Monday, January 30, 2006

If only Mike Wallace was Alive

An Open Letter to 60 Minutes.

I really enjoyed the hard hitting story on Deborah Voight’s weight loss. This is the kind of investigative reporting and powerful storytelling that will keep you safe from lawsuits, right-wing bloggers and Karl Rove’s wrath. I look forward to more of the same from the new gentler 60 Minutes.

Seriously, what kind of chicken shit outfit have you become? I’m just glad Mike Wallace isn’t alive to see this.

Just who and what are you afraid of? Just how cowed are you to be doing celebrity weight loss stories? 60 Minutes is one of the few shows that still has the resources to bust open something like the domestic spying story. You could demand the White House memos regarding Hurricane Katrina. You could refuse to be sucked into the lazy, “He said, she said” type of political reporting. Dig for some deep truth damn it!

You used to drive the nation’s conversation, not hide in the corner and worry about right-wing nutball bloggers (who as you now know had financial connections to right-wing groups and was tipped off before the story even aired).

There are so many real stories you could do, for example:

o How much money is really being lost in Iraq and who’s getting the pay offs? Don’t pussyfoot around talking to mid-level bureaucrats who wring their hands and shrug their shoulders. Do the kind of work that leads to law breaking people going to jail.

o Do a story about outsourcing and the massive net negative impact on the majority of people. They can’t connect the dots because they think it is just their problem, a personal failing instead of a systematic process. You can connect the dots.

o Show us how capital is chasing cheap labor around the globe, gaming the system and breaking both international and US laws to exploit people and destroy lives.

o Do a segment about what our massive debt to China MEANS to all of us in the form of a compelling story.

We want REAL stories about important issues. That is what you do. Or at least that is what you did. Come on, get in the game! We don’t need anymore silly ass stories like tonight, leave those to ET. You are 60 Minutes for god’s sake. So you got your nose bloodied, suck it up. Do something you can be proud of. Get some lawyers with guts to bullet proof your stories if you are afraid of being sued again. If they sue you, tell us how they responded. Make sure we know what bullies they are.

You can save some lives with your reporting! You can expose a man who is ignoring our constitution and who would be king instead of a president. Or you can become 60 Minutes-Lite and keep covering the fascinating lives of singers, dancers, athletes and actors.

Be MORE daring this year. Be relevant. Make 60 minutes EVENT TV again. You sure as hell aren’t going to do it running weight loss stories.

Mr. Spocko

Saturday, January 28, 2006

What part of Upholding the Constitution didn't you understand Mr. Bush?

Well of course the NY Times said the same things about the president's spying that I did (read the whole thing here). Only they said it much better than I, using all those new fangled words in smooth sentences and powerful phrases. I just hope it has some impact on people. Will it? Will it be powerful enough and compelling enough for people who support the president in all things legal and illegal to say, "Hmmm, maybe he IS acting above the law. Maybe this IS an abuse of power." I kind of doubt it, but I'm glad it has been said.

It is all a part of the whole process so men of high ideals will finally say, Enough. So that good Republicans will say, "This is wrong and must stop." So that it won't remain political suicide to stand up to the inevitable Karl Rove swift boating that comes when you speak out against the President. Bush says he doesn't look at polls, but you can bet Karl does, and when he sees slippage he knows that they have to work harder to get their stated agenda pushed forward.

Karl Rove has already said it proudly in his fall preview speech, this administration is about destruction of others and positioning their opponents in the most craven fashion. It is never about "How can be fight this war better? What is the best way to rebuilt the gulf coast? Is there a way out of our energy woes that doesn't lead to massive foreign debt?" For them is always about, "How can we destroy our critics who might point out our mistakes?"

It is really stunning when you think about it. There are no real policy people in the White House. No one coming up with good ideas on better governance. That Rush line about the Democrats having no ideas is a load of crap. It the REPUBLICANS that have no ideas. They use the same crappy ones over and over. Give it to the cronies! Let the lobbyists write the bills and run the government. Not very cutting edge.

What counts as a good idea in the Bush White House? Calling illegal spying on Americans "Terrorist Surveillance" or calling the estate tax the Death Tax. Those phrases are the crowning achievement of their policy people (who are really political people.) They have no governing chops.

Now I appreciate a good tagline as much as the next guy, but if you dig under the tag line it's the same giveaways to the usual suspects.

In this White House there are no teams of people working overtime to make America a better place. Their teams of people are working to make America a scarier place.

Karl is in charge and he says the plan is, "We are going to make the democrats look weak on terror." That's it. No Positive Vision. Of course in this SOTU they will roll out some whore 'cliches like "more energy from bio mass! And TAR sands! But just like the "We are going to Mars! speech and "We'll make a hydrogen car!" They are just words in the wind. There is no good health care plans, just taglines and slogans.

You know now could be the time for a positive legacy, but instead he will keep doing what has sadly worked over and over, smear opponents, pay off cronies, pander to right wing religious types, lie to or misdirect the press, feed peoples fear and appeal to their lesser natures, their inner Archie Bunker.

This is administration is never about lifting the American people up. They are always about running down the Americans who disagree with them.

Everyone Buy this Book! Bush's Lapdogs : How the Press Lay Down for the Bush White House by Eric Boehlert

Eric Boehlert is one of the finest reporters working today.

He's done some amazing work at Salon covering how Clear Channel was reshaping the radio and music industry. He has a new book coming out in March -- Bush's Lapdogs : How the Press Lay Down for the Bush White House . I'd like to get some pre-orders in the pipeline for this. I've already ordered mine. I'm betting it will be a great read for all you media and political junkies.

Can you imagine how much more interesting the President's press conferences would be if the press demanded that they get follow up questions? What if their bosses had more guts so when they got a call from Rove or Hughes screaming for their reporters to be more "respectful" of the President they were told to go pound sand?

I'd love to hear the stories about how a few publishers, editors or reporters didn't succumb to threats and the ACTUAL actions the White House took that withdrew access. Why does this happen? Well, we'll all have to read Eric's book to find out now won't we?

(Puppy photos from the brilliant Sharon Beals, you can get her prints or cards at or this clever 500 piece puzzle at Amazon. Her books and cards make great gifts for your pet loving friends. You could also buy some NTodd photos to cheer the dude up, he's having a rough week and we all love the big lug.

P.S. Blogger is acting up. I just lost part of my brilliant comments and the photos I uploaded aren't showing up. Sigh. Maybe it will be working later. Until then go order Eric's book!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bush will spin SPYING like a FRAKING TOP

Check out this NY Times article on a poll they did.

Slippery positioning on SPYING on INNOCENT Americans. This poll will help Frank Lutz and Karl Rove pick the words they will use to spin the illegal spying.

Yes, we are all for keeping track of the terrorist communications. BUT THIS ISN'T what this is about, now is it? This is about Abuse of Power .

Remember how Cheney kept linking 9/11 to Iraq when no link existed? He claimed special knowledge. When grilled he said, "Can't tell you, National Security." Well there was no link but he kept saying it over and over and over even after the PRESIDENT said there wasn't a link. They are going to do the same thing here by linking ONLY terrorists to this illegal spying.

I will bet you a crisp $100 bill that people other than terrorists will be on the list (if it ever sees the light of day). People who have NO connection to any kind of terrorism will be on it. And those people lives might be RUINED because some whiny ass chicken shits would gladly trade our hard won civil rights for their false sense of security. Hey people, stop selling out my civil rights just because you are too naive to think this spying won't be misused.

With a confidence rating approaching 99.5 I tell you that there will be people on that list who have NO business being monitored for TERRORISM. How do I know? Because the White House is 1) Incompetent 2) The data for WHO is selected to be monitored will be so vague and broad that sweeping up non-terrorists is GOING to happen.

So then the issue will be, "Is that alright?" Ignorant people who think that they have done nothing wrong will say, "No biggy, go ahead, spy on me I have nothing to hide." Oh really? Fine. But would you like to have some protection or oversight if they make a mistake? Or is it also okay if they hold you with no access to a lawyer for years? Can they do that? Sure. Even if they make a mistake? Sure.

There is NO ONE looking out for you. Bill O'Rielly isn't. No judges are. If you get accused and you get picked up you will then be wishing you stood up for some WARRENTS so that there was some oversight when the inevitable mistakes occur. Right now you have a bunch of hopped up Homeland Security Agents who might decide they need to look busy. The FBI HAS looked into some of these cases of "hot leads!" and have found them worthless and a waste of time. These were the GLENN GARY leads, the ones that went to the FBI! But THEY weren't proven worthwhile. What does that tell you? This program is an accident waiting to happen. And getting MORE leads isn't helping. It is HURTING us. Oh and I'm sure there are some right wing nut balls who will say, "But if there is an attack THEN you will be sorry that we didn't chase down everyone who said boo on a phone. " I have news for you. There will be an ATTACK but they won't catch it becasue they were busy chasing down stupid ass leads! But of course they won't spin it like that after the attack. Just like Bush got away with bearing NO responsibility after he fraked up by not shaking trees and following up on the Aug. 6 PDB, I'm sure he will get away with little damage after the second terrorist attack in the US. (Anthrax was the second.) "There is no way we could have known that they would bomb chemical plants!" That will be the mantra after the attack.

You know how Patrick Fitzpatrick talked about how serious obstruction of justice charges are? That without having the full information you can never really know if a crime was committed? WE MUST know more about who was spied upon and WHY there were chosen to be spied upon. I understand that this is serious sensitive information and that it is about national security, but let's have some GOD DAMN verification so we know that these people who we are now calling terrorists are in fact terrorists or terrorist sympathisers. And what if we find out that they aren't, terrorists, that the spying was much more extensive or was used for other purposes like oh I don't know, spying on peace groups or political enemies? Then what? Apologies? How about impeachment?

The results of this poll just piss me off. Why? Because if we HAD the information about what was really going on with the spying we could tell people if it WAS really being used correctly. Instead Bush gets to position the spying. If they hold back information in the name of "national security" and ask us to trust them we are STUPID if we trust them. Time and time again they have proved untrustworthy. Sometime they are incompetent other times they just lie. But we can't know because they are obstructing the public's right to know. ( And no, a few lies to congress about what you are doing doesn't count. Especially if by questioning the program publicly you go to jail. )

I want an independent panel, or better yet, ome democrats we can trust like Boxer or Pelosi to review this info. If they say it is being used correctly then great, but since they won't be able to review it, Bush will reposition this as "terrorist surveillance" instead of illegal domestic warrantless spying.

This spying casts a huge blanket over too many people at once and is not going to protect the American people. The FBI have already said that it will get in the way of good terrorist coverage.

On a related note, I already see people positioning the President as being free of responsibility from the next attack on the US. "If only Bush had been allowed to spy... " When the next attack is a bombing of a chemical plant, it won't be about "OUST BUSH" because the stupid apologists will say, "Bush wasn't given ENOUGH power..." No, we will find that the terrorists used personal contacts instead of electronic communication. Or they did talk and were taped but used a code that we couldn't break because they were talking in a language we still don't have enough speakers of and they will be using words that were common. They won't say bomb, they will talk about "the package" and "The place".

I've already seen the right wing noise machine starting to position Bush as not being responsibility for the next terrorism attack on US soil. Great, we still haven't found the people who did the last two, 9/11 and Anthrax.

Wow, I meant to be all Atrios-like and just say "Oy" go read this story, but it just makes me CRAZY that this issue was allowed to be spun by Rove and Bush because they are holding back information from the Americans elected officials. If this was a criminal case we could get them for obstruction of justice. But they will hide behind national security, just like they are hiding behind "Executive Privilege" in the Katrina debacle. It's always about hiding for them because they KNOW they will be busted if people found out what was really going on. And even when they are busted they slide out of responsibility. But I guess they want to save Karl up for the scandals that they haven't told us about yet.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

San Leandro students! Choose to be Gay! Get a free iPod!

Regarding tolerance posters at this San Leandro school.

Homosexual-Recruitment Drive Nearing Goal

SAN FRANCISCO--Spokespersons for the National Gay & Lesbian Recruitment Task Force announced Monday that more than 288,000 straights have been converted to homosexuality since Jan. 1, 2005 putting the group well on pace to reach its goal of 350,000 conversions by the end of the year.

"Thanks to the tireless efforts of our missionaries nationwide, in the first seven months of 2005, nearly 300,000 heterosexuals were ensnared in the Pink Triangle," said NGLRTF co-director Patricia Emmonds. "Clearly, the activist homosexual lobby is winning." This is due in part to the successful iPod giveaway.

Emmonds credited much of the recruiting success to the gay lobby's infiltration of America's public schools, where programs promoting the homosexual lifestyle are regularly presented to children as young as 5.

"It's crucial that we reach these kids while they're still young," Emmonds said. "That's when they're most vulnerable to our message of sexual promiscuity and deviance."

"When I grow up, I want to be gay," said Christopher Linn, 8, a second-grader at Philadelphia's Lakeside Elementary School, one of thousands of public schools nationwide that actively promote the homosexual agenda. "I don't want to have a family or go to church."

"Straight people don't have any fun," said Teddy Nance, 11, after watching Breeders Are Boring!, an anti-heterosexual filmstrip, in his fifth-grade class at Crestwood Elementary School in Roanoke, VA. "Gay people get to do whatever they want."

In addition to school programs that target youths, the NGLRTF launched a $630 million advertising campaign this year in an effort to convert adults to homosexuality. The campaign, which features TV and radio spots, as well as print advertising in major national magazines, has helped convince thousands of people to leave their spouses and families for a life of self-gratification and irresponsibility.

"The gay lifestyle is for me," said James Miller, an Oklahoma City father of four who recently moved to Provincetown, MA, to pursue a career in bath-house management. "When I was a family man, I constantly had to worry about things like taking the kids to Little League practice, paying for their braces, and remembering my wife's birthday. But now that I'm gay, I'm finally free to focus all my energy on having non-stop, mind-blowing anal sex."

Though Emmonds said gays have been tremendously successful in tearing at the fabric of society and subverting basic decency, she stressed that their work is far from over.

"For all the progress we've made, America is still overwhelmingly heterosexual," said Emmonds, who is calling for an additional $2.6 billion in federal aid to further the gay agenda. "If we are to insidiously penetrate American society, as we constantly do each other's orifices, we need more money and resources. Without such help, this country will remain the domain of decent, moral, God-fearing Christians. And that would be a sin."

-Original Story, copyright 1998, The Onion

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

It's not about the Washington Post Comments

In a misguided attempt to be relevant, I created a blog for Washington post comments. As I'm just a 5th tier blogger I got 2 comments. Oh well, people really wanted a place to talk where they knew that the Post was listening, that wasn't it. But it looks like the Post at least decided to open up the discussion a bit more with a Washington Post hosted forum. It was interesting, especially Jane's comments from firedoglake.

Jane also talks about how it was set up behind the scenes, lots of methods to direct the conversation where the Post wanted to. That's fine, it's their party, but I found it interesting nonetheless as a window into their need to control -- in both crude and subtle ways-- their interactions with their critics. What I would like to know is how often are there fake firestorms of criticism from the RIGHT? For 40 years the right have been hammering "the refs" in the form of AstroTurf letters and paid pundits who harangue the editors from their ivory cubicals. They scream, "You are LIBERAL!" at the press for so long that the press develop an INTERNAL self censorship dialog. Peter Daou wrote about this yesterday in Salon (subscription or painless ad watching required). It goes something like this, "I know that if I don't include this lame untruthful quote from the right I'll get heat, so I'll just let them have their say and them I'm "balanced. And some of them are scared of the backlash from official and unofficial sources. Here is what one editors who cover the White House for the New York Times had to said about the presidential press conferences:
BUMILLER: I think we were very deferential because…it’s live, it’s very intense,
it’s frightening to stand up there (link)

They don't really feel it is their job to get at the truth as much as it is to present 'both sides' of the story (even if the story really has only one side or many sides, not all of equal value.) They are in effect saying, "It's not MY job to discern the truth. I'm just here to gather "he said she said" quotes. "

Even though the Post controlled the debate DURING the online panel session process, Jane held her own (with the help of several 1st Tier bloggers). Lots of interesting stuff there about interactivity and the media as well as an attitude in the press that defers to the narrative of the people in powere that is so deep that they don't see it when it is happening. I recommend reading the whole thing and then Jane's comments about the session at her sight.

From the WaPo forum I really found this post from Jay Rosen interesting:

Jay Rosen: This is one where there's a real lack of communication between the Post and readers who were angry about Howell's errors. Jim Brady's attitude is instead of waiting to reply in her column, she spoke on Thursday at the, three days before her "scheduled" time. He has also said (in a Q and A with me) that he doesn't think an earlier response would have made any difference.

I disagree with Jim. The Post can say it "only" took four days for Howell to acknowledge something amiss, but it only takes four minutes to realize that she was wrong in what she stated as fact about Abramoff and the Democrats. Moreover, she was wrong in a way that "tracked" with Republican spin, which makes it different from a garden-variety miscue. And on top of that her first statement was begrudging in tone. This created the storm conditions that "stunned" Howell, and lit up the comment board.

From Sunday afternoon to Thursday, then, the Post and Howell were speaking loudly by doing nothing, sending the message "there's nothing amiss," or "we don't hear you," or "just the usual partisan griping." And since these signals from the Post were themselves wrong (there


something amiss, and Brady did hear...) they had the effect of compounding the original error, turning it into an insult felt by many thousands of people, who, as everyone knows, stand on the blue side of the red-blue divide in American politics. That is no disqualification for criticizing the Post.

I don't think you can understand the insults that flew at Howell--and she will never understand them--unless you start with the institutional insult I just described. There's news value for outraged readers in a big non-response. The news for them is: you don't count, even when you have a point. Not answering the criticisms of her Jack Ambramoff column was escalating behavior, and the Post began it immediately.

And so I don't think Jim Brady has punctuated this event correctly.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Mad Cow ReDucks: Japan Pulls US Beef Out of Shelves

Two American cows are standing in a pasture.

One says to the other, "Whattaya think about this Mad Cow thing? We could have it already, and never know. Pretty scary stuff, eh?"

The other cow replies, "It doesn't affect me -- I'm a helicopter!"
Antifa 01.21.06 - 5:00 am #


So was going to do a post on this when japan had their arm twisted to take American beef again WITH OUT TESTING ALL THE BEEF LIKE THEY WANTED. But I was afraid that I would be sued in Texas, like Oprah, for defaming the beef industry. I'm not kidding. That law is still on the books in Texas.

There was a beef processing plant, Creekstone Farms Premium Beef LLC in Arkansas City, Kansas that said, "Hell yeah, we'll test all our beef so we can sell in to Japan. We want their money and we'll comply with their testing requirements." (Link) But the Beef Industry and the USDA said NO. That's right they said, DON'T test all your beef, just walk away from the money. "You can't do that because if YOU test all the beef then EVERYONE will have to and that might cut into all of our profit margins! Besides it is really not necessary. We test 20 percent of the fallen beef and it should be fine."

Well now it appears that the cows have come home to roost!

The funny thing is that there is so many cover ups and deceptions going on to avoid another case of mad cow being revealed that we won't know about until people start dying of it, and it will take 10 years.

The good news? The actual number of people who will die will be small. But of course if it is your Dad who died who didn't have to because of the cover up, head should roll (or maybe not, they do have good lawyers and lots of money.)
Remember, it is the cover up that gets you.

One other thing. The story never mentioned if ALL the beef was tested. I think that is a major over sight.

Check out this quote:
Japan imported about $1.4 billion worth of U.S. beef in 2003. It was unclear how much the country bought after lifting the ban, but a Kyodo News survey last month showed 75 percent of Japanese were unwilling to eat American beef even if imports resumed.

Criticism was also directed at Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's government for too hastily resuming imports.

"The government bowed to U.S. pressure and put President Bush's wishes ahead of the safety of Japanese consumers. I consider that a huge error of judgment," said Yukio Hatoyama, secretary-general of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

Koizumi ordered the resumption of imports based on recommendations made by an expert panel after several U.S. officials, including Bush, expressed growing impatience with the ban.

The premier has defended the decision, saying it was based on scientific grounds.
What grounds? 100 percent testing or 20%.
I would think for the 1.4 billion in revenue the beef ranchers would be willing to do 100 percent testing. Now they will get ZERO revenue. Not a very good business move. Remember our friends at Creekstone?

They said the USDA decision is costing Creekstone Farms a minimum of
$200,000 a day in lost revenues, and put the agency on notice that the company
will "continue to track this loss on a daily basis to determine damages."

You would think someone from Texas would know better how to keep the beef industry going, what a surprise that his deal with Japan turned to shit because the lobbyists and not the scientists were in charge of this deal.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Veronica Mars ROCKS!

People might be surprised that I like both Battlestar Galatica AND Veronica Mars. But they have a lot in common. Good to great acting. Strong actors and actresses playing interesting people. People you have come to know and love die or are killed, just like in real life. Here is an exerpt fom the TV Guide story on Veronica Mars. I actually included the whole story because TV Guide has the worst website in the history of websites. They have pop-up, talking pop-ups, moving pop ups and moving and talking pop ups. Thank goodness I found

Your Veronica Mars Questions Answered!

While fans wait for fresh episodes of UPN's Veronica Mars to return in January (Wednesdays at 9 pm/ET), they want to know: Why wasn't Meg asked about the bus crash before she died? What did happen between Duncan and Kendall? And what's up with Mac and Beaver? In an exclusive Q&A, Mars creator Rob Thomas once again provided the answers to these and other burning questions from readers.

Question: Why didn't Veronica and Duncan ask Meg about the bus crash when they visited her? — B.J.
Rob Thomas: Originally, in the first draft of the scene, they did. Meg could only remember one pertinent detail. I felt, however, that it was awkward and a bit insensitive for Veronica to ask a question like that, a moment after Meg wakes up and realizes that Duncan and Veronica now know she's pregnant. If I could've had a five- or six-minute scene, I think Veronica could've found a way to ask the question gracefully. Veronica assumed that she'd get many more visits with Meg, so she didn't want to push her. And that pertinent detail? It pops up in Episode 212.

Question: Did Duncan sleep with Kendall? — Cameron
Thomas: If I wanted the audience to know, I would've showed it. I will say this: The question will be answered in a future episode.

Question: Why is Veronica showing such a hateful attitude towards Logan this season? She was the one who broke up with him and then chose to reunite with her ex. Logan is a bit snarky, but he doesn't seem to be harboring the same anger towards her. It's hard to believe that she's simply mad about his self-destructive behavior — there are other ways to communicate displeasure over someone's conduct. Is there more to the story? — Sherry
Thomas: Yes, Veronica broke up with him — because he was being self-destructive and a creep. I've read that people think Veronica should've been more gracious to Logan after he pulled a gun to save her. I disagree. She is terrified that he's going to get himself killed. She's angry at him for having a gun. She wants him to move — not because she wants him out of her life but because she thinks he's now made enemies of many of the most dangerous people in Neptune. She'd rather have him survive elsewhere than wind up dead in Neptune. You really think Logan has been sweet to Veronica this year? To quote Gob Bluth, "Come on!" Go back and watch the episodes again. He's been cold except when he's needed something.

Question: Why was Duncan at the hospital every day if he didn't know about Meg's pregnancy until later? Was it truly out of concern, or should we hold our breath for something sinister? — Michelle
Thomas: Meg and Duncan were very close. I believe Meg gave herself over totally to Duncan. Duncan tried to give himself totally to Meg, though when he learned that Veronica was not his sister, all the feelings and demons he'd been battling for a year came roaring back. Duncan's my Ethan Frome. He's driven by guilt and responsibility. He knows he did Meg wrong. It's what kept driving him to try to see Meg. When Meg's parents yell at him [and say] that if it weren't for him, she wouldn't have been on the bus, Duncan's the type of guy to believe them.

Question: Mac and Beaver were so cute together! Will we see more of them? — Jack
Thomas: Yes.

Question: I have a continuity question. In the Nov. 30 episode, it was said that Lianne was in high school in 1980, but last season when Veronica checked out her senior yearbook, she was said to have graduated in 1979. Is that a goof? (Sorry, I just watched the Season 1 DVD, and I pay close attention.) — Derek
Thomas: Wow. Yeah. I guess it was. This is how I'm learning about it. We try to be very careful about those things. That bums me out. Sorry, gang.

Question: I feel really sorry for Logan right now. Is his life going to get any better? Will he find some happiness? Since Veronica appears to be over him, do you plan to give him a new love interest? — Zara
Thomas: People do love Logan, which I think is a testament to how good Jason Dohring is in the role. He does rotten thing after rotten thing, and yet people want things to turn out well for him. There will be someone in his life very soon who is much more age-appropriate, but with Logan, you always need to be careful of his intentions.

Question: Is Keith ever going to confront Veronica about the bug she placed in Sheriff Lamb's office? — Jason
Thomas: They will have a conversation about it in a future episode.

Question: Is it possible that Aaron Echolls didn't kill Lilly, and that Duncan was the one who actually did it but doesn't remember? — Derek
Thomas: That's certainly what Aaron Echolls wants us to think. (And yes, that's an intentionally blurry response to your question.)

Question: How long has it been since the bus crash? How could Meg have been showing so much? — Mandy
Thomas: She was almost 20 weeks pregnant at the time of the bus crash at the beginning of September. When we see her in Episode 10, it's the middle of December, so she's at eight and a half months. (We have the Web research to back up the 20-weeks-and-not-showing cases, should you request it!)

TV Guide

That Sucks! Surprise English Lessons!

One of my good friends has moved to the Far East. I thought of him when I got this. Can you imagine the equalent of this happening in the United States?

I got this video from my buddy Gil of Gil's Link of the Day. Spocko says check it out. (Link)
2 minutes 25 seconds.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Seeing Red on City Hall

A quick note to my friends at Matier and Ross:

So I'm walking home from the Academy after work and I see City Hall all lit up in red with limos out front. Pretty. But since it is too early for Valentine's Day I figure it is some big event.

As I approach I see miles of red carpet. Royalty? More gay couples getting married? Nope. Some sort of corporate event for Oracle. That's nice. I think it is great that City Hall is so elegant that corporations want to hold events there. Just curious, do you know how much the taxpayers who paid to refurbish it got from Oracle for rental fees?
(Oracle's Red Carpet in front of City Hall)
We all remember how Oracle got busted for selling the state more database licenses than state workers. I just hope that the city got some cash for hosting the venue. (The saddest part of that story? The guy who found out about the scam was BOOTED from the audit committee! Whatever happened to him? He should have been put in charge of MORE audits! Maybe he can get Harvey Rose's job when he retires.)

Anyway to check up on that? Maybe it is very affordable and other corporations will want to rent it out too. Or was it a trade out in services or software? Did we need those services or software?

I would HATE to hear that we gave them the space for free or really, really cheap. I mean it's not like Oracle is hurting for cash or anything. I know how often cities give stuff away to corporations when they really don't have to. Thanks for checking up on this.
A concerned resident.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It's not as if anyone LIED about the air quality at Ground Zero

Officer James Zadroga. Police at his funeral

When people say Bush lied people died. I don't think this is what they mean. But it counts.

NEW YORK — James Zadroga spent 16 hours a day toiling in the World Trade Center ruins for a month, breathing in debris-choked air. Timothy Keller said he coughed up bits of gravel from his lungs after the towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001. Felix Hernandez spent days at the site helping to search for victims.

All three men died in the past seven months of what their families and colleagues say were persistent respiratory illnesses directly caused by their work at Ground Zero.
Seattle Times

It's the power abuse, Damn it!

To: American People
Fr: An Alien with perspective
RE: What Bush is doing with his spying on the American People

This is an abuse of power. Plain and simple.

Oversight of the actions of the Executive Branch is a good thing. It is good for the people AND the executive branch (as much as they will scream, "Just trust us, we are doing it to protect you!")

The Executive branch should WANT oversight to their spying.

Why would they think that way? Because it will protect them from abuses of power within their ranks. For example, currently Scooter Libby, one of the highest members of their staff, is under indictment because it appears he used his power to access confidential government information to reveal the identity of a covert CIA agent who was looking for WMDs. It appears he did this because her husband told the government they weren't telling the American people the truth. You see, you don't have to go very deep to find a HUGE instance of this administration using their secret knowledge to silence one of their critics. Imagine the temptation that warrant-less searches offer them. Yes, Libby hasn't been convicted, but I'm using this example to show that a preponderance of data already has shown that they are capable --at the highest level-- of using secret information for their own purposes that have NOTHING to do with protecting the country from terrorism.

And regarding protecting this country from terrorism. I'm sick and tired of right-wing pundits and the republican leadership creating a GD false choice between our right to communicate without being spied upon and letting the terrorists blow us up. You don't have to come from another planet to see that just because people don't want the government to monitor their communications it means that they stand with the terrorists. Stop presenting people with your stupid false choices! Americans, stop assuming it's either accept spying or death! Do some God Damn research! If you had any idea of the scope of the FISA court AND the power of the NSA you would know that we could have both oversight AND accountability with traceability.


I'm working on an answer to the "I don't have anything to hide! people. The know nothings who are just fine with "all spying all the time, no oversight needed" crowd. Why is oversight necessary? The short answer is this. PAPER TRAIL. The long answer comes in a series of questions:
  • Have you ever gotten a letter delivered to you that wasn't meant for you?
  • Has anyone ever called you and it turned out it was a wrong number?
  • Was that person adamant that they dialed the right number?
  • Did you then ask them to repeat the number and it WAS your number, but they thought you were Achmed Habibbi instead of Bob Smith?

    If you are over the age of 21 the answer most likely is YES.

So, mistakes are made. Sometimes unintentionally. Sometimes not.

It's was just a Prank! A JOKE!

  • Have you ever signed up a friend (or enemy) for spam emails or male potency clinics?
  • Or started receiving said emails from the same?
  • Just how easy was it for those people to cast aspersions on you?

Sure YOU have never done anything wrong, but what if someone SAYS you did something wrong? Wouldn't you WANT some protections?

The Set Up. Soon to be a Major Motion Picture.

How about this one? My name is John Doe and I'm pissed at the rightwingyness of Bob Smith. I decide to send Bob:

  • a few suspicious notes that might draw attention from the NSA.
  • some questionable phone numbers to call back to
  • information on large quantities of fertilizer -- requested in his name

You know, just as a gag. No one would seriously believe that Bob, a nice white guy, could be a terrorist, I mean he lives in the midwest. It's not as if he's an Islamist guy.

But the wheels of warrant-less search with NO true oversight grind on. Soon Bob is being questioned by agents of the government. Now Bob, a good wingnut, also likes to keep lots of guns in his place, I mean that is his right! And sure Bob calls overseas, he is a business man after all. He probably just dialed the wrong numbers. Then Bob realizes I'm being SET UP! I didn't do ANYTHING wrong! Who authorized these agents coming here to check up on me? "You did Bob. By saying there is no need for oversight. For thinking that all the ways that we can look for terrorists need to be implemented instantly and without a paper trail. Because this paper trail might just have shown that you were being set up. Oh well, maybe your lawyer can help, Oops it turns out those calls combined with your guns and the request for fertilizer make you an 'enemy combatant'! Have fun in Rush's Club Gitmo." Not so funny now, eh?

"But I'm an American! I have rights!" You scream. Well you did Bob, but you thought you could trust a group of people to be perfect and to never make mistakes. You thought that the potential to abuse the system would never happen to you, that someone would never use the system against you by mistake, out of spite, as a joke or because they didn't like your viewpoint or to get rid of you. And when they found out there was so little oversight, the task just got easier. Because of that, you didn't bother to protest when no oversight spying happened to others. I mean come on, this isn't a cheesy, improbable, moralizing episode of the Twilight Zone! This isn't the movie Brazil! They can't REALLY believe you are a bad guy?! I mean sure, you said that the government should kill all the terrorists, but you meant those well documented terrorists. You know, the ones that they swept up based on phone numbers of suspected Al Qaeda people that they called and the ones with suspicious notes on their computers with machine guns and raw materials for bombs...

THIS is simply ONE reason, and not even the most compelling one, WHY we must have oversight and that lack of oversight doesn't make the terrorists win. Oversight is NOT incompatible with catching bad guys, but will actually protect us from our own imperfect systems.

Things that made me laugh today

From (that must be fun for the people spelling it out on the phone to get correct!)
This video is short but funny. The site's ads are semi not safe for work but this link is just to the video.

From's photoshop tread:

"Photoshop the card sent by Brad Pitt to Jennifer Aniston, which was apparently lost in the mail, letting her know that he's impregnated Angelina Jolie. And for anything else he also forgot to tell her" (Link) First one by alonzinator is my favorite.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

How can we get back on the right track?

Ol' Spocko has been thinking a lot about spying these days and has been doing some research on the issue, but for now I thought I'd take the sad shot of kitties off the front page and put up my favorite SNL skit of all time.

Matt Foley asks the question we all want to know about this government. And if we don't start paying attention to our foreign debt and the cost of this ill-managed war we are all going to be livin' in a VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!

Click on photo for the link to smithappens (who are kindly hosting the video)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Killing puppies and kitties. Bad PR?

On Vulcan logic dictates that if you kill people's pets, responsible people will investigate and then step up the regulation of the industry so this doesn't happen again.

But here on Earth logic is trumped by big money interests. I would think that showing photos of people's dying pets might help pass some legislation to stop it. It's surprising that nobody has done that, and I guess the big money pet food industry is counting on people not banding together and addressing this.

Actually I'm not surprised. I understand when mine safety is lacking. Businesses calculate the cost of a few people dying over time as the cost of doing business. They make the cold calculus, "We can spend X on lobbyists and politicians or Y on shoring stuff up." Then they calculate which is cheaper. Usually the lobbyists win over expensive extensive repairs.

But killing cute puppies and kittens? Man that's cold. I have a good friend with a sick cat and she will do practically anything to help him out. Does this story show us how powerful the moneyed interests are, that people don't really love their pets as much as they say they do, or that they have been bamboozled into thinking that they can't make any difference?

This is from our new friends over at "Just a Bump in the Beltway"
After Recall of Food, Veterinarians at Cornell University Rush to Save Poisoned Dogs

Published: January 9, 2006

ITHACA, N.Y., Jan. 7 - On Friday morning, when their 4-year-old golden retriever, Minnie, was near death, Robert and Janice Lugo called in sick to their jobs, carried Minnie to their car and drove her to a top animal hospital four hours away.

They were in such a rush that Mr. Lugo left his winter coat back at their home in Catskill, N.Y. But he took his credit cards, which he figured he would need to pay for what could be thousands of dollars in veterinary bills.

It is the Lugos' last effort to save Minnie from liver disease brought on, veterinarians said, by pet food contaminated with a stealthy toxin. "She trusted us, and we fed her poison," Mrs. Lugo said, crying.

On Dec. 20, Diamond Pet Food, a Missouri company that sells its products internationally, voluntarily recalled 800,000 bags of pet food under several labels after an investigation. Based on lab tests, company officials believe that 1 to 3 percent of those bags contain dangerous amounts of aflatoxin, a poisonous byproduct of a fungus that grows on corn and other crops. When ingested in high amounts, aflatoxin causes potentially fatal liver disease. The recall included both cat and dog food, though dogs seem to be more susceptible.

I don't follow this issue, so maybe someone could explain how this keeps happening (at least that is what the folks over at Just a Bump in the Beltway seem to be saying.)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Cough productivity up 13% in United States

Take that foreign outsourcers!

I'm so Proud of one of Spocko's Brain Surgeons

Good work PTCruiser! He did a little Freeway blogging the other night.

I've got 19 readers and I'm grateful for every single one of them, sometimes they do stuff that is just great, this is one of those times.

BTW, I believe that PTcruiser was the one who coined the phrase "Spocko's Brain Surgeons", to refer to himself, so that's why I'm using it.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Overeaters Anonymous Sells 11th Step to Weight Watchers

Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Jan. 6.- Cash strapped 12 step program Overeaters Anonymous today announced they have sold sponsorship of their 11th Step to weight loss giant, Weight Watchers International, Inc. (WTW) Details of the transaction are confidential, but sources close to the Weight Watchers state the deal was in the low seven figures.

A highly placed source at Overeaters Anonymous, who would only talk to the press on the condition of anonymity, said, "We weren't really using the 11th step that much anyway, frankly it was redundant, another "higher power" step and we still have five others. Without a quick cash injection we were going under. We needed less "God" and more cash. You can't believe how hard it is to collect money from our members, since we can't take checks or credit cards. How they expect us to collect money from members who are anonymous is beyond me. How are we suppose to send bills to people if they won't give us their names? Our accounting department has like 17,000 "J. Does" in New Mexico alone."

Previously the 11th step read:

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

The 11th step will now read:

Eat Weight Watchers® Yogurt and Smoothies
Rich. Smooth. Creamy. And quite possibly the most satisfying POINTS® value you’ll have all day.

The OA source also said that the organization was in talks with both Nabisco, the makers of Snackwells, and Entenmann's, but went with Weight Watchers because they only wanted control of one step whereas Nabisco wanted both the 11th and the third step as well as inclusion in three of the twelve traditions. Talks with Entenmann's broke down after the company refused to provide free samples of their products at meetings.

-- SBonline News

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Rude Pundit Cronicles New Orlean's disaster

Spocko rarely swears, but I do enjoy reading some of the wild flights fantasy and riffs of profanity usually dished up by the Rude Pundit, but this week he and the Rude Brother are touring the disaster in New Orleans. It is very powerful stuff, especially considering how long ago this happened.

Oh, yeah, the barge. There's a barge in the middle of the street next to the levee. Some believe the giant barge actually came unmoored in the storm and broke the levee. Some Lower Ninth members say that they had complained about the barge before Katrina hit, that it was knocking against the levee earlier, and because it was Lower Ninth citizens, with no power at all, no one cared. But the barge is there, a huge rusting hulk. The barge, when it came through the levee, smeared the houses right near it, like a gargantuan knife smoothing butter on a slice of toast. The water and barge shoved other houses together into a jammed up pile.

Interestingly, the barge look a bit like Noah's Ark. Do you suppose after this storm we will get a new covenent from the Government that this (the terrible response) won't happen again?

Catholic Church to Bush, "Just a reminder, Your Iraq war is unjust." Love, the late JPII -- The Public Pulse. Wednesday January 4, Omaha World Herald

On American values

American values:

  • Starting a pre-emptive war with only an assumption that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction is just fine.

  • Acting like coalition-building is beneath us.

  • Eroding individual rights with the USA Patriot Act and by spying on Americans suspected of terrorist ties.

  • Naively thinking that killing insurgents and making martyrs in Iraq means we are safer at home.

  • Providing no incentives for Iraqi soldiers to stand up so that America can step down.

  • Exercising poor judgment, which has brought us to this juncture in the war.

Subsequent to Pope John Paul II's opposition to the war, the Catholic Church failed to stand behind her own teaching that the war was unjust.

Had more American Catholics voiced their opposition to the war, President Bush might have allowed the U.N. inspectors to complete their search for weapons of mass destruction, expose Saddam as a delusional tinhorn dictator and have the Shiites and Kurds depose him on their own.

Could it be that the church is so single-issue-oriented against abortion that she took a pass on the war, which is also a pro-life issue?

Hubris, revenge and political advantage have trumped the teachings of the Prince of Peace.

The Rev. Ken Vavrina, Omaha

D'oh! A Deer!


Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy Boys and Happy Girls for 2006

Cute video, nice lip sync. Here's to a happy 2006.

Quicktime video, click on the photo to play

or click on this link

Thanks to College Humor for the video.