Royally Kranked

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Well now, won't this article make us sleep more securely?

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U.S. Lacks Plan to Curb Terror Funds, Agency Says

The government's efforts to help foreign nations cut off the supply of money to terrorists, a critical goal for the Bush administration, have been stymied by infighting among American agencies, leadership problems and insufficient financing, a new Congressional report says.

More than four years after the Sept. 11 attacks, "the U.S. government lacks an integrated strategy" to train foreign countries and provide them with technical assistance to shore up their financial and law enforcement systems against terrorist financing, according to the report prepared by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress.

What is it about this Administration and never getting anything right the first time?

Oh well, if it wasn't for one teensy little trifling detail, then I'd have no problem buying the next argument at face value

"No interagency process is without flaws," the State Department said in its official response. But it said "there is much evidence" that the working group set up by the administration to combat terrorist financing "is one of the most successful examples of interagency cooperation."

That little problem is this

But officials at the State and Treasury Departments cannot even agree on who is supposed to be in charge of the effort to shore up defenses in vulnerable countries, the accountability office report concluded.

In at least one case, the State Department refused to allow a Treasury official to enter an unidentified foreign country last year to help with strategies to fight terrorist financing because of turf battles, investigators found. Because the country had recently been upgraded to a priority, State Department officials wanted to do their own assessment first before allowing the Treasury Department to conduct its work, causing a delay of several months.

Investigators found clear tensions between officials at State, Treasury, Justice and other departments.

One unidentified Treasury official quoted anonymously in the report said that the intergovernmental process for deterring terrorist financing abroad is "broken" and that the State Department "creates obstacles rather than coordinates effort." A State Department official countered that the real problem lies in the Treasury Department's reluctance to accept the State Department's leadership in the process.

In another problem area, private contractors used by the Treasury Department and other agencies have been allowed to draft proposed laws in foreign countries for curbing terrorist financing, even though Justice Department officials voiced strong concerns that contractors should not be allowed to play such an active role in the legislative process.

Nice isn't it, that all the interagency warfare between Depts & Groups has been put to the side so quickly & efficiently, isn't it?

And leave it to that well know liberal Sen Charles Grassley to cast aspersions on all the fine interagency cooperation going on in W's Happy Little World now

Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who leads the Senate Finance Committee and was one of the lawmakers who requested the study, said he was disappointed to learn that in an area as critical as countering terrorist financing, "they haven't gotten very far yet."

In an interview, Mr. Grassley said: "It's as simple as learning to stop the infighting and turf protection and get on with the job. What's happening is just inexplicable in light of the war on terrorism."

Fucking Saddam-loving Hippy!!!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Two more interesting & fun links

Oil Industry Musicals

Yes, there really were recordings dedicated to the oil industry

And while they are fiendishly scarce, the oil industry, like many other bastions of capitalism, indeed produced a number of privately pressed, in-house motivational musicals, and several squeaked out on LP (for employees only, of course). They’re known as industrial shows: lavish stage productions that serve to entertain, educate, and encourage employees to do their job with gusto.

One Example-unfortunately, no audio clips were provided

4. Put Yourself in Their Shoes – Exxon, 1979

Oh we’ve been cryin’ uncle, since Uncle Sam arrived
And we know what’s going to happen if he will stay
This station will turn out to be a governmental agency if Uncle doesn’t go away!
- “Uncle Sam”, Put Yourself in Their Shoes, Exxon, 1979

Here comes Exxon again! This is really a wonderful show on so many levels. It revolves around an age-old industrial theme: an unhappy salesman (Harry, in this show) who just doesn’t have what it takes, receives cheerleading from his peers and reappears a new, proud, strong Exxon dealer at the end of the program. The standout cut may be the ridiculously sexist track An Exxon Dealers Wife, which heaps a dump-truck full of wifely duties onto the dealer’s spouse (presumably in the audience), to make sure her hubby stays fully committed to Exxon’s bottom line. One wonders what a dealer’s wife in the audience might feel if her husband’s employer demanded that she pump gas on a holiday, but these shows aren’t known for their subtlety. There are several other winning tracks: Major Surgery (sung by a rival, independent dealer), Fugue For Dealers, and The Best In the Business to name a few.

And a BIG Thanks to Shakespeare's Sister for finding this little gem, a bit that will stick in your memory for the rest of your life


I found this site some time back, and it still leaves me in stitches, and those of you in my age group will remember the whole McDonaldland concept

You can watch the actual commercials you read the text for, and they're so oddly funny that you'll definitely pass the link around

The one entry excerpted here was for a promotion called The Shamrock Shake

For the video in quiktime

My main reaction after watching this was that I'm really, really glad McDonald's dropped the watermelon shake promotion. To be any more stereotypical, this guy would have to conclude the ad by car-bombing Wendy's Dave Thomas.


A walking exaggeration of "quaint, provincial Irishness" enters the restaurant and approaches the counter to order.

CASHIER: How may I help you, sir?

IRISHMAN: Yes, Oy think Oy'd be likin' something as coooool as a green glade, refreshing as a . . . as a spring breeze.

CASHIER: Then you'd like McDonald's green Shamrock Shake, sir!

IRISHMAN: A green sheck! (Takes sip.) Woy, it's the grondest thing oy've tested since visitin' the old coontry!

CASHIER: Which country is that, sir?

The IRISHMAN smiles as a twinkle of what sounds like Leprechaun magic permeates the restaurant.

ANNOUNCER: For the wee bit of Irish in all of us, try a delicious green shamrock shake.

Of course he likes the shake--it's the first thing he's ever eaten that wasn't boiled for months. I wonder how many restaurants he went in to order "something as cool as a green glade, refreshing as a spring breeze" before he lucked upon a place that not only had one of those, but also the patience to listen to him. Dude, we have what's on the fucking menu, OK? I don't go into the supermarket, walk up to the cashier, and say, "I think I'd be liking the ingredients to a dinner that thrills the palate like a savory symphony, that fills the belly but leaves you hungry for more, and that isn't lasagna because I had that for lunch."

This is a page definitely worth checking out

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Forums, God I love 'em

I love feedback, I love to stir the blood & rile up the already-unhappy unless everyone else is miserable types that populate political message boards

These are points I made about the Iraq war earlier today, and I'm still hoping that someone can spin these in a way that's both logical & positive for the Administration's Iraq strategy

At one point, I was asked if I'd have backed this war if the troops were better equipped with enough effective body & vehicle armor I said

No, I would still be as shrill against this war as possible

But this one basic fact-that US troops are underequipped as it relates to body & vehicle armor-completely undercuts any claims that this Administration supports the troops they send into battle

This was a war launched at the President's choosing completely, and it's absolutely inexcusable that US troops weren't fully equipped, trained & staffed before any invasion was launched against a country that was not physical threat of any kind to the US

That indicates a President who does not go to war as a last option, but a first response instead, one unwilling to see the individual faces under the helmets & behind the triggers

There were scandals in the Civil War when it turned out that troops were being supplied spoiled food by the contractors operating on the public's dime

That type of scandal is going on in Iraq, with US troops once again the victims of an anti-regulatory mindset in the Oval Office when it comes to dealing with military contractors, such as Halliburton and KBR

It's over two years since the invasion, and yet these problems over body & vehicle armor are STILL widespread

How is that possible when the US is spending over $6 Billion a month in Iraq, that shortages hit the US troops at all?

There's a shortfall-unexplained still at this point-of up to $8 Billion in missing US funds, that's money that could have been applied to providing body & vehicle armor, and instead it's disappeared down a financial black hole

Troops nowhere near equipped with body & vehicle armor, billions of $$$$$ unaccounted for, and cutbacks to veterans programs & benefits they've earned by living up to their end of the contract

It's policy at the Veterans Affairs Dept that vets are not to be told about benefits & programs they may qualify for unless the worker is directly asked by the vet about such programs & benefits specifically

Except for empty & self-serving rhetoric, I fail to see how this Administration shows any support or respect for those troops W sends into battle

Then, a reply to someone who criticized anti-war critics for not knowing President Jr's Iraq Plan

What HAS been W's plan all along?

What US pre-invasion predictions of post-invasion Iraq have been borne out in a postive fashion for the US, which US sponsored projects have come in on time & under budget?

What clear indicators are there that the Iraqis are in fact better off materially and on an everyday basis with the current US occupation?

How are daily suicide bomb attacks a positive indicator of any kind other than for the al-Qaeda volunteers President Jr's recruited so ably for Usama bin Laden?

How is the US mission easier when the troops are deliberately sent into battle by their Commander in Chief BEFORE they're equipped with enough effective body & vehicle armor?

How has placing a whole country's people on the front lines of a war they had nothing to do with, nor asked to take part in, made the US a safer place?

How is spending $6 billion a month in Iraq a better & more efficient use of resources to keep us safe in the US, as opposed to spending that same money on tightening up security at every US port possible?

How does this Administration's deliberately outing a WsMD expert and her overseas network of double agents make the US SAFER from such an attack on US soil?

Don't feel bad if you can't LOGICALLY answer these questions with a positive spin, as it's obvious President Jr can't either

So again, other than to leave others to once again clean up another one of his messes, what IS President Jr's Iraq plan, and specifics please, not more empty rhetoric the Administration's got down to a fine art

Again, what IS President Jr's Iraq plan?

How is "Victory" defined, realistically?

Is it possible to completely defeat the insurgency with the lack of troops, training & equipment W's inflicted on the US Troops?

How are better organized & more ruthless suicide bombing attacks a sign of a weakening insurgency, or one in it's "last throes"?

How does a strengthening of Iran/Iraq ties further US vital interests in the Middle East?

How do Iraqi women losing long established secular rights at the hands of a newly empowered theocracy further the Inaugural Speech rhetoric of "Standing with the oppressed and against the oppressor"?

How can one support the President when he deliberately sent US troops into battle underequipped with nowhere near enough effective body & vehicle armor?

And then just a smack on President Jr

It's amazing that anyone thinks the public will get behind this President or his foolish, lie-based war again as they were immediately after the invasion was launched

This war, and his own pathetic response to Katrina, have discredited President Jr permanently, they've shown him as an incompetent hack clearly unsuitable to the demands & rigors the Presidency requires, one who puts his personal desires ahead of the national interest, and freezes at the moment competent, strong & decisive leadership is required most

All the spin & badmouthing W throws at others will NOT get the public back on his side

That said, the GOP is about to go through a lot more hell with the ever expanding Abramoff scandal ensnaring politicians, lobbyists, their staffs, and the wives of Congressional Representatives

And with as massively as the GOP is splintering & fracturing, with as rough a time it's had maintaining that famed party discipline, it appears Karl Rove's political capital has been spent right alongside that of W's

Rove's golden touch has turned the GOP's fortunes, and that of his creation, W, to pure lead

I doubt the continuing investigation by Patrick Fitzgerald will make Rove's travails less costly or embarrassing to endure

Just some of the love to be found when it comes to politics

Damn Good Question

Any Answers?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Good Christ Almighty, as if Abu Ghraib, secret renditions and secretly run CIA gulags weren't enough of a bad PR hit for the US to take, now we get THIS

'Trophy' video exposes private security contractors shooting up Iraqi drivers

A "trophy" video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis.

Great way to increase US prestige in the Muslim world, use Iraqi civilians as target practice, and keep the contractors from ANY legal liability or accountability, after all, at least the dead weren't killed by Saddam Hussein seems to be W's thinking here

The Foreign Office has also confirmed that it is investigating the contents of the video in conjunction with Aegis, one of the biggest security companies operating in Iraq. The company was recently awarded a £220 million security contract in Iraq by the United States government. Aegis conducts a number of security duties and helped with the collection of ballot papers in the country's recent referendum

And let's take a look at who started up Aegis

Lt Col Spicer, 53, rose to public prominence in 1998 when his private military company Sandlines International was accused of breaking United Nations sanctions by selling arms to Sierra Leone.

And let's see just how eager Aegis is to clear it's name unreservedly

The website also contains a message from Lt Col Spicer, which reads: "I am concerned about media interest in this site and I remind everyone of their contractual obligation not to speak to or assist the media without clearing it with the project management or Aegis London.

"Refrain from posting anything which is detrimental to the company since this could result in the loss or curtailment of our contract with resultant loss for everybody."

Of course, the Iraqis probably have a less than enlightened attitude about being used for target practice

Capt Adnan Tawfiq of the Iraqi Interior Ministry which deals with compensation issues, has told the Sunday Telegraph that he has received numerous claims from families who allege that their relatives have been shot by private security contractors travelling in road convoys.

He said: "When the security companies kill people they just drive away and nothing is done. Sometimes we ring the companies concerned and they deny everything. The families don't get any money or compensation. I would say we have had about 50-60 incidents of this kind."

Yep, I'm sure messages like this overpower the insurgency and weaken it dramatically on a daily basis too

Damn Straight, The Good Guys Are On Our Side, we're right, they're wrong, and there's no positive or logical way for the shrinking band of true W believers to realistically deny it now

John Hits It Out Of The Park Again

Even more evidence now that Bush is caving to terrorists and political pressure and is planning to reduce a significant amount of US troops from Iraq next year.

The sad part is that he's only doing this because of the political pressure, and not because he thinks the job is done. What will result is that we will have even fewer US troops to do an impossible job - they're talking about still leaving 100,000 there next year - and those troops will face even more chaos and more danger, with fewer fellow service members to watch their back.

So, basically, in order to save his political behind, Bush will put even more US soldiers in danger by trying to split the baby in half. And, within days of Dick Cheney suggesting anybody advocating a troop pull out is a coward and emboldening the terrorists (even though most of the folks we're fighting in Iraq aren't terrorists, but are actually Iraqis we've pissed off), Bush is now proposing the same thing.

So, when will the media ask Dick Cheney why he thinks Bush is a coward who enables terrorists?

Hey, let's look at the bright side, maybe now there will be enough effective body & vehicle armor to go around for the remaining US Troops

Which will, of course, be offset by the stepped up attacks the insurgents are sure to mount against a numerically depleted force with longer & slower convoy lines that will be even easier to attack now than they were before

Mission Accomplished Indeed!

Another linguistic Jedi Mind Trick along the lines of "These aren't the droids you're looking for, move along"

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What kind of sick, twisted fucks really want to put teenage girls through this moralizing meatgrinder?

The case stems from a 2003 New Hampshire law requiring teenagers to tell a parent before getting an abortion. While the law has an exception for girls who would die without the procedure, New Hampshire lawmakers omitted an exception for other non-life-threatening health problems because they felt it would render the law meaningless.

The new law has never been enforced, because two federal courts have said the lack of a health exception made it unconstitutional.

That's what ALWAYS sinks these vile bills, that lack of an exception for the mother's health, and how politicians can call themselves "Right To Life" when doing everything possible to make a woman or girl's life as miserable as possible, and all in the name of "Faith" & "Family Values", is an empty rhetoric I can't fathom how anyone believes

Jesus would be the first to personally bitchslap these political & theological whores & bullies whose version of "Christianity" is at complete odds with what Christ lived, taught & preached about, and it's about damn time that the Modern Day Pharisees, Cartoon Hating vermin like James Dobson & Jerry Falwell, UnChristian parasites like Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, "Lucky Louie" Sheldon, William Donohue & Tony Perkins, were called out on their religious hypocrisy and excoriated in the manner of Jesus scolding the Pharisees in the temple for painting themselves as better than everyone else

And speaking of moral & ethical hypocrisy, not a surprise to see the true face of "Compassionate Conservatism" shows itself yet again to the world

The Bush administration supports the New Hampshire law, telling the court in a friend-of-the-court brief that the case "may have direct relevance" to its defense of the federal law banning the late-term procedure that its opponents refer to as "partial-birth abortion" -- a law that has been struck down by lower federal courts in rulings that the administration has asked the Supreme Court to overturn.

You know the issue is being spun when there's NO medical terminology to back the wingnuts' view about abortion, especially as there's no such term in medical journals as "Partial Birth Abortion

Thankfully, even the Supreme Court under Rehnquist's term as Chief Justice rightly rejected these laws before, most notably in striking down a Nebraska Law banning late term abortions without an exemption for the mother's health

But that hasn't stopped the wingnuts from pushing their anti-choice agenda with these absurd laws & bills that place the religious beliefs of their backers over the real-world lives of women who don't share the same socially regressive views of the Modern Day Pharisees

And the way these religious vipers are trying to set back women's rights to self-determination is through gutting the "Judicial Bypass" option most states make available to teens in a genuinely tough spot

Parental involvement laws regarding abortion are politically popular. All but six states have some form of statute that says girls under 18 must involve at least one parent or guardian in the decision to terminate a pregnancy.

As required by a 1990 Supreme Court decision, those laws generally include a "judicial bypass": Teens may avoid telling a parent if they can convince a judge that they would face abuse or that they are mature enough to make the decision on their own.

Understand that this option is used mainly by girls who have been raped, or are the victims of incest-why would ANYONE think a molesting father should be able to object to his violated daughter having an abortion, especially if there's a chance the father will pass along genetic problems to the offspring that results?

Why do the most repressive & regressive knuckledraggers, both secular & religious, get to set a harsh agenda others not of their beliefs must live by, why do they not hold themselves accountable for any of the misery their views bring on unwilling others?

New Hampshire's version would make it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion on a minor unless the doctor has written proof that at least one parent has been notified or unless the doctor certifies the girl would die without the procedure.

But unlike the parental involvement laws in most states, the New Hampshire statute does not explicitly let a doctor proceed when, in the doctor's judgment, the girl might be about to suffer serious health consequences short of death.

Opponents of the law say that is unconstitutional because the Supreme Court has said in past cases that state regulations without health exceptions put an "undue burden" on the right to abortion. It is unrealistic, they say, to expect teens facing such pregnancy-related conditions as severe uterine bleeding or sudden spikes in blood pressure to wait for a parent or a court to let them have an abortion.

Sick, and absolutely barbaric, and it gets even more insulting and arrogant if that's possible

New Hampshire counters that such rare crises could be dealt with through the law's existing exceptions. Under the 1987 Supreme Court case, the state argues, the risks of a severe health emergency are too small to warrant invalidating the whole statute.

A brief submitted by New Hampshire legislators who back the law notes that, out of tens of thousands of abortions done on teens in six other states for which records exist going back to 1991, only 11 were "emergency health abortions."

It doesn't matter how small the size is, the fact that this policy encourages the physical harm of children, with possibly permanent damage/sterility done in the name of some weak-faithed theology absolutely goes counter to any possible "Pro-Life" claim, and if it was the female loved ones of these clearly vacuous ninnyhammers wielding the "well how bad can it be if it only damages a few girls?" argument, whose health was at issue, I suspect the bullies & thugs would be far less rigid & unyielding in their opposition to this procedure

And in that vein-so to speak

The ONLY way any anti-choice male should have any legitimacy in this cause is if he's willing to let others tell him what he can & can't do with his genitals legally

It's time to start GrandSlamDunking these evil assaults on women & girls by the Taliban US Branch & the Modern Day Pharisees, as hard and public as possible, it's the 21st Century for God's sake, women & children are no longer thought of as chattel, a view it's about time the Modern Day Pharisees finally come around and accept as inevitable despite their shrill bleatings to the contrary

Friday, November 25, 2005

Can't say it ANY better than Shakespeare's Sister did with this one, why it matters if President Jr was joking about blasting al-Jazeera on soil friendly to the US

I have to go with the aforementioned Peter Preston on this one. Threatening journalists with the Official Secrets Act is either a ludicrous over-reach designed to help Bush save face over a thoughtless comment, in which case the British press ought to be outraged they are being silenced for such a stupid reason, or it’s a practical application, and Bush wasn’t joking at all. Which is it?

Americans need to be concerned with this story as well. If Bush was serious, we ought to demand accountability on behalf of the killed al-Jazeera journalist as well as those currently being held at Gitmo and in Spain. If he was joking, we ought to demand at minimum that he acknowledge it and apologize for it. A man whose job affords him the protection of having arrested anyone who makes even a joke about hurting him surely ought to understand that not every joke is so easily dismissed.

In either case, refusing to address the issues raised by the leak of these remarks will allow people to believe about them whatever they want to believe—or whatever their experiences predisposes them to believe. What will the Arab world believe?

So very well put by a true & eloquent wordsmith

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'm not into sports much, especially not baseball, but this is a situation that really hits close to the bone

Major League Baseball toughened up their penalties for steroid doping, steroids being something I'm very familiar with, especially the rather harsh physical side effects

The steroid that took sight from my left eye for over a year, that cost me my teeth over a long course was Prednisone, it's used to treat various medical conditions I've deal with since birth. In my case, it was administered by a Dr who knew the side effets of long term exposure, but since it was the only thing that effectively treated my medical problems

So instead of staying on 75 milligrams a day for no longer than 6 weeks, I ended up doing it for over three years

And in the end, it boomeranged on me so bad that I had to go into the hospital as the prednisone worsened the problems it helped for over three years

for the last two years of that time, I started losing vision in my left eye-a cataract-caused by heavy prednisone usage-with the cloudiness getting so bad that for almost two year, all I could see from the afflicted eye was light & dark

And then my teeth began to crumble, grain by grain, specks gave way to wear which gave way to cavities, first small, then widening and crumbling the already dying bone into huge cavities that wore at least half of my teethinto various stages of decay, often collapsing even past the gumline and into the lower jaw itself

And the abscesses were brutal, either excruciatingly painful, or tender with a heavy throbbing aspect

When you feel your teeth crumble, grain by grain, and you know it's only going to get worse, it definitely affects a social life & a mentality for the worse over a long period of time

Real dental care wasn't an option yet for lots of reasons, but one of them had nothing to do with cos

A few years before losing the remaining teeth & stubs, I'd been to a dentist to get three teeth removed, and it was an operation done right there in the office-it wouldn't take more than an hour

The problem was that I've built up an enormous tolerance for pain killers & other meds over the years, but it didn't make a bit of difference to this particular Dr Mengele, he insisted that he couldn't give me any more, then proceeded to put me through the absolute most excruciatingly painful experience I've ever been through, I felt every single tug, chisel & tear in exquisite pain, it was all I could do not to scream during the whole time

There's no other way to realistically describe that session as anything other than physical torture

Eventually, the rest came out as well, although I was unconscious for this procedure

But I saved the teeth from that day, they're what I'd show anyone considering using steroids, hell, look what happened to my usage supervised by a very disapprovingDr always trying to take me off the stuff, but unable to offer up any medications anywhere near as effective

The Congressional hearings into MLB's steroid scandal were roundly trounced as a sham, but I think nthey did the right thing, I've seen the problems steroid use has in the most stark terms on my health

The side effects are not worth the misery & anguish they bring

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Fucking MCI, now I remember why I despise them among all long distance/broadband services

And it has nothing to do with Worldcom either

Back in the very early '90's, my roommate got the bright idea of switching the long distance service over to MCI, but didn't bother telling me about it

And seeing as how we went our separate ways about 3 months later, I didn't think I'd ever deal with MCI again

But two years later, I did

Turns out they claimed I still owed a balance on the long-distance bill

I, having not set up the account myself, nor hearing from MCI in over two years, laughed & tossed the notice in the trash

It was the first of a veritable blizzard of such growingly-indignant replies, hectors & cajoling requests/orders barked my way from a Corporation sure that I would immediately give it money at the first unsubstantiated claim heard by my naive, unsuspecting & totally trusting ears

Not very fucking likely

MCI kept up an increasingly agitated tone of "we're the victims of your deadbeat desire not to pay your bills" with an ever increasing count of both paper & phone calls

I just kept laughing it off

And then, MCI hired a collection agent

At this point, I stopped laughing & got royally cranked all right, at which point I resolved to never pay these bastards a single cent

Speaking of which, the sum at issue here totalled a magnificent $6.61

The decimal point is in the right place, MCI actually expected that because it was such a small amount, I'd be like the other suckers who took such claims at face value. In fact, friends told me to do just that

But at this point, I didn't care about reason, I didn't care that it was a small amount, I only cared about NOT paying MCI another cent, not when they'd already spent far more than $6.61 trying to hound me into paying a charge that hadn't existed except on their say-so alone, and not when the collection agency actually started calling me up for the penny-ante amount sought by MCI

And so, before the collection agent could even start the spiel, I cut her off

"First off, I'm expected to pay a bill that shows up over two years later after I've moved to a different place. How do I know that if I pay this $6.61, that another 10 years down the road, I won't get hit with yet another mysterious & heretofor unexistant phone bill? No, you tell your clients that if I'm contacted one more Goddamned time, I WILL file an official complaint with the state's Attorney General's Office, and that it will only get worse from there"

Problem solved, MCI never tried this stupid stunt ever again

Getting a rapacious global corporation to basically tuck it's tail between it's legs & slink away quietly and defeated is one of the greatest feelings one can ever experience, I highly recommend it for everyone

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Thanks Elvira, the visual will NEVER leave my mind

Dragging The Twins Across The Koolaid

Saturday, November 05, 2005

And the hilarity continues with Gov Schwarzenegger's campaign tour pushing his special election & 4 referendums, and it's honestly been one of the most surreal & hysterical of tours perhaps ever mounted

We've learned about Count Cartaxula, and the Governor's BRILLIANT strategy of DELIBERATELY getting caught in a traffic-snarl on the way to a campaign stop atop the roof of a praking garage overlooking the port of Long Beach

As always, bypass registration with

Tonight, we focus on a less than winning debate strategy, and, finally, the lucky voters of Los Angeles get to yell at Gov Schwarzenegger during a campaign stop

First, Gov Arnold points out why he doesn't sell himself short, no matter what those pesky special-interest polls say Goddamnit!!!

Schwarzenegger told reporters that he could have put "15 more ideas" on the ballot. As it was, the governor said, he was criticized for taking on too much. Schwarzenegger suggested that he won't be satisfied even if his agenda was approved and that Californians can expect more far-reaching measures from him.

Now, bonus gold stars for figuring out the jeopardy style punchline here, form of a question please.

"Never look at it as: This is all we need," the governor said, sitting in a big chair at the back of the bus, which was decorated with campaign posters.

What is "Why does he have campaign posters up in his bus, don't he & his staff know what he looks like already?"

Okay, it's official, Arnold's clearly obsessed with the biggest threat to this country & it's well being, Teachers Unions of course, with Cartaxulas a close 2nd no doubt

He added: "How do we get the power away from the teachers union and make sound decisions based on what's best for education, rather than what's best for the teachers union?"

I'll bet he's muttering under his breath at this point, regardless of all others in his immediate vicinity

Now, there's a reason in debates you face your opponent, and that rationale was helpfully provided by Gov Gropenator

After the bus tour, Schwarzenegger flew to Sacramento to be interviewed on two conservative talk radio programs and to participate in a televised forum sponsored by a local TV station......Speakers for the union-backed opposition included.....Brian Rice, a Sacramento firefighter and union leader who has appeared in an opposition ad

And then, the DEVASTATING kick to the Gov's political balls due to not being man enough to debate his ideas with his political opponents-OUCH!!!

Schwarzenegger took the stage first, fielding questions from the audience, then left the station. When it was the opposition's turn, Rice revealed where the governor had gone......He held up for the TV cameras an invitation to a Schwarzenegger fundraising event in Sacramento scheduled for Wednesday night. Schwarzenegger has raised more than $70 million for various political causes in the last several years. He does not typically publicize his fund-raising dinners, nor does he release copies of the invitations......"I wish the governor was here," Rice said. " … He's not on stage with us. Because he … is attending a $50,000-per-plate fundraiser in the Arden Hills Country Club right now …. You want to talk about reform? I think reform is necessary all over. It's not just necessary on one side."


And the only lameass reply the Governor's staff could offer in Arnold's defense was

Schwarzenegger's campaign team did not dispute that the governor had left the forum for a fundraiser. His lead strategist, Mike Murphy, told reporters: "We make no apologies for raising money. We're being outspent 3 to 1."

Awww, what a shame a multimultimillionaire can't bankroll his own initiatives, so sad

And speaking of selling points, the biggest one sure to draw the most people to any event Arnold's at, it's time to Yell At The Governor

First, the bad news

With just five days left to sway voters before the special election, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger faced a skeptical audience Thursday night that turned a televised question-and-answer session into an extended advertisement against his ballot initiatives.

Bravo Governor, shrewd political play, plenty of bad press your political opposition gets at your expense, and even worse than that, it's FREE

Then the worse news

The event was Schwarzenegger's first unscripted event of the campaign in California's largest media market. He has rejected all invitations to debate, but has agreed to take questions from voters at forums around the state, provided that his opponents appear separately. Although the station hired an outside consultant to provide a demographically and politically balanced audience, most of the questioners seemed to lean against the governor.

And from earlier in the article

Appearing live on a KNBC-TV Channel 4 forum at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, the Republican governor was peppered with hostile questions from a crowd of about 75 voters screened by the station.

Let's Yell At The Governor

One told Schwarzenegger that his proposal to change the law on union campaign donations was fraudulent. Another got into a shouting match with the governor over his proposal to scale back teacher tenure.

Remember them, the group Arnold's obsessed with & muttering about publicly?

Guess what Governor?

Teachers & their families vote too, Jesus, why don't you just mug little old ladies waiting for the "walk" signal at a deserted intersection, you can't get much worse of a PR disaster than what Arnold's leading his forces towards

One voter, whose wife and son are teachers, said he was "absolutely appalled" by Proposition 74, the governor's proposal to extend the probationary period for public school instructors from two years to five.

"It's almost impossible, almost impossible to fire a teacher," Schwarzenegger said.

"No, you're wrong," the man interrupted.

Schwarzenegger asked for a chance to finish.

"No, I'm not going to let you finish, because you're wrong," the man argued.

The governor, who rocked gently back and forth on his heels during the exchange, made light of the confrontation, saying: "I like when you're passionate."

Anyone else find that last sentence smarmy AND creepy, and why didn't he just go to the old canard of "I love teachers, I've played them in movies before"?

The public wasn't yet done yelling at the Gov, and one voter compared Schwarzenegger to another currently disgraced political operative

In the KNBC forum, Schwarzenegger pressed his effort to regain the bipartisan support he has lost over the last year as his political base shrunk to a core of Republicans and conservatives. But the many Democrats in the crowd made that difficult.

One of them, a Camarillo man who works in the healthcare industry, invoked White House political guru Karl Rove as he questioned Schwarzenegger about Proposition 75, which would require unions to get consent from members each year before spending their dues on political campaigns.

"When you have this deceptive language, this Rovian spin that you Republicans like to use to kind of package things and sugarcoat them and say 'this is paycheck protection' — that's fraudulent," he said.

Schwarzenegger replied that it "has nothing to do with right wing versus left wing" but was an attempt to protect working people from "union bosses."

First it was teachers unions, now the enemy is "union bosses", sheesh, make up your mind already, and when you do, don't drag your wife into the fray with a seriously tasteless remark

"It has nothing to do with Republicans versus Democrats," he said, arguing that he was "not trying to silence anyone…. We want to reform the system that is good for everybody in California because I am the people's governor.....When one voter was introduced as a Republican, he joked: "I have nothing against Democrats. I sleep with one every night."

Now, Arnold's feeling somewhat of two minds lately, almost manic, then extremely self-pitying, as we see first HERE

He renewed his vow not to raise taxes and took credit for what he portrayed as a dramatic recovery from the fiscal mess he faced when he took office after the recall election two years ago: "I inherited a state that was physically dead."

And then, the whiney, selfish tone that ends with Arnold saying something that makes you smack your forehead and give a big D'OH!!!

Schwarzenegger cast himself as "David" in the special election, fighting "Goliath," because he is being outspent by union rivals and many public opinion surveys show that his initiatives face unpromising prospects Tuesday......"I'm the underdog in this," he said. "And that's why I said in the beginning that this is David vs. Goliath. It's a wild position to be in. In the movie business, it was always the other way around."

Please, for the love of God Arnold, please say you're not really surprised when real-life doesn'tt follow along the lines of a script

And while you're at it, make sure you keep doing great bits like Count Cartaxula & getting deliberately stuck in traffic to prove your solidarity with the people stuck right behind you, as that's the best way to show how on their side you really are

Friday, November 04, 2005

And so, in the end, it's been a combination of factors all breaking against this President at the same time that have left him politically weak & vulnerable

Iraq-a seething & growing insurgency becoming deadlier with IED's & curved explosives, which enable softball sized holes punched through uparmored humvees from over 100 yards away, A theocracy beginning to establish itself, as the Mullahs in Iran & al-Sistani are developing very close ties, helping a theocracy along while women lose long-settled rights in a secular society. The graft & corruption as it relates to BILLIONS of US dollars lost in the ever deepening financial black hole called Iraq, and the Iraqis themselves with far less reliable access to steady supplies of water, power, sanitation, medical supplies, fuel and security, victims of a war they never sought willingly, a US military overburdened badly, and unable to replenish it's ranks quickly enough to avoid kinking up the system-say, by deploying so many Nat Guard & Reserve troops in Iraq, the ability to respond effectively to a disaster-as the hurricanse showed-is seriously in doubt

Rising oil profits, gas prices & home heating bills

A disastrous campaign over what was supposed to be the crown jewel for W's 2nd term, Social Security Privatization-Disastrous in the sense that the more people heard & learned about W's plan, the less they liked it

A disastrous, publicly played fiasco in using Terri Schiavo to advance a repugnant version of alleged "Family values" What most of the US public saw was the President, Bill Frist & Tom DeLay shamefully pander to the extreme right, the Modern Day Pharisees at the GOP's base, a campaign the public very clearly got angry about, angry enough to where the GOP had to back way the hell off of kowtowing to the wingnuts base

And the federal response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita & Wilma

But of all these, it's Katrina that did what nothing else could, no matter the amount of criticizing & carping from his political opponents

Katrina forever shattered W's image as a competent, strong, decisive leader

What makes the federal stumble of a response even more egregious is that the hurricanes gave the Administration lead times of up to a week

The fact of the sluggish response , disjointed & inefficient, has at least some of it's roots in what's turned out to be W's moment of glory, standing atop the rubble of the WTC, with the bullhorn & firefighter, the visual he's forever trying to play upon for every single public pronouncement

Specifically, one of the biggest problems with rescue & relief operations was ineffective communications among the various first responders, it was a patchwork effect, rather than one, unified means of communications available to all the first responders & the rescue & relief operations, just like the same problem was shown to us on September 11

Four years after the September 11 attacks, and that problem of a communications system usable to all involved in rescue & relief still hasn't been addressed, effectively or otherwise

Katrina hits, the levees collapse & the dead float in the streets of a drowned city, or are covered up amidst large groups of survivors at both the Convention Center & Superdome, and the President stays on vacation, while the inept crony in over his head at FEMA completely refuses to acknowledge there's any kind of a problem in New Orleans

Conditions rapidly deteriorate for those awaiting Rescue & Relief operations-food & water run out while those trapped on the pavement bake in the sun & humidity

For 3 days, the world watches while the President vacations, and the rest of the cabinet is also scattered to the 4 winds, most notably Condoleeza Rice shoe-shopping & attending the bright lights of broadway, instead of coordinating the offers of help coming in from around the world

For three agonizing days, the public clamor grows for the President to cut short his vacation and take charge of the situation immediately

It's not until the next day, Thursday, a full four days after Katrina & three days after the levees collapsed, that W finally understands what's just happened

He's completely shown the world just how badly he froze in a situation he'd had almost a week to prepare for, supplies could have been efficiently pre-positioned, troops could have been deployed as close as possible for a quicker response after Katrina hit as well

Katrina did what nothing else could, showed the President unable to live up to, in effect, his one campaign issue security, namely keeping the US safe from another disaster, be it sudden or slow-like a hurricane-to form

And the longer W dithered on vacation, the more obvious it was to the rest of the world just how truly inadequate & up to the job W's proven to be, the misery of those stranded in the drowned city showing just how useless in a crisis President Jr really is

Chances are if Karl Rove wasn't preoccupied with trying to keep his fat throat out of a legal noose, he might have gotten W down to New Orleans as soon after Katrina hit as possible, but if Rove wasn't screaming about it, then it's obvious that W didn't see the glaringly-blatant problem in his "stay on vacation approach to disaster management"

By the time the inner circle figured out Dear Leader was in trouble, it was too late to repair or mend the self-inflicted damage of the worst kind

Numerous trips to the Gulf Coast were seen as nothing more than a "make-work" project for one clearly unsuitable for the job he possesses

When W's one claim he pushed above all others politically-that he was far better suited to protect the US public than John Kerry-was so publicly shattered by W himself, it's been damage he can't & won't recover from for the rest of his 2nd term

This is an Administration being buffeted on all sides at such a hard level that it's just a matter of time before the White House & GOP itself collapse spectacularly

Personally, if a catastrophe occured, I'm not too fucking worried about the ability of the Texas Lottery to continue unabated

The House committee that oversees the Texas Lottery is investigating claims by a senior lottery systems analyst that agency management misled lawmakers about an emergency control center that doesn't work, blocked open record requests and bullied employees into secrecy at the $3.5 billion agency......Charles' first accusation is that the lottery's disaster recovery or business resumption site — a concrete bunker — which the Legislature required state agencies to develop in the mid-1990s, "has never been operational."

We're not just talking about a bunker, it almost sounds like NORAD South

The Austin site, which cost more than $1.3 million to build and maintain, includes a steel-reinforced concrete bunker-like structure with walls 3 feet thick, according to several employees who have seen or helped develop the site.

"It could probably take a nuclear blast," said Bill Hensler, a former network services manager for the lottery. "It was overkill. It was purely overkill."

Walls 3 feet thick seem trivialized by the fact it's the lottery that's supposed to go forward in the event of another large-scale terrorist attack or natural catastrophe

But, of course, there's almost always a kicker to stories like these, and this being Texas, that's an even more sure bet

Hensler and Charles both say computer equipment was installed at the site, but it didn't properly receive data that would have enabled lottery employees to carry out their duties if a disaster destroyed the lottery's downtown Austin headquarters.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Reprinted, more or less verbatim, from a post I put up at the court tv forums

This has got to be one of the absolutely SILLIEST Campaign Swings-EVER!

Pt 1-All About Count Cartaxula

Pt II-Road Trip

Part 1 The Gov shows his sympathy for those caught in gridlock by getting deliberately stuck in gridlock himself, a move no doubt comforting those stuck behind the Gov's political caravan

Earlier Wednesday, Schwarzenegger boarded his bus at the height of the morning rush hour in Sherman Oaks, leading a six-vehicle motorcade on the 38-mile drive to Long Beach. He wanted to illustrate what to many Southern Californians is an indisputable point: Traffic is bad......"Hopefully we'll get stuck in traffic," the governor said.....Wish granted. At times the caravan did no better than 25 mph.

Bravo, a true winning strategy for those waiting at your next campaign stop, set it up so you DELIBERATELY run late

Part II-On top of the World, erhhh, Garage

But, when considering where that appearance should be at, how smart is it to accentuate everyone's traffic anger by focusing on the unGodly parking rates?

In Long Beach, Schwarzenegger delivered a speech to several dozen supporters atop a parking garage overlooking the port. He said 37 million Californians are squeezed into a transportation system built for two-thirds that number......"No wonder people are upset," he said. "Because they're stuck in traffic every day rather than being home with their families.

Perhaps that description accounts for the following

Part III-The Public interacts with the Governor

As the bus stopped at one point, a passing motorist yelled: "Get out of here!

Ah yes, another priceless campaign trail moment indeed

I can picture the motorist shaking his fist at Gov Gropenator when yelling

I can't wait to see what's next on the Goofy & Surreal Tour '05

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Wow, Reid drops a nuclear bomb on the Senate GOP by insisting & receiving a Private session, and just blows their Supreme Court gloating all to complete hell

That Rule 21 is a BITCH

And with barely a full day of GOP gloating about how infuriated the libs would get via Alito's nomination, Reid bitchslapped the GOP with a parliamentary move that completely caught Frist, Rove & The GOP off guard

There were even conspiracy theorists that blamed Reid's move as the ultimate of marketing ploys, an attempt to help a book by Joe Wilson, the guy who initially called this Administration on it's obvious lies used to take the US into invasion & an increasingly disastrous Iraq Occupation

Since the invasion the GOP has covered up & tried to smear critics of it's ever shifting invasion rationale as being unpatriotic, free speech only appeals to the terrorists is the rallying cry of a shrinking group of those who still believe, at face value, this Administration's increasingly desparate claims

Thousands of US troops killed, maimed & traumatized

Tens of Thousands of Iraqis killed, maimed & traumatized

A full country with a seething anti-US insurgency that now operates as the largest terrorist training camp in the world

$6-8 Billion a month & rising

A domestic agenda with what was going to be the Crown Jewel in W's tiara, Privatizing Social Security, now deader than the most doorish of nails

Rule 21 can be sought for & received with only two dems needed, which means that the GOP's threats to yank the filibuster from use during the judicial nomination floorfight just got a lot less worryworthy

Because, the dems are threatening to pull Rule 21 EVERY day to force the GOP into providing oversight-as opposed to a blank check-for the Administration, Frist & Co were left wondering just what mack truck had run down their corrupt, cover-up obsessed asses

For all the years of the Bush Jr Administration, the GOP has obstructed any possible oversight of the White House on a staggering array of issues, foreign policy, environmental, labor & pension, financial industry oversight, defense contracting, homeland security, and, looming over everything else, the Iraq Occupation

And regarding supporting the troops, since it's obvious that President Jr & Don Rumsfeld had absolutely NO problem sending troops into battle without enough body & vehicle armor, then they bear just as much responsibility for every soldier killed, maimed & traumatized as the seething & ever-expanding Iraq insurgency does when exploding IED's

In two instances, this Administration has put selfish desire ahead of keeping this country & its people safe from attack

President Jr's desire to oust Saddam Hussein was stronger than his desire for justice on behalf of those attacked here on September 11, resulting in a free pass for President Jr's multimillionaire brother in arms & ideology, Usama bin Laden

Benedict Rove & Lewis Libby's desire for political payback outweighed allegiance to the US public by outing Valerie Plame and exposing her entire network of operatives, domestic & overseas, all operating for the single purpose of tracking & disrupting the transfer of WsMD to rogue regimes, groups & individiuals

Thanks to an insane practice of wartime necessities subordinated to political reprisals, Rove & Libby have put this country at greater risk of an actual WsMD attack on US soil now than existed before they spitefully smeared Joe Wilson through destroying his wife' s career, and should such an attack be carried out, bear as much direct blame as any group launching such an attack

By their treachery, Rove & Libby made it much harder to recruit & cultivate the spies & double agents necessary to running a country

Because this Administration is filled with people unable to show even the slightest bit of self-discipline or self-restraint, the country's physical security has been weakened for the most arrogant of reasons

For over 5 years, the GOP has given the Administration a complete free pass on any subject the White House wished covered up or removed from public purview, and for over 2 years US troops & Iraqi civilians have paid a price for a war waged on the basis of flat-out lies, a deliberate policy no citizen wants to believe possible of their government, but with nothing more obvious now than how deeply the GOP & White House desparately want to avoid a very well-earned Day of Reckoning

And the timing was a masterstroke on Reid's part

Just when President Jr thought he'd gotten the discussion where Rove wanted, off of his travails, just when his latest pandering to the Modern Day Pharisees was engendering much hard right gloating about the shellacing the libs were about to experience, just when the GOP thought the widening-downward-spiral-of-bad-news corner was turned, Reid, seconded by Durbin pulled out the Parliamentary Playbook and used a move the Republicans were too short-memoried to see coming, even though they'd used it themselves when impeaching Clinton

With this one move, Reid shoved Rove's betrayal right back in his face, as publicly as possible, and doing it nuclear style, the way Rove is so used to dispensing, but not at all enjoying being on the business end of such tactics lobbed his way

With this one move, Reid forced the GOP & Bill Frist in particular into a humiliating defeat years in the making,

And when Reid claimed to act in the name of the US people, that must have caused various neocon heads to explode from sheer rage

Rule 21 is how you treat any group that threatens to yank the filibuster option from any judicial nomination consideration, threaten, as Durbin said, to pull this ploy on a daily basis, and that kills off any so-called "Nuclear Option" from any realistic point of view

There's so much Schadenfreude at the GOP's expense here, and it gets better when considering one very key fact about the Alito nomination

With Bill Frist under active SEC investigation over charges of Insider Trading & Stock Manipulation, there's no way he can effectively marshall the Alito nomination through the entire confirmation process, and the more involved he gets while the investigation is ongoing, the more he undercuts any future political options other than that of the Urban Myth, how in this case Frist probably couldn't get elected Dog Catcher

And for the Modern Day Pharisees so spoiling for a rough fight with the libs over the Alito nomination, lets just remember what happened when the GOP & the Modern Day Pharisees tried to advance a disgustingly extreme agenda at the expense of Terri Schiavo in the guise of a warped set of "Family Values"

The public was overwhelmingly upset, and let the Modern Day Pharisees know their efforts were NOT wanted or encouraged by nonbelievers

Remember, the Modern Day Pharisees W's pandering to so shrilly are SO far out of the political & social mainstream that they see some vast, nebulous "Gay Agenda" on the part of cartoon Characters like SpongeBob SquarePants

Seriously, they think this fight will result in the vast majority of the US public rising up in vociferous support of an agenda previously rejected via Terri Schiavo

And there are Senate hearings tomorrow concerning Jack Abramoff's role in suppressing a Dept of Homeland Security report, and since his clout was truly enormous, the damage he will inflict on the GOP machine is going to be deep, severe & longlasting

Thanks Harry Reid for giving us a huge boost at the GOP's expense, for myself, it was greatly appreciated

Dear God, if you truly exist, please, let there be a video of what reads as an extremely surreal & hysterical campaign stop by Gov Gropenator himself

With Halloween theatrics, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared at an Ontario junkyard Monday with a staffer dressed as "Count Cartaxula," who threatened to raise the state vehicle license fee from the dead if voters didn't approve Proposition 76 in next week's special election......The Ontario event was light in substance but heavy on staging. Two skeletons and a pack of faux rats were parked in a Ford Escort next to the stage, whose other end was flanked by hundreds of beat-up cars in the Pick-A-Part junkyard.

Now, the next sentence is a real kicker, making no sense in a holiday context like Halloween, but for some reason PERFECTLY appropriate when it comes to Gov Gropenator & an undeniably comedic campaign appearance

Speakers blasted "Ride of the Valkyries."

Seriously, when contemplating the battles of Gods as Odin & Loki, who doesn't immediately think of an Ontario California junkyard as the perfect place for just a deistic showdown

And I'm hoping Gov Gropenator paid a big wad for the "Cartaxula" character, what with the undoubtedly rigorous makeup regimen needed to pull off the perfect "Cartaxula" look

Walter von Huene, who has appeared with Schwarzenegger in the films "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" and "End of Days," emerged in a Dracula cape, face painted white, as Larry McCarthy, president of the California Taxpayers Assn., said that Proposition 76 is "the thing most feared by Cartaxulas in Sacramento."

Oh crap!!! You mean there's a whole coven of "Cartaxulas"? We're all screwed

A black curtain opened to reveal a giant mock gravestone that read "CAR TAX RIP 2003." As the governor entered, a 1957 black Ford Fairlane with a skeleton as its driver — symbolizing the car tax, raised from the grave — was hoisted above the stage.

"Kids, did the car scare you, huh? We're all scared of the car tax," Schwarzenegger said to laughter.

Personally, I think I'd be more scared of having the cable break while hoisting the Death Mobile, crushing me to the subtle melodies of "Ride Of The Valkyries", than I EVER could be scared of the car tax

And of course, what would a campaign stop be without children to play off of?

Afterward, Schwarzenegger hugged children dressed as a bumblebee, Darth Vader and a dinosaur, and passed out chocolates wrapped in gold paper and stamped with "Yes on 76." He said he planned to take his own children trick-or-treating later, and that his wife, Maria Shriver, had left the house that morning dressed as a pirate.

And in maybe tha absolute funniest sentence in the story, one parent is described not by her child, but by the costume her child wore

The bumblebee's mother, Sharon Neault, 36, of Rancho Cucamonga, said she supported the governor because "it's important that you don't spend what you don't have — that's how we run our house."

Anyone with pictures or video of this even, PLEASE come forward, our country needs the laughs now more than ever