQ grill