Friday, April 29, 2005

Krugman Today

I want to address a paragraph in today's Paul Krugman NYT column. It has to do with the Bush administration's views on health care in the 2004 Economic Report of the President. Krugman writes:

The report even takes a Panglossian view of uninsured Americans - one that is completely at odds with the grim statistics I cited above - suggesting that "many of them may remain uninsured as a matter of choice," perhaps because "they are young and healthy and do not see the need for insurance."

BTW Panglossian mean blindly or naively optimistic, from Pangloss in Voltaire's Candide. I agree with this assessment but I want to get into why these views prevail. Most people in their mid twenties to mid thirties in this country get up with some form of health care. If you were poor, you might have had Medicaid. If you grew up in the middle class, your parents probably had jobs that provided health care. Health care was pretty common in the last generation's job compensation packages.

While ages limits vary, by 25 you're usually off your parents health care and on your own. By this age, unless you are a brilliant college dropout tech geek or a drug addict, you are probably still in the same economic class as your parents. I could go on and on about class stagnation but I digress. So your options are to get a job that offers health care, pay for it yourself, or go without. With jobs offering health care constantly declining, some people pay, some go without, and it doesn't even enter into some people's minds that they should have it.

Under the current system, this will always be the way it is no matter how much you tweak the system. Its a shame that conservatives are too back-asswards to adopt a cheaper, more efficient European style universal health care, because we should be protecting all Americans from the financial ruin of a catastrophic health event.

Personal Note

Ramji, Julie, I regret to inform you that the restaurant we took you to for a going away dinner has been closed by the health department.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Geek Stuff

Congrats to IP address 69.211.221. You are my 100th visitor.

The Fox Is In The Hen House

Iraq today named the heads of several of their ministries. The three biggies still have no permanent ministers. They are Electricity, Defense, and Oil. The temporary minister for oil is going to be Ahmed Chalabi. Wait, did I just write that. Jesus, this motherfucker keeps turning up like a bad penny. So, a proven thief and good friend of Cheney is going to be minister of oil.

I gotta go call my broker. I thought Big Oil would be paying for Iraq's oil. If they are going to be stealing it, I want my cut.

Why I Listen To NPR

In the last two days I have heard two very interesting stories on NPR. A lot of people bash NPR for being too liberal, but I don't listen to NPR for politics. Every network has political hacks that half of their listeners are going to believe to be out of the mainstream. No, I listen to NPR because they have deeper interviews and stories. They don't do the MTV type fast cut news that prevails on today's cable news networks.

Yesterday, on Fresh Air, I heard Terry Gross interview Dr. Chester Buckenmaier. Buckenmaier is chief of the Regional Anesthesia and Pain Management Initiative at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Wow, what a title. This guy doesn't go many places where he isn't the smartest guy in the room, but he laid out the work he's been doing on injured soldiers in lay-mans term that I could understand. Go listen to this interview here.

The second story I heard was on this morning's Morning Edition. It was an in depth interview with the wildlife scientists that have proven the existence of the long thought extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. Go listen to this here.

Richard Lugar Falls Off The Onion Truck

This article in today's WAPO suggests that Richard Lugar will line up to be Bush's bitch on the Bolton nomination. That leaves Hagel and Chafee as the only two republican members of the Foreign Relations Committee that could spike the nomination.

I don't know who came up with the idea that Bolton is somehow going to reform the UN, but the White House is pushing that meme.

"A vote for John Bolton is a vote for reform at the United Nations," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "A vote against him is a vote for the status quo at the United Nations."

John Bolton can't seriously "reform" the UN. True reform must come from within and couldn't possibly be led by this jackass. Even Thomas Friedman knows that.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Shut Up Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck has been riding Michael Coleman pretty hard lately over an alleged sexual assault at Mifflin High School. What's the real reason Beck is attacking Coleman? Because Coleman is running for governor next year and is the first Democrat to be a serious contender to the sixteen-year stranglehold the republicans have had on the Governor's Mansion.

And Beck knows this, for this is the politics of Terri Schiavo. Why? Like Jeb Bush in Florida, Michael Coleman doesn't have any real authority to intervene in this case. This is a job for the police and the school board. But the rule of law means nothing to his followers. They don't understand why every whim of theirs cannot be dealt with in absolution. They are simpletons who think that merely their faith in God allows them to judge all without repercussion.

Well, guess what dopes? Beck doesn't really care about the little girl involved in this case. He is hiding behind his daughter to give him political coverage. This is a pure and simple political hit against someone who isn't allowed to do what Beck claims he wants done anyway. Beck is too smart a guy to not know this. Does that mean that his listeners don't mind being conned when they fill his pockets with money, or are they addicted to the masturbatory quality of his vitriol. Faith and values party, indeed.

Looks Like Hastert Backtracking On Ethics Committee

Today's LA Times has the story. But don't think any more ethics violations will be enough to get Tom Delay tossed out of the republican leadership. He raises a lot of money and there are a lot of whores on the republican side of the house.

It is going to take an indictment from either from Ronnie Earle, the DA from Austin, Texas investigating TRMPAC, or he is going to have to get caught up in the Justice Department investigation of Jack Abramhoff. Earle has said that he will follow the truth wherever it takes him in the case. I'm pretty sure we won't get that same guarantee from torture lover Alberto Gonzales.

Who These Assholes Are And Who They Hang With

This article from The Nation points out the fact that Tony Perkins, the lead kook from Justice Sunday, seems to have a problem not hanging out with white supremists. Previous contacts include David Duke and The Council for Conservative Citizens which is a leading white supremist group.

I guess Bush wasn't being coy about abortion during the campaign when he said he would appoint Dred Scott justices.

I've Been Sick

Look for more stuff later today.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Happy Earth Day

On this eve of the day of my birth, and the made up day of birth for our Mother Earth, I only give you the words of the late great Joe Strummer

stay around don't play around
this old town and all
seems like I got to travel on

a lot of people won't get no supper tonight
a lot of people won't get no justice tonight
the battle is gettin hotter
in this iration, armagideon time

a lot of people runnin and a hiding tonight
a lot of people won't get no justice tonight
remember to kick it over
no one will guide you - armagideon time

From Armagideon Time

And don’t forget these

This is a public service announcement
With guitar
Know your rights all three of them

Number 1
You have the right not to be killed
Murder is a CRIME!
Unless it was done by a
Policeman or aristocrat
Know your rights

And Number 2
You have the right to food money
Providing of course you
Don't mind a little
Investigation, humiliation
And if you cross your fingers

Know your rights
These are your rights

Know these rights

Number 3
You have the right to free
Speech as long as you're not
Dumb enough to actually try it.

Know your rights
These are your rights
All three of 'em
It has been suggested
In some quarters that this is not enough!

Get off the streets
Get off the streets
You don't have a home to go to

Finally then I will read you your rights

You have the right to remain silent
You are warned that anything you say
Can and will be taken down
And used as evidence against you

Listen to this

From Know Your Rights

And if you must enforce these beliefs

When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

When the law break in
How you gonna go?
Shot down on the pavement
Or waiting on death row

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh, the guns of Brixton

The money feels good
And your life you like it well
But surely your time will come
As in heaven, as in hell

You see, he feels like Ivan
Born under the Brixton sun
His game is called survivin'
At the end of the harder they come

You know it means no mercy
They caught him with a gun
No need for the Black Maria
Goodbye to the Brixton sun

You can crush us
You can bruise us
Yes, even shoot us
But oh-the guns of Brixton

When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

You can crush us
You can bruise us
Yes, even shoot us
But oh-the guns of Brixton

Shot down on the pavement
Waiting in death row
His game is called survivin'
As in heaven as in hell

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh, the guns of Brixton

From The Guns Of Brixton

Two things, I am in the middle of a three-day birthday bender so I can’t coherently comment on Earth Day. I also can never match the fury that Joe Strummer exposed social injustice with.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Don't Have Tickets?

Going to the Charles McCoy Trial? Don't get burned by scalpers. Here is a handy dandy seating chart to make sure you don't pay large coin for a crappy seat. Oh, and whatever you do, don't buy a red ticket.

Thinking Out Loud

Its Black Friday. Don't run to call your broker, that is not what I'm talking about. I should note though that as of this writing the dow is off 23.79. Standard Friday sell-off. No, I'm talking about the fact that today's Dispatch syndicated editorial page features all African-American writers.

This is the first time I've ever seen this. Of course, I regularly read most of the syndicated columnists the Dispatch runs a few days earlier in their home newspapers so I seldom read this page.

Powell The Key To Blocking Bolton

Colin Powell has a chance to redeem some of the credibility he lost when he muled Bush's trumped-up Iraq disinformation to the UN. There are a lot of people coming forward bashing Bolton, but Powell is the only one with enough juice to spike the nomination.

Three republican Senators have contacted Powell for backround on Bolton. Bolton screwed Powell a couple of times when Powell was Secretary of State and I expect that Powell was frank about that when he responded to Chafee, Lugar, and Hagel. The question is whether any of these three has the balls to nix Bolton. Don't bring up Voinovich, he is too big of a bitch to stand up to Bush. Remember the tax cuts?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Condi Rice Steals Wardrobe From Star Trek Convention

Here is a picture of Lieutenant Uhura, I mean Condi Rice being taken to these guys leader.

Two Mayors For The Price Of One

San Antonio mayoral candidate Julian Castro had a problem. He couldn't attend a parade due to a scheduling conflict. How did he solve this problem? Simple, he sent his twin brother to sit in a car and wave to the crowd. Problem solved, right? Wrong.

You just can't do this. As always, when you do something this dumb in a campaign, you get caught. You can't actively try to deceive people that you want to vote for you. Well, unless you're Geoge Bush. But Juan, you're not a cult leader.

Ned Hill Is A Moron

The Columbus Dispatch has an article today about a mass exodus of Ohioans from the state in fifteen years. I agree with the article with one exception. What I don't agree with is an idiotic statement made by Edward "Ned" Hill, economic-development professor at Cleveland State University. While discussing scenarios that could alter the exodus Ned said, "If global warming increases, we can compete with North Carolina."

Really, that would be a global increase of about eight degrees. It would be catastrophic. We wouldn't need to worry about competing with other states for jobs. We would be too busy fighting a worldwide war for food. The world's rivers would back up flooding most of the arable farmland across the planet. This would also displace over a billion people.

When people throw around casual statements about global warming, it perpetuates the myth that it’s nothing to worry about, especially when a frickin professor does it. I hope the Dispatch realizes that Ned Hill is too stupid to quote anymore.

Microsoft Pulls Feeding Tube On Gay Rights

Americablog is reporting that Microsoft has dropped its support for Washington HB 1515, anti-discrimination legislation protecting homosexuals. This is in response to mouth breathing Big Box Jesus manager Ken Hutcherson’s threat to organize a boycott of Microsoft.

I only have one question for Microsoft. How effective a boycott could this fucking asshole possibly enact? The conventional wisdom says not very. These people are not the technorati. They are not tech savvy enough to use other operating systems. Christ, they might as well be threatening to boycott English.

As for your software, I doubt they buy very much anyway. And what are they going to do, go to work and refuse to use Microsoft Office? Are they going to hire a team of unintelligent designers to write new software? This is a joke and Bill Gates, so now are you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Let Hope Our Kids Are Smarter Than The Ones In The UK

A teen survey on the internet and other media has yielded a scary statistic. Students involved in the survey thought that television was the most trusted form of mass communication. 48% trust TV "completely or a lot." I hope that either they don't get American television, or our kids are smarter than that.

Perhaps they would like to see this John Gibson piece on Fox News where he blames Saddam Hussein for the Oklahoma City bombing. Luckily for Fox, Saddam is not going anywhere near an American civil court any time soon. Fox News, all the news that's shit to print.

Today's Social Conservatives

Tom Delay slammed Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy yesterday for his "incredibly outrageous" work on the bench. He went on to say “And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous.” Oh no, not that scary internet. You see Tom; it is just you and your fundie friends that want to live in the 16th century. Are you also upset that he drives to work in a horseless carriage?

Progress is something that the Tom Delays and James Dobsons of the world don't understand. Social conservatives hate change. The reason that the culture war is at an all time high is that the world is changing faster than ever. These guys are clawing at the backs of the rest of the world that is advancing past them. Eventually, they will get left behind. That's ironic, didn't one of them write a series of books about that?

The election of Cardinal Ratzinger is a good example of this. The Catholic Church has decided to make one last stand. The fact that he is 78 probably means it will probably be a short stand. I've read before that the American Christian religion is currently going though the Fourth Reformation. Just like the previous three reformations, progress will eventually drag people out of this one and into a brave new world.

There has always been vitriol between progressives and conservatives as we move away from these reformations. Today's lightning fast communications and new media formats just make it seem worse. Hell, even idiots like me can put out comments that have the possibility to be read by anybody. Also, the speed of today's life has turned out a generation of "I want it nows." After last year's election I saw a lot of people new to politics ready to fight the 2006 midterms or even the 2008 presidential elections the very next day. I hope they don't burn out, but I know some of them will.

So, Tom Delay, you and the rest of your crew can rant all you want at whatever perceived bogeymen you can find. You're still toast. Burnt toast. You just don't know it yet. But please keep it up; you're doing a better job at tearing down the republican party than we could ever hope to do. Please don't step down until after the 2006 midterm elections. We need to make significant gains in Congress.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

My Pyramid

Well, I've poured and poured over the new dietary website and there are a few things I can't find. I know they have to be in a Bush Administration redesign of a chart that tells you how to lead a healthy life. For the life of me, I can't figure out if I'm getting my full daily requirement of mercury and dioxin. Seriously, am I eating enough mercury? Am I breathing in enough mercury? What if I'm not? Don't make me go around stealing thermometers to mainline mercury. Tell me my daily requirement.

What about dioxin? I don't live down wind from a coal burning power plant, but God damnit I can move. I hear property is cheap in Cheshire, Ohio. At least tell me what kind of soup Viktor Yushchenko eats. If I'm not getting enough dioxin my skin is never going to achieve that wonderful flaky texture.

It also mentions exercise. That is a new feature. I wish it would tell me what kind of exercise I need. For instance, how many times a year should I go face first over the handlebars of my mountain bike like a fucking idiot.

This new pyramid is going to take me a while to master, but when I do, I'm sure I'll be in the best shape of my life.

New Evidence Of The Housing Bubble Bursting

New housing starts in March were down 17.6% overall. But the critical data to us Ohioans is that in the Midwest they were down a whopping 29.3%. Well, what do you want when you lead the nation in foreclosures. The last time there was a drop this large there was a guy in the White House named Bush and there was a war going on. Deja vu all over again.

Record Of The Week

This one doesn't come out until May 2nd so I'm a couple of weeks early here, but it might take you that long to find it. It is Philtre by Nitin Sawhney. I've been listening to an advance copy and it is awesome. Sawhney's songs go back and forth between English and posssibly Hindi, I think. Ramji, help me out here. Dead Man is my favorite track drifting seemlessly between blues guitar and harmonica to strings and a woman singing in Hindi.

Ann Coulter, Time Cover Girl

Ann Coulter is on the cover of the new issue of Time. I find this odd since in a Time poll about Coulter roughly a month ago 79% of respondents didn't know / care who she was. That are really only two possibilities for putting Coulter on the cover. Either the editors at Time are pushing a right wing agenda, or you really hate selling magazines.

One thing we often forget is that we are the tiny minority that actually cares about politics. The vast majority of Americans doesn't know / care. So Time magazine takes a poll, finds out nobody cares, and hey, we have got a covergirl.

Perhaps, after reviewing sales, they can run an article next month whining about the fact that nobody reads anymore.

Big Popin' NYC

Is it just me or does it seem like the papal votes are timed to maximize Western Hemisphere TV coverage. Rome is six hours ahead of me so it is currently 11AM there and they have yet to have their first morning vote. Anyone want to bet that one of the votes takes place while the national morning news shows are airing on the East Coast?

UPDATE: Nope, at least not in the US. 5:53AM EST. Of course, most of South America is one or two hours ahead of us.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Using Judicial Safety To Fight The Nuclear Option

With Bill Frist ramping up the rhetoric on using "the nuclear option" perhaps it is time to look at possible ramifications. Would ring wing extremists kill or threaten moderate judges now that they know anyone they prefer can get confirmed? With the extreme demagoguery on judges coming from members of Congress, it is not that improbable that this could happen. Why not reshuffle the Supreme Court immediately through violence?

We need to push this possibility as we fight extremists in the Senate trying to eliminate the filibuster. Moderate judges simply will not be safe without the filibuster to protect them from nut jobs trying to stack the court with right wing creeps. Judicial safety may be the way to lure moderate republicans to our side on this issue.

Thinking Out Loud

As Franklin County prepares for terrorism training, I was thinking about possible outcomes to a terrorist attack in Columbus that the city might not be ready for. I have never seen one thing addressed in any anti-terrorist training, but that doesn't mean there isn't a plan to a address it, I'm just saying I haven't seen it.

I n the event of a biological attack, the city would almost certainly institute a 24 hour curfew. I'm not sure how long that would last, maybe a week or so? I wonder what plans the city has to take control of the food supply and safely distribute it? Would this even be feasible? I have a feeling that quite a few people don't keep a week's worth of food in their house.

Going to the grocery wouldn't be possible as no employees would be present. This would almost surely lead to widespread looting. Nobody is going to stay in their house and starve. Food rations (and other needed medications) would probably be best parceled out at emergency immunization stations. That brings up another issue, what would be in the food rations? How do you deal with food allergies, etc. It would be a wise thing for every city to build a database storing this kind of information, although it would be very expensive.

Leave your own ideas in the comments.

What a Frick

Bill Frist is planning a Sunday night telecast to call for a Holy War on Democracy. Sounds pretty close to an Arabic word I know. I believe that word is jihad. Nobody is more hated in this country than Islamic terrorists and you're aligning yourself with people that share the exact same views as fundamental Islamic extremists. You see, you are the same as them.

You hate science and education, they hate science and education.
You are the same as them.
You hate women's rights, they hate women's rights.
You are the same as them.
You want to live in a 16th century theocracy, they want to live in a 16th century theocracy.
You are the same as them.
You support capital punishment, they support capital punishment.
You are the same as them.
You hate contraception, they hate contraception.
You are the same as them.
You hate homosexuals, they hate homosexuals.
You are the same as them.
You hate our freedom, they hate our freedom.
You are the same as them.
You use religion to bilk believers out of money, they use religion to bilk believers out of money.
You are the same as them.

I could go on for hours, but you get the point. I'm sure right wingers would bristle at this, but they should take a long look in the mirror. I imagine if Bill Frist ever met Osama, Frist would beg to suck his cock.


Hey, This website has finally been indexed by Google. I'm now one of about 8 gazillion. I feel so elitist.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The One Way Streets Your Tax Dollars Travel

Do you wonder where your tax dollars go under a republican controlled Congress? They go south on Big Corporate Giveaway Avenue, take a right on K Street Lobbyist St., and then take another right on Fill My Back Pocket Road. About a year after the big pharma medicare give away, what have they given us back? Pedophilia. Well, not in the traditional sense, but they are fucking children.

Big Pharma is refusing to maintain the stockpiles of 11 childhood vaccines. The stockpile is currently at 32% of what congress mandated it store in a 1983 Act. As of this writing, there are exactly zero doses of DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis) in stock. Most schools won't even let children attend without having this shot. I guess with the republican’s hatred of education this is probably an added plus.

GlaxoSmithKline senior VP David Pernock said in a MSNBC article that there are problems with "costs associated with managing and rotating inventory." BTW, they don't throw away the old vaccine, they sell it. Really, well, SHUT THE FUCK UP, BITCH. So, a government that lets you get away will charging it's citizens about 40% more than other countries do wants you to incur a minor cost to keep children’s vaccines in stock. Boo-fucking-hoo!

Do you think Delay and his crew is going to bitchslap these guys? Not likely, they are too busy damaging their backs sitting on thick wallets full of big pharma cash. These are the same guys that want to shut down buying medication from Canada and other foreign pharmacies. The fact that some Americans even have to think about going somewhere else to get their prescriptions filled is a shame we all must bear every day.

This IS a campaign issue every Dem should use as a baseball bat on the republicans.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Downtown Baseball

The Franklin County commissioners announced the formation of two groups to look into replacing aging Cooper Stadium with a new downtown ballpark. I'm pretty juiced about this idea. They are looking at the Arena District as a probable location. That is where it should be located.

Minor league baseball parks, and sporting venues in general, draw much better when they are located in an entertainment districts. Cooper Stadium's problem is that it's landlocked, there is nothing to do nearby unless you want to rent a 60' boom lift, do some graverobbing, or play Frogger on the freeway. I personally haven't attended a Clippers game in years, but would probably go to around ten games a year if it was in the Arena District.

I hope to be sitting downtown in April of 2007 sipping on a cool one watching baseball with downtown Columbus as a backdrop.

Blackwell Flip-Flops

Ken Blackwell flip-flopped on an earlier mandate yesterday that forced Ohio's counties to use optical scan machines. He gave some BS argument that the earlier mandate had allowed him to get a better deal for Ohio on touchscreen voting machines, Diebold touchscreen machines that is. We'll have to check out Blackwell's next campaign finance report to see if he got greased up with any of that slimy Diebold money. Its interesting to note that none of the other manufacturers of touch screen voting machines say they were ever contacted about negotiating a lower price for their machines. This looks like a pure and simple handout to the republican owners of Diebold.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Website Of The Week

This week's website of the week is You put in your zipcode, and presto, up pops a list of the cheapest gas prices in your neighborhood. The list is pretty far reaching so you may want to narrow your search.

Colorado Governor Bill Owens Vetoes Emergency Contraception Bill

Last Tuesday, Colorado Governor Bill Owens vetoed a bill that would require hospitals to provide information about emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault. The bill had easily passed the House and Senate. The Colorado Senate lacks two votes for an override. In a truly disgusting play to his base, Owens put 2008 Presidential politics above the health of the women of Colorado.

All states should pass this legislation, in fact, all states should require physicians to prescribe the medication if the patient chooses to take that route. Furthermore, all states should mandate that pharmacists fill the prescription if presented to them. That is the standard protocol set forth by the AMA. And to be honest, the AMA should get some fucking onions and kick any physician to the curb that wants to parade his faux moral nobility above his Hippocratic Oath.

I wonder how many of these fuckwads would be willing to give up their lucrative practices on moral grounds? The obvious answer is damn near zero. Some may choose to practice as some sort of alternative medicine for the freaks that believe this sort of shit. I can live with these witchdoctors practicing on their own, but they shouldn't be treating normal people.

I hate these religious zealots that feel they need to take the culture war into the realm of healthcare.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

West Virginia Lawmakers Choose English

In a move that could prove devastating to the rural denizens of West Virginia, The State Legislature passed a law that makes English West Virginia's official language. Senate Majority Whip Billy Wayne Bailey (real name) added this as an amendment to a Parks and Rec bill. This is bad because WV is a state of many wonderful rural languages that in no way resemble English. Some of these include Rubian, Yokelish, Hayseedian, Hickman, and Bumpkinesh.

After a five hour explanation, Cletis Johnson, a mouth breather from Bald Knob, said in Yokelish "Wot de doin up dere n Charson. I ain gut no oos po no Eglis." He went on to utter other things, most of which are unprintable as my keyboard does not have the correct keys to type them.

It is unclear at this time if the state will provide funding for ESL classes in backwoods areas.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

UN Landmine PSA

I just watched a story on MSNBC about a new landmine PSA created by the UN. You can view the ad here. Most American television stations are refusing to air the ad. The ad goes something like this. There is a girls soccer game here in America. After scoring a goal, one of the celebrating girls steps on a landmine and it blows up. A puff of smoke goes up and the girl falls down. Her father runs onto the field yelling "she's hit, she's hit."

The folks on MSNBC were full of shock. Bob Schultz, a guest who created the drunk driving ads featuring two beer mugs crashing into each other, claimed the ad would rated R if it was a movie. They all said the ad was too graphic for American TV.

They were right about one thing. This ad should not appear on American TV. Its bad, if fact its comically bad. I laughed out loud when I watched it. The puff of smoke from the landmine going off looks like something from a 2nd rate magic show. I've seen things much more graphic in a PG movie. The UN should try to get their money back from Brooklyn Brothers, who apparently subbed the ad work out to a local high school AV club.

Although I agree the ad has to be somewhat radical to get past most Americans blinders on world issues, I'm sick of the faux outrage being exhibited on stupid issues like this ad from both the left (why won't American TV show this) and the right (why is the UN attacking America). Landmine eradication is an important issue that America in which should be involved. These silly arguments obscure the issue behind the noisy din of the modern American media.

Washington Post Article On John Negroponte

One thing you can about these bastards, they never seem to die young. John Negroponte, 65 is to begin his Senate confirmation hearings today to become National Intelligence Director. The Washington post has some background on him here. You might not remember him from the 80's and his role in the Iran-Contra scandals.

At that time, Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras. Particularly troubling was his close ties to Gustavo Alvarez, a Honduran strongman that Negroponte said had a "dedication to democracy." Really John, I guess in those days all you had to do to have a "dedication to democracy" was to throw thirty nuns out of a high flying helicopter alive. Negroponte also had ties to General Luis Alonso Discua, founder of Battalion 3-16, the group that ran the death squads. Discua, who had been the Honduran Deputy Ambassador to the UN, was deported from the US March, 25 2004 so that he could not testify at Negroponte's Iraq Ambassador confirmation hearings.

But the real thing that gets me, beyond his bloody past, is that this fucking guy who has already been proven to have lied to Congress once, is going to be the new NID. It pisses me off that The Washington Post article doesn't even mention this. They just now filed a FOIA to get all of his personal memos, which were declassified in 1998.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Record Of The Week

Warnings // Promises by Idlewild. I've long been of fan of the Scottish rock band Idlewild. I wish their record company would have American releases. $23.99 is a lot for a CD, but Amazon has some used ones so definitely try to pick this one up.

Thomas Friedman's Gas Tax

Thomas Friedman was all over TV this weekend advocating that the US government fix gas prices at $4.00 per gallon. His was pushing his new book The World Is Flat. I have yet to read the book (I hope to knock it out this week). While I almost always agree with Friedman's goals, I virtually never agree with his ideas of how to get there.

In this Grist article he suggests that the poor and middle class would get a gas rebate at the end of the year. Do you really think people living check to check can afford to float the US government a loan until they get their rebate? And how are they going to recover the higher prices they will have to pay for food and other goods. This is a dumb idea. If you want to push the American people into using less fuel, there are less painful ways to do this.

I would start by not only eliminating the tax break you get for buying vehicles that weigh more than 6000 pounds, but replacing it with a higher sales tax on those vehicles. Offer instantaneous tax breaks for buying a hybrid. The car dealer knocks off 15% of the cost of the car and recovers that money from the US government. We also should implement higher standards for gas mileage.

Now, we are going to need to gradually raise the gas tax due to lost revenue for state and federal highway funding that will be lost due to better mileage. I don't like the Oregon proposal of switching to a per mile tax, though. Any form of taxation that will recover lost highway funds needs to be pay as you go. You can't send people a large bill when the renew their license plates.

As for Friedman's assertions that this would force democratization in the Arab world, I think he's nuts. The emerging Asian markets will keep the the emirs flush with cash. But if it gets the idiotic neo-cons on board, fine.

The Beginning Of The End For Delay

This weekend Rep. Chris Shays R-CT and Sen. Rick Santorum R-PA both took to the airways to voice their concerns over Tom Delay R-HELL. Delay can easily brush these two off. His problem is that the guy who has all the inside skinny on Delay, Jack Abramoff, is pissed at Delay. Check out this quote from next week's Newsweek.

"Those S.O.B.s," Abramoff said last week about DeLay and his staffers, according to his luncheon companion. "DeLay knew everything. He knew all the details."

Abramoff is also facing potential federal charges for fraud over his dealings with Native-American Tribes. Abramoff has retained Abbie Lowell, one of the best lawyers in D.C. Look for Lowell to trade the Delay dirt for Abramoff's freedom. Don't get me wrong, Abramoff is scum. Sometimes you gotta take the lesser of two evils.


In honor of Larry King's former Monday USA Today Column I bring you Dot...Dot...Dot

Carmilla, what is that a porcupine on your head...Thanks to those Google Foolgles I now know that its National Library Week. This internet thing might catch on yet...It seems more people are side stepping to Pinot Noir after seeing the movie Sideways...Ouch, the record of note finds an incriminating note...That crazy Sumatra just can't stop shaking...Snow Ho Ho, blustery blizzard blasts Denver. April is no time for snow...Looks like Sunday still belongs to Tiger...Is Brad Pitt completely fucking nuts? How can you say no to Angelina?...I've got to get me one of these sweet rides...That's all for this week

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Pat Obrien On Tape

If you want to hear the answering machine messages that sent Pat Obrien to rehab, check this out. Warning, this is not work safe. Wow, apparently Pat really likes to get crazy.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Dean Worthington Of Hilliard, Fuck Off

Dean Worthington's letter to the editor in today's Dispatch not only reeks of soft racism, he is dead wrong on the facts. The fact that the Dipatch ran this at all is bad enough, but the fact that they ran it as the lead letter is an example of poor judgement. Forcing people to show ID at polling locations does in fact suppress votes, but not for the reasons you think. The suppression occurs across all races due to education level. It's not because African-Americans fear arrest as most bigots think. Your use of "others" is obviously making that reference. What's the matter Dean, don't you think poll workers can tell African-Americans apart? Oh, and how many fucking times do you think people who waited five hours in line voted? It makes me glad that I live in the city where I don't often have to deal with stupid hillbilly fuckwits like Mr. Worthington.

Thinking Out Loud

In John Paul II's will he asks that all of his personal notes be burned. Whatever you thought of him, he was third longest serving member of a 2000 year old organization which makes you a great historical figure. Historians would love to pour over these note, so why did he order them burned? Perhaps he had personal views that contradicted church doctrine. Perhaps he didn't want his thoughts to hang over the next Pope. Or maybe he was a ghost writer for Penthouse Forum. It just seems so odd to me that he would want these great historical documents destroyed. Then again I put my lousy, crappy writing on the internet so what do I know. Could this be the makings of a new Dan Brown book? Feel free to post your own conspiracy theories below.

Record Of The Week

A little late this week but here it is. Guero by Beck. I think a lot of these tracks will someday end up on Beck's Greatest hits. By far his best work.

Franklin Prison Blues

Is it just me or does the Franklin County jail have an inordinately high number of jailbreaks? This guy was the second one in just a week. What kind of work release program is Germain Walker in that would require him to be in a suit and in the lobby of the jail at 1:58 AM. Even worse, Rhashawnn Lamar Richardson, who was out on work release while awaiting to enter his plea for murder, apparently also escaped sometime in the last week. So that makes three. Why the fuck is this guy in a work release program? Sheriff Jim Carnes need to clean house. Get rid of the matadors running the jail.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Foreclosures Up 50% In March

And so it begins. Many economists have been screaming about a bubble in the housing market. Could this Business Week report about foreclosures be signaling that the bubble has burst? Foreclosures were up 50% in March from February. 50% in one month! There were 28,190 foreclosures in March. There are currently 7,143 here in Ohio alone. This number includes home that were previously in foreclosure prior to March.

The republican power structure in this state has got to go before we become the Mississippi of the Midwest. We've lost 250,000 jobs in this state under their blunder. Now we're losing our homes.

UPDATE: OK, I screwed up the math here and have made the appropriate changes.

Offshore Drilling

Like I’ve been say for a while, it was never about ANWR. It’s all about getting rid of the federal ban on offshore drilling. Today’s Dispatch has the story. Right now, the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf coasts are protected from oil and natural gas drilling.

Big Oil wants these restrictions lessened or removed. They knew that this ban was untouchable until they could get the ANWR ban lifted. Only one oil company, Exxon Mobil, is currently even thinking about drilling in ANWR. Everybody wants to drill off of the coast of Florida. Well, except Floridians. It’s far too great a risk to a state who’s main industry is tourism.

Lamar Alexander, a senator from landlocked Tennessee has introduced legislation that would give governors control of their offshore drilling rights. Collect much oil lobby money lately Lamar? Jeb Bush is term limited out so look for the drilling to start as soon as his ass is out the door with his pockets full of oil money.

Star Wars Idiots

Eleven people who lined up seven weeks early for the nex Star Wars movie are refusing to leave their place in line in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. Why is this funny? The movie isn’t opening there. It will open about a mile away at the Arclight Theater. The eleven people in line there won't even go line up at the Arclight. Fan Sarah Sprague says no matter what, the line isn’t moving. How do you take seven weeks out of your life to line up for a movie, at the wrong theater no less? I wonder how they shower.

That Didn't Take Long

India and Pakistan yesterday resumed bus service through the disputed Kashmir after a 52-year absence. The bus has been dubbed the “peace bus.” So, How long do you think it took for the fidayeen to attack the bus? If you had less than an hour in your pool, you get the money. Well, technically, the bus station was attacked yesterday, the actual bus made it about 20 klicks (about 12 miles) before being fired upon with a rock propelled grenade. The grenade missed and the bus reached the line of control with no casualties. There is a saying that if you look around while riding a city bus and you don’t see any crazies, then you must be crazy. Anyone who would ride this bus has got to be crazy

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Fundie Freak Using Bible To Search For Oil In Israel

I'm not quite sure what to think about this story. Texas oilman John Brown claims to be searching for oil in Israel using a passage from the Bible. Deuteronomy 33:24 says "Most blessed of sons be Asher. Let him be favored by his brothers and let him dip his foot in oil." I think we can all agree that the oil in question wasn't light sweet crude. So, is this guy batshit crazy, or is he a con man. It's a tough call. Some of these people are such fanatics that its possible he actually believes this shit. On the other hand, fundies make pretty good marks, especially when pitched by their own. Hmm, I'm leaning toward the latter. Raise a bunch of fundie money, drill a dry well, and hit the road with the rest of the loot. That sounds like the most plausible scenario to me. I think this article from The Times Of London seals it for me. Hal Lindsey, a televangelist, apparently pitched this idea on TV. If you notice in the article it says he raised 6.75 million dollars (converted from pounds) and the drilling costs will only be 2.62 million dollars. That's about 4 million profit for finding nothing.

What? Byron Allen From "Real People" Set To Buy Paxson

Byron Allen from 80's show real people has indicated that he might buy Paxson TV network for 2.2 billion in cash. That's billion with a capital B, and it's all cash money. How the fuck does Byron Allen have that kind of coin. I know he's financing a lot of it, but damn, 2.2 billion. I guess I kinda figured that by these days he was eating out of a dumpster behind the North Hollywood Denny's. I wonder what John Davidson, Skip Stephens, and Sarah Purcell are doing these days. I would wager not as well as Allen. Well, look for "Kickin' it with Byron Allen" (real show) to come to a channel near you.

Florida Legalizes Murder

Culture of life, indeed. The Florida state house yesterday passed a law that allows you to "meet force with force." The law says that if you feel threatened you have the right to defend yourself with deadly force. So basically, as long as there are no witnesses, feel free to kill anyone you want. State Rep Dennis Baxley, sponsor of the bill, had the following to say.

"I'm sorry, people, but if I'm attacked I shouldn't have a duty to retreat, That's a good way to get shot in the back. If people have the clear right to defend themselves without having to worry about legal consequences, criminals will think twice."

Florida is lucky to have State Rep Baxley. Very few states have Reps that can understand the careful, measured thought pattern of crackheads. Florida has had concealed carry for years and this same rational was used to pass it. Is this an admission that concealed carry doesn't deter crime? Oh, and I'm sure this will be applied evenly across all races.

Florida has a lot of agriculture. Maybe that is why the legislation needed to pass laws in the past few months that treat vegetables better than humans.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Death Of The Pope

I don’t have much to say about Pope John Paul II as I’m not Catholic. I do find it amusing that the same right wing commentators that bashed him in the run up to the Iraq war are now wrapping themselves in his burial shroud. What I do find intriguing is the pomp and circumstance involved in the selection of the next Pope. I don’t have a horse in the race so I really don’t care who they chose. But the ritual of it is fascinating. I’m not going into details, if you haven’t heard them yet, you don’t care. This will be the third Pope chosen in my lifetime with the last two in 1978. Back then every network covered the election wall to wall. It was the same as with this Pope’s death. Will this election get the same type coverage? I’m not sure. They can last a long time. BTW, as a side note, if you ever get a chance to go to Rome, by all means go. It is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve been to and the Vatican is pretty cool even if you’re not Catholic.


With the wingnuttery that is the modern republican party, you miss a day you miss a lot. Sen. John Cornyn’s remarks on the floor of the Senate yesterday are truly unbelievable. Here is the meat of his remarks.

"I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection, but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. . . . And I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters, on some occasions, where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in, engage in violence. Certainly without any justification, but a concern that I have."

Huh? There have only been two recent cases of violence against judges. Brian Nichols, accused violent rapist, who up an Atlanta courthouse and the murder of Joan Lefkow’s family in Chicago. Is Cornyn worried that judges might be locking up violent rapists? No, he is clearly talking about the judges in the Schiavo case. Judges that were overwhelmingly republican appointees. No acts of violence have been committed against these judges. Is Cornyn advocating violence against these judges? Probably not. Is he advocating using “the nuclear option?” I think so. I hope they try this. I’m going to enjoy watching them goosestep over the cliff.

Favorite Sports Day Of The Year

Yesterday was one of my favorite sports days of the year. Opening Day for Baseball is in the afternoon and the NCAA Men’s Final is at night. Neither disappointed me. I went to Great American Ballpark to catch Pedro and the Mets take on my favorite team, the Reds. Pedro was Pedro but the Reds got to their bullpen. Adam Dunn and Joe Randa hit back to back home runs in the bottom of the ninth for the win. I’ve been to fourteen Reds Opening Days and froze my ass off at most of them. This year we made sure to get seats out in the sun. So what happens, its eighty degrees with blinding sunlight. What are ya gonna do? In the nightcap I would have rather seen Illinois win the NCAA title, but it was a good game.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Food Fight

Last night at Western Michigan University Pat Buchanan was doused with salad dressing. Why salad dressing? Yesterday as the birthday of former Hispanic labor leader Cesar Chavez. I think this is in poor taste. Even though Chavez represented campesiƱos, the salad dressing perpetuates the stereotype of Mexicans as lettuce pickers. Throw a pie. Pies were good enough for Ann Coulter last October at the University of Arizona. Actually, those pie throwers identified themselves as members of Al-Pieda. Bill Kristol got pied Tuesday at Earham College. Get out there, find yourselves some conservative commentators and start throwing pies.