2006/07/31

Diebold Election Correction Switch (Patent Pending)

For Immediate Release -

Friends have you ever said to yourself, "That election just didn't go the way I wanted, but what can I really do about it?" Have you ever felt helpless in the face of the Democratic Party's superior numbers? Ever wanted to do your part to contribute to a permanent Republican hegemony?

Well now you can! Introducing the newest Diebold innovation...the Election Correction Switch. Currently being supplied on all Diebold Touchscreen voting machines, this revolutionary device allows you to help the Republican party maintain it's position of power with almost pushbutton ease. Just install a new flash boot device and flip the switch (upper left) and you too can put Jeb Bush, Jenna Bush...hell even Britney Spears into the White House.

Make sure that your voting machine is equipped with this handy election saver. Ask for it by name...the Diebold Election Correction Switch!

Diebold Election Correction Switch

2006/07/30

Minimum Wage Increase and Tax Cuts Linked...

... Will the Democrats use this and move in for the kill? It's clear that House Republicans have no shame. It's clear that they will resort to a cynical ploy, likely to be killed in the Senate, to try and boost their flagging prospects. They'll call this a boon for the American taxpayer and for low income workers. Then, when Democrats vote against it, and they will, Republicans will accuse the Democrats of not really caring about their so-called 'base'.

All of these things are facts.

What is also a fact is that Democrats can turn this to their advantage if they're willing to go on the attack. They need to hammer home the fact that, were they to pass, the tax cuts will benefit the wealthiest Americans many thousands of times more than our nation's poor. As it will be voted down, the Democrats need to hammer home the fact that Republicans are the ones that couldn't care less about the poor. Democrats need to hammer home the fact that this these cuts would be financed by more deficit spending--essentially borrowing from our children to divert money to the wealthy. And what of the 34 Democrats who joined the Republican majority? They need to be identified, named, ostracized, and targeted for defeat in the next primary cycle. There is no room in the Democratic party for the Republicrats who are willing to help with a dodge as transparent as this.

All these things the Democrats can and need to do. The question is...do they have the will?

2006/07/28

Bloggers Meet, Discuss Important Issues in El Paso Texas

They traveled from opposite ends of the nation. They braved the wilds of the Red States. They endured hardship and isolation. (Kvatch lost his luggage on the way. Fred is putting up with miserable hot El Paso weather.) But in the end two preeminent bloggers of our time, Fred Bieling and Kvatch, met and discussed the future of blogging at Hemingway's in El Paso, Texas.

Here are the photos of this most auspicious meeting:


Thanks Fred for meeting a fellow blogger for a beer!



2006/07/24

Bush Administration Replaced By Space Aliens

George W. and Karl
The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition:
...
34 . War is good for business.
35. Peace is good for business.

Tip o' the Hat to John Good of Left in Aboite for the inspiration.

2006/07/23

Kyoto vs. Iraq - What could $300+ billion have bought?

Cost of implementing the Kyoto Protocol (estimated in 2000): $325 Billion
Cost of the Iraq war to date: $300 Billion

The cost of implementing Kyoto for the United States was authoritatively estimated by William Nordhaus and Joseph Boyer of Yale University in 2000. The $300 billion figure for Iraq comes from congressional appropriations and does not take into account collateral costs. So basically it's low to start with and will only grow with time.

Now forget for a moment how you feel about Kyoto. Sure we all know that the protocols will only make a small dent in emissions over the coming century. But even if the United States never ratifies the treaty, there's a lot that we could do with the money that has thrown down the toilet in iraq. For example, the entire estimated cost of the Clinton era "New Source Review" program--where heavy polluters are required to upgrade emissions control technology--would cost only $73B over two decades. (You'll recall that this program was set aside by Bu$hCo's EPA in favor of the "Clear Skies Initiative" smokescreen. The courts have since ruled against EPA on this one.) And NSR was only one program. There's also the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) for emissions trading, a less rigorous initiative but still completely implementable along with NSR for less than we've spent in Iraq.

Perhaps as the midterms approach, Bu$hCo could answer for us why toppling Saddam Hussein was more important than making a huge dent in US greenhouse gas emissions by fixing every bloody power generating facility that we have?

2006/07/21

Kvatch Sits Down With The Implicator

On Thursday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales visited El Paso, Texas to discuss immigration reform and for a one-on-one interview with Kvatch Kopf, the famous liberal commentator.

K.K. - Good Morning Mr. Attorney General. Thanks for being here.

A.G. Gonzales - Buenos Dias, Kvatch.

K.K. - Ah Spanish...when in Rome, I suppose...

A.G. Gonzales - Si.

K.K. - I'd like to start by quoting this morning's El Paso Times. At yesterday's news conference, on the subject of immigration reform you said:
This is a very difficult issue, and obviously it's a very emotional issue that implicates economics, implicates politics because it is an election year, and implicates national security. We're talking about family and values. So we understand it's a very difficult issue, but it's too important to let it continue to be unsolved.
K.K. - Your use of 'implicates' is a little...uh...odd. Couldn't you have just said 'involves'? Might have been a bit clearer.

A.G. Gonzales - Perhaps. Sometimes I go a little overboard. Maybe it was that plate of chili rellenos I had for lunch.

K.K. - Fair enough but let me ask you this... You said recently that you weren't sure that your grandparents entered the U.S. legally. That being the case, how can you support immigration reform that seeks to severely curtail the flow of immigrants.

A.G. Gonzales - As you well know Kvatch, we live in an 'Ownership Society', and part of that is owning one's citizenship. I've got mine. So I don't consider the point particularly relevant.

K.K. - Hmmm...well as you say, it may not be relevant especially since the reform proposal is stalled in the Senate. How does the administration plan to deal with that?

A.G. Gonzales - Well if Congress can't get this initiative moving before November, then we were thinking of an unfunded mandate.

K.K. - But wouldn't that put a tremendous burden on the border areas?

A.G. Gonzales - Yes, it might. But the President feels that this is an issue of National Security, and since his authority under the Constitution in that area is absolute we don't really have to ask anyone's permission. Now do we?

K.K. - I suppose you may be right, but how will you sell this--could be bad for the Republicans if you...say...piss off the electorate in Texas.

A.G. Gonzales - Well here's where we return to 'family values'. Residents on the border want to continue to do well for their families, right?

K.K. - Sure...

A.G. Gonzales - So then they wouldn't want the brown hordes swarming over the borders to take up space, jobs, and services?

K.K. - 'Brown Hordes'? You're not serious? That sort of reasoning makes you sound like a moron and an elitist to boot.

A.G. Gonzales - You know you're right, but hey, what can I do? Compared to The Decider we all sound like elitists, and well...you know what's.

K.K. - True enough.

2006/07/20

Kvatch, What's Your Story?

When you have a readership as large as mine, there comes a time when at least one fan poses the question, "Kvatch, what's your story?" (The other lives in his parent's basement in Yonkers and keeps asking me about toad licking...or something like that. I try to ignore him.)

Well dear friends, though I may sound like a eastern liberal elitist frog, I was born a humble tadpole in Mississippi and spent all of my formative years south of the Mason-Dixon line. From Mississippi, the family moved to Florida where we dodged alligators for a few years, and then it was on to Texas, El Paso to be specific, where I remained through the end of my undergraduate career.


El Paso In Its Heyday (1979)

When I was a adolescent amphibian, El Paso was a thriving city that has now, sadly, started to decline. And why do I mention all of this? Well El Paso is where the Ma and Pa Kvatch still live, and it's where I'm headed for a week or so. Consequently, Blognonymous may be a little quieter than usual for a bit, but that's only because yours truly will be out having a rip-roaring good time in the old stomping ground. (Well...as much as one can in a place with no frickin' water!)

"You want to fund the fence using my raise? Nay!"

Though I am usually loathe to quote anything that comes from the Washington Times. This time I can't resist. After voting 83 - 16 in May to support 500 miles of border fence, the Senate reversed course today and killed the plan by voting 71 - 29 to deny funding to the project. And they call the Senate the wiser of the two houses of Congress.

I might also add that if you can't have something ominous and ugly on our border, how about something arty and enigmatic? I'm sure Christo would approve.

Thanks to The Station Agent for digging this one out of the noise.

2006/07/19

DHS Has Got Your Back

Just in case you were worried, a new congressional audit shows that DHS has got your back. Especially if what you need from them comes in the form of iPods, designer rain jackets, and beer-making equipment. Just the type of stuff to take the minds of those poor Katrina victims off their troubles. Except...that's not what those things were used for. Doggie booties, you say? Yup, we got yer doggie booties. 2,000 pairs sitting in a warehouse just waiting to outfit the canines assisting with Gulf Coast recovery efforts.

In fact when it comes to recovery DHS is at the forefront. Need to provide emergency housing? No problem! Some DHS issued credit-cards come with a $250,000 limit. Just the thing for acquiring shelter or doing just about anything else that you could conceive of in an emergency. And recovery doesn't stop there, DHS even recovers it's own stuff, like 74 of the 107 laptops, purchased during hurricane Katrina, that subsequently went missing.

Way to go DHS. We all knew that creating all that new bureaucracy would be worth it.

Not All The News Is Bad - Reed Concedes

Dogged by his connections to Jack Abramoff and revelations that he participated in fleecing Native Americans, Ralph Reed lost his bid for the Republican nomination as Georgia's Lt. Governor. Though some are predicting the end of Reed's political career, Blognonymous expects that he'll just ask Jesus for forgiveness and then go back to doing what he does best, misleading conservative Christians into thinking he's a spiritual man while he extracts buku bucks from their wallets. That is, of course, if he doesn't end up in jail first.

Anybody want to take bets on whether we've heard the last of Reed? I'm reminded of when Oliver North lost the a Senate race in Virginia. Didn't stop him. North Popped up on wingnut radio within a year.

2006/07/18

"If you don't die, how about a play date?"


Israeli girls sign shells intended for Southern Lebanon.

It's really hard to describe how disgusted I am by this. One wonders if these girls know that these bombs may kill little Christian girls, little Muslim girls, in short little girls just like them?

Both Cartledge at Talk About Corruption and James at Genius of Insanity have covered this better than I. Take a look.

Spot-A-Yank 2000 or Where RFID Tech Will Take Us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -

Hot on the heels of the US State Department's impending release of RFID enabled passports, Diebold Corporation proudly announces the availability of their newest product, the revolutionary Spot-A-Yank 2000 (patent pending).

Diebold Spot-A-Yank 2000Designed for the European and Asian markets where annoying American tourists are of particular concern, this wonder device will alert it's owner to the proximity of an American passport, allowing the user to quietly avoid unwelcome encounters. No longer will you have to look for those telltale signs--sneakers and loud Hawaiian shirts. No longer will you be caught in embarrassing situations by "stealth" tourists who sneak up and ask for directions while brutally mangling your native tongue. Indeed whole nations will now be able to shun Americans like lepers.

Said Guido Lewambier, French Minister of Culture
This is the device we have been waiting for. We are ordering 50,000 for our diplomats and for our national police.
Order your Spot-A-Yank 2000 today!

2006/07/17

Feds Show Blognonymous A Little Love

Some days you wonder if anyone is listening. (Not including NSA, of course. They're always listening.) And some days you find out that not only are people listening, but a lot of them work for the US government.

A quick check of Blognonymous' stats for the last 24 hours reveals hits from the U.S. Court system, the IRS, the U.S. House of Representatives...twice (once regarding Speaker Hastert, once about Chet Edwards), FEMA, and the Department of Justice.

Man it's a good thing frogs are too stupid to be paranoid.

Kvatch Kalled It - The Lotto Election Is Here

Back in March, when I did a sendup describing the merging of Powerball with national elections, never in a million years did I think that someone would actually try it. Well, they are...in Arizona. If a new ballot initiative passes, one lucky voter will win $1M after the next general election.

Truth is once again, stranger than fiction, and I really need to call my lawyer. Where are my goddamned royalties for the idea?!

RFID Passports Are A Bad Idea

How would you like being forced to wear a sign around your neck that says, "I'm an American," whenever you travel abroad? Well if the State Department gets it's way and arms US passports with RFID transmitters, as they're planning to do, that is exactly what's going to happen.

RFID technology is designed to speed your passage through customs and immigration by allowing radio receivers to grab information directly from your passport's transmitter. It's also supposed to cut down on counterfeiting. The problem is that anybody can read that information using fairly simple technology. So without protection, identity theft will be a problem. But an even bigger problem is that the RFID technology itself, it's frequencies, and non-identifying but unprotected pieces of information will certainly tag you AS AN AMERICAN, and that can be a huge liability in some areas of the world.

2006/07/16

FISA Court to Trump the Supreme Court

This evening I was going to blog on two lesser known aspects of the Bu$hCo's deal with Sen. Arlen Specter regarding illegal administration surveillance programs, but the Xsociate has done such a good job that you should read his post. Have a gander, and then I'll sum up.

First, giving the FISA court the ability to review the constitutionality of any program places the Supreme Court in an inferior position. Were the FISA court to rule the program constitutional, the decision could not be appealed. Only the Bu$hCo gets to appeal...if it loses.

Second, a different provision of the deal would place all civil actions against the administration and alleged participants under the jurisdiction of the FISA Court. For those of you not familiar with FISA court procedures. Only the DoJ gets to make arguments--extra governmental plaintiffs or defendants must submit written arguments. In other words, cases concerning executive abuse of power could be transferred to a secret court merely on the AG's say so, and plaintiffs would be prevented from presenting evidence, conducting discovery, or even challenging their standing to pursue a case.

This nonsense should be called out for what it is, a naked attempt by the Bu$hCo to subvert the authority and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court with congressional assistance.

America Needs a New Democratic Party

Mother puss-bucket!

Those useless, spineless, worthless, cowardly, incoherent, timid, f*cking wastes of genetic material at the DCCC pulled the ad. But...did they do it in response to the Rethuglicans. No sir. It was the criticism of two Democrats, John Spratt (D. SC) and Chet Edwards (D. TX).

I tell you, this is why we can't win elections. This is why we won't f*cking win in November. Because the Democratic Party is made up of gutless buffoons--charlatans who refuse to tell it like it is, and the GOP will be laughing all the way to the ballot box. Man am I glad that when I first posted on this I used the words, "May Have Some Cojones". Apparently, I was wrong.

Boston's Big Drag

A lot of people look at Boston's Big Dig and see a huge boondoggle--a bloated multi-billion dollar, unnecessary, civic welfare project, but those people are wrong. Though I've never lived in Boston, I visited the city monthly on business for many years back in the 90s, and living in Sodom by the Sea as I do, I know something of successful urban renewal. And that's what the Big Dig is: The biggest, potentially most successful, most beautifying urban renewal project in US history.

For those of you who never drove the I93 skyway let me describe it to you. It's a two-story, rusting pile of metal girders--arguably the ugliest urban freeway in the nation that was designed, I'm convinced, by drunks. Ramps to nowhere (and from nowhere) peel off a random intervals. Lanes shift for no reason, and the number of lanes expands and contracts like a demented squeezebox. And every day this metal monstrosity was filled bumper-to-bumper with cars moving so slowly that one could run from Cambridge to Government Center more quickly than one could drive.

But the most tragic aspect of I93 was that when it went up North End and the docks were cut off from the rest of Boston. Actually, if you count Massachusetts Turnpike (I90, also part of the Big Dig), Boston was divided in quarters. I don't' know that I ever walked into the North End. We always took a cab because nobody ever went under the 93 skyway on foot. So the value of burying the inner city sections of I90 and I93, tearing down the I93 skyway, and giving the liberated land over to the creation of parks and mixed use development can't, Can't, CAN'T be underestimated. Boston is once again a "whole" city.

So what's the most tragic aspect of the Big Dig? Is it the cost--$18B +, fully 7 times the original estimates? Not a chance. $18B is a small price to pay for the value realized by Boston's transformation. Is it the death of the poor woman who's car was crushed under a falling concrete ceiling panel? No. Though this was an unfortunate incident, it is a blip in such a large and complex project. No...the real tragedy is that at all levels, the contractors on the Big Dig seem to have bungled just about every aspect of its creation and all to pad their bottom lines. Short term profit, fostering criminal negligence, will force Massachusetts to spend billions more to correct all the issues, and meanwhile the public is going to focus more on the problems than on how the Big Dig improves their lives. That's the real tragedy.

2006/07/14

Your Earliest Musical Memory

Bloggers are lazy. You know it. I know it. And on Fridays, as the news week ramps down, we often put up a musical post--10 songs from our iPod's or whatever. But when I read Deb's post, it brought back some really intense memories. I'll get to those in a minute.

The question I want to pose is the following: What is your earliest musical memory? Now it might be your mother cooing "Rock-a-bye Baby" to you, but I'm betting that it isn't. I'll bet there is a song, an album, an experience that you have that sticks, and I want to know what it is.

So what do I remember? Believe it or not, it's my Dad's reel-to-reel tapes of Herp Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. As early as the age of two, I can remember hearing A Taste of Honey and jumping up and down in our living room to Alpert's rendition of Zorba the Greek. I can remember my Dad's enormous earphones. He would balance on my head even though the speakers where at least 2 inches from my ears.

After 35 years I just got the CD reissues, and you know what? I can't stop listening to them.

The Wonderful Wizard of US

In yesterday's debate over detainee tribunals, the stupidest remark of the day went to Candice Miller (R. MI) who, after proudly announcing her utter lack of qualifications, opined that congress should just ratify illegal Defense Department policies and move on. In contrast, Barney Frank (D. MA) smartly observed that the tension between the House and Senate is the main dynamic of politics this year and that the chambers resemble characters from Wizard of Oz -
The House thinks the Senate is the cowardly lion, and the Senate thinks the House is the scarecrow without a brain...
But here at Blognonymous we say: Similarities between the US government and the famous children's novels don't stop there. We could easily populate the whole book:
    The Cowardly Lion: The US Senate - Full of bluster, sound and fury, but little else

    The Scarecrow: The US House of Representatives - Brainless, senseless, clueless

    The Tin Woodsman: Vice President Cheney - Lacking even the smallest modicum of sympathy that you get from having a heart

    The Wicked Witch of the White House: Karl Rove - Willing to release the flying monkeys at the smallest provocation

    Feingold The Good Witch of North: Willing to take all kinds of principled stands, but it's still not clear whether or not he can get Dorothy home

    The Wicked Witch of the Hill: Tom DeLay - The house has already been dropped on him

    The Munchkins: The Political Right - Following the yellow alert level right to the emerald Islamic quagmire

    Dorothy: The Political Left - Hoping to make it home in the midterms
...and you knew this was coming...
    The Wizard of US: President Bush - Secretive, paranoid, grasping at the levers of power but not really knowing what they do

2006/07/13

Plame Sues - Bu$hCo Moves

Washington (f-A-ke. P.) -

In response to the civil suit filed today in U.S. District Court by Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent, against officials of the Bush Administration, lawyers for Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby announced that they would be seeking an immediate change of venue.
We feel that, with the President's approval numbers in the 30s, our clients have no chance of receiving a fair trial in the continental United States. So we intend to ask that the trial be moved to the US territory of Diego Garcia.
...said Michael "The Eel" Grabowski, of law firm Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe, council for the defendants.

Lawyers for Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame were not immediately available for comment.

(Thanks to The Station Agent for the inspiration.)

Democrats May Have Some Cojones After All

Finally! After the miserable "America Can Do Better" campaign crafted back in March, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee manages to come up with a video that tells it like it is...


Predictably, the Republicans are howling like a little kid with a skinned knee. Seems they can dish it out, with their swift-boating and their crass politicizing of everything from 9/11 to Osama bin Laden, but apparently they can't take it.

Well...F*CK 'EM! This is the type of campaigning we've been waiting for.

2006/07/12

Coming To A Cell Phone Near You - Panic!

THIS IS A TEST
OF THE DHS
EMERGENCY TEXT


[scroll down]

WARNING SYSTEM.
IF EVIL DOERS IN
YOUR AREA ARE UP

[scroll down]

TO NO GOOD, THIS
SYSTEM IS DESIGNED
TO GIVE YOU JUST

[scroll down]

ENOUGH INFO
FOR YOU TO KNOW
THAT YOU ARE

[scroll down]

REALLY SCREWED!
BUT THANK GOD
THIS IS ONLY...

[scroll down]

...A TEST.

I see so many problems with this that I'm not even sure I can enumerate them. Sheeesh!

Will San Francisco punish AT&T for civil liberties violations?

When your telco (AT&T) makes a decision to transfer all conceivable data to a government agency that is not tasked with the job of law enforcement (NSA), what do you do? When that same company then changes its privacy policy to retroactively screw its own customer base out of control of their personal data, what do you do?

Well the City of San Francisco may have a solution. Mayor Gavin Newsom, no stranger to controversy, has floated the notion of examining AT&T's municipal contracts in light of alleged violations of it's customer's civil liberties. In essence, voting with the city's dollars--the only language that Bu$hCo and its undeputized corporate enforcers understand.

You may recall that San Francisco has used these tactics before. Most notably when former mayor Willie Brown threatened to kick United Airlines out of its maintenance base at San Francisco International Airport for refusing to offer the same domestic partner benefits as the City. United sued but eventually settled with the City when it became apparent that the San Francisco's ordinance would be upheld in the Federal circuit.

AT&T should take this as a lesson. They can violate the law on DoJ's say so, but nothing requires a city, or a person for that matter, to do business with them. Money talks. Will AT&T listen?

Having K Street Fleece The Tribes Isn't Enough

You may be familiar with the 10 year suit by Native American tribes to recover 120 years worth of gas and timber royalty payments from the Department of the Interior. At it's most entertaining Royce Lamberth, the presiding judge, held DoI Secretary Gale Norton in contempt for delivering a laughably inept audit of the payments. But Lamberth is no liberal flunky. He's a conservative Reagan appointee that also held the Clinton Administration's feet, in the form of former DoI Secretary Bruce Babbitt, to the fire. Well now Lamberth is out, removed from the case by a panel of judges from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, a panel which includes Janice Rogers Brown the wingnut former California Supreme Court justice, known for being the GOP's kind of activist.

Lamberth's removal won't stop the case, of course. If anything it allows the case to go forward, but with one notable difference. Now that the presiding judge is gone, Bu$hCo won't be the administration that has to pony up for those gas and timber royalties. In fact, Bu$hCo won't have to do a damn thing because it will probably take another 10 years for a new judge to come up to speed on the issues. Good for Bu$hCo; Good for Big Oil; Good for the timber industry; Good for the Dept. of the Interior; Bad for the tribes.

Now that the GOP lobby no longer has the ability to fleece Native Americans, Bu$hCo will just have to fall back on the old standard: Screwing the tribes out of their royalties. Seems as if old tricks are still the best tricks.

2006/07/11

Climate Change - The Global Rise In Temperance

If all of the stories of rising sea levels, hurricanes, famine, plague, and pestilence don't get to you, this will surely hit you where you live. Scientists have determined that global warming may cause America's most productive wine growing regions, California's Napa and Sonoma valleys, to become unsuitable for growing premium grapes. In fact, the United States as a whole may lose as much as 81% of it's wine producing acreage by 2100.

Now if only we could get a study saying that worldwide harvests of hops and barley were going to go down the tubes, then we'd really see some governmental action on climate change. Imagine if Anheuser-Busch had to sharply curtail the production of Budweiser. The howling world would be heard from space.

PLEASE CONTACT - RE: IRS REFUND

Expected soon at the Blognonypad:
    From: oabudji@irs.msn.com
    Subject: IRS Refund
    Date: November 9, 2006 11:26:43 AM PDT

    DEAR SIR,

    MY NAME IS OKON ABUDJI, AND I AM DIRECTOR OF IRS SPECIAL REFUNDS DEPARTMENT. YOUR TAX RETURNS FOR YEARS 1995-96 SHOW A HUGE REFUND THAT WE WISH TO FORWARD TO YOUR ACCOUNT THROUGH A 100% SAFE TRANSACTION. PLEASE KEEP THIS COMMUNICATION IN STRICTEST CONFIDENCE AS THE NATURE IS BEING UTTERLY CONFIDENTIAL AND 'TOP SECRET'.

    TO CLAIM YOUR REFUND OF $1,000,000 (ONE MILLION US DOLLARS) YOU MUST TEL/FAX - 234-1-7740449 OR EMAIL OABUDJI@IRS.MSN.COM WITH NAME, SSN, SPOUSE'S NAME, BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER FOR FUNDS DEPOSIT, AND MAJOR CREDIT-CARD NUMBER FOR VERIFYING. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT FAILURE TO RESPOND WILL CAUSE FUNDS TO BE RETURNED TO GOVERNMENT.

    BEST REGARDS,

    OKON ABUDJI (DIR)
Anyone else think that having the IRS use email and the Internet as a primary way of contacting taxpayers about their returns is a good idea?

2006/07/10

The Frogette Says: Mississippi Needs Banned Books

The beautiful, talented, as well as civic-minded Frogette sends a link to the Dewey Donation System, a group that is helping Mississippi's Gulf Coast libraries replace collections lost in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

Now I know that all of you pack rats out there have flats just filled to the rafters with books that could be doing some good down in Buloxi or Gulfport. So how about donating a banned book today? But if that doesn't resonate, then try the Amazon route. Donate a new book from a library's "Wish List" and the Dewey Donation System gets a small kickback.

Environmental Notes From All Over

UK's Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors May Be In Trouble
The Raw Story reports that recently published documents discuss cracks in the cores of 14 of the UK's advanced gas cooled nuclear reactors. Now...those of you who read Blognonymous know that I'm an advocate of nuclear power, and so it's my hope that the UK undertakes a thorough investigation to determine if, in fact, the cracks have a bearing on reactor safety. Nuclear power is too important to humanity's future for UK officials to glibly dismiss the claims while a media storm brews.

My Brothers Are Dying
A disease causing fungus with a 100% mortality rate is sweeping through the world's amphibians, causing mass extinctions among many of our favorite insect eating species. Obviously this is bad news for the environment--a "canary in a coal mine" if you will. Though I suspect that there are some denizens of the Nutsphere that hope yours truly gets infected. Good thing I have health care.

Offshore Drilling Again?!
In the battle to save the environment, the last thing we need to be doing is encouraging more fossil fuel consumption, but since the House cares less about efficiency than they do about padding the pockets of a major donor, Big Oil, it's no wonder they're lifting a ban on offshore drilling that has been in place for 25 years. Tragically this is just a sideshow that will waste money and resources that could be better used elsewhere. California for example, will immediately assert state bans already in place, and the whole circus will end up in court.

2006/07/09

All Your Wifi Are Belong To Us

A new proposal by Mike DeWine (R. OH), a Senator who never met a Constitution busting initiative he didn't like, would enshrine in law the kind of data shunt already in existence at AT&T. But rather than being for surveillance during a terrorist investigations, this new proposal would be for law enforcement, the FBI and local authorities, to use during garden variety criminal investigations.

The proposal is lengthy, but some of the highlights include:
  • Expansion of "wiretapping" capabilities to commercial protocols such as IM (Instant Messaging) and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)
  • A removal of the mandate that the DoJ report publicly on the number and type of interceptions that they conduct (In other words government transparency goes out the window.)
  • A mandate that forces telcos to do the work of sifting traffic for various protocols (Defraying an enormous cost burden...for the government.)
  • Expansion of the requirements for "tapping ability" to all hardware capable of doing routing and network address translation
Now this last item is interesting and very dangerous for the average American household. Do you have a hub? Well, if you get DSL or Cable Internet from any of the usual suspects, then they probably supplied you with a wireless router, and guess what...this proposal would essentially make that item a "police-ready" tappable device. Employ encryption to protect your traffic? Use a password to keep people from compromising your network? Doesn't matter. If this law gets passed, the police will be able to decrypt your traffic, or worse disable your encryption, whenever they want (subject to a court order). And with the "sneak and peek" provisions of the Patriot Act, they can tap you for months without informing you, and you won't even know they're doing it.

Had enough? Vote Democrat!

Schwarzenegger's Bonehead Prison Plan

In another ridiculous example of the Governator floating a policy that has no chance of ever being implemented, he proposes to alleviate the terrible overcrowding in California's prisons by shipping prisoners out of state. So Blognonymous asks: Does Arhnult's staff fact check these steaming turds before he puts them out there? Certainly our local paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, doesn't bother. They gave the administration a buy in Saturday's article. So let's dig into the numbers, shall we?

California has one of the largest prison populations in the US at over 160,000 inmates and the system is estimated to be at 200% capacity. So, does this mean that 80,000 prisoners need to be shipped out of state? Probably not...unless California gets into a debacle like the one that placed the Texas prison system under a Federal judge's authority back in the 1980's. And guess which state has the crown for population size and inmates per capita? Yes indeed, the Lone Star State which by most estimates is at capacity now and will need another 5 prisons in the next decade. In fact, Texas' prison population is increasing at double California's rate. So where are those "extra" beds gonna come from? Not from Texas, leaving the other 3 states that Arhnult mentioned.

Well Indiana, Michigan, and Louisiana together can handle about 110,000 inmates, and in order to absorb even a fraction, say 20%, of the 51,000 new spaces that California will need in next 15 years, those states would have be able to contract for 10% of their capacity. And that's ignoring the fact that it has to be the "right" kind of prison space, appropriate to the type of offense. And what about those extra 80,000 that are crowding our prisons now?

Moreover, there are additional logistical problems with Arhnult's plan. First, state law currently prohibits inmates being shipped out of state without their permission. Second, what do you do with the inmates when their sentences are complete? Leave them in the state where they were incarcerated? Ship 'em back to California and incur the expense? Third, what do you do if they commit a crime while incarcerated outside of California?

For so many reasons this plan will never get off the ground, and it's a damn shame that Schwarzenegger's administration is wasting time on this kind of bullsh*t when they could be addressing the real reasons for explosion in CA's prison population, incarceration for non-violent drug offenses and incarceration of illegal immigrants.


Thanks to Tom Hilton @ If I Ran the Zoo for getting me thinking about this issue.

2006/07/08

FOX News Declares Blognonymous "Fair and Balanced"

Bet you didn't know that News Corporation is fan of Blognonymous, did you? That my readership is such a desirable demographic that FOX News wants their stories linked here? I'll bet that Rupert Murdoch is reading Blognonymous right now as he spreads some marmite on a cracker.

Well dear readers it's true, and on July 5th my FOX News troll revealed him/herself. You see, normally these annoying comments come in from an anonymous, dead-end domain. But I guess the 5th was a slow news day, and my friend at FOX got sloppy.

So welcome to my vast new readership. Please feel free to pump my traffic stats. Oh...and Rupert--Can I call you Rupert?--about that exclusive deal...I'll have my girl call your girl.

2006/07/07

Kvatch Kvetches - Terrorists or power-saw wielding maniacs?

A mishmash of bits worth mentioning...

Terrorists? Bah! Protect Me From The Maniacs...
...who go rampaging through the New York subway with a power-saw in each hand. Eek! Maybe we need a new cabinet level department--Security and Protection Against Slasher Movies (SPASM).

26 for 1 In the Latest Israeli/Palestinian Standoff...
...with more to come as Israeli tanks push further into Gaza and air strikes are mounted daily. Wonder if the UN resolution will have an affect.

Rubbing Salt Into A Republican Wound...
...Tom Delay has been forbidden to withdraw from his district's congressional race, almost ensuring that the GOP will lose what was one of Texas' safest seats. If I wasn't so saddened by the Gaza incursion, I'd be laughing my ass off over this.

Towers, and Tunnels, and Tubes...Oh My!

The Republican election strategy takes shape, and far from being the "embrace the War on Terror" reported in the MSM, it's turning out to be a June surprise...and a July surprise, and presumably a surprise a month for the rest of the election season. I'll lay odds that next month we'll hear of a "major terrorist plot foiled in the planning stage" on the West Coast. I mean our intrepid Bu$hCo protectors have now managed now to foil plots in our two largest cities, New York and Chicago. Can Los Angeles be far behind?

In the meantime, President Neuman hits the road to bolster the GOP's sagging prospects in the midterms. "It might do me some good," Bush said at a press conference in...wonder of wonders...Chicago.

So here's an idea for his Eminence, how about popping over here to the Left Coast so we can show you some love?

2006/07/06

Dennis to Place, Emily to Show, Katrina to Win

We tried to make it in good taste. We stayed as far away as we could from hurricane alley in the gulf in Louisiana and Mississippi. The last thing I want to do is profit off of a disaster that happened last year.
These are the words of Mickey Richardson, CEO of BetCRIS an Internet gambling site that allows it's patrons to wager on the timing, number, and destructiveness of...you guessed it, hurricanes. Not like betting on the misery of Floridians isn't in bad freakin' taste. Eh Mickey? Here's a litany for you Frances, Ivan, Jeanne almost a hurricane trifecta from 2004.

Next we'll be able to place bets of plane crashes, terrorist attacks, and American Idol. Oh wait, they did that.

Ped-rage And The Urban Frog

Have you heard? Drivers with cell phones are as impaired as drunks. Hmmm...there's a surprise. I live in a city where it's practically open-frickin-season on pedestrians. I'd be safer in a Vice Presidential hunting party than walking the streets of Babylon by the Bay.

Like I need to be told that a cell phone welded to ear of some cager in his SUV is a menace. At least a drunk is trying to drive slow to cover the fact that they're impaired. Whereas your urban cager has got the presence of mind to think about the extra...what...20 miserable seconds that they'll save by running that red.

But it doesn't stop there... How about the legions of cagers who think that a green light is a mandate to nose 2 tons of transportation through the pedestrians in the crosswalk? Then you've got your straddlers. Boneheads who put their vehicles right on top of the crosswalk. Hey moron? Should we lift your license because your spatial acuity is shot, or should I just walk on your goddamned hood since you seem to think that I like detouring around your grill into traffic.

Cabbies...carrying on non-stop conversations while racking up points for scaring pedestrians and fares! Hey Chatty Kathy this isn't The View so turn off the freakin' phone and zip it. Bus drivers with their 60 tons of pedestrian-menacing transport. Double-parkers, triple-parkers, sidewalk-parkers!

Aaaauuugggggg! Makes me want to get a gun and blow out the tires of every car I see, a Dirty Harry of pedestrian vengeance.

I'm experiencing a lot of ped-rage--probably going to need some therapy.

2006/07/05

A Fatwa For Your World Cup

Though I blogged recently that we really need to curb the American enthusiasm for "the other football," I realize that most of the rest of the world really likes the game we call "soccer". And so I don't think that I'm wrong in saying that this cannot stand. The Islamists must be taught once and for all the consequences of interfering with the world's favorite sport.

I propose "A coalition of the swilling," made up of football hooligans from all over the world. Armed to the teeth, they will go to Somalia and teach these servants of Satan that you don't mess with the World Cup...or it's fans.

The 1000 Lb. Googerilla On Net Neutrality

Google has weighed in on the issue of Net Neutrality and in a way that should make the telcos very, very unhappy. The search-engine giant has basically threatened to file anti-trust complaints against the telcos if they "misuse" the power that Congress is set give them.

So... Google's market cap is about $130B, and let's see the telcos...the telcos...

  AT&T - $108B
  Verizon - $92B
  BellSouth - $66B

Yup that about seals it for me. Google wins.

Ken Lay Flees The United States

Aspen (f-A-ke. P.) -

Kenneth Lay, convicted former chairman of the bankrupt Enron Corp. fled the United States today by dying. "Kenny Boy," as he was referred to by President Neuman, was last seen headed for Hell in the company of a tall man with a scythe and two "pointy-headed fellows" wearing red suits.

It is not known if the United States will seek Mr. Lay's extradition.

2006/07/04

Independence - A Post for Peace

So let me start by saying that I don't think that I have anything really interesting to say on the subject of peace. I'm not even sure I know what peace is. So let me start with another subject, Independence and maybe I'll find a way to get around to peace.

Most countries celebrate a "founding" event. With some it's the day the country was recognized by a foreign power or former colonial master. With others it's the day of victory or the day that independence was negotiated. But in the United States we don't celebrate any of those days. No, we celebrate the day that independence was declared, in essence the day we recognized independence within ourselves.

Americans as a whole are an independent lot. Early immigrants wanted to worship independently, and came to North America to be free of religious oppression. Pioneers craved opportunity and independence from reliance on others. Colonials sought and achieved independence from England. Texans and Californians sought and achieved independence from Spain/Mexico. Our Constitution created three co-equal, independent branches of government. States act independently and with greater autonomy than in almost any other nation.

Indeed, America is at its best when it's people think and act "independently", and by this I don't mean without considering others but rather not letting others think for them. And herein is the problem. Independence is under attack. The current administration has decided that independence of thought, independence of spirit, and independence in government are passe, and they are working hard to crush these three ideas using the so called War on Terror as a mechanism.

So now I'm going to state a premise: War is sometimes necessary and should be moral, short, targeted, proportional, and defensive. The War on Terror and it's main theater of operations, the War in Iraq, are none of these things. Quite the contrary, this war is immoral in its justifications and conduct, long by contemporary standards, indiscriminate, disproportional, and offensive. In fact, the only thing that you can say about the Iraqi War is that we've already achieved the one noble goal that we could attach to it: We've given the Iraqi people the freedom to think and act independently, and now...we should leave.

And so...finally...I believe I have something to say about peace: We have the opportunity to wage peace by having the courage to leave Iraq. Why? Because peace is not objective. Peace is subjective. It's in our minds. It's a state of mind. It's a level of maturity and a clarity of thinking that compels us to only engage in war when it's necessary, moral, short, targeted, proportional, and defensive. Peace is more than the absence of war, it is the understanding of war, and therefore peace is within each of us--not out of our reach and not out of our control.

Peace is a battle that we wage with ourselves, a battle that we should all fight to win, a battle that we are supremely capable of winning because we already won the battle for independence...on the day we declared it.

- Part of Glenda's Post for Peace Blogathon. Check out all of the other great posts!

2006/07/03

Kvatch Kvetches - Please just retire the shuttle!

As I prepare the Kommandos for an Independence Day assault on the halls of commerce, I'm a little short on time to post, but here are some interesting bits...

Another Day, Another Delayed Shuttle Launch
I love the shuttle. Even more than Apollo, for me the shuttle was space flight. I watched every launch from Columbia's first to the Challenger disaster and still tune in occasionally. But it's pretty clear that this program should end. Our shuttles are expensive and flawed, carry to little payload, and have a dismal launch success record. They are not the way forward. So NASA please...retire the shuttle fleet and move on.

Every Sentence a Paragraph
Has anyone noticed that the BBC has developed an allergy to paragraphs? Take this article on the Valencia train crash. Notice anything weird? Like the fact that each paragraph has one, and only one sentence? I feel like I'm reading the BBC as delivered by Western Union.

Better Get Us On the First Try
North Korea is threatening a "devastating" nuclear strike on us if we interfere with their missile test. That's a big boast considering they basically get one shot. Apparently they fuel their rockets with such volatile liquid propellants, they can only do one at a time.

Happy Birth-daaaay Mr. Pres-i-deeeeeent...

There once was a Prez named George Bush
Who's birthday his wife was to push
On donor's who think
He might need a drink
Or perhaps just a smack on the tush

So the RNC's hitting the faithful
With policies some find quite hateful
Bush stirs up the base
While making the case
For November, when they can be grateful

But his sixtieth's gonna go down
As the calm before Bush lost his crown
Cause uppity jurists
And liberal purists
Will give Bush a permanent frown

Happy 60th Mr. President! Can I have one of those smacks?

And...Windspike responds in verse!

2006/07/02

An Inconvenient Plea

Sorry for the light posting, but it's been a complicated weekend--lots of stuff occupying this frog's mind and time, and here's one...

I know you've heard this before, and I know I'm late to the game, but please, please, please if there is any way you can go and see this film, do it. Our survival--your children's survival--depends on each of us taking this film's message to heart and acting to avert the consequences of global warming.

I've written about this before and will again, but An Inconvenient Truth hammers the point home with a directness and an eloquence that I can't touch. Republicans won't act to combat global warming. Democrats won't act fast enough or with strong enough measures. Greens will never come to power. It's up to all of us. We're all that's left. We're all there is, and we must move this country to a more energy-stingy, emissions-friendly future. If we don't, there won't be a future.