Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Why Do Republicans Hate the Constitution?

Another incompetent fails at being a terrorist, this time only managing to burn off his pants. In response Republicans are again shouting from the rafters that the Constitution must be thrown away.

Now, I'll grant at this time of year it's the thought that counts and Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab thought about being a terrorist. But he only accomplished being an inept fool. I'll even grant there probably are some more al Qaeda fools who might not be so inept and that better diligence and less bureaucratic nonsense is needed by the government.

Yet, somehow, whenever some unrealized threat occurs Republicans start screaming "the Constitution is not a suicide pact" and demanding it be thrown in the trash to prove how tough we are. I really wish Republicans would grow a couple of balls and stop being terrified of shadows.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

They Labored Mightily, and Brought Forth a Mouse

Maybe it will be better than it looks but it looks like a Christmas present for big pharma and big insurance. Maybe the conference committee will cobble together an improvement. But, at first glance, it looks like the Senate put a great deal of effort into a health care reform bill that will do very little for the millions who need help most.
A mountain was in labor, sending forth dreadful groans, and there was in the region the highest expectation. After all, it brought forth a mouse. ~ Phaedrus (Roman writer, first cent. AD)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Power of Prayer

It's a staple of television series that run out of ideas to do an episode where a magical entity grants some wishes. Always, the wishes backfire because the wish isn't phrased in exactly the right way. (The best of these, of course a Xena episode titled "The Quill Is Mightier," is still pretty lousy.)

This is in way of an introduction to the funny story where Republican fundamentalists prayed that God smite down an unnamed senator to prevent him from making the health care reform vote. They meant for the Almighty to target Sen. Robert Byrd and they meant for God to murder him. Because the prayer was not precise, God picked the most ignorant and incompetent human in the Senate, Jim Inhofe. God, not being they bloodthirsty psychopath that Republican fundamentalists believe in, didn't kill Inhofe He just made Inhofe absent.

By the by, Inhofe's excuse for missing the vote sounds like a lie. The official reason, Inhofe "was absent to fly his wife home to Oklahoma," seems silly as if his wife can't board a plane without an escort. More likely Inhofe was sleeping in with his mistress and couldn't be bothered voting.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Creatures of Habit

We are all creatures of habit. We can do most things without even thinking about them; our bodies take charge and do them for us. ~ Earl Nightingale
It is amazing how much of our lives are on autopilot. We do things without thinking. Consider your morning routine. Everything from waking up to making breakfast to getting dressed gets done unconsciously, or almost so. Our brains can be off doing all sorts of serious thinking while our habits take care of business.

Now, take those habits away for a week and replace them with nothing, say spending a week in a hospital. Those habits become foggy. The routine of nothing has replaced the routine of doing. When you get back to your life the first thing you notice is that you have to think about what used to just happen. What used to be automatic now requires conscious thought. It seems weird, even bizarre, perhaps even frightening like you have lost part of your mind as you consciously walk yourself through life's routines.

But it is perfectly normal. A few days back in your normal settings, hearth and home, and the habits reassert themselves. Life becomes routine again. Comfortable again. The brain can safely wander off again as your body gets back into the rhythm of taking care of itself.

This is one of the odd little facts of human life.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

How to Lie With Statistics - Fox News Style

Think Progress has been tracking the math-challenged folk at Fox News. Last month Fox pegged support for Republican candidates for president in 2012 at 193%. This month they are doing some fuzzy math over the global warming debate, finding that 94% of the public supported Fox's position (out of a polling total of 120%).

If the book How to Lie with Statistics isn't in your library it ought to be.

Monday, December 07, 2009

New Orleans Saints Football Voodoo

Tell me, why should it be
you have the power to hypnotize me?
Let me live 'neath your spell,
You do that voodoo
that you do so well. ~ Cole Porter, You Do Something to Me
Maybe there is something to Voodoo. You have to start wondering after the New Orleans Saints game yesterday. The Saints should have, would have, lost the game except --
  • Saints punter Thomas Morstead shanks a kick that only goes 29 yards where it bounced off the back of a Washington Redskins player and is recovered by New Orleans.
  • Four plays later, third and 26, quarterback Drew Brees desperately trying to avoid being sacked heaves up a horrible pass that is intercepted. While running back the interception the Washington player has the ball snatched out of his hands as easily as stealing candy from a baby. Touchdown New Orleans.
  • Leading 30-23 with less than three minutes left in the game, Washington lined up a gimme, 23-yard field goal that would have iced the game. Shaun Suisham missed the sure thing.
  • Five plays later Brees completes a 53-yard pass for the tying touchdown.
  • In overtime, a Washington player catches a short pass, is hit hard, the ball comes loose but the whistle is blown before it is recovered by New Orleans and is the Washington player is ruled "down by contact."
  • Upon review, the loose ball is ruled a fumble recovered by New Orleans (the Ed Hochuli Rule).
  • New Orleans kicks their short field goal and wins the game.
Somewhere along the line, all these improbables coalesced into the impossible. New Orleans should have lost this game. It should not even have been close. Yet, they won and continue to be undefeated.

Maybe it's time to release the skepticism and accept that voodoo is real.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

What If We Held a War
and Nobody Gave a Shit?

We're going to find out. Soon, there will be over 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan fighting and dying in near total obscurity. You see, there won't be enough dying for us to take notice. There will be no showy battles. The troops will try to limit bombings in the cities while crushing any potential Taliban gatherings. The former is nearly impossible as the troops don't speak the language and don't know the culture. The latter, given we can't tell the difference between a terrorist gathering and a wedding party, really just means a lot of random killing in rural areas.

The bad guys are mostly thuggish warlords and drug dealers; the good guys are mostly thuggish warlords and drug dealers. Success is having our thugs in charge and profiting from selling opium to American addicts. Failure is seeing their thugs in charge and profiting from selling opium to American addicts.

Best Case Scenario: A repeat of Iraq. That means a wholly corrupt government, a tolerable level of terrorism, and a permanent military presence mostly hiding from the locals while bleeding billions from the American treasury in perpetuity. Hardly the stuff of rousing war rallies.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Occupation Troops in Afghanistan

The Obama surge will bring all foreign troops to a total of 140,000. Add in 104,000 mercenaries (private contractors) and the total occupation force is near a quarter of a million. Add in another projected quarter of a million for the Afghan national army (currently 100,000) and the total forces for the Afghanistan occupation will be 500,000.

To put that in perspective, there are only about six million Afghans of fighting age in the entire country. Most of those are handicapped by previous war injuries or needed for the food (and poppy) harvest.

The Taliban fighting force is estimated at 25,000 men. By my back of the hand calculations, we outnumber them 20 to 1. We've got grotesquely expensive, high-tech weapons while they have cheap AK-47s so adding in force multiplication and we probably outnumber the Taliban by at least 100 to 1.

It takes a great deal of military incompetence to squander an advantage that large but I am certain the Pentagon is more than capable of continuing to fail miserably in Afghanistan.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Big Brother Is Watching

Tiger Woods failure in keeping his private life private shows just the tip of the spying machines watching us.

In the novel 1984, Big Brother watched every act of people. Except the Proles, those people too poor and powerless to bother watching. In today's jargon they would be "off the grid." In 1984 it is the government watching over every detail of peoples lives ("spying" is too weak a word). Today it is a corporate oligarchy aided by all of the conveniences of modern life.
  • Tiger's secrets were revealed by his cell phone that remembers everyone he dials. He may also have been tracked by the many available cell phone spying apps on the market.
  • Sprint gave to police customer's gps locations over eight million times in one year. We can safely assume every other cell phone provider has done likewise. Carrying a cell phone means you are being consistently tracked wherever you go.
  • Got OnStar? Everywhere you drive, every traffic law you break, is being tracked. They can, in fact, listen in on conversations you have in your car.
  • Google (hi, there) knows every search and every destination I look at. They know every product I've looked at and every embarrassing site I've visited (purely for research purposes). Information they sell.
  • My cable provider knows my eclectic (downright weird) viewing habits. NetFlix knows my even more strange film preferences.
  • That grocery discount card I use means that Vons knows my shopping habits better than I do. Same with VISA. By sharing that data they can form a complete picture of me as a customer.
  • Of course your employer probably logs every keystroke you type.
  • All those security cameras that watch you everywhere can also come with audio surveillance.
I could go on, but you get the point. You can try living off the grid - walking places, paying cash, refusing to have a fancy cell phone - but you will still mostly fail. Just like Winston Smith couldn't hide by going among the Proles, the corporate Big Brother will still be able to track you. What's worse is that the corporate spies really do believe they are a Big Brother who are tracking our every act and whim so they can "make our lives better."

See also: No Place to Hide; Google as Big Brother; eNotAlone on corporate spying; and Prison Planet on 150 Million Americans Spied Upon

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Goldman Sachs Gun Culture

Goldman employees are stocking up on the artillery.

I can think of so many ways this is going to end very badly. Goldman Sachs employees are amoral pricks to begin with. Amoral pricks with guns become amoral bastards.
  • Super paranoid people tend to shoot innocent folk
  • High stress + gun + petty argument at home = slaughter
  • Wall Street players tend to keep mistresses; wives tend to shoot mistresses
  • Mistresses sometimes kill their lovers
  • Market crash + gun = massacre
  • Or maybe just suicide
Guys, there is a reason you were not allowed to carry guns in Hell. Being pure evil is a stressful and dangerous profession as it is, don't compound it by carrying a 45.

Standard Disclaimer to Goldman Sachs lawyers: I worship Goldman Sachs and pray to it nightly. Please don't sue me. Or shoot me.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Three Truisms

  1. There is a big difference between being smart and being wise. Larry Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, former Secretary of the Treasury, former President of Harvard, is smart. As they say, he is crazy smart. When it comes to being wise, however, Summers is amazingly stupid. I could fill a book with all of the stupid that is Larry Summers.
  2. To Christians nothing matters but faith. Take, for example, a vicious man like Maurice Clemmons methodically working his way up the criminal ladder when he is waylaid by a shitload of prison time (95 years) in Arkansas. While Maurice might have been savage in his chosen profession he was also a devout Christian. That Christian stuff was all Mike Huckabee needed to know to free Maurice.
  3. Lawyers advise never lie to the police. I don't know, nor do I care, what Tiger Woods has been up to. But when he continually refuses to talk to the police you can be certain there is a huge gap between what actually happened and what he says happened.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thoughts on Buying an Election

Michael Bloomberg spent $183 per vote to win reelection as mayor of New York. That's $102 million to win the 2009 election and a total of over a quarter of a billion dollars for all three of his elections, most if not all his own money.
  • The question nobody has asked him is Why??? What return is this businessman getting on his investment? Actually, he has been asked and can't come up with a reasonable answer.
  • The citizens of New York would have been far better off if he had just given $150 to everybody voting for him. The people would have had some spending money and Bloomberg would have saved some cash.
  • Bloomberg proved the basic flaw in the American electoral system. It is rare that the best person for the job gets elected. Nine times out of ten the winner is the one spending the most money. Imbecile or genius? Doesn't matter. The only qualification that matters is the size of a politician's wallet.

Would be Mayor of New York
today if only he had enough money.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sarah the Fool, Again

One of the most frightening things about Sister Sarah is how easily she gets punked.
  • There was the time a couple of French comedians conned Palin into believing she was talking to Nicolas Sarkozy.
  • Then there was that Saturday Night Live appearance where she be-bopped along while being ridiculed in rap.
  • And now Canadian comic Mary Walsh got Palin to advocate dismantling Canada's highly popular health care system.
One wonders what a real confidence man, like Silvio Berlusconi, could get Palin to do.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kentucky Census Worker

Not buying the official story. A federal worker is lynched in rural Kentucky. The local police have a vested interest in not disrupting the local economic base (meth labs) nor local politics. Remember, eastern Kentucky is where candidates for sheriff have a habit of getting gunned down. From a law enforcement perspective, eastern Kentucky is little better than Juarez, Mexico.

So, for all concerned, it is better to call the lynching a suicide, sweep it under the carpet, and tell everyone involved to keep quiet.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What is Health Care

The difference between Republicans and Democrats on health care can be boiled down to a single point.
  • Republicans believe health care is a product to be marketed for profit, like a PlayStation. Those who want it and can afford it get it. Those who can't afford it have to make do with a bandage (or Etch-a-Sketch).
  • Democrats believe health care is a public resource, like water or trash disposal. Everybody benefits if it is universally available. Everybody suffers, for example, if trash piles up because only the rich can afford to dispose of their garbage.
Pictured: Republican image of ideal health care

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Goldman Sachs Christmas

It seems that Goldmans Sachs is having "secret Christmas parties" this year. Their PR is that these "parties" are just morale boosters for employees who might be a tad misunderstood what with people believing that baby eating and widow torturing is somehow evil.

Those of us in the know understand that Christmas is an important time for celebrating Black Masses. We can all be certain that the sacrifices made to Beelzebub this holiday season will insure another banner year of profits for the Goldman Sachs family.
Pictured: The Goldman Sachs Family

Standard Disclaimer to Goldman Sachs lawyers: I love Goldman Sachs and worship nightly at an altar to its malefic. Please don't sue me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Prisoner

AMC is producing a re-imagining of the classic 1960's British television series, The Prisoner. I gave it a try on the theory that even if it was only half as good as the original it would still be great. I was wrong.
This reimagined version, which feels a bit old hat in a post-Matrix fantasy landscape, is more leaden, pretentious and solemn, a tone embodied by Caviezel’s brooding Six, who’s more dour than dashing. ~ Matt Roush at TVGuide
The remake is a pale, mono-chromatic ghost of the vibrant original. This new Six doesn't know he is a prisoner, he just sort of maybe thinks he might be. There is no rage against his captors, just a confused peevishness. The original was surreal (fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtapositions) while this remake is pedestrian (lacking wit or imagination). I wasn't alone in hating the remake. The ratings tanked by two-thirds from the first episode to the second.

I didn't watch the whole thing but I did skip to the ending (I hunted down a spoiler on the Internet) where I could find the premise. It wasn't worth the hunt. Basically, everyone is stuck in the dreams of some woman named Mrs. Curtis. Oh, and there is a Fortune 500 company involved.

What's strange is that the premise of the original is just as current as it was 40 years ago. Extraordinary rendition to an island paradise where your identity is taken away, you are occasionally tortured, and you can never, ever escape. Sounds a hell of a lot like Gitmo, doesn't it?

The original series made the Hotel Portmeirion in Wales a destination vacation site even now. I doubt the remake will make the Namibian resort of Swakopmund any money at all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Three Questions

Q - What's the difference between Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and Jennifer San Marco?

A - Nothing. Both went postal at their place of work and killed several people. Jennifer was a real postal worker.

Q - What's the difference between Maj. Hasen and James Edward Pough?

A - Nothing. Both were spree killers who wanted to send a message using innocent blood.

Q - Were any of these killing "terrorist attacks?"

A - Depends. To conservative nuts everything is a terrorist attack. If a Muslim gets into an fender bender on the freeway? Terrorist! If Charles Krauthammer gets a nasty paper cut? Terrorism!! Hold a jury trial in New York City? We are all going to die horrible, violent, fiery deaths!!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm Just a Bill

David Waldman on DailyKos has an excellent lesson on how a bill is made in his discussion on how Republicans can try to force a reading of the entire voluminous Health Care Reform bill. Put briefly:
  • Republicans CANNOT force a reading of the bill if the Senate takes up the bill passed by the House of Representatives. If the Senate takes up the House bill only the titles need be read.
  • The Republican ploy only works if the Senate gets all egotistical and tries to pass its own, wholly different bill. This is because by the Constitution the Senate does not get first shot at revenue bills and the Health Care Reform bill is, in part, a revenue bill. Hence, the Senate must do its separate bill by amending an existing House bill. Amendments must be read in full.
I'm not in love with the Health Care Reform bill as passed by the House (Stupak Amendment). Still, remove that amendment and the House bill is a marginal improvement. The Senate can take up the House bill and leave Tom Coburn holding his flaccid dick.

Unfortunately, at least half of the Democrats in the United States Senate are megalomaniacs who would rather see the nation's population dying in the streets that have any major piece of legislation pass that they did not have a personal hand in writing.

Rather than just leaving Tom Coburn looking like a fool, the Senate Democrats (Harry Reid) prefer making the entire body look like clowns.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Four Things That Will Never Happen

  1. Health Care Reform - Something with that title might, or might not, pass through Congress but whatever it is called it will not even remotely resemble reform.
  2. KSM Faces a Jury in New York - The trial will be delayed for years with various motions. Eventually either Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will die in custody or a Republican will be elected and KSM will be returned to some ungodly hellhole.
  3. Sarah Palin Elected President - In fact, she will never again be elected to anything, ever. She will likely end up the Zsa Zsa Gabor of politics - famous for being famous but never actually accomplishing anything.
  4. The Apocalypse - No spectacular 2012 end-of-the-world event. No messiah. Global climate change won't cause the extinction of mankind but it will probably slowly shove us back into a Dark Age. Whatever, a million years from now the Earth shall abide and there will be precious little evidence of man's short sojourn here as the dominate species.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Conservative Terrorist Trial Options

Conservatives are wetting their pants over the concept of trials for the terrorists responsible for 9-11. They are coming up with several alternatives to due process.
  • Summary Execution - Several want to skip the whole "finding out if they are guilty" phase and jump right to the killing 'em part. Some don't even want a quick bullet to the head. No, they want the United States to kill its prisoners slowly, by torture.
  • Indefinite Detention - More liberal conservatives get kind of queasy over summary executions and prefer the concept of indefinite detention. I'm not quite certain if they imagine a Louis XV-style Bastille prison or an open-air Joe Stalin-style gulag system. Will it be a place of permanent torture or one where the prisoners are just slowly driven insane?
  • Military Tribunals - This concept is popular whether they would be secret (Star Chamber) proceedings where little more than the verdict is made public or show trials where the verdict is decided first and the trial is just theater. Some conservatives are obsessed with secrecy lest terrorists learn what we are up to but I believe most conservatives want showy show trials with the emphasis on show. All conservatives agree that military tribunals are vital to keep hidden all of the torture and maltreatment our prisoners suffered.
The basis for all of these options is the conservative philosophy that the Constitution only applies to citizens. Their support for torture is rooted in the belief that "cruel and unusual punishment" is only prohibited for US citizens. Habeas Corpus is a right denied non-citizens. Carrying this logic forward, conservatives must certainly believe that the 14th Amendment only applies to citizens and, therefore, slavery is legal if the slaves are non-citizens.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nobody Likes Frivolous Lawsuits

More Than Conservatives who hate frivolous lawsuits.

I love this. Teabaggers are all over who owns what in their tiny little revolution and are suing each other's asses off over it.

Did Patrick Henry sue Thomas Jefferson for stealing some of his lines? Did Jefferson sue Thomas Paine for doing the same thing? And Sam Adams could have sued all of them for taking his ideas, but did he? No. The Founding Fathers cowboyed up and concentrated on the job of revolting.

These modern freedom fighters are all "It's my idea." "No! It's my idea!" "See you in court, Bitch!!!" Pathetic.

You'd think, at least, they would grab their Second Amendment rights and meet on the field of honor like Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. They could sell tickets.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Contractors Bribe Taliban

Consider the scandal if the United States Army paid bribes to their enemy for safe passage of military convoys. In effect, that is what is happening now in Afghanistan. It probably happened in Iraq, too.

The United States sub-contracts out much of the logistical aspects of war to private corporations nowadays. Privatizing war has many advantages as long as you don't care who wins. It makes war good business and popular among the chamber-of-commerce types; instead of being taxed to pay the salaries of grunts driving trucks now the grunts are being taxed to pay executives. It removes the boring parts of warfare so the generals can concentrate on fun stuff like killing folk and blowing shit up.

Soldiers want a war to end quickly, contractors want the war to go on forever because once it ends they are no longer getting paid. The contractors, being mercenary, don't care who wins. Paying bribes to the enemy is a more profitable alternative to providing armed escorts. That the Taliban uses US Government money laundered through contractors to buy weapons and explosives that kill US soldiers is simply the cost of doing business.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Hey baby they're playin' our song
The one we used to hear when we used to get along ~ The Buckinghams
I'm operating with only about 20% of my brain. All of my higher functions and much of my lower functions are handicapped by the same 40 year old lyrics swimming in my head in a continuous loop. Why couldn't it at least by a good song?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Banks Killing Their Golden Goose

Back when I was in college banks hired beautiful girls to hawk credit cards to every passing student. The goal was to get all Americans so deeply in debt that by graduation they would have to work the next thirty years just to dig themselves out (Assuming they never got sick and/or fired). For bankers the ideal situation was some poor slob who used one credit card to pay off the other and did the reverse the next month. The banks found a way to sidestep state usury laws and make Americans credit card slaves.

In 2005, anticipating that Bush's policies and their own greed would inevitably lead to a depression, the banks pushed through new laws restricting bankruptcy. Their plan was to keep people in permanent debt even after going bankrupt. It backfired. The depression has been so severe that people are eschewing the ridiculous hurdles to bankruptcy and simply chucking it all, walking away from their debts and leaving the banks holding great big bags of nothing.

Banks are now scared of debt while at the same time they need debt to make profits. Their solution is to avoid the marginal debtor and really stick it to their better customers. Credit card rates have skyrocketed to the point that only a real idiot would use a credit card nowadays. Rates that used to be 8% are doubling. Interest rates for many have passed 20% and zipped beyond 30%. Hell, you can even find a credit card with an APR of 79.9% and with a $75 annual fee to boot.

My point is that I know people that used to live from credit card payment to credit card payment who are cutting up their cards and giving up credit cards entirely. Banks are killing the credit card goose trying to get at the last few flecks of gold.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Blame It On Texas

Everyone has their own theory about the Fort Hood attack - some focus on religion, some politics, some on the torment of army life after so many years of wars. I thought I'd add my own theory - It's a Texas Thing.

Just a cursory Google search found twenty mass murder/serial killers in Texas. With just a little effort I'm sure I'd find many scores more. California might have more showy killers (Zodiac) but that's just a Hollywood thing. When it comes to pure blood and guts multiple homicides, nobody beats Texas. A few examples:

Charles Whitman
Charles Whitman was a picture perfect Texas college boy in the 1960's. Clean cut, former Marine, married to a pretty little wife. One day, in 1966 in Austin, Charles killed his mother, killed his wife, wrote a note to insure his dog went to a good home, assembled an arsenal, went to the 28th floor observation deck of the University of Texas Tower, and started shooting. With Marine training Whitman killed 14 people and injured 32 others before police were finally able to storm his sniper nest and shoot Whitman.

George Jo Hennard
In 1991 35-year old George Jo Hennard, ex-Navy, drove his pickup truck through the front window of the Luby's Restaurant in Killeen (just a few miles from Fort Hood). With a couple of pistols Hennard got out of his truck and started shooting people, killing 23 in all. He was stone cold sober during the shootings and left no notes behind. The only reason he gave was that he repeatedly shouted, "This is what Bell County did to me!" during his killing spree.

Dean Corll
Working out of Houston, Corll paid his accomplices $200 each for delivering teenage boys to his rape and torture chamber. Corll killed at least 27 people, probably many more.

Henry Lee Lucas

Killed his mother in Michigan and, after his release, went traveling finally settling down in a Stoneburg, Texas Pentecostal commune called the House of Prayer. While living there Lucas took his teenage girlfriend on a trip during which he killed her. He found another girl, killed her, and disposed of the remains in the House of Prayer stove. After being arrested Lucas confessed to over 600 murders. Texas investigators only believed he killed some 350.

One of the most accomplished serial killers in United States history was the only person whose death sentence was commuted by Governor George W. Bush. Envious, perhaps? This leads us to two additional Texas serial killers.

George Bush and Rick Perry
George Bush set a record for executions (154) that was broken by his successor Rick Perry whose total now exceeds 200. The definition of a serial killer is someone who murders three or more people over a span exceeding 30 days for reasons of personal gratification not profit. Even if we only count the innocent people put to death by Bush and Perry both qualify, by definition, as serial killers.

When I heard about the Fort Hood killings my first reactions was, "of course, it's Texas." Having had several days to think about it I have adjusted my opinion. Now I believe, "What else can you expect from Texas?"

Friday, November 06, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Adventures In Fratricide

One thing I love about conservatives is that when the going gets tough nobody is better at whining like a six-month old.

Take the case of Doug Hoffman in New York's 23rd congressional district. Just last week conservatives like Sarah Palin and Dick Armey were fratriciding the Republican candidate in the district and promoting Conservative Party Hoffman as the best thing for the Republic since Aaron Burr. Conservatives did national fund-raising and phone banking for Hoffman.

The Democrat won and Armey is blaming Hoffman, describing him as incompetent. Hoffman was incompetent but those national conservatives knew that going in, all except Palin who thought Hoffman her equal. They didn't care because it was all about killing an impure Republican.

The next adventures in fratricide will be in Florida where the impure, and possibly gay, Republican Governor Charlie Crist is being crucified by conservatives in favor of an impossibly handsome, and possibly gay, empty shirt puppet of Jim DeMint named Marco Rubio.

In the California Senate race, millionaire Carly Fiorina (famous for destroying Hewlett-Packard while its CEO) is being targeted by conservatives who have noticed she is not a religious fanatic and are terrified by her post-chemo hair. The DeMint puppet in this race is totally unknown assemblyman Chuck DeVore. DeVore is a full on godly-to-the-max traditional family values guy who claimed Fiorina was faking her breast cancer. Stay classy, Chuck.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Reading Too Much Into an Election

All politics is local. ~ Tip O'Neill
Everyone is all atwitter (you know, new technology has really changed this word) over the macro-implications of yesterday's election. The funny thing is there is really nothing to see.
  • Virginia's Creigh Deeds ran a piss poor election. He came off as significantly incompetent. Here is a tip - people will always vote for the guy who knows how to tie his shoes even if they disagree with his politics. (George W. Bush is an exception to this rule; the only things that explain his elections is vote fraud or mass insanity.)
  • John Corzine was too corrupt even by New Jersey's lax standards. It would have taken a Republican version of Creigh Deeds to lose there although I grant that Chris Christie's own brand of stupid came close to losing a winning hand.
  • The NY-23 victory for a Democrat was actually a defeat for national Democrats. Had Hoffman won the conservative mob would have set off purging the Republican Party down to single digits. Now, maybe they won't, but I hold out hope they will try kicking Olympia Snowe out of the party. That would be fun.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Liars and Thieves

The drug lords had successfully stolen the Afghan government for their stooge, Hamid Karzai. That the United States government is totally behind Karzai in this theft is the work of CIA drug traffickers.

The US military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is, straight up, a liar.

Any military adventure with this pedigree is doomed to fail. Victory will be sold for profit; defeat will be covered up so lessons are never learned.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Obama, Afghanistan and the CIA

There is a theory that JFK was assassinated because he intended to wind down the American presence in Vietnam. This endangered the CIA's lucrative Southeast Asian heroin trade. Add in JFK's refusal to back CIA plots to restore Cuba to their Mafia friends and Kennedy's murder looks a lot like a CIA black op.

I mention this because of the rumor that President Obama may be considering winding down the American involvement in Afghanistan. The CIA is up to its dirty little snout in the Afghan drug trade. The CIA needs the current chaos to continue unchanged to keep the drug cash flowing. A stable Afghanistan, either pro-American or Taliban, would be a financial disaster to the CIA. Would the CIA perform another coup to protect their drug trade?

Note: Where God Went Wrong has a new Halloween entry.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Cure Worse Than the Disease

Blue skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see ~ Irving Berlin
Leave it to scientists to come up with the only way to make a bad situation worse. Some scientists have decided that to cure global warming they need only only cover the Earth with an aerosol shroud. Their plan is to geoengineer the globe by pumping tons of sulfur into the atmosphere, covering the Earth with a dull haze that will reflect sunlight and, thereby, cool the globe.

Beyond the utter insanity of trying to cure a problem caused by pollution by adding more pollution, in essence making the whole world Los Angeles during a Stage 2 smog alert, there are a plethora of possible nasty side-effects.
  • Beautiful days will be a thing of the past as scientists will turn the world's skies into an endless depressing gray.
  • Put sulfur with air, add sunlight, and you make sulfuric acid. Acid rain, remember?
  • Reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth will lower temperatures at the cost of reducing the viability of plant life. The result will be shorter and less productive growing seasons. This will likely increase world famine worse than global warming will.
  • It will accelerate ozone layer depletion. Expect increases in blindness, cancer, and additional negative effects on crops.
  • The problem is Global Climate Change. Their solution is to replace one set of global climate problems with another, equal if not worse, set of problems.
  • The whole concept is fucking unpredictable.
Global Climate Change is a real problem with a real, simple solution - reduce the infusion of carbon into the atmosphere. This scientific solution reminds me of an old children's song.

There was an old woman who swallowed a cow,
I don't know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a horse,
She's dead—of course!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

CIA Pays Top Afghan Drug Smuggler

Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother of the Afghan president and and a one of that country's opium lords, is a highly prized CIA operative. Color me not surprised. One of the worst kept secrets in the history of clandestine operations has been the CIA's decades long leading role in international drug trafficking.
  • France - It was after World War II that the CIA discovered the kind of money that could be made from drugs.The CIA worked with organized crime to take control of the French ports from Communists and as a sideline began profiting from the heroin trade. The CIA build the French Connection.
  • Vietnam - It was during this war that illegal drugs began to plague the streets of the United States. One theory on why the Vietnam War lasted so long is that the government had become dependent on the drug trade to finance the CIA's black ops against the Soviet Union. Peace was not an option.
  • Colombia - Following the fall of Vietnam it was the responsibility of then CIA director George H. W. Bush to open up new trade routes for the CIA to move illegal drugs. The CIA facilitated the development of the Medellin Colombian drug cartel. No coincidentally, cocaine use did not became significant in the United States until the 1980's when the CIA had a new war.
  • The Contras - With the election of Ronald Reagan the CIA was tasked with supporting civil wars in Central America as well as funding arms shipments to the Iran. The grease applied was the cocaine trade. Now Vice-President George Bush was certainly up to his eyebrows in it. With the evidence widespread, the CIA is admitting to "tolerating" the trade when the truth is they were active conspirators.
  • Afghanistan - The Reagan Administration tasked the CIA support revolt against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The CIA set about supporting the creation of what became the Taliban and al Qaeda and funded these organization with a massive growth in the heroin trade from both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Afghanistan Reformed - After the fall of the Soviet puppets in Afghanistan the Taliban virtually wiped out the production of opium. Hence, the CIA saw a sharp decline in income for their criminal enterprises during the Clinton years.
  • Afghanistan Back in Business - It is no coincidence that as soon as the Taliban fell the Afghanistan drug trade returned with a vengeance. The CIA was quick to restore business relations with top drug lords like Karzai's brother and running mate. Again, as in Vietnam, why does the war continue endlessly? Again, in part, it is because the CIA is making too much money to ever allow peace.
See also the Real Drug Lords and the Politics of Heroin.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Lieberman Effect

Somewhere, probably in a comment to someone else's blog, I once wrote that the Democratic Party would regret welcoming Joe Lieberman's return into the fold. Sixtieth vote or not, Lieberman would someday gleefully, as gleefully as a man so permanently doleful as he can, stab the Democratic Party in the back. He would choose a time designed to maximize the party's distress and to hurt as many people as possible.

The act would be wanton and malicious. It wouldn't make sense but it wouldn't have to. His goal wouldn't be add to the political discourse but to destroy it. His goal would be to cause pain, extreme pain, surgically applied pain. Joe Lieberman is to politics what Herman Mudgett was to medicine.
PS: I know I'm not the first to notice that Joe Lieberman is the spitting image of Droopy Dog.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Republican Health Plan

Republicans in Congress are frustrated that their leadership hasn't come up with a "Republican Alternative" for health care reform. Allow me to help.
  • Health Rationing - Health care is to be based entirely on the ability to pay. CEOs get gold-plated faucets in their hospital toilets. The poor get sanitary handiwipes to use while picking through garbage for food (assuming they are willing to pay for them).
  • Health Rationing II - Doctor's are ignorant about medicine. All decision making on specifics of health treatment are to be made by insurance industry clerks whose judgment is not clouded by compassion, medical training, or that pesky Hippocratic Oath.
  • Insurance Reform - Rewrite the laws to allow insurance companies to cancel coverage for any pre- (or post-) existing condition that might cause an insurance company to spend, you know, actual money.
  • Drugs - Drug companies are allowed to set prices based on demand. For example, a pill vital for cancer treatment that costs five cents to make may cost $100 per dose because those dying will pay anything for it. The Federal Government will continue to require that Viagra be covered because keeping rich old farts horny is a vital component of the economy.
  • Pandemics - Vaccinations should cost dearly. The productive members of society will pay, be protected, and allowed to party away. The young will die thereby reducing the burden of educating them. The poor will die thereby reducing welfare rolls, saving the government money. Consider it a cleansing, vaccinating the poor thwarts the Will of God.
Pictured is the Republican vision for health care, The Masque of the Red Death by Shakmet.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yankee Stadium Is a Pile of Junk

The City and State of New York paid half the cost of building a new stadium for billionaire George Steinbrenner. The total price tag to various government entities is over $1 billion.

This is funny because the new Yankee Stadium now in its seventh month of operation is falling apart. Given the alleged ties to organized crime connections of contractors used to build the stadium, the fact the construction was shoddy should not be a surprise.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Random Thought

I am confident that I made decisions based on principle, that I made calls as best I could, and I did not sell my soul. ~ George W. Bush
You can't sell what you gave away for free years ago.

Operation Northwoods

Before the Birthers there were the Truthers, the people who believed that 9-11 was a plot by the Bush Administration to justify the conquest of Iraq. Truthers believe that the damage to the Pentagon was not caused by an airplane and the the Twin Towers were felled by explosive charges set by United States government agents.

It is an insane conspiracy theory and while I love a good conspiracy even I could not buy into this one. Still, Truthers could point for support to an actual government conspiracy that was eerily similar, Operation Northwoods.

Operation Northwoods
Devised in 1962 following the debacle of the Bay of Pigs, it was to provide the justification for an American invasion and conquest of Cuba. The plan proposed a series of phony provocations that would be the pretext for war. The author of the plan was the then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General L. L. Lemnitzer. The plan's basics were:
  • Initiate a series of fake attacks on the US military base at Guantanamo. The culmination would be a "Remember the Maine" incident where a US warship would be blown up in Guantanamo Bay.
  • Terrorist attacks would be staged against Cuban refugees. American agents would sink a boatload of Cuban refugees and blame Castro. Attempts would be made on the lives of Cubans living in Florida. To be believable, these attempts would have to frequently succeed.
  • Americans, using Cuban-type bombers, would use Soviet incendiaries to burn the crops of other Caribbean nations. The Dominican Republic was specifically mentioned as a possible target. Firebombing farms would kill civilians.
  • American pilots flying Soviet MIGs would shoot down a passenger airliner. The suggested target would be a chartered flight of American students on holiday. Gen. Lemnitzer was sensitive enough to suggest substituting an unoccupied drone although his plan does not say how the government would explain the sudden reappearance of all those presumably dead students.
The plan received unanimous support by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was forwarded to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and President Kennedy. Kennedy rejected the plan. Gen. Lemnitzer was quietly removed as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and was moved over to NATO where calmer heads could keep him under control.

Operation Northwoods was kept secret until it was published in 1997 as part of the Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board.

Secret but not forgotten. A year after it was rejected part of the plan was initiated. John F. Kennedy was murdered and the man framed for the murder was tied to Cuba.

PS About 9-11 Truthers: The reason I haven't believed them is that the Bush Administration just wasn't competent enough to have pulled it off. Although I am willing to reconsider if the Truthers can provide better evidence.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rape Called 'Pre-Existing Condition'

Sometimes I wonder where health insurance companies find there executives, the people who make their rules for coverage. They can't possibly be human in that they lack even the faintest hint of human compassion. I've come to suspect that Blue Cross, for example, has a recruitment office in the eighth level of Hell.
Hell, pretty much being a woman is considered a pre-existing condition and justification for denying coverage.

In California, PacifiCare denied coverage for almost 40% of applicants. Cigna denies nearly a third of applicants, Kaiser and Blue Cross denial rate is over a quarter of applicants. Source.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Maybe Bankers Deserve It

Consider, bank CEOs conned the federal government out of billions of dollars of free money. Bank CEOs made the term "too big to fail" a mantra that allows big banks to take outrageous risks - if they succeed the bank benefits, if they fail the government covers the loses. Bank CEOs have created an environment where the only people deserving of government largess are the richest of the rich.

After doing all that, don't you think bank CEO's deserve a few six-figure perks?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Republicans for Rape

It is rare I support a Republican site but this one deserves notice. Republicans for Rape defends patriotic American companies that practice the recreational rape of their employees. The issue is the Franken Amendment that would prevent private contractors from requiring arbitration in the event an employee was raped by her colleagues.

The exemplar case was when a KBR employee was gang raped in Iraq and the company imprisoned her in a shipping container, stole the rape evidence kit, and demanded her complaint go to arbitration. To date, no criminal charges have been, nor likely ever will, be filed. As Jon Swift points out, by complaining the woman was undermining the war effort.

The Defense Department, following that long held belief by militaries across time and continents that gang rape is one of the only perks of war, opposes the Franken Amendment. Also opposing are thirty Republican Senators. Each and every one, from John McCain to David Vitter, have long supported the rights of women to be raped without trial lawyers interfering.

Republicans realize the Franken Amendment is unfair to companies like Halliburton and KBR and interferes with corporations ability to impose repressive contracts on their employees.

The Franken Amendment is just another example of liberal treason. One final link, the Jamie Leigh Foundation was created to further the victim's subversive activities.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

End Health Monopolies

Republicans claim to support free enterprise, competition in the marketplace. In reality, Republicans are the enemies of free enterprise with their steadfast support of monopolistic practices that stifle competition.

The only reason health insurance companies have sustained double-digit annual rate increases for so many years, as well as the cruel treatment of its subscribers, is the absence of competition. In most places in this country there is no viable alternative. The only way they could make the threat to increase rates in response to government action is if there are tacit, or formal, agreements between the companies to fix prices.

The reason the insurance companies are so terrified of the "public option" is that it offers real competition, health insurance that is not part of their cartel. Key to maintaining their monopolies is the anti-trust exemption insurance companies have. Breaking the insurance cartel must be a vital part of health care reform.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Texas Executions

The biggest problem with executions is killing innocent people. The biggest problem with politicians is an inability for self-reflection, the ability to admit error. In Texas that creates a perfect storm.

Texas governors love executing prisoners. It's a machismo thing. George Bush Jr. killed 154 prisoners in his six years; Rick Perry has killed 202 in eight years, with six more scheduled before the end of the year. That is a record. No governor in American history has ever killed more prisoners than Rick Perry.

Texas also leads the nation is the number of innocent people executed. Bush was notorious for his disinterest in reading clemency reports. Perry, on the other hand, is an ambitious man determined to build a political empire with the bones of the dead. Perry, like Bush before him, has a simple philosophy - kill 'em all and let God sort the innocent from the guilty.

The stories of the innocents killed by Texas governors could fill a book. There is Ruben Cantu, killed in 1993, the victim of sloppy police work. Frances Newton died in 2005 because the court appointed an amateur attorney to defend her - Ron Mock allegedly had a habit of showing up in court drunk, 16 of his 19 clients ended up on death row.

Then there is the now famous case of Cameron Todd Willingham, killed in 2004. He was convicted using clearly fabricated evidence. He died because a district attorney wanted to pad his stats. With the facts showing Willingham innocent Perry has become dedicated to covering up the case. Perry intends to be proud of every prisoner he has killed and won't allow facts to interfere.

There are more innocents lined up to be killed by Texas like Jeff Wood who was convicted of murder because he was standing outside a store when someone else inside the store killed a clerk.

See also the Texas Moratorium Network.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Spawn of Satan?

Rush Limbaugh claims to have spawned Glenn Beck. I always knew it.

If Rush Limbaugh had sex with a succubus from the eighth level of Hell, afterwards the succubus would feel despoiled.

NOTE: Where God Went Wrong is no longer moribund. I had to resurrect it for the story of Texas school children using Gideon Bibles to smoke pot.

Monday, October 12, 2009

American Police State:
A Little Paranoia Before Breakfast

Cracked.com is supposed to be a comedy site, which it mostly is. They also have a facility of finding those times when truth is not so much stranger than fiction than infinitely more frightening.

Today's contribution to daylight nightmares is Five Ways You're Secretly Being Monitored.
  1. Public Surveillance. Count the number of cameras in your bank and you'll be arrested for plotting a robbery. Trust me, there are a lot of them. But they are just the tip of the iceberg. There are cameras on just about every urban street corner in America and Europe now. Stare at that sexy girl in front of the federal building too long and your face will be tagged as a potential terrorist. Audio surveillance is the new growth industry. Facial recognition software (grow a mustache, go to jail) that can pick out a face in the crowd for arrest is still mostly a sales pitch to gullible police departments. It's all an amusement park for government watchers. Just like in 1984, there are very few places you can go where you are not being watched. Gotta love these Chicago artists, though, who are turning public surveillance into performance art.
  2. Cell Phone Bugs. Software to spy on cell phones is everywhere. It's so easy to track every message and GPS location. You can even turn on the iPhone microphone to listen in on your target.
  3. Printer Tracking. This is not a problem for me because I only use words cut out of newspapers and pasted onto parchment to create my hard copies. Still, it must be unsettling to know that everything you print or copy is watermarked.
  4. RFID Tags. You go to the Barnes and Noble and buy a subversive book. You pay cash, don't use your membership card, and make sure the surveillance cameras can't see the title so you figure you are free and clear. Wrong! The RFID chip is still active and wherever you go the chip is sending out it's signal leading the Feds right to your underground book club meeting. Then there is the alleged plan to use RFID chip to track the homeless or the equally believable Oklahoma plot to use RFID bracelets and police roadblocks to enforce universal Swine Flu vaccination.
  5. Total Information Awareness Program.
    There's nothing you can know that isn't known.
    Nothing you can see that isn't shown. ~ All You Need Is Love
    The key is putting it all together. TIA does that. If you thought that this program died when Dick Cheney left office, think again. That data is all there, being mined to form an image of that complex tapestry that is you. Step out of line, the man comes and takes you away. Even your Amazon Wishlist is tattling on you.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

White House Gets Honest About FOX

It's not exactly new news to anyone whose been paying attention but you have to applause the honesty from the Obama Administration stating outright that FOX News is just the propaganda arm of the Republican Party. So much of politics is playing Let's Pretend that hearing a simple truth is damn refreshing.

Friday, October 09, 2009

It's Good Enough He's Not Bush

President Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Conservatives are spluttering their morning Mueslix out their noses at the news.

The truth is that Obama hasn't done anything yet to deserve the prize except that he is NOT George W. Bush. But, that is quite enough. Obama is truly a champion of peace just for kicking Bushism out of power. Pissing off Dick Cheney is a bonus.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

American Police State Update

An innocent person, especially male and of color, ought to schedule an extra twenty minutes when traveling from point A to point B. The additional time is to allow for the every more frequent random police full body searches that are being conducted.

The grounds for a "stop-and-frisk" are loose, someone just has to look hinky to a cop. Hinky meaning, in most cases, the cop sees someone who is both male and of color.

You will want to be patient. Police take their time on such random stops, they'll want to talk and ask a lot of questions. They may want to pat you down. Try not to enjoy this because they may then arrested you for lewd conduct. Remember that they have an itchy trigger finger on that Taser gun of theirs so don't become frustrated or display any annoyance whatsoever. Whatever you do, don't get angry because right next to that Taser is a 38-cal. police special.

Useful Tip: White police officers in the Deep South respond well to the phrase, "Yes, massa."

We Are All Christians
(Whether We Like It Or Not)

"It's erected as a war memorial. I assume it is erected in honor of all of the war dead," Scalia said of the cross that the Veterans of Foreign Wars built 75 years ago atop an outcropping in the Mojave National Preserve. ~ Huff Post
I have encountered this argument so often I have ceased to be amused by its naivety. It is always brought out by Christians to defend a government sponsored cross somewhere or other. It is silly, childish thinking - disingenuous at best and most often an outright lie. The cross is an exclusively Christian religious symbol; when it is erected to "honor" war dead it is intended to honor only the Christian war dead. Only an idiot would believe otherwise.

Antonin Scalia is no fool. He is a shyster who perverts the US Constitution to meet his personal political and religious prejudices, but he is not stupid. He is a man without scruples who would use his power on the Supreme Court to recast the United States as a Christian Theocracy, but he is not an idiot. When Scalia says the Christian cross honors "all" he truly means "all who matter." Non-Christians, in Scalia's United States, are worthless dregs.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

What Matters; What Doesn't
(Presidential Division)

What Matters
The Economy. The official unemployment rate is nearing 10%. The Real Unemployment Rate is a staggering 17%. And the depression has continued long enough that families are using up their unemployment benefits with no relief in sight. This issue rates 100 on a scale of one to ten. It's The Economy, Stupid!

Afghanistan. The same people that ended Alexander The Great's quest for world domination, the people that chased the great British Empire back through the Hindu Kush, the ragtag rebels who destroyed the Soviet Union are now the problem of the United States. We have the power to destroy their country. We can kill every man, woman, and child in Afghanistan without breaking a sweat. We can never rule them and we might as well give up trying.

Health Care. One of the first lessons I learn is that real power politics is the art of the possible. There are very few issues that are so important one should waste political capital on a losing effort. If you can't win, let things slide and live to fight another day. The second lesson is to know what you want before committing to a fight. While health care costs and availability are a vital American concern, the insurance companies own a sufficient number of Congressmen and Senators to make real reform impossible. President Obama, while strongly supporting reform, does not seem to have a clear idea what that reform should look like. I'd like real reform but I don't see it happening and insofar as the health care debate is distracting from the economy it is a net loss.

What Doesn't Matter
The Olympics. No one, except venue builders and Chicago construction workers, cares where the Olympics are held. If Republicans try to make an issue out of the Olympics going to Rio it will be the GOP that looks petty and disconnected.

Iran Nukes. Sorry neo-cons, Iran is a regional issue. The Saudis and Israelis are scared but they are no threat to the United States. A little saber rattling for domestic consumption is all that is needed.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Devil's Dues Are High

While the world suffers Goldman Sachs continues to have win-win deals so sweet they resemble Satanic orgies. If CIT Group goes bankrupt Goldman is guaranteed $1 billion while everyone else gets the shaft. The US taxpayer, for example, stands to lose $2.3 billion in a CIT Group bankruptcy. CIT Group is neck deep in shit, their operating margin, for example is -427%.

Pictured is either a Goldman Sachs board of directors meeting or a black mass, it's hard to tell them apart. More on Goldman's Devil deals here and here.

Standard Disclaimer to Goldman Sachs lawyers: I love Goldman Sachs and continue worship nightly to its Splendiferousness. Please don't sue me.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Hockey Night in Canada

Nothing will get the memories of the Black Dahlia murder out of my mind better than an excessive amount of ice hockey.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Black Dahlia

There are certain mysteries that fascinate me, mysteries that, once I start thinking about them, I can't let go. The Kennedy assassination conspiracies (both of them), the Jack the Ripper case, the Lost Dutchman Mine are three. Another is the case of the Black Dahlia.

Elizabeth Short was beautiful, with raven hair that contrasted her alabaster skin and powder blue eyes. She always dressed in black and wore a flower in her hair. To see her, even in a black and white picture, is to become instantly captivated by her. She wanted to be famous, a movie star. She ended up famous, the victim of the most horrid murder in the history of Los Angeles.

Who Was Beth Short?
After her fiance has died at the end of World War II, Beth became something of a vagabond. She traveled from Florida to Chicago and finally arrived in Hollywood in the summer of 1946.

Beth visited the nightclubs where the glitterati would go, hoping to catch the eye of someone who would start her in films. The 22 year-old never worked a day in Hollywood. She lived sometimes in flophouses and other times in fine homes or hotels, depending on how successful she was convincing some man to put her up. She ate, when she ate at all, when men bought her dinner.

While Beth traded on her beauty she never sold her body. There is no evidence she was a prostitute and much evidence she always refused sex with her male companions. It seems she could manipulate men without ever giving up the prize.

The Black Dahlia Murder
I won't go much into detail because the details are repulsive. I won't show her autopsy photos although the pictures are easily found because seeing both the beautiful face above and the Glasgow Smile carved in that face by the murderer is the stuff of nightmares. Believe me. I won't go much into details but some facts are necessary.

Beth Short disappeared five days before her body was found in a vacant lot in January 1947. She had been neatly dissected in half at the waist and the two parts carefully posed. She had been tortured for days prior to her death.

The suspect list was pretty nearly the entire male population of Los Angeles. The murderer had mailed Beth's belongings to the police (via a newspaper). Included was Beth's address book, with a couple of pages torn out. While the police interrogated everyone in that address book it is obvious that the murderer was identified on the missing pages.

The police tried to pin the murder on a traveling salesman, one Robert Manley, who was the last person known to have seen her alive. The police were disappointed their investigation cleared him of the crime. Still the publicity managed to destroy his life, he ended up in a psychiatric hospital. After that the case devolved into the incompetent chaos for which the Los Angeles Police Department is still renown. No one was every arrested.

Who Did It?
Exactly who killed Beth Short is meaningless now as all the possible suspects are now dead. Still, there is quite the cottage industry of people trying to prove this or that person was the killer. I can understand why there is a need for some sort of closure. Some things can be deduced.
  • The murderer knew Beth. There is a reason the address book pages were torn out. He was there, in the book.
  • The murderer was skilled, probably a doctor with surgical training. Even more than the Jack the Ripper case, the Black Dahlia case shows precision with a knife. This was not some crude hacking, not the work of a traveling salesman, but the signature of a professional.
  • The murderer took care to pose the body. He was making a statement.
  • The murderer may have had important connections. The Los Angeles Police file on the Black Dahlia murder disappeared and even to this day some 60 years later, the LA Police Department is extremely defensive about the case. Far beyond being embarrassed by failure, they still seem to be trying to hide something.
NOT Recommended Reading
I do not recommend reading about the Black Dahlia case. It can lead to a very unhealthy obsession. If you are determined to confront these nightmares:
  • Who Killed the Black Dahlia is a good overview of the case devoid of any disturbing photos.
  • The Black Dahlia Solution has a lot of interesting observations if you can get beyond the bizarre symbolism the writer sees. It has the advantage of being really, really detailed. The disadvantage is more close-ups of autopsy photos than any sane person can stomach.
  • TruTV did a good study of the Black Dahlia case but also of the woman Beth Short.
  • Steve Hodel wrote a best selling book accusing his father of the murder. He is a former LA police officer with some serious daddy issues but he makes a strong case. He is critical of police conduct on the case.
  • Heaven Is Here! is LA Times reporter Larry Harnish's study on the case. I like his process but his conclusion is lame. Harnish is too trusting of the LA police.
  • The Black Dahlia Website is another very through study of the crime. Its message boards are for the totally obsessed.
  • Then there is the Biltmore Hotel Ghost Story.
Final Thoughts
I think a major reason I am touched by Beth Short is that I see some of her in many of the women I have loved. When I look at her pictures while alive I can see women in my life and when I seen the crime photos it hits me as if a dear friend has been killed. I can walk away from the Black Dahlia story and I have to. But every so often I bump into the Dahlia and I feel her suffering again.

By the by, stay away from the Black Dahlia movies. They are all trash.