Wednesday, December 15, 2004

All I Want is a Little Peace

Every now and then my Mom passes along something really good. This was one of them....

The Road to Inner Peace

I am passing this on because it definitely worked for me, and we all could use more calm in our lives. By following the simple advice I heard on a Dr. Phil show, I have finally found inner peace. Dr. Phil proclaimed "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you've started."

So I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's, a bottle of Kahlua, a package of Oreos, the remainder of both Prozac and Valium prescriptions, the rest of the cheesecake, some saltines and a box of chocolates. You have no idea how freaking good I feel.

Please pass this on to those you feel are in need of inner peace.....

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

He Says, Sierra Says

From JD we get this great link to use at the holiday table. I know, not everyone listens to reason. But if they do, try some of these items on them. "How to Win Arguments and Influence People: A Sierra Club Holiday Survival Guide" is a cool, handy resource if your family is notoriously thick about environmental issues.

On the Media Player Today - Mental Vacation

Today's media player selection is called "Mental Vacation" and my theme song (so says Tickle/Emode) just came up, "Walking on Sunshine".
Your upbeat approach to life makes "Walking on Sunshine" the perfect anthem for you. We can see you dancing down the vegetable isle with your grocery cart, smiling at all the checkout clerks. We sure hope you've had your Wheaties to keep up with your perky pace all day long. This happy, horn-driven tune carries you to work every day. And even in those brief lapses when you're not fully on your game, "Walking On Sunshine" seems to put things in perspective and get you back to your super groove. "And don't it feel good?" Who cares that this tune was a one-hit wonder for Katrina and the Waves? Even that quality matches your one-of-a-kindness. You're walkin' on sunshine and spreading it wherever you go.

What's your theme song?

The Weasels of 2004

Since I'm on the Dilbert newsletter email list I got a heads up that the 2004 Weasels List was out. I voted some time last month and I'm happy to report that most of my votes are in the majority of THIS election. (In fact, I think I pegged all of them, but I can't quite remember. Some of the decisions were so close...)

In case you're too lazy to click on the link I've provided you three times, here's the top of the lists. If you want to see who else got votes you have to click.
Weaseliest Pundit/Reporter - Bill O'Reilly with 13,123 votes
Weaseliest Celebrity - Donald Trump with 12,125 votes
Weaseliest Industry - Oil with 17,999 votes
Weaseliest Company - Halliburton with 25,073 votes
Weaseliest Politician - George W. Bush with 17,068 votes
Weaseliest Country - United States with 19,918 votes
Weaseliest Sports Person - Kobe Bryant with 15,231 votes
Weaseliest Organization - Religious Fanatics with 13,192 votes
Ok, who else thinks that Dubya would be proud that he got more votes than Kerry again? But at least we know that the weaselist of all weasels is agreed to be Halliburton, it seems to cross party lines. HELLOOOOO PEOPLE! NON-COMPETITION CONTRACTS!!! PUT THE PIECES TOGETHER!!!! Ok, I'm fine, really...

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Why I'm STILL a Dean-o-crat

What else do you need to know?

Dean spokeswoman Laura Gross said while other Democrats are talking about whether the party needs to move farther to the left or the right to attract voters, Dean plans to focus on the need for "destination, not direction" during an address at George Washington University on Wednesday.

Gross said even if Dean decides against running for DNC chairman, the former Vermont governor intends to work for his vision within the party. After dropping out of the presidential race, Dean started Democracy for America, which raised $5 million in nine months and helped fund 748 candidates in 46 states at every level of government.

If we can just get Howard Dean and Barack Obama in charge I would be one happy camper.

Monday, December 6, 2004

Weekend in Review

My latest addiction is Munchkins, a quick card-game for those times when you just can't fit in a full game of D&D. (Or Chill, or Vampire, or Star Wars, or GURPS..... Yeah, I'm a big geek.) This weekend I got the basic game expansions "Clerical Errors" and "Unnatural Axe". I am amused.

Other than that I feel like a great deal of my weekend was spent chopping vegetables. We were never big vegetable people, so preparing three meals a day just seemed to eat up my time. But the good news is that we are still on South Beach (although the husband had a weak moment yesterday and tried to convince me that *one* night out to Brick Oven Pizza wouldn't kill the diet) and the weight is coming off. I was a bit surprised that it was JD who was tempted first - he's usually so much more stolid than I am. And I was the one with the sugar fixation. Hopefully he'll be able to see me through when I see a chocolate cake, which is likely to happen sooner than later.

See how good I'm being at this 'daily thing'? Just weekends off (didn't turn on the computer all weekend anyway). I think I'm actually reveling in the fact that I have more than two minutes to rub together this month. See ya online...

On the Media Player Today

Right now I'm playing my list of "Dave Tunes" in celebration of it being Captain Dave's birthday. Since I only have four MP3s on the computer I doubt that it will stay on all day. For all of the other prog bloggers I will point out that one of them was a Dean song.
40 Million people can’t afford to get sick
While the people in Washington are up to their tricks
They give to you with one hand while they’re taking away
Everything you thought you had for a rainy day

Call the doctor, tell everyone
We gotta put the doctor in Washington
To cure what ails you
From Maine to California
And Texas too..

A couple of years ago we were deficit free
Until the people in Washington went on a spree

Call the doctor, tell everyone
We gotta put the doctor in Washington
To cure what ails you
From Maine to California
And Texas too..

[Lead section]

Call the doctor, tell everyone
We gotta put the doctor in Washington
To cure what ails you
It matters to you
These things that they do

They want to wrap you up in red white and blue
So you won’t see what they’re trying to do

Call the doctor, tell everyone
We gotta put the doctor in Washington
To cure what ails you
From Maine to California
And Texas too..

I got the DC Blues
I got it bad, it’s so bad
Call the doctor, I got the DC Blues.. etc

Friday, December 3, 2004

Friday Chocolate Bloggins

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. Judith Viorst
First, just go here and gaze upon the chocolateness. Yum. Then be amazed by their chocolate locator. They also espouse the Chocoholic Twelve Step Program: Never be more than 12 steps away from chocolate.
From their comments section I found this trecherous sounding Hot Chocolate recipe:
1 very large bar of Hershey's chocolate (the kind you see at Christmas or Valentine's day)
1 quart of heavy cream.

Break Hershey bar apart, add to cream in medium saucepan and heat over low.
Good luck with that. I hope it doesn't bring on a heart attack. Meanwhile I'll keep "enjoying" my South Beach Mocha Ricotta Creme....

On the Media Player Today

Today I'm listening to my Christmas playlist featuring "Red Hot Holidays" (a promo from Lane Bryant lo these many years ago). Right now it's playing "Santa Baby" as done by Eartha Kitt (yep, there was life before Madonna) which followed one of my favorites, "Baby, It's Cold Outside".

I also have a bunch of Christmas wave files from, like Frasier saying, "Oh joy, Christmas Eve. By this time tomorrow millions of Americans knee deep in tinsel and wrapping paper will utter those heartfelt words 'Is this all I got?'"

I'm trying to get merry and in the mood, but really I just drive down the road these days saying, "Why are these idiots putting their lights up so soon? Oh, right, it's already December...." I've had spirit before, I swear. I don't know what's wrong this year. OH, THAT'S RIGHT, WE'RE GOING TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET!

In Peeps We Trust

Sure, we may all be going to hell in a handbasket, but there is something about a morning of latte and good conversation that makes the trip bearable. The hat must be tipped to Zift Pryme for creating the Friday Morning Liberal Coffee. Maybe next Friday we'll sip latte and go joy-riding in Volvos for kicks.

Speaking of cars, I've been thinking about my stickers a lot lately. I've peeled the John Kerry stickers off of my car but left my Howard Dean sticker on. Basically I've started to feel a little more paranoid (what could be worse than a bunch of right-wingers hopped up on the 'rightousness' of their 'mandate' after the election?) and I'm willing to go down fighting for Dean, but not for FrankenKerry. I will admit that I did start to respect Kerry quite a bit more when I researched him, but I still don't particularly like him, and I'm not taking a beat down for him. Meanwhile, I made the rare stop by Whole Foods yesterday and that was the first time in awhile that I felt among my people (I was between a Weed/Kerry car and a Save the Bay/Weed car). Apparently I need to shop there more just to feel like I'm normal.

Which brings me to another subject. Seattle. We visited in 2002 and we really liked it. I'm considering that it might be enjoyable to live in a very 'blue' area for awhile. Thoughts? I still think I need to get residence in Ohio or Floriday by 2008 so that we can leverage the value of our votes.

Before I run off let me say that Nevsky, professor extraordinaire in Russian languages and literature, is considering seeking another position. If you've heard of anything that the Nev would be interested in, please pass it on. Hopefully somewhere in or around Virginia so that we can still have coffee from time to time.

Thursday, December 2, 2004

I'm So Far Behind I Might Be Ahead

My Google news page today shared with me that blog is the most popular word in the online dictionary. So I popped over to to see what they had listed for blog and found out that, by definition, I'm supposed to be updating this thing daily.

Do have any idea how freaking mundane this thing would be if I updated it daily????

Just to give you some insight.... Haven't had a chance to read enough news to get my blood boiling. I didn't even follow the link regarding the increase in troops in Iraq, or the fact that the troops who are there will have their tour extended. In a way I'm thinking, how can I get upset? We knew this was going to happen if the election went this way. I got all of my upset out of the way in the year leading up to the election. Now I'm just..... resigned.

In other news, this is the second day of the South Beach Diet for the husband unit and me. So far so good.

In other, other news, work is busy. Today is the second day of December and I have already matched the number of days in November when I spent more than 30 minutes at my desk. Tomorrow I'm going for the big THREE days. If anyone even tries to put a meeting on my calendar I'm getting out the knives.

Meanwhile, I hope that my coffee crew is planning on getting together tomorrow morning. There's nothing better than a morning of drinking coffee and kvetching. Even if, with South Beach, it now has to be decaf.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Now Go Away Before I Taunt You A Second Time!

8/30/09 Update: In case you're here looking for the funny bit from Cleese/Python let Soogle give you some guidance. You can watch the clip on YouTube, get some Monty Python wav files (go straight to T for Taunt or H for Hamster), or just follow John Cleese on Twitter in the hopes that he will, in fact, taunt you a second time.

Original post:
When the Pythoners taunted it seemed funny. Instead, we get this at Guantanamo:
...the Red Cross report said that complaints about the practice of sexual taunting stopped in the last year. Guantánamo officials have acknowledged that they have improved their techniques and that some earlier methods they tried proved to be ineffective, raising the possibility that the sexual taunting was an experiment that was abandoned.
You know what I say? (You're probably expecting this.) "I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough water! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"

If you need me I'll be lying down with a cold cloth on my forehead....

Friday, November 19, 2004

What Goes Around Comes Around?

In his autobiography, "My American Journey," ...Colin Powell, writing bitterly of Vietnam, wrote how "the top leadership never went to the secretary of defense or the president and said, 'This war is unwinnable the way we are fighting it.' Many of my generation, the career captains, majors and lieutenant colonels seasoned in that war, vowed that when our turn came to call the shots, we could not quietly acquiesce in half-hearted warfare for half-baked reasons that the American people could not understand or support."

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Difference Between Lies and Damned Lies

Lie: Wow, Aunt Greta, these are the best biscuits I've ever eaten!
Truth: This is the worst concoction of flour that man has ever seen.

Damned Lie: There will not be a draft.
Damned Truth: The Selective Service System (SSS) and the U.S. Department of Education now are gearing up to compare their computer records, to make sure all men between the ages of 18 and 25 who are required to register for a military draft have done so.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Live From Orlando! (Pre-Taped and Edited to Fit Your Screen)

So I had to go to Orlando this week for a work conference. I know, what a tough break for me. But I had dreams of doing a sort of journaling thing along the way and I thought I was off to a good start when our (small) local airport had wireless access and my computer was surfing pretty well on it. I posted some comments to 2+2=5 while I was waiting for the plane last Friday (went a weekend early, of course!) and all was right in my world. When I got to the Charlotte airport - no wireless. Unfortunate, but not a problem. I brought up Neverwinter Nights and made up a new character instead. Things were not perfect in my world, but they didn't suck. We got to Orlando, checked into the Sheraton, and when I got to the room my computer told tales of there being a wireless access point for the hotel. Oh glorious day!

Then my computer wouldn't hold onto the signal.

As a result, no travelogue. I know you're all heart-broken.

So let me sum up. The weather was beautiful - 70 degrees and sunny the entire time we were there. Being the big ole goofs that we are, we had to get park hopper passes to Disney. We did the Animal Kingdom, MGM Studios, and Epcot. We also checked out Disney Downtown, including a late night at Paradise Island, and nosed around the resorts to see which one was our favorite (we're caught between the remote and cozy Wilderness Lodge and the cheerful, busy Boardwalk).

Favorite things:
  • Putting our names and faces (and wedding date) on the "Leave a Legacy" monoliths at Epcot. We're guaranteed to be there until 2020 I think. The pictures are tiny so it might take you that long to find us.
  • Mission: Space at Epcot - what position did Cmdr Sue play? Commander, of course! It was pure chance because I didn't realize the circle I was standing on would mean anything. Unfortunately this ride also made me lay-down-on-the-carpet- why-in-the-*bleep*-did-I-do-this-after-eating sick. Then they told us they've had to turn the intensity of the ride down twice since starting it because people get motion sick from it. When a ride actually has barf bags in it... well, there you go. Even though it made me quesy, the ride was totally worth it. It's a simulation of taking off in a shuttle from Earth and flying to Mars. I have (almost) reached out and touched the face of God.
  • Norway at Epcot. The only thing it was missing was Dennis Storhoi. But they almost made up for it with a pastry shop serving double chocolate cake (tender cake topped with a layer of mousse and a thin layer of fudge for frosting).
  • The Safari at Animal Kingdom - it really just made me want to go on a real safari and donate money to help fight poaching and support the animal reserves.
  • The tiger at Animal Kingdom who was a total ham. He reminded me of my orange tabby. (Anyone who knows my Mr. Bond can just imagine.)
  • Star Tours at MGM - although it wasn't the ride as much as the stuff that you see while waiting in line. And the gift shop rocked.
  • Muppet 3D at MGM - I've always LOVED the Muppets. And I was glad to see a big role for Sam the Eagle. (I always liked him. I'm sick like that.) The old guys in the balcony are actually in the theater with you as animatronics (plus the Chef running the projector, and a bunny I didn't recognize), but everyone else is in the movie on the screen. The movie was fun, but the animatronics and setup of the theater are what put the experience over the top.
  • The Disney bus driver with the corny jokes. Why did Cinderella have to stop playing tennis? Because her coach turned into a pumpkin...
There was plenty of other fun stuff, but those are a few of my favorite things.

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

I had to appreciate what Jon Stewart said last night on The Daily Show - that now we've tried the "let everyone vote" approach and maybe that wasn't such a good idea. I certainly found myself scratching my head on Wednesday morning saying, "Well, damn, that didn't work." Then I spent about 15 hours playing Neverwinter Nights to avoid watching the news. I didn't see Wednesday unfold. I waited until 11pm Eastern last night so that I could receive the news in the only sugar-coated way I thought that I could take it. I wanted someone to give it to me with some context that I could deal with. Yes, I waited to get my 'official' news from Jon Stewart. I'm sure he would be appalled. But for me he's Will Rogers and Walter Cronkite all rolled up into one. So sue me. It was a bad day.

But today is a new day. I abstained from much commenting or any blogging while the election unfolded. I prefer to think for awhile. And this is what I think. The real issue that the Democrats had was effective communication. We can blame the media, we can blame all sorts of things. But the truth is that the 'average American' only hears about one word in a thousand (maybe more?) of what is spewed out during the election season. Because of that you need central and concrete themes that are expressed in both words and symbols. I know, we were going for a "Stronger America". Did you know what that meant? I sure didn't. And I'm hooked in. If I didn't 'get it', why should anyone else?

The real world beckons, but think on these things. What can we do better next time?

Oh, and I certainly hope that Al Weed is running in two years. He probably has name recognition now so the next step is to connect on issues. Dean has it right - if all else fails, focus on the House and the Senate, focus on the state elections. That means that we still have plenty to keep us busy all the way to 2008.

Monday, November 1, 2004

Just for You, Nevsky

I'm on the email list for the Chicago Manual of Style:

Q. When I was working on my graduate degree in English, I was told by a professor that the rule had changed for plurals of numbers (written as numbers) and letters (3s rather than 3’s or As rather than A’s). For the past 15 years I have been teaching it that way. Another colleague just recently saw that rule change somewhere online. Our new textbooks, however, do not teach it that way. We are currently working on a new handbook and would like to know if the rule has been changed or not. Thanks.

A. Chicago style omits the apostrophe, but the thing about style is, there is no single great arbiter who makes rules that everyone follows. Different houses use different styles. Following a particular style allows a person to be consistent within a given document, but it really doesn’t matter which style you choose.

Friday, October 29, 2004

TGIF Chocolate Blogging

How can you pass up this:
Chocolate Cake:
4 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

Raspberry Glaze:
2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 tablespoon water

Chocolate Ganache Frosting:
2/3 cup heavy cream
5 bars (1.5 ounces each) Godiva Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon raspberry flavored liqueur

Garnish (optional):
1 pint fresh raspberries
Follow the link to get instructions on how to put it all together. Although with those ingredients I think that any way you put them together it would have to taste good.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

That's When the World Tilted and I Slid Into a Melting Clock....

I have a friend who works at a hotel, and I have to say - what a lot of crazy stories. But this one trumps all the rest. A wing-nut discussion broke out near the front desk where the following was heard:
"The problem is... at some point we are going to officially take over Canada. I mean, we control it now, but I think they are still thinking they run their own country."
If you're a fan of Lewis Black like I am, you see this as a, "If it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have gone to college" sort of quote. If you don't know what I mean, may I recommend Rules of Enragement. Excuse me, I need to go to IHOP and eat syrupy pancakes until my head explodes.

Canadians, start your comments.

Big Brother is Watching You

"The only thing that saves us from bureaucracy is inefficiency An efficient bureaucracy is the greatest threat to liberty. "
--Eugene McCarthy

From a LiveJournal:
A couple of weeks ago, following the last presidential debate, I said some rather inflammatory things about George W. Bush in a public post in my LJ, done in a satirical style. We laughed, we ranted, we all said some things. I thought it was a fairly harmless (and rather obvious) attempt at humor in the face of annoyance, and while a couple of people were offended, as is typical behavior from me, I saw something shiny and forgot about it, thinking that the whole thing was over and done and nothing else would come of what I said.

I was wrong.

At 9:45 last night, the Secret Service showed up on my mother's front door to talk to me about what I said about the President, as what I said could apparently be misconstrued as a threat to his life. After about ten minutes of talking to me and my family, they quickly came to the conclusion that I was not a threat to national security (mostly because we are the least threatening people in the entire world) and told me that they would not recommend that any further action be taken with my case. However, I do now have a file with the FBI that includes my photograph, my e-mail address, and the location of my LJ. This will follow me around for the rest of my life, regardless of the fact that the Secret Service knows that I am not a threat.
If I recall correctly, threatening the life of the President is actually treason (someone with greater knowledge, please comment, because I don't have time to research). So, in a way, I'm glad that I know my employees (I've come to decide that if my taxes pay for their work, all government employees must ultimately be 'my' employees - I'm a shareholder) are taking their job seriously. I assume that they lack a sense of humor. (Based on the way that the current post is written I would have to think that in the context of this writer's work you shouldn't take them too seriously.) But I figure it's like the signs I used to see at the New Orleans airport even before 9/11 - "We have no sense of humor. We must take all threats seriously." In case you haven't been there, New Orleans is full of pranksters and jokesters and they love to tell a good yarn, yank your chain, and tease you. Add a little alcohol provided by the airport lounge and, well, you can imagine. So I have to say - I understand, I appreciate what the Secret Service is trying to do...... But this is still scary, and potentially a threat to freedom. And as Zift Pryme, who gave me the link, said: "So, why can't they just find all of the people who are posting to these 'terrorist websites' we keep hearing about?....And how many people like this kid have they arrested that we never heard about?"

Friday, October 22, 2004

Chef's Sweaty Chocolate....

Of course there's brown sugar in this recipe.

Chocolate Balls for (Southpark) Kids
Yield: 48 Servings

1 c Brown sugar
1 c Granulated sugar
1/2 c Milk
1 t Vanilla
1/2 c Cocoa powder
3 c Quick cooking oats
1 c Sweetened desiccated coconut
1 c Diced glac‚ or maraschino Cherries
1/2 c Chopped walnuts
optional Icing sugar

In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa powder and milk. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Pour into bowl; stir in vanilla, add oatmeal, coconut, cherries and walnuts if using. Cool to room temperature (about 1 hour). Shape into 1 1/2" balls. Roll in icing sugar. Store in airtight container in single layers between waxed paper.

You might want to put a little salt on them. Music for your kitchen inspiration...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

So, Who's the Moral Party Again?

Anything that makes anyone pine for the good ole days of Trent Lott's leadership should make us stop to think. These are the people who promised moral leadership? And the best leadership they have to offer is some bigoted, out of touch, good ole boy? (I know someone who went to school with his son. Really, I don't think I'm far off the mark.)

Monday, October 18, 2004

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Redeem Darth Nader

So I was thinking about how Ralph Nader is on the ballot in all of these states, and it was making me pretty mad. He killed the 2000 elections for Al Gore. He's gotten funding from the Republican machine for this election. Grrrrr.

Then I had a moment of blinding insight. Let Nader take votes away from Commander Bunnypants this time.

A lot of Republicans who can't stand Bush also can't stand the thought of voting for Kerry and/or a Democrat. Many of these people also can't stand the thought of not voting - it's their civic duty.

We just need to popularize the thought that a vote for Ralph Nader is a vote for no confidence in George Bush. I'm not worried about Kerry not carrying the election anymore. He's going to win. Making it common knowledge that votes for Nader equal votes of no confidence from Republicans for Bush would be that extra rub on the face when Nader pulls 1-3% (maybe more under this plan?) in the states he's on the ballot for. While Bush pulls puny numbers.

Equating Nader to malcontent Republicans would probably also force the die-hard Greens into making a rational vote - Kerry will protect the environment a hell of a lot more than Bush. Don't waste your vote on someone who can't help you. If you want a Green influence in Washington, DC, start with the House and Senate.

Is it a plan?

Don't "Cross" Jon Stewart

If you haven't seen Jon Stewart on Crossfire you really need to. If he keeps this up we will all have to worship him as our Lord Savior of Journalistic Integrity. Can't you just imagine Walter Cronkite? "Thank God.... But how in the hell did that happen?"

It was definitely great watching Jon rip F Tucker Carlson a new one. In the past year I have had to swear off of TV news. The only thing that gets close to being news on my TV are The Daily Show and Real Time with Bill Maher. I get my real news online - blogs, foreign news sources, and some trusted online American papers.

How do people live on a steady diet of CNN or MSNBC, much less Fox News?? I don't understand. It's hard to believe that I miss Ted Turner, but CNN seemed to have so much more integrity when he owned it.

Oh, and when I watched the debates, I watched them on CBS instead of CSPAN (which is what I would usually do) because I am showing support after MemoGate. Reporting the correct information on the wrong piece of paper should not a scandal make. And they had the secretary herself on there before everyone got their panties in a twist. She said she did not type that letter, but that the information was factually correct. Wasn't that supposed to be the whole point??? THE INFORMATION????

And that's why we love Jon. He would be all over that. I think that Jon needs to have Dan Rather on his show so that they can commiserate over how everyone has lost sight of the real issues.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Friday Chocolate Bloggins

What could be more fun than creating your own assortment of political adversaries, then biting their little heads off?

Try chocolate clay from Chocolate Recipes dot net.
Modeling Chocolate

6 oz choc, no need to temper
5 teaspoons corn syrup

Mix and chill for 5 hrs, knead until plastic, if you require it softer add a few drops of water when kneading.

Add RightWing Nuts as needed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Frank Burns Eats Worms

I had a sudden epiphany. Our nation must be have at least 50% Frank Burns-types. That explains the polls.

The Grand Old Party

Finally, some people are coming around that deserve to be called The Grand Old Party again. First it was John Eisenhower. Now it's Elmer L. Anderson, former governor of Minnesota:
This imperialistic, stubborn adherence to wrongful policies and known untruths by the Cheney-Bush administration -- and that's the accurate order -- has simply become more than I can stand.

Although I am a longtime Republican, it is time to make a statement, and it is this: Vote for Kerry-Edwards, I implore you, on Nov. 2.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Angels and ministers of grace defend us

Pardon a break our regular broadcasting to read this story about a Seattle girl who survived for 8 days after her car crashed into a ravine.

There's more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in our philosophy...

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Vive le Fromage!

I am brie!

I am a cheese with a complex flavor. My moods are affected by my current environment. I am sophisticated and mature but sometimes a little superstitious.

Cheese Test: What type of cheese are you?

Historical Notes:
Brie is the best known French cheese and has a nickname "The Queen of Cheeses". Several hundred years ago, Brie was one of the tributes which had to be paid to the French kings. In France, Brie is very different from the cheese exported to the United States. "Real" French Brie is unstabilized and the flavor is complex when the surface turns slightly brown. When the cheese is still pure-white, it is not matured. If the cheese is cut before the maturing process is finished, it will never develop properly. Exported Brie, however, is stabilized and never matures. Stabilized Brie has a much longer shelf life and is not susceptible to bacteriological infections. Brie, one of the great dessert cheeses, comes as either a 1 or 2 kilogram wheel and is packed in a wooden box. In order to enjoy the taste fully, Brie must be served at room temperature. [ Country: France || Milk: cow milk || Texture: soft || Recommended Wine: Bourgogne ]

Saturday, October 9, 2004

Now if they would just come up with a global test....

I found these great tests while I was checking out the late night political jokes.
The George W. Bush Loyalty Test
I scored zero on a scale of 1 to 10.

The John Kerry Loyalty Test
I scored 9 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Share your scores if you take the quizzes.

The only people more annoying than Britney Spears fans (well, other than Britney herself) are Jesus Freaks.
Posted by Hello

Chocolate The Consuming Passion

With the debates tonight I think that An Old Soul had a good idea of posting some nice chocolate recipes. Comfort food for these last, harrowing days.

When I found this recipe for Cappuccino Flats I thought, "I totally have to try those". I haven't made them yet, but maybe I will put them on the menu for the Liberal Nest we will be hosting at our house on November 2nd. Yes, a safe place to watch the election results with supportive friends around. Although caffeine may sound like a bad choice for a group of nervous election watchers, I figure we can bust them out when the results start being questioned. If it's anything like 2000 we will have days to be sleepless.

By the way, Chocolate the Consuming Passion is my favorite book EVER. And this is from a person who loves many, many books very, very much.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Just Say NO

I knew that the warlords were ruling large sections of Afghanistan. I knew that people were being shot for carrying voters registration cards. I knew that the opium production had increased.

After reading this, I realize that I knew nothing.
"The Drug Enforcement Administration has reported that opium production in Afghanistan has soared since the end of Taliban rule in 2001, from 74 metric tons in 2001 to 2,965 metric tons last year." -NY Times
That is beyond staggering. That is beyond irresponsible. That is criminal. That is a crime against humanity.

Sunday, October 3, 2004

You Know You Want It

More Things that Make Me Laugh

I just got my copy of America (The Book) last night, which is a riot. I found an interview with Jon Stewart on and the following made me snarf:
Stewart: By the way, do you guys have to sell everything?
We're getting there.
I'd like to buy the Earth's core.
I don't know what tab that's under.

Saturday, October 2, 2004


Time Magazine is doing a Reality Check for Dubya. Some goodies include:

[Bush's] Claim:
The difficulties facing the U.S. in Iraq are a product of foreign terrorists showing up to fight the America there.

Reality Check:
The U.S. military on the ground says that the overwhelming majority of the insurgents fighting the U.S. in Iraq are Iraqis, not foreigners.

[Bush's] Claim:

Bilateral talks with North Korea would be a fatal mistake that would precipitate the collapse of the six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program.

Reality Check:
Some of the key parties to those talks, including China, Russia and South Korea, are in favor of the U.S. talking directly to North Korea in order to provide Pyongyang with security guarantees that would improve the prospects for success in the six-party process.

They also printed a reality check for Kerry. Most of the rebuttals I found myself thinking, "Well, why didn't Bush point that out at the debate?" It's pretty point on point stuff. This one, though, strikes me as a "Well, duh. Of course he was talking about the coalition."

[Kerry's] Claim:
The U.S. is suffering 90 percent of the casualties in Iraq.

Reality Check:
The U.S. may be recording upward of 90 percent of coalition casualties, but the overwhelming majority of the people killed in Iraq over the past 18 months have been Iraqis.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Why I Like Democrats, Part I

My brother says that we inherited from our father the tendency to be "knee-jerk Democrats". In my circles we like to think for ourselves and vote/support based on who we agree with most. But, overall, I like Democrats the best.

One of the biggest reasons is Jimmy Carter.
In January, 1977, James Earl Carter, Jr. became the 39th President of the United States. During his unsullied tenure, amidst the greatest fight in the history of the Congress, the Panama Canal Treaty was signed. The Camp David Accords signalled a new era of hope in the Middle East. Israel and Egypt became partners in peace. The SALT II treaty was signed with the Soviet Union, and the U.S. established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.

Then, following his four years, unlike most ex-politicos who content themselves with rounds of golf, Jimmy Carter has become a traveling ambassador of peace, going to hot spots around the world to open dialogue between adversaries.

And at home, President Carter's active participation in things like the Carter Center, the Atlanta Project, and Habitat for Humanity prove that he is just as committed to helping the poor and disenfranchised here in the United States as he is to advancing the cause of global unity. You can find him building a house for a family in the inner-city, in the company of the most powerful leaders in the world, or back home teaching Sunday school at the Maranatha Baptist Church. The man from Plains, Georgia is still providing the moral leadership he promised nearly two decades ago. In 2002, his commitment to nonviolent conflict resolution was recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize.
Everyone wish Jimmy a big happy birthday tomorrow, October 1!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Gone But Not Forgotten

So I'm not the only one who remembers that the Republican Party used to be different. Heck, I'm not even all that old. Dwight Eisenhower's son wrote a nice piece that I found on Rox Populi. My favorite parts are:

To me, the word “Republican” has always been synonymous with the word “responsibility,” which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms... Responsibility used to be observed in foreign affairs. That has meant respect for others... Leadership involves setting a direction and building consensus, not viewing other countries as practically devoid of significance. Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance.
And, to put this in Ike's own words:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower
April 16, 1953

Monday, September 27, 2004

Who's Zooming Who?

Thanks to Shari at An Old Soul, I found this nice little interview with George Lakoff and the homepage for the Rockridge Institute. Between Rockridge and Democracy for America I'm starting to have some freaking hope.

To give you a taste of Lakoff from the interview:
...the progressive worldview is modeled on a nurturant parent family. Briefly, it assumes that the world is basically good and can be made better and that one must work toward that. Children are born good; parents can make them better. Nurturing involves empathy, and the responsibility to take care of oneself and others for whom we are responsible. On a larger scale, specific policies follow, such as governmental protection in form of a social safety net and government regulation, universal education (to ensure competence, fairness), civil liberties and equal treatment (fairness and freedom), accountability (derived from trust), public service (from responsibility), open government (from open communication), and the promotion of an economy that benefits all and functions to promote these values, which are traditional progressive values in American politics.

The conservative worldview, the strict father model, assumes that the world is dangerous and difficult and that children are born bad and must be made good. The strict father is the moral authority who supports and defends the family, tells his wife what to do, and teaches his kids right from wrong. The only way to do that is through painful discipline — physical punishment that by adulthood will become internal discipline. The good people are the disciplined people. Once grown, the self-reliant, disciplined children are on their own. Those children who remain dependent (who were spoiled, overly willful, or recalcitrant) should be forced to undergo further discipline or be cut free with no support to face the discipline of the outside world.

So, project this onto the nation and you see that to the right wing, the good citizens are the disciplined ones — those who have already become wealthy or at least self-reliant — and those who are on the way. Social programs, meanwhile, "spoil" people by giving them things they haven't earned and keeping them dependent. The government is there only to protect the nation, maintain order, administer justice (punishment), and to provide for the promotion and orderly conduct of business. In this way, disciplined people become self-reliant. Wealth is a measure of discipline. Taxes beyond the minimum needed for such government take away from the good, disciplined people rewards that they have earned and spend it on those who have not earned it.
Ok, now check THIS out from TaxProf Blog:

The Tax Foundation has released a fascinating report showing which states benefit from federal tax and spending policies, and which states foot the bill.

US 50 States MapThe report shows that of the 32 states (and the District of Columbia) that are "winners" -- receiving more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes -- 76% are Red States that voted for George Bush in 2000. Indeed, 17 of the 20 (85%) states receiving the most federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are Red States. Here are the Top 10 states that feed at the federal trough (with Red States highlighted in bold):

States Receiving Most in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. D.C. ($6.17)
2. North Dakota ($2.03)
3. New Mexico ($1.89)
4. Mississippi ($1.84)
5. Alaska ($1.82)
6. West Virginia ($1.74)
7. Montana ($1.64)
8. Alabama ($1.61)
9. South Dakota ($1.59)
10. Arkansas ($1.53)

In contrast, of the 16 states that are "losers" -- receiving less in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes -- 69% are Blue States that voted for Al Gore in 2000. Indeed, 11 of the 14 (79%) of the states receiving the least federal spending per dollar of federal taxes paid are Blue States. Here are the Top 10 states that supply feed for the federal trough (with Blue States highlighted in bold):

States Receiving Least in Federal Spending Per Dollar of Federal Taxes Paid:

1. New Jersey ($0.62)
2. Connecticut ($0.64)
3. New Hampshire ($0.68)
4. Nevada ($0.73)
5. Illinois ($0.77)
6. Minnesota ($0.77)
7. Colorado ($0.79)
8. Massachusetts ($0.79)
9. California ($0.81)
10. New York ($0.81)
Two states -- Florida and Oregon (coincidentally, the two closest states in the 2000 Presidential election) -- received $1.00 in federal spending for each $1.00 in federal taxes paid.

Things That Make Me Laugh

"John Kerry said that you can't have fair and free elections in a place where there's no rule of law. President Bush said, 'Oh yeah, what if your brother's governor of that state?'" --Jay Leno

"Republicans are now saying that Dan Rather should lose his job because he misled the country with bogus information. Which is odd because the Democrats are saying the exact same thing about President Bush." --Jay Leno

"Bush bragged that more Iraqis say their country is on the right track than American say our country is on the right track. Boy, there’s a campaign slogan for you -- 'America: More F*cked Up Than Fallujah!'" -–Bill Maher

"Oh, so Iraqis are more optimistic about their country than Americans are about ours? I don't think that helps you." --Jon Stewart, after President Bush touted a poll showing that the right track/wrong track in Iraq was better than in America

"Bad times over at CBS news. They are getting a ton of heat over these phony documents that allege President Bush loafed through the National Guard. Turns out they weren’t even really documents – just photocopies from a Kinko’s in Texas. Very embarrassing for CBS News. This is a network that has three CSIs, and nobody investigated this?" --Jimmy Kimmel

"There are rumors that Dan Rather could lose his job over this. Wouldn't that be ironic? Another American losing his job due to President Bush!" --Jay Leno

You Know You're a Republican When...

  • You think "proletariat" is a type of cheese.
  • You've named your kids "Deduction one" and "Deduction two"
  • You've tried to argue that poverty could be abolished if people were just allowed to keep more of their minimum wage.
  • You've ever referred to someone as "my (insert racial or ethnic minority here) friend"
  • You've ever tried to prove Jesus was a capitalist and opposed to welfare.
  • You're a pro-lifer, but support the death penalty.
  • You think Huey Newton is a cookie.
  • The only union you support is the Baseball Players, because heck, they're richer than you.
  • You think you might remember laughing once as a kid.

Nature vs. Nurture

Psychologists and psychoanalysts have long believed that Republicans' unnatural and frequently unconstitutional tendencies result from unhealthy family life--a remarkably high percentage of Republicans had authoritarian, domineering fathers and emotionally distant mothers who didn't teach them how to be kind and gentle. But biologists have long suspected that conservatism is inherited. "After all" said one author of the Nurture article, "It's quite common for a Republican to have a brother or sister who is a Republican."
Read the rest.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Not Getting It

I can be such a lucky duck. As you've seen, the whole issue of basic disagreements between left and right has been bothering me. So I was down in the basement opening all those boxes of books we've had packed up for so long, and fell across one that spoke directly to my dilemma.

"Not getting it" occurs when people hold conflicting opinions or desires regarding the same value. It has three elements: misunderstanding, self-hugging, and everyday tyranny.
  1. Misunderstanding refers to the confusion people experience when they try to understand ow another person experiences, likes, or dislikes something much different than they do themselves. For example, some people have a hard time understanding why a workaholic spends so much time on the job.
  2. Self-hugging refers to people's automatic assumption that their goals and values are best, not just for themselves, but also for other people as well. A good example of this is the heterosexual parent who keeps encouraging a homosexual son to date women.
  3. Everyday tyranny refers to the use of pressure tactics to try to get someone to change his or her basic goals, values, or lifestyle. One example is a parent who refuses to pay for college for a child who chooses a career against the parent's wishes.
...self-huggers misread what other people want from life. They never get it - other people pursue different goals in life, not because they have settled for inferior pleasure, but because they have different natures....

Who Am I? The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Our Actions and Define Our Personalities by Steven Reiss, Ph.D.

"Water is necessary, and then generators, and then food, and then clothes."

How can we read the same things and have such a different reaction?

USA Today reported:

NEW YORK (AP) — Teresa Heinz Kerry, encouraging volunteers as they busily packed supplies Wednesday for hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean, said she was concerned the effort was too focused on sending clothes instead of essentials like water and electric generators.

"Clothing is wonderful, but let them go naked for a while, at least the kids," said Heinz Kerry, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. "Water is necessary, and then generators, and then food, and then clothes."

Heinz Kerry stopped by a market in the heart of Brooklyn's Caribbean community, where she spoke French with Haitian vendors and shook hands with volunteers busy packing food, clothes and other relief supplies to be shipped to several Carribean islands hit by Hurricane Ivan. Her husband's campaign donated water, blankets and first aid kits.

"I think it's important we help all the kids we can," Heinz Kerry said.

I had to dig up this article. I did so because someone had told me that Heinz-Kerry had made some horrible and stupid comments about Haiti. When I read this I think that she's practical. Today it was reported (scroll to the bottom) "U.N. troops from Argentina fired smoke grenades Friday to disperse a crowd when about 500 men, women and children tried to break into a schoolyard where a relief agency hands out grain and water." I'm sure those in the crowd would have felt so much better doing it in a pair of used Calvin Klines.

When my friend had originally mentioned the Heinz-Kerry quote his stance was that "she's rich, she should just take care of Haiti". Really? I said. And what portion of your income to YOU give to charity? I asked. We're the richest country in the world. Give up a couple of latte for world hunger. He looked appalled that I was inquiring as to his charitable contributions (which I would bet money range far, far below even 2% of income). Why hold someone else to a higher standard than you hold yourself? You don't HAVE to have a nice apartment any more than the Kerry's HAVE to have whatever it is they've got. Funny how we can all expand our personal 'demand' to exceed our personal 'supply' here in America.

Oh, his response was, "I'm not running for office. I think they should be held to a higher standard. They want to represent us."

Well, hell, the definition of represent is "to substitute in some capacity for : act the part of, in place of, or for (as another person) usually by legal right: as to serve esp. in a legislative body by delegated authority usually resulting from an election".

So, in effect, he doesn't want someone to represent him (act in place of) but of an ideal VERSION of him. How he thinks the world SHOULD be.

I've got some bad news for you. Life is the ultimate Do-It-Yourself project. You're either part of the problem or part of the solution. Quit bitching about what everyone else should be doing and show me what YOU can do.

Am I the only one turning into my parents?

I thought that this was an interesting read.

Why I look at you funny

I've posted the definitions I use for liberal and liberalism in my header so that you'll know why I look at you funny when you call me a liberal like it's a dirty word.

And, just so you know, this is what I use for conservative/conservatism. Thus why I won't apply it to many of the Far Right idiots who do not display these sterling qualities.

Conservative:Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change. Tending to conserve; preservative

Conservativism: A political or theological orientation advocating the preservation of the best in society and opposing radical changes

Friday, September 24, 2004

Maybe It's Insanity?

I figure a conversation with a crazy person goes something like this: You're sitting there having a nice chat when suddenly they say with authority, "... and that's why the aliens came to my house and took me to their homeworld where I was beaten with fish." After a few moments when they haven't laughed you realize that they are completely serious and start to develop your exit plan.

To me, this bears a similarity to conversations between the Left and the Right. (I almost typed Liberals and Conservatives - but no one who spends money or wastes resources like our current Far Right should be called a conservative.) The really, really weird part is that in the Left/Right conversation BOTH OF THEM THINK THE OTHER IS THE CRAZY ONE. How can this be? Are we all stuck in some sort of National asylum? Does each side leave the table muttering under their breath: "...thinks he was abducted by aliens..." "...thinks he's Hitler..."

Since I can't go to my parent's house until after the election because of this sort of disconnect I'm interested in why it's happening.

Monday, September 20, 2004

So THIS is What They're Thinking...

I pledge allegiance to and wrap myself in the flag of the United States Against Anything Un-American and to the Republicans for which it stands, two nations, under Jesus, rich against poor, with curtailed liberty and justice for all except blacks, homosexuals, women who want abortions, Communists, welfare queens, treehuggers, feminazis, illegal immigrants, children of illegal immigrants, and you if you don't watch your step.

By Matt Groening, "Life in Hell", 16 Dec 94
Thanks to Norbizness for posting this in one of the comments on Blondesense.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

When All Else Fails, Declare Victory

A great sentiment from Pissed Off Patricia at Blondesense.

Here's what Senator Kerry should say the next time someone asks him what he would do about the war in Iraq if he were president. He should say, "About fifty percent of the American people still believe that there was WMD in Iraq and that Saddam had something to do with 9-11. When I'm the president I will tell that same fifty percent of gullible assholes that we won the war and then I'll bring our soldiers home. Shit, this bunch of idiots will believe anything they're told so this'll be a piece of cake, especially if I tell them that god said we won too. Lemons and lemonade ya know."

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Sweet Home on the Gulf Coast

Hey, ya'll. I spent a good bit of my life living at points between Grand Isle (Fisherman's Paradise) and Mobile (the Golden Buckle of the Bible Belt). My prayers are with the people in Ivan's path. I found a blog that is tracking the Hurricane.

If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice

Remember that every vote is important. And - hopefully - every vote will count. The first step is to cast the vote.

On Nov. 2 we will have a national shareholders meeting. On the ballot will be the choice to continue with President Bush's policies or return to the fiscal sanity and pro-growth polices that proved so successful in the 1990s. You will choose. ~ John Kerry, printed in the Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

And Now in Entertainment News - Dennis Storhoi

We are big movie buffs in our house and one movie that we can't get enough of is The 13th Warrior. I keep waiting for the actor who plays my favorite character - Herger the Joyous - to be in another big-screen movie because he is soooooo cool. He's Norwegian and it looks like if I want to see him in anything it will be with English subtitles for awhile. Via FilmForce I got a link to his website, though, so I thought I would share. In case there are any other Herger the Joyous fans out there.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Crimes Against Nature

Hopefully our fellow Americans will wake up and start judging Bush on his actual record instead of... well, whatever it is they can possibly judge him on that gives him decent poll numbers.

The Sierra Club gives us this handy list of over 300 Crimes Against Nature by the Bush Administration. If you run into someone who thinks that environmental concerns are a bunch of tree-hugging hippy crap then make sure to give the George Carlin spin to your argument. Don't worry about "Saving the Earth" - the Earth couldn't care less about what we're doing. Worry about saving the place where you live. Would you fill your house with nasty air and water? Would you risk throwing things so out of balance that your house could be destroyed - by diggin under it, covering it in litter, and changing the temperature so that it's unlivable? Sounds pretty stupid, doesn't it? Then say, "Put that in your pipe and smoke it, you little self-interested *bleep*." Maybe it will give them something to think about while they drive around in their SUVs.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Follow the Money

When I worked in DC the Deputy CFO of our organization had a great poster in her office. It said, "It took an accountant to catch Al Capone" and had a big picture of Capone himself. When I tell people that my degree is in accounting they figure that my job is *yawn* boooooring. But the investigative side of finance is juicy stuff. The FBI hires accountants all the time.

So I found this article about how Kerry was involved in breaking a corrupt bank very interesting. Why hasn't this information been trumpeted from the rooftops?

Kerry developed a very different record of accomplishment--one often as vital, if not more so, than passage of bills. Kerry's probe didn't create any popular new governmental programs, reform the tax code, or eliminate bureaucratic waste and fraud. Instead, he shrewdly used the Senate's oversight powers to address the threat of terrorism well before it was in vogue, and dismantled a key terrorist weapon. In the process, observers saw a senator with tremendous fortitude, and a willingness to put the public good ahead of his own career. Those qualities might be hard to communicate to voters via one-line sound bites, but they would surely aid Kerry as president in his attempts to battle the threat of terrorism.

Life is tough

Life is tough.
It takes a lot of your time,
all your weekends,
and what do you get at the end of it?
Death, a great reward.
I think that the life cycle is all backwards.
You should die first, get it out of the way.
Then you live twenty years in an old-age home.
You are kicked out when you are too young.
You get a gold watch, you go to work.
You work forty years until you’re
young enough to enjoy your retirement.
You go to college,
you party until you’re ready for high school.
You become a little kid, you play,
you have no responsibilities,
you become a little boy or girl,
you go back into the womb,
you spend your last nine months floating.
And you finish off as a gleam in someone’s eye.

    Quoted in "After The Ecstasy, The Laundry" by Jack

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

The Resident Blonde

Oooo, got this great Blonde Sense link from An Old Soul. On name tag joke day (back in those halcyon days when I worked at the mall) I always used "The Resident Blonde", so this is really my kind of place. Blondes with brains.

When you call yourself "The Resident Blonde" you hear a lot of blonde jokes. So go ahead, feel free to leave your contribution in the comments. I'd be surprised if you cough up one I haven't heard. I'll even start you off:
How do you know which computer the blonde is using? It's the one with white-out on the screen...

Monday, September 6, 2004

How did I miss this? (Not that there's anything WRONG with that....)

U.S. Rep. Edward L. Schrock announced his retirement amid allegations that he is gay... Schrock, a retired Navy officer and Vietnam veteran, would not comment further on his decision, nor did he comment specifically on the allegations.... Allegations that Schrock is gay were posted on a Web log Aug. 19 by Michael Rogers, who said his blog is aimed at exposing "hypocrites" in Congress....Schrock is married and a conservative who has voted for legislation to ban gay marriages. ~Associated Press on ABCNews

1) How did I miss this in the news? I live in the freaking state! I found a reference to it on my favorite Late Night Political Joke Archive and had to look it up.
2) How about that for the power of the (virtual)press? Bloggers are really stepping into ye olde pamphleteer role.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Bloomberg reports:
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest business lobbying organization, said it will help pay for advertisements suggesting ``dangers'' associated with having trial lawyers aligned with the White House."
On their history web page I read that "on April 12, 1912, President Taft's vision became a reality when a group of 700 delegates from various commercial and trade organizations came together to create a unified body of business interest that today is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce." So I guess following business interests is basically their mission.

But then again, corporations are psychopathic and their impact has risen considerably over the past 100 years.

To more precisely assess the “personality“ of the corporate “person,“ a checklist is employed, using actual diagnostic criteria of the World Health Organization and the DSM-IV, the standard diagnostic tool of psychiatrists and psychologists. The operational principles of the corporation give it a highly anti-social “personality”: It is self-interested, inherently amoral, callous and deceitful; it breaches social and legal standards to get its way; it does not suffer from guilt, yet it can mimic the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. Four case studies, drawn from a universe of corporate activity, clearly demonstrate harm to workers, human health, animals and the biosphere. Concluding this point-by-point analysis, a disturbing diagnosis is delivered: the institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a “psychopath.”
Hmmm, sounds to me like the trial lawyers could be protecting us all from diagnosed psychopaths. Personally, I love business - old fashioned business. Small, community-oriented, great-way-to-make-a-living-doing-what-you-love business. I'm very sad that the US Chamber of Commerce falls on the psychopathic side.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Workin' Hard for the Money (Hey, Where's My Check?)

"In an unprecedented overhaul of the nation's overtime pay rules, the Bush administration is delivering to its business allies an election-year plum they've sought for decades." - Yahoo News

I don't think I even need to say anthing after that. The new rules take effect on Monday.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Origami Statistics

I've been saying and thinking for awhile that the tax burden went UP for the middle class. But I don't really like the way they are framing their information in this article.

People in the top 20 percent of incomes, averaging $182,700 a year, saw their share of federal taxes decline from 65.3 percent of total payments in 2001 to 63.5 percent this year, according to the study by congressional budget analysts.

In contrast, middle-class taxpayers — with incomes ranging from $51,500 to $75,600 — bear a greater tax burden. Those making an average of $75,600 had the biggest jump in their share of taxes, from 18.5 percent of all payments in 2001 to 19.5 percent this year.

I mean, how many people make up each group? Are these the same quintiles that the Census uses? How much movement has there been in the income levels of those quintiles?

The study is based on figures in 2001 and assumes no changes in wealth distribution from increases in income, dividends or capital gains.
I would like a more in-depth analysis. But I can't argue with these paragraphs:

Bush-Cheney campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said, "Because of President Bush's policies every American pays less in taxes today than they did before he became president...John Kerry (news - web sites) has promised to raise taxes during the campaign. That is the clear choice Americans will have in the fall elections."

The study found that the effective tax rate for the top 1 percent of taxpayers dropped from 33 percent in 2001 to 26.7 percent this year, a decline of 19 percent. The middle 20 percent of taxpayers saw a decline of 4 percent.

As the old saying goes, we should beware of using statistics like a drunk uses a lightpost. For support instead of illumination. But the numbers presented do lead me to believe that a deep analysis would prove very illuminating.

Monday, August 9, 2004

Go Speed Alert System, Go

Guess they were hoping that "what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas".

Is God Trying to Tell Them Something?

This was a funny article. How often does the whole Bush clan get together and go to church? Once He had them all in one place, He sent them the Very Reverend Martin Luther Agnew. Priceless.

This just in from Jupiter...

What planet is this guy on? History is on Bush's side? "Now that Kerry can't rely on Bush as liar, he will need to come up with a novel new game plan." What??

Please tell me that this was some sort of Onion article.

Too Good Not To Blog

You know, if they didn't act like they were all that, we wouldn't make fun of them when they do stupid stuff like this...

Thursday, August 5, 2004

A Matter of Principle

I certainly hope that people understand why some Dems respect McCain. I may not agree with him on political positions, but when it comes to matters of principle I always respect what he has to say. For instance, today's report that McCain condemned ads that attacked Kerry's military record.
Asked if the White House knew about the ad or helped find financing for it, McCain said, "I hope not, but I don't know. But I think the Bush campaign should specifically condemn the ad."
But methinks this is a silly statement:
Later, McCain said the Bush campaign has denied any involvement and added, "I can't believe the president would pull such a cheap stunt."
Riiight. Karl Rove is just a little snoogie-bear.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

In the Midnight Hour, Give Me More Maher Moore

I was up later than usual tonight and caught most of the Bill Maher show. The panel tonight included Michael Moore, Kim Campbell (former Prime Minister of Canada), ..... and some Republican representative. The back and forth was fascinating, especially the part where the Congressman said something like 'Farenheit 9/11 was a documentary the way that Pravda was a newspaper during the Cold War'. Them's fightin' words. Especially since the guy hadn't seen the movie. Way to go, schmuck boy.

The other interesting point in the show was when they trotted out Nader and both Maher and Moore literally got down on their knees and begged him to stop running for president in 2004.

Honestly, I didn't know that Maher had the pull to get such an interesting assortment of people in the same place at the same time. I guess everyone is making the rounds as the election season heats up.

In a somewhat related item, Bill Clinton was on David Letterman. Although I always enjoy hearing Clinton speak, especially the parts where he can pronounce foreign countries, he said, "I agree with John Kerry" so many times I expect Jon Stewart to have an official count on his show tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Salute to the Archers

As I've pointed out before, John Kerry is a member of that wonderful, intelligent, goofy astrological group - the Sagittarians (the Archers). They have a great sense of wonder, look for the Cosmic Truth in everything they experience, and have minds like steel traps. If I had to sum up the Sagittarian energy in one word it would be: Inspire! Hopefully the whole nation will start to see these colors from Kerry soon, because we all know we need some inspiration.

Meanwhile, I salute the Archers with some great quotes from them:

"We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire...Give us the tools and we will finish the job." -- Sir Winston Churchill, BBC radio broadcast, Feb 9, 1941

"Tomorrow will be better for as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life." —Walt Disney

"Terror is an efficiacious agent only when it doesn't last. In the long run there is more terror in threats than in execution, for when you get used to terror your emotions get dulled." --Mark Twain
"(Terrorists) are planning to disrupt our democratic process. It's scary I know, but we're not going to let al Qaeda tell us what to do. In fact, our government has decided that if al Qaeda attempts to disrupt our democratic process, we are going to respond by disrupting it first." —Jon Stewart

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." -- Sir Winston Churchill
"You don't build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them." —Walt Disney
"The empires of the future are the empires of the mind." --Sir Winston Churchill
"The issue of Kerry's military service has spawned a number of recent news-like events which have led to Republican charges the decorated war hero has something to hide. Because if there is one thing the Bush administration will not tolerate, it is ... other people's secrecy." —Jon Stewart

"Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room." -- Sir Winston Churchill (it's like he heard about the joint Bush/Cheney testimony!!

Protect Yourself from Skunky Intel

When I read the AP article "Intel That Sparked Alert Dates to 2000" my first thought was of those silly "Born On Date" ads for beer. I was always under the impression that timing was a very important part of the spy game. You want the right information at the right place at the right time.... right? If a beer would be skunky and a soda would be flat - and both would be 'out of date' - within four years, what up with the intel??

Maybe they found an accompanying memo for "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside United States". Or maybe it was a memo called, "Your Administration is Toast When the Public Realizes What You've Been Doing". Not politically motivated. Right.

Furthermore, if you've had this information in hand FOR YEARS, what have you been DOING about it?? How can it represent a clear and present danger now when a few years ago it was, 'Eh, whatever...'?

It's stuff like this that may jolly well send me around the bend.

Monday, August 2, 2004

God's Sense of Irony

In what I thought was a poignant reminder - the count of American casualties in Iraq on the day John Kerry accepted the Democratic Nomination was 911.

Another soldier died that day. Spc. Joseph F. Herndon, II, 21, of Derby, Kan., died July 29, in Hawijah, Iraq, when he was shot while on guard duty. So at midnight, shortly after Kerry accepted the nomination, the counter went up to 912.

Friday, July 30, 2004

I Would Expect Even Little Green Aliens to Be Treated Better

"As aliens detained by the military outside the sovereign territory of the United States and lacking a sufficient connection to this country, petitioners have no cognizable constitutional rights," the lawyers said in court papers.

Thus spake government lawyers in response to a Supreme Court ruling that the Guantanamo captives have some rights.

We just have to hope that none of us get captured in THEIR countries. What ever happened to the moral highground? I liked living there....

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

My Kind of People

I knew that WalMart was evil and probably wouldn't fit into my new theory Cognizant Consumerism (R), and now I can see exactly how right I am in this article. So I have to find out where the nearest CostCo is. Why should I give money to a company that is going to run out and give it to the politicians I can't stand? As well as WalMart I know that this applies to Dell Computers. Tell me if there are any other yea/nay companies I should be aware of for Cognizant Consumerism - Voting with My Dollars (R).

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Democratic National Convention

Finally, something to get excited about again. I missed Gore and Carter because I had to work late (and I would love to know where I can get video online because they are my favorites), but I did get to see both Clintons and tons of clips. Bring it on? Consider it brought.

While I was watching Bill Clinton I couldn't help but to repeat a little mantra in my head. "Oh yeah, this is what a President is supposed to sound like." Intelligent, articulate, and able to draw together complex international issues into a simple framework that would allow us to all work together.

I look forward to more good things from this convention.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Better the Pew than the Pulpit....

My Dad swears by the Pew Research Center. After Jon's little bit tonight about "America is safer!" I thought you might like to take a look at this report that Pew did in March 2004. An excerpt:
    A year after the war in Iraq, discontent with America and its policies has intensified rather than diminished... Perceptions of American unilateralism remain widespread in European and Muslim nations, and the war in Iraq has undermined America’s credibility abroad. Doubts about the motives behind the U.S.-led war on terrorism abound, and a growing percentage of Europeans want foreign policy and security arrangements independent from the United States.

And think. This was BEFORE the realization that we had 'bad intelligence'.

Oh, and by the way, THIS part of the report shouldn't be any surprise:
    Americans have a far different view of the war’s impact – on the war on terrorism and the global standing of the U.S. – than do people in the other surveyed countries. Generally, Americans think the war helped in the fight against terrorism, illustrated the power of the U.S. military, and revealed America to be trustworthy and supportive of democracy around the world.

    These notions are not shared elsewhere. Majorities in Germany, Turkey and France – and half of the British and Russians – believe the conflict in Iraq undermined the war on terrorism. At least half the respondents in the eight other countries view the U.S. as less trustworthy as a consequence of the war. For the most part, even U.S. military prowess is not seen in a better light as a result of the war in Iraq.

Give a Little Bit

In case you haven't heard about it (what, are you living under a rock?), some Deanites at My Vote is My Voice have organized a gathering near the Democratic National Convention. Originally called DeanFest it has been changed to DemocracyFest. If you were a Deanie consider buying a ticket, making a donation, buying some kitsch (t-shirts, etc), or anything else that would help to put it on the map.

My vote is my voice.

Friday, July 9, 2004

Disney on Freedom

"As I see it, a person's culture represents his appraisal of the things that make up his life. And a fellow becomes cultured, I believe, by selecting that which is fine and beautiful in life and throwing aside that which is mediocre or phony. Sort of a series of free, very personal choices, you might say. If this is true, then I think it follows that 'freedom' is the most precious word to culture. Freedom to believe what you choose. In America, we are guaranteed these freedoms. It is the constitutional privilege of every American to become cultured or grow up like Donald Duck. I believe that this is our greatest cultural blessing. Therefore, it seems to me, that the first duty of culture is to defend freedom and resist all tyranny." ~ Walt Disney

Second Star to the Left and Straight On Til Morning....

Analyzing Kerry using astrology. (This will be fun, go with me now.)

Kerry is a Sagittarius. First, this means it is statistically unlikely he would be in the White House. (Look up all those birthdays and get back to me. There might be two. Compare that to all the Scorpios and Pisces.) This isn't to say that Sagittarians can't be great leaders and visionaries. Ever hear of Winston Churchill or Walt Disney? But I can see where there would be problems getting them into office. So let's see how we can meet the challenges. And what advantages he might have...

The first and most important force at work in any Sagittarian's life is the ability to, nay, the inability-not-to --- put their foot in their mouths. They need to wear peppermint flavored tennies because at some point in the day they are going to say something that goes over like a ton of bricks. With Kerry this has manifested with alternatively being pissy (snowboarding, anyone?) and being obsequious (flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop). Any Sagittarius will tell you that when you're 95% charming and fun, but 5%... something else, it's always the 5% that seems to have unequal weight.

Secondly, Sagittarius is famed for being clumsy. It's not just about that gangly, colt-like "grace" they have. It includes tripping over feelings and anything else that is around while they have their eyes firmly fixed on the horizon of possibilities.

It looks like Kerry has chosen to meet these challenges (at least partially) by bringing in the most charming and affable of the Democratic contenders as his running mate. John Edwards, typical of Gemini with his quick mind and glib tongue, should be able to ride those political waves almost effortlessly.

The most important advantage in their lives is luck. Luck, luck, and more luck. When they miss a train they end up meeting the most important person in their lives waiting for the next one. When they trip over a curb (and they will - often) they'll find a $20 bill in the gutter Ain't it lucky how everyone has rushed to see Fahrenheit 9/11?

Thursday, July 8, 2004

In His Name

This essay almost made me cry. Breslin questions the Republican's use of Jesus and the Lord in their campaigning.

Aren't we instructed not to take the Lord's name in vain? tells me that "in vain" (an idiom) means In an irreverent or disrespectful manner. Doesn't it disrespect Jesus to ignore his teachings and instead use him as a brandname for your campaign?

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Friday, July 2, 2004

Kerry, So Very....

...boring. We can only hope that his administration will be as boring as his campaign. I could use some rest after the last four years.

American Subversives

You see them whispering among themselves. They seem to be up to something, holding furtive meetings and saying more through body language than they would ever commit to paper or even speech. They seek alternate news sources and sneak into movies like "Fahrenheit 9/11". They are planning an action in 2004 that they previously thought abhorent to them. But they have thought it through and they are resolved. When the time comes they will push the button, pull the lever, whatever it takes.

Who are they?


The ones who have the lost the faith and are going to vote ABB. They aren't just going to stay home in November. They are frustrated enough that they will go out and vote to get someone from their party out of office. Those of us with a liberal bent need to remember how traumatic this is for them. Most of them aren't naturally rebellious people. It's almost paramount to going to church and voting out God. They have lost their faith and are wandering in a political desert.

To a great extent the current administration shouldn't be worried about the Coalition of the Wild-Eyed. We may be loud and proud, and it is certainly necessary that we vote to be the underlying block, but the deciding factor will be the disillusioned. They want to hold this administration accountable.

Right now it really sucks to be a moderate Republican.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Isn't this interesting...

Google news had this fascinating snippet, but when I tried to follow the link I couldn't get the text to load. Did anyone get to this article??
Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

It's Not Easy Being Cheesy

If you have visited my blog before you've probably seen the name acronym link. I decided to look up all the words for CmdrSue to see how well I thought it fit me.

    1. Containing or resembling cheese.
    2. Of poor quality; shoddy.

    I always thought of cheesy as also meaning sort of goofy, but perhaps this was because I grew up with Chester Cheetah around. If you agree that it means goofy then I will say that I do in fact contain or resemble cheese.

    1. Of or having a spiritual reality or import not apparent to the intelligence or senses.
    2. Of, relating to, or stemming from direct communion with ultimate reality or God: a mystical religion.
    3. Enigmatic; obscure: mystical theories about the securities market.
    4. Of or relating to mystic rites or practices.
    5. Unintelligible; cryptic.

    Oh yes. Absolutely.

    1. Not straightforward; shifty: a devious character.
    2. Departing from the correct or accepted way; erring: achieved success by devious means.
    3. Deviating from the straight or direct course; roundabout: a devious route.
    4. Away from a main road or course; distant or removed.

    I didn't react well to this one the first time I saw it, but I do often say that I'm clever. I don't use a direct attack on anything unless it is absolutely necessary. Does that mean that I'm devious? I don't like the connotations of the word, but if we go with definitions 3 or 4 I have to say it is pretty much true.

    1. To make lax or loose.
    2. To make less severe or strict.
    3. To reduce in intensity; slacken.
    4. To relieve from tension or strain.

    From what I understand, I give good vibe. Sometimes people just like to have me around because I calm them. I don't understand quite how this works, just that it is something that happens.

    1. Very humid and hot.
    2. Extremely hot; torrid.
    3. Expressing or arousing desire.

    "The night was sultry..." Every Scorpio wants to think that this is true of them. Is it? How in the heck would I know? In the eye of the beholder, baby.

    1. Not usual, common, or ordinary.
    Well, ain't that the truth. Why be normal? What is normal, anyway? When I was younger I took normal as the most dire insult you could give me.

    1. To wear out completely.
    2. To drain of resources or properties; deplete.
    3. To use up completely.
    4. To treat completely.
    5. To draw out the contents of; drain.
    6. To let out or draw off.

    How could I be both relaxing and exhausting? I dunno. But I think that I am. When "on task" I can be tenacious and energetic. Very, very, very tenacious.

So that's it. I think yeah, I own my acronym. It's pretty much me. And if this post wasn't cheesy, I don't know what is...