Thursday, March 29, 2007
Apparently, there was rat poison in some of the gluten the offending Canadian pet food company, Menu Foods, acquired from China. Et tu, Canada? (UPDATE HERE.)
Can’t Canada produce its own gluten? Come to think of it, can’t the US make its own pet food?
True, more cats than dogs died as a result of these poisonings, but hey, you have to pick your battles.
I see the poisonings as an intentional act in China’s ongoing war on dogs and other domestic animals. While we in the West generally value dogs as intelligent, loving animals, in China they’re likely to be eaten or even beaten to death before their owners’ eyes.
But killing dogs within their own borders apparently was not enough. No, they had to take it to our shores. This act of terror was their Al Qaida-like message to our canine friends: “You are not safe, even in your own country!”
I have a mind to head up to the Chinese embassy and give them a piece of my mind. That, or the nearest Chinese restaurant.
Who’s with me?
PS: Consider this post my latest salvo in the war against China's war against dogs. Type the word "China" in the search box above to see my previous posts on the topic.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard about the growing scandal involving the firings of several US Attorneys, allegedly for political reasons (i.e. they didn’t play ball with Bush). I’ll let you read about the public smearing of these attorneys, the “serving at the pleasure of the president,” etc. for yourself.
Prominent names such as Alberto Gonzales, Karl Rove and Harriet Miers have been tied to this scandal; Senate and House committees have authorized subpoenas of Rove, Miers and other Bush staffers – the goal being to get direct answers from these people – but have thus far not issued any.
In an unprecedented (and preemptive) show of generosity, Bush has said he will allow his people to speak with Congress… provided the meeting is done in private (no TV cameras or members of the public allowed), the participants are not required be under oath, and no transcript of the proceedings is kept.
You want the truth? The American people can't handle the truth!!!
Obviously Bush saw the subpoenas coming and made this offer in an attempt to prevent that happening. He seemed quite taken aback when his offer was quickly brushed aside by Democrats and some Republicants who want, oh, what is that word, accountability.
Under fire for offering testimony (he’s calling them “interviews”) under such tight constraints, Bush has gone to great lengths to explain just why he’s demanding these concessions.
He is concerned that, if his aides fear being dragged before Congress they will not provide him with “candid” advice. To me that says that Bush’s aides can only be honest with him if they’re not made to be honest with Congress(?)
Bush has also characterized potential hearings as “show trials” and “partisan fishing expeditions.” This, even though it is standard procedure to call White House officials before Congress when some wrongdoing has been alleged. And even though some members of his own party agree the proceedings needs to be transparent and verifiable.
Has anyone asked Bush for PROOF that the demand for accountable testimony equals a show trial? That's a pretty defensive posture he’s taking with that unsubstantiated accusation.
Through his spokesman, Tony Snow, Bush has also said that he believes the American people are tired of these political circuses. So, his demands regarding the testimony are for our benefit(!) Thank you for thinking of me, sir. But I have to be honest – what I am tired of is this administration being so secretive and intractable.
Snow has also made it clear Bush sees oaths as unnecessary because it’s against the law to lie to Congress. Therefore, any testimony Bush aides provided would naturally be completely truthful. So why bother? Oaths schmoaths!
If there’s an assumption that people will tell the truth when being questioned in an official setting, as Snow suggests, all oaths become unnecessary. Court proceedings could be done on the honor system. Come to think of it, we could skip that oath the president takes at his inauguration, too.
Interestingly, while the White House wants to limit access to testimony about conversations between the president and his advisers, it has also insisted that the president never discussed the matter of the US Attorney firings with his advisers. When asked to explain this discrepancy, Snow stated that the question was “intriguing.” Huh?
I think all rational, reasonable Americans want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on this matter. That necessitates public, on-record, under-oath testimony. It's the only way we can have faith in the process. I have said this before: ALL Congressional hearings should be done this way, regardless of which party is in power, or who is on the chopping block.
How this subpoena battle will go is still up in the air. But one thing seems certain: Democrats have earned capital, political capital, from the 2006 elections, and now they intend to spend it.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
There are still a lot of conflicting accounts about what happened that night. Did the plainclothes policemen identify themselves as such? The police say yes, but others say no. Did the victims have a gun? No, but the police involved seemed to think so.
A perceived threat to their lives was the officers’ justification for firing some 50 shots (one officer emptied his magazine and then reloaded; some bullets went into a train station, and some into a nearby house) into a car with the aforementioned revelers. Groom Sean Bell died, and two others were seriously injured.
It wasn’t just the (nonexistent) gun that was considered a danger by the police, but the fact that the vehicle carrying Bell and his friends smashed into an unmarked police car. We’ve all heard of instances of a car being used as a weapon, and police opening fire on the driver to prevent harm to themselves and others at the scene.
My fear is sometime, let’s say in bad weather, myself or someone else may lose control of a car and accidentally plow it into a police car. The collision isn’t my biggest concern; it’s that the police officers in the other vehicle may interpret the collision as a deliberate, hostile act, and open fire.
Though road rage and highway shootings are a reality, ordinary folks can’t just jump out of a car and shoot others who’ve collided with them. Why should the police be allowed to do so?
Elsewhere this week, a mentally disabled woman died after going into cardiac arrest while being restrained by police.
I know how she feels. Sort of.
Standard police procedure when dealing with a potentially dangerous individual is, prudently, to immobilize them. The problem with some restraint methods is that they can exacerbate an already dicey situation.
For instance, being pressed face down on the ground, with a couple of 200-pound men holding you down with their knees. This, as they are telling you to calm down and submit.
I don’t know about you, but that kind of experience would elicit a fight or flight (panic) feeling in me. Calm isn’t possible for me when I feel smothered or claustrophobic. The instinct for survival kicks in when one is restrained, even if one deserves to be restrained.
This instinct was a factor in the infamous Rodney King beating at the hands of police. He was being ordered to lie down, spread out his limbs and go limp. But when you’re receiving blows, your natural instinct is to curl up in a tight ball to protect yourself. The officers' words were saying one thing, but their actions were ensuring the opposite would happen.
The self-preservation instinct (which even animals have) does not go away simply because a person in uniform gives us orders that conflict with it. I believe there was no way Mr. King could have complied with the officers’ instructions, under those circumstances, even if he was under the influence, and being difficult.
The same may have been true for the unfortunate woman who just died.
The job of the police officer is surely not an easy one. You may deal with unpredictable people and dangerous situations every day of the week. But if in doing that job you become a danger to others, your methods need to be reassessed.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Some US Airways passengers were stranded in airports for three days; winter storms were once again the culprit. The passenger backlog from canceled flights has still not completely cleared.
Though no one has control over Mother Nature, would I be incorrect in stating that the airlines just don’t seem to be adequately prepared to deal with weather-related problems?
Obviously, passengers being forced to sit on grounded planes for hours and hours is unacceptable. This has been attributed to a lack of gate facilities to accommodate all the planes on the ground. So...
How about taking turns at the gate?
How about running shuttle buses out to the planes on the tarmac and ferrying passengers back to the terminal?
How about getting on these things before this happens again?
Probably due to “security” issues, the airline industry is given far too much latitude when it comes to its treatment of passengers. Keeping them on grounded planes for hours on end is not merely an inconvenience, it's unlawful detention, in my book.
JetBlue responded to its recent problems by issuing a passenger bill of rights, which describes how long and under what conditions the airline can keep passengers aboard, as well as penalties/remedies for flight delays and cancellations.
Some have floated a passenger bill of rights as a law that should be passed by Congress. The airlines don’t want this government inference, of course. But it’s looking like they need to get their shit together ASAP or face some tough love from someone in authority.
Getting passengers off planes is one thing, putting them somewhere is obviously yet another. This past weekend saw stranded passengers sleeping anywhere and everywhere they could find space in the terminals. Luggage makes for a lousy bed, I imagine.
I’m going to make another radical suggestion to help alleviate this problem. Whether it’s a blizzard, a hurricane, pilots going on strike or an airline going out of business, significant flight delays and cancellations happen often enough to justify creating facilities specifically for stranded passengers.
I’m not suggesting the Hyatt Regency, but an auditorium or similar facility with cots and some showers. You know, the basics.
Surely, this would cost money. But so do runways, parking garages and everything else at airports. I say, consider accommodating passengers in a bind part of the cost of doing business. Again, these things seem to happen often enough.
I am available as a consultant to the airlines and the FAA. My fee is negotiable, and very reasonable.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Below is one of those "I want to give you some money" junk emails I recieve almost daily; I imagine you get them, too. I've replaced some of the words with my own, however. See if you can spot the changes I've made. (All original grammatical errors have been retained.)
Try this yourself sometime! It's fun – a kind of Mad Libs for the email age.
From , johnson
Koumassi Abidjan Cote d'lvoire
l know this shit will come as a surprising to you. I have a propose for you this project, however is not legitimate nor will I in any manner compel you to vomit against your will.Your talent, looks and charm pushed me to send you this piece of garbage, I am Johnson peter ,a 20years old eunich and the only spawn of my inbred parents Mr.and Mrs mika peters , My father was a highly reputable female genital mutilator in cote d' ivoire during his priesthood.
It is sad to say that he was stupid and passed away mysteriously in the toilet during one of his lengthy sessions on 12th.December 2005.Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been masterminded by a taco he ate at that time. But God knows that food is iffy!
My mother died when I was playing with a gun, and since then my father took me from behind.Before he made the dookie that lead to my misfortune (his death) He punched me and explained to me the reason why he will make this crap and also told me that he deposited a shoe box that contain his scrotum in a girls' school here in Ivory coast and that this ball sack is for a culinary purpose overseas .He also told me that the girls' school did not know the content of the box as body parts but do whatever's necessary to avoid the girls' school from knowing the contents as family jewels.
He gave me the knife that he used for the deposit of the box at the girls' school and other vital organs of his body, after his death l went to the girls' school and killed everyone for the penis pouch.Now l need your assistance to catapult this nutsack to your country for consumption as that has been my late father's twisted desire before his death.
Now permit me to ask these ridiculous questions:-
1. Can you giddily help me ship my dad's nuts?
2. What will you like to take as your bribe to assist me in this project?
3.Please, can you kindly arrange a letter of execution to enable me to die in your chimney after this beanbag might have lodge into your gullet?
lf this BS arouse your suspicion kindly contact me with the above email address. Thanks for your anticipation cooperation.
Hey, with a name like that you're asking to be mocked.
On a serious note, I do think the parties who keeping sending us all these phony solicitation emails deserve to have their reproductive organs removed and crammed down their throats. (I can dream, can't I?)
PS: Enjoy your St. Paddy's Day!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
A pardon for Libby would not only protect the president, but would further expand the power grab he’s undertaken since he took office six years ago.
Considering this president’s dictatorial leanings, I actually think Congress needs to work harder to limit presidential powers through binding legislation (the only kind worth a damn). In terms of pardons, I think the president should be very limited in what he/she can dole out.
Meaning, they aren’t allowed to help a former boss, a boss' co-conspirators or benefactor buddies.
A good example of where a pardon would be appropriate (and permitted) is one of these cases I've heard about where a black man was convicted by an all-white jury and is still sitting in jail after 20 years despite the fact there's strong evidence of his innocence. In other words, to right a clear injustice.
Another appropriate use would be one of these cases where an 18-year-old guy has consensual sex with a girl a year or two younger than himself. It may technically be statutory rape, and he’s convicted as a pedophile and registered as a sex offender.
These are both examples of gross miscarriages of justice. The president's pardon perk shouldn't apply to anything he damn well pleases, but only to such cases. (Obviously, the specifics on acceptable/unacceptable pardons would need to be worked out.)
As for those who object to a pardon for Libby, I strongly suggest getting proactive on the president’s ass with a torrent of phone calls, letters and emails. Just say "no" to official unaccountability!
Monday, March 12, 2007
I see more of them each day, and can no longer let their message go unchallenged. I'm talking about the bumper sticker that says "Watch Out For Motorcycles!" Perhaps you've seen this, or one of its variants?
These are typically displayed on cars (not a lot of bumper on a bike, you see) by, I imagine, people who ride bikes and want us all to be ready for when they happen to be on their steel steeds. "Make a note for later" kind of thing.
What bothers me is the supposition behind the message. Because it puts the onus for safety on the wrong people.
The translation of this sticker message is: "Because I have chosen a method of transport that provides very little protection for the human body, I want to make my own safety your concern. It's not just transportation, of course. I love the freedom of the open road on an open hog. Which is why I also don't bother wearing a helmet. Which is, by the way, also your concern."
These safety-conscious people are the ones, by the way, who seem to think there's a lane in between other vehicles.
This biker bumper sticker is the 20-years-on equivalent of the once-ubiquitous "Baby On Board" sign. That was a load of fun, wasn't it?
It's as if we're all supposed to take notice and straighten up our driving act pronto when we see one of these "warnings" that there may be children or motorcycles on the road. Try to keep the road rage incidents to a minimum. You know, cut back on the freeway shootings and that.
I don't know, maybe I just can't take people who wear black leather clothing on 90 degree days and swallow bugs seriously.
Friday, March 09, 2007
Over a year ago I did a post espousing a pro-circumcision stance. I won’t revisit all the reasons I proffered at that time; follow the link if you care to read that one.
But the controversial topic has recently shown its head in the news media, and the new information those stories provided inspired me to do a second circumcision post.
Studies have shown that circumcision can significantly cut the equipment owner’s risk of contracting HIV. This was noted as especially significant for Africa, where circumcisions aren’t common, but HIV is.
The practice also helps reduce the overall chance of infections in the penile province.
This article, which details those points, includes one expert essentially stating that, since we don’t remove girls’ breast tissue at birth to help them avoid developing breast cancer later, it doesn’t make sense to circumcise boys on the chance they make get some kind of infection.
That reasoning is fellatios. Or, rather, fallacious. (Damned homonyms!) Removing an entire organ that has a purpose is a radical procedure that is not equivalent to excising a piece of skin without one. (So there!)
There has been another recent, um, wrinkle in the circumcision debate, of concern to women. Specifically, while circumcised men may enjoy a decreased chance of contracting some infections, their female partners may face an increased risk of disease from permitting entrance of a shorn member into their nethers.
Somehow I am reminded of a phenomenon I heard of a few years back: The mounting presence of large, formidable SUVs on road has meant increased protection in an accident for their respective drivers, but greater danger for people in the normal, reasonable vehicles with which they are colliding.
From that standpoint, I guess the health benefits of circumcision may be a wash.
Speaking of wash, I didn’t talk too much about the hygiene benefits of the procedure in my earlier post. My main focus was on aesthetics and social difficulties.
Uncut men do have greater hygiene concerns, not just from the standpoint of serious diseases, but from the fact that they need to pay extra attention to that area, lest some jimmy-jam begin to accumulate.
A very simple thing to do, people will tell you. Hey, I don’t imagine it’s a, um, hard thing to do. But easy habits haven’t necessarily led to their adoption (e.g. some people still can’t remember to put on a seatbelt, or can’t be troubled with it, even though it’s the easiest and smartest thing in the world to do).
Take a look at the fingernails of the average guy. Is the area under them clean? A lot of them are not. And those are visible to the general population. Will most men take that extra care each day to clean the little joey hiding in his pants pouch? I have my doubts.
Some will also speak of the loss of sensitivity circumcised men can suffer in that area. Let’s think about this one for a minute...
Decreased sensitivity means it takes men longer to climax. Women complaining that men just get in and out and then conk out has been a cliché for eons. It's established in popular culture and lore. So why would women object to something that forces a man to stay on the job longer?
There’s a cottage industry of topical ointments that desensitize a man expressly for the purpose of delaying orgasm and lengthening the sex act for the enjoyment of both parties. Further, there’s a cottage industry of pills intended to help “premature” men go the distance.
The existence of these industries seems to indicate that pre-jac is a common problem. So, can you imagine how much worse the problem would be in America if most men weren’t circumcised? Come… on!
Well, I think I’ve done enough damage to my carpal tunnel regions for today. I’ll leave you to imagine me as a hooker-frequenting louse who can’t deliver the goods.
Hey, I’m just saying what you’re thinking. LOL.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Will the Walter Reed debacle be the thing that finally does it? Probably not. But the right is in serious danger of losing its exclusive license on supporting the US military.
Or, rather, the perception of exclusivity.
Under consternative Republicant “leadership” our troops have been thrown into an ill-planned invasion that has mushroomed into an interminable sectarian struggle, all without sufficient armor for their selves or their vehicles.
And now, when they come home bearing the scars of war, they share quarters with mold and vermin.
Support the troops? With friends like consternative Republicants – who have been asleep at the wheel of the US government since 2000 – our troops don’t need enemies.
Unfortunately, the whole “support the troops” issue remains sacrosanct in the US of A. Meaning, no one wants to appear to fail to support the troops, even if, by their words or actions, they are actually supporting them. As a result, most politicians are afraid to touch any troop-related issue in any meaningful way.
This is where the right’s spin machine has really earned its keep, and that’s sad, because it’s the troops who suffer. The right fails miserably at giving the troops what they need, while accusing the other side of failing to support the troops. And their minions eat it right up and quickly ask for seconds.
They remind me of those people who go around calling other people gay, but who are in actuality that way themselves.
On a related note, I was going to have a few comments regarding Ann Coulter’s comments about John Edwards’ sexuality, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the expression “anorexic cunt.”
Monday, March 05, 2007
Deborah J. Palfrey refers to her former business as a "high-end adult fantasy firm which offered legal sexual and erotic services (emphasis added)." But come on, anyone can read between those lines.
Weighing in at 46 pounds, the phone log is believed to include some heavy rollers, whose jobs, reputations and families could be lost were they to be connected to illicit activities. There are no names in the phone records, but one can easily track a specific phone number back to, say, a residence, if one wanted to.
This is outrageous. I mean, whatever happened to client-call girl confidentiality?
And what about us little guys, who don’t have the money to launch PR campaigns to save our asses? No one believes us when we say it was a drinking problem, for which we are now seeking treatment and God's forgiveness, that caused us to order out for some companionship in a moment of loneliness and weakness! Pleeeease don't do this!
In all seriousness, I believe most johns, powerful or not, expect that their "transactions" will be held in the strictest confidence by their service providers, not that their phone numbers will be sold off, or their exploits detailed in a tell-all book.
Think of the chilling effect this sale could have on the trade when men realize their private predilections may become public. Ms. Palfrey may want to consider the harm she could do to the business. Girls gotta earn a living, and boys gotta get 'em some.
What happened to the love of the craft, anyway? Sadly, today’s prostitutes seem to have lost grasp of the standards of their profession.
Dedicated to "Sweet Sue," "Schoolgirl Sally," "Tokyo Tina," "Boobarella," "Crimson Dynamo" and the "Trapeze Twins," with whom I performed my patriotic duty during my Democratic operative days.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Lots of good suggestions were made – end the costly war in Iraq, pay Congress minimum wage, or base their pay on performance – though many predictably used it as a sounding board for their non-financial gripes with the government.
I suggested fewer federal holidays.
There seem to be a couple days each month when the banks aren't open, the mail isn't delivered, schools are closed, etc. while the rest of us continue to earn our pay. And, as I understand it, Congress typically takes a week off for Presidents Day!? (This year they didn't, as they were tending to all the business left unfinished by the previous Congress.)
The point is, federal employees continue to get paid even though they aren't working. Perhaps some federal holidays can be optional days off without pay?
I wouldn't touch MLK Day or Vets Day, but do we need a Presidents Day (and all the obnoxious Presidents Day sale commercials that go along with it) or a Columbus Day, dedicated to a confused man who didn't discover our country?
More important, do we need to pay federal employees to take them off? I like the reduced traffic on those days, but not the fact that so much work is going undone while money continues to be doled out.
While it might seem like only a few days a year, consider just how many people work for the federal government (not to mention banks or schools), and who are therefore off on each of those days. That's a lot of dough we're paying out for people to not work.
So, this I say: Get back to work, you lazy bums! What do you think this is, a welfare state or something? Jeez!