September 28, 2006

Georgia's House Delegation's Detainee Votes

Democrats who should feel ashamed:

John Barrow
Sanford Bishop
Jim Marshall
David Scott

John Lewis didn't vote.

Cynthia McKinney is the sole Georgia representative who voted to retain habeas corpus and against giving the executive branch the power to detain people at will. I've been highly critical of her (she's my representative for a few more months), but I have to thank her for voting against this monstrosity.

Needless to say, all of the Republicans in the delegation voted to empower the executive to do whatever the hell it feels like doing. You might want to call your representative and ask why he doesn't believe the Constitution is wiser than he is, and tell him how you feel about .

Posted by shamanic at 10:43 AM

September 27, 2006

Shaker Blogging

I blogged some on the detainee bill today at Shakespeare's Sister, where the mood is rightly not so good.

Paging Harry Reid

Dems Cave (Wednesday Edition)

It's a very, very bad day for our democracy. The senate has adjourned for the night, but debate will resume in the morning. Call your senators. Do whatever you can do to defeat this bill.

Posted by shamanic at 7:48 PM

September 22, 2006

Habeas Corpus

Produce the body

That phrase will mean something different now that the Mavericks in the Senate GOP caucus have capitulated to the White House's demands to allow the CIA to continue torturing "torture suspects," as determined by that self-same White House.

Produce the body

How about any of the scores of bodies that have been manufactured by US intelligence operatives the world over in our glorious fight against 19 Saudis wielding box cutters? They are fresh bodies pounded out of the flesh of living human beings, rendered inert by flung cables or knees pressed into a supine man's chest, the things we now know as "aggressive interrogation techniques."

Produce the body

Those 19 dead Saudi men may have been a vector for wider dissemination, but the disease had already found its way into the White House by the time they dispersed themselves on September 11, 2001. Imagine them: 19 Saudi biological agents spreading a disease of the mind, a defect born of fear and nurtured by the cynicism of those whose only aim is power. The power to crush. The power to maim. The power to destroy.

Produce the body

Enough have been created from the flesh of living human beings. We should produce justice instead of bodies. Justice is stronger than fists. Justice follows rules. Our President does not. So instead of producing justice, we'll produce corpses.

Posted by shamanic at 5:16 PM

September 21, 2006

CIA Ended Illegal Interrogations

This is worth reading.

When the spooks are spooked, you know there's a big problem.

But remember: We don't torture!

Posted by shamanic at 2:47 PM

David Broder Misreads Again

Washington Post columnist David Broder is a frequent target of Atrios and others in the blogosphere, so I wasn't too surprised to see this type of commentary in his column today about a supposed new rise of civility and principle in American politics:

They are mobilizing to resist not only Bush but also the extremist elements in American society -- the vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers on the left and the doctrinaire religious extremists on the right who would convert their faith into a whipping post for their opponents.
Yes, Broder's "independence party", comprised of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, John Warner, Joe Lieberman, and Mike DeWine, is on the cusp of introducing legislation that Broder says Americans really want.
Americans are saying no to excess greenhouse gases and no to open borders; yes to embryonic stem cell research, yes to a path to earned citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants and yes to a living wage. Six more states are likely to approve increases in the minimum wage through ballot initiatives in November.
What an assortment of vituperative, foul-mouthed lefty blogger policy favorites! I wonder if there's room in Broder's independence party for bloggers like me, who've long supported minimum wage increases, living wage laws, stem cell research, market-based curbs on greenhouse gas emissions, and comprehensive immigration reform that makes the border a safer and more orderly place while also allowing a generation of would-be Americans to finally join us. We've supported these policies, but neither party has. Nor do I think that John McCain will be running around the country in 2008 touting the importance of a national living wage law.

Or maybe the fact that I'm an ordinary American who cares enough about America to stand up for things disqualifies me from Broder's party of "decent respect". Maybe the Independence Party is only really open to those who want to hear from people like Broder that our politics is changing, while the status quo of people and policy persists.

Posted by shamanic at 8:40 AM

September 20, 2006

What I Would Tell the Hungarians

You may have heard about the unrest rocking the eastern European nation of Hungary this week.

Some rioting and a lot of public protest followed the release of an audiotape of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany (don't try to pronounce it) telling a private meeting of his Socialist party:

"We don't have too many choices. The reason is because we screwed it up. Not a little bit, but very much. None of the other European countries have done such stupid things that we did. We can explain it. Eventually, we lied through the last one and-a-half or two years. It was entirely clear that what we said was not the truth."
If I had any Hungarian friends, I would call 'em up and explain how great it is that they have a leader willing to bluntly admit mistakes. I wouldn't say they're wrong to demand his ouster, I'd just let them know how refreshing it was for me to hear a national leader on the radio exasperated because his ineffective government had foundered on lies and massive screw ups.

And with the publication of the tape, thousands of Hungarians have taken to the streets to demand Gyurcsany's resignation. Doesn't that sound just like a functioning democracy? I bet it's nice to live in one.

Posted by shamanic at 11:44 AM

September 19, 2006

Politics Then And Now

On Friday night I'll be performing some spoken word at an event that commemorates the 1906 Atlanta Race Riots. On September 22, 1906, white mobs angered by unsubstantiated reports of assaults on white women gathered in downtown Atlanta and set about terrorizing Atlanta's black community. Some two dozen people, mostly black, were killed over the next several days.

In researching the riot, I came across this paragraph on the 1906 Georgia Governor's race that I found shocking, both for what it says and for the parallels of media, politics, race, and enfranchisement that we are experiencing today:

The candidates for the 1906 governor's race played to white fears of a black upper class. In the months leading up to the August election, both Hoke Smith, the former publisher of the Atlanta Journal, and Clark Howell, the editor of the Atlanta Constitution, were in the position as gubernatorial candidates of being able to influence public opinion through their newspapers. Smith, with the public support of former Populist Tom Watson, inflamed racial tensions in Atlanta by insisting that black disfranchisement was necessary to ensure that blacks were kept "in their place"; that is, in a position inferior to that of whites. Since receiving the right to vote, Smith argued, blacks also had sought economic and social equality. By disfranchising blacks, whites could maintain the social order.

Howell, on the other hand, claimed that the Democratic white primary and the poll tax were already sufficient in limiting black voting. Instead, Howell emphasized that Smith was not the racial separatist he claimed to be, and he charged that Smith had in the past cooperated with black political leaders and thus could not be relied upon to advance the cause of white supremacy.

Posted by shamanic at 5:00 PM

September 17, 2006

House Work

Wow. There are days when I'm just not sure that buying a house was the smartest move.

We are living in a perpetual home improvement project over here. This weekend we removed more blinds and painted some window sills. I finally won my battle against the humongous privet bush in the back yard, and it is now laying on top of the brush pile I'm building (a custom job!), complete with the three foot diameter root ball that had to be extracted.

Plants I really don't like roaming free: ivy, wisteria, and above all, kudzu. There are patches of county-owned land in my area, and in the south, county-owned land is code for 'kudzu field'. Kudzu flowers, makes seeds, and birds drop the seeds in my yard from time to time.

I'm on permanent kudzu patrol. In full sun, kudzu can grow five feet a day. Last weekend, I spotted a little thread of baby kudzu vine and started digging around the base. The 12-inch long vine was attached to three feet of shallowly buried root. I grew up in the south, so I know how pernicious kudzu is, but I couldn't believe it. It could have sent shoots up from any part of the root, and God knows how long the root would have been in another month or so. (This site has some good pictures of an extremely common scene in the south.)

Kudzu is a must-kill, but the big landscape challenge on the property is wisteria. A well-grown vine of wisteria that has grown up, say, a tree, is gorgeous in the spring. The purple flowers come out in something like a cone shape, or bells, and they contrast with the new leaf growth in the trees; it's just stunning. The problem with it is very similar to kudzu; the roots snake along just under the soil and can extend a very long way. I've pulled up several twenty foot sections of wisteria root, which usually plunge deeper into the ground to join some thicker root junction. I've decided to put the wisteria armageddon off until it gets cold and spending a Saturday with a shovel in the yard won't be quite as much of a chore. One side of the length of my front yard is covered in wisteria, and when I go after it, it's going to be as though we'd tilled that part. It's a long lot. It's going to be a lot of work.

Then there's ivy. Ivy's a lot of work to pull up, but it's also slow growing. The roots don't tend to stretch a million miles. The biggest problem with it here is that ivy beds are a preferred habitat for brown recluse spiders. Mostly, my problem is that ivy is an invasive species that propagages easily and is difficult to eradicate.

And, you know, wise or not, this is our house. We don't want these plants on the property, so bit by bit I'm removing them. There's lots of interior stuff to take care of too, lots of painting to do and light fixtures to replace and, in the future, bigger projects like renovating the kitchen.

Bit by exhausting bit, we're putting our stamp on it all. But after a hard weekend of exhausting labor, sometimes I'm just not sure that buying a home was the smartest move.

Posted by shamanic at 10:40 PM

September 13, 2006

Another test entry

Sorry, I'm testing some pretty radical changes to the style sheet. Don't mind this.




No content here, either.






Mmm hmmm. Made you look.








Still nothing.





You should not have scrolled this far down.










But I guess you did.










Thanks for stopping by.

Posted by shamanic at 6:51 PM

September 12, 2006

Test Entry

This entry is a test.

Posted by shamanic at 12:41 PM


"An odd point of view to say the least."

Typing loudly from Atlanta, GA, since 2003.
Love Simianbrain? Hate it? Have a story suggestion? E-mail me at
Check out Simianbrain's online store for all your political apparel and housewares needs. Now featuring "W The Disaster" gear and the "My President" line.

Recent Entries
Georgia's House Delegation's Detainee Votes
Shaker Blogging
Habeas Corpus
CIA Ended Illegal Interrogations
David Broder Misreads Again
What I Would Tell the Hungarians
Politics Then And Now
House Work
Another test entry
Test Entry

The Blog Roll

Daily Reads
Shakespeare's Sister
The Heretik
Blog for Democracy
Andrew Sullivan
War Liberal
Fester's Place

Arts & Artists

Collin Kelley
Theresa Davis
Thea Hillman
Poetry Slam, Inc.
My Siamese Self
Hope for agoldensummer
Athens Boys Choir
Daemon Records
Internet Movie Database

Political Organizations of Note

Democratic Party of Georgia
ACLU of Georgia
Young Democrats of Georgia
No Hawks

Queer Observers

Christian Grantham
Pam's House Blend
Modern Fabulousity
ATL Malcontent

Other Things Worth Reading

Georgia and Atlanta

Atlanta Public Affairs
Cracker Squire
Radical Georgia Moderate
Tag Team
The Buzz Blog
Fulton Dems
Perdue Watch
Georgia House Watch
Georgia Senate Watch
Dekalb Young Democrats

"The Blogosphere", or at least some of it

Alabama Elections
Baghdad Burning
Comments From Left Field
The Daily DeLay
DC Media Girl
Democracy Arsenal
Fanatical Apathy
The Left Coaster
media girl
The Raw Story
Rox Populi
Seeing the Forest
South Now
The Swift Report
Swing State Project
Unclaimed Territory


Parents & Friends of Ex-Straights Supports Your Right to Choose Change



Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Hosted by


July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
December 2003