Education and Freedom is the headline of a letter in the local paper written by Richard, the Kucinich supporter I kept talking about in earlier posts. The only 74-year-old person I know who has two copies of Dude, Where's My Country? so he can loan one copy to friends.


"Discussions of the 2004 presidential race often leave out the very important question of whether it is in the best interest of progressive movements for the Democratic Party to run someone for president." Ten reasons why the Democratic Party should stand down in 2004.


Here's a wild flashback. Debate on foreign policy between Noam Chomsky and Richard Perle at Ohio University, 1988.


First, the mild surprise that serves as the main point of this article: US veteran of Afghanistan war seeking refugee status in Canada to avoid service in Iraq.

If that's not sad enough or weird enough statement about the United States, stumble over this: "An estimated 250 Americans every year seek refugee status in Canada, the vast majority making mental health claims, according to Jeffrey House, a Toronto criminal defence lawyer" representing the refugee applicant.

Why can't those 250 ingrateful bastards seek help from the American institution that handles more mental illness than any other American institution? That would be PRISON.


February 15, 2004 in Sydney, Australia, minorities riot after a young man being chased by police crashes his bicycle and dies.

June 18, 2003 in Benton Harbor, Michigan, minorities riot after a young man being chased by police crashes his motorcycle and dies.



I Hague Myself For Loving Soup

1 pound Brussels sprouts, quartered or bite-sized
2 onions, diced
3-4 medium/large potatoes, diced
6-8 cups water?
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
3/4 pound cooked pork, cubed?
oil or butter for sauteing

[Get it? The Hague is in Brussels.]

Sautee the Brussels sprouts and set aside in a bowl. Sautee the onions, then dump in everything else including the sprouts. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked all the way through, half hour or more?

The tomatoes were leftovers that I needed to get rid of. Doesn't really add that much flavor. I'd recommend leaving them out, or try 2-3 tomatoes to actually taste them.

All the recipes I read for soups using Brussels sprouts basically required pureeing the whole mess at some point, which wouldn't interest me even if I did have a food processor. I was hoping the sprouts would disintegrate a little bit when cooked for so long and make the broth interesting like broccoli. It didn't do that, but the sprouts didn't totally lose their flavor either, so when you bite into one, it still tastes like the sprout that you know and love (or else you wouldn't botther to try making this stuff).

Salsa Borracha
Found on some website. Translates as "Drunk Sauce."

6 pasilla chiles
1 cup beer
juice of one orange
1 clove garlic
1/4 medium onion

I like salsa. I like oranges. I like garlic & onions. I thought the beer might make it interesting. When I put this together the first time (using Anaheim chiles because a chart at Meijer showed they were about the same intensity), I had what appeared to be a bowl full of chiles & onions floating in beer. I actually tried tortilla chips in it, because to me, salsa = what you dip chips in.

So I remembered that salsa actually means "sauce", and presumably the word is used for sauces other than chip dips among actual speakers of Spanish. So I used it to marinade a pork roast, and it turned out pretty decent. As leftovers, the chile flavor overpowered everything else. It tasted like pork-textured chiles.

Oh yeah, and the woman at Eckerd's pharmacy carded me when I bought the beer. Maybe because I was looking at all my options, considering whether to get a single 40 oz, not wanting to buy a six pack that would go untouched. Settled on a 24 oz of Miller High Life, my Uncle Fred's preferred brand. So she probably thought I was taking a conspicuous amount of time to consider all my options. After I was gone, I thought a better response might have been, "Instead of my driver's license, can I just show you the white hair in my beard to prove my age?" You have to lean close to see it, but it's there.


Oprah's Fiftieth Birthday party put in perspective. " Twenty-five thousand children die daily of hunger and related easily preventable causes." ... "Ten thousand flowers were flown in, from all over the world. A four hundred-pound cake was flown in from California. Invitations were made of handmade imported silk, with individually inscribed calligraphy, and stuffed with 'historic' photos of Oprah."
Two Excellent Articles
Don't be satisfied with getting more people registered to vote. Dave Marsh and Lee Ballinger ask, Can we imagine something similar in scope to the civil rights movement in 2004 and beyond? Instead of a motto of "Anyone but Bush" imagine if we had a motto of "Universal Health Care."

An inspiring article on Znet suggests that capitalism and authoritarianism could be defused from the bottom up, not by violent revolution, but by demonstrating small community groups that work better and make each participant more directly involved in decisions. What if we could just show an alternative that was so much better, people would want to try it themselves? [Don't let the title of the article scare you. Anarchism, Or The Revolutionary Movement Of The Twenty-first Century.]


The advertising fad of using periods. As. Emphasis.
Is played out. Even if your company's tagline is "Infinite. Information. Innovations."

But the print ads for Seroquel get me choked up when I see them, in spite of having "Well! Adjusted!" blazing across the ads in hot-pink letters. Seroquel is an anti-psychotic drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They might have some other ads that use this same tagline, but the one that gets to me shows a hippy in his twenties or thirties, goatee and hair tied back in a pony-tail, standing in a greenhouse with an apron on and smiling widely. You can just picture a backstory about this guy being in and out of hospitals, on and off different medications, in and out of work. Imagine the sensations of being in a greenhouse, hallucinating while the leaves and flower petals occasionally drop or rustle in the recirculating air around you.

No more disability for this guy! Most importantly to families and doctors and our society, he's back at work. It's not just that he's smiling at home and hanging out with friends or family, but he's clearly on the job. BACK on the job. If you surf around the Seroquel website (the "professional" part for docs not the consumer part), you can see other pictures of my favorite schizophrenic greenhouse dude carrying trays of flowers for a customer, happily interacting with co-workers, leaning over his boss's shoulder to look at something on a computer screen.

Anyway. First I'm weepy and then I go all pinko anti-capitalist. The ad is still pretty uplifting if you've ever had someone who seemed like they might never again be WELL! ACCEPTED!

Oh yeah, and just in case you're shopping around for an anti-psychotic but haven't chosen which one to hypochondriacally pester your doctor about, here's another neat detail about Seroquel. The pills are tiny and cute. They don't dissolve in your mouth like the new Risperdal (ensuring that non-compliant patients can't "cheek" them and spit 'em out later), but they're tiny enough to swallow without difficulty even if you are a tiny person with an overly sensitive gag-reflex.


Check out the last few paragraphs of Kerry wins in Jackson, too; local Democrats thrilled with turnout...
"Backers of some losing candidates were still upbeat, hoping to capture some of Michigan's delegates to the Democratic National Convention or simply advance their candidates' causes...."


In The Birthplace Of
The Republican Party

Melinda and I went to a local political function, and I got energized and volunteered to smile and wave and hand out flyers for Kucinich on the day of the Michigan Democratic Caucus.

Part I: Kucinich, rhymes with spinach!
Part II: Peek Inside The Machine


Everyone's a critic.
"What a shame little Karl doesn't make some capital, instead of just writing about it."
-- Karl Marx's mother.


Not sure why I should talk about it here, but I need to vent and it would be nice to keep a record. Hopefully this is something that I will be able to look back on and laugh, several months or years from now.

Day one of the escrow mortgage crisis. Yesterday's mail included our latest statement from our mortgage co, including the annual escrow review. Although our monthly payments on principal and interest should remain fairly stable, the escrow amount can go up or down depending on taxes and insurance costs. So this month they said there has been a shortage in the escrow account over the last year, and we'll need to pay $118 more per month (apparently for at least the next year). That's a 21% increase over what we've been paying every month up to this point.

Our escrow payment appears to have doubled, although it's hard to tell because they're listing one amount to make up for the shortage ($70+ per month?) and another figure for the new increased escrow amount ($180+ per month). If I'm remembering and calculating correctly, it appears that their original projections for our escrow costs fell short by 32%.

I would have thought that the amount of detailed analysis they do of one's finances and credit history would show them where one's breaking point is, but apparently not. If we had known that we would have to pay this much every month, we might not have agreed to buy the house. For that matter, if they had known that we would have to pay this much, would they have allowed us to buy the house? I don't want to spend money for legal advice, but I need to find out how wrong an estimate is allowed to be before it constitutes incompetence or fraud.

Can someone hold you to a thirty year contract based on an estimate with a margin of error give-or-take 32% ? Am I responsible for the shortfall instead of the person who made drastically inaccurate projections of our costs?

Tune in next week when our hero says, "STICK A FISCAL TRISCUIT IN YOUR FIDUCIARY PITUITARY!"


This link is for Melinda.
The Manners of Their Deaths: Capital Punishment in a Smoke-Free Environment
Texas Dept of Criminal Justice "cares enough to ensure that its death-row inmates are kept safe from the deleterious effects of tobacco."