Merry Christmas

December 25, 2005 at 3:27 pm (Politics, Republican incompetence)

I remember a few years ago, Kehr was prattling on about Project Echelon, which was supposed to be some huge NSA program to intercept and record every bit of electronic communication worldwide. I thought he was a nutbag. Turns out he was probably right.

In case you are averse to clicking on links, which may be a good idea, this article details how the Bush Domestic Spying Program has been intercepting all international phone calls originated in the United States. Let me repeat that: all international phone calls originating in the United States. I imagine that includes Rush Limbaugh’s doctor shopping calls to Tijuana. I wonder if the cheerleading squad will pause for a brief halftime break?

Permalink 1 Comment

Quote of the day

December 24, 2005 at 9:22 am (Parkersburg, Quote of the day)

From our old friends at

Do you support the proposed troop withdrawal from Iraq?

12/23/2005 10:03:50 AM from IP#

Permalink 2 Comments

Fun with referrer logs

December 22, 2005 at 8:12 pm (Random)

Here’s a special shout-out to my new readers from the Boeing Corporation and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. I didn’t do it, but I know who did, so keep checking back.


Permalink Leave a Comment

Circular logic

December 22, 2005 at 7:58 pm (Politics, Republican incompetence)

Boy, this is making me dizzy.

“This is not a backdoor approach,” (Attorney General Alberto) Gonzales said at the White House. “We believe Congress has authorized this kind of surveillance.” He acknowledged that the administration discussed introducing legislation explicitly permitting such domestic spying but decided against it because it “would be difficult, if not impossible” to pass.

So, Congress has authorized legislation that, if introduced to Congress, “would be difficult, if not impossible” to pass. I’d make some kind of cynical or outraged comment about the utter inanity of such a statement, but I think Bert pretty much did my job for me.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Byrd Hunting

December 22, 2005 at 7:32 pm (Politics, Republican incompetence)

No one makes me prouder to be from West Virginia than Senator Robert Byrd.

Americans have been stunned at the recent news of the abuses of power by an overzealous President. It has become apparent that this Administration has engaged in a consistent and unrelenting pattern of abuse against our Country’s law-abiding citizens, and against our Constitution.

We know that Vice President Dick Cheney has asked for exemptions for the CIA from the language contained in the McCain torture amendment banning cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment. Thank God his pleas have been rejected by this Congress.

Now comes the stomach-churning revelation through an executive order, that President Bush has circumvented both the Congress and the courts. He has usurped the Third Branch of government – the branch charged with protecting the civil liberties of our people – by directing the National Security Agency to intercept and eavesdrop on the phone conversations and e-mails of American citizens without a warrant, which is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. He has stiff-armed the People’s Branch of government. He has rationalized the use of domestic, civilian surveillance with a flimsy claim that he has such authority because we are at war. The executive order, which has been acknowledged by the President, is an end-run around the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which makes it unlawful for any official to monitor the communications of an individual on American soil without the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

What is the President thinking? Congress has provided for the very situations which the President is blatantly exploiting. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, housed in the Department of Justice, reviews requests for warrants for domestic surveillance. The Court can review these requests expeditiously and in times of great emergency. In extreme cases, where time is of the essence and national security is at stake, surveillance can be conducted before the warrant is even applied for.

The American public is given vague and empty assurances by the President that amount to little more than “trust me.” But, we are a nation of laws and not of men. Where is the source of that authority he claims? I defy the Administration to show me where in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or the U.S. Constitution, they are allowed to steal into the lives of innocent America citizens and spy.

The President claims that these powers are within his role as Commander in Chief. Make no mistake, the powers granted to the Commander in Chief are specifically those as head of the Armed Forces. These warrantless searches are conducted not against a foreign power, but against unsuspecting and unknowing American citizens. They are conducted against individuals living on American soil, not in Iraq or Afghanistan. There is nothing within the powers granted in the Commander in Chief clause that grants the President the ability to conduct clandestine surveillance of American civilians. We must not allow such groundless, foolish claims to stand.

You should read the whole speech. Thanks to grundlemobile for the link.

Permalink 2 Comments


December 21, 2005 at 3:29 pm (Personal)

Two of my four regular readers went to high school with this girl, who just killed herself. I knew her since junior high, I used to make fun of her for being drunk in Mrs. Goldstein’s art class. Who knew what a harbinger that was. Any time someone takes their own life it is a tragedy of unimaginable scope, with the ripples affecting someone as removed as I am, having not seen or even considered this girl for almost a decade. I can’t imagine how the family must feel. Especially the one year old daughter she left behind. I don’t care how much self loathing you harbor, or how bad your life has become, how can you do something so cruel to your own child? Not only will she grow up without a mother, but someday she will realize that a year after she was born, her mom killed herself. That will do wonders for your confidence.

Update: I just learned that the daughter was 4, and the suicide date was her birthday. All sympathy I may have had for the deceased just evaporated.

Update 2: This guy has a much better take on it than I do. There is no permalink; scroll down to the post called Kitty Genovese.

Permalink 1 Comment


December 20, 2005 at 3:40 pm (Personal, Random)

I realized yesterday that in 2005 I have flown from Portland to: San Diego, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Palm Springs FL, and Columbus OH (twice). That’s a lot of flying, and I have a free flight coming to me from United Airlines. Any suggestions? I’d love to use it except they tend to black out dates one might want to fly, such as holidays, weekends, and summer.

It finally happened yesterday: I had to sit next to a big fat guy on a plane. Actually, it could have been a woman, I’m not sure. Usually only men smell that bad though. This dude wasn’t TOO fat, he pretty much only filled one seat, and I was able to almost lower the arm rest between us. I wonder what happens when a REALLY fat person tries to fly? I mean, 30% of the populaion is morbidly obese, you would think that would be a problem more often than it seems to be. My thought is, if you must fly and you take up more than one seat, you should have to pay for it. I feel sorry for the first person who tries to occupy the 3 square feet I paid 400 bucks for. Apologies in advance for all those horrible things I will say to you. Why don’t you just stay home, so it can be determined what nutrients you have that might be extracted for our personal use?

Every time I get on a plane, the first thing I do is scan the cabin for potential Muslims. I’m completely serious. I wonder if a day will come when I won’t feel a need to do that?

I officially christen O’Hare Airport “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Sorry Disneyworld, your day is up. In case you have never been there, O’Hare has 5 terminals, and each terminal is at least twice the size of Portland’s entire airport. So there is plenty of space to spread around the joy. I love it there. Between the inevitable delays, the unannounced gate changes, the rude disgruntled employees, fire-hazard level crowds, where else would one want to spend the holidays? I once had so much fun at O’Hare that I got locked up in a drunk tank when I landed in Philly. True story. Yesterday was actually the best experience I have ever had there…I got me a Chicago-style hotdog, walked to my gate and got on the plane without incident, then spent the next hour wondering why I got that Chicago-style hotdog. I also award O’Hare the coveted Quote of the Year award: “Please do not leave your bags unattended at O’Hare International Airport. Please do not leave your bags unattended at any airport.” I have to wonder, while clearly an afterthought, is that based on altruism, or some lawyer worried about a lawsuit? “Ramzi bin-yousef al-jalalabad Hamadi acquitted of blowing up Midway, thought leaving bombs in bag only prohibited at O’Hare based on PA announcement,” the headline in the Tribune will read. I saw a 75 year old woman getting the full TSA treatment yesterday as well. Arms out, crotch grabbing, bomb sniffing wand up her butt, everything. Hey, they’re equal opportunity violaters, no? Wouldn’t want Ramzi bin-yousef al-jalalabad Hamadi to feel like he was being profiled would we?

I feel so much safer now.

Permalink 2 Comments

Sleighbells ring

December 18, 2005 at 11:38 pm (Portland, Random)

It’s snowing in Portland today. We’ve gotten maybe a quarter inch in the last hour or so, but it seems to be picking up. It’s about time; it’s been about 30 degrees for the last week and I’m not a huge fan of cold unless it’s snowing. Then I love it. It’s eerily calm and beautiful outside. It doesn’t snow very often here; this is my second winter in Portland and this is the first snow I have seen in the city. Evidence:

Everything is cancelled. Church services, school plays…they are running a ticker on Fox right now warning everyone to stay home. I made the mistake of going to the store a little while ago. The place was a madhouse; people were stocking up on dry goods as though Armageddon was upon us. Adults acting giddy like little kids in public may seem cute, but not when all you want to do is buy some cat food and go home. And this being the Subaru capital of the northwest, you would think people would know that they have 4 wheel drive. But they don’t. I’m a fan of defensive driving, but for the love of gawd, step on it a little bit. Especially they guy in the blue Outback at 15th and Broadway at about 3 oclock…stand on it a little, will ya? He was literally going 3 miles an hour for about 10 blocks. We got passed by an old lady with a walker.

I’m going back to the Burg tomorrow for 10 days. I should have some time to do a little blogging while I’m there, between watching cable TV and filling out a new job application (sweet lawd Jeebus I hate my job). Who knows, maybe something interesting will actually happen while I’m there.

Permalink 5 Comments

Best of Craig’s List nominee

December 5, 2005 at 6:17 am (Humor, Random)

“Decoding women’s personals”


Adventurous…………………..Slept with everyone.

Athletic………………………….No breasts.

Average looking………………..Moooo.

Beautiful…………………………Pathological liar.

Emotionally Secure…………..On medication.


Free spirit……………………….Junkie.

Friendship first………………….Former slut.

New-Age…………………………Body hair in the wrong places.

Old-fashioned…………………..No BJs.


Outgoing…………………………Loud and Embarrassing.


Voluptuous……………………..Very Fat.

Large frame…………………….Hugely Fat.

Wants Soul mate……………..Stalker.

Link (WARNING: sexually explicit photo, and yes a guy posted this)


Permalink Leave a Comment

Home remedies

December 5, 2005 at 5:34 am (Health, Random)

Got heartburn? Stop wasting money on Pepto, try drinking some vinegar. The theory is that antacids make you produce less acid, temporarily masking the symptoms but ultimately making them worse in the long run. Eating acid (something that produces hydroxide ions in an aqueous solution, not LSD) will in fact make you produce stomach acid, curing your painful symptoms. And it works. Try using wine vinegar, then you can pretend you’re, like, drinking wine or something.


Permalink Leave a Comment