Friday, March 30, 2007

Gonzo With The Wind

My pal Buffoon forwarded this link to a column by Amy Goodman from today's Seattle P-I. I thought it was good enough to run in its entirety (and I'm too lazy to write my own post), so here goes:

Prison torture should seal Gonzales' fate


It is appropriate that a person from Australia, home of the kangaroo, should be the first one dragged before the kangaroo court at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. David Hicks, imprisoned there for more than five years, pleaded guilty Monday to providing material support for terrorism.

The case of Hicks offers us a glimpse into the Kafkaesque netherworld of detentions, kidnappings, torture and show trials that is now, internationally, the shameful signature of the Bush administration. Hicks' passage through this sham process affords us all an opportunity to demand the closure of Guantanamo and an end to such heinous policies. Conditions may soon exist to shutter the prison, with George W. Bush's lame-duck status, the Democratic takeover of Congress, the possible departure of Guantanamo's archdefender and architect, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and, if recent reports are true, a desire to close the prison on the part of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The bogus military commission trials amplify global contempt for the Guantanamo prison.

The Pentagon claims that Hicks was in Afghanistan fighting against the U.S., then was apprehended by the Northern Alliance in late 2001 while fleeing to Pakistan. After transfer to U.S. military control, he was moved around various detention facilities and, he says, brutally beaten and sodomized. By January 2002, he was in Guantanamo. He was subjected to repeated interrogations. He witnessed other prisoners being beaten and terrorized with dogs. He was at times kept in total darkness, at times in continual bright light (he has grown his hair to chest length so he can cover his eyes to allow him to sleep). He had no access to a lawyer for more than a year or knowledge of the charges against him. Others, those lucky enough to have lawyers or to have actually gotten out, tell similar tales of continual cold, of desecration of the Quran and of sexual humiliation designed specifically to torture Muslim men.

During his five years of detention, people fought for Hicks. His father, Terry Hicks, traveled to the U.S. He donned an orange jumpsuit, like his son was forced to wear, and stood in a 6-foot-by-8-foot cage on Broadway in New York while fielding questions from the media.

Even the same U.S. Supreme Court, the body that appointed Bush president in 2000, agreed that the prisoners must have some access to habeas corpus, the right to challenge one's imprisonment. This central tenet of Western law, established in the Magna Carta in 1215, has been thrown out the window, along with the Geneva Conventions, by Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Gonzales and others.

Guantanamo has sparked one of the United States' major growth industries: protesting against Guantanamo. From campuses to churches, the anger has driven regular citizens to action. Cindy Sheehan and members of The Catholic Worker Movement actually went to Cuba and marched overland to Guantanamo to challenge the illegitimate prison and its jailers in person.

Even in Hicks' brief moment in the controversial "trial," the government did what it could to strip him of what few rights they claim he has. The presiding military judge, Marine Col. Ralph Kohlmann, dismissed his civilian lawyer, Joshua Dratel, and a Navy reservist attorney, Rebecca Snyder, who was assisting Hicks' government-appointed attorney. Hicks was stunned, and at first refused to plead. Hours later, after the trial was reconvened, he pleaded guilty to his one remaining charge. Having no hope for a fair trial, he reportedly believed that pleading guilty would allow him to serve his sentence in Australia -- his only hope of escaping Guantanamo.

There are still more than 380 prisoners at Guantanamo. Almost none have been charged. Those ultimately charged with murder could be sentenced to death by the military commission. The decider of the death penalty after appeals are exhausted is none other than George W. Bush, who, as governor of Texas, oversaw the most active death chamber in the United States. Back then his lawyer was Alberto Gonzales.

The U.S. attorney scandal is threatening to take down Gonzales. But it is his condoning of torture from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib that should seal his fate.

The grim Guantanamo experiment is reaching its climax. The house of cards that has been erected to support this immoral, criminal enterprise is poised to collapse. Call, shout, sit down, march, donate, write, protest ... demand that Guantanamo be closed.

Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Moron Gonzo

As our friend Kvatch stated in the comments section of the previous post about little You Must Be This Tall To Adjudicate Gonzales, his continuing scandal does seem to have some legs (unlike the man himself). Two blog posts about his many troubles that I read back to back this morning really knocked me out. First check out this one from Preemptive Karma, then go and read this one from Shakespeare's Sister, and then come back and tell me if your head didn't just do a little bit of a Linda Blair kind of thing.

I realize that the Texas affair has nothing to do with the current fired U.S. attorneys flap, but Jesus pancake-flippin' Christ! How do these people get away with this kind of shit? And how do they keep getting away with it?

Wednesday Vacation Blogging: Siskiyou County

More pictures from our recent trip up north. Most of these are from Dennis' family's cabins near the Scott River.

Don't know what it's for, it's just a table out in the woods.
Very inviting accommodations.
Dennis' dog -- and my good buddy -- Winston.
The roof! The roof! The roof is on... uh... top.
The main cabin.
Fire in the snow.
From another angle, with Mrs. Generik watching.
Dennis welcomes his guests.
Looking my best.
Jon and friends.
Mighty Mt. Shasta.
It's a shame the people I hang out with don't know how to have a good time.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dog-Wagging 101

Not to be too cynical or anything, but it appears that the White House may have found a way to take the focus off the still-unfolding fired U.S. attorneys scandal, and perhaps some of the heat off little Ass-High To A Chicken Gonzales -- whose "Homina homina homina" explanation Monday of his role in the scandal fooled pretty much no one -- simply by edging this country (and the world) ever closer to WWIII. Reports of U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf flexing their military muscle and going on maneuvers that include 15 ships and more than a hundred planes have got to be making the Iranians nervous, as many folks back here have predicted that April would be the start of any Iran offensive, should there be one. Want to bet what the front page stories will be for the next few days? Here's a hint: They probably won't include anything about Karl Rove, Harriet Myers or even Monica Goodling taking the Fifth.

My, how convenient for this most-politicized and ideologically-driven administration, when all the news out of Washington has been so negative for them lately. Maybe Preznit Heckuva Job will even get to suspend the Constitution if the situation becomes a rapidly-escalating military crisis. That is, if he's finished wiping his ass with it yet.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Is It Random Flickr Blogging Monday Already?

Missed last week because I was out of town (and without internet access), and I almost missed this week because I've been busy all day. But I couldn't go two weeks in a row without my RFB, so here goes:

Living well is fine, but for my money, soaking your feet in a mix of the legal papers and blood of your enemies is the best revenge.
The annual geography quiz became much more popular when it was decided to make it shirts vs. skins.
Demonstrating the proper technique to use when crafting a sling from electrical tape.
After he released Piss Cat, a lot of critics began to accuse Andres Serrano of just phoning it in.
You know what? I don't think I want that Aleluja after all. You keep it. Can I get an Amen instead?
After viewing a few of the potential candidates to replace him, a number of Senators decided that maybe Alberto Gonzales didn't need to be fired after all.

(Original images, #6236, posted here, here, here, here, here and here. Tom Hilton explains Random Flickr Blogging here.)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I-5 Tour, Part II

Less than a week after I got back from Fresno, I found myself once again on the road. Last Friday morning, Mrs. Generik and I pointed the Prius north and headed up to the Siskiyou County town of Yreka.

Yreka -- not to be confused with Eureka, which is on the coast and is confusing enough all on its own -- is just north of Mt. Shasta, not far south of the Oregon border, and is the home of my long-time friend Dennis, and a few other folks we like a lot, like Mike and Marcus. Our friends Jon and Mary came up from Paradise (near Chico) to join us for a long weekend, and it was great fun. I've known Jon for 40 years and Dennis for nearly that long, so, as you can probably imagine, there were more than a few stories and reminiscences swapped. Part of the time we spent at Dennis' family's set of cabins out near the Scott River, walking in the woods, playing cards, eating way too much and celebrating St. Patrick's Day by drinking just exactly enough (because we never, ever drink too much).

I have a whole lot of pictures from the trip -- more of which I'll post at a later date -- but here are just a few for now from our very enjoyable weekend. Thanks to Dennis and to Marcus (who cooked up a killer rib dinner Saturday night) and to everyone for showing us such a good time.

Welcome to the Last Resort at Scott River!
What with the heavy snow out that way, it had been some time since anyone had been to the cabins.
Since I knew we would be partying there, I brought my party hat. Here's Marcus, modeling the chapeau de communiste.
As you can see, it fit him perfectly.
Is it art, or is it trash? Maybe a little of both.
We stopped on the way home to get some photos of Mt. Shasta (coming soon to a generik blog near you), and I realized that, every year, millions of people come to California, many of them specifically for the... well-maintained rest areas.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


CNN pundit and noted xenophobe Lou Dobbs has a poll up on his page today with the simple question "Should Alberto Gonzales resign?" As of just a few minutes ago, the numbers were over 10,000 people voting yes versus fewer than 700 voting no. Go add your voice to the mix. Little Abu G needs to find some alternate employment, and soon.

Any suggestions for an appropriate career move for the Bush family consigliere now?

No Shirt, No Shoes, No God, No Problem

I've long been a fan of local Rep. Pete Stark (D-Fremont), but I like him even more today. Congressman Stark had the courage to admit that he does not believe in a Supreme Being, and where and when have any of you seen a politician with the guts to come out and say something like that?

I have no doubt that he will become a target for ridicule and all sorts of negative aspersions cast by sanctimonious politicians and religious charlatans everywhere for this statement, but in my book, he's right. Not only that, but he's brave to go on record stating his beliefs (or non-belief), especially in an era when most American politicians feel they have to swear allegiance to the Baby Jesus above even the Constitution to get and stay in office. This nation's government and political institutions have been largely co-opted by religious fundamentalists over the past 20 years or so, and religious fundamentalism in any of its incarnations has been proven time and time again to be dangerous to the health and sanity of a nation and its people. It's therefore a breath of fresh air for an elected official like Congressman Stark to distance himself from the chattering ignorami who continue to wallow in their superstitious beliefs and, worse, attempt to force them on others. Given the same opportunity to state their own beliefs, most current politicians would choose simply to pander to believers and mouth pious platitudes, regardless of whether or not their own personal views match those of their constituents'. Pete Stark has the courage to say what he really thinks. Bravo for that.

You go, Pete!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Impeach Them All, Let God Sort Them Out

Speaking of lying liars, ladies and gentlemen, the littlest, least competent and least qualified Attorney General ever, Alberto Gonzales!

Senator Charles Schumer: "The latest revelations proved beyond any reasonable doubt that there has been an unprecedented breach of trust, abuse of power and misuse of the Justice Department. And that is very serious and very important."

Senator Ted Kennedy: Gonzales "has exhibited a lack of candor with Congress and disdain for the rule of law and our constitutional system"; his resignation is "long overdue."

Oh, snap!

Calling Bullshit

Yesterday the man who apparently runs our government made a speech in which he once again asserted that the war in Iraq is based on the 9/11 attacks. The vice-president has been attempting to make this connection between Saddam Hussein's government and al Qaeda since approximately September 12th, 2001, and has been unfortunately successful at it in some quarters. Even though every investigation and committee looking into this alleged connection has found absolutely no link, he continues to make the claim. The question now, it seems to me, is not why he keeps saying this -- he's obviously delusional, and/or adept at the Big Lie strategy -- the question is why any sane, serious person or news organization takes his bloviating seriously. The man is a fabulist, a prevaricator, a mendacious, disingenuous liar of the first order. Why can't the mainstream news -- excluding the Fox Noise channel, of course -- just come right out and say this?

"Mr. Cheney, you're so full of shit you should have brown eyes and grass growing out of your head."

There. Was that so hard?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Fonday Fandom Flickr Flogging

Today's lucky number is IMG_6534. Thanks to Tom Hilton, who explains Random Flickr Blogging here.

The road rally was a ton of fun, and it raised a lot of money for charity, but it left the landscape littered with tires when it was over.
"No, no, no! You look like you care! You're supposed to throw your hands up in the air like you just don't care!"
Timmy began to question the wisdom of allowing his sister to strap him into a device once owned by Wile E. Coyote.
"Don't cry for me, Ike and Tina..."

(Original photos posted here, here, here and here.)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Home Again

So I'm back in San Francisco, and it's hotter here than it was in Fresno. Dude, WTF? What is up with that? This is not what I came home expecting to find.

In any event, let me just say that I had a grand time on my brief trip to the heart of Central California, and I thank all my generous hosts and the various folks I met or got reacquainted with while I was there. Joel and Katie, Chris and Dana, Marcel, Nate, RP, Jaguar, Thereminman, Airplane Jayne, Jen and all the rest, thanks for the hospitality. Yesterday I caught five shows, all of which were enjoyable -- not a clunker in the bunch -- and then attended the Rogue Wrap Party that ended up being the Rogue Party Next Door, about which the less said, the better. In retrospect, the real Rogue Party that I'll remember took place at the Suicide Lounge Friday night. Trust in Me, My Funny Valentine, Since I Fell for You we'll live the Lush Life with Every Breath You Take... now let me put my bird in your nest. Yow!

Of course, it should go without saying, I look forward to getting back to the Raisin Capital of the World for some Grizzlies baseball and future Roguishness.

As promised, here are a few images from my weekend, and I can't tell you how sorry I am that the one shot I thought was the best of the bunch, a portrait of myself and Joel from Friday night, ended up being too blurry to include here. I can't even blame myself for that, because someone else took it. Maybe the camera was conspiring against me. Still, if that's the worst thing that happened to me (and apparently it is), I'm a lucky guy.

Tim Ereneta's one prop from Chart Toppers of 1349.
The tower whence the Tower District gets its name.
So nice that they were expecting me, and appropriately marked the occasion.
Fresno is a thriving, teeming metropolis.
Public art is huge in Fresno.
The Suicide Lounge trio: (L to R) Nate Butler, Robert Paul, Marcel Nunis.
Marcel and a couple of intrepid explorers possibly bound for Shanghai.
Finally, yard art is also huge in Fresno. Here's a representation of my good friend Chris without his glasses.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rogue Report

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Fresno, California, on a Saturday morning after a Friday night spent at the 2007 version of the Rogue Performance Festival, and last night I went a lucky four-for-four on shows I attended. The Rogue is similar to the various Fringe Festivals around the world (all ultimately based on the original in Edinburgh), in that it is non-curated and non-juried, and offers acts that you won't necessarily see in so-called "professional" venues. Any and all manner of acts are welcome, from plays to spoken word to comedy to film, music and dance. As anyone who has attended a Fringe Festival (or a Rogue) will attest, the acts are sometimes hit or miss. Last night I hit on all four. Here's a brief round-up:

The first show I saw was the delightful Chart Toppers of 1349, presented at Dianna's South by Berkeley's Tim Ereneta. Tim took the premise of a biennial gathering of story-tellers in the year 1349 to present what he said were eight of the top ten requested tales from that time. Some might call them fairy tales, but as anyone who has read the Brothers Grimm and other archivists of those ancient stories knows, they were full of mayhem, magic and bloody deeds. Disneyfied it was most definitely not, but it certainly was fun. For some of the stories he told and more, check out his blog, here.

Next up was local performer Jaguar Bennett at the Ashtree as fictional CEO Larry Driscoll giving the PowerPoint presentation from Hell in Bullet Point. For anyone who has had to sit through interminable corporate presentations featuring pie-chart graphics and meaningless buzzwords, you know how low that bar is set, and yet Jag managed to limbo well beneath it. He had the audience laughing uproariously, and then abruptly plunged them off a cliff and into a bottomless pit of despair that made us all question our own existence. I will truly never watch a PowerPoint presentation the same way again.

After that, I headed up the road to the Starline Lounge for Barry Smith's Jesus in Montana. Subtitled Adventures in a Doomsday Cult, the show was a mixed-media monologue that was absolutely brilliant in its skewering of religion, cults, Southern culture, drug use, hitchhiking and, most especially, Barry himself. It was easy to see how this show won the Outstanding Solo Show Award at the 2005 New York International Fringe Festival.

Finally, I ended up at the Veni, Vidi, Vici -- rechristened the Suicide Lounge for the evening -- for a musical performance put on by Rogue founder Marcel Nunis and well-known local musicians Nate Butler on bass and Robert Paul on keyboard that was titled Love Songs Can Be a Pisser. The act featured a menu from which audience members were asked to choose a category, including Stalker (every audience's first choice), Newly Single and Pathetic, and Lookin' for a Hookup. The songs themselves then explored the darker side of love and loss, with a decided comic twist. For instance, in the Stalker category, Nate Butler sang an amazingly creepy version of Every Breath You Take. Some other songs included Lush Life, Since I Fell for You, Marcel's signature version of My Funny Valentine, and a hilarious take on Trust in Me, from the movie Jungle Book.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable evening, especially getting to visit with my pals Joel, Chris, Nate and Marcel. And this afternoon and evening, there are more shows, including San Francisco's Steven Karwoski in Are Ya Dating? and Marcel's play Tale End. I'll post more about those shows and put up some pictures tomorrow. For more on the Festival, check out these two sites, here and here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, it appears that there is still some small measure of justice left in this world after all. Scooter Libby has been convicted on four of the five counts against him, and while his lawyer is already planning an appeal and his former boss' boss is probably already working out the grammar on the pardon document, at least we have this brief shining moment to enjoy.

Schadenfreude -- it's what's for dinner!

On the other hand, it's too bad that the real criminals -- Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, et al -- are still running free and still running the country. But these days I'll take what little justice and satisfaction I can get.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Flickr Blogging On A Random Monday

Let's go!

The Cat in the Hat gets phat.
"Wooden bars do not a prison make, nor stuffed monkeys an acceptable item with which to barter for cigarettes."
"I see red people."

"Frankly, Scarlet, I don't give a damn."

"Would you guys stop referencing movies I haven't seen yet?"
Meanwhile, back at the Conservative Political Action Conference...

(Original photos, IMG_5259, posted here, here, here and here.)

The Week That Kicked My Ass

A little over a week ago, as some of you already know, I got a chance to meet up once again with some of my good blogging friends and colleagues at Zeitgeist in San Francisco. Despite the threat of rain, it was a good turnout, with the pleasant surprise of our being joined by the Freeway Blogger towards the end of the afternoon. After that experience, feeling warm and fuzzy and just a little bit inebriated, I told myself that I would be sure to post at least two or three times during the week, including writing something about our get-together, and, of course, do the requisite Monday Random Flickr Blogging that has lately been about the only thing I've kept up with, but... as is plainly obvious, I didn't do squat. No posts at all, zero, zip, zilch, nada. A week from working man's hell essentially knocked my dick in the dirt and rendered me unable to put fingers to keyboard the entire time.

And you know what the worst part about that is? Here comes another one!

Oh well, at least I had a good weekend.
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