Saturday, October 29, 2005

Louisiana politicians a sinful lot

"When the State Bond Commission got the chance Tuesday to fix a grievous mistake, an overwhelming majority of members decided to blow it. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita visited untold misery upon South Louisiana, the Bond Commission voted Oct. 20 to postpone $45 million in projects in storm-ravaged areas and redirect the money to 73 projects in other parts of the state. In humanitarian terms, that vote was unconscionable. And at a time when Louisiana is seeking a huge infusion of help from Washington — and when members of Congress are questioning the state's ability to use money sensibly — the decision was downright obtuse."


See also:
  • FLASH SHEET: "The recent bond commission meeting has drawn considerable outrage across the state. Those who voted to adjoun the meeting were basically voting for $45 million in questionable projects, or 'pork barrel' spending. Below is a complete list of those who voted for and against adjourning. Just click on the name to send an email. You can also call each member at the phone number to the right of each person's name."

Louisiana governor a true politician

Hopefully she won't be governor once the next elections are over. Days after writing a letter to Pres. Bush that stated "I have publicly expressed my appreciation for your friendship on many occasions, because I believe you are a true partner in our efforts to restore our families and help our communities recover," Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco stirs up the muck. This time, the governor slammed the Bush administration "for allowing hurricane rebuilding contracts to go to out-of-state firms and low-wage workers."

I wish she'd get her story straight.


See also:

The 'Legal Guide for Bloggers'

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has this to say about the Forbes article, Attack of the Blogs:
EFF created the Legal Guide for Bloggers, in order to help bloggers understand their rights and, if necessary, defend their freedom. Forbes’ recent cover story, Attack of the Blogs, illustrates the need for bloggers everywhere to be prepared to defend their rights. Attack of the Blogs’ fear mongering opener is that blogs “are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective,” and it goes on in the same vein.

In a sidebar to the blistering article, entitled Fighting Back, Forbes includes the following dangerous suggestion:

ATTACK THE HOST. Find some copyrighted text that a blogger has lifted from your Web site and threaten to sue his Internet service provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That may prompt the ISP to shut him down. Or threaten to drag the host into a defamation suit against the blogger. The host isn't liable but may skip the hassle and cut off the blogger's access anyway. Also: Subpoena the host company, demanding the blogger's name or Internet address.

If only Forbes had read the Legal Guide for Bloggers, they would have known that following this advice would be a very bad idea for their readers' pocketbooks."

See also:

Tracking you via cell phones

"As we've reported recently, two bold new legal decisions have exposed how the Justice Department has been getting secret court orders to track people's locations using their cell phones—without probable cause and based on interpretations of the law that the newly vigilant courts are now calling 'misleading,' 'contrived,' 'unsupported,' a 'Hail Mary' play, and even 'perverse.'"


See also:

Making money at your expense

The other day I commented on the record third-quarter profit ExxonMobil had posted. On the heels of that, Royal Dutch Shell announced a 68% profit (or $9.03 billion) and Chevron came in at around $4 billion.

Then, visiting again, I read the following:
A sudden interruption in oil supplies sent prices and profits skyrocketing, prompting Exxon's chief executive to call a news conference right after his company announced that it had chalked up record earnings.

'I am not embarrassed,' he said. 'This is no windfall.'

That was January 1974, a few months after Arab oil producers cut back on supplies and imposed their short-lived embargo on exports to the United States. Oil executives, including J. K. Jamieson, Exxon's chief executive at the time, were put on the defensive, forced to justify their soaring profits while the nation was facing its first energy crisis.

Three decades later, their successors are again facing contentions that oil companies are making too much money and have failed to expand production.

See also:

Bogus flu shots

"As many as 1,000 Exxon Mobil employees and 14 residents of a senior citizens home were injected with fake flu vaccine, authorities said Friday, and the owner of a home health care company was arrested. Preliminary tests indicated the syringes were filled with purified water, U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg said. And no ill effects from the shots were reported."


And you thought you knew everything ...

Here's a really odd site that, to me at least, goes well out on the limb of abnormal. How else would you describe a site titled, "LIST OF FAMOUS SATANISTS, PEDOPHILES, AND MIND CONTROLLERS"?


WTC bones found

Bone fragments found last month near the World Trade Center are linked to the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks.


New Orleans loses more police officers

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin still wants people to come back home to the city. This despite the recent termination of 45 police officers and another 228 still under investigation for alleged inproprieties following Hurricane Katrina. Sounds like a safe place for a family.


See also:

Blanco invites Bush over for a round of Jenga

In a letter to Pres. Bush, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco writes, "I am profoundly grateful for all you have done for our state in the weeks since hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I have publicly expressed my appreciation for your friendship on many occasions, because I believe you are a true partner in our efforts to restore our families and help our communities recover."

I guess she has come down with the dreaded political amnesia. This is when politicians forget the past, usually out of convenience, to serve the goals of today.

Blanco has never been a friend of Bush.

See also:

Friday, October 28, 2005

Pelosi vs. Libby

Commenting on today's indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief aide I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Nancy Pelosi said, "The criminal indictments of a top White House official mark a sad day for America and another chapter in the Republicans' culture of corruption. At the heart of these indictments was the effort by the Bush Administration to discredit critics of its Iraq policy with reckless disregard for national security and the public trust." SOURCE

It's funny that she should bring up a "culture of corruption" as it was in 2002 Pelosi "was found guilty of violating federal election law." The Democrat House Minority Leader was found guilty of circumventing contribution limits when she managed to PACs. SOURCE

See also:
Affairs of a Sordid World: Pelosi vs. DeLay

Who's next on the list of indictments?

  1. CIA probe 'not over' after Cheney's top aide indicted: "The CIA leak investigation is 'not over,' special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said Friday after announcing charges against I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff."
  2. Marion Barry Charged in Income Tax Case: "Former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry was charged Friday with failure to file his income tax returns a misdemeanor charge that could bring a year-and-a-half in prison if he is convicted."
  3. Karl Rove?

The sacrificial lamb

As I wrote yesterday morning, my theory is that Harriet Miers was a sacrifical lamb. It seems great minds think alike.

According to CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen, "Did a lamb just get slaughtered? Don’t believe for a second that concerns about “executive privilege” doomed the Supreme Court nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers. The privilege issue is just political cover — a convenient excuse, really — to allow President Bush to do what he had to do to avoid further embarrassment for himself and his buddy."


Sheehan disgusts people

"A number of Gold Star military families say they are 'thoroughly disgusted with Cindy Sheehan and her publicity stunts.'"


Banking fees

"We all know it often costs money to get your own money at an ATM machine; but now, you might have to pay up when you don’t get money. Let me introduce you to a fee you've probably never heard of -- the 'ATM denial fee.' Rejection, it turns out, can be costly. Some banks are sneaky; their ability to slip itsy-bitsy fees onto your monthly statement proves their creativity knows no end. The death-by-a-thousand-cuts draining of our bank accounts happens relentlessly -- $3.00 check enclosure charge; $2 out-of-network withdrawal fee; $10 for dipping below a minimum $1,000 balance for an afternoon; $13 for new checks. One of those fancy free checking accounts can easily cost $50-$100 a year. But the denial fee is a new entrant into this game, or at least, it is new to me and many industry insiders. Bank of America, on the other hand, says it's old hat. Either way, here's how $1.50 leaked out of my checking account for money I didn't get, and how it might be leaking out of your account too."


Minority overrules majority

Once again it seems that a few people can't let others have a little fun. A "handful of parents" have decided that Halloween offends them and have forced the Underwood Elementary School in Newton, MA, to cancel the school's festivities. In that same vane, I would imagine Christmas offends these same parents since it's based on a pagan celebration and isn't anywhere near the time of year theologians believe the birth of Jesus Christ occurred.

Student ghosts unmasked in Newton: "When students at Underwood Elementary School walk to their classrooms on Monday, there will be no witches, SpongeBob SquarePants, or Johnny Damons there to greet them. No skeleton paintings or Frankenstein tattoos, either. The school's principal said yesterday he acceded to the complaints of a handful of parents who said that because the school's traditional Halloween celebrations offended their religious beliefs, they would not send their children to school if the revelry continued this year."

FBI arrests accused spy

"An engineer who helped design the B-2 stealth bomber has been arrested and accused of selling U.S. military secrets involving the aircraft to a foreign country, the FBI said."


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Right about now I'm glad I don't live in Iran ...

Your life could be worse. You could be Omid Sheikhan, an Iranian blogger sentenced to a year in prison and 124 lashes for satirizing his country's political leaders. Oh, and for having a birthday party.


Absolut Corruption

Politically correct speech

A friend of mine, who works for a major technology company, told me how his manager reprimanded him for using the terms 'slave' and 'master' when referring to hard drives. Essentially, the manager called his employee racist and wanted to know any issues he had.

Politically correct speech has been an issue for years and it only gets worse.

The Concord Monitor is reporting that a local high school has banished the term 'freshman' because "this is 2005 and the word 'man' or 'men' no longer refers to all people."


See also:
Hurricanes nickname is insensitive: "While opposing teams might feel this way facing Miami’s daunting defense, Hurricanes is no longer an appropriate nickname for a sports team."

Too stupid to pass up ...

"The city of Rome has banned goldfish bowls, which animal rights activists say are cruel, and has made regular dog-walks mandatory in the Italian capital, the town's council said on Tuesday. The classic spherical fish bowls are banned under a new by-law which also stops fish or other animals being given away as fairground prizes. It comes after a national law was passed to allow jail sentences for people who abandon cats or dogs."


"blog mob isn't democratic at all"

Some quotes from a Forbes article on bloggers and the threat they pose to businesses:
  • BASH BACK. If you get attacked, dig up dirt on your assailant and feed it to sympathetic bloggers. Discredit him.
  • ATTACK THE HOST. Find some copyrighted text that a blogger has lifted from your Web site and threaten to sue his Internet service provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That may prompt the ISP to shut him down. Or threaten to drag the host into a defamation suit against the blogger. The host isn't liable but may skip the hassle and cut off the blogger's access anyway. Also: Subpoena the host company, demanding the blogger's name or Internet address.

More Frist controversy

"An October 27 Roll Call article reported that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) is not distancing himself from the 'controversial' company founded by his father, HCA Inc., despite ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department investigations into the senator's sale of company stock last June, but the article failed to mention that the company had paid a record $1.7 billion to the federal government as settlement of charges for defrauding Medicaid and Medicare."


She slays me

Cindy Sheehan, described in the media as "the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq who has become a prominent war opponent," was arrested Oct. 26 for holding an unauthorized demonstration in front of the White House. For some reason this is news.


Record profit

The federal government wants to give oil companies free money to build new refineries. Cities and states offer tax incentives to attract and keep these petrochemical companies. We, the consumer, pay outrageous prices at the pump for fuel.

This is all done to help companies like ExxonMobil. It's hard to survive as a business today without getting federal aid when you only post a third-quarter profit of "almost 75 percent to $9.92 billion, the largest quarterly profit for a U.S. company ever, and it was the first to ring up more than $100 billion in quarterly sales."


Aide to Cheney Appears Likely to Be Indicted; Rove Under Scrutiny - New York Times

"Associates of I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, expected an indictment on Friday charging him with making false statements to the grand jury in the C.I.A. leak inquiry, lawyers in the case said Thursday. Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, would not be charged on Friday, but would remain under investigation, people briefed officially about the case said. As a result, they said, the special counsel in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was likely to extend the term of the federal grand jury beyond its scheduled expiration on Friday."


Sheehan capitalizes

I was wondering how long it would take for Cindy Sheehan to take advantage of the 2,000th death in Iraq. And while I'm at it, why is 2,000 a milestone? Wasn't death #1 a milestone? Or death #2? How about death #1,543?

Michelle Malkin seems to agree. In her 10/26/2005 commentary, Malkin writes, "The anti-war Left couldn't wait for the death of the 2,000th soldier in Iraq. Peace activists have been gearing up for protests, vigils, and other events this week to mark the completely bogus milestone. Why 2,000? Was the second or 555th or 1,678th death not as worth mourning as any other death with nice round numbers?"

Cindy Sheehan Called 'Desperate' For Media Attention:
"Like many other anti-war demonstrators, Cindy Sheehan has been waiting for the 2,000th American to be killed in Iraq. When that happened on Tuesday, Sheehan, the mother of one of those slain soldiers, resumed her protest in front of the White House -- a tactic that one of her critics called 'desperate.' 'She will do anything to get publicity. Cindy Sheehan has been blown off the public map by [Hurricane] Katrina and [Hurricane] Wilma. She is desperate,' said David Horowitz, the co-founder of the Los Angeles-based Center for the Study of the Popular Culture and a former 1960s radical turned conservative. 'Cindy Sheehan has gone from disgracing her son's memory to becoming a caricature of someone who exploits a tragedy for her own self aggrandizement, to someone who is on her way to becoming a rich and famous harridan,' Horowitz told Cybercast News Service."

Miers withdraws Supreme Court nomination

It's been my thought all along that Harriet Miers was a decoy. Meaning, the Bush administration has someone else they want to nominate who may be affiliated with controversy and the Miers nomination would serve as a smoke screen.

See also:
Harriet Miers Withdraws Nomination

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 profits from death

"Never underestimate's willingness to capitalize on death. They are running an ad highlighting two thousand soliders who have died while in service in Iraq (not necessarily as a result of combat) and, of course, asking for money to help them run the ad. While the left likes to compare Iraq to Vietnam, we should keep in mind that over 58,000 soldiers died in the jungles of Southeast Asia. 2,000 lives is 2,000 too many, but one can easily get the sense that MoveOn and the left has been waiting for this moment to celebrate. It provides them another opportunity to attack the war effort (though probably it will be no more effective than at the 1,000 mark). While they are visualizing world peace, I can see the champagne flowing in their offices -- but only momentarily. They'll soon be firing up their campaign hoping to make more money if the number ever reaches 3,000."


See also:


"The First Lady recently weighed in on the faltering support for Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. Asked on NBC’s Today show if sexism might be at the root of the criticisms of Miers’ legal qualifications, Mrs. Bush coyly replied, 'I think that’s possible.' Excuse me, but somehow that remark struck a nerve. Because every time a woman hits a hiccup in the long march for female emancipation, it seems that someone trots out the specter of knuckle-dragging males trying to send their womenfolk back to the Cuissinart."