Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Knew Knee for Me

So the doc said pretty much what I figured: "You need a new knee.". Mine will undoubtedly be a rare one, as it's gonna be installed on Feb. 29.

They gleefully promised me that the 3 following days would be filled with excruciating agony but for the Really Good Drugs they'll be giving me. I can hardly wait. 8^)

So, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the hospital, then they send me home on Monday with a strict exercise regimen and the promise that I'll be back to what presently passes for normal by the end of March and considerably better than that by the end of April. Also a nice new zipper down the front of my knee. But I won't be moving around much for the 1st couple of weeks.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lena Taylor for Milwaukee County Executive

2008 Jan. 22

Voice of the People
The Capital Times
PO Box 8060
Madison WI 53708-8060

Overstuffed on the Feb. 19 presidential primary? Look ahead a bit to our regular non-partisan spring election on April 1. It features an important contest that most folx here in the capital region are oblivious to, even tho they shouldn’t be.

It’s the race for Milwaukee County executive. Over the last decades, counties (and regionalism generally) have become more important players in our lives, in areas like transportation, parks, environmental protection, criminal justice, and social services.

Think for a moment of the terrific job that Kathleen Falk has done as Dane County executive. Now slap a minus sign in front of that performance, and you’ve got some idea of the tragedy that’s befallen our state’s flagship county, Milwaukee, under the ironically titled “leadership” of Scott Walker.

The Walker Administration is an embarrassment to the entire state. Thru a combination of political ideology, cronyism, and fiscal incompetence, it’s spent the last 4 years running the county into the ground. It’s been reduced to selling off the county’s assets — the accumulation of decades — at fire-sale prices to maintain the outward appearance of solvency.

Frankly, the beleaguered citizens of Milwaukee County would be better served if the position remained vacant for the next 4 years.

Fortunately, there’s a much better alternative, a progressive politician with solid roots in the community: Lena C. Taylor, a bright, competent, principled hard worker in the mold of hyperdynamo US Representative Gwen Moore (Lena’s predecessor as state senator). She could use your help at

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Richard S. Russell, a Bright (
2642 Kendall Av. #2, Madison WI 53705-3736
608+233-5640 •

Monday, January 14, 2008

Letter to George W. Bush

Dear Leader is currently on tour in the Middle East, promising to bring peace, enlightenment, and democracy (American style) to the region by the mere presence of his good example. A day or 2 ago his tour took him to the United Arab Emirates, where the Dubai-based English-language newspaper Gulf News greeted him with this editorial:

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Letter to George W. Bush
Gulf News

Published: January 10, 2008, 23:32

Dear Mr. President;

Lest you forget. Invasion of Iraq. Thousands of dead. Looting the National Museum. Disbanding the Iraqi army. Donald Rumsfeld. Shock and Awe. Jay Garner. Paul Bremer. Inciting sectarianism. Abu Ghraib. Thousands of detainees without charges. Torture. Oil. Ghost WMDs. The Niger connection. Halliburton. Blackwater. Deadly security contractors. Mercenaries. Fallujah. Haditha massacre. Blind support of Israel. Instigating the suffering of Gaza. Ignoring the expansion of illegal colonies. Defying United Nations resolutions. Securing "a Jewish State". Allowing Israelis to extend the destruction of Lebanon in the 2oo6 war. Providing Israel with new Bunker Buster bombs to attack Lebanese towns. The War on Terror. "The Crusade". Clash of civilisations. Where is Osama Bin Laden? Afghanistan. Bagram massacre. Bombing media offices. Guantanamo Bay. Kangaroo courts. Indefinite detention. Presidential orders to ignore Geneva Conventions. "Unlawful enemy combatants". Illegal National Security Agency wiretapping. Fingerprinting visitors. Black prisons. Kidnapping foreign citizens on foreign lands. Khalid Al Masri. Abu Omar. Maher Arar. Central Intelligence Agency. "Aggressive interrogation techniques". Destroying the torture tapes. Iran tension. Isolating Syria. Embracing Syrian opposition Iraq style. The Chavez coup. Denial of global warming. Rejecting Kyoto Protocol. Marginalisation of the United Nations. John Bolton. Paul Wolfowitz and the World Bank. Carl Rove. Alberto Gonzales. Firing attorneys. Nepotism. False democracy promises. Dick Cheney, Dick Cheney and Dick Cheney.

Mr President;

The list goes on. You might not be able to recall some of it. But the people around you, Cheney and Condoleezza Rice especially, would. And they realise that on the subject of human rights, your administration has had the worst record of all, surpassing most Third World countries. The tension and the misery in parts of this region can very well testify to this.

Mr President;

In a famous speech in 2003 you announced an "historic" shift in US foreign policy. You pledged to support democracy and liberty while declaring "victory" in Iraq. More than four years later, Iraq is in chaos. It has virtually disintegrated and "the surge" did little to stop the killing or ease the sectarian tension. At the same time, you gave up on your freedom-for-all prophecy. We are all back to the old ways of doing business - arms and oil. The agenda of your current tour is evident.

Mr President;

This is your first official trip to a land you long claimed has a very special place in your heart. The land of the Prophets. However, you started out wrong. By maintaining your support of an Israeli "Jewish State", you are flouting your own ideals upon which your great country was founded more than two centuries ago. So much for the promise of democracy. What you advocate in fact is the creation of states on religious and racial lines, thereby justifying the atrocious actions of terrorists who hate and seek to eliminate the followers of other religions: The same terrorists you like to blame for every ill on earth and every failure of yours.

Mr President;

It has been reported that you are here to "lecture" us on democracy and human rights. But with a record like yours, you will not be very convincing. The people you are addressing have greater respect for human rights and dignity.

You also said that your current tour aims to realise the long neglected peace in the Middle East. Regional peace, Mr President, will not be achieved by escalating tension and threatening to change regimes. And most importantly, it will not be achieved by supporting Israel, which continues to defy international law, occupy Arab lands, oppress the Palestinians and rebuff peace initiatives.

Mr President;

We hope you have enjoyed the trip so far. The scenery is great. The food is exotic. As for the more "serious" things, it is unlikely you will make any difference.

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Boy, do these guys ever have something to learn about freedom of the press (American style).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I've Been 2-Timing You

I usually manage to post something to my journal (and ship it out to my e-mail list) every day or 2, but lately I haven't been doing that. Now the truth can be told. I've been 2-timing you.

A couple of days before Xmas, some fundie named Kurt Williamsen wrote an absolutely outrageous essay for the Appleton Post-Crescent, in which he dumped a steaming pile of lies about atheists and atheism on the paper's unsuspecting readers. He was so wrong in so many different ways about so many different things that he totally torqued me off. His essay was outrageous, and I got properly outraged.

Fortunately, the Post-Crescent runs an on-line forum, where they invite basically anybody with internet access to comment on their articles. I've been going at this guy with a vengeance, basically ripping him a new one every day for the last couple of weeks. And I'm not done yet.

If you'd like to follow the action, this is where it's at:

Original article by Kurt Williamsen

Ensuing discussion forum, with many contributions by me

I'll wind down in another week or so and get back to my normal schedule.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Game Any Idiot Can Play

2008 Edition

HILLARY CLINTON: I have vast experience with chickens and, if elected, I will ensure that every chicken has the ability to cross any road it desires.

BARACK OBAMA: It was time for change.

JOHN EDWARDS: To escape exploitation.

BILL RICHARDSON: It had lots of different kinds of experience on its own side of the road and was ready for a new and bigger challenge.

DENNIS KUCINICH: I'm not sure. Let me pull out my Constitution and see what it says about chickens.

MIKE GRAVEL: It was the war. It makes everybody do crazy things.

RON PAUL: Higher prices for eggs on the other side; it's the invisible hand of the free market at work.

MITT ROMNEY: The chicken has always been on that side of the road.

MIKE HUCKABEE: What!? The chicken crossed the road? There's no way that could happen in nature. Must be a miracle! Praise Jayzuss!

JOHN McCAIN: If you've never been in captivity yourself, you can't possibly imagine what you'd do to get away.

TOM TANCREDO: It was a Mexican chicken, and it was looking for your job. And your daughter.




GEORGE W. BUSH: It was a road-crossing chicken. In other words, it was the kind of chicken that liked to cross roads. *heh heh heh*

DICK CHENEY: *blam* *blam* *blam* Oops, sorry.