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Friday, January 13, 2006

It was mentioned in conversation yesterday that what I do is the audio equivalent of political cartooning. That seems a reasonable description. What follows is Podcasting at its nadir.

Here are the radio pieces heard on KOPT Friday morning.

Here is the Special Alito Report. The part of the pompous speaker is admirably played by Mr. Senator Lindsey Graham (Asshole, SC). The various network media "personalities" play themselves.

It's a 913k download. The (hilarious) piece runs 1:56.

Download the MP3 (right click and "save as"):

And here is Clammin' Sammy Alito's dilatory and obfuscatorial answer to the question "Is Roe v. Wade the settled law of the land?"

It's a 912k download. The (splendiferous) piece runs 1:56.

Download the MP3 (right click and "save as"):

And, finally, here are two accusations made about your humble correspondent, from the radio show last Friday. (The "pointy-headed" reference was to a caller's accusation the PRIOR Friday.)

It's a 1.4 meg download. The (squalid) piece runs 3:06.

Download the MP3 (right click and "save as"):

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A popular bestseller of either the late 1960s or early 1970s was THE PETER PRINCIPLE. To save you the price of the book, the central thesis could be stated very simply:

The cream rises until it sours.

Peter's "funny" observation was a reductio ad absurdam that he spent a considerable amount of time trying to turn into a positive (The PETER PRESCRIPTION, et al), but that's not the point here.

The point is that competence, for the first time since World War II, is no longer considered an important issue.

When you listened to the Alito confirmation hearings today, it was the usual drivel. It is sorrowful to note that, in this CSPAN age, the self-styled "greatest deliberative body in the world" -- the United States Senate -- is filled with lousy attorneys and oratorical hacks.

But that isn't the point here either.

We begin then, not with a point, but with a metaphor: Samuel Alito is an incompetent hack when it comes to lying. In an age in which prevarication is the SOLE art form, he is particularly artless. His performance today was embarrassing for his supporters, and his inquisitors don't exactly have anything to write home about either.

This is the hallmark of this administration, and, I would hazard all but parenthetically, the hallmark of the America they presume to rule.

But, particularly, I have found that the country itself takes on the grace note of whomever is in the White House. This is not surprising: our great success as a species comes of our ability to adapt rapidly, to be assimilated by the greater whole. Christianity, which characterizes European thought, was imported from an Oriental culture, the Semitic nation of Israel, whose population and military/scientific/cultural contributions were not exactly salutary with regard to Mediterranean rim cultures of that epoch.

The idea rapidly took root and galvanized European (and, consequently, American and Australian) thought to this very day.

There is always an aspect of the current "king" figure that is assimilated into our American culture, in much the same way, no matter how insubstantial that "Great White Father" figure might be.

And, with the ascension of George the Dubya, insubstantiality is the order of the day: an insubstantial student, athlete, businessman, "fighter" pilot, baseball team manager and even, as he blundered into a "sweetheart" deal that made him a millionaire ($50,000 down on a $500,000 share of a baseball team whose management blackmailed the community of Arlington, Texas, to build a new, plush stadium, increasing the value of the team, which was sold, and Georgie's share was $18 million), an insubstantial sort of millionaire.

The only thing that George excels at is lying with a moderately straight face -- although I will note that the smirk has toned down considerably as competent Life, The Universe and Everything as kicked him in his insubstantial nuts. He epitomizes the incompetent, the social parasite, the trust fund baby, the kid who always won the ticket contest or the magazine subscription test not because he sold the most, but because his parents bullied the most of their friends to purchase the greatest number of READERS DIGEST subscriptions.

He is a Norman Rockwell painting of Dorian Gray.

And that incompetence has percolated into every aspect of American culture via our reflexive need to conform; that phenomenon that produces 'style,' 'pop culture,' and, of course, 'zeitgeist.'

Unfortunately, the current geist is, increasingly, zip.

The body armor controversy that refuses to erupt hasn't even scratched the core of the issue: that our troops are dying because they aren't being issued armor that we already have. Why? Because it isn't being produced fast enough.

The level of incompetence of any country that can't supply armor for vehicles and for soldiers after THREE years of an occupation comprising a paltry 150,000 troops requires the invention of a new word. It is more than merely astonishingly incompetent. More than fantastically inept. Deeper and more profound that a cascading CF.

What that word is, I cannot say. Let's call it "X." It is "X" incompetent.

Worse, the Boob-In-Chief doesn't even value competence, since he has succeeded so successfully without ever needing it. Part of that smirk, I imagine, was his glee at having triumphed over "smartypants" Al Gore, who had excelled at every phase of his life.

A good recent example: Arnold Schwarzenegger busted without a motorcycle license. The incompetent police note that it's OK because he had a sidecar. A sidecar containing a child (his son) who was also injured in the unlicensed accident.

Good lord. When I got a motorcycle in California twenty-five years ago, I went down and got my endorsement. It's right there in the bloody drivers' license booklet. And, astonishing that the police come up with the weird dodge that since he was also injuring a passenger, it's OK. The passenger was in a sidecar.

The incompetence in addressing the questions of "law" are endemic with the Bushies and their cronies. You might recall that we began with the astonishing fiction that Dick Cheney was a resident of Wyoming, even though he was registered to vote (he rarely bothered) in Texas, paid taxes in Texas, owned his principal residence in Texas, and spent virtually all his time IN Texas.

Or consider Mitt Romney, who slithered into Massachusetts as a "resident" (to win the governorship) even though he'd lived and paid taxes in Utah for the past few years, in his job as overseer of a corrupt and slimy winter Olympics mess.

Looks like some of it rubbed off.

But we seem to be impotent in paying attention to simple and universally accepted laws of residency, of drivers' licenses, and the rest. These aren't "controversial" laws, but the cream has soured. Seemingly, the country is run by incompetent overseers whose claim to command stems more from who they know than what they know.

The head of the division that oversees mines in the traditionally corrupt Department of the Interior was a mine-owner/lobbyist whose own record in mine safety OUGHT to have disqualified him from consideration, let alone appointment.

"Brownie you're doing a heckuva job" Mike Brown of FEMA's story is well known.

And so on and so forth and scoobie doobie do wah.

The cream has risen until it's soured throughout American society, and we seem to continually suffer from its consequences.

The DOW (we ARE Dow-ists and not Christians after all) moved above 11,000 and all cheered. But few noted WHY it moved above 11,000 points.

The reason?

A big bump in General Motors' stock prices.

You might recall that GM was on the verge of bankruptcy last month, when they made bold announcements that they're going to lay off (fire) 30,000 US workers and another 5,000 management (to "contain costs").

Hell of a way to "boost" the economy, right?

After all, 35,000 workers who can't translate easily into other jobs is a great sign of a red-hot economic engine, right?

Are we out of our tiny little minds?

Or consider Bush's "town meeting" today as the administration shifted 180 degrees in its response to NSA hearings. Then, they were adamantly against it. Today, they were genially for it. Again: when in doubt, campaign, because that's the only thing that Bush seems to be good at doing. (Well, that and drinking, and, purportedly, he doesn't drink anymore. Much.)

And, in a scene straight out of "Wag The Dog," Bush was asked a question by a seven-year-old (obligatory cute) boy at the pseudo-town-hall meeting in Tennetucky (or Kentuckkessee).

Bush calls hearings good for democracy
January 12, 2006

LOUISVILLE, Ky. In Louisville, Bush hosted a casual, town hall-type event reminiscent of his campaign stops. Bush paced, with microphone in hand, like a talk show host in front of signs that left no doubt about the administration's message of the day: ''Winning the War on Terror.''

Bush's approval rating bumped up slightly to 42 percent in December, but it remains low, with 40 percent of Americans approving and 59 percent disapproving of the way he's doing his job, according to the latest AP-Ipsos poll conducted the first week of January.


A 7-year-old boy's question - "How can people help on the war on terror?" - gave Bush an opening to score some political points against his critics and try to keep Democrats from using Iraq as an issue in this year's midterm elections.

"It's one thing to have a philosophical difference - and I can understand people being abhorrent about war. War is terrible," Bush said. "But one way people can help as we're coming down the pike in the 2006 elections is remember the effect that rhetoric can have on our troops in harm's way, and the effect that rhetoric can have in emboldening or weakening an enemy."
"Rhetoric"??!? Bush lectures a seven-year-old boy on 'rhetoric' (a word whose unfamiliarity with his mealy mouth was palpable)??????

We'll pass over "emboldening." We can only hope that he speaks English gooder in future.

And how many seven-year-olds do you think appreciate what 'rhetoric' might be? Here is a man who has spent his entire political career doing the limbo under a very low intellectual bar, and he's tossing 'rhetoric' at grade school children?

THAT is incompetence in spades. (I have a sneaking feeling that, of the two, the boy was the more knowledgeable in what 'rhetoric' might be.)



NOUN: 1a. The art or study of using language effectively and persuasively. b. A treatise or book discussing this art. 2. Skill in using language effectively and persuasively. 3a. A style of speaking or writing, especially the language of a particular subject: fiery political rhetoric. b. Language that is elaborate, pretentious, insincere, or intellectually vacuous: His offers of compromise were mere rhetoric. 4. Verbal communication; discourse.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English rethorik, from Old French rethorique, from Latin rhtoric, rhtorica, from Greek rhtorik (tekhn), rhetorical (art), feminine of rhtorikos, rhetorical, from rhtr, rhetor. See rhetor.


NOUN: 1. A teacher of rhetoric. 2. An orator.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English rether, from Latin rhtor, from Greek rhtr.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.
So, Bush is against intelligent and skilful opposition to the war. Just telling him he's a blockhead is probably OK, though -- unless, as he accused on Tuesday, we're "giving aid and comfort to the enemy" which is the language contained in the Constitution for "treason." I doubt its inclusion was accidental. It was merely another ham-handed, incompetent, boobish attempt at "rhetoric" by King George.

And then Sam Alito lied so ineptly, so foolishly, so idiotically over something that he could have merely said was a mistake a long time ago and moved on on.

But, no. He had to pretend that he can't remember joining the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, in their xenophobic anti-non-WASP jihad -- he, who was undoubtedly thrilled to "pass" for WASP, even though, as an Italian Catholic, his East Coast Establishment credentials weren't exactly chiseled in stone. As someone once noted, the middle class tends to hate the lower classes because it is usually where they climbed up from, and too short a drop to comprehend with any serenity. The wealthy tend to be much more sympathetic to the poor. And Alito, newly an Alpha WASP male, probably joined for reasons that he's since repudiated.

Not a problem.

But first he claimed to NOT remember.

Then, because he was PRO-ROTC. (The ROTC had been banned during Vietnam war campus unrest). Except ... the ROTC had been reinstated at Princeton when Alito joined CAP.

What an astonishingly ham-handed and incompetent lie. What a blundering and foolish response to something that might have been easily dealt with.

The reason to oppose Alito may not be that he's anti-woman, anti-people, and anti-reason. It might be that he's anti-competence -- many a clever attorney is an idiot, after all. Intelligence does not automatically presume wisdom.

The problem with incompetent boobs is that they don't value competence in anyone else -- because they have no idea how it works, or, often, what it looks like.

The idiots are in charge, and will continue to be in charge as long as we believe that "it doesn't really matter" whether a president is qualified or not; competent or not; human or not.

And this one is a demon.

Thank goodness he's so bloody incompetent. But he DOES smell like soured milk.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Yesterday, in one of my little throwaways, I mentioned that "There is now talk about reining that in, too, by attacking the ISP's with Homeland Security snooping, and liability for allowing seditious talk."

Well, it turns out that I was inadvertently reporting breaking news. Not only is Phase I underway, but it was achieved in a particularly chilling and underhanded manner.

See? I'm not ENTIRELY crazy. Sometimes, I channel the zeitgeist with an eerie prescience that scares even me. Read it and weep:


Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.
By Declan McCullagh
Published: January 9, 2006, 4:00 AM PST

It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison.

"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," says Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."
It's illegal to annoy

A new federal law states that when you annoy someone on the Internet, you must disclose your identity. Here's the relevant language.

"Whoever...utilizes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet... without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person...who receives the communications...shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."

Buried deep in the new law is Sec. 113, an innocuously titled bit called "Preventing Cyberstalking." It rewrites existing telephone harassment law to prohibit anyone from using the Internet "without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy."

To grease the rails for this idea, Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, and the section's other sponsors slipped it into an unrelated, must-pass bill to fund the Department of Justice. The plan: to make it politically infeasible for politicians to oppose the measure.

The tactic worked. The bill cleared the House of Representatives by voice vote, and the Senate unanimously approved it Dec. 16.

There's an interesting side note. An earlier version that the House approved in September had radically different wording. It was reasonable by comparison, and criminalized only using an "interactive computer service" to cause someone "substantial emotional harm."

That kind of prohibition might make sense. But why should merely annoying someone be illegal?

There are perfectly legitimate reasons to set up a Web site or write something incendiary without telling everyone exactly who you are ....

[click HERE to go to the full article]

So, anonymous blogging -- especially anonymous blogging attacking, say, the Administration -- can now be construed as "stalking," with a two-year term in federal prison.

Well, Senator Spector and Pseudo-president Bush, my name is Hart Williams, I am not in the least bit anonymous, and FUCK YOU!

Got that? I MEAN it to be annoying. I MEAN it to get back to you, and, well, I just mean it. Let me reiterate: Fuck YOU.

Sieg heil, y'all.

NOTE: I am in the midst of a major writing project right now, and may or may not be posting for the next couple of weeks. If it is legal for me to post again, then I'll be back.
Monday, January 09, 2006

We get mail. This letter arrived pre-Christmas from an old friend from the Hopi wars. It's been on my mind, and I think I ought to answer it.
who would've thought they'd become so big.....
don't read 'em myself....
only now to find out a LOT of people are doing this
and some writers are actually making a difference
so how did you get started and be effective??
do people actually read it?

how do you go about picking the right place
to actually get out whatever your message is?

am just wondering if can actually make a difference doing this

or if should just chuck the whole idea
Well, my friend, the thing that the newsies and the hate jockeys and the screamers and the mud-slingers would have us forget is that ALL governance is language.

And it is the battle over language that defines whether granny is going to get her meds and maybe some help with the winter's heat, or whether she ends up dead and frozen. It may seem like language is a trivial pursuit, in the face of our great problems, but we choose and act through that language, and, until the tanks roll down main street, that is the ONLY arena in which we fight.

The Democrats spent nearly twenty years ignoring the ever-increasing din of the Right Wing Echo Machine, which broadcast the latest linguistic legerdemain each and every day, beginning in 1986. Now, "progressive" talk radio is nibbling a bit at it.

The left ignored the steady erosion of "media" companies, from hundreds in the eighties to dozens in the nineties to FIVE, today.

One of the most pernicious, of course, is NBC, a subsidiary of the largest defense contractor in the world, GE, whose motto needs -- for truth in advertising's sake -- to be changed to something more like "We Bring Good Things To Death."

No one could have failed to notice that the old bugaboo of the Nixon Right, the "liberal media" or, now, the MSM (for "Main Stream Media") has been utterly subsumed, and many a story is strangled in its crib by consciously ignoring it:
  • The Downing Street Memos
  • The Abramoff Scandal (which broke Tuesday, and was being ignored by Wednesday, when Abramoff flew to Florida to plead guilty yet again! And THIS, touching dozens of congressmen, in a trading cash and favors for votes scandal that eats at the very foundations of the Republic)
  • The Katrina Debacle (by focusing on "looting" and "shooting at helicopters," and those whiny black people who felt "entitled" to be rescued!)
  • The Stolen Election of 2000.
  • The Recount of 2001 (buried in the name of "national unity")
  • The Stolen Election of 2004 (and the ongoing voting machine scandal)
  • Et cetera.
The only mistake that they made was leaving the blogs up. (There is now talk about reining that in, too, by attacking the ISP's with Homeland Security snooping, and liability for allowing seditious talk).

This is the statement made by Bush this morning. If you doubt that this is a "war of words," then ask yourself how

"President Discusses Confirmation Hearing of Judge Alito with Press"

could possibly apply to a speech lasting one minute (from the official White House website transcript)? The word chosen for the war is, in the third paragraph of the "discussion" the word(s)"dignity" and its offspring "dignified."
The Rose Garden
7:52 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I just had breakfast with Judge Alito. I told him I think he conducted himself with such dignity and class in the weeks leading up to the confirmation process, which begins today. Sam Alito is eminently qualified to be a member of the bench. I'm not the only person who feels that way -- the American Bar Association looked at his record, looked at his opinions, looked at his temperament, and came to the same conclusion, that he is well qualified to be a Supreme Court judge.

Sam's got the intellect necessary to bring a lot of class to that Court. He's got a judicial temperament necessary to make sure that the Court is a body that interprets the law and doesn't try to write the law. And so I'm looking forward to your hearings. I know the American people will be impressed, just like I have been impressed and a lot of other members of the Senate have been impressed.

And my hope, of course, is that the American people will be impressed by the process. It's very important that members of the Senate conduct a dignified hearing. The Supreme Court is a dignified body; Sam is a dignified person. And my hope, of course, is that the Senate bring dignity to the process and give this man a fair hearing and an up or down vote on the Senate floor.

Sam, good luck to you. Thanks for your agreement to serve. I appreciate you. Thank you.

END 7:53 A.M. EST
Here is the latest battleground word, from the American Heritage Dictionary (4th Ed. 2000):

NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. dig-ni-ties
1. The quality or state of being worthy of esteem or respect. 2. Inherent nobility and worth: the dignity of honest labor. 3a. Poise and self-respect. b. Stateliness and formality in manner and appearance. 4. The respect and honor associated with an important position. 5. A high office or rank. 6. dignities The ceremonial symbols and observances attached to high office. 7. Archaic A dignitary.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English dignite, from Old French, from Latin dignits, from dignus, worthy. See dek- in Appendix I.
Well, by meanings #5 and #6 the hearings are, BY DEFINITION, 'dignified.' More interestingly, there is an implicit slur that the United States Senate cannot conduct itself in a dignified manner, and, therefore, require the scolding of that cunning linguist George W. Bush, who "discusses" it with the press.
discuss (ibid.)

TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: dis-cussed, dis-cuss-ing, dis-cuss-es
1. To speak with another or others about; talk over. 2. To examine or consider (a subject) in speech or writing.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English discussen, to examine, from Anglo-Norman discusser, from Latin discussus, past participle of discutere, to break up : dis-, apart; see dis- + quatere, to shake; see kwt- in Appendix I.
OTHER FORMS: dis-cussa-ble, dis-cussi-ble -ADJECTIVE
dis-cusser -NOUN

SYNONYMS: discuss, argue, debate, dispute, contend These verbs mean to talk with others in an effort to reach agreement, to ascertain truth, or to convince. Discuss involves close examination of a subject with interchange of opinions: My therapist discussed my concerns with my parents. Argue emphasizes the presentation of facts and reasons in support of a position opposed by others: The lawyer argued the plaintiff's case. Debate involves formal, often public argument: The candidates debated the campaign issues. Dispute implies differences of opinion and usually sharp argument: The senators disputed over increases in the proposed budget. To contend is to strive in debate or controversy: She contended that her theory was easily proven.
Funny. I didn't see any "discussion" in that minute-long tantrum from King George. I might have been blinded by the sheer pompousity of his scolding, however.

The war is being fought with words, and the blogosphere is the ONLY free press left in the US today. You can tell by the increasingly shrill and hyperbolic dismissals from the MSM, and the hysterical attacks by that ultimate compensated shill, Bill O'Reilly about the "left wing smear sites" and blogs. Et tu, Gutenberg?

But, as long as we're dealing with words, here's one:

SYLLABICATION: pu-tre-fac-tion
NOUN: 1. Decomposition of organic matter, especially protein, by microorganisms, resulting in production of foul-smelling matter. 2. Putrefied matter. 3. The condition of being putrefied.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English putrefaccioun, from Late Latin putrefacti, putrefactin-, from putrefactus, past participle of Latin putrefacere, to make rotten. See putrefy.
And that seemed the aroma wafting through the "anointed" hearing room today (perhaps they used an expired anointment?):
CHAIRMAN SPECTER: I have reserved my own nomination on this -- my own vote on this nomination until the hearing is concluded. I'm committed, as chairman, to a full, fair and dignified hearing. Hearings for a Supreme Court nominee should not have a political tilt for either Republicans or Democrats. They should be in substance and in perception for all Americans.

There is no firmly established rule as to how much an a nominee must say to be confirmed. While I personally consider it inappropriate to ask a nominee how he would vote on a specific matter likely to come before the court, senators may ask whatever they choose and the nominee is similarly free to respond as he chooses.

It has been my experience that the hearings are really, in effect, a subtle minuet, with the nominee answering as many questions as he thinks necessary in order to be confirmed.

Last year, when President Bush had two vacancies to fill, there was concern expressed that there might be an ideological change in the court. The preliminary indications are from Chief Justice Roberts' performance on the court and his Judiciary Committee testimony on modesty, stability and not jolting the system, all suggest that he will not move the court in a different direction.

If that holds true, Judge Alito, if confirmed, may not be the swing vote regardless of what position Judge Alito takes on the political spectrum....
OK. Here's what I can say with my 'freedom of the press' as a blogger: That speech was written at the White House. It was a blatant attempt to stage a pre-emptive strike, as it took various objections, one by one, and addressed them as absurd (I have not included the entire, tedious thing), even while SPECTER lies baldfacedly that "I have reserved my own nomination on this -- my own vote on this nomination until the hearing is concluded." The words seem to burn his tongue, even as he lies them: surely, given his use of today's buzzword "dignity" -- by which we mean the code term for "don't you get UPPITY" about their boy, Alito -- his vote is ALREADY cast in stone. Else, why the apologia?

Will ABC, CBS, CNN or HARDBALL, or FAUX, or the NY TIMES, or any of the rest of the MSM note that? Nope. Here's another word:

VERB: Inflected forms: pu-tre-fied, pu-tre-fy-ing, pu-tre-fies
TRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To cause to decay and have a foul odor. See synonyms at decay. 2. To make gangrenous.
INTRANSITIVE VERB: 1. To become decayed and have a foul odor. 2. To become gangrenous.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English putrefien, from Old French putrefier, from Latin putrefacere : puter, putr-, rotten; see p- in Appendix I + facere, to make; see dh- in Appendix I.
Or, consider that "good guy" Sam Alito threw down the gauntlet to the 'Sixties, the Hippies, the Lefties and the rest. (I noted without shock -- since who can be shocked anymore? -- that Alito dragged along his wretched clan to the meeting: all dressed, exactly as with Roberts, in primary colors. Wifey was in Nancy Reagan Red, like Roberts' harpy was. Daughter one was in Blue. Daughter two was in Pink. Sons were in business grey suits.

This White House not only coaches their "nominees," holds "discussions" to get out the Right Wing Speaking Word, and rehearses the nominee in how to fool the jury, like a cheap shyster in Chicago mob trial, but they even DRESS the family, for gawdsake. How can we retain shock in the face of such as these?

SYLLABICATION: pu-tres-cence
NOUN: 1. A putrescent character or condition. 2. Putrid matter.
Here's Alito's disparagement of my generation (from the WASHINGTON POST transcript):
... I got here in part because of the community in which I grew up. It was a warm, but definitely an unpretentious, down-to-earth community. Most of the adults in the neighborhood were not college graduates. I attended the public schools. In my spare time, I played baseball and other sports with my friends.

And I have happy memories and strong memories of those days and good memories of the good sense and the decency of my friends and my neighbors.

And after I graduated from high school, I went a full 12 miles down the road, but really to a different world when I entered Princeton University. A generation earlier, I think that somebody from my background probably would not have felt fully comfortable at a college like Princeton. But, by the time I graduated from high school, things had changed.

And this was a time of great intellectual excitement for me. Both college and law school opened up new worlds of ideas. But this was back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

It was a time of turmoil at colleges and universities. And I saw some very smart people and very privileged people behaving irresponsibly. And I couldn't help making a contrast between some of the worst of what I saw on the campus and the good sense and the decency of the people back in my own community.
So, Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, and Nixon's depredations against the American public and abuses of the "imperial" presidency (a term coined for Nixon's White House) were OK, Mr. Alito? Good god.

This is the old American anti-Intellectual "What do you want? Good grammar or good taste?" attack on them smartypants. Who were right, by the by, as, evidently, young reactionary Sam Alito was wrong, in spades.

Do you really want THAT mentality deciding whether or not the SWAT team had the right to kick your door down and hold you at gunpoint in your underwear without a warrant, and whether they have the right to jail you without due process of law? Really? Do you?

That, my friends, is a spit to the face: I'm against Civil Rights, minority rights, against public input into war, in favor of illegal wiretapping, and, oh yes, I HATE Jimi Hendrix and the rest of them damned hippies.

SYLLABICATION: pu-tres-cent
ADJECTIVE: 1. Becoming putrid; putrefying. 2. Of or relating to putrefaction.
ETYMOLOGY: Latin putrscns, putrscent-, present participle of putrscere, to rot, inchoative of putrre, to be rotten, from puter, putr-, rotten. See p- in Appendix I.
Why Alito would begin by insulting a generation of college kids is astonishing in its polite belligerence. "Behaving irresponsibly" he euphemizes. But it might as well be, "Hey, Hippie! Are you a BOY or a GURL!?!? Haw haw haw!"

Note that his next statement is: "I' m here in part because of my experiences as a lawyer. I had the good fortune to begin my legal career as a law clerk for a judge who really epitomized open-mindedness and fairness ...."

The knife -- shoved in to the hilt -- is abandoned, and Alito moves on to show what a good little boy are he.

SYLLABICATION: pu-tres-ci-ble
ADJECTIVE: Subject to putrefaction.
ETYMOLOGY: French, from Old French, from Late Latin putrscibilis, from Latin putrscere, to rot. See putrescent.
The war of words continues, unabated.

There is the war to "prove" that spying on Americans without search warrants by an agency whose very charter prohibits domestic spying -- conveniently referred to as "eavesdropping," no doubt from the same fictionary (sic) that provided "discusses" -- is perfectly OK. The news that the Congressional Research Office has issued a 44-page report severely undercutting that position, politely concluding:

[NOTE: the report is downloadable as a .pdf at http://rawstory.com/other/pdfs/NSAtapsrawstory.pdf You can also get it at the Congressional site, but these things have a way of "disappearing" these days.]
From the foregoing analysis, it appears unlikely that a court would hold that Congress has expressly or impliedly authorized the NSA electronic surveillance operations here under discussion, and it would likewise appear that, to the extent that those surveillances fall within the definition of "electronic surveillance" within the meaning of FISA or any activity regulated under Title III, Congress intended to cover the entire field with these statutes. To the extent that the NSA activity is not permitted by some reading of Title III or FISA, it may represent an exercise of presidential power at its lowest ebb, in which case exclusive presidential control is sustainable only by "disabling Congress from acting upon the subject." While courts have generally accepted that the President has the power to conduct domestic electronic surveillance within the United States inside the constraints of the Fourth Amendment, no court has held squarely that the Constitution disables the Congress from endeavoring to set limits on that power. To the contrary, the Supreme Court has stated that Congress does indeed have power to regulate domestic surveillance, and has not ruled on 142 the extent to which Congress can act with respect to electronic surveillance to collect foreign intelligence information. Given such uncertainty, the Administration's legal justification, as presented in the summary analysis from the Office of Legislative Affairs, does not seem to be as well-grounded as the tenor of that letter suggests.
Naturally, this is FAR too complex for the MSM, and various nutball columnists claim that giving up some freedom to fight "terror" is OK. And besides, they aren't doing anything wrong? Why should we be afraid if we're not terrorists?

To which I would respond that I am astonished that such uneducated buffoons are holding down paying gigs in the field of journalism. Good ghod.

SYLLABICATION: pu-tres-cine
NOUN: A colorless, foul-smelling ptomaine, NH2(CH2)4NH2, produced in decaying animal tissue by the decarboxylation of ornithine.
ETYMOLOGY: Latin putrscere, to rot; see putrescent + -ine2.
I didn't mention that Sen. Lindsey Graham (Asshole, S. Car.) slithered his OWN amendment into the same military spending bill as the famed "McCain Anti-torture amendment."

It allows "coerced" testimony to be accepted by the military tribunals that will be trying our detainees -- or enemy combatants, or ragheads, or whatever term we're using to dehumanize our "enemies" these days.

So, while we can't "torture" detainees; if we DID torture them, that testimony can be admitted in a military tribunal (remember, Graham is a reserve JAG prosecutor).

And people listen to his Southern honeyed drawl, and don't "get" that he's Buzz Windrip, the American Fascist president in Sinclair Lewis' prescient 1935 novel, IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE -- which you should immediately go out and READ, if you haven't already, and REREAD if you have.

ADJECTIVE: 1. Decomposed and foul-smelling; rotten. 2. Proceeding from, relating to, or exhibiting putrefaction. 3. Morally rotten; corrupt: "and all the while scarlet thoughts, putrid fantasies, and no love" (Louis Auchincloss). 4. Extremely objectionable; vile.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English putred, from Old French putride, from Latin putridus, from putrre, to be rotten, from puter, putr-, rotten. See p- in Appendix I.
OTHER FORMS: pu-tridi-ty (-trd-t) , putrid-ness (-trd-ns) -NOUN
putrid-ly -ADVERB
The blogger is the warrior in the front line trenches. If it comes to a shootin' war, that won't be true, but that will ALSO mean that the bloggers have failed in their task.

"Give me liberty or give me death," said Patrick Henry.

Does doing a little blogging in defense of liberty seem so difficult a task? I assure you, it's important.

Here's what I know (I don't make any representations about other blogging franchises: just what I know). I use Google's Blogger. It's reasonably easy, if you just do a little READING up. Even non-computer types ought to be able to handle it.

To read up on what you need to do (do this FIRST), go to:

To set up your own blog, go to http://www.blogger.com and follow the directions.

Because words ARE important, and they ARE powerful weapons.

And also because something stinks to high heaven these days.

I hope that answers your question, my friend.

NOUN: The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English corage, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *corticum, from Latin cor, heart.
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