Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Meanwhile and Far Away, The Final Chapter

Now that both the month of August and the Twenty-Eighth Olympiad are over, it's time to take stock of how our proud American brethren have fared.

  • 35 Gold medals (up by 9 since last update)
  • 62 Americans dead this month in Iraq (up by 8)
  • 39 Silver medals (up by 9)
  • August 2004 ranks as sixth most deadly month in Operation Infinite Profit (up one position)
  • 29 Bronze medals (up by 6)
  • Nearly 6700 Americans wounded thus far in Iraq (Total not recently updated)
  • 103 total medals (a pick up of 24)
  • 981 total Americans dead (a pick up of 8)

While we may hear some talking heads at the RNC this week lauding those numbers in the odd bullets in the above list, I seriously doubt that they'll be brave enough to voice any of the even ones. At least not in the public area of the Garden.

A Siege of Herons

Ramblings Among the Faithful

As unwanted as a Republican National Convention delegate in New York City, the bright colors of fall are beginning their slow invasion of the greens of summer. The eye is drawn to those small dots of reds and oranges. Soon these bits will grow, connect, and deepen into a gorgeous mix of color, especially beautiful when hit by sunlight.

Republican delegates, on the other hand, only look good in the dark. I have to tip my hat to them, though, for being so ballsy as to produce a very poor carbon copy of last month's Democratic National Convention. I'd like to say I really watched the goings on last night, but it's just so damned boring. I'm sure manly-man Arnie tonight will be as lifeless and mechanical as McCain and Giuliani were last night.

A Siege of Herons

Saturday, August 28, 2004

August 28 in History

After a delay due to cable going out for a few hours, I present, sans plus de cérémonies:

On August 28,
  • 1565: St. Augustine, Florida was established. It is the oldest surviving European settlement in the United States.
  • 1609: Henry Hudson discovered Delaware Bay.
  • 1830: The Tom Thumb started the first railway service in the united States.
  • 1845: Scientific American published its first issue.
  • 1861: Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, fell to Union troops after a two-day operation.
  • 1864: Union General Alfred Terry is promoted from brigadier general to major general of the United State Volunteers.
  • 1908: Future President Lyndon Johnson was born near Stonewall, Texas.
  • 1937: The Toyota Motor Company became a corporation, originally having been a division of the Toyota Automatic Loom Works.
  • 1941: President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Office of Price Administration, charged with controlling prices in the face of war. Also on this day, more than twenty-three thousand Hungarian Jews were murdered by the Gestapo in the occupied Ukraine.
  • 1962: The United States launched the Mariner II probe, which flew past Venus in December of that year.
  • 1963: Martin Luther King Jr. gave the well-known "I have a dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington.
  • 1968: After three hours of debate, the Democratic National Convention endorsed the Johnson Administration's platform on the Vietnam War, nominating Vice President Hubert Humphrey as the Democrat candidate for the Presidency. Outside, a full-scale riot erupted, seeing antiwar protesters battling police and National Guardsmen.
  • 1972: President Nixon announced that the military draft would end by July of the following year.
  • 1987: Famed director John Huston died at age 81.

Sources: The History Channel, The Indianapolis Star, Wikipedia

A Celebration of America, Part 8

Alright. John Prine is playing, and that's as good an inspiration as any to celebrate this once-great nation of ours. So let's see what our fellow Americans are up to today, shall we?

  • The National Folk Festival is being held in Holden, Maine. Gotta love Maine for that.
  • The Centre County Grange Fair is going on down in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania.
  • Up in Palmer, Alaska, the Alaska State Fair is in full swing.
  • Duquoin, Illinois is home to that state's State Fair this year.
  • And if you find yourself out near Lincoln, Nebraska, be sure to stop in for the Nebraska State Fair.
  • Monticello, New York is celebrating its bicentennial. Good for them.
  • In Saratoga Springs, New York, one can see the 135th running of the Travers Stakes. Horseracing, for those who might not know.
  • It's sesquicentennial time in Broad Top City, Pennsylvania. Happy 150th!
  • They're celebrating 75 years of "diverse culture and history" in Montpelier, Virginia.
  • Racine, Wisconsin is having its Good Ol' Time on the Lakefront today. Hopefully, they've got the weather for it.
  • Up in Yankton, South Dakota, they're commemorating the 200th anniversary of Lewis & Clark's Council with the Ihanktonwan Nakota.
  • In Bushnell, Illinois, you can go to the Town and Country Festival. Lots of good, wholesome Midwestern fun to be had by all, I'm sure.

A good number of events today. It certainly helps that we're at the beginning of state fair season. Makes holding the Republican National Prayerfest next week that much more ridiculous. Hopefully, we can entice some of those delegates up to Syracuse for our own New York State Fair, which began this past Thursday. I'm sure there's a miniature pig or horse there that would interest a fair amount of the Republican delegates. ;)

A Siege of Herons


The power was out all night last night, so I didn't get a chance to do the updates I'd hoped to get out. I'll try to make up for it today. Expect a Celebration post, a history post, and maybe a couple other things to boot.

A Siege of Herons

Thursday, August 26, 2004

August 26 in History

On August 26,

  • 1789: The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was approved by the Constituent Assembly at Versailles.
  • 1838: American author Ralph Waldo Emerson met British writer Thomas Carlyle, beginning a friendship that would last for thirty-eight years.
  • 1858: The first news dispatch by telegraph was sent.
  • 1862: The Second Bull Run campaign began when the Confederate cavalry captured the rail center at Manassas Junction.
  • 1920: The 19th Amendment was formally adopted into the Constitution by then Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.
  • 1944: French General Charles de Gaulle entered a free Paris, which had been liberated the previous day.
  • 1957: The Soviet Union announced that it had successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that could be fired into any part of the world. Thirty years of fear and loathing would follow.
  • 1964: Lyndon Johnson received the Democratic nomination for President.
  • 1970: Musician Jimi Hendrix opened the Electric Lady recording studio in New York.
  • 1980: A one thousand pound bomb was discovered in a Nevada casino. After violating the conditions of the ransom demand, the FBI attempted unsuccessfully to disarm the explosive. The casino was destroyed in the explosion.

Sources: The History Channel, Wikipedia

Meanwhile and Far Away, All Over Again

The United States is still leading the pack among the 120 so-called (and who knows how many not) democratic nations competing in this year's Olympic Games. For those keeping score, we have

  • 26 Gold medals (a gain of one since Tuesday)
  • 54 Americans dead so far this month in Iraq (a gain of 7)
  • 30 Silver medals (a gain of 2)
  • August 2004 currently ranks as seventh most deadly month in Operation Infinite Profit (up one place)
  • 23 Bronze medals (a gain of 4)
  • Nearly 6700 Americans wounded thus far in Iraq
  • 79 total medals (a gain of 7)
  • 973 total Americans dead (a gain of 7)

It almost looks like some synchronized sport/war event, with the U.S. gaining seven in each column in the last two days. We've got three more days of events in Athens, and then the following day the Republican National Prayerfest and Orgy of Greed begins. Unlike Athens, I do not believe Madison Square Garden will have any Iraqis who despise us, which is sure to give the Republican Party some small comfort.

For my part, I'll be stocking up on caffeine to stay awake during four nights of stuffed talking heads.

A Siege of Herons

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Meanwhile and Far Away

To date, the United States has emerged as the clear leader among the nations of the world. Unfortunately, I'm talking about our performance at the Twenty-Eighth Olympiad being held this month in Athens, Greece. I'll give a breakdown below of the results, just so those keeping score of these things can stay informed.

  • 25 Gold medals
  • 47 Americans dead so far this month in Iraq
  • 28 Silver medals
  • August 2004 currently ranks as eighth most deadly month in Operation Infinite Profit
  • 19 Bronze medals
  • 6300+ Americans injured thus far in Iraq
  • 72 total medals
  • 966 total Americans dead

I'm not sure how many events are left to be played out in either Athens or Iraq, but I'm sure we'll net at least a handful of medals in the final days of this Olympics. Conservatively, I'm going to estimate 980 dead by the start of the Republican National Convention next week. Depending on how feisty those pesky Iraqis get (funny how people refuse to just lie down when their country is being taken away from them, isn't it?), we may even hit four figures.

That's not the thousand the Republicans were hoping to be batting by convention time this year.

A Siege of Herons

Monday, August 23, 2004


I received an e-mail earlier from the woman who interviewed me last week. They want to hire me to teach for them. I don't know what they will have me teaching, but based on the interview I'm guessing it'll be either C++ or Java programming. Been a while since I've done anything with C++, so I might want to start playing with it again. Ugh, pointers! I'd forgotten how much I disliked them in a programming language.

I have a ton of forms to fill out and send back to them. Thankfully they sent along a checklist so I can keep track of where I'm at in the process. Tomorrow I need to have the stuff printed since they didn't provide me with pdf forms I could fill out through Acrobat.

Yeah, I know. Bitch, bitch, bitch. LOL.

I'm looking forward to the prospect of teaching online. And getting paid won't be all that bad, either. ;)

I must remember tomorrow to also send another thank you e-mail to the woman who interviewed me. In this hellish job market, it's important to burn no bridges needlessly.

A Siege of Herons

Scumbag of the Day: Bob Dole

The Republican Party is getting desperate. They're sweating. You only have to turn on the television news or read a newspaper to be hit full force with their collective rancid stench.

With an incumbent pResident who is trailing in the polls, with a war in Iraq that is going nowhere fast except in terms of casualties (964 American dead, over 6,200 wounded in action), with an economy losing over one million jobs and coming nowhere near even providing enough new jobs to cover population growth, with regulations gutted to favor corporate greed, with more children than ever being left behind educationally, with the rich getting richer and the rest of us paying for it, George W. Bush and his crusty cronies decide to instead focus on what must be the most crucial issue to ever face the American people: John Kerry's Vietnam War record.

For those of you who might have missed it, that was meant to be sarcastic.

While the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's campaign to smear John Kerry has more holes in it than a pound of Swiss cheese, the Republican propaganda and lies machine rolled out its latest weapon: A man who served honorably himself during World War II; a man served his state for many years in the U.S. Senate; a man who went on to lose a presidential race to Bill Clinton (and fell off a stage in the process); a man who hawked both Viagra and Pepsi (the latter possibly because the former made one thirsty).

That man is Bob Dole.

Yesterday on CNN's "Late Edition" Dole joined the Rank of the Lowest Common Denominator. Said Dole, "And here's, you know, a good guy, a good friend. I respect his record, but three Purple Hearts and never bled that I know of. I mean, they're all superficial wounds."

Excuse me?!

Who the hell is Bob Dole to be saying this? Was Bob Dole in Vietnam with John Kerry? Was Bob Dole on John Kerry's boat somewhere? If he was, then I'm surprised it's the first we've heard of it. Come on Bob, you can tell us. Were you there?

My gut tells me the answer is a resounding "No."

Further, my gut is also telling me the Republicans are so desperate to keep the White House that they'll drag out someone who would have even less knowledge of John Kerry's Vietnam service than the swift boat guys we've already seen paraded out to throw dung at John Kerry like so many caged monkeys.

Clearly, you can't run a clean campaign when Republicans are involved.

And so, today I raise my hand in a one-fingered salute to Bob Dole, for sinking lower than I had ever thought possible. Way to go, Bob! You're a credit to your party, and your pResident.

A Siege of Herons

August 23 in History

I have to make a campus run this morning, so I'll get this out early.

On August 23,
  • 1784: Eastern Tennessee declared itself an independent state under the name Franklin; the step was rejected by Congress one year later.
  • 1785: Oliver Hazard Perry was born.
  • 1821: Mexico gained its independence from Spain.
  • 1833: Slavery was abolished in the English colonies.
  • 1861: Confederate spy Rose Greenhow was placed under house arrest in Washington, D.C. by the head of the newly formed secret service agency, Allen Pinkerton.
  • 1863: A band of outlaws said to be working for the Confederacy attacked the town of Lawrence, Kansas, killing every man and boy in sight.
  • 1864: The Union Navy captured Fort Morgan, Alabama, breaking the Confederate dominance of all ports on the Gulf of Mexico.
  • 1869: Poet Edgar Lee Masters (Spoon River Anthology) was born.
  • 1877: Texas Rangers arrested wanted murderer John Wesley Hardin in Florida.
  • 1889: The first wireless message from a ship to the shore was received.
  • 1913: Cars were allowed into Yosemite National Park for the first time.
  • 1914: Japan declared war on Germany in World War I.
  • 1923: Edgar F. Codd, founder of the theory of relational databases, was born.
  • 1926: Actor Rudolph Valentino died.
  • 1927: Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in Boston for the murders of two men during a 1920 robbery. Fifty years later they would be vindicated by Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis.
  • 1939: Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact. Lesson: Never turn your back on a rabid schnauzer.
  • 1940: The Germans began bombing London.
  • 1960: Lyricist Oscar Hammerstein died.
  • 1966: The U.S. cargo ship Baton Rouge Victory struck a mine near Saigon.
  • 1979: Russian ballet star Alexandr Godunov defected to the United States after a performance in New York City.
  • 1982: Lebanon's parliament elected Christian militia leader Bashir Gemayel president. He was assassinated some three weeks later.
  • 1990: West Germany and East Germany annouced they would unite on October 3 of that year.

Sources: The History Channel, The Indianapolis Star, Wikipedia.

A Siege of Herons

Sunday, August 22, 2004

August 22 in History

I have decided to split the listing of current event notices from the historical ones. The two really have different reasons for being, and by keeping them separate I can more effectively make use of each on this space.

And so, without further ado, on August 22,

  • 1654: Jacob Barsimson arrived in New Amsterdam. He was the first Jewish immigrant to what would later become the United States.
  • 1749: An English acting troupe was run out of Philadelphia by the city council. It seems acting was considered an immoral activity by the colonists there. My how far we've come.
  • 1775: King George III declared the American colonies to be in open rebellion. We all know how that one turned out for the English.
  • 1787: Inventor John Fitch demonstrated his steamboat on the Delaware River to delegates of the Continental Congress.
  • 1846: The U.S. annexed New Mexico. For my money, not one of our better decisions. :p
  • 1851: The schooner America won the first America's Cup race.
  • 1864: The First Geneva Convention was signed by twelve European nations, leading to the formation of the Red Cross. This important document dealt with the treatment of battlefield casualties. Might be a good idea to remind goverment officials of its existence.
  • 1901: The Cadillac Motor Company was founded. Their products have gone on to appeal to Americans at all levels, from upper middle class straight on down to white trash yokels.
  • 1902: Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to ride in an automobile, in Hartford, Connecticut. Way to go, Teddy!
  • 1904: Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping was born.
  • 1935: Pulitzer prize winning author E. Annie Proulx (The Shipping News) was born.
  • 1944: Romania was captured by the Soviet Union when the Soviets "convinced" the Romanian king to sign an armistice with the Allies and to give control of his country to the Soviet Union.
  • 1956: President Dwight Eisenhower and Vice President Richard "Evil Bastard" Nixon were nominated for a second term at the Republican National Convention in San Francisco.
  • 1958: The television series Life of Riley aired its last episode.
  • 1968: Czechs demonstrated in Prague and at the U.N. headquarters in New York City against the Soviet invasion of their country. Seems Czech Communist Party General Secretary Alexander Dubcek had instituted too many democratic and free market reforms for the Soviets' tastes. That bastard! How dare he?!
  • 1972: Three thousand antiwar demonstrators greeted the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach. Hundreds were arrested and many were injured when police employed riot-control agents. With the current year's convention and prayerfest beginning soon, this is perhaps one anniversary they'd rather not acknowledge.
  • 1989: The first ring of Neptune is discovered.
  • 1992: Democratic challenger Bill Clinton launched the first of a series of sharp criticisms of then-President Bush's economic record. (Twelve years later, Bush the Lessor has an even more ridiculous economic record. I guess Dubya really is just a poor imitation of the old man after all.)

Sources: The History Channel, The Indianapolis Star, Wikipedia

A Siege of Herons

A Celebration of America, Part 7

There are only a few items of note today, so I'll get right to them.

  • In Litchfield, Maine, the Morning Star Intertribal 5th Annual Powwow is being held today.
  • The Aroostook Band of Micmacs is having the Mawiomi of Tribes 8th Annual Gathering in Caribou, Maine.
  • St Bonifacius, Minnesota is celebrating its centennial.

Event information is courtesy of the United States Postal Service, who is providing a special pictorial cancellation in honor of each. My interest in this area involves pictorial cancels from New york State.

A Siege of Herons

Saturday, August 21, 2004

A Celebration of America, Part 6

I tried this yesterday, but apparently there were server issues and the post shot off into the ether. Let's try this again.

  • In Lewiston, Maine, the 12th Annual Great Falls Balloon Festival is underway. As much hot air as a Bush/Cheney campaign speech, I'm sure.
  • Meanwhile, Machias, Maine is holding its Wild blueberry Festival. Mmmm. Blueberries.
  • Wilmington, Delaware is hosting the Ninth Annual Judy Johnson Night, a tribute to Negro League Baseball.
  • Portage, Wisconsin is celebrating Zona Gale Day. Zona Gale was an author and journalist who won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for drama, for an adaptation of her novel Miss Lulu Bett for the stage.
  • Viroqua, Wisconsin is holding its Wild West Days this weekend. Includes pig wrestling. I'm sure Dubya would enjoy seeing swine "wrassled" into a barrel.
  • It's the Old Settlers Picnic Centennial today in Sheldon, Missouri.
  • In Farnsworth, Texas, be sure to check out the Museum of the Plains Pioneer Day happenings.
  • Elk Point, South Dakota is commemorating the first election held west of the Mississippi River in 1804, that saw Private Patrick Gass elevated to the rank of Seargent following the death of Seargent Charles Floyd during the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
  • Offutt, Nebraska is holding the Offutt Air Show, which will showcase the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

Enjoy what you can, while you can.

A Siege of Herons

Friday, August 20, 2004

A Benefit of Unemployment

Since I'm currently unemployed, it looks like Shrubya's raping of the American worker and their overtime pay will not be touching me at the moment.

We really need to vote this guy out of office, and soon. He really is a piece of garbage. And I thought his old man was bad. Ugh!

More later. Possibly tomorrow.

A Siege of Herons

Thursday, August 19, 2004

A Celebration of America, Part 5

There is only one current item I could find for today.

The 65th New Windsor Rodeo begins today in New Windsor, Illinois.

Looking back, on August 19,
  • 1692: In Salem, Massachusetts five women and a clergyman are executed after being convicted of the crime of practicing witchcraft.
  • 1785: Congress empowered the U.S. Treasury Board to standardize the nation's weights and measures.
  • 1812: The U.S. Navy frigate Constitution defeated the British frigate Guerriýre off the coast of Nova Scotia. The British shot was said to have bounced off the sides of the Constitution, thus earning it the nickname Old Ironsides.
  • 1841: The first set of standard bankruptcy laws hit the books throughout the nation.
  • 1848: The New York Herald reported the discovery of gold in California, which had actually taken place in January of that year.
  • 1871: Aviator Orville Wright was born.
  • 1921: Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was born in El Paso, Texas.
  • 1927: The fifteen millionth Model T was rolled off the assembly line at Michigan's Highland Park plant, officially ending Model T production in the U.S.
  • 1934: The First All-American Soap Box Derby was held in Dayton, Ohio.
  • 1934: Adolf Hitler was elected President of Germany, giving him complete executive power in that nation.
  • 1946: Former President William Jefferson Clinton was born.
  • 1948: Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President Al Gore, was born.
  • 1953: A CIA-backed coup overthrew the government of Iran.
  • 1958: Production of the Packard automobile line ended.
  • 1960: A tribunal in Moscow convicted American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage.
  • 1976: President Ford won the Republican presidential nomination at the party's convention in Kansas City.
  • 1977: Actor and comedian Groucho Marx died.
  • 1981: The final episode of the series Charlie's Angels aired.
  • 1994: Two time Nobel Prize (1954: Chemistry; 1962: Peace) winning chemist and peace activist Linus Pauling died.

Sources: The History Channel, The Indianapolis Star, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

A Celebration of America, Part 4

I enjoyed using historical events yesterday. It was fun to find out all the varied things that had happened yesterday. I think I'll try to keep that aspect, as well as highlighting current celebrations whenever possible.

Only two items of note for current festivities:

  • Stockton, Kansas, is in the middle of its 125th annual Rooks County Free Fair. Today is the fourth day of the weeklong fair. Tonight there will be a country music concert and fireworks display. Yeehaw!
  • In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the American Numismatic Association is opening its World's Fair of Money.

And now for the historical stuff.

On this day, August 18,

Sources: History Channel, Indianapolis Star

I'm not sure if all the links are helpful or not. Hopefully they're a benefit.

A Siege of Herons

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

A Celebration of America, Part 3

Since my regular source of info on what's going on in ordinary America gives me nothing of note today, I'll look back in time to see what has happened on this day in the past.

Accordingly, on August 17,

  • 1807: Robert Fulton's North River Steam Boat began its first trip up New York's Hudson River on a successful round-trip to Albany
  • 1862: A Dakota Indian uprising began in Minnesota
  • 1877: Famed outlaw Billy the Kid shot his first man, an Arizona blacksmith
  • 1890: Ralph R. Teetor, inventor of cruise control, was born
  • 1892: Actress Mae West was born
  • 1896: A prospecting team discovered gold in Alaska, sparking the Klondike gold rush
  • 1915: Charles F. Kettering patented the electric automobile self-starter
  • 1939: The movie The Wizard of Oz premiered at the Loew's Capital in New York City
  • 1943: The Allied conquest of Sicily was completed by U.S. and British forces
  • 1962: East German guards shot a man trying to escape across the Berlin Wall into West Berlin, leaving him to bleed to death
  • 1969: The Woodstock Music and Arts Festival concluded
  • 1973: The United States and Thailand began negotiations on reductions of the number of U.S. troops stationed in that country
  • 1978: The Double Eagle II completed the first transatlantic balloon flight
  • 1985: Cuts to workers' wages and benefits in the face of company profits led workers at the Hormel Company's Austin, Minnesota plant to go on strike
  • 1987: Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle, died at a Berlin hospital near Spandau Prison at age 93, having apparently committed suicide
  • 1993: Publisher Random House gave Colin Powell the largest-to-date advance for an autobiography

Sources for this information are The History Channel, and The Indianapolis Star.

A Siege of Herons

Third Time's the Charm

Looks like good old Halliburton is getting yet another extension from the military to get its books straight and report to them where all the money went. See the New York Times article here.

I've about reached the point where I'd like to see that company's corporate assets seized and its management jailed. If they weren't part of Shrubya & Co.'s plans to seize Iraqi oil, something might have been done about them.

Who am I kidding? We'd have needed President Gore for something like that to happen.

A Siege of Herons


Occasionally I treat myself to a new CD, and the most recent was the two-disc set The Very Best of Jackson Browne. Only two of the thirty two songs are new to me. One I don't care much about one way or the other, but the second is pretty good. It's called "I Am A Patriot". There are one or two Jackson Browne CDs I don't own, and this song come from there.

"Lives in the Balance" is also a very good song, in my opinion. I'll quote a bit from it:

And there's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interest runs


They sell us the President the same way
They sell us our clothes and our cars
They sell us everything from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars

Sound familiar to anyone?

The one unfortunate omission from this set is the song "The Next Voice You Hear", which has a very haunting quality to it.

In other news, I was an ass to someone this morning. Looks like that is setting the tone for the whole day. After being said ass, I proceeded to give myself a world-class case of razor burn on my neck while shaving. The effected area is now quite sore and is radiating heat like a small star. OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. Beats a fish story, though, I think.

I have to make a trip to the post office this morning, so let's hope that goes without incident. There's also the possibility of hearing back from the woman who interviewed me yesterday. I'll be a little nervous waiting for her e-mail, regardless of the outcome.

One last quote:

I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they're never the ones to fight or to die

I can give partial answer to that.
  • George W. Bush
  • Dick Cheney
  • Karl Rove
  • John Ashcroft
  • Donald Rumsfeld

That's a start. There's tons of other chickenhawks out there.

A Siege of Herons

Monday, August 16, 2004


Well, my interview is over. At first I was nervous, but the woman really made me feel at ease. All in all, I think it went well. She said I should be hearing back from her in the next couple of days.

Hopefully they'll pick me up. From the tone of the interview, I think I'd be teaching some sort of programming course if they decide to hire me. C/C++, Java, and Visual Basic .NET seemed to be what the school is most interested in right now.

Here's hoping for success. :)

A Siege of Herons

Viva democracia!

It just makes one's heart sing to see examples of democracy in action shining brightly in the world. I am referring to yesterday's recall referendum in Venezuela, aimed at ousting President Hugo Chavez from office. With 94% of the votes counted, President Chavez was supported by 58% of voters. I'd say that gets their message across.

Even amid some violence directed against those waiting to vote, the electoral procedure went relatively smoothly.

Let's hope our own election this November will go as smoothly. Though given the government's earlier chatter about cancelling or postponing the election, I won't hold my breath.

In past elections, I have sometimes voted for moderate Republican candidates. Given their recent behavior, I find I can no longer in good conscience endorse anyone given a nod by the Republican Party. In local races, this will hardly matter, as oftentimes a single candidate will receive the endorsements of both major parties, as well as the misguided Conservative Party at times.

I'll post more later. For now, I've got pre-interview jitters to contend with.

A Siege of Herons

Saturday, August 14, 2004

A Celebration of America, Part 2 (Revised and updated)

Okay, so I've got Jackson Browne playing along and I'm just pissed enough to want to vent some steam in a bloggy way this morning.

Let's see what our fellow Americans are celebrating today.

  • In Castine, Maine, they are commemorating the 225th anniversary of the Penobscot Expedition. It's aim was to repel a British attempt to secure for themselves part of what is now the State of Maine. Unfortunately, the attempt was a failure. The year was 1779, and the War for Independence was raging.
  • Burlington, Vermont's Fletcher Free Library is holding a Gala Ice Cream Social to celebrate the 100th birthday of it's Carnegie Building. This building was the first and largest of four libraries built in the state with funds provided ny Andrew Carnegie.
  • Hillsdale, New York is celebrating its Hillsdale Community Day.
  • New Ulm, New Mexico is celebrating its 150th anniversary.
  • Also having sesquicentennial festivities today is Evergreen, Virginia.
  • Meanwhile, Spirit Lake, Iowa is celebrating is quasquicentennial (125 years) today.

Today is actually a busy day as celebrations go. So many shades, so many variations, and yet still one country. That is the true wonder of the United States.

A Siege of Herons

A Celebration of America, Part 2

Okay, so I've got Jackson Browne playing along and I'm just pissed enough to want to vent some steam in a bloggy way this morning.

Let's see what our fellow Americans are celebrating today.

  • In Castine, Maine, they are commemorating the 225th anniversary of the Penobscot Expedition. It's aim was to repel a British attempt to secure for themselves part of what is now the State of Maine. Unfortunately, the attempt was a failure. The year was 1779, and the War for Independence was raging.
  • Burlington, Vermont's Fletcher Free Library is holding a Gala Ice Cream Social to celebrate the 100th birthday of it's Carnegie Building. This building was the first and largest of four libraries built in the state with funds provided ny Andrew Carnegie.
  • Hillsdale, New York is celebrating its Hillsdale Community Day.
  • New Ulm, New Mexico is celebrating its 150th anniversary.
  • Also having sesquicentennial festivities today is Evergreen, Virginia.
  • Meanwhile, Spirit Lake, Iowa is celebrating is quasquicentennial (125 years) today.

Today is actually a busy day as celebrations go. So many shades, so many variations, and yet still one country. That is the true wonder of the United States.

A Siege of Herons

Friday, August 13, 2004

A Celebration of America, Part 1

As President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education."

For me, having spent most of my life learning, education is the cornerstone of a free, democratic society. The higher the level of education, the more likely a person is to understand our social responsibility to each other. The Conservatives know this. Witness Bush's White House advisor Karl Rove saying, "As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing."

The only real counter for the benefit of education is the yoke of religion. The right knows this as well. I believe it puts Bush's love for "faith-based" initiatives into perspective. The man even goes so far as to want our tax revenue to be handed out to private religious schools. This is an unconscionable act which also happens to violate the principle of the separation of church and state, which is one of the pillars on which our Republic is founded.

Before I get much deeper into this topic, it's best I move back to the original intent of this posting. I intend my blog to be a discussion of America, the America we all live in.

Soon we will be commemorating the third anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. Let's also take a few moments, if we can, to pause in remembrance of the 31st anniversary of the US-sponsored military coup which overthrew the democratically elected government of Chile, which led to the death of President Salvador Allende.

This little fact is significant because once again we are meddling in the politics of a democratically elected South American government: this time in Venezuela. Their crime against us? Wanting a 16% royalty payment for allowing U.S. and British oil companies to tap that nation's ample oil reserves (which are thought to rival those we are now subduing in Iraq). Those bastards! How dare they?!

It's enough to make one think democracy must take a backseat to the relentless drive of greed and profit.

A Siege of Herons

In memoriam - Julia Child

Culinary icon Julia Child has passed away. I can remember her from a half-hour long program that aired on my local PBS channel when I was a kid. Nice to know the Grim Reaper is busily saving the vegetables of the world from Ms. Child's knife.

Oh, and knocking down people in Iraq like they were so many dominoes.

In other news,

  • my Monday interview is now scheduled to take place at approximately 11:00 AM. I have been in contact with an admissions rep at the school and was able to get a copy of their catalog. Now I can look into their course offerings in more detail. Whoo! and hoo!
  • The Washington Post has issued a front page article describing its own part during the Bush Administration's propaganda campaign leading up to the invasion of Iraq
  • George W. Bush is still playing at leading the free world, after an odd performance in last night's interview with CNN's own Larry King. Am I the only one who saw an odd slight side-to-side shaking of both George's and Laura's heads as they spoke?

Also, I have received mention on the blog of the delectably liberal Ms Liberty. Be sure to regularly check it out.

For now, I'm going back to listening to Franken on Air America Radio and studying up on Kaplan College.

A Siege of Herons

Rainy Days and Opportunities

I was awakened this morning to a phone call from a friend, as happens many mornings. This was a good as I was too hot under the blanket and had been having odd dreams during the night. It's what I get for closing the window this time of year.

Anyway, as my friend and I talked, I sat patiently waiting for my comp to boot. I set about checking e-mails once it had, and lo! and behold!, a message in my "official" account with the interesting looking subject line: Interviews.

Now, as I've recently uploaded copies of my resume to various online job sites, I at first assumed this was just another huckster job placement outfit trying to lure me into making them some money, as have contacted me a few times in the past month. Upon opening the message, though, I found it was real.

Someone was contacting me to arrange a phone interview! I've only applied for like 15-20 jobs now, so understandably my shrunken little heart soared. The job is an online teaching gig for a distance learning school that has satellite locations in several states, even up here in New York.

Looks like I'll need to spend the weekend brushing up on Kaplan College (http://www.kaplancollege.edu) and their IT offerings. Might also help to read a few journal articles and websites on online and/or distance education.

Regardless, it should make Monday morning much more interesting. I've also sent out feelers to a couple of my old schools, to see if they need anyone for the fall semester. Hopefully that will come up with something, too.

Anyway, now I'm off to be raped on a car repair bill so I can get my girl back.

A Siege of Herons

Thursday, August 12, 2004

On the Seperation of Church and State

Ordinarily, I will post a quote along with some commentary, but the following words from President John F. Kennedy do more than my own ever could to deal with this issue.

I will say, however, that they also make the current pResident-unelect look like a Head Start program failure in comparison.


I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote—where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference—and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish—where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source—where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials—and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew—or a Quaker—or a Unitarian—or a Baptist. It was Virginia’s harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson’s statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim—but tomorrow it may be you—until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end—where all men and all churches are treated as equal—where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice—where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind—and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of Presidency in which I believe—a great office that must neither be humbled by making it the instrument of any one religious group nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a President whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the Nation or imposed by the Nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.

-- Senator JOHN F. KENNEDY, speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, Houston, Texas, September 12, 1960

Sayonara to my Blogging Cherry

Hello world!

Hopefully I won't lose interest in doing this until after I've been able to annoy, bore, or even potentially entertain someone out there.

I've just been informed of a car repair bill that boggles my mind (only slightly, really). That should set the tenor of the rest of my day. Where's Tom Ridge with his flair for color schemes when you need a scale to fit the crappiness of a day.

How about mauve?

What is mauve? Why is there a mauve?

Ah, the sweet nectar of life within George W. Bush's America.