Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

When Henry Scull was a little boy, his mother was the beneficiary of a random act of kindness. She was trying to get her kids home and found herself needing to catch a ferry that she couldn’t possibly reach in time on foot. A stranger approached and explained that he had overheard her dilemma and wanted to help. He arranged and paid for transportation for Henry’s mother and her kids to get to the ferry on time. When she told him that she had no way to repay him, he told her simply, “Do the same thing for someone else some day. That will be repayment enough.” I don’t know if she ever did do that, but I know that young Henry was listening.

About four or five decades later, Henry got on to a train bound for New York City and took a seat next to a 24-year-old man on his way to DC. Mistaking the young man for an athlete, he struck up a conversation by asking him, “What’s your sport.” The young man was flattered but replied that he didn’t play a sport. He was in the Air Force and he was on his way back to Andrews AFB just outside Washington, DC. He was not very street-savvy when it came to The City, and wasn’t sure how he was supposed to catch a southbound train out of New York. Henry said that he would have to catch an Amtrak train at Penn Station. The young man said that he didn’t know how to get to Penn Station, whereupon Henry said, “I’ll get you there. I’m going that way.” He then told the young man about what happened when he was a little boy and about the stranger who helped them. Once off the train, Henry got a taxi for them and paid for the trip to Penn Station. Once inside, he pointed the young man in the right direction. The young man told him, “I really appreciate this, sir. I don’t know how I would have gotten here without you. I don’t know how to thank you.” And Henry said, “Do the same thing for someone else some day. That will be repayment enough.” Well, Mr. Henry Scull, I took the advice you gave me that day and I have tried to practice random acts of kindness for others.

I can’t claim to have done it to the same scale that you did for me, but I have tried to help strangers in little ways. Tourists from another country once asked me to help them understand our currency system so they could put money in the meters. Sure, Xerox would have preferred that they were paying me to do work for them, but I felt the twenty minutes or so I spent with the strangers was a better use of my time. I’ve also done the odd helping out now and then when someone in the laundromat was short of quarters to do their laundry. Or there was the guy who was about a buck short of being able to buy a nice card for his mother’s birthday. I gave him the dollar. I mean, it was his mother for crying out loud. Little things like that. I wish I could do more. And I usually told them the same thing Henry told me, “Just try to so the same thing for someone else some day. That will be repayment enough for me.” And I meant it, too. But I know I could never do it on the scale that Larry Stewart did. Few among us could.

Larry Stewart was the man known previously only as the Secret Santa. He would go around Kansas City giving away $100 bills to total strangers and then walking away quickly before too much of a fuss could be made. Unable to pay his breakfast tab at a diner, he was the recipient of a random act of kindness when the diner owner said, “Here, sir, you must have dropped this,” and slipped a $20 bill in his hand. Larry never forgot the stranger’s help and vowed to repeat it if he could. Though he kept his identity secret all these years, he was still heard of in other countries. He would have preferred to remain anonymous and continue doing his good deeds. But he has decided that he wants to talk about what he’s done because he wants to encourage other people to commit random acts of kindness, too, and he knew he would have to come forward to do that. Sadly, he has been diagnosed with cancer and this Christmas may be his last.

I think it would be a wonderful gesture if people who learned of his story sent him a Christmas card this year to let him know how much people like him are appreciated. I learned of this address from Q104.3 FM, and I hope it’s accurate. You can send your cards to:



Secret Santa

P.O. Box 5891

Kansas City, MO 64171



As you sit down to give thanks this year, put in a good word for all the people like Larry Stewart and Henry Scull, people willing to help out total strangers for nothing more than the pleasure it gives them to do so. And have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hiatus (Holiday Break)

I need to take a few days off from this blog. I do not yet have internet access at home, and I have a big week ahead of me at work and I can't be spending time working on this. Sorry to disappoint my loyal visitors. I thank you for stopping by. I hope to have some more content posted by Monday after the holiday weekend.

Have a safe Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Peace to you all.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Picking My Brain 06-11-16

The Senate Republicans, what's going to be left of them in the next Congress, have selected Trent Lott (R-MS) as their "Minority Whip". Considering Lott's glowing testimonial to Strom Thurmond's failed segregationist presidential campaign, you'd think they would come up with a different name for this position, even if it's only as long as he holds it. "Irony" now joins "Conflict of Interest" and "Hypocrisy" on the List of Things Republicans Don't Understand.


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CNN was promoting a Paula Zahn show/special about the dangers of furniture that, it appears, goes up in flames very quickly. Many people are killed or injured each year and she asked, "Could federal safety standards prevent it?" Am I to understand that there are no federal fire safety standards covering the spot I park my ass in to watch TV each night? Hmmm, better watch what I eat.


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The Dow finished at another high today. For some reason, I was reminded of the phrase "irrational exhuberance."


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Bay Buchanan is on CNN while her brother Pat is on MSNBC. (Yes, that Pat, and they're siblings.) Isn't there a law against that? If not, let's make it the first one the 110th Congress passes.


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After observing that the word "crap" was used nine times [I counted ten] in his exclusive interview with Rep Jack Murtha, Matthews going to commercial quipped, "We'll be back with more of this crap" after this. Good one.


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What kind of bullshit is this? According to Insight Magazine(I might have that wrong; if so, I'll find the link later) Karl "The High School Babe Magnet - Not" Rove will be kept on at the White House because "he knows too much" and that the president didn't need another memoir out there about life inside the White House. This is unacceptable! I do not want him on the taxpayer's payroll. Fire him!


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Jon Stewart referred to CNN's Rick Sanchez (the guy who let himself get tasered) as "The George Plimpton of Self Abuse."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Don't Run Hillary

So, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is clearing her schedule to prepare for a possible presidential run in 2008. I voted for her to represent us in New York for the next six years, not two. I will NOT vote for her for president in 2008. 2012? Maybe, but definitely not 2008.


Now, I can understand why she might decide that 2008 is a safer bet to run than 2012. If she were to run in 2008 and win, Democratic Governor Eliot Spitzer woul replace her in the Senate. If she postpones running until 2012, then her party has to worry about having two seats to fill - Governor of NY (though Spitzer may get re-elected) and her vacated seat. So I can see why 2008 would ne more appealing to her than 2012.


Too bad. We re-elected her to serve for six years and some of us feel we have the right to expect her to do so. I know that the polls say that I'm in the minority on this, but that won't change my mind. In fact, it is my fervent hope that I and the rest of the minority can persuade the majority to reconsider. This is no game.


We are talking about the very people (in this case one of a pair from one hundred such people in the entire world) who will represent our interests (theoretically) when it comes to national matters. This is an important job. Lives are affected by what these people do and do not do. Our lives. And I, for one, am finding that it offends me when a politician I helped elect to a certain-length term decides to not fulfill that term because a presidential election is looming. Senator Clinton was asked all the time if she was running for president in '08, and all the time said that she was focused on getting re-elected first and "not looking past the next election". People who understand how these things work behind the scenes (not me) say that she has been laying the groundwork all throughout her first term to do run for president in two years. Well, I don't get to see those "behind the scenes" things, so I'll go by her public comments. She promised she hadn't looked at it yet. For now, I'll ignore the apparent contradiction in those stories and take her at her public word. She still shouldn't run. But she should also come clean and tell the truth. Was this her plan since 2000?


Look, I don't want to be left feeling like a idiot if she runs in 2008 and we lose a good senator. I will feel used and so will all of you. If she's as good a choice for president as some think she is (I don't), then she would have been able to run without being a current US Senator. But she chose to re-apply for that job and I expect her to fulfill her term. She has no moral right to bail out on us and run for president.


Senator Clinton: Either resign from the Senate right now and announce your 2008 presidential ambitions, or announce right now that you are not running in '08. Either or, but not both.

Time For AFN to Dump Rush

After Rush Limbaugh's little confession in which he said he felt "liberated" after the Democratic victory from "having carried the water for people who did not deserve to have their water carried," I wonder if the DoD will decide to listen to us now and take him off Armed Forces Radio. And is that the real reason they left him on all this time, to carry water?


Is feeding our troops Republican propaganda really helping them in any way? Are the Republicans so vain and arrogant that they think everything they spout is true, accurate, and worthy of respect? Because Rush has basically said that he's been lying all this time. He has been supporting an agenda that he knew was false and unworkable.


Explain to me again how having him on AFN Radio is good for the troops' morale?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Picking My Brain 06-11-14

CNN was promoting a special called "Combat Hospital". Wolf is saying, "You won't want to miss it!" CNN has a warning, "Viewer discretion advised." Doesn't "viewer discretion advised" mean, "You might want to miss it!" Do they pay any attention to what they say, or are they just on automatic pilot? (Not that I meant to offend any automatic pilots out there.)


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When CNN comes back from commercials during their political talk shows, they often have an overhead view of the Capitol or White House. To me, it sends the message, "CNN: Stalking our government so you don't have to."


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Pat Buchanan said, in comparing George W. Bush and his father George H.W. Bush to Alexander the Great and his father Philip of Macedon, "if you will."

I won't.


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Why don't Republicans understand the meaning of hypocrisy? This idiot guest on Scarborough, Bob Kohn, actually compared Bill Maher "outing" Ken Mehlman to a WWII Jew working for the Nazis. Excuse me while I make comical gurgling sounds and shake my head back and forth really fast, "Huh?" Did he not listen to why Maher said that? The political party which Ken Mehlman led often ran on platforms that denied gay people some basic civil rights. If he is gay (and I think he is, but that's just my opinion), then it would be the height of hypocrisy for him to allow his party to do that. And that gives Maher, or anyone else, the right to expose him. Republicans understand the meaning of "hypocrisy" as well as they understand the meaning of "conflict of interest".


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Tippy won't let me write any more tonight. He insists on sitting in my lap. We'll have to pick my brain another time.

Fred Wilpon Has His Head Up His Ass

I can't fucking believe it! The New York Mets, the baseball team I grew up loving and following despite every season other than 1969 and 1986 have sold out! They sold the naming rights for their new stadium to CitiGroup! They want to call it "Citi Field". You know, they must employ morons in the department at CitiGroup that came up with this name. Did no one pay attention to what the fans wanted? Did they not know that we would have preferred that it be named after someone both baseball- and New York-related? Someone like Gil Hodges? Or Jackie Robinson? Or even beloved original sportscaster Lindsey Nelson? And are they so stuck up and full of themselves that it occurred to NO ONE at CitiGroup that disgruntled Mets fans (numbering more than 99.9% of them) would just call it "Shitty Field"? Are they that stupid?


And Mr. Wilpon [Mets owner], what the hell got into you? Are you that hard up for money? Pull your head out of your ass! Stop this deal right now and name the stadium after a New York baseball personality.


I make you this promise, Mr. Wilpon. If that stadium is named after a corporation, I will never set foot in it. Ever.

Are Annual Congressional Pay Raises Constitutional?

A CNN reporter said that congress has raised its own pay nine times since 1997. If accurate, that would violate the 27th amendment which states, "No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened." There have not been nine elections of Representatives since 1997, so how could they raise their pay nine times? We really need for someone with access to the facts to look into this. This amendment, written and submitted with the other ten amendments in the Bill of Rights, was clearly intended to prevent annual pay raises. In fact, the point was so that Congress could not vote themselves a pay raise without the voters a)being properly informed about it, and b)then having an opportunity to vote them out for doing it. I cannot see how they managed to find a constitutional way around the clear intent of the amendment.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Picking My Brain 06-11-12

Guaranteeing you nothing since 2006!


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Barbara Walters:“Isn’t it all – so much of it – about oil? Shouldn’t we be changing our energy policy?”
Bush:“The war on terror has nothing to do with oil.” - December 13, 2002,Speaking to Barbara Walters of ABC News during a White House interview

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MSNBC tease: "When we come back, Congress will be investigating the White House. Will it be a witch hunt?" Why? Has someone noticed evidence of Witchcraft?


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Why can't people who want to drive the same speed as the people in the lane next to them just get in the lane next to them? And when they finally move over and get the fuck out of my way, do they then have to speed up?


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Why am I seeing talk of the possibility of Israel launching a strike at Iran? For the record, I will not support "defending" Israel if they start a war. Let them fight their own battles. They've been throwing their military around because warhawks in our government have been not only letting them, but encouraging them, throughout their existence. When are people in the Middle East, ALL of them, going to learn that violence doesn't solve problems? It only brings about more violence. It's true: War is not healthy for children and other living things.


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I've been noticing that almost every commercial I see on TV for new drugs tell you to tell your doctor if you have certain problems. Bill Maher noticed this and quipped, "If you have to tell your doctor what's wrong with you, hasn't your doctor, at this point, just become a drug dealer?" And he's right, because "your" doctor is supposed to be telling you what's wrong with you, not the other way around? It's like they're saying, "Go find a doctor and tell him you want this drug, but make sure you tell him everything that's wrong with you first. Because, you know, it's not like he's going to give you any kind of examination or anything."


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Need more evidence that Bush has a hard time dealing with the truth? Remember what he and his minions kept saying all through the campaigns? If the Democrats win, so will the terrorists. It was pretty clear. So what does Bush say to the world when the Democrats do win? Don't think that just because the Democrats have come in that we're going to lose now. Which group of people was he telling the truth to, us or the terrorists?

Bush Ponders While He Waits to Lay a Wreath

Bush laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier yesterday. I wonder what was going through his mind as he stood there waiting to lay the wreath?

Unknown, eh? Wonder if I knew him. Prob'ly not. Couldn'a been from my unit, none of us went. Didn't know many guys outside the unit. Hell, didn't know too many guys in the unit. 'Member 'Stretch' and 'Too Tall', and the commander, 'Colonel Baldy'. Can't even 'member the unit number. 'Unit'. Heh-heh. 'S a funny word. Military's got lotsa 'units'. Heh-heh. 'Unit'. 'You knit'. I don't knit. Don't sew, neither. 'Sew'. Why's it pronounced 'so'? There's no 'o' in 'sew'. Should pronounce it 'sue'. Nah. Who wants the trial lawyers involved? I hate lawyers. Ever'body does. Even judges. Scalia can't stand 'em. Dick said so. Told him when they went duck huntin' together. Heh-heh. 'Duck huntin'. Dick was huntin' ducks. Heh-heh. Dick was huntin' ducks down by the docks. Heh-heh. Hey, I'm a reg'lar poet. Oughta nominate myself for Poet Lore-ree-aht. Heh-heh. Gotta tell Con-I mean, Laura 'bout that one. Man, I gotta be careful. Near fucked up ag'in last week. Aw'most called Laura 'Condi'. Keeps gettin' madder ev'ry time I do it. Fuck her. She's becomin' a real bitch lately. Yellin' at me all'a time. 'Why didn'you fire Rummy when I tol' you to? Why haven'you fired Karl yet? When ar'you gonna quit drinkin'?' Fuckin' bitch. No one tells me when to fire anybody. I decide that stuff. I'm the decider. Heh-heh. I like that word. 'Stuff'. Heh-heh. 'Stuff'. 'S funny word. 'Stuffin ballots'. Heh-heh. Yeah, Karl shoulda done more o' that. Maybe Laura's right. Damn! I hate it when she's right. 'Cause then she's prob'ly right all those other times, too. I'm gonna miss her if she goes through with 'the threat'. No one threatens me. I'll just tell Homeland Security she's threatenin' the pres'dint. That'll shut her up. Prob'ly lock her up. Take her ta Gitmo. Ooops, there's my cue. Time to give ol' what's-his-face his flowers. Who's this guy again?

Of course, I could be wrong.

Are All These Presidential Campaign Stops Legal

Does anyone know what the rules are regarding the president's use of government equipment, at taxpayer expense, to go out campaigning? And does anyone really believe the bullshit excuses of these being "official function" trips because he stopped somewhere to do something "presidential"? The only reason he did something "presidential" was so he could justify the taxpayers paying for the trip which, as long as he was out, would include a stop to campaign. It's a chicken-and-egg thing. The real purpose of the trip is to campaign. But to get the taxpayers to pay for it, as opposed to the political party which should be paying for the campaign stop, they add some "official" bullshit so it becomes "legal". This has to stop no matter who's been doing it or for how long. And whatever system is put into place, let's not be stupid and allow them to do it "on the honor system". Get real. These are politicians. The vast majority of them would have to be taught how an "honor system" worked. Starting with the president.


Yes, the Democrats have finally won, but that doesn't mean that Bush has suddenly become a "man of integrity". He must be overseen. And I, as a tax-paying citizen want to know if our president was misusing our money. Why am I not entitled to an answer to that question? Make that an honest answer.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sweet Bill O'Reilly I Hate Jesus Camp

Ted Haggard has admitted that he has had a sexual relationship with a male prostitute. Haggard was featured in the film "Jesus Camp". Well, due to negative reacion from the film, Jesus Camp will be
shutting down for "at least several years". This is good.

I did not see the movie nor do I intend to. I feel that I have an idea of what Jesus Camp is all about, and it's all about intolerance. Being atheist I have a hard time understanding how one could believe in such a thing as a "god", but I really have a problem with evangelism, especially the "fire and brimstone" kind practiced by such denominations as the Pentecostals. They use fear to motivate you to love God (who supposedly loves you anyway), and I think that this kind of message is completely at odds with itself. I think that this is one reason why these people seem so delusional. They are able to hold diametrically opposing views in their heads without snapping. To really, honestly, thoroughly believe this stuff is, in my humble opinion, insane.

True Democracy in Action

I love it when something like this happens. Remember John Ashcroft? If you were alive during Bush's first term and you were not a drooling idiot, then you probably do. If you were a drooling idiot, you probably thought he was doing a good job. Do you remember how he got his job as Attorney General? He was unemployed. He was unemployed because he lost his bid for re-election to the US Senate to Mel Carnahan. A man the voters of Missouri felt could do a better job of representing their views in Congress. A man who didn't cause as much revulsion as their current senator. A man who, at the time he was elected, was dead. That's right. Given a choice between an atonal former Pentecostal minister with a penchant for writing, and singing, terrible songs and a man who died in a plane crash shortly before the election, the people chose the stiff. (No, not Ashcroft, Carnahan.)

Well, it's happened again. Marie Steichen died two months ago after filing to run for County Commissioner. Her name was still on the ballot against incumbent Republican Merlin Feistner on Election Day. And even though Jerauld, SD, county auditor Cindy Peterson was certain the voters knew she was dead, they elected her anyway "to make their political point."

Folks, how bad a politican must you be for the people to decide that a dead person would make a better choice than you. I believe that any politician who loses an election to a known dead person should give up politics for good. Either that or try to get the nomination from a political party that isn't hated as much as the Republicans. Here's a list to choose from.

Bush Admits Being a Liar (And a Stupid One at That)

So Bush lied. He admitted it, so don't start in with that "I'm sick of you liberals screaming 'Bush lied' all the time! No he didn't." Well, first of all, yes he did. And second, this time he blatently admitted it, right there on live TV during his post-election-sulking/press conference. He said he didn't want to inject a military matter into the middle of a political process. Huh? You mean, he thought that the people didn't have a right to know that the president had been, apparently for some time, preparing to replace his Secretary of Defense? This was something we were screaming for him to do if he cared in the least bit for Americans. Why treat that like something we ought not know before we decide whether or not to send his supporters back to Congress? This is insane.


Apparently, some days back, Bush was telling three reporters that no matter what happened, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were staying throughout the rest of his term. It was only after saying that that he pointed out that Cheney was elected and couldn't be fired. (Maybe Bush doesn't watch Stargate SG-1, because he would know that he could demand the veep's resignation.) I guess on a psychological level, he must have known that he could do that, and that the thought probably crossed his mind, or else he would have answered those "three characters" (as he referred to them during the press conference) something like, "Well the Vice President is elected, and Rummy stays with me." Instead he said that they both would be staying on, then added the part about Cheney being an elected official.


So my bet is that he thought about how to replace Cheney, but realized that he couldn't do it on his own. We can all hope that Cheney gave him an ultimatum. You know, "If my lifelong friend Donny goes, I go." Then he would have to make good on this threat and resign. let's be real here, folks. If Cheney wants to step down, all he has to do is cite health reasons, and no one will question it. They shouldn't, since as far as we've been told, he's not a healthy man. In addition to the numerous heart problems he's had, he apparently also has kidney problems. And I thinnk the medication for his kidneys is causing him other blood problems, the medication for which affects his bad heart. So he's not in good shape. If he were to annouce tomorrow that he was stepping down for health reasons, I doubt he would get much criticism. No one with a sense of decency would criticize a sick person, would he? (Rush Limbaugh has no decency, so that's not an exception.) But, as they used to say during the Revolutonary War, "that's a topic for another thread."


The point was, Bush lied, and nothing his supporters can say will alter that fact. And his reasons for lying were not in the least bit noble. He wasn't trying to save someone's life. He wasn't trying to prevent a war. He wasn't trying to do anything that could remotely be called "good for the country." He told a lie for political purposes, and bad ones at that. The ironic thing is, I fervently believe that if he had done this a week or two week before the elections, the heat would have been off his party enough that they might have kept the Senate and, who knows, maybe the House, too?

If Ken Mehlman Really is Gay

For the record, I don't care if Ken Mehlman is gay. I'm a liberal, remember? As far as I'm concerned (and as far as EVERY person in the world should be concerned) he can have sex with any consenting adult he wants. It's none of my nor anyone else's business. What bothers me is that if he really is gay, then how could he support what his party tried to do during his term? Again, assuming he is gay, how could he stand by while his party engaged in their annual attempt to rile up the homophobes in the country by trying to amend the Constitution to take away, rather than grant, someone's right, namely, the right to marry another person of the same gender.


I want all you opponents of allowing two people of the same gender to marry (and notice I did not specify that they were gay) to explain to me why you feel the way you do. Is it because of your religious beliefs? Because that's not a reason to amend the Constitution, to conform with your particular religion's rules. That amounts to an endorsement of a particular religion. And besides, the people who quote the Bible as justification for banning gay marriage are being hypocrites. There are plenty of capital offenses in that same part of the Bible that they don't scream about. (Women wearing clothes made from two different cloths and farmers planting two different crops in the same field also warrant the death penalty, according to the Old Testament.) I can't believe it has anything to do with "morality", because the people making the biggest stink about this thing were some of the most immoral people we had in government (and society). It can't be because such a union would not produce children. That is not, nor never was, a requirement to get married. Jane and I married each other with the full intent to never have children because we both know that we would make irresponsible parents. Yet no one has ever suggested that we shouldn't be allowed to marry. So that can't be it.


No, the only reason I can think of for why people would oppose "gay marriage" is because of a deep hatred of homosexuals. Sadly, this hatred is often driven by ignorance, or the bigotry one learned growing up. These people do not know what they're talking about, it's as plain as that. These people were exposed to some very ignorant thinking in their youth, and somehow they came to believe things that were not true. Even Senator John Warner, then Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, actually said, during the Don't Ask-Don't tell debates, that he did not believe it possible for a homosexual to remain celibate while in the military. How could a man who once married Elizabeth Taylor still believe such ignorant things? Sadly, powerful, influential idiots like this make the laws in this country. Maybe it's time we amend the Constitution to require that all legislation passed by Congress be based on facts? I realize that some in the Republican Party would have a hard time finding facts to back their positions, but it's what this country needs: Truth-based laws.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Drinking a Coke at Pepsi

My name is Wayne A. Schneider, and this is an absolutely true story. Have you ever heard about the copier repair guy who drank a Coke at Pepsico Corporate Headquarters (or some variation of that?) Well, I've heard that some people have. I'm that guy. I'm the Xerox repairman who drank a Coke at Pepsico International Corporate Headquarters. And I didn't get fired.


I used to work for Xerox fixing copiers. I would drive a company-issued vehicle loaded up with spare copier parts and supplies from one of my broken copiers to another in an often-vain attempt to reach a point where I didn't have any broken copiers of my own to fix. This would free me up to fix someone else's machine that was trying to impersonate one of my pieces of crap. I freely admit that I wasn't the best copier repairman in the business, but I did manage to get caught up from time to time. When I had free time to do a call in another rep's territory, I would try to do it, unless I needed the time to straighten out my inventory of spare parts. This is how we made sure that others would help us when we needed it. Those not prone to helping others often found themselves not getting it when they needed it. Our branch was in Tarrytown, NY (near the legendary Sleepy Hollow, and the Headless Horsemen therein; the town is very real, the headless horseman?), and my territory of machines that I serviced was primarily in downtown White Plains, NY. This had its advantages and disadvantages. If I parked my car at the Galleria Mall, I could easily walk to one third of my territory. I liked that. On the other hand, my customers tended to be lawyers who seemed to think that even a minute of downtime constituted breach of contract. And accountants (April was fun). And insurance companies (such sticklers for detail.) So it was nice every once in a while to get out of my own territory and deal with "normal" people. Well, one day in August 1989, I made the mistake of helping another rep when I had some spare time.


One of my little quirks was that I liked to bring a can of soda with me to a service call. [A brief side discussion because my military experience taught me that people in different parts of the country call "soda pop" by all kinds of variations. To me, it's "soda", to others "pop", and to some others still, "a Coke" (ironically, regardless of the actual brand of the beverage.) So when I mention a particular brand name, I mean that particular brand name, and not some generic soda. It matters a great deal in this story. I came across a map that shows what different people around the country call soda.] My beverage of choice was Coca-Cola (Coke) and it's all I would drink. I took it everywhere I went unless there were specific prohibitions against beverages in the area I was working. It didn't matter to me who the customer was because, as per my training, they were all equal in my eyes. That is, unless my manager decided that one particular customer was "more equal" than the others. None of my customers seemed to mind the Coke I brought with me. Seagram's didn't mind, and A&W Root Beer didn't care. Pepsico, parent company of Pepsi-Cola, was not one of my customers.


Pepsico International Corporate Headquarters is located in Purchase, NY. (It was then.) It's a pretty building with lots of glass and it looks really impressive. It was also in someone else's territory, and one August afternoon, I had the time, so I took a call at Pepsico. Now, something that I didn't know (but would learn later) was that Pepsico was a "sensitive account." That meant that there were certain things about which they got really upset, but the person who gave me the call didn't mention this. One of the things that upset them, as it turned out, was having a Coke on their property. In fact, I think even mentioning the word "Coke" was forbidden, as I later had reason to suspect. I had heard rumors, like the one about how the head of Pepsico ordered a chartered flight turned around and brought back to the airport because there was a Coke in the on-board fridge. I had heard that executives were sometimes fired because someone in their family had a Coke in their own house!. But for all I knew, these were urban legends. And we all know how true they are. I really didn't think it would bother them that much. Boy was I wrong, and it created a bigger stink than might be generally known among not just the general public, but Wall Street as well. (No, no, no need to cue the dramatic music here. I'm just saying, is all. You'll see.)


The copier that I was asked to fix was on the floor where the executives were. The walls were almost seamless and you had to look carefully to find where you could slip down a corridor. The copier was down one of these corridors. The nice lady (nice for the moment) led me to it and I started working on it. In the course of the repair, I took out my Coke, opened it up, and set it down on a table. The table was closer to the door and the copier on the opposite side of the room. While I was there several people walked in, saw that the copier was unavailable, and then left. If any of them noticed the can of Coke, they didn't say anything to me about it. Maybe they said something to someone else. After a little while (it couldn't have been too long because there was still a lot of work to do) the formerly nice lady who led me to the copier came in and must have seen the Coke can sitting on the table because she suddenly turned to me and asked, "Is that your can?" (I noticed she couldn't bring herself to say "Coke". I wonder why.) I cautiously answered, "Yes." Then she said, "If I were you, I'd get rid of it." I thought to myself, "It's a perfectly good Coke and I just opened it so why would I do that?" Instead I asked her "Why?" And she snottily said, "Because this Pepsi." I confusedly answered "So?" because I honestly did not understand why she was being so snippy about it but her excuse was, "They're our number one competitor." I said, "Okay." and finished up the Coke and put the empty can in my tool kit. Sheesh! What's the big hairy deal? As best I could recall at the time, Coke outsold Pepsi by like two-to-one. Bear in mind that I had no idea then or now (or even now about back then) what the actual sales figues were. All I knew was that Coke was number one by a long shot, and Pepsi was number two with a healthy lead over number three. They weren't going anywhere the next day, unless they did something stupid like change the formula.


A little while later, that same lady came in to the room with a note saying that I had to call this number. It was an 800 number, and it turned out it was the Xerox National Customer Accounts line. This couldn't be good. I was directed to a phone I could use which, considering what she just set in motion for me, was surprisingly nice of her. She wasn't looking at me. That wasn't good either. As best I can recall, the phone call went something like this. Me:"Hi, this is Wayne, I was told to give you a call." "Peggy" (not real):"Yes, Wayne, this is Peggy at [something like] Xerox National Accounts. Are you working on a copier at Pepsico?" I said, "Yes." She said, "And were you drinking a Coke while you were doing it?" Uh-oh. "Yes." She continued, "Well, they want you to get rid of the can right away." I said, "I figured that, it's out of sight right now." She said, "Well they want it off the premises. In fact, they want you to leave, but I convinced them that they would still need their copier fixed."




Wow. It's just a fucking can of Coke! How much trouble are they willing to make out of this? You might be surprised. I sure was. I agreed to finish up as quickly as I could and get out there just as quietly. Maybe I should have been a little more quiet on the way out, but I was young and I hadn't learned when not to make public my observations. As I was being escorted out by a stern-faced woman, I probably shouldn't have made reference to that Diet Pepsi "Freedom of Choice" ad campaign. I was into noticing irony then.


Little did I kow at the time that Pepsico did make a major stink about it. In fact, they lied about what I said and did and threatened to cancel the entire national account with Xerox. They told Xerox that I was "belligerent and obnoxious" and I most certainly was not either of those things as far as I was concerned. Maybe they felt I was that way because I didn't bend down and beg forgiveness at their feet for daring to bring up their "number one competitor". I had also heard that the guy who made the actual complaint to Xerox was the head of the Reprographics Department, who did not talk to me at all during the whole incident. I heard that he once threw IBM out of there over something that didn't warrant canceling the national account with them, either. Xerox was nervous about losing the account, and I was told later that there was a lot of debate about the subject. Executives (like the Vice President of the company) were pulled out of meetings to deal with this. That's how big this got. My manager seemed disappointed that my primary concern was for my own job. Too bad, because I needed the work and if I was going to get fired because a customer lied about my behavior, then I think I had every right to be concerned. I know that he would have preferred that I first ask if we would lose the customer, but those kinds of concerns were not for people at the bottom like me.


As it turns out, Xerox did not lose the account over that, and I didn't lose my job. I was, however, banned from ever going to Pepsico again, and that was fine with me. In fact, I gained quite a reputation around our branch office. One of the "old-timers" who had been servicing copiers at Pepsico for years (and hating it) greeted me one day with, "Wayne, the Coca-Cola Kid. I wish I had thought if that." Well, Ed, you didn't.


Now, why would I think that any of you might have heard this story? Well, about six months to a year after this, I was at our training facility in Hawthorne, NY, when a Xerox person from another branch was visiting and talking to our trainer. Suddenly he turns to me and says, "Was that you?" He was just being told about the tech rep who drank a Coke at Pepsi. Even some Xerox employees didn't believe I was real. But the real kicker came years later at my current job. I was talking to the owner and I happened to mention the trouble I got in for drinking a Coke at Pepsi and he said, "I heard about that." I said, "How?" (because our business is not connected to Xerox in any way.) He said that he was dating a woman who used to work for Xerox and she told him about it. I think she thought that I was fired, too. So when people from all over start telling me they heard about the Xerox guy who drank a Coke at Pepsi, I wonder what they heard.


That's my story to the best of my recollection. I tried to avoid using real names to protect the identities of the other Xerox people involved. It is a true story.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Picking My Brain 06-11-09

Happy.


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When I first heard that Rumsfeld was stepping down, I immediately said that if they had done this a week ago, the Republicans might have kept both Houses. I still believe that.


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Britney Spears announced she is filing for divorce from Kevin Federline. All I can say is, "Won't somebody think of the children?"


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AP: JIM WEBB WINS VICTORY IN VIRGINIA SENATE RACE was quickly changed to AP: JIM WEBB(D) UNSEATS SEN. GEORGE ALLEN(R) IN VIRGINIA. Good, because I was trying to figure out what you win, other than victory.


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Rush Limbaugh said he was relieved the Democrats took both Houses because he was "tired of carrying water for people who didn't deserve to have their water carried." Wow. It'll be interesting to see what happens to his ratings now. Will he lose more loyal dittoheads than the liberals he'll gain who'll want to see where he goes from here? Your answer in 250 words or less. You have three hours. Begin now.


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And what are all those poor people who go to liberal blogs to parrot Rush Limbaugh's talking points going to do now? Continue doing it?


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NBC has now declared Jim Webb(D) the winner in Virginia, and that George Allen(R) is said to be disinclined to demand a recount. That means the Dems sweep both Houses and get Rumsfeld fired. The Senate will now consist of 49 Democrats, 49 Republicans, 1 Socialist, and 1 Connecticut-for-Liebermaniac.


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It's been quite an emotional ride, and I'm exhausted. But I am happy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Picking My Brain 06-11-08

Jane and I voted. Did you?


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"I thought we were gonna do fine yesterday. Shows you what I know." George W. Bush during today's press conference.

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It looks like the studio lights are really bright where Chris Matthews is on Election night. He looks squinty, and more beady-eyed than usual.


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Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum is defeated by Bob "Man on Not Dog" Casey!


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They're saying "the blue is getting bluer." Maybe next time we can help make "the green get greener." More alternative party candidates are needed. It isn't always "us or them, take it or leave it."


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Howard Dean promised that their priorities include "a wage bill, ethics reform in Washington, middle class tax fairness, down payment or move toward universal healthcare."


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This is hilarious. Matthews is saying that one race was "too close to call." There were zero votes tallied at that point. Yup, looks like a squeaker.


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Well, for the first time in who knows how many years, there will be two members of the Senate who are neither Democrats nor Republicans. Granted, they are left-of-center and left-of-left, but they are also free of party rule. Lieberman is the head of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party and Sanders is head of the Socialist Party in the Senate.


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Rick Santorum is about to concede. He began with dignity and class. Thanked God. The kids are bawling their eyes out. Says he's looking forward to spending more time with his family. As MSNBC cut away, Santorum was conceding graciously, and I applaud him for that. Good luck in your new life, Rick. Go ahead and stay there in Virginia, I mean, Pennsylvania.


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Now, can someone explain to me what use Karl Rove's counsel is to the president? In addition to losing the House, let's not forget his failed efforts at reconstructing the twice-hurricane-ravaged Mississippi Gulf Coast.


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Jon Stewart: The democrats' strategy waas slowly backing out of the room while their brother gets yelled at for burning down the garage.


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It's 12:45 AM. It's been pretty much conceded that the Democrats have won the House of Representatives. Come January, this nation will have its first female Speaker of the House. She will have attained the highest office of any woman in history. Congratulations Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi.


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At last count, with 97% of the precincts reporting, our candidate for US Representative, Democrat John Hall, was ahead 51%-49%. We are keeping our fingers crossed. We are hoping that the late precincts are Democratic, but I don't know, as I have no internet at home.


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It's 1 AM and three key states still have to be decided: Montana, Missouri, and Virginia. The Democratic candidate leads in all three, with Webb up by 2,726 votes and 99% counted (that one will likely trigger a virtually automatic recount); McCaskill is up by about 14,000 with 80% reporting; and Tester leads by about the same amount but with only about 35% reporting. Since Dems need all three at this point, and Virginia's result will be delayed, it's going to be a rough couple of weeks.


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It's 1:22 AM and as we watched results on C-SPAN (because MSNBC kept going from the House results to pointless graphics) showed Democrat John Hall winning 52%-48% with 96% reporting over incumbent Republican Sue Kelly. They put a check mark next to his name, and I've seen close races where they didn't, so I'm assuming it means they've projected him as the winner! WE WON!!! WOO-HOO!! (please be right)


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Around 1:34 AM MSNBC projected John Hall as the winner of the NY-19th! We did it! I am so happy, and I am even happier for Jane. This was the first campaign for which either of us (her in this case, I just wrote a check) actually did someting about an election. She volunteered for his campaign during the primaries. It was her first actual participation in politics besides voting. And her guy won! Congratulations, Honey.


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Is it time to fire Karl Rove yet?


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Wednesday morning, 3 AM (where have I heard that before?) They've called Missouri for Claire McCaskill, and are getting ready to call Montana for Tester. They want to, but are holding back. They are also hinting that Jim Webb might pick up more votes in the absentee and provisional ballots.


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Oh, yeah, I need to mention this: Congratulations to Chris Matthews for correcting a common Republican/conservative/pro-life talking point that's been out there for fourteen years. Bob Casey, Sr., refused to endorse the Clinton/Gore ticket, and endorsement of the ticket was a requirement to speak at the 1992 Democratic Convention. It is not true that he was denied a chance to speak because of his pro-life views. They have got to stop perpetuating that lie, and they know it's a lie.


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It's 12:38 PM on Wed, Nov 8th, and Norah O'Donnell of MSNBC is asking former DNC Chair Terry MaCauliffe if Sen Hillary Clinton is running in 2008. I know she said she wasn't looking past this senate race, but it's been less than twenty-four hours. Everyone? Can you at least give Hillary a chance to savor last night's victory, perhaps even actually serve one or two days of her second term, before asking if she's going to bail on New Yorkers and run in '08?


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MSNBC has just called Montana for Democrat John Tester! Woo-hoo! That makes 49 Republicans, 48 Democrats, 1 Socialist, and 1 Connecticut-For-Liebermaniac.


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BREAKING NEWS! Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is resigning! Another one bites the dust. And another one gone, another one gone, another one bites the dust! Hey, they gonna get Rove, too? Another one bites the dust?


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I love technical difficulties during live events. In the middle of the president's press conference, as Bush was speaking a loud bleeeep came out on the audio so that it came out, "I spoke to the vice president and he said, 'bleeeeeeeeeeeep'..."


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I'm glad I don't use Karl Rove's version of math. I'd be overdrawn at the bank constantly.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

109 Reasons to Dump the 109th Congress

Over at Think Progress, they list some excellent reasons why this Republican-controlled Congress should go Check out their documented list, and enjoy the debate. I might show up there later (if I get the chance.)

Joke Time: Kittens

George W. Bush and a secret service agent are taking a stroll when they come upon a little girl carrying a basket with a blanket over it. Curious, Bush asks the girl, "What's in the basket?"

She replies, "New baby kittens," and she opens the basket to show him.

"How nice," says Bush. "What kind are they?"

The little girl says, "Republicans."

Bush smiles, pats the little girl on the head and continues on.

Three weeks later, Bush is taking another stroll, this time with Karl Rove. They see the little girl again with the same basket.

Bush says, "Watch this, Karl -- it's really cute."

They approach the little girl. Bush greets her and asks how the kittens are doing, and she says, "Fine." Then, smirking, he nudges Rove with his elbow and asks the little girl, "And can you tell us what kind of kittens they are?"

She replies, "Democrats."

Aghast, Bush says, "But three weeks ago you said they were Republicans!"

"I know," she says. "But now their eyes are open."

Picking My Brain 06-11-07

It's Election Day 2006! VOTE! Thousands of people have died to preserve your right to vote, many of them not even in the military. Honor their memory! VOTE!


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George W Bush, on the campaign trail in 2004, courtesy of DubyaSpeakcom

And a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your Commander-in-Chief. -- Is he referring to his own invasion of Iraq here? Lititz, Pennsylvania, Oct. 27, 2004


And a political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not the person you want as the Commander-in-Chief. -- History repeats in rapid succession... Vienna, Ohio, Oct. 27, 2004



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I'm scared. I'm pretty sure the Dems will take the House. I think the Senate is in reach. However, if when the votes are counted, the Republicans keep both Houses, then I will be absolutely certain that fraud was involved.


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Vote. Go ahead. You know you want to.


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Oil? Now President George W. Bush is saying that we need to make sure the terrorists don't hold the oil hostage to demands. I remember when he ridiculed all of us for saying the same thing.


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Joe Scarborough was laughing at the idea that the Republicans' hopes of keeping the Senate rested on Conrad Burns, the Republican senator from Montana, who once walked up to a bunch of tired, exhausted, out-of-state fire fighters and yelled at them. He then added, "I have nothing against Conrad Burns. Just - a little quirky." There you have it, folks, a glowing testimonial. Vote for John Tester.


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Ha ha! Florida's Republican Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist snubbed the President and his brother today! Way to go, Charlie. Way to go.


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Pssst! Hey, bud. I'll let you in on a little secret. Wanna know what turns the ladies on? Go voting together.


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I see they let Pat Buchanan out of his little room. He was actually in the studio, in person, with Scarborough. Did everyone get their shots?


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Can someone from Virginia who supports Senator George Allen for re-election please explain to me why? I mean, do you understand how he looks to the rest of the country? Don't you think you could do better?


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I can't believe what I'm hearing on Chris Matthews' 10 PM Hardball Monday night. Harold Ford was doing really well in the polls until that stupid, disgusting, racist, ad came out, and he's been down ever since. I know people in Tennessee. You're better than that.


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Ladies, remember the old saying. If you don't vote, you can't be a bitch. :-) No, seriously, if you vote, then you're allowed to bitch. If you don't, then you can't. So go vote.


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Everyone. This is your chance to show the rest of the world how a country transfers power peacefully. Do it proudly. They really do envy us this right. It would be a shame if you didn't exercise the most cherished of human rights, one that many in the world cannot have; one that many have died to defend. Remember that, even if you forget to vote.


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Does anybody know what James Bath, a lifelong personal friend of and financial savior to President George W. Bush, has been up to since January 2001? He was very close to the Saudis and other Arab nations. What's his story? (As Wolf would say.)


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"Do we give the president a vote of confidence, or a boot in the backside?", asked Chris Matthews at the end of his program. Are those our only choices?


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Have I mentioned that it's Election Day? GO VOTE! Do not believe anyone who tries to tell you that it's been postponed or any such stupidity. That's not how we do this things in this country. Peace to all.

Monday, November 06, 2006

What You Need to Believe to Be a Republican


  1. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

  2. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

  3. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

  4. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

  5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

  6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay, and refusing to buy working Israeli defense systems for our armored vehicles because we have a $70 million contract with Raytheon to make them by 2011.

  7. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

  8. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

  9. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism. HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

  10. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

  11. A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

  12. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages, censoring the Internet, torturing captives and listening to anyone's' phone conversation.

  13. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

  14. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

  15. Supporting "Executive Privilege" for every Republican ever born, who will be born or who might be born (in perpetuity.)

  16. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

  17. Support for hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing orange vests similar to those worn by the quail. Encourage the shooting victims to apologize for getting shot. Do not report the incident until blood alcohol level goes down.

  18. Make sure to only invade countries with large amounts of oil.



Friends don't let friends vote Republican.

Stop Saying We Want to Destroy Bush

We liberals are not opposed to the war in Iraq because we want to “destroy” Bush. We are opposed to the war because it was never necessary. I will make this as simple as I can:



Everything that the administration said that was a justification for war turned out not to be true.

Everything that the administration said that turned out to be true was not a justification for war.


Unless and until President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and the Republican Party admit that they lied in order to get us into this military occupation of Iraq (which is what it is now), there can never be any meaningful discussion of what to do next. Because everything they say is based on the lies they put forth in the first place. They refuse to admit they were wrong at all, so how can they be convinced that a new direction is needed? This is why we’re angry. They lied. They refuse to admit they lied. They keep saying that we’re wrong because we won’t agree to their version of the “facts”. And we won’t agree to their version of the “facts” because they aren’t facts.


On another point, I am sick and tired of hearing the administration say that “the facts on the ground” will determine when our troops will leave Iraq, because “the facts on the ground” certainly had nothing to do with why we invaded in the first place.


Facts are facts. They are neither liberal nor conservative. Just because the facts make the President and Vice President look like liars, it doesn’t mean that they are liberal “facts” and should be ignored. President Bush IS a liar. Vice President Cheney IS a liar. Those are facts.

Democrats Don't Need a Plan

Democrats are under NO obligation to tell everyone what they would do differently in Iraq for a lot of reasons. To begin with, this administration is 100% responsible for any problems we are having there. Second, given that this is without question the most secretive administration in our nation's history, how can anyone else evaluate the situation without facts? They have done everything they can to keep the truth from the public AND from the Democrats in Congress. They have exercised their authority over this war in secret and behind closed doors. Democrats were not invited to discuss the matter because Bush and Cheney have been operating under the Unitary Executive theory which, in essence, means that they don't need to consult with other branches of Congress. It is the same theory of governance that Richard Nixon thought appropriate. (You remember, "If the president does it, that means it's not illegal.")


On the Legislative side of the government, the Republican Party has literally shut the Democrats out of any real opportunity to write meaningful legislation. They are not allowed to assign members to conference reports, where the final version of the bill gets written before being sent back for final passage. They're lucky if anything they managed to get into the bill before then stays in it, and they have had legislaiton they've authored, and got passed with bi-partisan support, removed from final versions of the bill. And too often they have to vote on it without sufficient time to read it, and someties without ever seeing an actual copy of what is being voted on. Because this is how the Republicans have run the Congress. Remember that infamous $87 billion "emergency" appropriation for the war in Iraq? The Republicans wanted to pay for it by borrowing the money; the Democrats wanted to pay for it by taking back some of the tax breaks for the most wealthy. The Republicans fought them and won. We borrowed the money. And when Democrats voted against the way this was being funded, the Republicans mendaciously accused them of voting against the troops. They are, for the most part, shameful, vile, disgusting pigs, and they don't deserve to have the honor and privilege of serving the American people in their federal government.


No. Iraq is purely a Republican problem. They are responsible for solving it. And so far, nothing they've done has worked. Maybe they could ask the other side for help, instead of demonizing them as useless? This is the problem with ideological thinking, especailly when it mixes with highly partisan politics. These people supporting the war have been wrong about virtually everything (except our quick military capture of Baghdad and Saddam, and everyone on both sides agreed that was a given). But it has been their ideology that has driven their policy, and their ideology tells them that democracy is the answer. But are they even asking the right questions? The answer to what? Exactly what problem that exists there is going to be solved by forcing them into a democracy?

The Business Solution to Gay Marriage

If two men decided that after a lifelong friendship they wanted to live as a legal union, designate each other to make medical decisions for the other, bequeath their estates to each other, and enjoy all the benefits of a legal partnership, the conservatives would go nuts.

But, if two lifelong friends decide to form a business partnership together, designate each other to make medical decisions (to control proprietary information – only about half a dozen people know the formula to Coca-Cola), pass their interest in the partnership to the other, and enjoy all the legal protections that come with such a union, the conservatives would probably say they were smart businessmen and support it.

So, let’s suggest to gay people that they incorporate themselves, then legally merge their two “corporations” and specify all the parameters that the two businessmen above did. They should be able to do this legally and their families shouldn’t be able to break the agreement since it’s one between corporations, not individuals.

It’s not what gay people want and I agree that they should have the same legal status as a marriage between people of opposite gender, but (unless I’m missing a major flaw) they would enjoy most of what they would ultimately like to have. One “protection” that married people have that these men wouldn’t would be the legal protection of not having your spouse testify against you involuntarily.

It’s not a perfect solution, and I admit that I know nothing about the details of the law, but at first glance it sounds like it might give these fine folks what they want and deserve to have, and it would be unbreakable by the less-enlightened members of the family that hate gays. It’s just another of my crazy ideas.

Picking My Brain 06-11-06

Killing someone, to demonstrate that killing someone will not be tolerated, is insane. It truly is.


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"Did you hear about the big accident today? Yeah, it was really gruesome. A number of Republicans running away from George Bush collided with a number of Democrats running away from John Kerry." -Jay Leno [No matter which side of the political aisle you're on, that was funny!]

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Saddam Hussein, found guilty in an Iraqi court of justice for crimes against humanity, was sentenced to death by hanging. Now that he is in custody, he poses a threat to no one. Killing him would neither prove nor prevent anything. I ask everyone, what good can come from killing him now? Is legalizing revenge civilized?


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I have come to the conclusion that when people don't know what the speed limit is, they just drive 45 MPH. It is not logical, but it often true.


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Tony Snow, doing it again, claiming that "the proper question" is, "Do you want America to win in Iraq?" This is a straw man and a diversionary tactic to deflect the respondent from the issue of whether or not the invasion of Iraq should have happened in the first place. Once the questioner concedes that the invasion was wrong for so many reasons, then I'll respond to his question.


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"Reverend" Ted Haggard has finally admitted that he has had, what he describes as, "a lifelong problem" with homosexuality. No, Ted. Your only "problem" is that you believed all that nonsense that you have saying about gay people all these years. It wasn't true then, it isn't true now, it won't be true tomorrow. Be yourself.


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Many times in recent weeks I've heard Venezuela described by the Bush supporters as a "threat". Venezuela may be a threat to the ideological fanaticism of the Bush Administration, but they are no threat to America. Let's be clear on that.


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Senator Lindsey Graham says that "Iran is run by a crazy guy." So is the U.S., Senator. So is the U.S.


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Scenes I'd Like to See: Wolf Blitzer, doing his "In Case You Missed It" segment on his Sunday politics show, with a big grin on his face, "An exclusive! After our interview, Lynne Cheney jumped my bones!"


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The Jets had a bye this week, so they won't be adding one to their loss column. Whew, dodged a bullet there.


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When I looked at Electoral-Vote.com this morning, I was heartened. It showed the Dems taking the Senate 50-49 (one tie), with an advantage in the House of 239-196. But I know this can, and likely will, change by Tuesday night. How much is what frightens me.


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Sen Elizabeth Dole was on MTP saying that the elections are not "national", but "a choice between two people." I have said it before and I will continue to say it. The two major political parties do not want you to even think about the existence of other political parties. They are enemies of true democracy. By the way, where's Sen Dole's "Mouth On/Off Switch"?


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Haven't got internet at home yet and I'll be taking Wednesday off, so if I post anything on Wednesday, it'll either be before anybody wakes up, or after everyone leaves the office. But I expect to have a few things ready to post by then. Just a little heads up. Don't want you to think I've been renditioned or anything. See ya real soon, kids.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Another Logical Fallacy Exposed

Bill Bennett, when asked what would he give Bush the most credit for accomplishing, said, "Uh, keeping us safe for five years." One more time, this is a logical fallacy. Just because there have been no major attacks on U.S. soil does not mean that the president can be credited for it. Considering how ineptly his administration has been running things, I'd say we can credit the fact that we haven't been hit to plain ol' blind shithouse luck, more than the president's efforts. That and the fact that by making us afraid of another terrorist attack and giving up our civil liberties, they have accomplished their goal, and need not launch another attack for a while. Don't credit the president for that; credit the philosphy of using terrorism as a weapon.

There ARE Other Political Parties

Remember, Tuesday, November 7, is Election Day. You HAVE to vote!


If you feel that you just can't bring yourself to vote again for your favorite Republican candidate, but there's no way in hell you'll vote for the Democratic candidate, it doesn't mean you should stay home. There are other political parties out there and your choice does not have to be limited to just the two. You know who the BIGGEST supporters of the Two-And-Only-Two Party System are? The two major political parties. They don't want you to think that another political party will represent you better because that would spoil the nice little racket they have set up for themselves. Why do you think that "Majority Leader" and "Minority Leader" (as if there could only be two) are offical government titles? Because a system where one political party does not have a clear, greater-than-50% majority would destroy everything they've set up for themselves. It would diminish the power they have, so they resist it. But you can ruin that for them by electing candidates from he other parties. Look, I'm not naive. I'll be the first to admit that I would be surprised as hell if anyone other than a Republican or Democrat (with the exception of Socialist Bernie Sanders running for US Senator from VT) gets elected, but I would also be thrilled. As I find official web sites for other political parties, I will add them to the list on the right. I promise they won;t all be liberal or libertarian web sites. I want issues to be debated in Congress, not pre-determined before the vote is taken. I want different people to have to go to otherwise political opponents to work out differences. (Libertarians can be found in both major parties, so they can form an important bloc. So can environmentalists, and the more "specialized" groups are less likely to be swayed by the powerful interests that control the big shots.)



I found a site that gives a lot of information about other political parties, but I haven't had a chance to look it over thoroughly. If I find out later it was a poor choice for good information, then I will remove it from this item. It can be found here.

If you have any problems voting on Tuesday, MSNBC says you should call the National Voter Hotline at 1-866-MYVOTE1.

Do As I Say Not As I Do Part I Stopped Counting

Is it my imagination, or are some of the loudest opponents of certain things, themselves, doing those things? Rush Limbaugh, mouthpiece for the Republican Party, said that drug users should go to prison, and the unfortunate man gets addicted to oxycontin (which may have been responsible for his deafness). Good thing he hired the same lawyer that successfully defended Michael Kennedy Smith (yeah, those Kennedys) on rape charges. Representative Mark Foley (R-FL) goes on the floor of the House and denounces internet child predators. Like himself. And now this "Reverend" Timothy Haggard, a frequent adviser to the White House and the President, and who I am told preaches some vehemently anti-homosexual sermons and lectures (I have no interest in hearing any sermons), has admitted buying meth from a gay male prostitute. He denies having sex with the man, but he admitted to buying the drug one time, and then claimed he threw it away unused. The man who, on more than one occasion, sold meth to Haggard for the purpose of enhancing their sex together tells a different story. Hypocrisy, thy party is Republican.

Get Involved!

Why is it that the Republicans are acting like only politicians are allowed to "get political" around Election Day? Whenever any non-politician reveals their hypocrisies, they immediately complain that this information is coming out right before the elections. "It's obviously an attempt to influence the elections." What's wrong with that? Isn't that our right as citizens? You know, "petition the government for a redress of grievances"? What right do they have to say that WE THE PEOPLE do not have a right to try to influence our fellow citizens? After all, they don't seem to have a problem with special interest groups running ads on TV, often with unregulated, factually inaccurate information, when the ads support them. What's the difference? Hear me now: ANY politican who complains about negative factual information coming to light right before an election as just an attempt "to influence the elections" simply does not understand or support the democratic process. They must be voted out of office. You have every legal and constitutional right to make your voice heard, and you have an obligation to the electorate to reveal compromising information about candidates when that information is relevant and true.

Picking My Brain 06-11-05

Growing pains alert. (No, Kirk Cameron is not guest-blogging today.) I decided to shift things around a bit. I'm going to try limiting this column to short items and quips, and save the longer rants, speeches and comments for their own posts. We'll see how this works out.


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"A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack." - Andrew Card, whispering in George W. Bush's ear on September 11, 2001. The president sat and did nothing for almost seven minutes.

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In CNN's "Broken Government, Where the Right Went Wrong" on Friday night, they showed a very edited clip of George W. Bush taking the oath of office saying, "I, George W. Bush, do solemnly swear that I will execute, so help me God." I thought at the time, "You sure did, didn't you?" If that's what he thought his job was, I can understand why he would think he was qualified. ("I've executed lots a times.")


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Can anyone produce the total dollar figure for how much you and I spent on all those idiotic, unnecessary, costly backdrops that accompanied virtually every single appearance by the President? Appearances, I might add, that were not open to you unless you either donated money and/or signed a "loyalty oath".


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Why do religious conservatives think they have the sole right to decide what is "good" and what is "evil"? For that matter, who does the President think he is to decide that? (No points for answering, "The Decider." Too easy.)


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"Laura Bush turns sixty on Saturday. George Bush said, marrying Laura was the smartest thing he ever did, and I think that's just about right." -David Letterman


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There are some states that issue driver's licenses valid for life (assuming you don't lose it for infractions). But to not conduct some kind of test even every ten tears (for, let's say, senility?) seems rather, I don't know, dangerous? Don't get me wrong, I am rather libertarian in my views, but not that libertarian. (Get the senile people off the road.)


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"Get out the vote on steroids." That's one of the Republicans' "themes" this election. They want people on steroids voting?


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Nevada has a ballot measure to legalize marijuana (up to one ounce.) It's losing right now 51%-42% with 7% undecided, but I think it's a good idea. Proponents want to legalize it, control the sale of it through licensing and tax it! Even if you oppose the use of it, just think about it. Hundreds of thousands of out-of-state tourists will come in and help pay for your government to function. They'll be paying taxes that otherwise you would have to pay. And you never have to buy a single ounce yourself. It's a win-win.


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If you have any problems voting on Tuesday, MSNBC says you should call the National Voter Hotline at 1-866-MYVOTE1.


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Tuesday, November 7, is Election Day. Vote Quimby!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Keith Olbermann's Special Comments

Several weeks ago, Keith Olbermann began doing a series of Special Comments. His inspiration for doing them was the late, great Edward R. Murrow. (Mr. Murrow lived in Pawling, NY, where I currently live, though not while he was alive. Pawling is very proud that he was a part of its history.) In his comments, Mr. Olbermann pulls no punches and says the things that need to be said to the people who should be listening but doubtless are not, even if the only reason they refuse to listen is that Mr. Olbermann is liberal. Too bad, because liberals have been maliciously, mendaciously, and methodically demonized by their ideological opponents for far too long. They should admit it: Liberals have fought for and helped bring about virtually every major sociological change in this country, from the Revolutionary War itself through the Civil Rights movement and all kinds of things in between, and conservatives fought against them every step of the way. You conservatives should think about where your kids would be today if life were as it was a hundred years ago under conservative rule. If they were alive, they would probably be working in a factory, and certainly not going to elementary school. There was none, until the liberals changed that. And lest you think we're all "soft on defense", keep in mind that many of us have served in our country's armed forces, in both peace and war. Like the vast majority of us on the left, Mr. Olbermann is not merely unashamed about being liberal, he's proud of it. And liberals have become sick and tired of hypocrisy in our government. Whatever excesses were permitted in the past through acquiesence on the part of the public and of us liberals, regardless of the political party of the person involved, we are going to see that it comes to an end. We are not going to just keep letting them get away with it without speaking up and demanding accountabililty. Exposure of the truth is their enemy, and they are about to face it like they haven't seen it before. They pushed us to see just how much we would take before we fought back, and they're about to find out. They should also remember that just because we prefer to resolve things peacefully and through talking it out, it doesn't mean we won't fight if we have to. (And we're the "brainy" ones, so I'd be concerned about what we're capable of doing if you intend to push us that far.) Still, like true liberals, I would rather see a peaceful resolution to our differences, but it must be agreed by all that this particular administration has gone way too far.


When former Secretary of State Colin Powell wrote that "the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," President Bush responded with an address from the Rose Garden in which he said some very chilling words during a very deceitful response to a reporter's question. As has beconme the standard operating procedure when the president is called upon to justify his actions that are being criticized, he put up a straw man and completely mischaracterized the question and then said something frightening. He used the phrase "it's unacceptable to think." The reporter asked him, "Mr. President, former Secretary of State Colin Powell says the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism. If a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state feels this way, don't you think that Americans and the rest of the world are beginning to wonder whether you;re followuing a flawed strategy?" The president then twisted the question into one about the compassion of Americans (a subject not even diatantly approached by the reporter) and then uttered the jaw dropper. He said, "If there's any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it's flawed logic." I'm going to stop right there and say two things. First, who the fuck was comparing them because it certainly wasn't us or the reporter? And second, will you ever stop bringing up these ridiculous, stupid, insulting straw man arguments? Just because you can't justify your actions and tell the truth at the same time, it doesn't mean that we're too stupid to realize you're doing it. And then he made it even worse. "It's just -- I simply can't accept that. It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the actions of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective."


For the President of the United States of America, the country that is the greatest testimony to freedom of speech in history, to say that it is unacceptable to think something, is to insult every person who has fought and died for that freedom. And to distort the question being asked in order to make that incredible statement shows a callousness this opresident has usually been better at hiding, though it is undoubtedly there. As Mr. Olbermann so eloquently put it, Bush owes us an apology.


In the aftermath of September 11th, the White House and the Republicans assured us that they would not politicize that horrendous day, and then proceeded to do just that. And all of that was bad enough, but they also haven't done anything about rebuilding what was lost, despite all the grand promises. Five years later and what do we have to show for our rebuilding efforts on that sixteen acres? A hole in the ground. Mr. Olbermann expressed the outrage over this quite well in his special comment titled This hole in the ground. As you read this, keep in mind that it was several more days after this comment that more remains were found under a manhole at Ground Zero.


The president's attempt to equate questioning him or his policies with the terrorists' attempt to manipulate the media prompted this reply, 'Have you no sense of decency, sir?' He also broke the rule against invoking Hitler or the Nazis.


Tired of hearing what a lousy job he's doing, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld lashed out at his critics and compared them to Nazi appeasers. What a petty, petty, man. The arrogance, to think that he is right and everyone who disagrees is wrong, when the plain evidence before us clearly shows the opposite, is bewildering. Mr. Olbermann explored that in Feeling morally, intellectually confused?. Bear in mind with this one the subsequent events. The Military Times is expected to run an editorial Monday calling for Rumsfeld's resignation or firing at once. One can wonder if Mr. Olbermann's Special Comment had any influence on that editorial's content. Perhaps not.


When Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace ambushed former president Bill Clinton with that bullshit question about why he didn't do enough to stop bin Laden (under the dubious claim that it was what their viewers told them to ask via e-mail; weeks later, FNC ignored tens of thousands of e-mails asking them to ask Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice why they didn't respond to the bombing of the USS Cole. But that's a topic for another thread.) For a network that claims to do things "Fair & Balanced", it was a very unfairly framed question. It presumed that it was possible to do enough in the first place, that trying alone should have guaranteed success, and that if he didn't succeed it could only have been for lack of trying. And yet the evidence is quite clear that where President Clinton admitted that he didn't do enough because bin Laden was alive when he left office, President Bush, by contrast, did NOTHING. Because Bush is a coward who will not face scrutiony for his failures, Mr. Olbermann decided it was time to call him out on that in A textbook definition of cowardice.


Over the past couple of months, as stories come out showing all the failures of the administration, and reports come out that contradict what Bush's p[eople say is happening, Bush has been hitting the campaign trail and lying, lying, lying. His biggest problem seems to be an inability to distinguish between the enemy he says we face and the people who say he's wrong Mr. Olbermann tried to help him understand in A special comment about lying.


After five special comments, mostly directed at the president, Mr. Olbermann was hardly going to contain himself when Bush decided that nearly 800 years of guaranteed rights was long enough and, with a stroke of his pen, signed legislation denying certain people any rights at all. This is NOT an exaggeration. A writ of habeas corpus (you must have the body), is your sole right to be brought before a judge of some kind when the government picks you up to ask, "Why am I here?" Without this right, your other "rights" are rendered meaningless because how will you ever get them enforced, especially if the government refuses to admit that they have you in their custody? The Military Commsions Act of 2006 will deny people classified a certain way, the right to have their staus challenged. And how do they get this status? It would only take the President's or the Secretary of Defense's signature - with no accompanying proof required whatsoever - to label someone with this status. (It's actual name is irrelevant, as it is just another deceitful name on their part.) Once you are given this label, your right to have that label challenged ceases to exist. No court would have any jurisdiction to hear your complaint. If a judge is not allowed to listen, who's gong to make sure your other rights are not violated? Mr. Olbermann spoke to this in Beginning of the end of America.


When the Republican Party debuted an ad on their web site, before actually airing it on TV, they knew that the cable news channels, at least, would air it for them at no charge. And they weren't wrong. And with the free air time came the free criticism. Because it was a horrible, despicable, loathesome attempt to terrorize the American people. And let there be no misunderstanding about what this commercial constituted: it was Terrorism. They were doing the work of the very enemy they claimed we were fighting for them. The enemy need only sit back and do nothing. Advertising terrorism was Mr. Olbermann's explanation for why this was so.


Finally, in his most recent special comment to date, Mr. Olbermann responded to President's Bush insulting attack on our nation's fine troops. You see, John Kerry was beginning to rattle off some lame jokes at a campaign stop when he completely, and unintentionally, botched up a joke very badly. This is an irrefutable fact no matter what the nay-sayers on Fox think. Kerry's staff quickly put the word out that Kerry meant to say that when you don't learn, you get us stuck in Iraq, meaning President Bush, which was unmistakably clear from his words leading up to this point. But he left out the word us. So it came out sounding like he was saying that the stupid ones end up serving in Iraq, and that was obviously NOT what he would EVER say at any time. But facts mean nothing to a political party so hell-bent on winning at all costs, despite the fact that just about all major polls show the public does not want them in control. Bush seized upon Kerry's two hundred tenth verbal gaffe to LIE and say that Kerry was insulting the troops. It was Bush, in fact, who was the one insulting our troops for pretending that someone would actually say that (and mean it) about our troops. This was the subject of Mr. Olbermann's most recent rebuke of the president. Bush owes troops apology, not Kerry.


I know that I am not alone in applauding Mr. Olbermann for his courage, talent, and willingness to speak truth to power. These are things that need to be said because the people who the president listens to will never say these things. Someone has to. Someone has.

Picking My Brain 06-11-03

yjuuuuuuu

My "son", Tippy, wrote today's opening for me. He's not a good speller, so I wish he wouldn't step on the keyboard while I'm writing this.
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Border relations between Canada and Mexico have never been better. - George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Sep. 24, 2001


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When we debate whether to use some particuar prisoner interrogation technique (such as "waterboarding"), we often hit back at its supporters with, "Well if this were being done to an American held in an overseas prison, would you be okay with it?" Maybe we should ask them, "Just what interrogation techniques are you willing to accept on Americans held in an overseas prison? Just how much physical contact are you okay with? Why don't YOU tell US how far you will allow foreign interrogators to go with American citizens in their custody, then, and only then, can you talk about what you'll allow our people to do to others. Then we should do nothing worse than exactly the same thing. Now, still want to waterboard? It has already been condemned by the rest of the world as 'torture'."


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I like Michael J. Fox. Not only did he have a great comedic film career, but he has handled this whole Rush Limbaugh flap with incredible dignity, grace and class. And as he reminded Anderson Cooper last night, what Rush said and did is minor compared to what he's trying to do. He is going to go state to state if he has to trying to get people elected who will support all forms of stem cell research. Many, and I do mean many, of the opponents of embryonic stem cell research do so for some of the most ignorant reasons, chief among them that it would mean the destruction of the embryos. What they fail to acknowledge or understand is that the embryos upon which we would like to have research federally funded (so its results are by law available to everyone) would and could be destroyed at any time by the biological parents, and often are once a successful pregnancy (or the last one they want) has been achieved. Yet they aren't screaming to have that made illegal as loudly as they oppose the potentially life-saving, life-extending medicine that could be achieved. To date, every single argument against any kind of stem cell research that I have heard is either deceitful, fallacious or hypocritical. ANd besides, another thing they're forgetting to remind people is that they know what they know about this research because it's going on right now! Just because it's not federally funded, doesn;t mean it's not being done somewhere in the world. Other countries are years ahead of our scientists because their governments had the foresight tosee the vast potential this research holds. They're not going to let a bunch of religious zealots with no desire to live outside their anachronistic thinking dictate everyone else's lives. It's time we did the same thing in this country.


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Why are these conservative dipshits complaining about "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report"? They're comedies for crying out loud! They are not real news, and they make sure their viewers know that as often as possible. And if you haven't figured that out yet, you've got no business criticizing them. Why am I saying this to you? If you're reading this, two things: 1) You probably watch those shows and enjoy them as I do, and, 2) If not, who are you and what brought you here?


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I'm getting nervous. It's coming down to the wire. Election Day (which ought to be a federal holiday when federal offials are being elected) is just days away. Time for the infamous "72-hour strategy". This is supposed to be a well-timed operation. So why is President Bush going out and publicly saying that as long as he has a job, Rumsfeld has a job. (Did you hear that, Mr. Conyers?) How many votes was this ploy supposed to garner from the "undecideds"? And does this have anything to do with Rove's strategy, or did a highball glass shatter in his hand when the president announced that? So what will the "October in November Surprise" be?


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Lots to do today. I'll see if I can slip in over the weekend to post something, otherwise once I leave the office later day, I might not have anything until Monday. But do think long and hard about which candidates will better represent you in Congress. And you know what? If that candidate is not a Democrat or Republican, then you should consider that candidate even more. Gorwing up I used to hear in school about how great America was because we had "a two-party system." As I've gotten older, I've learned that the two major parties are teh ones who want it that way, not the people. The people want a diversity of opinion in Congress in order to produce the best ideas. The Dems and Repubs want to control things as much as possible by making every vote predictable. Don't fall into their trap. Find a candidate who is not from one of the two major parties and vote for him or her. The two major political aprties have not been working for you, so stop voting for them.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Picking My Brain 06-11-02

I've been up for nearly twenty hours, so as we see what we can pick out of my brain today, I'd wear gloves if I were you.


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"It's the first day of November sweeps, and I'm pregnant." - Stephen Colbert, opening to his 11/01/06 show


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What is wrong with Pat Buchanan? He was just blathering away on Scarborough last night and, well, I'm beginning to wonder if he ever leaves that room he's always talking from. He just seems so out of touch with real America. I don't really want to go into what he said last night because I would have to wait for the transcript to get it exactly right. I remember he began just about every answer with his hands going into his about-yea-big pose. After that, my eyes glazed, When his lips stopped moving I was able to re-focus. Why is he always squinting? He looks worried. Why does he always look so worried? Oh, yeah, because white people won't be the majority soon, and that scares the shit out of him.


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Somebody tell O'Reilly to just go away and shut the fuck up! He doesn't listen to me. He's going on to all these talk shows and brow-beating the hosts with his patented straw man, "Do you want America to win the war in Iraq or not?" Naturally if you don't immediately answer "Yes", he starts berating you. Letterman answered him perfectly when O'Reilly said, "It's a simple question, Dave." Dave said, "No it's not because I'm a thoughtful person." You see, O'Reilly lives in a fantasy world where everything is crystal clear and your path so obvious. It is not a reality-based world, the reality-based world has more colors and textures than O'Reilly's, as well as depth. Way more depth. O'Reilly doesn't like to dig deep into issues because his "gut feelings" would likely prove wrong too often. I won't say he'd be proven wrong every time, because he does from time to time come out on the right side of an issue. Like capital punishment. He opposes capital punishment. It's just that sometimes he arrives at the right answer but for the wrong reasons. Like capital punishment. He opposes it because it's not harsh enough. Maybe he prefers "near-fatal" punishment. For life. I don't know.


Katherine Harris? Spock called. He wants his eyebrows back. She is so obviously oblivious to her own obvious obliviousness. (huh?)
[Announcer: And now we'll get the call from head ref Mike Carey.
Head Referee Mike Carey: Upon further review, that sentence makes sense.]


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"We weren't in Iraq when they attacked us September 11, 2001." - George W. Bush, Campaigning on Oct 31, 2006.



Okay.



I'm still trying to understand what that means.



I think the "they" means "the terrorists".



So, no, of course we weren't in Iraq on September 11, 2001, unless you count the pilots enforcing the no-fly zones.



Unless, by "they" he meant "Iraq".



But Iraq didn't attack us September 11, 2001.



I'm still trying to understand what that means.



The audience seemed to enjoy the line; they applauded heartily.



I guess they understand him better than I do.



As my sister would say, "Jesus wept."


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It is WAY past my bedtime, and I have to get to sleep befo r e i fa l sdtigzlie

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Picking My Brain 06-11-01

It's 10 PM. Do you kow where your beer-drinking, friend-shooting, publicly-lying, creepy-looking, Vice President is?


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"I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of Defense." - George W. Bush, White House, Apr. 18, 2006 [So, he's hearing voices, eh?]


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"The Flintstones Chewable Vitamin" of news. That's how a guest on Joe Scarborough described "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report." I have to go back through the transcripts because I haven't quite figured out whether or not Joe or his guests get these two great shows. They say they do, but then get all worried that they might have an effect on the election! So, what's wrong with that? As near as I can tell, the biggest problem that YOU have, Joe, is that you can't predict what that effect will be, and it scares the shit out of you.


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"The troops are plenty smart." - George W. Bush, while doing another freebie stump job on the campaign trail yesterday. Kerry had botched a joke, one which may or may not have been funny even if he got it right, but that's beside the point. He was on a roll, doing one-liners in the opening to his speech, and when he went into the whole "You get stuck in Iraq" thing, he left out the word "us". He went to say that the uneducated president and his henchmen (the "you") "get US stuck in Iraq." Whole nuther thing. So naturally, the Republicans ignore the corrections issued by Kerry and his people and keep accusing Kerry of saying that our troops are dumb. But our Yale-educated, Harvard MBA president set the record straight, "The troops are plenty smart." You think he could have found a more grammatically correct way of expressing that particular sentiment?


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So the Australians are all upset over the recent hilarious episode of
"South Park". Satan has decided that he wants to have the most awesome Sweet Sixteen Halloween party ever even though everything he wants to do has already been done by P Diddy. He lays down firm rules about who can get in and who can't, and one of them is that you have to have a costume. A minion approaches to tell him that someone dressed as Steve Irwin (famed Crocodile Hunter who died, tragically, in a freak accident) has shown up. Now here is where our good friends down under aren't getting the whole story, I think. Because Satan immediately says that this is wrong and that it's too soon for someone to be dressing up like Steve Irwin. Only it's the real Steve Irwin, so Satan kicks him out for not having a costume. That's all. Oh, and the fact that Irwin had a stingray barb sticking out of his chest might have been offensive (if they haqd actually seen it, which they won't 'til next year.


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So I finally sit down to read the book and who's the very first nominee? Willis Stephens! New York State Assemblyman Stephens was monitoring an online discussion group of 300 of his constituents. He sent the following e-mail to his assistant, "Just watching the idiots pontificate." Only he didn't send it to his assistant, he accidentally sent it to the 300 people involved in the online discussion. Faux pas! Republican Willis Stephens is MY New York State Assemblyman. Can you guess who I'm voting for on Tuesday? Can you? Because I don't even know his name and I'm voting for him. (Just kidding, it's Ken Harper. Go Ken!)


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More stuff later today (maybe after work, when I have time at the office to do this.) Until then, keep watching the skies!