11.29.2009

Foreclosure: Idiot Professor Brent T. White advises underwater homeowners to walk away - Should Be Disbarred

Don't! Don't! Law Professor Brent T. White gives idiot suggestion that people with mortgages worth more than their homes should walk away from the house. Don't Do It!

This is why:

The house isn't always going to be worth what it is now. Prices of homes may steadily escalate in the future, in fact it would be very strange if they did not.

You have a very strong hand in negotiating the terms of the mortgage with the mortgage company because they would lose money if they foreclosed on you.

If you are in this situation, go to my law firm web site at http://www.axsmith,net and contact me. I can help you through this.

11.18.2009

This is Your Brain on Drugs - Japanese version



Remember the old public service announcement showing someone making eggs for breakfast and telling you how the frying egg was like your brain on drugs? Well, I guess that particular metaphor did not translate into Japanese culture. They prefer more athletic eggs. Watch.

11.17.2009

Biden Kills Pedestrian in DC

Everyone knows that being a pedestrian in DC is a hazardous game. When you combine unyielding self-importance with one thousand pounds of metal you get a weapon of pedestrian destruction. When you multiply the number and concentration of such drivers, you get a Vice Presidential motorcade. And, sadly, destruction.

The Huffington Post is reporting on the Vice President's motorcade hitting a livery truck in New York City. This incident is after a Sheriff's Deputy was hit by a car while escorting Vice President Biden's security detail. And let's never forget the pedestrian who was killed by the Vice President's motorcade in Temple Hills, MD.

What staggers me is how no one is screaming about this issue. Someone was killed by a car in the Vice Presidential motorcade. By definition, there's a problem here. And it is not one freakish, isolated event. It is part of a pattern of reckless driving that is dangerous to pedestrians or anyone else on the roads.

Where are the Fox cable news pundits when you need them? If there was anything legitimate to yell and yammer on about, the Vice President's motorcade repeatedly hitting people would be one of them. It's elitist. It's acting drunk with power. It's not taking responsibility, especially since the problem has not been addressed. And the mainstream media has virtually ignored the issue. What a Fair and Balanced bonanza!

It is not beyond the pale for Fox news to lead the charge on what is clearly a dangerous problem. If they can encourage people who storm the halls of Congress, this one can at least get a few hours.

10.22.2009

the Balloon Boy...

YouTube's Drinkingwithbob shouts about the Balloon Boy and how pathetic the U.S. media is in how the cover stuff like that.

10.21.2009

Michael Hayden, Former CIA Director, Tells a Whopper

The former director of the CIA, Michael V. Hayden, reveals that the purpose of keeping the CIA interrogation memos secret was to preserve the right to torture people in the future.

He writes on CNN.com that releasing the CIA interrogation memos was a "mistake" and claimed "to reveal the details of this technique would tie the hands of a president in a future emergency -- since, after all, laws and policies and presidents could always change"

He means the policy about torturing people. He means "tie the hands" of any President who wants to torture people.

Michael Hayden: "Based on a declaration I signed, the judge had agreed in 2008 to allow us to continue to protect -- on the grounds of national security -- the specifics of waterboarding, a technique that had not actually been used since March 2003 and one the agency had not even authorized for use in years."

If what you are saying is the truth, why would it have been necessary to fire me for saying that "waterboarding is torture, and torture is wrong" on my classified blog? Something doesn't add up. If the practice had discontinued, and there were no plans for its revival, then I would have merely been reprimanded and my blog taken away.

Instead, I was fired and put under investigation for my clearance. I was followed everywhere I went for a week and a half. I am blackballed from my former profession. That's fine. I took the risk and will accept the consequences. However, do not pretend that exactly how you torture people is itself classified. The only classification is that it happened at all, and you wanted to be able to do it again. That information is not critical to national security, it is political.

Michael Hayden claims that the choice to release the CIA interrogation memos was political. It was. So was your desire to keep them secret. By exposing the illegal practices the CIA was engaged in under the previous Administration, President Obama let everyone know that waterboarding and torture were not acceptable practices. He further let them know that breaking the law and violating human rights will eventually be exposed. Good for him.

10.20.2009

HAZMAT Emergency in Columbia Heights, DC

Three young people were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes and passed out in their home on Tenth Street NW this morning. Fortunately, the Fire Department was called and no one died.

Last night was the first night the young people turned on the gas furnace to the house they were renting. Carbon monoxide leaked out of the furnace. That is all I know at this point. To see photos, friend me on Facebook: Christine Axsmith.

10.19.2009

Feds Don't Target Sick Users of Pot

So the Federal Government had to actually tell prosecutors not to indict the terminally ill for smoking pot to relieve their pain. That's a comfort to hear. Wouldn't want people pulled out of their hospital beds for being a danger to society.

But I have a better idea. Don't prosecute marijuana use or trafficking AT ALL. Just to be patriotic, let's make that for all U.S.-grown pot only. So all U.S.-grown marijuana can be grown, sold and smoked. And I don't smoke pot at all. So I have no vested interest in this debate.

The U.S. Government spends millions of dollars chasing pot smokers and traffickers. Let's tax them instead. Let's save the money we spend trying to stamp out pot use. It's a great idea. We can focus on serious problems facing our nation, like maids and construction workers who are in this country illegally.

10.11.2009

9.29.2009

"Kate Plus Eight" - Or, Jon Gosselin Finally Gets It

So Moron of the Year Jon Gosselin finally understands: the brand's the thing. It is not about the money and the babes. The money and the babes are only a result of the brand you have created for yourself. Especially in reality tv. If the babes and the fun get in the way of your brand, they are too expensive and you can't afford them.

Unbeknownst to Jon Gosselin, he and his soon-to-be ex-wife have been engaged in a pitched war of brand identities. His self-indulgence has cost him millions of dollars because, let's face it, who's interested in him now? Childish, whoring, irresponsible fathers are a dime a dozen. You just need to look out your window for that.

Jon Gosselin's new attempt to rehabilitate himself by putting a hold on his divorce proceeding with his wife, Kate, is going to fail. The pictures of him jumping from woman to woman, partying with miscellaneous bikini babes, etc has painted a picture that just is not marketable. And, of course, Kate has plans for another series after this one. In the end, she is the one we all want to watch.

9.24.2009

Mackenzie Phillips Putting a Brave Face On It

Congratulations, Mackenzie. You've put your face on father-daughter incest. Now every time we think of you we will want to vomit.

I must admit that it does take some courage to publicly admit that on Oprah. No doubt. You certainly got revenge on your father and his legacy. And dragging in the stepmother for good measure was a nice touch. Now we can expect a raft of angry stepchildren to take up the fight in similar ways. Just wait.

Vampire Warns About Wall Street Predators Who Are Sucking The Money Out Of Our Economy

Really funny.

9.13.2009

United Flight Travel Nightmare

When a person buys a flight on Expedia, it is possible to get connecting flights that are literally impossible to make given the security and the size of airports. Another problem is that airlines have cut helpful personnel to the point where no one is available to answer questions or to assist a customer. A friend of mine found out the hard way.

First class check in personnel refused to help her because she wasn't flying first class for United - and yes, she was flying United coach class. That wasn't enough to warrant their concern.

"{They} refused to help me at all because I was not in first class and threatened to call the police if I didn't shut up. I suggested they go ahead because if I got arrested I would sue the airline.

"I went off the 200 yards away to economy check in where I saw a group of employees behind the desk talking to each other and asked for help to be told I have to wait in line. By the time I waited in the check in line there was no was to make the flight. The woman at the check in desk suggested I sit down and for 15 minutes and then come back (while all possible transfer flights were booked up or I had insufficient time to make). Then she said she could get me on a flight to Chicago but I would have to spend the night there."

"This was 2 pm on a bright clear day with no major problems across the country. I knew there were many flights which would get me home.

"Then the police came, then and only then did the check clerk actually try to find a solution to my problem. I thanked to police officer and he reacted like I was being belligerent for my expression of gratitude. The manager threatened to refund my tickets if I said anything more. If I had been alone I would have kept talking.

"Finally I got booked on a flight to WAS. In security they decided to pat me down because I was wearing a skirt except I had to wait about five minutes for someone to show up to pat me down while the line waited. I get to the gate and realize I still don't have boarding passes and have to check in yet again. If the plane had been boarding I would have been in trouble since United only has one employee per gate and they would have been checking in people. I had a nice flight but still haven't gotten my bag. "

Question: Why did United Airlines have 3 employees available to intimidate an upset customer and none available to offer any assistance when it might have been possible to make the original flight?

9.12.2009

Philadelphia Sex Slave Ring at Ramada

When hotels stop looking the other way on prostitution we all will be better off.

A Philadelphia Ramada Inn had six to eight of its rooms operating a sex slave and drug ring. The women were tied down, drugged and beaten while being prostituted.

It's one thing to patronize prostitutes. It's quite another to patronize prostitutes that are tied down, beaten up and drugged. Why aren't the clients being charged here?

9.06.2009

The Madonna Effect

The Madonna Effect - Everything you touch looks like cheap promotion.

Madonna adopts a Malawi orphan and it's seen as shameless self-promotion instead of an attempt to draw attention to a needy part of the world.

Madonna practices Kabbala (without converting), an old and respected branch of Judaism, and it is dismissed as kooky.

Madonna lights Shabbat candles with Benjamin Netanyahu and he looks like a lightweight star fucker.

I have an idea, Madonna. Shut up. Stop trying to be seen as serious because you never will be. As you get on in age, it must be clearer to you that your "work" will not outlive you. You will outlive your "work." Just smile and spend the money.

9.03.2009

Run-of-the-Mill Hooker, or Sex Slave?

Thousands of children are kidnapped each year and beaten and raped into being brainwashed. Human traffickers then force them into prostitution. The following are indicators that the person you are dealing with is a victim of human trafficking:


Lack of Control

Has few or no personal possessions
Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating)

Claims of “just visiting” and inability to clarify where he/she is staying / address
Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
Loss of sense of time
Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp / manager
Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
Works excessively long and/or unusual hours


If you see any of these red flags, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888 now to report the situation.

8.30.2009

Do dogs have souls? by the Amazing Atheist

Really good discussion about souls and animals. His conclusion is atheistic, of course, but he raises very important questions.

8.29.2009

Amazing Atheist on Space Settlement

Amazing Atheist is upset because the space dream has gone nowhere. Check it out.

8.17.2009

Republican health care plan: You broke? You die.

We already ration health care, based on how much money you have.

"Jobless Recovery" ?!? - No Recovery At All Then

The economy isn't recovering if people don't have jobs. Because as much as you cut workers to become profitable, if that same thing is happening all over the country, the amount of goods and services purchased will be reduced overall because no one will have the money to buy anything.

It will become a cycle of cutting. Demand for goods and services will go down, not just because people are out of jobs, but because fear of losing a job will tamp down demand. Then more workers will have to be fired to make businesses profitable again.

What really counts is employment, not the numbers on Wall Street or overall business profitability.

A lot of upset people out of work means political and social upheaval. Get ready.

8.12.2009

Washington Post's Kathleen Parker is a Moron

Kathleen Parker, do you even know what a living will is? No one is putting Grandma in front of a bureaucrat who will decide if she lives or dies.

A living will simply lets your loved ones know what your wishes are regarding your care for a time when you are no longer able to tell them yourself.

Do you want to be kept alive by a respirator? What if your mind is completely intact? Would you want to be kept alive on a respirator then?

How much pain medication do you want?

Do you want CPR even if that means most of your ribs will be broken in the process, as is often the case with elderly people?

Who do you want to make decisions about blood transfusions or other major health decisions?

All a living will does is relieve your loved ones of the burden of guessing what you would have wanted.

What The Health?

Amazing Atheist from YouTube speaks on the wacko debate on health care reform. He wants information he feels he is not getting from the Democrats.

It's a good portrait of a responsible citizen who is getting lost in the fog of this "debate."

Death Panels and Health Reform

I am an elder law attorney. In my practice, I have represented family members who needed to make serious decisions about the care of their loved ones regarding respirators, pain medications and artificial life support. The difficulty facing family members in theses situations is terrible to watch.

And it all could have been avoided if a living will had been in place. A living will lets your family know what your wishes are for your care when you are no longer in a position to communicate those decisions yourself.

The proposed health care plan is not suggesting that a person's continued existence is decided by a panel of government workers. It is only allowing a patient to talk to a doctor to make decisions regarding their care that they need to communicate to their families.

I understand such discussions are often difficult for people to face. That's OK. I understand that the prospect of being forced to have such a discussion is also difficult to think about. That's OK, too. But this health care plan is not forcing anyone to have that discussion, nor is it making any of those decisions for you. It is only paying for it if you do want to have a living will.

8.11.2009

Republican health care plan: You broke? You die.

The current health care system Republicans are supporting is: You broke? You die. Bye!

At least President Obama is doing something about the health care of Americans - who elected him, by the way. And a large reason he was elected was the promise of reform in the health care system.

Slapping a label like "Socialist" on health care reform does nothing to clarify the issues or enhance the exchange of ideas.

North Korea is a Cesspool...

YouTube's Drinkingwithbob raises a very good point. You don't have to worry about getting arrested by the North Koreans if you don't go to North Korea to begin with.

8.10.2009

Saw a Knifing Last Night in Columbia Heights

And the police didn't even want to take a report on it this morning. It happened on Monroe Street between 10th and 11th at about 10 p.m. Some drunk guy named Luis attacked another Hispanic guy. When he got closer to me, I saw Luis had a bloody knife in his hand, but somehow he was the one doing all of the bleeding, not the guy that was attacked. I think there was a broken beer bottle involved, too.

What's the point of reporting this to the public at large? Don't know, really.

8.03.2009

Chivalry is Not Sexist, It's Sexy

I love the tickle on my back as a man helps me put a coat on. It doesn't mean I am so inept I cannot put a coat on for myself. It does not mean that I need a man to get protection from the cold.

Feminists are often confused by what sexist actually means. It is not sexist for someone to open the door for you. Both male and female people have done this for me. And if you are on a date, there is definitely a tingly edge to the pampering. No one is suggesting that I am incapable of opening doors by offering to open a door for me. It's just nice and a great way to let a person know that they are special to you. Why is that bad?

The feminist revolution has often meant that men have felt permission to behave badly. As a consequence we've eliminated dates and now have beastly things like "friends with privileges" and "hooking up."

Telling the men of the 21st century how to act like a gentleman is a noble task, and a much-needed service to gender relations.

7.28.2009

Sarah Palin Farewell Speech Interpreted by William Shatner

Here is the video of William Shatner interpreting Sarah Palin's farewell speech as poetry. Damn if it isn't good! Maybe she is a genius poet in disguise.

7.27.2009

Michael Vick: It's Not About Being Sorry

I am sure Michael Vick is sorry about running that dog fighting operation. Or getting caught at least.

Michael Vick was reinstated into the NFL today after being released from prison for running a dog fighting ring.

The NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is looking for "signs of contrition" from the NFL sociopath before letting him play in NFL games. Note to the Commissioner: sociopaths are known to fake contrition. Just letting you know.

When is there a such thing as going to far, no matter how much you regret it later? When you electrocute innocent dogs because they weren't aggressive enough in fighting. Which means they had more humanity than you did, Michael Vick.

I am making a personal commitment to my readers: if Michael Vick shows up in DC to play football I am going to raise a stink. I don't know how yet, but it will probably involve a lot of yelling and maybe throwing eggs.

Building Prisons for Monkeys in India

Don't laugh until you have had your lunch stolen by a monkey.

I had a few run-ins with monkeys in the Amazon and, while it looks funny happening to someone else, when your food is stolen by a monkey WHO IS LAUGHING AND WAIVING YOUR FOOD AT YOU WHILE HANGING FROM A TREE, it can ruin your day.

Now imagine that you are an Indian villager who doesn't have loads of affordable food on every corner. Imagine you are a child who has to walk by these nattering, chattering pests to get to the water well and bring home water for the household. It is intimidating. The monkeys will try to take the water away from the child.

I hesitate to recommend monkey jail as a solution, however, simply because humans have yet to create a jail that rehabilitates. And what if a monkey does something really bad? Are we going to have "lifers" in monkey jail? What about the hardened monkey criminal?

What is going to happen (and this is a prediction here) is that the behaviors of the monkeys are going to follow the group dynamics in prisons, which are just a reflection of the jailers themselves.

May I suggest instead that reforestation be used as a solution? Then the monkeys won't be in our habitat and will stay in their own. I hope.

When I went to India I was told about monkeys who moved into the Parliament building over a hundred years ago, and that same family of monkeys is still there. It sounds cute until you hear how they throw things at the people in the lobby, so you have to keep an eye out and duck from time to time.

Come to think of it, monkeys in the Rayburn Building does sound like fun.

7.02.2009

Swine Flu Rampant in Rochester NY

Media reports are sparse, but there is a big N1H1 Flu virus outbreak in Rochester NY area.

Odd that no one would be reporting on it. My sister and her entire family has it, or has had it in the last few weeks.

I would think that a Swine Flu outbreak would be newsworthy.

6.23.2009

Dognapping in Columbia Heights

A frantic woman stopped me on the street yesterday to ask about her dog that had been playing in her back yard on 11th street. She let the cocker spaniel play in the fenced back yard and someone broke the lock and took the dog.

We had a dog that was stolen out of our backyard, too. It was about five years ago. We had only had him for a few days when he had been taken.

It was devastating.

You'd like to think that life in Columbia Heights isn't as rough as it used to be. Certainly it looks better: no teenage drug dealers standing on every corner, all night long; the trash men actually pick up the trash; fewer abandoned buildings; no empty lots filled with trash and broken glass. When construction on the GIant grocery store started, that entire block was one field of tall grass. Upon cutting that grass, the builders discovered a man living in a hut in the middle of what would become the parking garage for the Giant. Ahh, those were the days. People used to slide under the broken chain link fences with their dogs to have them run around and catch balls.

But outward appearances are misleading. We feel so much better now that we can go to a decent grocery store and furnish our homes within a few blocks of where we live. Restaurants are here now. They didn't use to be.

It's so easy to be fooled.

This is still an urban, changing, neighborhood. And the old crime is still here. Like stealing people's dogs out of their backyards and selling them to people on the street. Or worse.

6.15.2009

Go Bermuda!

Four Chinese Uighurs now have a place to call home: Bermuda. One wonders what the deal was on that one, but never mind.

It is heartening to think that some of the falsely imprisoned Uighurs now have a nice place to stay, a country where they will not be persecuted, and a population that welcomes them.

And congrats to Bermuda for the guts to stand up to Chinese pressure and threats to take these former Guantanamo Bay prisoners to begin with. The cry and panic of American politicians, and people, are really put to shame by the decent actions of the Bermudian government.

What does it say that the small country of Bermuda is willing to take in these non-terrorists - and that's in the definition of the U.S. Government - and ours falls into hysterics at the idea of it? To me, it says Americans enjoy being terrified. If there is no one there, they will make them up.

Culturally, it started with the Cold War. We had to keep the pressure for that huge amount of spending going, and stoking the terror of the American public did the trick. Then that ended and the terror became crime. Crime, crime, crime. Americans were terrified about crime, although the level of crime had been going down. That didn't stop anybody. There was a fear-mongering machine in place and they needed to do something. Then 9-11 the tragedy. Easy to find a target there. And it has been going ever since.

After all, there's lots of contracting dollars to be made. And public willingness to spend it is essential.

6.10.2009

David Carradine's Death - Don't Tell Me!

I am sorry to hear about David Carradine's untimely death. Really I am. But is it really necessary for us to know all the kinky details?

No it is not. Not even reading any of the articles, I have reached my kinky limit on the headlines alone. Now there's fishnet stockings. Auto-asphyxiation. Other weird stuff.

How about we leave the poor guy alone? People have a right to die in peace without every aspect of their private lives being slobberingly reviewed by the entire world.

Under U.S. law, there is no privacy after death. We should consider a law to change that. Some things are not news and don't really need to be known by anyone other than intimate partners.

5.30.2009

Fuck you, Goldfarb! Susan Boyle Has Not Peaked!

Susan Boyle has not "peaked" as a celebrity, you pompous ass. All you are doing in your blog post is another, more veiled and pathetic version of the "tear down" you accuse Fleet Street of doing.

I'd say "shame" but you don't have any.

Do you really think that all the millions of people who watch Susan Boyle's videos from around the world are just going to curl up and go away, off to think about something else? They won't. Her performance had incredible meaning for the world at a time when hope is the most powerful drug around.

The tabloids are reporting that Susan Boyle has had explosive outbursts. And? That would only make her a normal celebrity, if you are inclined to believe those reports at all, which I am not. Imagine how annoying it would be to suddenly be filmed every time you stepped outside of your house, with the attendant critcisms from people like you, Mr. Goldfarb.

I think you are just jealous.

5.26.2009

Dog Park Daze in DC

Washington, DC is a heavily dog-owning town. The city is finally recognizing this by installing dog parks that legitimize the practices of letting your dogs run in a public fenced-in area, which was happening already.

Buy The Dog Walker's Handbook at http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/the-dog-walkers-handbook/6144723 for all the tips and tricks for dog handling and care.

There is an official dog park at 11th and Florida Avenues NW that is large with lots of room for bigger dogs to run. Another fenced-in area right next to it is reserved for small dogs only. What a great idea. The little ones can run and play with each other without being intimidated by the size of the other dogs, which is when they will often turn aggressive.

There are bags to pick up poop and trash cans to throw it out.

The only problem I have is the owners of the regular dogs there aren't very engaged with their pets. I say this because they seem to have more interest in talking to each other and drinking coffee than watching their dogs. And the play can get a bit rough, too.

The ultimate message here is you need to watch your dog in a dog park no matter what. It doesn't matter that your dog plays with the same dogs every day. One day it could be different and there could be a fight. It's just what happens sometimes. They are animals, not people. And frankly, even people do that, too.

5.24.2009

I Don't Believe the Torture Timeline

It doesn't make sense. Why would I have been fired for criticizing torture at the CIA in 2006, and that is what I was directly told, if the United States was no longer torturing people in 2006? When I wrote "Waterboarding is Torture, and Torture is Wrong," it was on an internal blog that only people with Top Secret clearances - with codeword clearances - could see. It was very internal. There would be no reason to fire me in 2006 for writing that if the torturing had stopped.

There is a story that guilty parties want you to believe, and they send it out to be swallowed whole by the press. To wit, the CIA officer who came to the media to claim that waterboarding was only used a few times. That was a lie. It was a calculated lie. The goal was to get people off of their outrage and on to other issues. And with luck, the inquiries would stop there.

No luck.

So now another story is being floated. It is the idea that there was only torturing done for a little while, and then saner heads ruled and it went away. Don't believe it.

Nothing short of a full inquiry will reveal what actually happened. The American public deserves to know how their tax dollars were used and what useless crimes were committed in the name of their safety and revenge.

5.19.2009

Two Russian tourists challenge Florida law prohibiting sex with porcupines

Two Russian tourists who challenged a Florida law prohibiting sexual relationship with a porcupine have had to undergo a lengthy treatment for genital inflammation.

Inspired by a Florida law outlawing sex with porcupines, the two very drunk Russians decided to find out why it would be illegal - the obvious not being apparent to them, I guess.

They fled the state and sought treatment in California, thereby evading Florida arrest. That's fine. I just want to see their pictures.

Obama Speech at Notre Dame: Greed and Traditional American Values

President Obama decried the short-sighted greed that landed the United States in this economic mess, and prior to the mess, "left millions behind" during the period of economic boom during a speech at Notre Dame.

Please remember that traditional American values do not include debt or flashy expenditures. Traditional American values are hard work for an honest days pay, and Americans were naturally suspicious of easy money or making money off of the sweat of others. That's traditional American values.

In a call to reject the "greed and short-term thinking" the President asks us to actually return to the values that once defined America. I guess we all just forgot that's what America used to stand for. Remember the phrase "Greed is Good" from the Eighties? It signaled a change in how Americans viewed themselves and their values. The emphasis shifted from working hard to materialism.

The American Dream wasn't in the material wealth we could accumulate. It was in the opportunity to worship freely and the chance to work hard and get ahead based on our own honest efforts.




Barack Obama, Credit Card Industry, Credit Cards, Credit Crisis, Economic Crisis, Economy, Elizabeth Warren, Financial Crisis, Obama Administration, Obama Economy, Real Time With Bill Maher, Ryan Grim, Usury, Politics News

5.15.2009

Miss California Press Conference - Parody by LisaNova

This is a hysterical version of Miss California's views on gay marriage and her Christian tolerance.

LisaNova does a lot of great parodies.

5.13.2009

How the Torture Thing Is Going to Shake Out

The ranking Democrats are inoculating themselves against torture charges by claiming that being informed doesn't mean that are complicit with the torture policies. They are claiming that they couldn't say anything about what they knew because it was classified.

Since when has that stopped anyone in Congress in the past?

Is accepting this line part of the price we are willing to pay to get the U.S. Government willing to have an investigation into the Bush Administration's torture policies? That's what Pelosi is hoping for.

5.06.2009

Drinkingwithbob on: No Democracy in America

He blames Barack Obama when it is the U.S. political system that is the problem, but his points are well taken.

The New York Times Op Ed page has more influence on the U.S. government than the majority of the people in this country all saying the same thing.

But the other idea is that desegregation wouldn't have happened at all if it was left up to most of the people in the U.S. So there are limits to governing by popular will.

5.04.2009

Poisoned Water: Reagan's Real Legacy

Why is it that autism has been dramatically on the rise since 1980? The Reagan Administration was responsible for the deregulation of environmental controls that pumped toxins into our water supply and our Earth.

Now it seems that the EPA is finally going to regulate the toxic sludge coming out of factories. Finally. It's in our waterways, the ground, the air and our bodies.

One day we will find out how badly our health has been affected by these toxins in our environment. Then Reagan will look very different indeed.

4.29.2009

Kim Kardashian's Thighs and the Power of Fat

I always wanted to meet the men were who were deciding that starving women were beautiful. I'll bet you anything they hate women.

The one person to stand up to the media monsters is a reality star named Kim Kardashian. And Kim is definitely beautiful and curvy. She also states the obvious when she says "So what" to having cellulite. It's part of having curves.

It's the most feminist thing said to the world in a long time. The courage is amazing. Kim Kardashian has stood up to the entertainment business, of which she is a part, and called them on their bullshit. That's quite a risk to take with your career.

As a middle-aged curvy woman, I remember when cellulite was a source of derision and shame. The photos in magazines in the '70s had stick thin women with thighs as wide as their arms. Of course, that wasn't naturally possible. Then the '80s brought big boobs with stick thin thighs. That wasn't natural, either, but it never stopped making us feel bad about ourselves.

One day I realized, well into my forties, that the photos I saw all the time were doctored and the women in them had plastic surgery. We, as a nation, were being shown pictures of cut up people and being told we should look like them.

Thank God Kim Kardashian had the courage to insist on being human. Now I am a fan, although I've have never seen her on t.v.








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4.28.2009

Dick Cheney is a Liar - There Are No Memos

You right-wing nut jobs will believe anything Dick Cheney tells you. There are no SECRET memos. He's just making that up to justify what they did. Torture doesn't save lives, waterboarding doesn't save lives and nothing justifies waterboarding somebody eighty-three times in one month. We won World War II without it and even prosecuted people for waterboarding.

4.27.2009

The Newseum is a Tax-Evasion Fraud

The Newseum is a restaurant and location for catered events. The whole museum thing is a ruse to keep from paying taxes on the profits.

Very prime real estate is being used tax-free to make money. The apartments above the Newseum are not taxed at all. That is quite a bit of revenue that DC is missing out on because the official label of "non-profit museum" is attached to the function of the location.

The Newseum is not the only place running this scam. Half of these obscure museums are doing the same thing.

It's time that the Government wakes up and starts taxing these people!










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4.23.2009

Susan Boyle Has Been Kissed!!

I knew it! And she said it with such a straight face. There's an acting career in there somewhere.

Now as fans of Susan Boyle, it is our job to hit some of these fan sites and start adding content and comments. Go to it!

Updated fan club/ T-shirt listing for Susan Boyle fans:

Blog pretty recently updated with her leather jacket look:
http://susanboyle-fanclub.blogspot.com/

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2713630/join_susan_boyle_fan_club/

Susan Boyle T-Shirts! Click here! http://www.cafepress.com/susan_boyle_fan

http://www.susanboylefansite.com/susan-boyle-store/

Her other fan sites and some of them really need fan additions, so get cracking:

http://susanboylefansite.blogspot.com

and Susan Boyle twitter feed:
www.twitter.com/Susan_Boyle_Fan

The most-mentioned fan site:
http://www.susan-boyle.com/

Another fan site with many interviews with celebrities about Susan Boyle
http://www.susanboyle-bgt.co.uk/

An Unofficial Site - but with lots of comment threads and user activity
http://www.susanboylefanclub.com/

Susan Boyle Facebook Fan Group
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=72212861218

A General Pop Fan Site - with a special page for Susan Boyle
http://www.fanpop.com/spots/susan-boyle

Has a Twitter Feed with all comments about Susan Boyle popping up on the screen
http://thisissusanboyle.magnify.net/?from=guide

Wiki Entry
http://16news.ham-radio-op.net/susan-boyle-wikipedia


















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4.22.2009

Waterboarding Video from Playboy Channel

A Prayer For These Times

I just wrote a prayer: OK, God, you've got a plan, don't know what it is, but you the Man.













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Waterboarding is Torture, and Torture is Wrong - ACCOUNTABILITY !!

Peggy Noonan should have her ass kicked. She is an advocate for "just passing by" the horrors of the Bush Administration torture policies. I wonder which of her friends would be indicted?

Accountability is critical to never having the United States of America EVER involved in a torture program again. And I don't mean the lowest level person you can find. I mean the people who issued the orders and justified them legally when concerns were raised about possible prison time.

The SERE program put our troops through simulated harsh interrogation techniques. Then those techniques were employed by our own government as tactics in our own interrogations of terror suspects. It's like someone saw the abusive tactics being used to harden our own troops against interrogation tactics, and thought "Wow! What a great idea! We should do something like that."

President Obama is flailing around trying to prevent a full scale investigation into the torture program of the Bush Administration, sending the likes of Rahm Emanuel and other emissaries to the media trying to get everybody to get over the torture program that didn't work.

Bad news, President Obama. We're not going to allow you to pull a Clinton on us and sell out your support base for the sake of unity. We won't stop screaming until everybody knows you turned your back on the worst human rights violation for decades by the United States.

Let the party begin.
























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Fuck You, General Hayden!!!

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

Don't worry, unemployment isn't that bad. Maybe you can start walking dogs, like me. And you'll probably make it into the history books, too. What a way to go, buddy.














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4.21.2009

Roswell! Space Aliens! Peace in the Middle East!

Space aliens have been visiting our planet! I am so excited. Now that every eight-year-old has been vindicated stay tuned for the Abominable Snowman or Big Foot stories around the dinner table. This is the sort of thing that gathers steam.

Former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, born in Roswell, New Mexico of all places, has been told a story by some of the villagers there about what really happened in 1947. Space aliens landed and the locals were sworn and threatened into silence.

But now that our financial system is in collapse, our economy is shrinking and the former President might be indicted for war crimes, they feel free to speak out. Perhaps because the threshold for credibility has fallen so low.

What has changed if we are not alone in the universe (is that a proper noun that needs to be capitalized now?)

I guess the Palestinians and the Israelis will finally realize neither is going anywhere and will settle this whole thing. We need to band together as carbon-based Earth life forms. Or maybe we can ship them off to separate planets so their brewing civil wars won't disrupt everybody else like their peace process has.

I have always maintained that it is illogical to think that of all the planets in the universe, ours is the only one with intelligent life on it. It just doesn't make sense. Or maybe we don't have intelligent life on Earth at all, but just think we do. That would be worse for the space aliens, conversation-wise.






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Slumdog Slave Sale

After Slumdog Millionaire, the little girl star was almost sold into slavery by her father. And let's not kid ourselves, it wasn't to work as a maid. The supposed buyers were actually reporters from a British tabloid.

Now the father/pimp insists that he was set up, and the girl supports her father, albeit not very convincingly.

While a wonderful experience for the kids, it is also a trap for them. People around them are going to get greedy and jealous and try to cash in or exploit the new-found fame. And once the children see what life is like outside their slum, they want something different for themselves.

"I want to live somewhere it doesn't smell like poo," said the girl in one recent interview. Imagine that as a life goal.

This story is almost as bad as what happened to the kids in The Kite Runner. They were paid a few thousand dollars for their work. Clearly ripped off by the producers of the movie. Since people are uneducated there, they really believed that the boy actor had been raped.

It is not acceptable for producers to pick up poor children, use them to make millions of dollars, and dump them back in the slum and poverty they were living in before. And paying only a few thousand dollars to a child when you've made millions off of them and their work is criminal.








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4.20.2009

Axelrod Makes a Bad Guess on Torture

What on Earth makes David Axelrod think that the legal community in the United States is going to shut up and ignore the program of torture exercised by the Bush Administration? Nothing short of the political and career death of the architects of the Bush Administration's torture policy is going to satisfy them.

Part of never having anything like this take place again is the example that will be made of the policy's perpetrators. As in, those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

Democracy is fragile. The democratic institutions in this country took a real beating under the Bush Administration. Now they're pissed and determined never to let anything like that happen again.

So go ahead and whistle in the dark, Mr. Axelrod. You aren't going to win this one no matter how much you wish for it.







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4.19.2009

Impeach Judge Jay Bybee

The man who orchestrated the legal protection for the torturers of the Bush Administration should not be a Federal judge.

Jay Bybee wrote memos, or oversaw their writing, that drew a line as to what conduct was legal in interrogating terror suspects, and what conduct was not. That line is essential and needs to be drawn. The problem is where Jay Bybee put the line. His work allowed interrogations that went as far a "organ failure" without it being considered torture.

How can someone like that be a lifetime Federal judge? His morals are lacking, his judgement is in absentia and his legal reasoning is suspect.

Impeach Federal Judge Jay Bybee!



4.17.2009

Susan Boyle T-Shirts and Total Fan Site Listing

Susan Boyle T-Shirts! Click here! http://www.cafepress.com/susan_boyle_fan

http://www.susanboylefansite.com/susan-boyle-store/

Her other fan sites and some of them really need fan additions, so get cracking:

http://susanboylefansite.blogspot.com

and Susan Boyle twitter feed:
www.twitter.com/Susan_Boyle_Fan

The most-mentioned fan site:
http://www.susan-boyle.com/

Another fan site with many interviews with celebrities about Susan Boyle
http://www.susanboyle-bgt.co.uk/

An Unofficial Site - but with lots of comment threads and user activity
http://www.susanboylefanclub.com/

Susan Boyle Facebook Fan Group
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=72212861218

A General Pop Fan Site - with a special page for Susan Boyle
http://www.fanpop.com/spots/susan-boyle

Has a Twitter Feed with all comments about Susan Boyle popping up on the screen
http://thisissusanboyle.magnify.net/?from=guide

Wiki Entry
http://16news.ham-radio-op.net/susan-boyle-wikipedia

The Torture Memos - We Already Knew In 2006 What Was Happening

REPRINT OF BLOG POST FROM 2006:

Let's take a minute to review some very important legal documents in the debate on the Bush Administration's torture policy.

There is the August 1, 2002 memo that sets the standard for "torture" as "inflict[ing] pain that is difficult to endure. Physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." The memo goes on to say that the application of "mind-altering substances" to be torture "they must produce an extreme effect" that "rise to the level of 'disrupting profoundly the sense or personality.' " Honestly, is that how your mother raised you, to call organ failure the standard of torture? What about pulling our fingernails? That would not be torture under this definition.

After the public release of this legal analysis, the President withdrew it and ordered another memo to be written. The memo of December 30, 2004 reversed some of the conclusions of the August 1, 2002 memo, which was a good thing. What it did not do was outline exactly what was legal to do within the context of an interrogation.

So what good is that?

The 2004 memo lists many cases describing fact patterns that have not been been ruled as constituting torture in U.S. courts. BUT - just when you think you have an answer the following footnote is inserted:

December 1, 2004 memo from the Office of the Assistant Attorney General, footnote 6

" ... In addition, this memorandum does not address the many other sources of law that may apply, depending on the circumstances, to the detention or interrogation of detainees (for example, the Geneva Conventions; the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. 801 et seq.; the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, 18 U.S.C. 3261-3267; and the War Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. 2441, among others)." (emphasis added)

The memo only applies to one section of law, the federal criminal prohibition against torture, in other words.

So not only doesn't the 2004 memo set a firm line between legal and illegal activities, it ignores military law and other federal laws. But people need to know what those rules are. They need to know what is allowed, and what will get them thrown in prison after the next election.

For the sake of edification, let's outline a few of fact patterns that have not been deemed torture under the one federal law the 2004 memo addresses.

The meaning of "severe."

"In Ireland v. United Kingdom, 25 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A)(1978) the court concluding that the combined use of wall-standing, hooding, subjection to noise, deprivation of sleep, and deprivation of food and drink constituted inhuman or degrading treatment but not torture under the European Convention." See footnote 14 of the 2004 memo.

Again, there is not discussion of what does constitute torture, just what it isn't. That is not to say that such actions are permissible and legal in the U.S., it just means that under this section of law, these lawyers are giving those acts as an example of what is not torture. Helpful, eh?

In the Senate Foreign Relations Committee report advising the ratification of the Convention Against Torture (CAT), "... The term "torture, in United States and international usage, is usually reserved for extreme, deliberate and unusually cruel practices, for example, sustained systematic beating, application of electric currents to sensitive parts of the body, and tying up or hanging in positions that cause extreme pain." See page 6 of 2004 memo.

That's all for today. I will continue offering concrete examples to people of what the legal definition of torture is, or may be.

The Torture Memos - We Knew In 2006 What Was Going On

This is a reprint of something I wrote in 2006. Knowledge of the torture memos has been around that long. Why is all the outrage saved for today? Cowards in the legal community. They didn't want to take on the Bush Administration. Of course, they are all outraged now that it is safe and even popular. Where were they when it counted most?

While working for the CIA in 2006, I wrote on my classified blog that Waterboarding Is Torture, and Torture is Wrong. I outlined how torturing people by using waterboarding could still get someone convicted of a crime despite the immunity law.

I was fired after being told that "everything I have ever read, and everything I have ever written will be examined for signs of illegal activity." With that hanging over my head, I went out into the world by myself.

I got letters and calls from people all over the world. The words of support were gratifying, and I will never forget the people who wrote to me. It really made a tremendous difference at a time when I was reeling. Thank you again.


2006 blog post:
The federal statute making torture criminal is found in 18 U.S.C. sections 2340-2340A. The statute cites the definition of torture: "means an act committed by a person acting under color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control."

The 2004 Torture Memo restricted its analysis to "(1) the meaning of severe; (2) the meaning of "severe physical pain or suffering"; (3) the meaning of "severe mental pain or suffering"; and (4) the meaning of "specifically intended." " See page 5 of the Department of Justice, Office of the Assistant Attorney General, Memorandum for James B. Comey, Deputy Attorney General, Re: Legal Standards Applicable Under 18 U.S.C. sections 2340-2340A, dated December 30, 2004. This memo is commonly known as one of the Torture memos, and will be referred to here as Torture Memo II.

The last post discussed and gave examples from the Torture Memo II of what was not severe.
Footnote 13 of Torture Memo II cites dictionary definitions of torture to bolster the view that to be considered torture, severity of pain or suffering must be present. Readers can look at dictionaries themselves. However, Econo-girl considers it significant that examples of what would constitute torture are given within the context of references to dictionary definitions.

Specifically, burning, crushing and wounding are the actions mentioned in Torture Memo II footnote 13 as examples of what would constitute torture.

This is important because almost nowhere else in the document is specific guidance given as to what torture actually is. Much describes what it is not.

So one thing we know is that burning, crushing and wounding are referred to as concrete examples of torture in Torture Memo II. The authors are careful to note that "[w]e emphatically are not saying that only such historical techniques - or similar ones - can constitute "torture" under sections 2340-2340A." So torture is recognized as being broader in scope that burning, crushing and wounding. But in terms of drawing a line, that is the only one I have seen so far.

Stay tuned.

War Crimes! Why Are We So Outraged?

Torture as the Bush Administration's Biggest Legacy - the officials of the Bush Administration committed war crimes. The footnotes in the Torture Memos which I discussed extensively in 2006 show that the Bush Administration did indeed know that Waterboarding is Torture, and Torture is Wrong. And they authorized it anyway.

I wrote about the Torture Memos back in 2006 and was roundly ignored. So did the New York Times, by the way. And this outcry we hear now is a little cowardly. Where were all these civil liberty patriots when the violations were happening? They were too frightened to confront the Bush Administration.

As a contractor at the CIA, I spoke up about the wrongs of torture and its illegality through my classified blog. I warned the people doing waterboarding that they may be criminally prosecuted. Of course, my intelligence career was destroyed. I now practice elder law.

There are probably going to be people prosecuted for torture eventually. In the typical American way, some lower ranking person is going to be strung up as an example. We can't let that happen.

The Dick Cheney and John Yoo types can't be allowed to walk away without consequences. If they can, then other outrages on civil liberties will be attempted, and will one day be successful.




Body Image Issues? Try This Dance Costume

Funny, silly and fun dance routine with people wearing large stretchy things.

4.16.2009

Susan Boyle: I'm Your Biggest American Fan!

The reaction of the Britain's Got Talent judges when Susan Boyle confidently strode on the stage said it all. There were no expectations for success. Our entertainment industry is so trained to judge everything by appearances and age that a singer is judged before she even sings one note. Imagine the absurdity of that. How can you judge a singer by appearance and age?

Susan Boyle has a voice that is transcendent. I watched her video dozens of times, and when I left to meet some friends, her voice still reverberated within me. And it wasn't just her voice. It was her heartfelt delivery and emotional truth.

Where has she been all this time? Singing in a choir in Scotland. Singing karaoke in a local pub.

This raises a point I've always thought about these talent shows: the people who are choosing the singers for music labels aren't getting the real talent that is out there. Susan Boyle is a star. In a few days, there has been over 11 million hits on her YouTube video. That's more than Britney Spears' new single "If U Seek Amy."

Susan Boyle's dream is to become a professional singer. I don't think she has to worry about that any more.












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4.15.2009

Susan Boyle - Singer - Britains Got Talent 2009 (With Lyrics)

This singer has one of the most powerful voices I have ever heard. Her appearance is the source of mockery and her ambition is laughed at. She is 47 years old and claims never to have been kissed, something that is sure to be rectified soon now that she is famous.



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4.14.2009

Obama Can Shut Down the Internet

Get past the bitching about paying taxes, SXEPHIL talks about the bill just introduced that would allow the President of the United States to completely shut down the Internet without regard to any other provision of law.

Acai Berry FAILS - I Found This 100% Guaranteed Weight Loss Plan!

It's amazing. Based on the evolution of the human body and its interaction with our individual DNA, a program has been developed that peels that fat off of you with solid, steady results.

Our body energy system is electrical and chemical. The laws of physics that operate in your own body can be harnessed to create a newer, slimmer you. And it's all natural!

How many times have you wished for a cost-effective weight-loss plan that performs miracles right before your eyes? Well, here it is: Eat less. Exercise.

Nothing is cheaper or more natural. Divide the amount of food you in half. Personally, I add more vegetables since that is a weakness of mine. Walk 45 minutes a day at a fast pace.




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4.13.2009

Truck on Fire in Columbia Heights

There's a truck on fire at 10th and Monroe Streets, NW in Washington, DC. My husband is sitting in our study working on his novel and sees billowing smoke going past our window. He doesn't leave his chair, but does take the time to call out to me about the smoke.

I leap to my feet, run to the street and find 10th Street NW blocked off and a truck with flames coming out of it.

All seems to be under control.

Ronson Breakup with Lindsay Lohan Planned for PR

I have some experience analyzing the media, and I can tell by the media placing and timing of the breakup, and the details of how it happened, that Lohan's ex Samantha Ronson planned her breakup with Lindsay Lohan to get a lot of publicity.

There are so many ways to end a relationship. There is absolutely no reason to end one with cameras flashing to the complete surprise of the person you are breaking up with. And there Ronson is, giving the British version of the middle finger to the camera with two celebrity whores hanging on her shoulders. I am a little surprised that US Magazine published the photo. Someone there had to know what that gesture meant.

I feel really bad for Lindsay. Her feelings were used for publicity.

Ronson apparently has a serious substance abuse problem as her family staged an intervention for her that she walked out of. And the family blamed Lindsay Lohan. No, actually it is Ronson's fault. Pressing Ronson to break up with Lindsay Lohan is not going to get her into rehab.

NEWSFLASH: Ronson, nobody knew who you were before dating Lindsay Lohan, and shortly, they will not care if you are dead or alive. In fact, they probably don't now.

We are with you Lindsay.

Unemployment at 15%

That's right! Counting the unemployment of all people out of work and looking for work puts the unemployment rate at 15%. Changing the formula for the unemployment rate was a trick Reagan came up with just prior to bis reelection.

Is the Government ever going to get honest about how bad it is right now? I'd like to see it.

People are starting to feel really optimistic about the recession and its being over soon. Not so fast. There's still millions of ARM mortgages that haven't reset yet. When that happens, there will be another hit to the credit system that is gasping for air already.

4.11.2009

Sabotage!

San Francisco suffered a serious attack on its telephone infrastructure when the fiber optic cables servicing 52,214 customers were cut. It took until 4:30 p.m. the next day for service to be fully restored.

No terrorism links are suspected. But imagine that sabotage like this could be a part of an overall plan coordinated with other attacks, like bombings or crime. It's a scary thought.

Hopefully this will be a heads-up to secure the fiber optic cables more carefully in the future.

Dunkin Donuts Robber Returns Cash and is Arrested

Poor kid. He robs a Dunkin Donuts and then feels bad and returns the money, only to be arrested for the initial crime.

I understand arresting him. But can't he be given a kind of break here? He's a kid, he thought better of it and returned the money. They only caught him because he returned the money.

Seriously, I think community service on this one. He made his escape on a bike, for God's sake.

We Need More Mothers Like These

Antonio Cosme Velasco Soriano, 69, was out of jail on a three day pass in Spain when he stopped to taunt the mother of the girl he raped in 1998. So she followed him into a bar after getting some gasoline, poured it on him and lit a match. He died 11 days later.

The mother, whose name is being withheld because Spanish law forbids publicizing the name of a rape victim, has been arrested.

4.10.2009

Kissing Cuba

OK, the Communists took over. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara overthrew the creeps we had installed in Cuba and, despite our best efforts, the Communists stayed in power for over fifty years.

The people who left Cuba are really angry. They came to the United States, dealt drugs, and moved on to other things after they made their money. But they are still angry. They want the rest of the United States to be angry, too.

We're not.

How long are we going to be in a grudge match with that tiny island nation Cuba? There's no point to it now.

There's no Cold War anymore. There's no domino theory. Nuclear missiles are not on Cuba's shores.

For one, I will be glad when our foreign policy respecting this island nation is taken out of the hands of a few frothing radicals and put back into the hands of reasonable people. That's all the Congressional Black Caucus is asking for. And it's about time.




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Obama Fingers!

Der Spiegal reports that a German frozen food company is selling fried chicken with a curry dipping sauce as "Obama Fingers." Lacking our cultural reference to fried chicken and racial stereotypes, it was meant to be a "homage to the American lifestyle and the new US President."

You know that the American brand is doing well when fast food is named after your President. President Barack Obama embodies the message of hope.

Judith Witting, sales manager for Spreche, the company in question, claimed the idea 'was to get in on the Obama-mania which is continuing to grip Germany. The word "fingers" in the name refers to the fact that it is a finger food. "It's like hotdogs," Witting said. "No one would ever think they are actually from dogs." '

Charming cultural disconnect. No one was suggesting that Spreche was actually selling the fingers of our President.

So those Germans don't get it. But does it really matter? We finally have a President that doesn't embarrass us. Let's be grateful if someone thinks that naming fast food after our President is good for sales.

What a pleasant change.

4.09.2009

Pine Cone Sex Scandal

In Belgrade, Serbia, a lonely lady with a libido found a solution by using a pine cone to satisfy her urges. It was just a regular pine cone, nothing extraordinary. She was inspired during a hike in the woods.

The problem is that it got stuck and two hours of surgery were required to get it out again.

What a way to make the record books!

Pirates and the Somalia War

After the war in Somalia, the ocean waters off of the country's coastline became a dumping ground for toxic chemicals that killed the fish that the local people relied on to eat. Children were dying of pollution, not in some abstract way, but quite literally. In fact, it was not just children. Adults died of the pollution also.

Deprived of a means of support, a few of the local people turned to piracy.

That doesn't make it right, but we must understand that when a nation is cast adrift it can become a target of international illegal corporate behavior.

The root of the piracy problem is ecological. We can't keep dumping in the oceans as some kind of infinite waste bin without consequences. People are already suffering with disease and no fish to eat. This is unacceptable.

4.07.2009

Reagan Was Wrong

I know a lot of people who call Reagan the best President we ever had. Personally, I could never see the appeal of orange blush and dyed red hair, but that's just me.

Aside from petty complaints, Ronald Reagan ushered in a free market free-for-all that has ended with our banks broken and our people in debt and horrible unemployment. The unemployment is almost as bad as it was back when Reagan was President.

One of the first things Reagan did was to eliminate all programs for researching or supporting alternative energy. Not really thinking ahead there, was he?

And then there was the famous idea "let industry regulate themselves." Now we have people who die from bad food and bad juice. Food poisoning happens all the time. That never used to be the case. One thing you used to be able to rely on is the safety of the American food supply.

The motto of the Reagan era was "Greed is Good." We are now living with the results of this failed philosophy. Families are being thrown in the street because of this philosophy. People are killing their children because of the economic tragedy that has befallen this great nation. It's about time these bad ideas are reversed.










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Easter - What Does It Mean?

So this nice guy gets arrested, beaten up, forced on a march where he is yelled at and has things thrown at him, and then is sent to die by being nailed to a cross until his chest muscles give out and he slowly suffocates. Never one to waste an opportunity, he saves the soul of the guy next to him before he dies.

Then three days later he rises from the dead to show everyone that he is indeed the son of God and has defeated death. Christianity is born.

This miracle is celebrated by coloring eggs, hiding them, and having little children run to find them. There's lots of candy eaten, often in the shape of a rabbit. Branches from a pussy willow tree are put in a vase and little wooden eggs are hung from them as decoration. In Poland, there are contests where one person hits the egg of another person and the one whose egg is not broken is the winner.

The truth is Easter is the combination of a pagan holiday for the Saxon goddess Eastre and the Christian commemoration of Christ's resurrection, which explains some of the disconnect between how we celebrate the holiday and what is alleged to have happened on that day two thousand years ago.

What does this all mean? The roots of Easter are the celebration of rebirth and revival, explaining the whole egg thing as it relates to fertility. The Easter bunny could - only a guess - relate because rabbits are very fertile. Again, referring to birth and rebirth.

The plastic grass is a little harder to tie in, but let's just call it a reminder that we are killing Mother Earth with pollution.

What I take from this holiday - which I celebrated as a young child but no longer do - is the message that every year we get another chance to get it right. And that no matter how bad we've screwed it up, there's always hope. After all, it's Easter!













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Arlen Specter's Narrow Miss

Arlen Specter narrowly missed defeat in his reelection bid for the U.S. Senate after his prosecutorial role in cross examining Anita Hill during Clarence Thomas' Senate hearing. Anita Hill was a law professor who said that the Supreme Court nominee sexually harrassed her while she worked for him. He won the nomination anyway, but Senator Arlen Specter's behavior towards her while questioning Professor Hill made many women angry. It was the way Senator Specter treated everything Anita Hill said with disbelief.

There is no doubt that any man who came forward with allegations, whether of sexual harrassment or not, would have been taken more seriously than Professor Hill was.

The next election, Senator Specter faced a very tough reelection race from a woman but won it despite the anger directed towards him.

So now he is in a tight race again. This time, with a former AIG executive. I really have a hard time thinking that Arlen Specter won't beat someone with that kind of baggage.

Senator Arlen Specter has always been a moderate Republican. I even heard him say once, "Democrats vote for Republicans" by way of explaining why he was an independent thinker and didn't tow the party line all the time.

I interned for Senator Arlen Specter and he is a very bright man, but not so personable to his staff. In fact, someone could work for him for years and the Senator won't even know his name. Odd for a politician. But you are voting for a Senator to fight for you, not Boss of the Year.

Let's hope he doesn't pay the price for his independence.










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Nissan Cube - Just Try Buying One

I can't even imagine what "a raindrop-inspired roof" would look like. Does the roof leak?

We bought a Nissan Altima recently, and I really wanted a hybrid. All I got from the car dealership was a lot of noise about how bad they were, how rescuers didn't want to get you out of a crushed car with all the electrical stuff in there, etc. It was a roundabout way of saying they didn't have any in stock.

So, yes, in the end, I got a non-hybrid. I love it, it is fine, but I still would have preferred a hybrid Nissan Altima. But we were under the gun because our car failed inspection for the second time and the local parking ticket lady was on to us.

4.06.2009

Sallie Mae Gets It Right: HIre Americans. The Big Four are Traitors.

List of traitors who need to follow Sallie Mae example: Booz Allen Hamilton, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG/BearingPoint, Deloitte Touche.

Sallie Mae recognizes how dependent it is on the Federal government. So it decided to do the good business thing and get rid of the support jobs in foreign lands and bring those jobs back home.

Booz Allen Hamilton, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG/BearingPoint, Deloitte Touche are not so smart. They all make a fortune off of Federal Government contracts. Yet, all of their support staff, hundreds of formerly American jobs, are in India now.

NEWSFLASH TO BIG FOUR:

When you make your money off of American taxpayers, you need to hire Americans. It seems like obvious business sense, but I guess anyone can get a big head and think they don't need to pay attention to the basics of their business. You know, like Wall Street.















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Seven Deadly Sins of Banking

This report has caused quite a stir even though almost none of the reporters writing about it have read it. But that doesn't stop them.

Bank loans are defaulting. The prediction is that they will default even more in the future. The cry is that not enough bailout money was given to the banking industry to forestall disaster. Worse than the Great Depression! Now run around and scream like a crazy person.

The problem is being approached from too narrow a perspective. Banks will not have defaulted loans if people have jobs. The focus needs to be on getting jobs for people and loans for small businesses. That is the foundation that our banks stand on.

If people are paying their mortgages then they will have an income to do it with. There will be no need for panic or for cries of Great Depression II.

Unlike 1929, the U.S. Government is taking a proactive role in addressing problems with our economy. The hyped-up fear is misplaced.

Another Great Depression Practice

Local communities are printing their own currencies now, copying a practice from the Great Depression. It keeps the money local because no one else will accept it. In Detroit, it is the Detroit Cheers. Odd name for a currency in the capitol of homicide.

What should Columbia Heights' local currency be? The "You Can Still Buy Drugs Here" or "What Are Those Old Men Doing in the Park Anyway"? Or something hopeful like "Today a Dog Park, Tomorrow the World"?

Maybe I should start my own currency: the Econo-Buck. With the Econo-Buck you'll be able to sing like Edith Piaf, play violin like Mozart, play piano like Herbie Hancock and look like Brad Pit or the First Lady - but only when no one can see, hear or record you.

4.03.2009

Michelle Obama: The Touch of Democracy

Appalling! First Lady Michelle Obama thinks she's as good as the Queen!

Well, she is. And so am I, but you won't see me underlining the point by patting Her Majesty on the back. I've always wondered if I would have the strength to refuse to kiss her hand if that is what protocol required. The answer is probably no.

There's a kind of natural grace in our First Lady that makes us all proud that she represents us.

I can't help but wonder whether the break with WASPs in the White House has anything to do with the increased familiarity. And isn't it about time. Americans hold the British Crown and British titles with a weird reverence for a group of people who fought a bloody war to be free of the British King and Queen.

Of course, I am one of the worst Anglophiles around. I followed the movements of Princess Diana with passion and actually woke my father up at 1 a.m. sobbing about her death. I didn't even do that for my engagement.

My parents were very concerned for me: "It's not like you knew her." my father suggested helpfully. My sisters needed to intervene and explain about Princess Diana as cultural phenomenon. He still didn't get it.

Ah, well. Give the old Queen an iPod and pat her on the back. I suppose next she'll be barbecuing in the back yard of the palace.















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Kathy Ireland Isn't Fat

The photo in People magazine isn't a flattering one. She does look pregnant. But she doesn't look that bad. Sure, I guess if I was a supermodel and I saw myself in an untouched-up pose I would be upset as well. And if I gained 25 pounds.

But is that really a cause for panic?

How much of America would love to be only 25 pounds heavier than their prime? Most of them. That doesn't even really qualify as obese. Not to mention she has had a few kids.

This article is clearly a PR gimmick intended to sell her book. And it taps into how bad women already feel about each other and themselves by calling Kathy Ireland fat. Wow, we think. If she's fat, then I'm a porker.

So I am calling for a boycott of her book. Don't buy Kathy Ireland's new book. And stop buying People magazine!

4.02.2009

Governor of New York is Illiterate - Leisure Lad

David Paterson, governor of New York cannot read Braille, according to this link, and, since he has been blind since birth is illiterate...fascinating.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0209/Patersons_blindness.html

Affirmative Action gone awry! Can you imagine, his aides can give him whatever they like for him to read, and he has to guess things...
Of course, newspapers are not made in Braille, so if he could read Braille, he still would have trouble, but he has NEVER read anything in his life, unlike many blind people of the pre-computer era who, forced to read Braille, read and wrote on their own.

An iPod for the Queen?

Who is handling the gift-giving for this Administration? First, there's the junk that they gave to Gordon Brown. I mean, movie DVDs?

And now President Obama gives the Queen of England an iPod with his speeches on it. That's a level of hubris hard to imagine. It's like giving pictures of yourself as Christmas presents to all your friends. Autographed.

Dude. This is the Queen of England. Do you know how many world leaders she has met? And you give her an iPod with your speeches on it. I bet she can't wait to listen to it. She definitely hasn't heard enough speeches in her life from world leaders. Or perhaps he was thinking that it could become a collectors item one day.

Whoever is handling the gift-giving for this Administration needs to be replaced. Period.

Big Four Mistake!

Note to Big Four: When you have a major client and they have a business, like building. When you need something built, you use your client. That's just business.

When your client is the US Government, you don't take hundreds of American workers, fire them, and replace them with Indians. Bad business.






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Notre Dame and the Catholic Controversy - Leisure Lad - Justin Benedict

I am not pro-life, though if my mother had had the benefits of a sonogram and abortion laws in 1965--she might have seen my cleft palate--and it might have been over for me. So I have some sympathy for those who believe that the fetus is a living thing.

After all, when a woman WANTS her child, she doesn't refer to the contents of her womb as "the fetus" but as "the baby". Certainly if babies were being killed after being born we'd all be up in arms--not that I'm saying that's the case with abortion,but you might be a bit more broad-minded...or are you only allowed to be broad minded if you're a liberal?

The good people at Notre Dame have as much right to object (non-violently) to Obama speaking there as anyone has to cheer him. I approve of civil disobedience on the right as well as the left, as well as the protest of a peaceful petition. Rock on, Cardinal Newman Society!

4.01.2009

Serial Killer Releases Pop Album

And performs for prison guards and court officials, too. This is in Singapore.

The AFP reports "Henyansyah was arrested in July last year after bags containing the dismembered body parts of one of his alleged victims, Herry Santoso, were found on a Jakarta roadside."

But all that travail hasn't taken the stars out of his eyes. He is publishing an autobiography soon.

From AFP: "Indeed, his autobiography, "The Untold Story of Ryan," includes maps to the graves in his parents' backyard, as well as photographs that chart his progress from village boy to Koran recital teacher, to simpering, shirtless male model"

Can you imagine making a map to the graves of all the people you killed and putting it in your autobiography? I guess it would be too sick to contemplate, except if you are a serial killer. The court will decide in April if he is put to death. My vote is YES.

Virginia is for Drug Dealers

The drug war devastation in Mexico is being directly linked to gun dealers in the United States. Those fun gun dealers are located in gun-friendly states like Virginia.

While drug addiction may be costing Mexicans their lives and Americans their families, we need to keep in mind that more than just drugs dealers are making money. Gun dealers are, too.

The Administration's proposal to search vehicles going into Mexico as well as coming from Mexico is a good one. Depriving the Mexican cartels of guns will take away much of its power and certainly reduce the harm to innocent bystanders. The drug wars themselves will not stop, just the form they take right now.

Aside from all that, if Americans stopped using drugs, there would be no drug war at all. Another idea is to decriminalize drug addiction and treat it instead. It's a good thought, especially since arresting people and putting them in prison hasn't worked since we started doing that in the 1950s. Treating addiction would do at least something towards addressing American demand for drugs. Not much, but at least something.

My idea is that everyone who is arrested for buying illegal drugs more than once has everything they own confiscated. Yes, that would unfairly burden the more affluent. But wouldn't that be a nice change for once?

Free Food!

It's the time of year when you can pick free food from your front yard. Dandelion greens! The early leaves of the dandelion plant in the Springtime are the best and most tender for eating. If you wait for later in the season, the leaves tend to turn really tough.

To eat dandelion greens: pick them, heat two tablespoons of oil in a skillet, saute the greens.

The big challenge will be to find dandelion greens that a dog hasn't peed on.

3.31.2009

Off the Fat of the Land

Defenses of the Big Four accounting/consulting firms are pouring in: it was only support jobs, we're still hiring in the US, it's only hundreds of jobs out of ten thousand.

Let's see. You make a fortune in the United States, from the United States Government, from United States taxpayer money, and you fire hundreds of Americans to hire Indians? Does that sound right to you? Like good business?

It seems to me that those hundreds of jobs could be useful here in the U.S. And not all of the jobs sent to India are support staff, either. If it is expensive to hire Americans, it is more expensive not to.

Let's keep our money at home, America.











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National Health Insurance as Competitive Advantage

American business would be greatly benefited by a national health insurance program. Starbucks spends more money on health insurance than on coffee. And that is the ground level each American company starts from in competing with foreign companies. Because all those other nations we are competing with don't saddle their businesses with the costs of health care.

Imagine that expense is taken away from the business itself. Wouldn't that be a relief to the bottom line? And the benefits socially to know that your child won't die from complications from an ear infection or that you can get your leg set if you break it.

That kind of peace of mind is a basic human right, not a privilege.

And let's leave until later how nationalization will bring down costs and standardize treatment.














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Co-Dependent Gardener

I know you're a weed, but if I take care of you, you'll change.

Getting Fired at the Big Four

Hey all you professional types, the ones who thought that getting a degree would protect you from outsourcing to India, you're screwed.

The Big Four accounting/consulting firms are outsourcing all their labor to India and are hiding behind the economic crisis to do it. Hundreds of American people are out of work with no prospect of their jobs returning. It's just that it is easier to fire all of them under the cover of the economic crisis.

So now do you care that manufacturing jobs have moved to Third World countries?

Of course Booz Allen Hamilton, PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG/BearingPoint, Deloitte Touche types can hire whom they want. But the Americans being replaced were working in US Government contracts. So now American taxpayer dollars are being sent to India to revive that economy, instead of being used here to revive ours.

That's what I call Fiscal Traitors.








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3.30.2009

Government Contractor Fiscal Traitors: Booz Allen Hamilton PricewaterhouseCoopers KPMG/BearingPoint Deloitte Touche

Fiscal traitors are people who would fire American computer programmers, support personnel, technicians, software testers, accountants on US Government contracts and replace them with workers in India.

Does the US Congress know anything about this? If we need a stimulus bill to get Americans working again, why would US taxpayer money go to accountants in India? This is why I am not a fan of globalization. Americans get screwed.

In light of the recent public vilification of Wall Street bankers and financiers, you would think that the Big Four accounting/consulting firms would take heed. Instead they began laying off hundreds of Americans and hiring Indian workers in their place.

Everything that was predicted about globalization is taking place. Our American workers are being replaced by Third World workers, and now those jobs are white collar middle class jobs, too.

America and the Republican Party have been hoodwinked into supporting globalization of trade because they thought that it was a great vehicle to force American goods into Third World markets and devastate the local producers of those goods. They were right. Much misery resulted and no one cared. But now the other side of the coin in this devil's deal is becoming obvious: cheap labor. Cheap professional labor.

Stop US Government contractors from hiring anyone but American citizens with US taxpayer money! Now! Add it as a provision to the budget Congress is debating right now!

Let's see how much Americans care when their college educations do not protect them from "that big sucking sound" coming from South of the Border. Or East of the Border. Or West of the Border. Get it?






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