Friday, September 30, 2005 - Great Cartoon Site

If you are into this type of humor, may I respectfully recommend There's lots and lots of great cartoons there. This is just one. (Thanks for the tip, Dirk!)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A video and a song

From The Daily Show, watch "Faith Based Accounting" and from

Homogenius, download "One Mad Fag"

What's Hot Today?

Irag - Meltdown

GOP - Meltdown

Arctic - Meltdown

FEMA - Meltdown

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Cheers and Jeers -- Oh, Hell, just Jeers

Faced with the fact that half of the airport screeners at Houston's airport didn't show up to work as Texans were fleeing Hurricane Rita, the TSA "stayed the course". Instead of calling off the pre-flight passenger screening, TSA officials made do with the insufficient number of screeners available to them. This caused lines to move at a snails pace, forcing thousands to give up on air traffic and instead join the millions facing a 1 mph drive out of the area.

Good work, TSA. Instead of exposing folks to the incredibly tiny chance that al Quida had pre-positioned a sleeper cell in the Houston area on the off chance that airport restrictions might be dropped during a natural disaster, you instead exposed them to the much greater chance of being caught on an open freeway during a hurricane.
Faced with a plea from the Bush administration begging donations to help rebuild Iraq, generous Americans dug deep into their pockets and came up with the amazing sum of $600. Come on folks, that's not even enough to gold plate the fixtures in Achmod Chalibis' guest bathroom.

Faced with the challange of showing that Americans do support the war in Iraq, war supporters threw a "support the war" demonstration. They planned for at least 20,000 folks. They missed their goal by 98%. Only 400 showed up.

The anti-war folks had their demo in Washington D.C. the day before. They exceeded their 100,000 attendee goal by 50% - 150,000 showed up there.

San Francisco, September 24, 2005

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Pol's, Demo & Repub, Preach Unity

In an exceedingly rare show of bi-partison unity politicians from both major parties joined together Saturday to condemn what they say is a growing threat to democracy.

An open letter to the American people signed by 90% of the elected officials of this country, including those holding office on the federal, state and local levels, strongly warned of the danger posed by the current fad of questioning the qualifications of political appointees.

Democrats, who had actually triggered the crisis by questioning the qualifications of former (but still getting paid) FEMA director Michael Brown made a 180 degree policy shift late this week when they realised that a requirement that someone actually be qualified before being appointed to a government post could very well effect their future plans.

As one said "Most of us realise that due to term limits and the fickleness of voters, we might very well need an appointed post sometime in our public career. Demanding that only qualified people get those jobs is going to come back and bite us in the ass."

Another agreed: "If it wasn't for patronage jobs many of us would find ourselves thrown into the competitive job market sooner or later." He went on to add: "With few exceptions those who are the recipients of these political plums don't do too much damage. Sure, there are the horror cases, such as FEMA's Brown, or that mayor in Spokane who was willing to give a job to a 17 year old whose only qualification was his cock sucking ability, or a movie czar who is supposed to draw film crews to his city but repels them instead, but to paraphrase a great American, "You go to work with the qualifications you have, not the ones that you wish you had - Shit happens."

Other politicians fear a more insidious danger. A former Democrat presidential candidate laid it out: "When the citizens start questioning their leaders' decisions, when those citizens start thinking for themselves, our whole system of government is in danger. Critical thought on the part of the masses must be discouraged," he went on, "Otherwise we, the elected, are going to be in the position of someday being held accountable for our actions. God help us if that day ever comes."

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bush study of New Orleans flooding Blames Lesbians

President Bush announced today that after an exhaustive review of the tragedy in New Orleans the primary cause has been pinpointed.

"I personally sat down and reviewed the DVD of the news footage that my staff prepared for me in the days immediately following the flooding" the president said "The cause was apparent from early on. As the newscasters kept repeating; the dykes failed."

President Bush said that this only proves that the gay and lesbian community is irresponsible. "Everyone knows that all that lesbians think about is softball, motorcycles and their Subaru cars."

This reporter was unable to get a comment from anyone in the lesbian community, as every lesbian and homosexual in the country was left speechless.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

How to pay for hurricane recovery

Faced with an estimated $200 Billion bill for rebuilding the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina (not to mention whatever havoc Rita wreaks) this country has to decide where to find the money.

From Salon

The $200 billion could be covered entirely -- and then some -- by simply rolling back the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans, which would actually result in a savings of $327 Billion.


We could follow the Republican plan.

  • Freeze funding for the Peace Corps
  • Freeze funding for the Global AIDS Initiative
  • Strip money earmarked for U.N. peacekeeping operations and a wide variety of third-world development programs
  • Eliminate the EnergyStar program
  • Eliminate grants to states and local communities for energy conservation
  • Reduce federal subsidies for Amtrak
  • Eliminate funding for new light-rail programs
  • Cancel the president's hydrogen fuel initiative
  • Eliminate state grants for safe and drug-free schools because "studies show that schools are among the safest places in the country and relatively drug free"
  • Eliminate the teen funding portion of Title X, which provides "free and reduced-price contraceptives, including the IUD, the injection drug Depo-Provera, and the morning-after pill" to poor teenagers.
  • Cut funding for the District of Columbia
  • Eliminate funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Eliminate subsidized student loans for graduate students
  • Terminate the Legal Services Corporation
  • Eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts
  • Kill the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Good NYT article on gay cruising

The New York Times gets mixed reviews from me today. I'm not particularly happy with their decision to hide the best columnists behind a $50 a year gate, but they do get an "attaboy" from me for their article on cruising.
"Manhattan may have its gay bars and such traditional pickup spots as the woods of the Ramble in Central Park and the piers of the West Village. But in the less-accepting climate of the suburbs and the boroughs outside Manhattan, gay men often resort to courting one another from the relative safety and privacy of their cars. They troll remote parking lots that become de facto pickup spots well known in gay circles but not to the general public."

This is the first article on the subject that I have read in any non-gay publication in the 40 years or so that I have been paying attention that didn't exploit the story to shock the straights or to show just how debased we are.

I have been deeply troubled for years by the deafening silence from our community to the widespread and ever ongoing string of arrests of sex seeking men by law enforcement officers who have to masqurade as cruising men. These cops often have to cross the line of entrapment to make their busts and then lie about it in court. The cops say they have to crack down on cruisers to keep straight men and youth from being hit on. I ask, if that is true, why do the cops have to work so hard at posing as someone who wants to be hit on?

Say It Loud

From Americablog,

"Bush's tax cuts cost us more money in 2004 than we even need to pay for Katrina - they're costing us $300bn in 2004 alone.
The three rounds of tax-cut legislation (in 2001, 2002, and 2003) account for a substantial share of the nation’s current deficit.

The tax cuts would reduce revenues by $276 billion in 2004, according to Joint Committee on Taxation estimates. Further, the interest costs associated with the enacted tax cuts would equal $20 billion, using Congressional Budget Office assumptions. The total cost would therefore be $297 billion, or 2.6 percent of the economy (or GDP).
Yes, Congress' own numbers say that Bush's tax cuts cost us almost $300bn in 2004. We need $200bn or so for the hurricane. You do the math. Iraq cost us $300bn. You do the math. It is ridiculous what this man has done to our country."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

No tears from me.

The New York Times sums it up:

New Vatican Rule Said to Bar Gays as New Priests

I know that there is going to be great wailing and gnashing of teeth over this, but not from me.

You wouldn't get all excited if the KKK announced that they were not going to allow blacks to become grand dragons or whatever the fuck they call themselves, would you? Well hey, it's the same difference. Chill.

Is Bush Losing It? Seriously.

Is President Bush losing his grip on reality or is he a coward? I've been mulling that question ever since I saw him apparently acting inappropriately in a video of him touring New Orleans on the back of a military truck. If you have watched coverage of the recovery efforts in the past week or so, then you have almost certainly seen the clip that this still was taken from. They are still playing the clip. I've seen it as recently as last night.

In the clip we see the truck pass under a low hanging wire. You can see the people in the left hand side of the frame reach up to move the wire out of the way. People in the right hand side of the frame lean away. But look at the President. In this still he is crouched down far lower than anyone else. In fact as I learned by playing the clip in my TIVO one frame at a time, Bush actually dived down so low that he was out the frame. In the frame we see, he is starting to come back up from the floor. Is he losing it or what?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Feds Foil Massive Plots by Former US Allies to Poison Katrina Survivors

Federal officials announced today that they have uncovered two plots by foreign agents to poison hundreds of thousands of survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

"It was diabolical" said one employee of the US Food and Drug Administration. "A plan worth of al Quida" said another. "This is the sickest thing I have ever seen," echoed a high government official, "The British, under the guise of sending help to this country in our moment of need, actually attempted to poison these poor people, in effect victimizing the victims."

Sharp eyed employees of the FDA have been scrutinizing the shiploads of foodstuffs bombarding our shores recently marked as "Hurricane Relief". "We all suspected that someone might try something like this," said one official, but we hardly expected to find two of our allies, England and Mexico, behind the plot."

The attempt by Mexico to prey on the evacuees was quickly foiled as soon as the invading Mexican Army crossed the International Border. As soon as customs officials spotted "Water Purification" equipment on the Mexican trucks, the entire convoy was diverted to San Antonio, a fully functional city where the foreign agents would have no excuse to unload their vehicles.

The English plot was uncovered early this week. "We discovered that those bastards had shipped 400,000 MREs earmarked for consumption by Katrina survivors," said one inspector, "They expected that conditions would be so chaotic in the area that no one would notice that these meals contained meat!" The 400,000 MREs were quickly isolated and are now slated to be destroyed.

British meatstuff has been banned in the US for years, ever since a few cases of Mad Cow Disease struck in England. The British note that they have not had any cases of the disease in nearly a decade, and point out that the ban appears more to be in support of the US meat industry than over any real concern about Mad Cow Disease. They cite the fact that despite pleadings from US cattlemen, the US government has nixed the idea of testing each animal slaughtered by US meat producers.

English authorities are downplaying the significance of the attempted plot. They point out that the MREs in question are from the same stock that they use to feed their own armed forces. "Right," scoffed one US military leader, "We are talking here about the same British armed forces that allows gays to serve in their ranks? Obviously those folks don't care what they put in their mouths. 'Nuff said?" he concluded.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush lauded the quick action of the FDA. "I'm so glad that they caught this." she said. When asked if perhaps eating the English donations might be preferable to the starving than going without food, she snapped at the reporter "Fuck no. Let them eat cake!"

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bush Vows That The Government Will Never Be Caught Unprepared Again

President Bush today promised the American people that never again will they have to be worried that the government will be unprepared for a national disaster. He said that top leaders will be boning up on disaster management skills. He said that the effort goes all the way to the top. "I'm going to read this book from cover to cover," he promised reporters. "It's hard work, but I'm going to do it."

I wish that I could credit the creator of this photo, but it showed up in my email without any indication of who did it. Here's a "Well done!" to that unknown person.

Americans embrace new military draft

Polls indicate that Americans overwhelmingly favor the new draft plan unveiled this morning by the White House.

The plan, announced in a news conference jointly hosted by President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld will add nearly 750,000 troops to the US Army in the next 90 days. Polls show that Americans support the plan, with over 80% approval. A vast majority of whites approve the plan, with an equal percentage of Blacks registering disapproval.

"Its a 'win, win' solution," crowed Secretary Rumsfeld, "We replenish our badly depleted military while at the same time taking care of the problem of what to do with those displaced by Hurricane Katrina. What's not to like?"

Rumsfeld acknowledged that some Katrina survivors may not want to serve. "Hey," he said, "You can't always have the draftees you want. You make do with what you have." He said that those who fail to show up at induction centers will be tracked down and shipped to the basic training centers even now being constructed across the Gulf region under an emergency no-bid contract awarded late last night to Halliburton Industries.

The White House pointed out that in addition to providing the evacuees much needed food, shelter and jobs, combing the Katrina relief efforts with "Operation Enduring Freedom" would provide a new source of funds to the Iraqi effort. The President pledged unlimited funds to the displaced people and if we can move those people to Iraq, than we will get double duty out of those tax dollars according to White House sources.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Prickly Pious Priest Pricks Parishoners

Unclear on the concept
Priest wishes prison
Gets jeered instead

Life started to crumble for Rev. Arthur Michalka last week when he received a letter from the bishop's office informing him that he was being laid off. The diocese has had to implement drastic cost cutting measures as the result of several recent multi-million dollar court judgements.

The 78 year old priest said that with no place to go and no money, he looked at his options and decided to get himself arrested and sent to prison. "It was that or the streets," he said. "I was steamed. Here I am, almost 80 years old, never even look cross-eyed at a kid in all those years, and I gotta starve just because of those clowns. It's just not fair."

"So if they are going to sit in prison with a roof over their heads and 3 meals a day, I'm sure not going to let myself be a homeless person. I'll treat prison like a retirement home. It beats the alternative." he exclaimed.

Michalka said that he isn't afraid of prison life. "I watched the complete series of Oz," he says, "I can do that."

The priest's plans went awry though. He knew that his retirement fund was gone because of some pedophile priests who had been doing some "pricking", but he had never bothered to find out just what was involved.

That's why on Wednesday, during evening Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Corn Hill, he called about 15 children to come forward so he could prick their palms with an unsterilized pin.

When a parent rushed up and asked Father Michalka what he was doing, the priest turned around to the congregation and explained what he had done and demanded to be arrested for child molestation. It is reported that the laughter and calls of derision could be heard 3 blocks away.

Satire inspired by a posting at Pam's House Blend

Kick Ass Sound From Your Computer Easily Done For Less Than 20 bucks!

Tech Tip: Plugging your computer into your stereo (Plus a rant!)

I think that most of us, by now, have discovered that there is a world of free, legal music available on the Internet. Right now I am listening to a nice collection of music I downloaded following links from our friends at The Liberal Avenger. When I work my way through that I will probably tune into KEXP. (Thanks go to Alex and Ellen for introducing me that very listenable station.) I usually fall asleep at night to the sounds of hip-hop from WKNC, a station at the University of North Carolina.

I realised a couple of years back that while I had a pretty good set of computer speakers, those little things could never sound as good as my stereo does.

A trip to Radio Shack* and about $20 later I was feeding the sound out of my computer into my stereo, and it made a huge difference in the quality of the sound. It's easy and should take less than 10 minutes.

Here's what a takes:
  • A stereo cable with "phono plugs" (see the photo above) long enough to run from the back of your computer to the back of your stereo (when figuring out the length, remember that a cable too long is a lot easier to deal with than one too short.
  • A small "Y" adaptor with two female "phono jacks" into one male "1/8th " stereo plug".
  • An unused set of audio inputs on the back of your stereo - most of us have them, look for a set marked "aux" or any other kind of input except phono. You cannot use the phono input.
Here's what to do:

  • Locate the existing plug from your computer speakers at the back of the computer (its usually green. If you need to, just trace it back from the computer speakers). Remove that existing plug and replace it with the 1/8" plug on the "Y" adaptor.
  • Plug one end of the stereo cable into the jacks on the "Y" adaptor. Plug the other end of the stereo cables into the open audio input on the back of the stereo.
  • Use the controls on the stereo to choose the input that you plugged the cables into. ie: If you plugged the cables into the "Video 3" input, then choose "Video 3" on the stereo's control.
  • Play music as you normally would with the computer. Adjust the stereo volume to taste. Enjoy!

*(Warning: Rant) It irks me to no end that I had to type "Radio Shack" instead of "local electronics store", but the reality is that, with our help, Radio Shack has pushed almost every local electronic shop into oblivion. I can remember when every town had an owner operated electronics store.

There was a real advantage to that, in that each store did its own ordering and stocking depending on local demand and the owner's particular interest. If one store didn't stock the item that you were looking for, then it was quite likely that another one would.

But then along came Radio Shack and their plan for domination of the industry. They followed the familier pattern used by many chain stores. They would open a store in a community and stock it with the most popular items. Mom and Pop couldn't compete against a giant chain which was able to realise massive savings by purchasing in box car loads - hell, train loads, compared to M&P's buying by the case. If the little locals managed to hang on, the big chains would lower their price in the stores in that particular area. To the chain it didn't matter if one or a handful of stores was selling goods at a loss. Heck they were making good profits from their hundreds and hundreds of other stores. They could afford to take a loss from a few to insure that they would have no competition in the future. And you and I helped. We went running over to the chain store with our cash in hand. Didn't make any sense to pay more to Mom and Pop when we could get it at the chain cheaper, did it? Well, not in the short run. The long run is something else again.

These days with Radio Shack, or any other chain, being the only game in town, if they don't have what you need, then you are S.O.L. Either make do with an item they do stock or go through the hassle of ordering on the web and waiting for the item to be shipped to you.

It's too late to save the mom and pop electronics stores. It is not yet too late to save the hardware stores and all the various other retailers which Wal Mart and Home Depot have lined up in their sights. BOYCOTT THEM, PEOPLE - DO YOURSELVES A FAVOR. You may save a little bit by shopping at those places now, but you will be kicking yourselves in the butt when they end up being the only game in town.

On My Vacation

I had the pleasure, recently, of vacationing in the town in which I grew up. Olympia, Washington looks much the same as it did when I moved away some 30 years ago. As I was wondering around town grokking the memories, I came across this statue of former Washington Governor John Rodgers.

I must have seen this statue hundreds of thousands of times as I grew up. But then I had no appreciation of the last four lines chiseled into the granite. In fact I had no memory of them as I gazed at them last month.

I guess it took the Bush administration to make me understand just why Governor Rodgers liked that line. Sure jumps out at you, doesn't it?

Get outta here - When did this happen?

Ah, the miracles of modern science. I had never heard of the concept of home drug testing, but there it was, right in front of me on the Target Store website. Drug tests available in two flavors, marijuana or cocaine.

Now I live in San Francisco, which houses approximately 40 pot clubs within its 49 square mile city limits. The citizens here definitely mozy to a different drummer. If there is a war on weed we are the headquarters of the insurgency. So I've got to admit that while I can quote you the prices on the various offerings in the club across the street (Goldstar Bud Shake @ $35 an 1/8th oz. is the best deal) I am not really up to date on efforts to combat the so called "problem" of pot smoking.

My first thought on seeing the kits was to wonder what parents who have to stoop to using a modified police tool to check up on their kids were going to do if the results came back positive? Would they order a "home holding cell" from Sears? Seems to me that if you are using an industrial strength drug test on your kid, the time has long passed for sitting down and having a "heart to heart" talk.

I decided to see what medical professionals had to say about the tests. I found a study done for Pediatrics magazine. The 3 researchers (2 of whom were doctors) looked at a slew of home drug tests which were available over the Internet. The tests included ones such as Target is selling, as well as others which include urine and/or hair testing.

The medical professionals were not impressed. Here is a summery of the test as published on the Kids Health website.

"Researchers noted that these tests have a high potential for false-positive or false-negative results because of inaccurate testing procedures. Also, the sites offered inconsistent advice on whether a child's specimen should be collected without his or her consent, and often implied that a parent should take a child's specimen even if he or she refused to give it. Most of the websites also did not offer information about what to do if a child tested positive for drugs or how a parent-child relationship would be affected if a parent forced a child to submit to drug testing."

The researchers themselves said, in their report

" Laboratory testing for drugs of abuse is a technically challenging procedure, even for medical professionals. We found it difficult to decipher precisely which drugs are detected by many of the advertised kits."

"A second technical problem associated with home drug testing is the potential for false-positive and false-negative results. Although this potential exists with every laboratory screening procedure, drug testing is particularly complex and presents unique challenges..."

"Even if we assume that these products are accurately able to detect the presence or absence of a drug in the urine, the potential for misinterpretation by parents remains high. For example, interpretation of a true-positive test for cannabis, the drug most frequently used by adolescents, is not always straightforward."

" In addition, none of the sites described the different stages of drug use or gave parents insight into the different treatment needs for an experimental user versus a teen with a diagnosis of abuse or dependence, yet this distinction is critical in determining appropriate treatment."

" Home drug testing may be perceived by adolescents as invasive and a violation of their rights, potentially damaging the parent–child relationship."

"Another issue is that of the rights of an adolescent. Of the 8 sites in our review, only 1 gave clear advice that a child should not be drug tested against his or her will. According to the AAP, an adolescent who would experience negative consequences by refusing cannot truly give consent. This calls into question whether parents could ever obtain free, informed consent for drug testing from their own child."

In other words folks. Don't try this at home. Go mix yourself another drink, pop a Viagra and just chill.

Pop Quiz

One of my old army buddies passed this on. It seems like the older I get, the better I do at these things...

Hey Dad," one of my kids asked the other day, "What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?"
"We didn't have fast food when I was growing up," I informed him. "All the food was slow."
"C'mon, seriously. Where did you eat?"

"It was a place called 'at home,'" I explained. "Grandma cooked every day and when Grandpa got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it."

By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table. But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it:

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, wore Levis, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country or had a credit card. In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card. The card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears AND Roebuck. Either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.

My parents never drove me to soccer practice.! This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and only had one speed, (slow). We didn't have a television in our house until I was 11, but my grandparents had one before that. It was, of course, black and white, but they bought a piece of colored plastic to cover the screen. The top third was blue, like the sky, and the bottom third was green, like grass. The middle third was red. It was perfect for programs that had scenes of fire trucks riding across someone's lawn on a sunny day. Some people had a lens taped to the front of the TV to make the picture look larger.

I was 13 before I tasted my first pizza, it was cal led "pizza pie." When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It's still the best pizza I ever had.

We didn't have a car! until! I was 15. Before that, the only car in our family was my grandfather's Ford. He called it a "machine."

I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn't know weren't already using the line.

Pizzas were no t delivered to our home. But milk was.

All newspapers were delivered by boys and all boys delivered newspapers. I delivered a newspaper, six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which I got to keep 2 cents. I had to get up at 4 AM every morning. On Saturday, I had to collect the 42 cents from my customers. My favorite customers were the ones who gave me 50 cents and told me to ! keep the change. My least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day.

Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. Touching someone else's tongue with yours was called French kissing and they didn't do that in movies. I don't know what they did in French movies. French movies were dirty and we weren't allowed to see them.

If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don't blame me if they bust a gut laughing.

Growing up isn't what ! it used to be, is it?

MEMORIES from a friend:

My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother's house (she died in December) and he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it. I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to "sprinkle" clothes with because we didn't have steam irons. Man, I am old.

How many do you remember?

Head lights dimmer switches on the floor.

Ignition switches on the dashboard.

Heaters mounted on the inside of the fire wall.

Real ice boxes.

Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.

Soldering irons you heat on a gas burner.

Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.

Older Than Dirt Quiz:
Count all the ones that you remember not the ones you w!ere told about Ratings at the bottom.

1. Blackjack chewing gum

2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water

3. Candy cigarettes

4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles

5. Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes

6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers

7. Party lines

8. Newsreels before the movie
9. P.F. Flyers

10. Butch wax

11. Telephone numbers with a word prefix (OLive-6933)

12. Peashooters

13. Howdy Doody

14. 45 RPM records

15. S&H Green Stamps

16 Hi-fi's

17 Metal ice trays with lever

18. Mimeograph paper
19 Blue flashbulb
20. Packards

21. Roller skate keys

22. Cork popguns

23. Drive-ins
24. Studebakers

25. Wash tub wringers

If you remembered 0- = You'e still young
If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older
If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age,
If you remembered 16-25 = You're older than dirt!

I might be older than dirt but those memories are the
best part of my life.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

$3+ a gallon gas? No problem for some

1997-Congress to FEMA: Here's $500,000 to develop an evacuation plan for New Orleans. So what happened?

From AP
As far back as eight years ago, Congress ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop a plan for evacuating New Orleans during a massive hurricane, but the money instead went to studying the causeway bridge that spans the city's Lake Pontchartrain, officials say.

The outcome provides one more example of the government's failure to prepare for a massive but foreseeable catastrophe, said the lawmaker who helped secure the money for FEMA to develop the evacuation plan.

"They never used it for the intended purpose," said former Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La. "The whole intent was to give them resources so they could plan an evacuation of New Orleans that anticipated that a very large number of people would never leave."

On Race And Flooding

Thanks to Stanford University's KZSU for pointing out that Katrina's poor and black suffering were not the first to be victimized by greed and rascism. The same thing happened in 1927.
From PBS: The Fatal Flood

As the roaring Mississippi River inundated the South in April 1927, reporters followed the deluge down to the Mississippi Delta to report on the situation. Devastation was widespread: the flood caused 60 deaths, created over a quarter of a million homeless refugees and racked up nearly $17 million in total damages.

As the flood waters subsided, relief efforts disproportionately served the white citizens of the afflicted areas, who were the first to receive inoculations, food supplies, clothing, and shelter. Only the Chicago Defender, the influential weekly paper read by African Americans across the nation, reported on the inequities underlying flood relief efforts. Follow newspaper coverage of the flood and its aftermath, in these headlines and stories from 1927.

38 Perish in Rising Flood, 75,000 Flee
New York Tribune, April 23
7,500-Mile Area Swamped as Mississippi Rushes on Through Eight States, With Crisis Yet to Come -- Navy Speeds Planes to Save Marooned -- Suffering and Desolation Spreads as Army Fights to Keep Levees Intact

Suffering and Loss of Life Result of Stops Landing Break
Greenville [MS] Daily Democrat-Times, April 23
The Democrat-Times goes to press today in the poorest dress it has ever experienced. We are setting type by hand and printing it on a hand press. We are doing this in order to give the people as much information as possible. It isn't much but the best we can do for the present. We are in for a long siege. We cannot tell at this time when the regular publication will be resumed. We hope to keep the public informed each day regarding conditions each day if the water doesn't get too deep in our plant.

Flood Is Spreading; 200,000 Destitute
New York Times, April 26
The vast majority [of refugees] are tenant farmers and probably three-fourths of them are negroes, the best type of the old-time Southern "darky" such as Joel Chandler Harris and Thomas Nelson Page immortalized. But whether white or black there is no distinction in the matter of succor and in this work the State of Mississippi is rendering , as is the Government, every aid within its power of authority.

New Floods Swell Army of Homeless to About 250,000
New York Times, May 5
Refugees in Northern Louisiana Trek to Safety Over Rain-Soaked Roads -- Boats Help in Exodus -- Town of Tallulah is Disappearing as Waters are Deepened From Crevasses -- Poydras Break Widened -- But Height of River at New Orleans Now is Stationary Near Levee Tops

Rescue Work is Speeded as Flood Engulfs New Area; Nation's Fund Now $7,443,267
New York Times, May 6
More Towns Submerged -- Red Cross Reports That 323,837 Refugees are Receiving Aid -- Peril Grows in Louisiana -- Thousands Toil to Reinforce Red River Levees as the Flood Crest Rolls Near -- Families Huddle on Rafts -- Many Refuse to Leave Improvised Floating Refuges in the Vicinity of Their Farms

Use Troops in Flood Area to Imprison Farm Hands
Chicago Defender, May 7
Refugees Herded Like Cattle to Stop Escape from Peonage -- Plantation Owners in Fear of Raids by Labor Agents The ugly specter of Race hate has reared its head above the angry waters in the flood area... Men, women, and children of our group, who were conscripted, forced to leave their homes to top levees and prevent, if possible, a flood in their respective cities, are now refugees in "Jim Crow" relief camps. This vast army of destitute persons, nearly one hundred thousand, the majority of them farmers and laborers from 75 villages and towns of seven flood-torn states of the South, are experiencing worse treatment than our forefathers did before the signing of the emancipation proclamation. ...[Vicksburg, MS,] with a total population of some eighteen thousand persons, has 13,027 flood refugees to shelter, clothe, and feed. Half of this number are members of our Race, who have been placed in separate relief camps and are being guarded daily by national guardsmen who fear they will be kidnapped. ...This action was taken, it is said, following numerous requests from southern planters to Gov. Murphree... that members of our Race be guarded against a possible influx of labor agents who would seize this opportunity to take the refugees to the North and give them work. At present, the victims of the flood are given very little food and are barred from all visitors. ...Tags bearing the name of the refugee and the owner of the plantation from which he came are being placed on the men and women of our group. This is being done in order that the plantation owners can drive these workers back to the farms and charge these rations to them.

Labor Notice
Greenville [MS] Daily Democrat-Times, May 14
All negroes in Greenville outside of the levee camp who are able to work should work. If work is offered them and they refuse to work they should be arrested as vagrants. Names and addresses of those refusing to work should be telephoned to police headquarters. I suggest one dollar a day as a fair wage at this time. -- W. A. Percy, Chairman of Relief

Flood Sweeping Valley on West of Atchafalaya Relief
Greenville [MS] Daily Democrat-Times, May 16
Boats and Supplies are Being Concentrated -- Fifty New Boats
Mr. Percy Talks to the Colored Ministers of City -- Points Out Duties in Relief and Rehabilitation Work and is Promised Cooperation ...Mr. Percy said that cooperation in the refugee camp on the levee has been excellent, but that cooperation from those living out in town had been "rotten." He explained that every person must work and that those who refused to work would be treated in the course as 'vagrants.' He said that it is a big job and will require a great deal of work before conditions can in any way be relieved. Rev. J. B. Stanton was elected as spokesman for the colored ministers, and gives out the following statement: "In answer to the speech on Sunday by Mr. Will Percy to the colored preachers, we will stand by you all and make conditions so that we can do our duty as men, for this is our home. Our Delta people have done their duty as men and have worked their lands to make this a good place to live and we want to stay here if you will let us and we will work with you as we have done in the past. We want to see this country come back and prosper with the same fine cooperation between the races...

Plan Relief of Flood Water in North Part City
Greenville [MS] Daily Democrat-Times, May 31
Plan to Close Gaps in City's Protection Dyke -- Steps Are Taken ...The committee reported that in its opinion the fall of water has been such that the gaps in the protection levee can not be closed at a cost much less than to resulting benefits provided the work can be done by free labor and with material either furnished free or sold to the city at low cost.

Deny Food to Flood Sufferers in Mississippi
Chicago Defender, June 4
Relief Bodies Issue Work or Starve Rule

Another proof that Race hatred is continuing in the flood area was offered here last week when white relief organizations, headed by the Red Cross, southern division, issued a statement making each member of our Race responsible to some white man for the food and clothing he receives. In other words, if the "boss" says you can eat you can, and if he says "no" then you starve. This statement under the signature of W. A. Percy, son of former Senator Leroy Perry -- whose prejudice against members of our Race is as bitter as gall -- chairman of the relief organizations of this city, has made it clear that discrimination and segregation will be carried to the fullest extent despite the fact that agencies throughout the country are endeavoring to see that all refugees are given an equal chance. Percy's first order specified that no members of our Race could receive food unless there was a man in the family and that this fact must be certified by some white person. ...These men who are not white must join the labor organizations and receive $1 a day if they want food for their families, he said. Those who draw a larger sum than $1 a day will not receive food. ...Refugees blame "Uncle Tom" ministers here for the suffering among our people. Ministers of all denominations have been called together and told by the whites to instruct members of our Race of the necessity of assisting their white brethren to recover from the flood. They have also been urged to advise our people that after the water has receded they were not to leave for the North since the South is the best place for "niggers." Rev. J. B. Stanton, styled a 'jackleg' preacher here, is the leader of the ministers. He has pledged his support to help keep our people here after the water recedes.

Colored Advisory Committee to Pay Greenville Visit
Greenville [MS] Daily Democrat-Times, June 24
R. R. Moton of Tuskegee Heads Colored Committee -- Date of Visit Here Not Yet Fully Decided Upon

The Perfect Crime?

For years I have been fascinated by one particular robbery. It had all the elements of what I visualize as the perfect crime.

A. The "take" was large enough to be worthwhile - nearly $3 million

B. There was zero chance of anyone getting hurt or killed.

C. It was pulled off with the involvement of only two people.

D. The perps plan gave them more than sufficient time to disappear.

It all started with another robbery. That one was an utter failure. In 1969 Roberto Solis attempted to rob an armored car. He shot a 61 year old guard in the back and made off with the money bag, which turned out to be empty.

Solis was quickly caught and spent the next 24 years in Folsom prison. It was there, with plenty of time on his hands, that he perfected his plan for a robbery that would work.

When he was finally released, in 1992, Solis began to put his plan into action. He befriended a young woman, 20 year old Heather Tallchief, who would be key to his plan.

Solis taught Tallchief how to drive. Once she became proficient he had her apply for a job at the Loomis Armored Car Company. In 1993 she was hired and went to work for Loomis in Las Vegas. Solis patiently waited as Tallchief became more trusted by her supervisors at Loomis.

Months later the waiting paid off. Tallchief was assigned as driver on a 3 person cash run. This particular route involved dropping off millions of dollars to the Circus Circus casino on a regular basis. The procedure called for the armored car driver to drop off her two accompanying guards at one door of the casino. While the guards were inside arranging the unloading of the cash the armored car was supposed to make its way around the building and meet up with her co-workers at a back door. This was the opportunity that Solis had been waiting for so long.

On October 1st, 1993, when the guards walked out of the backdoor of the casino there was no sign of Tallchief or the armored car. It was as if the driver, the huge truck and two and a half million dollars in cash had vanished from the face of the earth.

There was, of course, a massive police investigation. The cops quickly learned of Tallchief's relationship with Solis. But that was the end of the trail. The cops were stymied. No perps, no armored truck, no cash.

It was almost exactly a year before the next break came. It came in the form of a phone call from a property manager. He told police that he had not heard from one of his tenants, who had paid a year's rent in advance for a warehouse space the previous year. When the property manager drove out to the warehouse and found it abandoned he entered and discovered the long lost armored car.

Police found evidence in the warehouse that the couple had hired a private jet the day of the robbery. They tracked down the pilot who told them that the flight was chartered by a woman in a wheelchair and her "doctor". He had taken them to Denver just a few short hours after the theft.

Again the trail went cold. It stayed cold until the 15th of this month, when Heather Tallchief kissed her 10 year old son good by in Holland, where she had been living under an assumed name, jumped on a plane to the US and turned herself in to authorities. According to London's Guardian newspaper she decided to give herself up for the sake of her son, who had become curious about her, and his, past.

The Guardian also reported that before Tallchief turned herself in she sold her story to a Hollywood studio in order to raise money to help reimburse Loomis.

Tallchief says that the mastermind of the crime, Roberto Solis, abandoned her and took off with the money nearly 10 years ago.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday quiz

The good folks over at News Target have developed

The Gullibility Factor test

With this simple, anonymous test, you can assess your own Gullibility Factor (GF) score. Simply answer TRUE or FALSE to the following questions, click SUBMIT, and your score will be instantly calculated and displayed along with an explanation and the correct answers. Your GF score will tell you whether you're a free-thinking individual, or a total mind slave.

Americans' Hearts Go Out To Stranded Pets

People around the country have been glued to their TVs recently as National Guard troops and others slog their way through the receding flood waters of New Orleans finding and bringing to safety stranded pets left behind as their owners had to flee.

The animals have been flown out to shelters around the country. Here in the Bay Area of San Francisco some 150 dogs and cats (no "yard apes", though) have arrived and are being sent out to foster homes to await the moment when they can be reunited with their owners.

Faced with President's call to heal poverty caused by racism, conservatives suddenly rediscover long lost concept of fiscal restraint

The raging winds of Hurricane Katrina, already credited with uncovering the long lost spine of America's news media, has turned up another long lost artifact - the Republican Party's concept of fiscal restraint.

Suddenly, after years of spending money like a drunken sailor, conservatives were brought up short last night when President Bush said:

"There is also some deep, persistent poverty in this region...

"And that poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America," he said. "We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action.

Lawmakers, who evidently feel that lining up at the pork trough is patriotic when dealing with a threat from Muslim countries balked at the idea of spending to improve the lot of this country's most impoverished citizens.

Senator Jim Demint: "We know we need to help, but throwing more and more money without accountability at this is not going to solve the problem."

Senator Tom Coburn: "I don't believe that everything that should happen in Louisiana should be paid for by the rest of the country. I believe there are certain responsibilities that are due the people of Louisiana."

Senator John McCain: "We know this is a huge bill, We don't want to lay it on future generations."

Stolen? Naw, she said it wasn't

18 year old San Francisco college student Shuki Alburati is trying to convince police that even though he was suspicious that the new laptop computer he was buying from a stranger for $300 might be stolen, he shouldn't be charged with receiving stolen property.
"The whole transaction only took about one minute," Alburati said in a statement to police. "She seemed suspicious, because she sold me an expensive laptop for such a low price. If the laptop was stolen, I did not know about it. I just took her word for it."

Alburati turned around and sold the computer on eBay for $1,200. One can't but help wonder what he might have done with it if had realised that the machine was the one that had made headlines around the world when it had gone missing. It contained the names, social security numbers and other personal information of nearly 100,000 individuals who were students and prospective students at the University of California.

"It's unfair," said Alburati, a business student who has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property. "I didn't know it was stolen. She should stop what she's doing because she'll get caught eventually."

Yo, J.C. Whitney - Get a clue, folks

I almost spewed my coffee this morning when I found a waiting email from J.C. Whitney with the subject line of "Floating Away". Yep, according to them "Summer's floating out and Fall's floating in" so its time to stock up on auto accessories. Wonder if they have a special on inner tubes?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fox News Poll - Record Low For Bush

A Fox News poll released today shows President Bush's job approval rating at a record low of 41%. This is a loss of 4 percentage points from just two weeks ago. The poll shows that 51% of Americans disapprove of the job that Bush is doing. At the end of July the numbers were 47% approved and 44% disapproved.

Even among Republicans only 81% give him an approval rating. Democrats are considerably less kind, giving him only 8% approval. 30% of independents approve.

In less encouraging news, 22% think that the storms extraordinary strength could be blamed on global warming. 56% think its strength was a random act of nature. A mind boggling 40% believe that natural disasters are a message from a higher being. 51% disagree.

Speaking of polls, tonight Lou Dobbs asked his viewers, "Do you believe President Bush will be able to assure the American public about the government's readiness to quickly and adequately respond to future disasters?"

No: 95%

Yes: 5%

Pun Fun

Fast talking kidnappers snow cops, take powder

From Bloomberg:

The kidnappers of Claudia Melchers, the Dutch millionaire's daughter released after being abducted from her Amsterdam home, demanded a ransom of 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of cocaine.

Melchers, 37, was released unharmed by her abductors last night after being held for two days, Commissioner Willem Woelders, the police officer heading the investigation, told reporters today.

The three kidnappers, who are unidentified, are still at large. Reportedly the police are staking out stores which sell drug paraphnalia in hopes that the suspects will come in to buy items with which to use the drug.

Critics sniff that the cops are "grasping at straws". "That's not way to get a line on these crooks," snorted one observer. His viewpoint was mirrored by other bystanders. They need some crack investigators." one exclaimed.

World's Lamest Excuse

And the award goes to -- Capt. Barry Brown, an Air Force lawyer who claimed that he hired a hit man to kill his wife to spare her the stigma of divorce and out of fear of her committing suicide if he divorced her. Too bad he didn't show the same concern about innocent victims:

Brown, who grew up in Searcy, Ark., told (the hit man) that he worried about becoming a suspect. To deflect attention, he suggested that Williams go after Irene Brown at her office and fire indiscriminately at others.

He described his vision of the shooting as "like you see on the news - one killed, three or four injured."

The other woman is no prize herself. She will be going on trial soon as an accomplice. Seems that she was the one who introduced Brown to the hit man. Gee, didn't she give any thought to what the future might hold for her once her boyfried got tired of the relationship?

And the wife who was targeted to be killed?

Irene Brown, 32, blamed herself in large measure for causing the problem, and her husband did, too.

"I had to do something to deserve this," she said during tearful testimony. "No one tries to kill their wife unless she did something."

The hit man seems to be the only one with any brains in this whole outfit. Apparently it didn't take him long to figure out that he was dealing with a bunch of flakes. Instead of knocking off the unwanted wife he went to police and laid out the plot.

Mr. Brown will spending the next 18 years behind bars. Probably the best place for him. Could you imagine being this guy's legal client?

"Blame Game" Update: Finalists jockey for position. "Brownie" scores for points

Ex-FEMA Director Michael Brown stunned spectators at the "Game Blame" run-offs. Brown, considered by many to have no chance at all of advancing to the finals moved up several places in the rankings this morning in a two pronged play in which he simultaneously revealed that the White House knew of the situation in New Orleans early on, while at the same time laying the blame ball in the lap of Louisiana officials. The unexpected double play shows that Brown, once thought to be out of the game, is still a serious contender.

SF Chronicle: Bush links terrorism, poverty

Of course he does. It should be obvious to any right thinking American that terrorists are trying to import poverty into the United States.

Ooops, they succeeded! I guess that we need to fight them here, so that we don't have to fight them there.