2007/05/31

Lemmings Love Cheap Gas

Two weeks ago Blognonymous reported on a local Shell station that was selling gas at way, Way, WAY above market rates. Turns out that the owner, Bob Oyster, was just trying to screw Shell for driving him out of business with exorbitant rent and anti-competitive policies. But today...his station's next to last day of business, he dropped his prices--6000 gallons of gasoline for under $3.00 a gallon, pumped until his tanks run dry. And the result? Predictable. Lines; Lines around the block; Lines that clogged the intersection at 6th and Harrison in San Francisco; Lines up to 3 hours long!

San Francisco drivers may think that they're getting a bargain filling up on Oyster's gas, but here's the deal lemmings. Even if your wait was just an hour, the only way you're going to get your money's worth is if your car's tank holds more than 80 gallons. Pull the head and figure what your time is worth.

A Frog And His Money

To say that I'm debt averse would be to understate the situation. If there is one thing that I should thank my parents for, it's a manic for managing my finances and a loathing of debt. Consequently, I have an uneasy relationship with credit-card companies. They don't make much off of me, and I get pissed at their sleazy tactics. But here's the thing, I never knew just how sleazy their tactics were.

New Federal Reserve regulations aim to put the kabosh on some of the more nefarious ways card companies try to separate you from your hard earned cash, but...hell...I wasn't even aware of some of these slimy practices:

Zap The Grace Period - This is the one that gets used on me all the time--pay your bill on time 6 months in a row and...BANG!...the grace period drops from 25 to 20 days. They'll always try to trip up a "one-month wonder" with this.

Interest on Fees, Interest on Fines, Interest on Interest - They might as well just refer to this as Universal Interest.

Universal Default - This is really, REALLY sleazy! Late paying on one of your cards, and not only will that one jack your interest rate, so will all the others!

Card companies argue that they need these tactics, these penalties, in order to handle the risk associated extending credit to certain customers, but that's not really what it's all about. It's about profit. If all of us paid off our credit-cards in full, on time, then Chase, CitiGroup, Capital One, and all the others would very rapidly start charging us simply for the privilege of having their damn card in our wallets. Count on it!

2007/05/29

Alba Gu Brath!

With the election of the Scottish National Party in early May, Scotland is poised to go it alone. Sean Connery eloquently makes the case for independence in Washington Post OpEd, but here at Blognonymous we say:

Good!

If there is a heaven, my Great-great Grandmother Euphemia is looking down right now and smiling.

The Terrorists You May Not Know

The Alabama Department of Homeland Security has really got our backs. Their terrorist watch list is a veritable 'Who's Who' of seditious, perhaps even dangerous, organizations--gays, and peaceniks, and tree-huggers...OH MY! But after an in-depth investigation by intrepid journalist Kvatch Kopf, Blognonymous has uncovered the full list of radical organizations. Prepare to be shocked!

M.A.D.D, Tuscaloosa Chapter -- These un-American busy-bodies want to interfere with your God-given right to drink and drive.

Mobile Women's Auxiallary -- Held a bake sale featuring French crullers!
(ADHS Note: Undercover agent pushing for the next sale to feature 'Patriot Pastries')


Florence Quilting Circle -- Known for their subversive 'Peace Quilts' and for using inflammatory rhetoric like "What Would Jesus Do?"

Montgomery Horticultural Society -- Planted whole gardens with red (commie) roses and yellow ('cut-and-run') daisies.
(ADHS Note: May be susceptible to pressure to plant wholly 'American' (i.e., red/white/blue) gardens.)

2007/05/28

Shame

On Memorial Day, Blognonymous' frontpage read "3454", the number of American servicemen who've died in Iraq, and I'm ashamed to note that before this post even went up that number was already out of date.

But let me begin elsewhere. On Saturday, Vice President Coronary took time to mock some very important documents before a friendly military audience at the West Point commencement, taking issue with the idea of applying them to people captured in the so-called War on Terrorism.

It should come as no surprise that a pig like Cheney mocks the Constitution and the Geneva Conventions. Lacking principles of his own, he seeks to bring down the fine principles of generations past and the lessons they learned. He engages in the most profound ethical relativism because he can't comprehend that unwavering application of our principles is really about us. The 'to whom'--terrorists, enemy combatants, insurgents--is irrelevant.

Indeed, Cheney's characterization of the terrorists reads like an advertisement from some neocon handbook:
The terrorists know what they want and they will stop at nothing to get it. By force and intimidation, they seek to impose a dictatorship of fear, under which every man, woman, and child lives in total obedience to their ideology. Their ultimate goal is to establish a totalitarian empire, a caliphate, with Baghdad as its capital. They view the world as a battlefield and they yearn to hit us again. And now they have chosen to make Iraq the central front in their war against civilization.
Substitute 'Bush Administration' for 'terrorists', 'American Hegemony' for 'The Caliphate', and you have the history of the last six years in America. But what is most achingly sad on this Memorial Day, is that our leaders had the power to stop this nonsense and didn't, and in that I see no excuse for anything but shame.

We should be ashamed of a political system favors valueless whores over people of principle. We should be ashamed that many of us can't, or won't, put ourselves on the line to try and do better. We should be ashamed of a Democratic leadership that lacks the will to bring our troops home, and we should be ashamed of ourselves for electing them.

2007/05/27

Bloggers I Have Known, Part 3 - Allie McNeil (aka 'Enigma4Ever')

Her blog, Watergate Summer, remains, but without Allie's writing its soul is gone.

We don't know what happened, but Enigma never returned from a self-imposed winter break, and in case you're wondering how keen a loss that was, the 77 (and counting) comments on her swan-song post should give you an idea.

Rocks for an Australian 'David'

Our friend Dennis Cartledge, writer of Grub Street Journal, and his brother Robin are engaged in a pursuit few of would even consider much less attempt. They're challenging Mark Vaile, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and National Party leader, for the parliamentary seat of Lyne (it's in New South Wales, take a gander at Wikipedia). Robin is doing the campaigning. Dennis is doing the strategizing, or as he refers to it the "whatsy-thingo-business".

Now most of us would look at such an unequal contest and remark, "What's the point?" In fact, that seems to be a pretty American attitude toward politics, but Robin and Dennis are forging ahead undaunted with the goal of raising the public consciousness of the abysmal state of social services. And with their opponent's energies focused on the big picture (he's a 'big picture' kinda guy, you see) the Cartledges' hope to organize a insurrection in the Deputy PM's rear.

So what does this pair of Australian Davids need? Rocks! Tactics, strategies--preferably ideas that don't cost too much money--and I'm honored that they've decided to use a variant of Kvatch's Kommandos to help with distributing the campaign slogan. But I think that Blognonymous' readers can come up with some truly innovative rocks to help these modern day Davids slay a Goliath.

And while we're arming our friends from Down Under, check out the campaign site.

2007/05/26

Bloggers I Have Known, Part 2 - Rex Kramer, Danger Seeker

Ah Rex... The American's American; the uber-patriot; a freedom-lover without equal; a blogger before whom even this unwashed, knee-jerking, liberal frog occassionaly had to bow.

Though I suspect that life intruded and forced you to stop blogging, this frog ocassionally still longs for a good strong dose of America-loving ferver.

2007/05/25

Bloggers I Have Known, Part 1 - Neil Shakespeare

Do you ever wonder about the bloggers who, for whatever reason, just stop? Sometimes they announce their departure--sometimes not. You pop in one day, and their blog is gone.

A circle of bloggers is a circle of friends. We may never meet in person, but we chat like we've known each other for years. Most keenly felt is the absence of a blogger who started about the same time that you did.

I'm feeling melancholy. I'm listening to "Dirty Shadows" by the Future Sound of London, and I'm in a mood to reminisce.

Neil Shakespeare: Paste-ups Poignant, Powerful, and Profound.

I don't know what happened to Neil, but one day earlier this month his blog disappeared only to be co-opted by another blogger. Neil you may be gone, but you're not forgotten, and I managed to unearth my favorite of your images from the Google cache. Wherever you are, I hope you don't mind.

Creation Science Gets A Home

Petersburg KY (f-A-ke. P.) -

The world's first 'Creationism Museum' will open this weekend in Petersburg Kentucky. Complete with animatronic dinosaurs and numerous exhibits that refute the junk science of evolution, the museum's goal is to convince visitors that:
...the Bible's history is true, and if its history is true its message of the gospel is true.
On a recent tour of the museum, funding director Ken Ham pointed out an exhibit of dinosaurs and humans living together remarking that many 'secular scientists' would dispute the historic validity of the Flintstonic Era. "But we feel that Hanna-Barbera was really onto something here."

Another exhibit depicts Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden along with the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, and the Maytag Repair Man. "You see, these important figures aren't just myths. They are real scientifically verifiable individuals and, let's face it, if I can convince myself that Noah built an ark the size of Indiana, I can believe in the Easter Bunny."

2007/05/24

Google Oracle (Beta)

"Oh Oracle... Where should I have lunch?"

Google

"Wise Oracle... What job should I take?"

Google

"But Oracle, have you no other answer?"

Don't talk back, or I'll tell your wife that I caught you on your webcam doing the Tom Cruise 'Risky Business' scene in the nude!

(Kvatch notes that the idea of Google advising him on important decisions gives him the heebee-jeebes.)

2007/05/23

Don't Try This On A Plane

OK...so you're on an airplane, a train, the BART, a bus, and you've got a really annoying 'Chatty Cathy' sitting next to you. Want to shut them up? I mean...do you really want to shut them up?! Then position your laptop where they can see it...

...AND CLICK THIS

But don't blame me for what happens next. You clicked the link.
(Props to anyone who can give us the translation.)

The Real Estate Picture Is Rosy

...well maybe not for all of America, but certainly here at the BlognonyPAD.

Am I talking about appreciation on this closet-sized flat I call home? No, not really. Though Sodom by the Sea hasn't seen the deflation of much of the rest of the nation, who knows what the future holds. Oh sure, we'll probably do OK...some day, but the plain fact is that the Frogette and I probably won't stay here forever. The cost of living is just too damn high.

So that brings me to my point: USA Today notes that 'McMansions' are becoming the housing of choice for American families which, ironically, are shrinking. Yes indeed, the average US home has increased in square footage to a whopping 2400, with many exceeding even that cozy size. 3 car garage? No problem. TV room? Media room? Jai-alai court? Sure! If you want it, they will build it.

But I've never lived in more than 1300 square feet, and my current place is not even that large--thank heavens for good closets. 1400 square feet would be a mansion to me. 1600? A palace! So while America convinces itself that it needs 5 bedrooms and a banqueting hall, I'll be looking for that perfect little bungalow that I can settle into for the duration.

Now don't any of you go filling the empty-nesters heads with any of that "downsizing" nonsense.

2007/05/22

Incarceration Nation Part 4 - California Budget Priorities

Based on current budget projections, California's spending on its prisons will overtake its spending on public universities within 5 years. No state of our size, anywhere in the nation, comes close to this level of spending on prisons. Some say it's the inefficient allocation of funds, high costs in the prison system, or years of neglect by the Department of Corrections. But one stark fact remains: If this state weren't rocketing toward a prison population that includes 1 in every 150 residents, we wouldn't have this problem.

Though we could say that our budget priorities are screwed up--I mean...who wants to admit that locking people up is more important than educating them--when you're spending $10B on your prisons, you've got to take the money from somewhere...everywhere.

Part 3 <<  Incarceration Nation

2007/05/21

Justice Thomas Takes A Vow of Silence

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

Justice Clarence Thomas has taken a vow of silence, making it clear that he will not speak from the bench again until someone clips the string of the Court's 'Chatty Cathy', Justice Breyer. Though it was not immediately made clear how the justice would pose questions to attorneys, one of Thomas' pages, speaking on condition of anonymity, remarked, "Does it really matter? The man hasn't uttered a word in court since February of 2006."

BlognonyBITS - FOX News and The Devil's Ice Skates

And in the world of journalism...hell freezes over! From FOX News:
Filmmaker Michael Moore's brilliant and uplifting new documentary, "Sicko," deals with the failings of the U.S. healthcare system, both real and perceived. But this time around, the controversial documentarian seems to be letting the subject matter do the talking, and in the process shows a new maturity.
I suspect that when I see it, I won't describe Sicko as 'uplifting', but is this really FAUX News, the outlet we all know and hate? Have the times changed this much?

Labels: , , ,

2007/05/20

Sure you know obscenity when you see it?

Tania Derveaux, a candidate in upcoming Belgian Senate elections this summer has had it with her opponent's ridiculous promises of 400,000 new jobs. So she's promising to produce 40,000 blowjobs for her supporters. Sign up at Ms. Derveaux's campaign site, vote NEE, and if she wins you can collect your spoils in real life...or Second Life.
...and although I'm sure that the good book would have something to say about Ms. Derveaux's campaign, if you live in Hong Kong you may not get to find out. You see 800 residents have demanded that the book be restricted as 'indecent'. All that sexual and violent content, you know.

2007/05/18

Eulogy for Falwell

Been waiting and waiting
Craving inspiration
Seeking to eulogize
With mounting frustration
A man whose crass actions
Divided the nation.
But lacking in outrage
His death no sensation,
In place of expected,
Sought after elation
I'm feeling a kind of
low-impact deflation,
And so just perhaps I'll
Give in to temptation
Reflect for a moment
On Falwell's vocation.

Seems that the crackpots
From Westboro Baptist
Will try for a Lynchburg
Pre-funeral protest.

They're going to preach
That Falwell expressed
Not nearly enough of
The hate they attest
Christ has for gays, women,
Blacks, Jews, and the rest.

And so with the scum of
Topeka I find
We are quite ironically
Of the same mind
Agreeing that Falwell
Will not find salvation
But is quite more likely
In line for damnation.

Your Environmentalism On Your Arm

This season's 'must have' fashion accessory, at least for the glitterati who want to wear their environmentalism on their arm, is a canvas tote by designer Anya Hindmarch.

Now setting aside for the moment that a bag announcing that it's not plastic is akin to one's saying, "I'm not really an environmentalist, but I play one on TV," Blognonymous wonders about the utility of a bag that really can't haul much of anything. Sure, if you're in Walgreen's buying toothpaste...no problem. But you could just as easily use your purse, backpack, or whatever if all you're trying to do is avoid a plastic bag.

On the other hand, though it can't hold a decent sized load of groceries, it is big enough for a screenplay, and after all it only costs $10.00. If you can find one. If not, they're going for $90 to $400 on eBay.

Thanks to Lo @ Braless Living LA for the inspiration.

2007/05/17

BlognonyBITS - Fire The Miserable Bushtool

Wolfowitz refuses to resign, wants a face-saving deal.
Says he's gonna force the World Bank board to vote.
Joan Walsh pretty much sums it up for me...Good!

Fire Bush's miserable tool--kick him to the curb!
When you secure a $50,000 raise for your girlfriend,
Your talents should be put to better use...like on K Street.

Updated 2007/05/17, 7:58 PM:

Lizzy of OCD GenX Liberal lets us know that the only reason Wolfowitz resigned, but is staying on until June 30th, is so he can collect a $400K payout. Which begs the question: Why doesn't the World Bank just say, "Thanks Paul but...you're still fired. Just clean out your desk before these nice men show you to the door."?

Bush To Travel In 'Cone of Silence'

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

The White House Office of Criticism Deflection announced today that during his September visit to Australia President Bush will travel in the 'Cone of Silence', a moving football field-sized area where no discussions critical of Bush, his presidency, or God's country, The United States of America, can take place.

A technological marvel, the 'Cone of Silence' was developed by NSA in the early days on the War on Terror and was first deployed at the APEC summit in Pusan, South Korea, in 2005. Future Presidential trips may include another innovation, the 'Cloak of Invisibility', designed to shield administration officials from having to view protesters or the activities of other types of low-life rabble rousers.

2007/05/15

An Old Climate Plan Is New Again

So the President's got a new plan
That should put a crimp in demand
And in doing so foil
Our huge thirst for oil
Over a decade long span

But where was the word "conservation"
A push to avoid the gas station
Nowhere it seems
The plan's central theme
Is alternative fuels for the nation

So the plan is all just a scam
And Bush's words mostly a sham
Because what Big Oil craves
Is for us to behave
And to burn all the fuel that we can

Bush is recycling his nonsensical State of the Union remarks. The only difference now is that his 17 month timetable may allow the administration to derail California's push to regulate vehicle emissions on it's own.

EPA Mileage Stats: Everybody Plays, Almost Everybody Loses

You knew it was coming, if for no other reason than the fact that numerous hybrid owners complained that they weren't getting the mileage that the EPA stickers said they should be getting. Hybrid detractors--including some readers of this blog--will claim that this is the proof that hybrids are a bad deal, not worth the money you spend on them.

But look more closely. Hybrids weren't the only vehicles to come up on the losing end of the EPA's new MPG calculation methods. Conventional autos come up short as well. So...where the Toyota Camry Hybrid lost 5 MPG on average (a bit under 13%), its pure gasoline cousin the Camry lost a bit over 11%. And, in the case of the Ford Escape, the EPA adjustment was less detrimental to the hybrid version.

So...if you're thinking about using this as an excuse to eschew hybrids. Think again! Nobody won with this revision...except consumers! Better information about how good, or in this case how bad our cars perform, is a win for everybody but Big Auto. So suck it up and buy that hybrid anyway. You'll still get 25% better mileage than a gasoline powered version of the same car (or much more--the Civic Hybrid for example), and that translates into fewer tons of greenhouse gasses headed for our atmosphere.

2007/05/14

Monday Evening Internet Surveillance Blues

Today was the official deadline for cable companies, Telco ISPs, and some universities to finish getting their networks ready for law enforcement-friendly surveillance.

"Sherman...set the Wayback Machine to 1994!" Congress passes CALEA, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act which mandates that all phone networks (digital and analog) be wired to support almost instantaneous access by law enforcement. And what do we expect happened after the 2002 deadline for that phase of CALEA passed? You guessed it! Court approved wiretaps doubled.

But, not content to stop there, the DoJ lobbies the FCC to reinterpret CALEA as applying to the Internet as well. The FCC caves, and a divided Federal Appeals Court upholds the decision. So now, with no new law on the books, the DoJ has got a mandate to force ISPs to provide the same type of surveillance capabilities that exist for phones. Email, clickstream, downloads, uploads, IM, VoIP, all available to the FBI with a court order.

I'm feeling safer already. Now...where the f*ck is that encryption program?

Monday Morning Postal Rate Blues

In case you hadn't heard, the cost to mail a first class letter goes up to $.41 today.

But I don't really have a problem with higher postal rates. I'll bet that, in inflation adjusted terms, rates are lower today than just about any time in history.

I do wonder, though, what moron decided on 41 cents? On top of previous rate changes to 37 and 39 cents no less! I mean...does the USPS have a penchant for odd numbers--a thing for selling 2 cent stamps? Here's a thought: How about just making the price a nice even 50 cents and then not raising it again for a decade?! Oh...and while we're on the subject, before the next USPS rate hike go out buy some of the new "forever" stamps. Sheesh!

2007/05/13

Biometrics, Your Finger, and the Feds

Caption this ad...



Option 1:
My spouse installed these nifty locks, and all I got was a severed digit.

Option 2:
Finally! All those fingerprint databases really pay off.

2007/05/12

Florida Democrats Screwed By Their Own

So you live in Florida. Your state's got a brand new primary that's 7 days ahead of 'Super-duper Mondo Stupendous Tuesday', the day that will basically decide the candidates in our next presidential election. And, with 27 votes, your state's electors carry more weight than all those lessor 'early' states--Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada--combined. A recipe for Florida voters to have unprecedented influence in the next election, right? Well...sure, if you happen to be a Republican.

You see the national Democratic leadership is mulling a proposal that would treat the outcome of Florida's primary as merely advisory. In fact, they're thinking of allocating the electors with a caucus at a later date. It's a punishment you see for Florida's screwing up the carefully laid out schedule put together by the parties.

So Floridians enjoy voting in your primary...that won't count...and that no candidate will waste time on because, let's face it, would you spend money in a state where the outcome might be tossed in favor of the will-o-the-party-elite?

And you thought that only Republicans liked to rig elections.

2007/05/11

Too much irony for a Friday afternoon?

Making the illegal...illegal?
The House of Representatives has added an amendment to the Intelligence Reauthorization Bill making FISA, "...the exclusive means by which domestic electronic surveillance for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence information may be conducted". But the headline reads:

   Bill bans illegal govt eavesdropping

Huh? Say again. I'm sure this bill will move Bu$hCo to dismantle the program. Could Blognonymous humbly suggest that taking the administration to court might be a better move than making what is already illegal...illegal.

Buy our product or we'll sue you!
Here's the deal: The DMCA requires that when Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology is present, it must not be circumvented. But the DMCA doesn't say anything about the lack of DRM or whose particular solution has to be used. Well..unless DRM supplier, Media Rights Technologies, wins a suit that says that simply because their solution "has been proven effective", media giants like Apple and Microsoft must use it. Got that? "Use our product or we'll sue you!"

I'm expecting a lawsuit from the major auto manufacturers any day now saying that not only must I buy a car, I must buy their car!

Silencing the Scams

2007/05/10

San Francisco Chronicle Looks To Blognonymous For Inspiration

Less than a day after I posted on San Francisco's infamous Shell gas station, the Chronicle does a story that fleshes out the situation.

We here at Blognonymous are honored to be a source of inspiration for the Chron and don't mind at all that they didn't even give us a godda--...I mean...didn't reference us.

God Bless America...and Paris Hilton

Thank you Paris. Thank you. What would my mundane life be without you?

God Bless Paris Hilton
"Paris Whitney Hilton is an American celebrity and socialite. She is an heiress to a share of the Hilton Hotel fortune, as well as to the real estate fortune of her father Richard Hilton. She provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world. She provides beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives."

- Excerpt from an online plea for clemency to Gov. Arnold Schwarzengger at Free Paris Hilton.

And thanks to Mags of You Forgot Poland! for the inspiration.

2007/05/09

Failing at Business, Lesson 5 - Summer Gas Prices Edition

Summer is here, and up, Up, UP go the gas prices. Though for some gas stations, the normal summertime hike is just the beginning. But you gotta wonder about a business that simply seems uninterested in selling gasoline.

On the left...On the right...

70 cents per gallon less--and right across the street?! So sure, maybe Shell is desperate to hold on to a prime location, and maybe they're paying a fortune in rent, but you'd think that they'd want to offset the cost with SOME sales.

"Winker Guy"

Way to go George!
   
"Women bring a unique perspective to the presidency."

George W. Bush

   
"If I have Philip shoot him, it's certain to cause an incident."

Queen Elizabeth II

2007/05/08

Your Genes Belong To You...

The US House of Representatives has passed legislation making discrimination based on genetic factors--inherited illnesses or predisposition toward certain diseases--illegal. In fact, the majority in favor of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was a stunning 420 to 3. I wonder who the three were.

Though this is great news, the cynic in me wonders how this managed to slip by the radar of the insurance industry? Did they just not know about it? Or perhaps the negative publicity associated with opposing GINA was simply too risky since opposition could only mean one thing. Either way, the bill now heads for the Senate.

...But Your Compact Discs Do Not

How would you like to have to show multiple forms of ID, maybe have your fingerprints taken, just so you can sell your old Britney Spears CDs? Sounds pretty ludicrous right? Well, in Florida and 3 other states new "pawn shop" laws for music stores are driving many retailers who sell used CDs out of the business. I mean who wants to pay a $10000 bond (Florida) so that they can treat their customers like criminals?

Retailers who deal in used CDs have never had it easy. Back in the 80s and 90s music industry reps would routinely deny stores promotional material if they were found to be trading in used CDs, and the FTC has more than once investigated the industry and it's trade group the RIAA, but now the momentum seems to be behind an industry who want to basically "rent" you your music. Just look at the Florida law... It mandates that you only get 'store credit' for your CDs. In other words, the industry is OK with you selling your CDs as long as the only thing you can do with the proceeds is buy more of their crap.

2007/05/07

Humanity In All Its...Uh...Splendor?

2007/05/06

Retroactive Immunity for the Telcos

Another constitution busting limitation on the court system is making its way through Congress. This time the Bush administration wants to grant sweeping immunity from civil and criminal litigation to the Telcos whenever they assist with terror investigations. And just what form does that 'assistance' take? Think AT&T's 'fat-pipe' to NSA. Think illegal surveillance. And think of the EFF and ACLU lawsuits being immediately tossed out of the court system because this piece of administration subterfuge doesn't just grant the Telcos immunity, it makes it retroactive to September 11th, 2001.

In other words, if Bu$hCo gets its way, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and all the rest can tap your communications, give all the data to the government, do it without judicial oversight (e.g., warrants), and no court in the land will be able to stop them or to even hear a case on the issue.

Ain't retroactive immunity a beautiful thing?

BlognonyBITS - Alternative Minimum Facts

2007/05/05

A Vanity Plate Meets Its Fate

Seems to me that if you're going to allow vanity plates at all, then either 1) You need to do a pretty good job of screening what people put on them, or 2) Have clear guidelines about what is acceptable and what it not. MPEACHW, the plates owned by Heather Moriah of Rapid City, South Dakota, don't seem to violate that state's guideline: That the plates not, "...be any letter combination which carries connotations offensive to good taste and decency." What the South Dakota DMV doesn't tell you is that they'll use their power to recall a particular plate if even a single person complains, as happened in Ms. Moriah's case.

Pretty extreme, you think...or maybe just pretty stupid. With such a lax standard, all of those God fearin' South Dakotans who use their plates for proselytizing may soon find DMV missives of their own in the mail. Remember it only takes one complaint.

And while where on the subject, I wonder how the South Dakota DMV would feel about:

CLZGTMO
NSASCKS
ENDTHWR

2007/05/04

Future Headlines - Bill O'Reilly Uses His Superpowers for Good

STUDY: BILL O'REILLY USES DEROGATORY NAMES 'MORE THAN ONCE EVERY SEVEN SECONDS'

FCC ISSUES NEW GUIDELINES, PLACES RESTRICTIONS ON 'IPM' INSULTS PER MINUTE

O'REILLY ARRESTED FOR 'IPM SPEEDING', SPRAINS MOUTH DURING HIGH-SPEED PURSUIT

O'REILLY ENTERS REHAB, CLAIMS INSULTS ARE A 'DEMON I'VE FOUGHT ALL MY LIFE'

SCIENTISTS ACHIEVE 'GREEN' BREAKTHROUGH, PROMOTE 'BLABBER POWER' AS NEW ENERGY SOURCE

FAMOUS PUNDIT LEAVES REHAB, DEDICATES REMAINING YEARS TO ENERGY PRODUCTION

O'REILLY SIGNS FIRST EVER DEAL TO POWER 20,000 GARY INDIANA HOMES

2007/05/03

Warrantless Wiretapping's In The Constitution

Hot on the heels of yesterday's post about the FISA Court's mutation into a Bu$hCo rubber-stamp, we have the Director of National Intelligence, Michael McConnell testifying that the administration can... well...do whatever the f*ck it wants when it comes to surveilling US citizens. In fact, DNI McConnell went so far as to imply that the President's authority to bypass the FISA Court and wiretap citizens without a warrant is spelled out in Article II of the Constitution.

So, as a public service, we here at Blognonymous decided to put the director's assertion to the test, and here's what we found:

Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 1
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.

Article II, Section 2, Paragraph 1
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and...

Article II, Section 2, Paragraph 2
He shall have power.

And you thought those Evelyn-Wood speed reading courses were of no value.

2007/05/02

FISA Court or Rubber-stamp?

Let's just get down to the bare essentials shall we? Last year the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court received 2,181 warrant requests, and of these how many do you think that they rejected? 1000? 100? 1 percent?

Nope... 0. None!

2,176 requests were accepted, and the remainder were withdrawn with the exception of one that was resubmitted. In fact, since 2001, only 4 requests total--4 for Pete's sake--were rejected.

Now you might be asking yourself what purpose the court serves if all they're able to do when the administration comes calling is shout, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" like some kind of cheap hooker. And I'll bet Bu$hCo is asking themselves why they bothered to authorize NSA to illegally sidestep the Court, when every indication is that the court would have responded with a cheerful, "Yes sir, Mr. President. Whatever you say Sir!"

Guess that whole executive oversight thing is really working out...for the administration.

2007/05/01

Takeout ROI

These days, who has time to cook? I know that at least once or twice a week I just throw up my hands and get takeout, but what to get? Setting nutrition aside, there must be some way to measure the value of your options. So...it is with considerable pride that Blognonymous introduces the handy-dandy, Takeout Return on Investment scale! ((c), TM, and patent pending)

Simply stated, you divide the number of meals by the cost to get the ToRoI. And here are how some of my favorites stack up:

CuisineOrderMealsToRoI
IndianChicken Saag with a double portion of rice4 for $12.25.326
ThaiYellow Vegetable Curry with a single portion of rice2 for $6.95.288
MexicanBurrito the size of your head2 for $6.95.288
PizzaMedium (14") combo pizza4 for $15.10.284
ChineseMongolian Beef with double portion of rice3 for $12.45.241
BurgersSingle 1/4 lb. cheeseburger from a local joint around the corner1 for $4.95.202
SushiCalifornia roll w/a side of salted soy beans1 for $7.20.139

So... in the end the subcontinent has it all over the other options. Especially when you consider that I was conservative in saying that I get just 4 meals out of an order of Saag. (I often get 5.) Sushi though tasty, is something your really should go out for. As take-out it sucks value-wise and...usually...freshness wise, but on the other hand it is probably the best for your health.

So there you have it. Your mileage will vary.

Time Congress Accomplished The Mission


This evening, The Decider will veto the Iraq funding bill, and at Blognonymous we say, "GOOD!" Because it's time Congress got off their lazy asses and did what they were elected to do.

Presidential veto? Big-f*cking-deal! Once the ball is back in Congress' court the way forward is clear. Send Bush a second bill that contains just $20B dollars for one purpose, and one purpose only, to get our troops home, and make it clear that if he vetoes that bill, there will be no general defense appropriation this year--NADA, DIDDLY, BUPKIS!

Bush, Gates, and Petraeus can then fund the war out of their own damn salaries...end of story!