Friday, September 29, 2006

Rep. Foley resigns over e-mails to male page

Florida US House of Representatives Mark Foley resigned today over the issue of emails he sent to a 16-year-old page of another congressman. The emails, from what I've seen, are pretty tame.

However, the letters ask some inappropriate questions and make some inappropriate remarks.

It has been revealed that Mr. Foley also had very inappropriate instant message conversations with other youngsters in Congress:
"...excerpts of instant messages provided by former pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen name Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts."
Rep. Foley was chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. How's that for irony? Or is that opportunism?

What a dirtbag. Tie him to a dragster, run a quarter mile, and see how much he bleeds. Then, bandage him up, let him heal, and repeat. Bill's law.

This graph explains a lot

Those folks over at the Journal of Irreproducible Results have published a one-size-fits-all graph of how virtually everything works.

Check it out at the

Freakonomics: Don't ever date a guy with a middle name of Wayne

The title says it all. Read more at the

Barack Obama on the politics of torture

The very well-spoken Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, had this to say about the recent torture bill in the Senate:
Instead of allowing this President - or any President - to decide what does and does not constitute torture, we could have left the definition up to our own laws and to the Geneva Conventions, as we would have if we passed the bill that the Armed Services committee originally offered.

Instead of detainees arriving at Guantanamo and facing a Combatant Status Review Tribunal that allows them no real chance to prove their innocence with evidence or a lawyer, we could have developed a real military system of justice that would sort out the suspected terrorists from the accidentally accused.
More at the

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Airline carryon dimensions

Good link to carryon limitations for various airlines at the

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Size of your balls relative to your place on the organizational hierarchy

Interesting observation

1. The sport of choice for the urban poor is BASKETBALL.

2. The sport of choice for maintenance level employees is BOWLING

3. The sport of choice for front-line workers is FOOTBALL.

4. The sport of choice for supervisors is BASEBALL.

5. The sport of choice for middle management is TENNIS.


and...


6. The sport of choice for corporate executives and officers is GOLF.

THE AMAZING CONCLUSION:


The higher you go in the corporate structure, the smaller your balls become.

Animal rights activists free fish from farm containment. Fish promptly die.

Remember the A-Team. I think the leader's name was Hannibal. He used to say, "I love it when a plan comes together."

Here's an instance where a plan came together, only to fall apart shortly after success (kind of like Bush's "Mission Accomplished" appearance in the fighter jet landing on the aircraft carrier). Read all about it at the

Radio is dead. Rest in peace.

I always wondered how radio and commercials work: You know, as soon as a commercial comes on the air, I change the channel, only to find that every other station is running a commercial too!
I should probably also mention my biggest complaint about radio: incessant commercials. There are too many of them, and they continue for too long. I change the channel immediately during a break, but because so many shows are so similar, they all use a similar clock. The "clock" is a model based on an hour which carefully divides the show up into segments and positions the commercials at certain points. Too many are identical. So you hear 5 solid minutes of commercials, for example, beginning at 20 minutes after the hour. The hour probably has at least 20 total minutes of commercials.

Former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow gets 6 years

Crime does pay. The mastermind behind the financial shenanigans at the once-seventh-largest company in the nation pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, facing a 10-year term. He gave up $30 million, too.

Apparently, the judge got part of that money, since he sentenced Fastow to only 6 years yesterday, in part for helping to convict Kenny Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.

Do the math: Thousands of employees and hundreds of thousands of investors, all bamboozled by a few unscrupulous megaomaniacs at the top of the org chart. For this, the top dog dies, the second top dog becomes a drunkard, and the third in charge gets a measley 6 years.

I would rather be murdered or robbed at gunpoint than to be defrauded in such a way. These guys are worse than the FBI's most wanted, that's for sure.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

19 year old Diebold junior programmer elected POTUS

Need I say more?

Diebold's voting machines suck ass.

Arlen Specter is a weasel. Suburban Guerilla says so

Arlen Specter is another pol that is getting on my nerves. He's another self-righteous zealot who thinks he knows what's best for you and me, yet he's about as dumb as a post. Here's one blogger's take on Specter's latest mystery:

Election hacking: Is it possible?

The news is all around us every day, it seems: Electronic voting machines can be rigged, hacked, tampered with, all without a verifiable paper audit trail. The machines can be opened without a key, their backend databases can be manipulated, and employees can tamper with the machines without anybody knowing.

Robert Kennedy, Jr. has written a great piece in Rolling Stone magazine about how this coming election can be stolen by just a few inside operatives.

Can it happen? Yes. Does anybody care? I doubt it. It seems that even if you take the 10 minutes to vote (what a sacrifice!), you don't really care about the outcome enough to do something about this well-known issue.

Representative Richard Pombo is one of the top 20 most corrupt members of Congress

One of my favorite politicians to chastise and ridicule is Richard Pombo, member of the U.S. House of Representatives. As a kid, I can remember driving out to the Central Valley and seeing all the "Pombo" real estate signs. Out here, Pombo is a very well-known and well-connected name. Rep Pombo's family owns a ton of Central Valley real estate. They're ranchers by trade.

Pombo's corruption ranges from taking money from Jack Abramoff (I wrote Pombo a letter deploring his association with Abramoff and Tom DeLay and he wrote back saying they're fine gentlemen, so we know he's corrupt by that response alone) to taking money from Indian tribes to taking money from Tom DeLay to taking money from taxpayers to pay for a federal highway through his family's property.

Get the picture? He's always taking money. The Pombo family is a bank that takes deposits but never allows withdrawals.

For the full story, go to the

Dixie Chicks call President Bush a Dumb Fu**

The feud is not over for the Dixie Chicks and George W Bush. I am sure Toby Keith will weigh in, too, like he did last time (I think that small kid's cowboy hat he wears is choking off oxygen to his already pea-sized brain -- seriously, I like Toby and I like the Chicks).

Apparently, the Chicks are really not ready to make nice. Good for them. I think they'll be the darlings of the rest of the world for a very long time (at least until Bush is out of office). They just will be hated here in the US of A.

I happen to agree with them. Bush is a dumb fu**. But his dumbness has gotten him pretty far, I'd say. So maybe he's not so dumb after all. Or, maybe we're all stupid for voting for him. After all, I voted for him before I voted against him.

Monday, September 25, 2006

George Allen Racist? No way!

Salon.com has published an article detailing George Allen's racist ways. Of course, the senator from Virginia denies it and has, of course, brought out people who know him to claim that he never exhibited any racial tendencies.

Of course.

I have written about Allen before. He seems to hover near the top of my list of politicians that I like to chastise and criticize (Lieberman being the other). When I wrote about Allen last, I got an email from a reader that said, "George Allen is a racist. At UVa he often used the N-word."

Now, I don't know Allen, but anybody who uses the term "macaca" to describe a person and then claims that he made up the word is a liar.

Period.

Of course he knew the word was disparaging. Of course he knew what it meant. He used it pointedly towards a competitor's staff who happened to be of color.

Of course George Allen is a racist. It's time for him to prove that he's not. Kind of like John Kerry had to prove he wasn't a baby killer and was worthy of silver stars and purple hearts. This is Swift Boats all over again. But it's the candidate himself that's doing all the damage.

FREE Education

Lifehacker has a great post about getting a free education at some of the best colleges (online). More at the

Unplugging charged cell phones saves energy

An interesting article from cnet.com illuminates an issue: Plugged in cell phones that are fully charged waste energy.
If 10 percent of the world's cell phone owners did this (unplug their cell phones) ... it would reduce energy consumption by an amount equivalent to that used by 60,000 European homes per year.
I suppose this goes for other devices that we plug into our electrical outlets? I wonder if this energy savings comes into play if the cell phone is off but plugged in?

Is it that the A/C is supplying the energy to keep the phone on? Many more questions come out of this, but perhaps it's a good idea just to charge your cell phone and then unplug it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

New television show -- Man Bites Panda?

Man wants to meet panda. Panda is eating bamboo. Man jumps in enclosure with panda. Panda bites man. Man returns the bite.

Panda gets hosed off. Man severely injured. Panda loses appetite.

Funny quote:

Zhang, who couldn't remember the incident clearly, had wanted to hug the panda and shake its hand after having watched similar scenes on television.

Alcoholism seems to be the "easy" way out

Jeff Skilling, convicted felon and former CEO of Enron, was arrested on September 9 for drunk driving. He is due to be sentenced in October for his dirty deeds at Enron.

It seems that alcoholism is the way out for former bigwigs. Skilling and former U.S. Representative Bob Ney of Ohio have both fallen into the disease after being disgraced and thrown out of their jobs.

Interesting. I'd pick something else. Alcoholism is becoming too passé.

Picture that reminds us from where we come

This picture reminds us of how bad the economy can get. Many of us are too young to have lived through the Great Depression, but most of us are aware of it by virtue of our parents' and their parents' living through the decade-long economic disaster. This picture shows the irony of the times. Back in the 20s, America certainly did enjoy the world's highest standard of living. Ironically, the U.S. probably retained that title during the Depression because it was a worldwide depression -- every nation suffered.

Nevertheless, the bread line depicted in the photo is a reminder of a) how low we can go, b) how far we've come, and c) how we can get there again in just a few short years.

Record deficits, war, corporate downsizing, outsourcing, rising interest rates, floundering stock market -- I'm not too sure that we're that far away from another one. But as my friends will tell you, I've been expecting a severe economic downturn for decades :)

And, you know, they're right: Eventually, I will be right!

Skimming the scum off the White House pond

BREAKING NEWS

Secret Service logs show that felon and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and associates met with White House staff (i.e., the Bush Administration) nearly 200 times over the past 5 years. The list of scum is as follows:

Grover Norquist, leader of Americans for Tax Reform -- 97
Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition -- 18
Neil Volz, former aide to Bob Ney --18
Tony Rudy, former aide to Tom DeLay --13
Kevin Ring, former aide to John Doolittle -- 21
Shawn Vasell, lobbyist -- 18

It's time to take these people to task. Americans for Tax Reform is really a front group for corporate America and the investor class. The Christian Coalition -- I can't say anything good about government-sponsored, -endorsed, -supported, and -financed religion. Bob Ney is an alcoholic former US politician who disgraced himself and his state of Ohio by being a scum-sucking pig at the public trough. Tom DeLay got into politics because he hated the EPA and all their restrictions placed upon him and his industry (the bug-killing kind). John Doolittle probably lives up to his name (in all fairness, though I live in California, I know virtually nothing about this guy, which may mean that he's a good guy, but I suspect he's simply not vile enough yet -- but keep on trying, John!).

And anybody who's a lobbyist, by definition, is scum. What do you call 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? Not as good as 500 lobbyists. (The real punchline is: It's a good start.)

Fox tries to outsmart DVR users

Rupert Murdoch's Fox network is trying to outsmart the machines. Fox is showing 30-second commercials with a static image to try to thwart DVR owners (think, TiVo) from fast forwarding through Fox's sponsors' advertisements.

TiVo owners are still one step ahead though. They don't have to use the fast forward buttons to jump ahead. Using a Series 2 TiVo, simply click the following sequence on your remote:

Select --> Play --> Select --> 30 --> Select

Each time you depress the standard "jump to the end/beginning" button (the button on the right side of the remote, directly across from the "skip 8 seconds back" button), you instead jump 30 seconds ahead.

I am sure that TiVo's been relentlessly pressured to remove the hack, but they haven't yet. When they do, I am relegating my TiVo to the bedroom and making my own for the living room, most likely using MythTV or Beyond TV. Unless somebody figures out how to do it commercially better/faster/cheaper first.

Why top employees quit

Here's a link to a post on a blog that I have become fond of the last few weeks -- it presents facts on why top producers of companies leave. Interesting to note that about half of the people in the study left due to wanting more pay. More interesting, however, is that these top performers were not at the max salary in terms of the company pay structure.

The point is that the company failed to see the signs. They could have kept a top performer merely by giving him a significant pay raise, rather than the seemingly rote 2-3% given out these days at performance review time.

Who cares if he got 20%? The benefits to the company are manifold -- you kept a top performer, you didn't have to interview, evaluate, train, mentor, mold, hand-hold a new employee that you would have paid more than your current person anyway, who might not have lasted through the probationary period, etc. In short, by limiting themselves to rules-based performance reviews, companies shoot themselves in the feet when they needn't.

Maryland's Governor wants to go all paper ballots for mid-term election

The Governor of Maryland, Robert Ehrlich, wants to go with all paper ballots, due to the continuing mess with e-voting machines (Diebold).

Diebold has such a poor record with respect to security, accountability, and auditability, that I have no idea why anybody would use their machines. Except that they either want "cool" gadgetry to demonstrate their openness to technology OR that they want to be able to manipulate the election results.

There is no honest reason to use the machines. They're crap and anybody who has a room temp IQ could circumvent all "security" measures the machines have built in.

And these guys don't just build shitty electronic voting machines. They build ATMs, too. Now don't you feel safe?

Further, the company is being investigated by the SEC over securities (as in, stock) violations, like insider trading. So the company, in its infinite wisdom, fired its CEO (the same guy, Walden O'Dell, who said he'd deliver the 2004 presidential election to George W. Bush) and gave him a really nice severence package (about $4 million, equal to two years' pay). Don't you wish you got two years' pay every time you got fired/laid off?

Diebold's stock symbol is DBD.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Beef flavored bottled water for pets

Are you $@#%&* kidding me? Bottled water for dogs and cats? And it's flavored? Pets of the world unite! Stop the insanity. Read more at the

What does "safe" mean?

I stopped by the local AM/PM this morning and saw the headline, "Is New York Really Safer Than San Jose?" This question caused a stirring of thoughts and I decided to ponder the question, "What does 'safe' mean?"

Let's take a closer look at the original headline. According to the most recent FBI crime statistics, New York is the safest big city in America, for the second year running. San Jose finished second this year. A look on wikipedia, however, proclaims San Jose to be the safest big city in the U.S. So, who's safer?

Well, what is "safe?" The following thought occurred to me: It depends. "Safer" from what?

Clearly, if 9/11 says anything, New York is certainly less safe than San Jose, where a terrorist attack is concerned. I mean, to my knowledge, San Jose has never suffered a terrorist incident, whereas New York has been attacked at least twice (again, WTC in '93).

Perhaps where crime, other than terrorist crime, is concerned, New York City is safer than San Jose. But overall? I don't think so.

The problem is that the FBI looks at statistics. Stats only occur in the past. Nobody can foretell future stats. If they could, they'd own fantasy leagues. So I conclude that a component of safety is what may happen. And what determines what may happen is "targetability."

Clearly, New York City, and specifically the World Trade Center, was the most visible target available to Al Qaeda. Those towers represented the financial strength of America. The symbolism that those falling towers represented was vital to the terrorist plot to bring us to our collective knees.

San Jose has no such "targetability." New York still does, what with Wall Street, the Empire State Building, even Yankee stadium. An unfortunate message that may be derived from this conclusion is that if a city wants to remain safe, it builds no structures that attract the attention of people who want to do us harm. No offense to San Jose, but the city has no status symbols. The only thing resembling material success is HP Pavillion, better known as "The Shark Tank," where the NHL's San Jose Sharks call home.

Safety, then, has at least two components and comes in variousl flavors. The two components are local and global crime. That is to say that San Jose may have more crime, per capita, than New York, from a local perspective: More criminals live in San Jose, there are more attractive targets on a personal level (more affluence, more diversity, more gangs, etc.), the police forces may not be as up to snuff as New York, etc. Who knows? It's just that statistics show that New York is safer.

But where would you rather be? Hovering over a vat of boiling oil or seated next to a nuke? Both will surely kill you -- one if you fall in, one if it's detonated. The vat of boiling oil is inherently dangerous. The nuclear bomb is completely harmless unless detonated.

Therefore, I conclude that on a daily basis, San Jose is more dangerous, per capita, than New York City. However, since New York exhibits infinitely more targets, it is much more attractive to a terrorist plot and is consequently more dangerous than San Jose.

Where would you feel safer?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Hezbollah cracked Israeli military radio

Scary stuff. It seems that Hezbollah, in its latest battle with Israel, was able to hack into Israeli military radio and were consequently able to track Israeli troop movement and other strategic plans. The Israeli radio system is based on a U.S.-designed system which uses rapid frequency-changing and encryption.

It may have been that Israeli forces did not follow proper procedures, which allowed the surveillance by Hezbollah to occur.

The most striking thing about the story at the Jump is that Hezbollah, commonly considered a terrorist organization, had/has all the characteristics, tools, and skill of a national military force. About the only thing they don't have (yet) are nukes.

It's either time for Bush and Company to take all these guys out or figure out how to make nice with them. Walk the Talk or STFU.

Body by Jake sues AOL

It's a wacky world. Body by Jake has sued AOL for, among other things, breach of contract. You see, Jake Steinfeld has written a book that was to be promoted by AOL. According to the lawsuit, AOL employees allegedly forged purchase orders, contracts, and other documents.

But that's not funny. What is funny are the comments from the readers of the story:

Post a Comment ::
# re: 'Body by Jake' Sues AOL for Fraud and Forgery @ Tuesday, September 19, 2006 12:55 PM
I find it ironic that in the quote from Paul Schmidman the word inaccuate is spelled "innacurate"

Dan Shultz
# re: 'Body by Jake' Sues AOL for Fraud and Forgery @ Tuesday, September 19, 2006 1:13 PM
I find it ironic that in the comment above from Dan Schultz the word inaccurate is spelled "inaccuate"

Shadow
# re: 'Body by Jake' Sues AOL for Fraud and Forgery @ Tuesday, September 19, 2006 1:26 PM
I find it ironic that in the comment above from Shadow the name Shultz is spelled "Schultz"

Mucous
# re: 'Body by Jake' Sues AOL for Fraud and Forgery @ Tuesday, September 19, 2006 1:39 PM
Paul "Schmidi" Schmidman seems to have been acting as a representative of AOL in his actions with Body by Jake, and that there was no reason for Body by Jake to assume that he was not empowered to speak for AOL for contract negotiations. If a senior vice president of a company makes you a promise on behalf of the company, as far as I'm concerned, it's binding.
AOL owes Body by Jake the remainder of the funds promised, and ought to throw in some restitution for this kind of BS game that seems to be coming out.

Dr_Zinj
# re: 'Body by Jake' Sues AOL for Fraud and Forgery @ Tuesday, September 19, 2006 1:41 PM
I find it ironic that the quote was about Schmidman, not by Schmidman and what the heck is an inaccuate?

BillB
# re: 'Body by Jake' Sues AOL for Fraud and Forgery @ Tuesday, September 19, 2006 1:43 PM
I find it moronic that the mispelled quote, attributed to "Schmidi", was actually a quote from "an industry source".

Your Conscious
# re: 'Body by Jake' Sues AOL for Fraud and Forgery @ Tuesday, September 19, 2006 2:01 PM
I can't believe that people actually took the time to check the spelling of an article and then comment on it. Does anyone work in this country anymore???
BTW You go Jake. Stick it to the man!

Bewildered
# re: 'Body by Jake' Sues AOL for Fraud and Forgery @ Tuesday, September 19, 2006 2:06 PM
Y eye aint nvr ceen aye buncha wakkoes spelin' aye buncha cow pie slingin' wiper snapin' holer swalerin' mud slingin' trayl dust eetin' krap az eue c hear! trie thiss wun en yur spelchekr boyz!

West_TX

Today is "International Talk Like a Pirate" Day

Need I say more, matey?! ARRR!!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Friday, September 15, 2006

Norm Mcdonald on Steve Irwin (Daily Show)

Norm Mcdonald on the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. He had Jon Stewart rolling! Pretty funny bits.

Bob "Bad Toupee" Ney pleads guilty

Go figure. One of many politicians, mostly Republicans, tied to "Indian" Jack Abramoff, Bob Ney pleaded guilty today to two counts in federal court. Who would have thunk it? After all, Ney maintained his innocence up until the plea. He was telling the truth, right?

Now, Ney, in a cry for sympathy, is claiming he's an alcoholic. So he's a corrupt politician who happens to have a drug problem. Sounds like 2 strikes against him to me. The final strike is that terrible hair rug. Good god that's abominable!

Tribute to Ann Richards from Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins pays tribute to a lost friend at the

Passionate employees, Dilbert-style

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mind of Mencia - Dee Dee Dee

Carlos Mencia's great song about "Stupid."

"Dog" the bouny hunter arrested

I have to admit that until a few months ago, when nursing bronchitis at home away from work, I watched "Dog the Bounty Hunter" for the first time. Actually, I watched about a half dozen episodes, as there was a marathon going on A&E that day (along with another marathon of "Cris Angel, Mind Freak"). It's kind of an entertaining show, though I can't say that I've watched it since. (I have, but I cannot say :)

I had heard about Duane "Dog" Chapman a few years ago when he and his bounty-hunting family caught the heir to the Max Factor estate, Andrew Luster, a serial rapist. I know "Dog" got himself into trouble for kidnapping Luster at the time. Apparently, Mexico's bounty hunting laws are different than ours.

Back in 2003 is when all this happened. Chapman was supposed to return to Puerto Vallarta for a court hearing, but never did.

The Bouny Hunter, in effect, became the bounty hunted.
Yesterday, a federal judge issued a warrant for his arrest and subsequent extradition to Mexico to undergo said court hearing. I am sure he's in a world of trouble, especially considering his profession and the expectation that he knows the law, which he surely should.

His son and brother are also facing charges and have been arrested and are awaiting extradition as well.

Must feel weird to be on the other end of justice.

Guilty of microwaving a fake penis

A lady trying to pass a drug test had a friend fill a fake penis with his urine, on the way to the drug test. They decided to stop in a convenience store and heat the penis, so that the urine was closer to body temperature. When the store clerk guessed that a severed penis was being microwaved, he called the police.

The guy and gal got arrested for hoaxing a fake penis melt and just pleaded guilty to whatever charges that offense conjured up.

More at the

Senate panel rejects Bush's plea for modifying Geneva Conventions

Today, the Senate struck down President Bush's appeals for modifying the Geneva Conventions. It's about time Republicans sided with the side of reason and legal precedent, not to mention on the side of real morality and common sense.

Torture doesn't work. I guarantee you, if you thought I knew something, and I didn't, and you kept on me, I would eventually make something up. This is what happens when people don't know what you think they know.

But that is really beside the point. Our troops are certainly at danger when they're captured by enemies. But they're put further at risk when we not only condone torture but are actively pursuing it. Why should another government or a terror group treat our captured troops with any more dignity or respect than we give theirs?

This continuous hypocritical view of the US is only serving to piss off everybody else. It's got to stop. Even the world's greatest superpower cannot defend itself against the rest of the entire world.

American students: lots of homework, little achievement; Japanese students: no homework, lots of achievement

Slate has an interesting article on homework for students. Essentially, the best case scenario is that homework doesn't hurt. Worst case scenario is it doesn't help, either. Having been a student much of my life, like everybody reading this, I tend to agree that homework isn't very effective.

I hated homework. I found it to be of very little value. Plus, it got in the way of play time. My thinking, corroborated by the studies and books referred to in the article, is that kids go to school for 6-8 hours a day. Isn't that enough time?

Apparently, Japanese students, known for their high achievement, have little to no homework. They may be onto something.

More at the

American students: lots of homework, little achievement; Japanese students: no homework, lots of achievement

Slate has an interesting article on homework for students. Essentially, the best case scenario is that homework doesn't hurt. Worst case scenario is it doesn't help, either. Having been a student much of my life, like everybody reading this, I tend to agree that homework isn't very effective.

I hated homework. I found it to be of very little value. Plus, it got in the way of play time. My thinking, corroborated by the studies and books referred to in the article, is that kids go to school for 6-8 hours a day. Isn't that enough time?

Apparently, Japanese students, known for their high achievement, have little to no homework. They may be onto something.

More at the

Bush: Worst President EVER?

The Washington Post's Gene Weingarten writes a story about the worst president ever. In it, he puts up 4 candidates, one of which is George W. ("Worst?") Bush, the others, Pierce, Harding, and Buchanan. I am surprised that Hoover didn't make the list. But I guess he gets a little leeway, since the Great Depression and the Crash of '29 were kind of out of his total control, being global events and all.

Weingarten surprises with his summation of Bush, however. Nice little twist at the end. I think he may be onto something.

In any event, somebody's gotta finish last. Bush is still one of just a few people to be elected president, the most lofty title in all the world.

More at the

Quitting while we're behind: Why conservative America should give the reigns to Democrats

Today's quote:
My fellow Republicans, it is time, as Madison said in Federalist 76, to “Hand over the tiller of governance, that others may fuck things up for a change.”

(Or was it Federalist 78?)
Christopher Buckley, son of famous conservative William F. Buckley, wrote a great piece on why he's had a change of heart on the Republicans currently in charge at the

Senate judiciary committee passes bill that greatly expands the government's ability to spy on US citizens

Whoever said "freedom isn't free" sure is looking like a smart person. All this time I thought, "Of course, freedom is free."

But now, alas, it seems it's not. In order to enjoy freedom here in the US of A, you must be willing to pay for it. And how do you pay for it? By having your phones tapped, conversations recorded, Instant Messages saved, unfettered surveillance by the government whether you're a terrorist or not (after all, how do we know if you're a terrorist if we don't watch what you do? And that means everybody!).

The Senate judiciary committee just passed a bill, 10-8, hatched by Arlen Specter, that keeper of American civil liberties, that greatly expands the rights of the federal government to spy on you and me. It gives great authority to the President to conduct warrantless surveillance and gives the Attorney General tremendous lattitude in how he conducts the official business of the United States.

If this isn't yet another symptom of a totalitarian government in the making, I don't know what is.

Here are members of the Senate Judiciary:

Arlen Specter -- CHAIRMAN, R-PENNSYLVANIA
Orrin G. Hatch -- R-UTAH
Patrick J. Leahy -- RANKING DEMOCRATIC MEMBER, VERMONT
Charles E. Grassley -- R-IOWA
Edward M. Kennedy -- D-MASSACHUSETTS
Jon Kyl -- R-ARIZONA
Joseph R. Biden, Jr. -- D-DELAWARE
Mike DeWine -- R-OHIO
Herbert Kohl -- D-WISCONSIN
Jeff Sessions -- R-ALABAMA
Dianne Feinstein -- D-CALIFORNIA
Lindsey Graham -- R-SOUTH CAROLINA
Russell D. Feingold -- D-WISCONSIN
John Cornyn -- R-TEXAS
Charles E. Schumer -- D-NEW YORK
Sam Brownback -- R-KANSAS
Richard J. Durbin -- D-ILLINOIS
Tom Coburn -- R-OKLAHOMA

10 Republicans, 8 Democrats. I wonder how they voted? Is it a coincidence that the vote was 10-8?

Partisan politics is really getting on my nerves. I think these folks ought to ask themselves how they'd feel if their telephone conversation with their phsician were recorded. You know, personal stuff, like their ED problems, their requests for Cialis, etc.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Former Texas Governor Ann Richards is dead

It's a sad story. By today's standards, she was fairly young -- only 73. But cancer has its way of taking even the orneriest, most stubborn, best, and brightest. It does not discriminate. It surely takes down those who abused themselves with drugs and alcohol and hard living.

Ann surely abused alcohol and I think she led a difficult life. Who didn't who grew up during the Great Depression?

Ann Richards died today after a 6-month battle with cancer. May she rest in peace.

Bush and GOP Senators clash on terror / torture bill

It's about time Republicans stood up to the Bush administration. I fear, though, that they're only standing up now because they fear they'll lose control of the Senate (and/or their jobs) if they look like the President's lap dogs.

Tucker Carlson cannot dance

Great comment about Tucker Carlson's debut on Dancing with the Stars:

"Just another example of how Republicans can't lead."

That's funny. Truly funny.

Frist praises Guantanamo Bay health care as being better than our own

This one's another doozy. Tennessee Senator Bill Frist today gave praise to the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, health care system.

Apparently, he thinks Gitmo's heathcare system is better than ours. So, Mr. Senator, what gives?

Iraq looks to Iran for security help

Iraq's prime minister visited Iran's president and they came to the conclusion that, "Iran will give its assistance to establish complete security in Iraq, because Iraq’s security is Iran’s security.” Does this mean that Iran and Iraq are on the same side now?

Remember, if you're not with us, you're against us. So, since Iran is against us, and through use of the transitive property of mathematics, if Iraq's with Iran, then doesn't that make Iraq against us?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Rep Murtha calls for immediate resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

Jack Murtha lays out in his resolution a scathing laundry list of all of Donald Rumsfeld's failures, including not committing enough ground troops, not planning for the aftermath of the war, and failing to get the troops the gear they needed to defend themselves, like body armor, armorized Hum-vees, and training. Besides all that, Murtha accused Rumsfeld of being over-optimistic about the role Iraq oil would play in the war as well as the duration of the war.

I hope Murtha gets what he's after. Rumsfeld, if he were a CEO, would have been fired by now, even if it's not all his fault, directly.

Murtha calls for Rumsfeld resignation

Murtha calls for Rumsfeld resignation, Iraq asks Iran for security assistance, and Frist praises Guantanamo medical care

Today, there are some real doozies.
  • Murtha calls for immediate resignation of Rumsfeld,
  • Iraq calls on Iran for security help, and
  • Senator Frist praises Guantanamo Bay's medical care
I will comment on each of these in separate posts. I just wanted to get them out there, first. Thanks to huffpo for the material.

Warren Buffett and Tiger Woods

Warren Buffet gave $100,000 in order to caddy for Tiger Woods at a charity golf event. “It wasn’t the hardest job,” Buffet told the Omaha World-Herald. “I mostly rode in the cart.” Woods suggested making a wager for “serious money” on the 18th hole, to which Buffet replied, “All money is serious, Tiger.” The bet was for $5.00, and Woods had to play the hole from his knees. Woods made bogey, and won the hole and the bet. After Buffet gave Woods the $5.00, he cleared his throat and said, “Aren’t you forgetting something?” Woods couldn’t imagine what it was. “My [caddy’s] 10%. You owe me 50¢.”

Ron Suskind on Bush's speech

You'll have to look at an ad, but it's a short ad, so go ahead, read all about how Bush lied (Suskind kindly calls it "calibrating") when he used the example of harsh treatment (i.e., torture) as being an effective method for getting useful information out of our enemies.

Read more at the

Senator George Allen voted against giving our troops body armor

The senator from Virginia voted against giving US troops body armor, so this is what he gets in return. So much for Republicans supporting our troops!

Cheney on Russert's Meet the Press

Interesting question posed over at AMERICAblog --

Cheney on going to war with Iraq: "If on 9/11 they'd had a nuke instead of an airplane, you'd have been looking at a casualty toll that would rival all the deaths in all the wars fought by Americans in 230 years. That's the threat we have to deal with, and that drove our thinking in the aftermath of 9/11 and does today."

You know, I've often felt this way about my neighbor. If he had had a nuke instead of a really loud stereo, I'd be looking at millions of deaths instead of simply being woken up early this morning.

So, can I kill my neighbor?
Remember, this is from AMERICAblog, NOT ME!!! I have never pondered or uttered the question AMERICAblog posed.

But it's a fair assessment of the thinking of the Bush administration.

Facts about Big Oil: Exxon, Chevron, Conoco, BP

I have written about Big Oil before. But I am certainly no expert. Below is a link to an article by Greg Palast, a decidedly smarter guy and an expert in the field.

A few facts:
  • Big Oil is not just a reseller of oil. They have profit sharing agreements with OPEC, such that when OPEC raises prices, Big Oil earns a higher profit.
  • Exxon "earned" $36 billion in 2005.
  • The value of Exxon's reserves increased by $666 billion dollars 3 years after the beginning of the war in Iraq.
Phenomenal. When Big Oil says they're not gouging customers, they're lying a bigger lie than has ever been lied before.

Greg Palast

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Schwarzenegger comments about "hot blooded" Latinos

Okay, so California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made a comment about ethnic mixes of blacks and Latinos making "hot blooded" people. This deserves some criticism, which it's gotten. The Governor has apologized, with the person whom he was talking about by his side (she reportedly was not offended). The most interesting piece about the story, though, is this:

The case has been forwarded to the California Highway Patrol. (Da da da da daa, fade in scene of two motorcycle CHP officers, in really tight pants and black leather knee-high pants, on the LA freeway chasing bad guys.)

Is this because the Internet, from which the recording was found and then downloaded, is part of the Information Superhighway?

I just don't get it. Shouldn't the case be handled by, say, the Attorney General, or some other entity? The Highway Patrol? What do they know?

Supreme Court Justices -- Free trips for millionaires?

Two things from the article at the Jump below. First, no Supreme Court Justice ought to be allowed anything for free. Sorry. It clouds the objectivity of the Court. Antonin "Scarface" Scalia reported that he was given 24 trips, gratis. Other Justices took multiple trips for free, as well.

The second thing in the article that sparks me: A lot of the SCOTUS Justices are millionaires. How the heck does that happen? It would seem that on $203k a year, it would take a really long time to get there. But I guess it doesn't if all your vacations are on somebody else's dime. I wonder if they have to pay for dry cleaning, groceries, or utilities. Or are they free too?

What a bunch of crap. These people are supposed to be serving us, not the other way around. It's obvious, but still hard to say: Justice can be bought, and so can Justices.

Celebrity Smackdown: Brad Pitt mocks Mel Gibson. Now he'll burn in hell

You gotta love it when actors beat up on each other. Brad Pitt mocked Mel Gibson about his DUI and racial slurs. Now, he'll burn in hell. I guess Mel gets the last laugh. Unless, that is, Mel's wrong about God.

Anyway, I would like to see them in a Celebrity Death Match. No claymation. The real thing. Mad Max meets that dude from Fight Club. Who wins?

We all do. Hopefully, they'll kill each other.

A most excellent summary of The Path to 9/11

For a humorous take on The Path to 9/11, look here. Read the comments, too; they are as funny as the storyboard stuff.

Love the byline of the blog, too:

The Poor Man Institute
for Freedom and Democracy and A Pony

Monday, September 11, 2006

The real story of 9/11/2001

I paid no attention to the television last night, so I am only guessing from the commentary I am reading that ABC did indeed show "The Path to 9/11." While I did ask that you sign a petition that was sent to Disney's CEO, I assumed Disney / ABC would air the show anyway.

The comments coming out about it are humorous, to say the least. These are some of my favorites (see the Jump at the bottom for my #1 favorite post, which is also immediately below) --

The lessons of September 11
by John in DC - 9/11/2006 01:31:00 PM

  • The Constitution only applies when the going gets easy.
  • War is the answer, even when you forget the question.
  • The truth is for sissies.
  • America has never faced an enemy as dangerous and as intent on killing us as King George, the Civil War, World War I, the Germans, the Japanese, a nuclear Soviet Union Al Qaeda.
  • The real September 11 story was badly in need of editing.
  • Just because they say it makes it so.
  • We have always been at war with Oceania.
  • A fool is born every election day.
  • Due process is for the innocent.
  • Patriotism means never having to say you're sorry.
  • It's all Sandy Berger's fault.
Here's another, all mockumentary-style. It had me going for a bit, right up until it was disclosed that 8 executives at Disney had molested little boys, and in return for the Bush Administration not going after them, Disney would have to become a front for the right wing. Brilliant! Here's an excerpt:

"The eleven known victims are described as between eight and twelve years of age, and were allegedly molested at the Burbank offices of the Disney company by eight separate high-level Disney executives. Again, as with al Qaeda, the Bush administration made a simple deal: we'll see that the charges get dropped, and in exchange: you work for us."

All with a disclaimer:

"Very Prominent Note: The previous article is a dramatization that is drawn from a variety of sources including the 9/11 Commission Report and other published materials, from personal interviews, and from My Ass. This post is not a documentary. For dramatic and narrative purposes, this post contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, as well as time compression. Elements of this post are 100% true: also, I completely made some shit up to spice it up a bit and make it more entertaining."

(my emphasis)

My Way News - Al Gore Says He Hasn't Ruled Out 2nd Run

Al Gore now has changed his stance on whether he'd run again for President of the United States. Interesting, the guy becomes a film star and wants to be President.

Who ever heard of such a thing?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Election 2006 -- the Senate races

With the 2006 election just around the corner, it is time to introduce one of the best resources and predictors of and for elections, electoral-vote.com.

Click for www.electoral-vote.com

It looks like the Dems will not take over control of the Senate, if this prediction is to be believed (and I believe it). I do expect that the 2008 election will sway things to the Dems' side, however. Bush will be out, Cheney supposedly isn't running, people want a change. Then is as good a time as any to make wholesale changes. I suspect a lot more dirt will come out of the current issues we now face, like wiretapping, prison torture, Iraq, lobbyists, and we may be in the middle of another war, one with Iran.

Of course, only time will tell.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sign this letter, please

The dolts at the networks are doing it again. This time, it's ABC, owned by Disney. Their $40 million minseries (two-part), Path to 9/11, is coming under fire for being partisan (on the side of Republicans). Apparently, Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and former NSA head Sandy Berger were none too happy about how they are depicted in the series.

The word is that the movie, which is still being edited, "dramatizes" (i.e., lies) about certain events leading up to September 11, 2001 and casts shadows, if not outright stating fault, on the Clinton administration.

Clinton has demanded that the record be set straight or else ABC should pull the series off the air.

ABC has admitted that there are misrepresentations, where facts are concerned. Rumor has it that one of the screenwriters of the series is a friend of Rush Limbaugh. If that isn't enough to turn your stomach and make you think twice about watching this movie, I don't know what will.

Here's my take: Nobody really knows what happened on September 11. Nobody knows what lead to that fateful day, either. I am sure that Clinton made mistakes; I am sure Bush made mistakes. I am sure that stuff that happened 20, 30, 50, 80 years ago lead up to 2001.

Why make a movie about a real event so painful as this one? It just doesn't make sense. So, please sign the petition at the jump.

BP left open corrosion expert job for over a year before oil leak

British Petroleum left vacant a corrosion expert job for over a year, prior to the oil leak that caused them to shut down the Alaska pipeline. I guess, in hindsight, a corrosion expert wasn't necessary, since the pipeline only spilled 200,000 gallons. I don't need an expert to tell me that something should be done about that!

Whacko Professor Steve Jones of BYU put on paid leave

BYU Physics professor Steve Jones, until recently best-known for his work on cold fusion, has been put on paid leave by the university. BYU officials believe that Jones' assertions that the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center were taken down by the government -- and not by jet planes -- are very accusatory and unfounded in science.

As stated here before, the guy is a nut case. He needs to be fired. None of his assertions are provable or even plausible. We all saw the planes crash into the buildings! It's very hard to imagine that our government, the Bush government, could choreograph such a complex set of events without a hitch.

Oh, yeah, and killing thousands of Americans at the same time? Naw, these guys needed the votes!

Priest nabbed as making a false bomb threat at a Madonna concert

A Dutch priest called in a fake bomb threat prior to a Madonna concert so that she wouldn't be able to perform her "crucifixion" act on stage. He made the call to an emergency phone center, which immediately traced his call to his home phone. He was arrested and most likely will have to serve community service time, as this was "most likely his first offense."

Now, what does a priest do for community service? Isn't community service kinda his job?

"Gee," says the homicidal linebacker, "I get to play flag football in the youth league after having snapped that guy's head off in line at the Wal-mart when he jumped in front of me?"

Nice.

A priest called in a bomb threat! I say, throw away the key. He should know better, since he has daily conversations with God.

Microsoft teams with Pennsylvania to create high tech high school

Microsoft has teamed up with the state of Pennsylvania to build and run a new high-tech high school, featuring "educators" (teachers), "learners" (students), smart boards (techie blackboards), laptops for all, and wireless connectivity throughout the school.

The school opened yesterday. Most of its 170 students are black and low-income, according to the CNN story. They will be taught normal high school courses using various new high-tech methods, along with Microsoft management techniques.

It's an interesting experiment. I hope it works. I agree with Bill Gates: "High schools are obsolete." They're pretty useless these days for the majority of students. Only those students who have found a passion for something (and how many 13-18 year olds have done that?) can excel in today's high school setting.

It's unfortunate that we spend over $300 billion on a stupid war but cannot seem to find any money to send more kids to college or to pay their "educators" a living wage.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

CNN's worst ways to get fired

CNN presents the worst ways to get fired:
  • Strategy 1: It can be extremely taxing to ruin people's day face to face, so create a little breathing room.
  • Strategy 2: Consider the cattle call. It can build team spirit.
  • Strategy 3: There is no such thing as "too low." So don't be afraid to test bottom. One option is to let employees figure things out for themselves.
  • Strategy 4: Remember, no one is ever too old to play musical chairs.
  • Strategy 5: It can be a nice touch when you offer the newly fired a ride home.
  • Strategy 6: You know what they say: it's always the quiet ones. So make sure the meek don't go ballistic.
I have seen most of these. It's really sad that the people pulling the firing trigger have become so insecure, inhuman, unfeeling, and short-sighted.

Congress, the President, the Iraq War -- who is to blame?

It's interesting how time and polls change people's minds. Just a few short years ago, I wrote an email to California Senator Diane Feinstein about our misguided notion of war with Iraq. She replied something to the effect of, "I know better than you."

Now, she has this to say about the war:

"President Bush may sometimes be 'frustrated' with the war. But this frustration pales in comparison with the anger that many Americans are feeling -- that this war was launched based on a faulty premise, executed poorly and carried out with no accountability. It's time to chart a new course."

Isn't it Congress' role to ensure that the President carries out his duties? Hasn't Congress failed the American public? Don't get me wrong -- the onus for the opus in Iraq falls on President Bush. It was clearly a snow job from the get-go. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice -- they all lied us into an unwinable war.

Hindsight tells us that we should have done things differently. Well, DUH!

Now what? We're damned if we do and damned if we don't. But one thing's for sure: The military industrial complex, of which Haliburton is a member, is getting richer by the hour. As are the Arabs. Funny thing, war. It causes uncertainty. Uncertainty causes price fluctuations. It causes panics, fear of shortages, hoarding.

The oil companies are reaping rich rewards, all at our expense. People are dying. Doesn't Congress share some of the blame?

Lieberman: Pot calling kettle black

Eeyore's at it again. I love this quote from the biggest whiner in the history of the world:

"...at some point my opponent has to start dealing with fact and not just be a perpetual whiner."

This, in response to his opponent, Ned Lamont's latest commercial criticizing (again) Lieberman's stance on the Iraq war. This guy's gotta start watching films of himself to see just how big a whiner he seems to be on television. He needs a heart transplant, too. Good grief, the guy's a wuss. I feel like moving to Connecticut just to vote against Lieberman!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

5 years later, conspiracy theorists abound on World Trade Center collapse

The nut jobs never cease to think up conspiracy theories. In their latest attempt at breaking the world record for dumbest collective group EVER, Scholars for 9/11 Truth, headed by Steve "Nutcase wacko" Jones of BYU in Utah, have formulated a "theory" that the World Trade Centers, which collapsed on 9/11/2001, were purposely brought down.

Sure, planes flew into the Twin Towers, but that was to lend plausibility to the government's story that Al Qaeda choreographed the event. All this to make a compelling story to begin pre-emptive attacks on Iraq, Iran, and to retaliate against the Taliban government, harborer of Osama bin Laden and his cohorts.

Now, I believe our government does bad things. Like torture "prisoners of war," make up stories to lend credibility to what they want to do, make deals with the devil, etc.

But I cannot believe this one at all. Two planes did fly into the WTC's Twin Towers. Because of their construction, it only took a floor collapsing, one on top of another, to bring the whole building down, in a domino effect, but where each domino fell with the collective weight of all the other dominos. Not a difficult story to believe.

Then there's the case of two other planes being hijacked, one flying into the Pentagon, and the other flying into a Pennsylvania field.

Then there's the issue of shutting down the entire air industry for a few days. Not good for the economy.

I just cannot believe that the Bush administration is this good. They have screwed up almost everything they've gotten their hands on and this one would be leaking like a sieve. They cannot even keep a small story buried; how could they keep one like this quiet? Impossible.

I do believe that the administration saw a golden opportunity to make the case for pre-emptive strikes against known enemies because of this attack. There's no doubt in my mind that, while saddened for the loss of life, the politicians and publicists immediately saw a huge rainbow of light at the end of a very long tunnel and decided to exploit the tragedy for political purposes. No. Doubt. Whatsoever.

However, it seems like these guys from Scholars are a bunch of tinfoil-wearing, pre-pubescent, black-helicopter-seeing retards in search of publicity. What a bunch of idiots. They purport to be scientists, or at least to have "facts," but produce none whatsoever. Further, no scientific methods have been employed to refute or support their claims. You'd think in 5 years, with super computers and a lot of data that somebody would corroborate their claims, but nobody has.

C-SPAN cure for insomnia

I stayed home today to nurse a nasty summer cold, but I couldn't sleep. I was so desperately tired that I started channel surfing, hoping that I'd find something to put me to sleep. IT WORKED!

I found C-SPAN. It's now my go-to channel for putting me to sleep. The US Senate was "debating" a resolution to implore President Bush to consider firing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Talk about a waste of taxpayer dollars and time! These blowhards all got up there with their allotted time and see-sawed over why Rummy should stay and why he should go. This tit-for-tat back-and-forth thankfully put me to sleep in no time. But to what national benefit?

These senators need to argue. Giving unopposed speeches is a monumental waste. Besides, even if they passed this resolution, does the president have to act on it? He's already said that Rumsfeld was staying, so what difference does this resolution make?

Colossal waste of time. So sad. We pay these folks way to much to be on soapboxes, getting absolutely nothing done. When was the last time any of these guys listened to his constituents? First month of first term?

Ricky Gervais on God





Ricky Gervais, of The Office, has a hilarious video about God, the Bible, creation, etc. Very funny, whether you're a "believer" or not.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Northern California football coach surrenders after having attacked a player on the opposing team

What is wrong with people? A central valley football game. Fans from both football towns were in the stands. A play is run. There's a late hit. Then the assistant coach of one of the teams hauls off and hits the other team's player.

Then he jumped the fence and ran away, turning himself into police a little while later.

What a dumbass. Now he's faced with child abuse charges.

I say the boy who was hit by the assistant coach should get a free hit on him. No cup. No pads, no flinching, no tensing. Just a cheap shot anytime in the next year. Maybe with a metal pipe.

Bush pulls the fear card again

It's that time of the year again, when President Bush pulls out the "I give a shit" speech about America, freedom, security, and lower taxes (not in order of importance, by the way). Bush is pulling the fear card, telling us that "We're at war." I think everything the president says is for his own benefit, to remind himself of what he's saying.

No kidding, Duh-bya. We're in a war you started (and that you cannot seem to finish). We're still not safe from terrorists because you waited too long to go after bin Laden and then you forgot all about him, even though you called for his capture "dead or alive." Thanks for the bon Jovi reference. They're from Jersey, pretty close to Ground Zero.

This even-numbered "I give a shit" year is especially important because it's what is called an "election year." This means some bigshots in Washington are getting antsy about getting ousted. Never fear, the way the districts have been rigged, there isn't much hope for a Democrat revolution. Oh, sure, the Repuglicans will lose a few seats, but nothing to worry about. After all, if there's one thing the Democrats know how to do well, it's losing.

One of my favorite quotes:

"It's not going to happen," spokesman Tony Snow said in a lengthy rebuttal to the Democratic letter (about firing Donald Rumsfeld). "Creating Don Rumsfeld as a bogeyman may make for good politics but would make for very lousy strategy at this time."

Yep, this administration is certainly the experts when it comes to lousy strategy. As they say, "It takes one to know one." Just look at anything they've done. Is anything better now than before they went and changed it?

Ford CEO Bill Ford steps down, retains chairmanship

Bill Ford, current CEO and Chairman of Ford Motor Company, has decided to step down as Ford's CEO. He will maintain his position as Chairman. Alan Mulally, former EVP / President at Boeing, will become president and CEO of the poorly-run Ford.

It's about time. Bill Ford has overseen a total disaster while heading Ford. Now, it's not all his fault. But every time there is a problem of the magnitude that Ford, and Chevy and Chrysler, has experienced, it can be attributed to management: Lack of vision, foresight, or planning, or stupidity.

I don't know which it is in this case (probably a few of the above, if not all), but clearly Ford lost its way. Unfortunately, these "cyclical" businesses always experience tragic lows before management figures out what to do to get back in the game. I think these businesses are cyclical in part due to management losing its way, rather than just the economy.

If I were to tell you that in 4 years, there would be a protracted recession, wouldn't it behoove you to plan for it? Or, like the automakers, would you continue your wayward path? If I were to tell you that oil would spike from $12 to $70, would that not make you think that big honkin' SUVs were a bad business to plan your entire company strategy around?

I know, these things aren't entirely predictable, at least in terms of timing. But one thing we know: External events, like oil supply and demand increases and/or decreases, occur periodically, as do booms and busts. And the longer a boom goes, or the longer that a bust doesn't manifest itself, the worse the resulting bust will be, sometimes in terms of severity, sometimes in terms of duration, sometimes in both.

Every business leader with the financial enormity of a Ford or General Motors should be hog-tied and dragged about town when they cry about their plight. They could see it coming. And they should have planned for it.

It's becoming clearer that big business really is like the government. When things are going great, there's beer and wine running down the street. Don't save anything. We've repealed the business cycle. But when the shit hits the fan, "Oh my God, please bail us out! How dare OPEC raise prices."

The calamity. The horror. Just shut up and run your business as if it mattered.

Meeting Malarkey


Typical meeting malarkey, Dilbert-style.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin Dead?

I cannot believe my eyes this morning. I have just read that the Croc Hunter, Steve Irwin, is dead, killed in a freak accident where the barb of a sting ray impaled him and he died instantly after the poisonous barb pierced his heart.

The whole article sounds like it's made up. I really had to verify that today wasn't April 1.

However, it's not April Fool's Day, nor does the article seem to have been made up. It's all over the web. I haven't bothered to check the television yet, so it may just be a web fire, stoked by the same story over and over again.

I hope it's not true. There are few entertainers in this world that actually make a difference and do it with such passion as Steve. He was an enthusiastic zoo keeper who made a lot of us take notice with what was/is going on with Australia and the world. He took us places we'd never go ourselves because we didn't have the chance or the balls.

He was truly a nut in the best possible way. I loved that guy. I hope Terri and his two kids find their way through this tragic loss.

Rest in peace, mate!

The advertising slogan generator

This is an ingenius little tool that will waste a TON of your time online, as if reading this blog and others didn't already do that!

Try putting in terms like Beavis and Butthead and George W Bush. The outputs are amazingly funny and, in some cases, truer than truth itself, whatever that means.

Some of my favorites:

Strong Enough for a Man, Made for a George W. Bush.
You'll Wonder Where the Yellow Went, When You Brush Your Teeth with George W. Bush.
A Day Without George W. Bush is Like a Day Without Sunshine.

Monsieur, with this Beavis And Butthead you are really spoiling us.
Beavis And Butthead - Australian for Beer.

Ribbed For Her War On Terror.
Making War On Terror Taste Better.

Unzip a Dick Cheney.
We Don't Make Dick Cheney. We Make Dick Cheney Better.

Go ahead, try it yourself!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

US Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald: Hero or Jerk?

Now that it's pretty well established that Richard Armitage, formerly with the State Department, was the source of the leak in the Plame case and that Armitage told the grand jury very early on about his involvement, the question becomes: Why did it take two years for Fitzgerald to indict Scooter Libby for obstruction of justice and perjury?

Are all federal prosecutors (Special Counsel) jerks with agendas other than serving the public interest? It seems these guys always come to conclusions that have nothing to do with the original source for the case. This case was about a leak of a covert CIA agent by the federal government. It was speculated for many months that Karl Rove and Libby were sources of the leak, a leak that Robert Novak published that caused the imbroglio.

Apparently, Fitzgerald knew from the beginning that Armitage was the leaker. Why did he not charge Armitage with a crime? Why did the case go on for two more years? Why did he go after Libby? Proclaimed by almost everyone as a non-partisan lawyer, Fitzgerald seemed to be the right person for the job. So why is he now so seemingly similar to Ken Starr?

You remember, the guy charged with investigating Whitewater, a real estate deal, who came to the conclusion that Clinton was a pervert and he soiled an intern's blue dress and that that was of critical national importance? Yeah, that guy. Fitzgerald and Starr: Fame chasers and distortionists.

What wastes of law degrees.

Vermont and Nudity: I never equated the two

From the "You learn something new every day" department:

Vermont is a clothing-optional state. It has no prohibitions against public nudity. The state leaves it up to communities to enact their own rules regulating nudity, and most communities have not enacted any laws, including Brattleboro, home of the latest "outrage."

Apparently, some teenagers have decided to get naked in public, in parking lots next to shops, at bus stations, and other places around town. This has some residents and shopowners up in arms. But most people don't see an issue. One of the best quotes I've heard in days came from Town Clerk, Annette Cappy:

"As soon as winter comes, there won't be a story anymore." It gets quite cold in Vermont in winter. People generally wear lots of clothing out of necessity.

I say, let them go naked. Free public entertainment is an endeavor worth supporting.

UPDATE: Brattleboro votes against permanent ban on nudity. Naked peopele rejoice as next month, they're legal again!

Newsweek: The New Naysayers

Newsweek posted an article online about atheists. You know, those who don't believe in God and who will go to Hell and burn eternally while those in Heaven watch them suffer like a Big Brother/Real World/Survivor type of ultimate reality television.

The article points out a few interesting "facts" (facts is in quotes because what do we really know?).
  • More Americans would vote for a homosexual than an atheist. And all this time I thought homosexuals were atheists...kidding, but that's what the religious fanatics would have you believe.
  • 92 percent of Americans believe in God
  • 6 percent do not believe in God
  • 2 percent "don't know" (Again, what do any of us know?)
It's an interesting article that, for the most part, sides with atheists, in that the story articulates more about what a few increasingly predominant atheists think than what 92 percent of the population thinks.

There is one thing that is very compelling about the article, and that is the claim by one of the atheists that the war on terror is not about terror but is a war with Islam. I believe this to be true. Now, it may be one in the same, you skeptic. If you equate Islam with terror, then I suppose you're right.

But I don't think that most rational people would claim that the two are bedfellows. Islam, like Christianity, is a religion in which its believers really do, for the most part, believe in its teachings and is a peaceful bunch. Of course, as in anything, there are extremists. It is the one rotten apple that spoils all the rest in the barrel, so to speak.

I wonder how many of the Islamic terrorists really practice Islam? Or, do they use it as a front to terrorism, giving terrorism credibility amongst the true believers in Islam? I think there's something to this. One could ask whether Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, or the other American television evangelicals (televangelicals?) are doing the same thing. These guys are vile scumbags only looking to make a dollar (or millions, to be sure), spouting out hatred, calling natural disasters like Katrina God's payback to the heathens that live the Mardi Gras lifestyle and calling terror attacks retribution for New Yorkers' wayward lifestyle (they are a "blue state" after all, so they're all full of atheists).

It sickens me to think that many conflicts over the thousands of years of human existence have been rooted in religion. Everybody thinks their God is better than the enemy's God. Who cares?

Believe what you want to believe and understand what is real.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

How executive compensation committees work

Executive compensation committee meetings are sophisticated, complex, and orderly processions made up of rational, logical, and thoughtful business leaders. But, oftentimes, in conducting these reviews, and in the spirit of "our CEO is better than your CEO," things don't turn out as they should.

It is a mathematical impossibility for all CEOs to be better than average. Thus, CEO pay has skyrocketed in past years. Where once, CEOs were paid 40 times the average employee salary, it is now over 400 times. This is seriously RIDICULOUS.

Just as sports salaries have broken through the ozone, so, too, have executive salaries. When will it stop? Most likely not until there is a major calamity where guys start jumping out of buildings again. Which may not be too far around the corner, with the political landscape the way it is, the global war on terror, and the general suckiness of the business climate.

I don't know too many people who are wildly optimistic about the economy, do you? And this apathy breeds real results. As the collective psyche goes, so, too, goes the economy, for economics is merely the study of mass psychology put in terms of supply, demand, and prices.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Junk food eater lives to 112

A junk food eater died at the age of 112 of pneumonia. There is a glimmer of hope for some of us fellow junk food eaters in this no-trans-fat, no-carbs, no-cholesterol, no-animal-protein, no-sugar, no-hydrogenated oil, no-carbonated water, no-high-fructose-corn-syrup, eat-like-a-canary, live-like-a-Luddite world.

There just may be a god. And he eats Twinkies.

AT&T data breach worse than reported: elaborate phishing method employed

Over this past weekend, AT&T had a data breach, where nefarious types stole customer information. AT&T reported the incident.

However, they left out a key part of the story.

The thieves, after having gotten private information, concocted a rather elaborate phishing scheme where they emailed the customers with a message requesting more information (like SSN and birthdates).

AT&T told their employees about this part but failed to mention it publicly. I can understand why. However, embarrassment is not an excuse.

Thanks to somebody at AT&T, David Lazarus of the SF Chronicle got a copy of the memo that circulated within AT&T and published a rather illuminating story here.

Reporter covering Bush speech who went to the ladies room with her microphone on

Top Ten Kyra Phillips Excuses Presented by CNN Anchor Kyra Phillips:

10. "Still haven't mastered complicated On/Off switch."

9. "Larry King told me he does this all the time."

8. "How was I supposed to know we had a reporter embedded in the bathroom?"

7. "I honestly never knew this sort of thing was frowned upon."

6. "Couldn't resist chance to win $10,000 on 'America's Funniest Home Videos.'"

5. "I was set up by those bastards at Fox News."

4. "Oh, like YOU'VE never gone to the bathroom and had it broadcast on national television!"

3. "I just wanted that hunky Lou Dobbs to notice me."

2. "OK, so I was drunk and couldn't think straight."

1. "You have to admit, it made the speech a lot more interesting."

Worth modifying the all-volunteer military?

One of my favorite columnists, Charles Wheelan, aka, the Naked Economist, wrote a piece a few weeks back called "A Moral Hazard of Global Proportions." In it, Wheelan describes his idea for modifying the military to bring back a variation of the draft and something quite novel that he calls "the Peace Corp with guns."

Quite an interesting read. Check it out.