Monday, October 29, 2007

Carnival of the Decline of Democracy - Edition 2.22

Welcome to the Carnival of the Decline of Democracy, Edition 2.22 - Blogging 'till the secret police take us away.

Carnival of the Decline of Democracy Phil B. starts us off this week by asking us if flag burning should be legal, posted at Phil for Humanity.

vjack sees those who would instate a Christian theocracy in the United States as one of the greatest threats to democracy in the Values Voter Summit: Biggest Collection of Theocrats Since Witch Trials, posted at Atheist Revolution.

Ian Welsh looks back to the FDR era, and how he dealt with a hostile press, for examples of how we can try to save our democracy in Plus ├ža change, plus c'est la meme chose, posted at The Agonist.

John, meanwhile, looks at some Things we don't have to worry about..., posted at hell's handmaiden.

Dawn Xiana Moon points out the timeless elements of our current struggle against those who would silence us, as reflected in some classic American theater, in A Society in Madness, posted at Dawn Xiana Moon: Randomness.

I'll be back in two weeks (November 12) with the next edition of the Carnival of the Decline of Democracy - Submit Your Posts Here. More information on future carnivals can be found on our carnival home page.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Rumsfeld going to jail in France?

Former Attorney General Donald Rumsfeld has been charged in a legal complaint stating that as Attorney General he "authorized and ordered crimes of torture to be carried out ... as well as other war crimes."

According to the Associated Press:
The complaint was filed with the Paris prosecutor's office as Rumsfeld arrived in France for a visit, according to the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and two Paris-based groups, the International Federation of Human Rights and the League of Human Rights.
...
The rights groups say their complaint could go forward because people suspected of torture can be prosecuted in France if they are on French soil.
French prosecutors will now determine if the charges have any merit, and if Rumsfeld is still protected by any sort of diplomatic immunity, before actually hauling him in.

So, if you happen to be at a French airport over the next few days, and you see Rumsfeld trying to sneak out, do what you can to stall him.

Read more about Rumsfeld's charges.

Psycho Killer Pumpkin Pie

Here's my little Halloween video for this year. Enjoy!



This is actually the second time that I've done the Psycho shower scene with a pumpkin. The first time I shot it was probably 29 years ago, in super-8 film. Our film teacher gave us an assignment in October of "making a jack-o-lantern."

I, of course, was not content to do a straight carving film, so I made "The Pumpkin Who Knew Too Much." (Yes, I've been a Hitchcock fanatic forever.)

In the opening scene the pumpkin witnesses one of my friends (John) murdering another (Tom). John then stalks the pumpkin and finally gets his revenge while the pumpkin is in the shower - the shower scene then fulfilled the assignment of "making a jack-o-lantern."

The storyline (if you can call it that) in this version is different (and more true to the original Psycho in spirit and character), but the payoff is the same.

A question I've gotten from a few who've already seen this on YouTube: "How did you get the shot of shower coming on and spraying directly on the camera?" Answer: I put the camera in a ziploc freezer bag!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October 17 - Eighteen Years Later

This morning I went to downtown Santa Cruz to mark the 18th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. I lived in Santa Cruz at the time of the quake, and continue to live in the area. Eighteen years later, there's still one hole in the ground of downtown Pacific Avenue, but it will be filled by the time the 20th anniversary of the quake comes along two years from now.

Loma Prieta Earthquake - Facts and Statistics
(Source: http://www.santacruzpl.org/history/disaster/89quake.shtml)
The Loma Prieta Earthquake occurred on October 17, 1989 at 5:04 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time) and lasted for about 15 seconds. The United States Geological Survey gave it a magnitude of 7.1. It was felt over an area of about 400,000 square miles.

The rupture occurred on a 30-mile length of the San Andreas fault called the Santa Cruz Mountains segment. The epicenter was eleven and a half miles underground at a spot near China Ridge in Nisene Marks State Park. The land on the seaward side of the fault slipped five and a half feet northwest.

Six persons in Santa Cruz County died; it is estimated that 671 persons were injured.

Santa Cruz County was the hardest hit county and had the highest number of homes damaged or destroyed. It is estimated that "at least 85,000 persons were adversely affected by earthquake damage to their homes." Many homes were so badly damaged that they were condemned. Many other damaged homes could be saved but were unsafe to live in until they were repaired. Individuals and families found themselves suddenly homeless, living in shelters, with friends or with family.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Carnival of the Decline of Democracy - edition 2.21

Welcome to the Carnival of the Decline of Democracy, Edition 2.21 - Blogging 'till the secret police take us away.

Carnival of the Decline of Democracy This week, I take the liberty of including a post of my own, Time to Secede? - "Secession; it's not just for rednecks anymore."

"Politicians can't do the job of governing well while they are raising money for re-election; the solution is to fix the system" - Shaula Evans presents Lawrence Lessig connects the dots on corruption (Video) posted at The Agonist.

"One would hope that a contender for the American presidency would at least be familiar with the Constitution" - vjack presents McCain Says U.S. Needs Christian President posted at Atheist Revolution.

"Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. ... Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull" - Chris presents Tabby Cat's Illustrated Guide to '1984' posted at Martial Development.

"What a mess we’ve made. And what a mess we continue to make" - John presents Throw down a hundred dollar bill posted at hell's handmaiden.

This week's final entry is actually another carnival posting: Karel Vandenberghe presents Government 2.0: e-government and government wikis posted at Open Innovators.

I'll be back in two weeks (October 29) with the next edition of the Carnival of the Decline of Democracy - Submit Your Posts Here. More information on future carnivals can be found on our carnival home page.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Time to Secede?

If you've been to this blog before, you know I'm concerned about the demise of democracy in America. Every other week I host a blog carnival dedicated to this topic. But my point in hosting that carnival is not to just depress and spread the bad news, but to raise awareness and get people fired up enough about it to save democracy.

Yes, I still think it is possible to restore our democracy, but a lot of that will depend on the results of the Presidential election thirteen months from now. And, frankly, I'm looking at the field of candidates and starting wonder if we should be working on a "Plan B."

On the Republican side, it doesn't look like any of the candidates are anxious to roll back Bush's assault on our liberties, and some (Giuliani...) seem positively giddy about leading the country further down the path to total police state.

On the Democratic side, I'm saddened to see very little discussion of restoring habeas corpus or the Bill of Rights, repealing the Patriot Act, or ending the spying on American citizens. Of the front runners, I don't see Senator Clinton acting any quicker than any of the Republicans on returning stolen Presidential power to the people. While I have slightly more faith in Senators Obama and Edwards, neither of them list "democracy" under the "issues" sections of their web sites.

So where does that leave us?

With a small, but growing, group of fringe elements who are currently gathered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Second North American Secessionist Convention, co-sponsored by The Middlebury Institute and The League of the South.

In attendance are some of the "usual suspects" (white Southerners who believe they can still win the War Between the States) along with representatives from groups you might feel more at home with, from Vermont, to Alaska, to Hawaii, to California. You may be surprised to find them all over the map politically, as well, with only the common bond of feeling the Federal Government has over-stepped its Constitutional boundaries and that they can enjoy more freedom and democracy by stepping outside of its protections.

Take a look at some of who is in attendance:

(Video by Bradley Wogsland)

So, have I suddenly become a secessionist? No, I'm actually rather torn... On the one hand, I fully support the right to secede (and the right to revolution, each in Jeffersonian terms)... but the practicality of most of the states surviving as independent entities, or even a loose confederation, is highly doubtful. For all its faults, there is some benefit (economically as well as security-wise) to remaining a union.

My first priority is on restoring democracy to the U.S., secession is more of a last resort. But, depending on how things turn out thirteen months from now, that last resort might be looking more tempting.

For my part, and further research, I've just emailed Californians for Independence to find out more about their platform, and how they plan to liberate the Golden State from the Federal grip.

I'm steering clear of answering the question posed in the title to this post... for now... But I'll keep you informed of any new information.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Carnival of the Decline of Democracy - Edition 2.20

Welcome to the Carnival of the Decline of Democracy, Edition 2.20 - Blogging 'till the secret police take us away.

Carnival of the Decline of Democracy Although I've been busy with other things (work?) and not able to post much, this has been a very blogworthy couple of weeks. Between the farce of Congressional outrage at MoveOn.org and the continued outrage of racism in Jena, LA, the demise of freedom and democracy has been apparent in every headline.

Let's see how our bloggers responded:

Ian Welsh presents MoveOn And the Kabuki Congress posted at The Agonist & Elyas Bakhtiari presents Congress betrays us posted at Ablogistan.

therapydoc presents The Jena 6, over a year later posted at Everyone Needs Therapy & Alex Landis presents The Jena 6: The 10 Reasons The Fit Hit The Shan posted at AlexLandis.com.

J.R. presents Your Government Lies to You posted at Harsh Realizations.

Barry Leiba presents Press coverage posted at Staring At Empty Pages.

Chani presents Are ideas dangerous? posted at Thailand Gal.

Hell's Handmaiden presents Blogs for Federal Deficits posted at hell's handmaiden.

vjack presents Army Violates Religious Freedom posted at Atheist Revolution.

I'll be back in two weeks (October 15) with the next edition of the Carnival of the Decline of Democracy - Submit Your Posts Here. More information on future carnivals can be found on our carnival home page.

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