Saturday, December 29, 2007

How to blow $4,200,000,000

  1. Buy the company that made the first mass-market internet browser with a 90%+ share of users just as the internet is exploding.
  2. Watch as the company that owns the desktop on 95% of the world's computers makes its own browser and distributes it for free. (Microsoft learned early that the internet wants to be free).
  3. Make numerous unsuccessful attempts to monetize your browser as its market share plummets. Then make numerous unsuccessful attempts to monetize the brand as a web site.
  4. Give up.

R. I. P.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The origin of lolcats

Great piece, but what I really think was the progenitor of lolcats was Cat by B. Kliban.

Cat was also one of the books that launched the "trade paperback" revolution in publishing. Prior to the 70s, paperbacks were generally just reprints of hardcovers or pulp fiction (now called "mass market paperback"). Now, there was a new kind of higher quality paperback that was an original work.

We were early adopters of Cat. In addition to the book, we bought the first set of Cat posters including this one:

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Democratic Candidates,Take The Pledge: "If Nominated, I Will Not Hire Bob Shrum"

Experience vs. judgment.

Bob Schrum has experience, lots of it.

By Mark Leibovich
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 10, 2004; Page C01

Each day at the Democratic convention in Boston, a team of 10 speechwriters would convene in a windowless office behind the Fleet Center podium to help compose and polish that night's speeches. In the spirit of camaraderie, the speechwriters discussed making T-shirts for themselves.

One suggested a design featuring the slogan "Reverse the Curse" over a picture of Bob Shrum, the Democratic strategist whom many perceived to be presidential candidate John Kerry's closest adviser. "The Curse" referred to Shrum's career-long slump in presidential campaigns, a well-catalogued losing streak that runs from George McGovern to Al Gore.

The shirts were never made for fear of offending Shrum. But the slogan endures as a joke among Kerry staffers. The implication is that Kerry is battling not just President Bush, but also the history of his ever-present aide-de-camp. It also underscores the degree to which Shrum's 0-7 win-loss record in presidential elections has become ensconced in the psyches of the campaigns he orchestrates.

Well, that was before the 2004 election. Now he's 0-8. From today's New York Times:

It was the spring of 2004, and Senator John Kerry had just secured the Democratic presidential nomination. But as huge sums of money began pouring into his campaign, his top strategists had more on their minds than just getting ready for a tough race against President Bush.

Behind the scenes, they were fighting over the lucrative fees for handling Mr. Kerry’s television advertising. The campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill, became so fed up over the squabbling that she told the consultants, led by Robert Shrum, one of the most prominent and highly paid figures in the business, to figure out how to split the money themselves.

Divvy it up they did. Though the final tally has never been publicly disclosed, interviews and records show that the five strategists and their firms ultimately took in nearly $9 million, the richest payday for any Democratic media consultants up to then and roughly what the Bush campaign paid its consultants for a more extensive ad campaign.

Mr. Shrum and his two partners, Tad Devine and Mike Donilon, walked away with $5 million of the total. And that was after Ms. Cahill, in the closing stages of the race that fall, diverted $1 million that would otherwise have gone to the consultants to buying more advertising time in what turned out to be an unsuccessful effort to defeat Mr. Bush.

It's time for the Democratic candidates to pledge that, if nominated, they won't use Shrum. Can you point to a recent Democratic candidate who did not hire Shrum? That's right, Bill Clinton.

Let's get Carville and Begala back on board!

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Monday, December 24, 2007

He tried to nail her

OK, not really funny, but...

It's evidently a Colorado thing...

Nail found embedded in construction worker's skull
Updated 1/17/2005 8:05 AM

LITTLETON, Colo. (AP) — A dentist found the source of the toothache Patrick Lawler was complaining about on the roof of his mouth: a four-inch nail the construction worker had unknowingly embedded in his skull six days earlier.

A nail gun backfired on Lawler, 23, on Jan. 6 while working in Breckenridge, a ski resort town in the central Colorado mountains. The tool sent a nail into a piece of wood nearby, but Lawler didn't realize a second nail had shot through his mouth, said his sister, Lisa Metcalse.

Following the accident, Lawler had what he thought was a minor toothache and blurry vision. On Wednesday, after painkillers and ice didn't ease the pain, he went to a dental office where his wife, Katerina, works.

"We all are friends, so I thought the (dentists) were joking ... then the doctor came out and said 'There's really a nail,'" Katerina Lawler said. "Patrick just broke down. I mean, he had been eating ice cream to help the swelling."

He was taken to a suburban Denver hospital, where he underwent a four-hour surgery. The nail had plunged 1 1/2 inches into his brain, barely missing his right eye, Metcalse said.

"This is the second one we've seen in this hospital where the person was injured by the nail gun and didn't actually realize the nail had been imbedded in their skull," neurosurgeon Sean Markey told KUSA-TV in Denver. "But it's a pretty rare injury."

Lawler was recovering Sunday in the hospital, where he was expected to spend several more days.

Despite his lack of medical insurance and hospital bills between $80,000 and $100,000, Katerina Lawler said her husband is in good spirits.

"The doctors said, 'If you're going to have a nail in the brain, that's the way you want it to be,'" she said. "He's the luckiest guy, ever."

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Monday, December 17, 2007

No Alternative

Congress is fiddling while 202,000 Long Island taxpayers, right in the crosshairs of the alternative minimum tax, squirm. They're among the 21 million taxpayers across the nation who'll be socked with an average of $2,000 in additional federal income taxes this year, unless Congress does something to waylay the runaway AMT.

Lawmakers aren't likely to let that happen. They can't want to shock that many voters with higher taxes in an election year. The problem tying Congress in knots is who's going to cover the $50 billion it will cost to blunt the AMT for another year.

Republicans, incredibly, want to borrow the money and leave our children on the hook to pay it back. Democrats think a few thousand wealthy private equity and hedge fund managers should pick up the tab. They've voted to close tax loopholes that have unjustifiably lowered those high earners' taxes. Republicans should give our kids a break.

President George W. Bush said he will veto any AMT fix that raises anybody's taxes. This from a president who has presided over record deficits and already added $3 trillion to the national debt. Washington needs to get real, pass an AMT fix and pay for it. It's the responsible thing to do.

- Newsday editorial Dec. 17, 2007

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No Immunity for Telecoms

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence, said the administration's case for immunity is thin. Members of the intelligence and judiciary committees have been permitted to see a set of the classified documents that lay out the administration's legal opinions on immunity and its information requests to companies.

"I have read the documents and senators who haven't read them would be shocked to see how flimsy the case is on which the administration bases its case for immunity," said Wyden, who is prevented from discussing the details of the documents because they are classified. "As far as I can tell, these documents are being kept secret to protect the president's political security, not national security."

- FOX News

The telecoms argue that they didn't know they had the right to refuse to hand over personal data. That they didn't have leverage against a big ol' gummint coming to them demanding it. Yet one of the smallest of them, Qwest, refused. Told those gummint guys to get a court order. Never heard from 'em again.

I'm not saying there's never a reason for the feds to get this kind of info, only that there need to be controls. If the White House can run roughshod over private businesses, who are lilylivered and choose to be run over, and then are protected from the results of those actions, might as well chuck the 1st amendment and any right to privacy.

Of course, them Republickans don't believe in a right to privacy (the legal basis for Roe v. Wade).

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

How's that again, Bill?

"When is the last time we elected a president based on one year of service before he's running?"

"In theory, we could find someone who is a gifted television commentators and let them run. They'd have only one year less experience in national politics..."

- Bill Clinton

Now let's many years of experience in national politics did Bill Clinton have when he was elected president?

Oh yeah, none.

What had Clinton done on the national stage before he ran for president? He gave the keynote speech at a Democratic National Convention. How did that go?

"As it turned out, his keynote address was long-winded and policy-laden, lasting for far more than an hour. Some delegates nodded off and others crept out of the hall as Clinton kept talking. As he prepared to wind up his remarks, a roar of relief erupted from those who had stayed to the end."


Now what later presidential candidate made his first national appearance in the same role? And how did that go?

"Senatorial candidate Barack Obama stirs the crowd at the Democratic Convention with stories of equality and hope in America."


“I’ve been involved in government for over a decade. The notion that there is a particular kind of experience that he has had or his wife has had that is more relevant, I would dispute. I believe that I have the experience that the country needs right now.”

- Barack Obama

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

George loves them parks!

2004: U.S. National Parks Told to Quietly Cut Services

by Stefan Lovgren for National Geographic News

Millions of Americans will flock to the country's national parks this summer. Dazzled by nature and history, will they notice the missing signs, crumbling roads, or disappearance of park rangers?

Facing what some people warn is a "crippling" budget shortfall, many national park superintendents are being asked to consider cutting their ranger staffs, services, and visitor center hours—and possibly even closing down completely on certain days.

Several advocacy groups now charge that the entire National Park System is menaced by a hidden crisis, and that Park Service officials are trying to cover it up. "Make no mistake about it. There is a chill over the National Park Service today," said Denny Huffman of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees in Washington, D.C.

2007: President pushes boost in funding for national parks

by Richard Wolf, USA TODAY

National parks would be a big winner under President Bush's 2008 budget, and a plan to match up to $100 million annually in private donations could guarantee increases for a decade.

Bush's budget, being unveiled today, would give the National Park Service $2.4 billion next year, administration officials told USA TODAY. That includes a $258 million increase for daily operations, up 14.5%. Since 2002, those funds have risen 1.5% above inflation.

The president proposes adding at least $100 million a year for the next 10 years. The funds would be used to hire 3,000 seasonal park rangers, guides and maintenance workers each summer, an increase of more than 50%. In addition, more than 1 million children could be enrolled in youth programs.

Sierra Club:

National Park funding under the Bush administration has fallen by a third -- $600 million -- resulting in the loss of one-third of the visitor education activities at Death Valley and in Yellowstone turning away 60 percent of the school groups that sought to use the park's educational facilities.

In other words, the 2008 proposal restores a fraction of the funding Bush has previously cut.

and now...
Title: Holiday in the National Parks

holiday illustrationThis Christmas season we give thanks for our nation’s abundant blessings.

In the spirit of gratitude for our natural and historic treasures found from sea to shining sea, this year’s theme highlights America’s national parks. From breathtaking landscapes to important historical sites, generations have marveled at God’s magnificent creation and cherished memories of visits to these special places.

George W. Bush | Laura Bush

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Monday, December 10, 2007

What Jews Do on Christmas II

Brandon Walker has come out with an upgraded version of the song shown here this time last year.

We'll be back to the Empress this year. Deciding now what movie to see. I think it's gonna be Walk Hard.

Meanwhile, enjoy...

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

P. T. Barnum Lives

Five years ago, when the Nigerian bank scam was really hot, I decided to engage a spammer in correspondence because his approach was so creative. Keep in mind, these kinds of scams, which started in the fax age, continued for many years because enough people fell for them! I found it interesting that after a while he began responding as himself rather than his character.

* * *

At 03:59 PM 5/8/2002 +0000, you wrote:

Dear sir,

I am MR. J. AGBATA AGULU, former accountant general and contract award member committee to the Nigeria Football association, parent body of the world youths championship, Nigeria 99' Local Organizing Committee, an affiliate of Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).

In the course of our preparation to host the world youth soccer championship tagged (NIG' 99). Early two years ago, huge sum of money running into millions of United States dollars was budgeted by the then Military Government for the successful organization of this competition.

In the same vain, FIFA via his president, MR. JOSEPH (SEPP)BLATER, made millions of dollars available for the same project. The Federal Ministry of Sports in present position of Mr. Damishi Sango and othert corporate organization and football loving individuals who made huge donations.

However, in my capacity as the accountant general, to both the local organizing committee (LOC), and the Nigeria Football Association(NFA), I and some of my colleagues in sensitive positions were able to compromise our position here to over inflate or over-invoice most contracts, which were awarded for the construction and the refurbishing of the 8 STADIA used for the competition. The contractors who handled these projects have been paid-off.

It is pertinent to note that a total sum of FORTY-SEVEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED UNITED STATES DOLLARS (US$47,000,000.00) was realized as OVER-INVOICE after the successful completion of all the Stadia. This over-Invoiced sum is lying in my organization's (NFA) suspense account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), ready for transfer into the beneficiary's account oversea, waiting for the appropriate opportunity to do so. In this year's (2002) budget speech, the new civilian president has ordered that all foreign contractor's debt should be paid in order to boost more foreign investor into Nigeria.

On this note, I have been unanimously mandated by my two colleagues to seek for a honest and trustworthy foreigner who will assist in ensuring the successful transfer of the above sum into a personal/company's account since the Nigeria Code of conduct does not allow us (CIVIL SERVANTS) to operate a foreign account. Hence, I called your embassy that described your country as being economically conducive for investment and her people as transparent and trustworthy to engage in business on which premises I write YOU.

It is also pertinent to let you know that 30% of the total fund will be for you, while 10% will be used to settle any expenses that might be incurred by both parties and the remaining 60% will before us (I and my colleagues to be invested for us into foreign investment by you in your country).

You might be surprise, amazed and curious of an offer like this, but be rest assured that this business is real and genuine as every modalities and logistics towards the successful transfer of this fund has been worked out. All we require from you is your co-operation. This transaction is leak-proof. We kindly request that you accord it the highest level of secrecy it deserves. Your swift response will be highly appreciated.

Best regards,


* * *

Receiver : "MR. J. AGBATA AGULU."
Date : Thu, 09 May 2002 07:53:00 -0400
Subject : Re: Attn the Sir,

Kind sir, I will do this if you'll buy my bridge in Brooklyn.

* * *

At 12:34 AM 5/11/2002 -0700, you wrote:




* * *

Receiver : "Jim Ezeh"
Date : Sat, 11 May 2002 22:43:39 -0400
Subject : Re: Attn the

Dear Mr. Agbata,

This is an interesting story. In 1964 my uncle, then Vice President of Brooklyn, took possession of the Brooklyn Bridge through an unorthodox transaction involving the Pipefitters Union, Local1252.

Mr. Antonio Fugazi, Vice Principal of the Union had assumed ownership through a scheme involving over-invoicing the Office of the President of Brooklyn. My uncle, the Vice President, learned of this scheme and convinced Mr. Fugazi to relinquish ownership of the bridge, lest this scheme be made public. After all, under Brooklyn law, Mr. Fugazi could have received the death penalty.

My uncle passed away last year, and I was his executor and sole beneficiary. Now I am in possession of the bridge, and am in a very difficult situation. The bridge has been appraised as being worth $2.4 billion US dollars. However, it is a cash drain at present since it needs many repairs.

I have attempted to institute tolls at both ends. This worked well at the Brooklyn end of the bridge, where I made an arrangement with the current President of Brooklyn to pay him 10% of my revenue. But on the Manhattan side, the representative of King Bloomberg has refused to allow a toll booth to be erected unless I first make a cash payment to the King of $25 million US dollars.

Thus, I propose that you become my partner in this effort by advancing me the $25 million. Then, once I have erected the Manhattan side toll booth, the bridge will be a viable business. We can then easily find a willing buyer who will pay the appraised value of $2.4 billion which I propose to share equally with you. After all, without the $25 million advance, the bridge is really worth nothing to me, but with your cooperation, I can realize $1.2 billion dollars in value, all exempt from US taxes.

If you agree to this cooperation, please respond with the following information:

Bank Name
Routing Number
Account Name
Account Number

I will then proceed to draft an agreement per the above description and make the transfer of $25 million. I expect the process of erecting the new toll booth (for which I have the funds – I just need help with the King's $25 mil) and then finding a buyer for the bridge to take one month, and perhaps one month from then until I receive the $2.4 billion. I will then immediately transfer your $1.2 billion to the same account unless you provide different instructions.

I look forward to your positive response.


* * *

At 07:36 PM 5/14/2002 -0700, you wrote:



* * *

Receiver : "Jim Ezeh"
Date : Tue, 14 May 2002 22:56:20 -0400
Subject : Re: Attn the Sir,

Sure, but what did you think about the Washington Post article I sent you earlier?

(Note: I had earlier copied him an article from April 29th about victims of similar scams)

* * *

At 05:41 PM 5/15/2002 -0700, you wrote:



* * *

Receiver : "Jim Ezeh"
Date : Wed, 15 May 2002 22:22:36 -0400
Subject : Re: Attn the Sir,

I think it shows that you and your friends are perpetrating a clever but heartless scam aimed at parting greedy and foolish people from their money. I amazed that it has worked, but can't believe anyone finds it credible anymore when people like me are getting 2 - 3 letters like your s every day.

* * *

At 04:28 PM 5/16/2002 -0700, you wrote:


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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pervez & George Go to White Castle House

This President is a strong defender of freedom and the people of Pakistan, and I appreciate your leadership ... We talked about democracy. The last time I was with the President, he assured me, and assured the people that were listening to the news conference, that there would be free and fair elections in Pakistan in 2007. He renewed that commitment, because he understands that the best way to defeat radicalism and extremism is to give people a chance to participate in the political process of a nation.

-President Bush , with Musharraf, September 22, 2007

Oops. Again.

Full transcript here.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007


If you haven't heard of lolcats, go here for the explanation and then here and here to see them.

Of course, it was a younger-person-to-whom-I'm-related that told me about this phenom.

Most of them are cute and funny, but being an imp, I went for something different on my first try:

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Just passing this along...

Send the word of God directly to mobile phones and generate new revenues for your ministry!

Our end-to-end solution gives your ministry connectivity to all major US wireless carriers so virtually anyone with a text message capable phone can sign up to receive custom inspirational messages from your ministry.

This vital new communication channel keeps you constantly connected with your congregation by allowing you to send inspirational messages directly to the device people take with them everywhere they go….the mobile phone!

Generate new revenues for your ministry: Not only will be able to deliver these powerful text messages, but a portion of the $4.99 monthly subscription paid by the mobile user will go towards fulfilling the vision and mission of your ministry!!!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Big "O"

I know all about the gourmet olive oil craze. And I do use Extra Virgin, but a supermarket brand. If I were willing to spend more, I'd get better stuff I'm sure. But there are lots of places to buy good olive oil. Why for the love of G-d do we need a store just for olive oil? And in the highest-rent mall in the mountain west? Just one example of our wretched excess.

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Reason for hope?

"Protecting civil liberties, and people's confidence that those liberties are protected, is part of protecting national security, just as is the gathering of intelligence to defend us from those who believe it is their duty to make war on us. We have to succeed at both."

- Michael Mukasey, nominee for US Attorney General

Not said: " opposed to what the last guy did."

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cookie is angry!

He's been outsourced.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

What was the purpose...

...of (Democrats in) Congress calling for a report by Gen. Petraeus?

Is it the role of Congress to manage a war? To decide how troops should be rotated? I don't believe so.

Is it the role of Congress to investigate how funds it authorizes are being spent? You betcha.

When it comes to government programs created by Congress, it is up to them to decide whether to change those programs.

I believe when it comes to war Congress has two roles:

  1. Authorize military action or declare war

  2. Fund it. Or not.

Thus, if Congress, having authorized war (or not), does not believe it is in America's interest to continue the war as conducted by the Commander in Chief, they need to stop funding it.

Saying that this can't be done without endangering the troops is bullshit. I think if you remove the troops from Iraq, they will be in less danger. We're not talking about taking away their armor (you know, the armor that Bush and Rumsfeld didn't give them).

There is only one candidate for president currently in Congress who has had the balls to vote against funding this war, Dennis Kucinich. Mike Gravel and Bill Richardson have also called for pulling all troops out of Iraq. These are the only candidates for president taking this position.

We know the Democratic leadership can't muster enough votes to end the war. But trying to monkey around with it won't help. This is not a place for pragmatic compromise or tricks to try affecting the conduct of the war. Either take a real position or don't bother.

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Don't call it that!

I'm sick of hearing politicians, and reading editorials, decrying the spending of American "blood and treasure" in Iraq. Oh yes, it's a very poetic phrase. Google "'blood and treasure' + Iraq" and you'll get a quarter million hits. Everyone just loves that phrase.

It plays into the unreality of a war orchestrated by people who don't live in the real world I inhabit, funded by a Congress that, ditto.

Call it what it is --

LIVES: Lives lost, lives interrupted, lives forever altered.

MONEY: My money, your money. I don't have any "treasure." I have money. And less of it.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Rudy Jumps Down, Spins

Rudy logic:

  • MoveOn is critical of General Petraeus.

  • Hillary Clinton is critical of General Petraeus.

  • Ergo Hillary is defending MoveOn

My logic:

  • Rudy put the NYC emergency commend/control center in a complex (WTC) that had previously been attacked by terrorists

  • Rudy oversaw a city whose police communication system couldn't talk to the fire communication system, resulting in more mayhem and deaths on Sept. 11

  • Rudy took no action to anticipate or deal with potential health problems of salvage workers at ground zero

  • Rudy put forward a corrupt candidate for Director of Homeland Security

  • Ergo, Rudy is about the last person in America we should trust to protect us

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

If You Hate Us

I passed this uniquely American megachurch on the way to the Dayton airport this afternoon. Flying, on September 11, from the town where the Wright Brothers worked, made me reflect on this country and what it means to me.

Are we imperialists? Capitalists who put money ahead of our environment and safety? Overfed whiney childlike adults? The land of excess? Sure. But we are so much more that is good for us and the world. And, fuck it, it's my country.

So, please, criticize and protest, whether a US citizen or a world citizen. But if you hate us so much that you would wish us harm, please:

  • Get off my internet. My military created it with my tax dollars.
  • Stop using GPS. My military created it with my tax dollars.
  • Don't use airplanes -- we invented them.
  • Don't use telephones - we invented them.
  • Don't look at TV - we invented that.
  • Oh, yeah, don't turn on the light. You guessed it.
  • No McDonald's for you.
  • And for God's sake, don't wear Nikes and NBA jerseys while you're shouting "Death to America." It makes you look pathetic.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I do this all the time - it's just a nervous tic!

"The undercover officer was monitoring the restroom on June 11. A few minutes after noon, Craig entered and sat in the stall next to him. Craig began tapping his right foot, touched his right foot to the left foot of the officer and brushed his hand beneath the partition between them. He was then arrested. "

GOP Senator Pleaded Guilty After Restroom Arrest
Idaho's Craig Denies 'Inappropriate Conduct,' Says He Regrets Entering Plea
By Paul Kane and Shailagh Murray, Washington Post, August 28, 2007

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Good Reads

Among many interesting posts of late, I recommend for your sampling pleasure:

Mullet Boy on Michael Vick and the NAACP

Schwartzie on Six Sentences

DCup on kids

The Rhetorical Letter Writer

The Ball & Chain on New York

WP on Lewis Black on Bush

Deeper Well on Marian the Librarian

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Believe it or not: Bush Compares Iraq to Vietnam!

President Bush, speaking to the VFW this week:

" unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms, like "boat people," "reeducation camps," and "killing fields."

There's another price to our withdrawal from Vietnam.

And we can hear it in the words of the enemy we face in today's struggle, those who came to our soil and killed thousands of citizens on September the 11th, 2001.

In an interview with a Pakistani newspaper after the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden declared that the American people had risen against their government's war in Vietnam and they must do the same today.

The number two man, Zawahiri, has also invoked Vietnam. In a letter to Al Qaida's chief of operations in Iraq, Zawahari pointed, quote, "to the aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents," end quote.

Zawahiri later returned to this theme, declaring that Americans, quote, "know better than others that there is no hope in victory. The Vietnam specter is closing every outlet."

Here at home, some can argue our withdrawal from Vietnam carried no price for American credibility. But the terrorists see it differently. We must listen to the words of the enemy. We must listen to what they say.

Bin Laden has declared that the war in Iraq is for you or us to win; if we win it, it means your disgrace and defeat forever. "

I won't argue the contention that the vaccuum left when we withdrew from Vietnam (and by the way, it was not a precipitous withdrawal by any means!) may have contributed to the sad events that followed in that region and that our retreat does offer a hell of a talking point for Al Quaeda.

But the only conclusion I can draw from Bush's statement is that he believes we should have not left Vietnam, at least not when and how we did.

So I would like to hear the Commander in Chief's further thoughts on what he believes we should have done with regard to the Viet Nam war from 1972 on. How long should we have stayed and how would we have won the war and avoided the tragedies that followed?

Also, one way we reacted to the chaos we contributed to in southeast Asia was by welcoming thousands, perhaps millions, of Vietnamese and other refugees to our country.

We broke Iraq, yet we will not admit her refugees. The pileup of refugees inside Iraq and in surrounding countries will cause untold misery and further destabilization of the region. I know what George is thinking: We'll fix Iraq and then all those folks will want to return.

It will be for the next president to welcome them.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007


Mott the Hoople

Mott Hupfel

Mott the Hoople

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Friday, August 10, 2007

"Apply black paint, screw on a protective plate, or squirt in goo."

OK, what is it?

  1. What Joe down at the body shop may do to fix up your beater car after you scrape another lamppost.
  2. What Mistress Xena may do to you during your hour in her dungeon.
  3. How the astronauts aboard Endeavor may try to repair the gash in their vehicle that threatens their safe return.

Of course, you guessed correctly. It's number 3.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

As I slipped the surly Bonds of earth

Tonight I flew home on Frontier Airlines. They have Direct TV. Unlike Jet Blue, they charge five bucks for it. I find that annoying, but on longer flights I usually give in and swipe my Visa. This was a one-hour flight, so I had no intention of doing so.

The TV is free until the plane takes off, so I saw the San Francisco baseball game was on. Although I don't follow baseball much anymore, it is the sport I grew up with. If you don't pay attention to this stuff, Barry Bonds of San Fran has been on the verge of breaking Hank Aaron's all time home run record. I'm sure some folks will say, "I thought that was Babe Ruth's record." True, up 'til 1974, that was the case.

I saw that Bonds was scheduled to bat in just a few minutes. Al though I would not have otherwise sought to view this game, I felt compelled to continue watching. I had a premonition this would be the at-bat and the fact that I was placed in front of this little screen with ESPN on seemed somehow meaningful. So I paid my money.

Bonds pulled to a 3-2 count, including one foul that probably should have been at least a hit, but he was behind the ball. Then the screen went blank.

That happens when there's turbulence, but often, although the screen is blank you still have sound. I would have, except the purser took that moment to give her spiel about paying for TV and what beverages they have and what electronic devices you may or may not use and to please sit back and relax and enjoy the flight. Like, what was the last time you enjoyed a flight? That's like saying, lie down, relax, enjoy the colonoscopy. Best case result is if it isn't too painful.

When she was done, the screen was still blank, but I heard fireworks.

Fuck me. I missed it.

Eventually, the picture resumed and I saw all the pomp and circumstance, Bond's teary thank yous, his godfather Willie Mays at his side, the recorded message from Hank Aaron. And of course the replay of the home run.

But I missed it.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Bird Had it Right

Watch the left arm. Bird should have aimed a little to his right.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Or Else

Senator Obama asks my favorite question and gets a telling answer from the Scretary of State:

Rice: "Senator, I want to be not explicit about what we might do because I don't want to speculate. But I will tell you this, the benchmark that I'm looking at -- the oil law is important, the political process is extraordinary important -- that the most important thing that the Iraqi government has to do right now is to reestablish the confidence of its population that it's going to be even-handed in defending it. That's what we need to see over the next two or three months, and I think that over the next several months they're going to have to show that."

Obama: "Or else what? . . . "

Rice: "Or this plan -- or this plan is not -- this plan is not going to work."

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You Just Gotta Believe!

"I wouldn't ask a mother or a dad -- I wouldn't put their son in harm's way if I didn't believe this was necessary for the security of the United States and peace of the world. And I strongly believe it. And I strongly believe we will prevail. And I strongly believe that democracy will trump totalitarianism every time. That's what I believe. And those are the belief systems on which I'm making decisions that I believe will yield the peace....I obviously have a unique view of things at times."

- George W. Bush, July 10, 2007

full transcript of speech

HuffingtonPost commentary on same quote by Marty Kaplan

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Subpoena Cheney

The White House said today it would not comply with congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony relating to the firings of federal prosecutors last year, setting up a potential constitutional confrontation over its claim of executive privilege.

- Washington Post

Since Cheney has stated his office isn't part of the Executive Branch, subpoena his office. Maybe we'll get lucky and he'll have been copied on some of this stuff.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Endgame

I've always been reluctant to buy into conspiracy theories.

Some bloggers have theorized that come January 20, 2009 the Bushies will not be leaving. I've scoffed at that. Hey, they're bad, but not that bad.

Then something put me over the top. It was Cheney's claim that his office is exempt from Presidential orders because it is not part of the Executive Branch.

I can't say why this is the act that has brought me to the conclusion that there is nothing Cheney and Bush won't do if given the opportunity, but it has.

So here's my theory on the endgame: As taxed as our military is fighting the war in Iraq, at any given time there are still many thousands of soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines and national guard on American soil. However, if we start another major war (i.e. Iran) while continuing to fight this one, we'll really have to empty the bases and send everyone to the theater of war.

What a perfect time for a coup.

I firmly believe that the military would rise up against that. If they were here.

It's January 20, 2009. G.W. Bush has announced that, due to unprecendented voter fraud, he cannot accept the result of last November's election and will not relinquish power. The Supreme Court, not wanting to repeat the 2000 fracas, is silent.

Yes, it's a ridiculous idea. But let's review the realities of the past 6 years and ask:

Is there anything they wouldn't do?

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Blogging Ennui

When I realized today that it had been more than three weeks since the last post here, I knew something was up. With the real me and several alter-egos (including this one) available to contribute, none of us has had anything to say for a while.

Work has been overwhelming and sapping my physical (even though it's a desk job) and psychic energy.

Fortunately, I have two mini-vacations coming in the next weeks to favorite places on opposite coasts. Perhaps they will rejuvenate me.

Perhaps I should visit a spa, but only one that knows how to spell.

Or, having not been to Shul in nearly two years, I should reJEWvenate.

But I must stop watching presidential "debates" -- they just depress.

(if you're behind on Sopranos skip this paragraph)
And then they killed Bobby Baccala, and Sil is in a coma. If you saw that episode, the scene where they get Bobby in the model train store is fucking brilliant. But tomorrow is the finale, and I feel like I'm losing friends, even though they were very bad people.

Friends, don't give up on us. I'm sure we'll see a return of our vigorous and sardonic ways soon, and get that daily hit counter back up to 5.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How to keep those Jewish, Hindi and Muslim doctors' slimy hands off you

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American Family Association

The AFA is one of the most effective and hateful Christian organizations in America. Let by Donald Wildmon, they have mounted boycotts against corporations and media companies whose views they disagree with. But yet they claim to support freedom of speech...

So here is a vid they are pushing which makes the case that all of this free speech we have in America is a major cause of school shootings and other ills.

(Oh yeah, Dr. Spock too. Generalizations are so much fun. My older sister was spanked, but by the time I was around Dr. Spock was out and I didn't get spanked. Neither of us shot up our schools. Explain that!)

Gosh, isn't God a spiteful petulant lunatic!
(link is to an excellent rebuttal vid)

Fred Thompson is their savior!

An ongoing straw poll on the AFA site has Fred Thompson way in the lead. The conservative Christians are desparate for someone to save them from Mitt and Rudy. Fred is their man. Watch him. Here's a synopsis of his record as senator.

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They say...

...the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. In Bush's case, perhaps they're one and the same.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Killer in the Lecture Hall

The New York Times, April 19, 2007

THE sticky note on my door was wiggling. It was a gift from a student. Glued to the middle of it was a cockroach.

Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t that I was an unpopular professor. To the contrary — according to student evaluations, I might as well have had a sign on my forehead that said “Kindly.”
I was told later that the cockroach was a symbol of love from — well, let’s call him Rick. Rick had recently moved into the lab across the hall from my office, where he spent the night in a sleeping bag under one of the benches.

Rick, who had been a student for more than a decade, sometimes whiled away his time discussing guns and explosives with some of the more munitions-inclined faculty members. He admitted that he kept his basement stocked with a variety of “armaments.”

Sometimes I wished I had an armament, although, like Virginia Tech, my university does not allow firearms on campus. I wished that because, not only did Rick attach love-cockroaches to my door and live across the hall from my office and possess a small armory, but Rick watched me all the time. Sometimes he followed me out to my car — just to make sure I was safe.

When I complained about Rick to the dean of students, I was told there was nothing to be done — after all, “students have rights, too.” Only after appealing to that dean’s boss and calling a raft of fellow professors who had also come to fear Rick’s strange behavior was I able to convince the administration to take grudging action; they restricted his ability to loiter in certain areas and began nudging him toward the classes he needed to graduate.

In a strange way, I could see the administration’s point. Rick looked fairly ordinary, at least when away from his sleeping bag and pet cockroaches. It must have seemed far more likely that Rick could sue for being thrown out of school, than that I — or anyone else — could ever be hurt. The easiest path, from their perspective, was to simply get me to shut up.

Many professors have run across more than their share of Ricks. At least one Virginia Tech professor noticed that Cho Seung-Hui, who killed 32 people on campus on Monday, was potentially dangerous and did her best to warn the administration and the police. (So did at least two female students.) But there is only so much a teacher can do — “students have rights, too.”

It’s a simple fact that, for every deranged murderer like Mr. Cho there are thousands more oddballs just below the breaking point. I know one quasi-psychopathic incompetent, for example, who remained on the campus payroll for over a dozen years simply because his supervisor was afraid of being killed if he was fired.

It’s long been in fashion to believe that people are innately good, and that upbringing and environment are responsible for nasty personalities. But research is beginning to show that mean, sometimes outright evil behavior has a strong genetic component. Some of us, in other words, are truly born bad.

Researchers at King’s College London have recently determined that if one identical twin shows psychopathic traits, the other twin, who coincidentally shares precisely the same set of genes, has a very high probability of having the same psychopathic traits. But among fraternal twins, who share only half their genes, the chance that both twins will show psychopathic traits is far smaller. In other words, there is something suspiciously psychopath-inducing in some people’s genes.

What could it be? Medical images of the brain give tantalizing clues — the amygdala, the “fight or flight” decision-making center of the brain, may be smaller than usual, or some areas of the brain may glow only dimly because of low serotonin levels. We may not know precisely what set Mr. Cho off, but we are beginning to home in on the unusual differences in certain neurochemistries that can make people act in bizarre and dysfunctional ways.

Still, the Virginia Tech shootings have already led to calls for all sorts of changes: gun control, more mental health coverage, stricter behavior rules on campuses. Yes, in a perfect world, there would be no guns, no mental illness and no Cho Seung-Huis. But the world is very imperfect. Consider that Britain’s national experiment with gun-free living is proving to be a disaster, with violent and gun crime rates soaring.

In other words, most of the broad social “lessons” we are being told we must learn from the Virginia Tech shootings have little to do with what allowed the horrors to occur. This is about evil, and about how our universities are able to deal with it as a literary subject but not as a fact of life. Can administrators and deans really continue to leave professors and other college personnel to deal with deeply disturbed students on their own, with only pencils in their defense?

Barbara Oakley, a professor of engineering at Oakland University, is the author of the forthcoming (October) “Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend.”

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Take one tablet and call me in the morning

I don't know how I got on these fundamentalist Christian email lists, but no way will I unsubscribe! I wonder what Moses thinks of all this.


Dear follower of God’s Commandments:

Thank you for being salt and light in a dark world, and setting the example in your community for living by the Word of God.

While you are busy ministering to the poor and needy, I must share an important message with you.

On May 6th, The Ten Commandments Commission is celebrating its Second Annual Ten Commandment’s Day nationally, and I want to make you aware of the important role you can have in your community during this historic event.

Last year, the First Annual Ten Commandments Day was celebrated nationally, and its activities were broadcasted with the assistance of many of our nation’s largest ministries and greatest leaders who doing there part to keep America as “One Nation Under God.”


Among the many leaders who have demonstrated support for our efforts or have signed the Ten Commandments Proclamation last year are: Dr. Mark Chirrona, Dr. David Clark, Chuck Colson, Dr. James Dobson, Dr. Jerry Falwell, Dr. Ron Hembree, Pastor John Hagee, Dr. D. James Kennedy, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Bishop Eddie Long, Dr. Myles Munroe, Pastor Rod Parsley, Tony Perkins, Pastor Glenn Plummer, Dr. Richard Roberts, Rev. Pat Robertson, Jerry Rose, Jay Sekulow, Steve Strang, Don Wildmon and many more.

These brave leaders are working towards reestablishing the Ten Commandments to its paramount position in Western Civilization. They understand that God’s moral law is not only a profile of His character, but also a moral mirror to show humans where we have fallen short in honoring Him.

Will you join us in the effort to stop America from falling short?

The Ten Commandment’s Commission was formed in 2005 by a diverse group of leaders who seek to take this challenge to our fellow citizens. Hundreds of Thousands of devoted citizens have joined us since.

Unfortunately, our country is now filled with people who ignore these commandments everyday. They have chosen to fall short, to degrade themselves and to degrade our society.

Therefore, as we witness the decay of society, we must come together in a spirit of unity, harmony and reconciliation in order to bring the Word of God back to the forefront of our national conscience.

We are already working with community organizations, churches and synagogues to promote the tenets of the Ten Commandments, on the first Sunday in May and year-round.

You and your church can participate in this national celebration by:

  1. Using your pulpit to deliver sermons expressing the importance of the Ten Commandments to preserve our society and the need to bring them back to the heart and soul of the nation were they belong. We can provide you with sermons and teaching materials that have been provided courtesy of the Heritage Studies Institute.

  2. Encouraging everyone to wear the Ten Commandments Pin. It is a powerful display of unity and reverence for God's Word. On that day, we encourage everyone to wear the Ten Commandments Pin that we have made available through our website or by calling 800-864-1205.

  3. Setting an example to your parishioners by signing the Ten Commandment’s Day Proclamation on their pulpit which encourages the U.S. Congress to recognize the first Sunday in May as a national holiday. Pastors are also encouraged to invite their members to partake in these efforts. The example of the pastor signing the proclamation is the most effective message to send your flock. Proclamations and signing sheets will be available to your church in advance.

  4. Adding the name of your church to the list of participating churches in the nation. We will inform the media of your participation and have your church recognized in all of our materials nationally and on our website

  5. Sharing this information with your friends, family and fellow pastors who may be interested in participating in this exciting event.


Like you, I believe that no civilized society or government can exist successfully without the recognition, acceptance and adherence to moral law and the standard for value judgment—The Ten Commandments. The United States was founded on these principles and our Founding Fathers accepted the Judeo-Christian tenets as the pillars of the American legal system.

This effort can only succeed with the help of caring people like you, who are willing to open their heart and help promote God’s Commandments.

Will you and your church join in the celebration this year?

Click here to receive to receive your more information immediately.

Already hundreds of thousands of people have signed our proclamation ( to support our efforts. They understand its value to a generation of people who would rather live in sin.

Please let me know if you would like more information on the activities planned for May 6th. Your efforts are the next steps towards preserving the Word of God and ensuring our country remains One Nation Under God.”

May He continue to hold you and guide you with His strong, right hand and lead you in the path of righteousness for His namesake.

Faithfully yours,

Dr. Ron Wexler
Founder & President

P.S. Like you, I am a person of faith who accepts my obligation to stand up for God and I urge you to join me in spreading His Word this May 6th, ( --America needs you.

Ten Commandments Commission
P.O. Box 811437
Boca Raton, Florida 33481-2527

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Monday, April 16, 2007

I wonder...

I knew there was something familiar about Don Imus's now famous slur. Remember that Imus was once a top 4o DJ and played "I Wish" by Stevie Wonder back in the 70s

"Looking back on when i
Was a little nappy headed boy"

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Ho Ho

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What Imus meant

Yeah, he was comparing the Rutgers players to a Hawaiian crooner. That's the ticket!

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut 1922 - 2007

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: The only proof he needed for the existence of God was music."

- Kurt Vonnegut from "A Man Without A Country"

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Great Balls of Fire!

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) - Attempts to do a movie stunt landed one man in the hospital with burned genitals and another facing criminal charges. The men were trying to do a stunt from one of the "Jackass" movies, in which a character lights his genitals on fire.

Jared W. Anderson, 20, suffered serious burns to his hands and genitals, according to the criminal complaint. Randell D. Peterson, 43, who sprayed lighter fluid on Anderson and lit him on fire, was charged with felony battery and first-degree reckless endangerment Tuesday in Eau Claire County Court.

Witnesses told police that Anderson, who was drunk, volunteered to do the stunt Sunday after watching the movie, the complaint said.

Fire is a good way to sterilize things. Let's hope it worked in this case.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007


The typical argument against any kind of environmental quality policy or legislation is that it's bad for business and will hurt the economy. Here's an excerpt from a letter to the editor published in Business Week's March 12 issue that addresses and answers that argument:

If the scientific concensus on the human impact on global warming is totally wrong and we spend billions of dollars reducing carbon dioxide emissions needlessly, the effect will probably be a modest slowdown in global economic growth.

If we do nothing about CO2 emissions and the scientific consensus is correct, the result will be global catastrophe. Choosing the former over the latter isn't a hard choice to make. We do it every day in business. We call it insurance.

- James A. Wirth, Pittsburgh

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

And now for some cake...

Nice looking cake, eh? But why is it decorated with a picture of steak? Read here.

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Those donuts are so good...

Crack journalism in Augusta, Georgia. Look closely at the graphic they apparently lifted off a MySpace page:

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Laura was a librarian, not a mathemetician

Larry King: So (the Iraq war is) going to be going on when you leave office?

Laura Bush: Probably. I mean I have no idea and there's no way I could predict. But I hope not. I hope that they can build their government and reconcile with each other and build a country. This is their opportunity to seize the moment, to build a really good and stable country. And many parts of Iraq are stable now. But, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everybody."

Goodness, just one bombing a day, eh, Laura?

source: Brookings Institution

DCup makes a great point that if this had been the Clinton White House and Hillary had said something like that, the right would have gone ballistic on her.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Drinking Game

My wife suggested we come up with some drinking game to play during the State of the Union address. I agreed it would be better watched while drunk, but stuck with my seltzer.

Speaking of drinking, remember the classic ventriloquist's trick of taking a drink of water while the dummy continues to talk? Clearly, Cheney isn't good enough to pull that off, because when he took a drink, so did Bush.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

the 10 things that I really don't want to tell you but will because kosherkunt made me

What strange power is it that Katie Schwartz wields over me? It's not like she makes me kugel and then threatens to withhold it? Yet time and again she instructs me to fill out her meme forms (though G-d knows she can fill out a form *wink wink*). And I note that she even realizes there are others over whom she holds no sway and thus they will not submit to this humiliation. So, with head hung low, here goes...

10. I put myself out there as a clever imp from the 5th dimension, but all I am is a pantywaist that does whatever women bloggers tell me to (Schwartz is the worst case, but then there's Guth.)

9. I once owned a Kenny G CD. But it did help me get laid one time.

8. We use cloth napkins in our house and I can't stand it if another family member leaves theirs crumpled up when dinner is done. Must be refolded.

7. I have an iPod Nano. I won it a year ago. It's still in the box.

6. I still regret turning down a good friend in high school who wanted to be my girlfriend.

5. In high school my best friend and I had a make-believe radio station. We'd go downtown in New York and interview people. My hand and microphone appeared in a Time magazine photo when we were "covering" a speech by Gloria Steinem. We pissed off some working reporters with our antics. Related: I have a tape of myself at age 5 doing pretend man-in-the-street interviews.

4. The same friend and I had a make-believe jug band and approached the Mayor of New York City one time to recite a scripted introduction to our make-believe album on our make-believe record label. He did.

3. My favorite cousin and I had a club called the Dirty Works Club when we were 9. We were the only members. Purpose of the club was to make his little brothers miserable. We met in our aunt's walk-in closet. We told our parents we had a club called the Good Deeds Club.

2. The consistency of eggplant makes me want to retch.

1. The scent of a hot corned beef sandwich brings me great comfort.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Sexiest Pinko

I'm infatuated with Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation. She's the left's answer to Anne Cunter, and she doesn't have an Adam's Apple. No, Katrina has legs, and she knows how to use them. When she talks about politics my knees get weak.

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