John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica

 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Sunday, September 17, 2006
Sunday Funnies: Immigration

 More Lalo Alcaraz comics
View more editorial cartoons by Lalo Alcaraz here.

It seems like the Republicons in power in Washington D.C. have found the issue they can run up the flagpole for this year's election -- immigration.  They've framed the issue and the debate in such a way as to appeal to their core constituency.  Clues of this purposeful framing is found in the language that they use.

Rather than solving the problem of "undocumented workers," Republicons can get tough and crack down on "illegal aliens."  Look at the language used for their proposed laws:

  • Secure Fence Act
  • Alien Gang Removal Act
  • Criminal Alien Removal Act
  • Alien Smuggler Transportation Act
  • Dangerous Alien Detention Act

I understand that immigration reform is a serious issue.  At the same, I can't help but be a little cynical when I see language the politicians use.  Knowing that fear and xenophobia can get them re-elected, they seem to have successfully taken a portion of the immigration issue and turned it into a crime and homeland security issue.  And of course, billions of dollars will have to be spent for more law enforcement, detention facilities, and border security technology. (news conference video)

There are serious issues with how the federal government handles the immigration problem.  The recent 'get tough on enforcement' stance can have both sad and cynical unintended consequences, though.

One example would be the aftermath story of the small, one-factory town, likely to be repeated all over the country.  As reported by CNN:

STILLMORE, Georgia (AP) -- Trailer parks lie abandoned. The poultry plant is scrambling to replace more than half its workforce. Business has dried up at stores where Mexican laborers once lined up to buy food, beer and cigarettes just weeks ago.

This Georgia community of about 1,000 people has become little more than a ghost town since September 1, when federal agents began rounding up illegal immigrants.

The sweep has had the unintended effect of underscoring just how vital the illegal immigrants were to the local economy.

The humor in any joke is based upon a twist of some truth.  The common joke about the idea of building a 700-mile-long border fence in the American southwest is, "Whose going to build it?  Are you going to have Mexicans building it and then ask them to kindly get back on their side of the fence?"

Today, I read this headline in the Miami Herald, "Contractors at federal detention facility detained -- for fake immigration documents."  Truth is ridiculous.

[Headphones] :: Democrusader [Download] [Lo-Fi Stream] by JfZ

Comics are strange therapy.


Friday, September 15, 2006
Phriday Night Phreeks

Phriday Night Phreeks
sponsored by

Ever have that psychic flash to contact an old friend?

It reminded me of backstage parties from long ago.

View previous Phriday Night Phreeks

Dedicated to the all-time number one Phriday Night Phreek -- Jessica

[Headphones] :: Jessica: Pleasure Club Mix [Download] [Lo-Fi Stream] by JfZ


Thursday, September 14, 2006
Swamp Gas v.011

Welcome to Swamp Gas in the Imajica.  Similar to the You Can't Make This Shit Up (YCMTSU) section, Swamp Gas will focus solely on news and items of interest in the sunshine state of Florida.

They say, "All the nuts in America roll downhill to Florida."  So let's just see how true that phrase really is.

Click on the Swamp Gas logo for the smelly menu.

Swamp Gas v. 011



On Sunday, August 27th, little Trenton Duckett was reported missing by his mother to the Leesburg Police Department.  Almost immediately, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were brought in to assist in the investigation.  A slit window screen in Trenton's bedroom pointed to an abduction.  View America's Most Wanted story.




The toddler's mother, Melinda Duckett, gave interviews (1,2,3) to the news media, but seemed uncooperative to local police and other observers.  Unlike the toddler's estranged father, Joshua, Melinda did not take a polygraph.  She also seemed very vague about her whereabouts and activities during the day leading up to reporting Trenton missing.



One of the interviews Melinda Duckett gave was with CNN Host Nancy Grace.  Grace kept asking why she would not take a polygraph. (transcript)  Hours before the show was to air, Melinda Ducket was found dead from an apparent suicide at her grandparent's house.  (video) That was the reason for the squadron of news helicopters I witnessed hovering over a local subdivision of homes. 


Joshua Duckett is left with many unanswered questions in the continuing search for his son, Trenton.

[Headphones] :: Jessica: Sanibel Island [Download] [Lo-Fi Stream] by JfZ

Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Iraq: More Whack-a-mole

Plan B
The upcoming national elections and the anniversary of 9/11 have the nation and our politicians talking about Iraq.  Most of the talk gets boiled down by the media to a cartoonish and juvenile level that reminds me of that classic song lyric by The Clash, "Should I stay or should I go?"  Few people in the Dumbocratic or Republicon political party have anything more to offer than hatred for each other.  Bullshit bumper sticker phrases like "cut and run" and "stay the course" do not help Americans understand the reality of our options concerning Iraq.  Politicians that use these phrases should not be supported or re-elected.

I am supportive of those few politicians, from either party, that dare question the Bush/Cheney administration and their blind maintenance of the original neocon fantasy in the Middle East.  It is not working.  The recent speeches by the president, and the subsequent parroting of talking points by the rubber-stamp Republicons, are nothing more than arrogant, drowning old white men that are too stupid to remove the war profit gold from their pockets to save themselves.

In order to improve the situation in Iraq, one would have to have some clear understanding of it.  The Bush/Cheney administration is verifiably delusional.  The only other explanation is that they know the truth and are simply lying to the people of the country in order to stay in power, politically.

It's no wonder that Dubya decided to quote so-called communications from Osama bin Laden in his latest speeches.  Both Dubya and Osama sound like Baghdad Bob and have no credibility.  Zero.

Regular readers know that I like to put links in my blog to the White House.  I think people should listen more carefully to the communications coming out of the Bush administration, since we know that they aren't very prone to tell the American people very much.

One thing I've noticed over the years at the White House site is that the Bush/Cheney administration fully understands that Americans are reluctant to believe them nowadays.  Recently this year, the White House website has now taken to adding some cute links to supplemental "Fact Sheets" that bullet point their delusions into the adminstration's talking points for propaganda pundits.

This new Orwellian reality is summed up by the first sentence in the conclusion of the Bush/Cheney administration's published "National Strategy for Combating Terrorism:"

"Since the September 11 attacks, America is safer, but we are not yet safe."

I read this and see a dependent clause that is a continuing pathological lie combined with an independent statement that is an ongoing excuse for the political, philosophical and bureaucratic failures of this administration for the last half decade.

The administration's own Strategy for Success in Iraq calls for monitoring the three tracks they have defined: Political, Economic and Security.  The Political track is falling apart as evident by the obvious Kurdish desire for independence from Baghdad. The Economic track is failing, because we are spending billions per month to prop this neocon experiment up.  The Security track is failing because the Defense Department is too scared to admit failure by changing their tactics beyond the current whack-a-mole security operations.

To fix the security problems would require more U.S. troops, or Iraqi troops, in order to quell the violence in Baghdad or the western Anbar province, or growing Shia southern violence, or should the Kurds bail out from the idea of a unified Iraq.

Read more about included information:

White House: "Strategy for Success in Iraq"
Sen. Carl Levin: "Senate Intelligence Committee report on pre-war Iraq"
Sen. Joseph Biden: "Five Years After 9/11: Rethinking America's Future Security"
Rep. Ron Paul: "Big Government Solutions Do Not Work / The Law of Opposites"

[Fullscreen] :: Families [WMP | MOV] - Neil Young - Living With War

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Head Space

Arthur C. Clarke rawks!
Well, I waited almost two weeks for the Atlantis shuttle to launch.  Then, when it did finally launch, I didn't blog about it -- because thinking about 9/11 puts me in a mood that makes me not want to talk to anyone, in person or via the blog.  I get so angry, and sad.  I spent both Sunday and Monday hunkered down in a very anti-social frame of mind.

I apologize for the auto-loading flash file in the 9/11 entry.  Regular Thunderstorms readers with dial-up modems are probably gathering pitchforks and lighting their torches to storm the Imajica.  It's there primarily to motivate me to move forward, blog, and knock it off the main page.

I did watch the shuttle launch Saturday via NASA TV.  I'm sure most people have seen newsbytes of it.  If you want to check out something interesting, read the STS-115 launch blog.  It has links to video footage from Saturday's launch, and odd little notes, too.  I never knew that some of the astronauts were in a rock band called "Max Q."

The one thing that really puts me in a good mood is the work that the astronauts (and all of the dedicated NASA personnel) are doing right now.  In a few hours, STS-115 crew members will secure the P3/P4 trusses to the ISS during their first EVA of the mission.  If you want to know what they'll be doing each day of the mission, check out this handy flash file.  This flash also has assembly animations for the STS-115 mission and the completed International Space Station.

Another thing that cheered me up was that Pluto Girl visited the blog.  I affectionately gave her the nickname Pluto Girl, though.  I thought she was funny and smart.  The nickname she uses is BravesGirl5 on YouTube.  She's quite a prolific video blogger, even though her beloved Atlanta Braves are doomed.  She should major in mass communications, but she'll probably be a biochemist, or something.

As for me video blogging, let's just say I have a face fit for Klingon iTunes podcasts.  Also noteworthy: Star Trek turned 40 this weekend.  I checked out some of the fan films and I was amazed at the quality of projects like New Voyages and Starship Exeter.  As much as I thought myself to be a science fiction fan, I never knew about this growing phenomenon of actual films being produced.  May they live long and prosper!


[Headphones] :: Space Station [lo-fi] - SomaFM

Everyone needs the idea of a super hero.


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