Friday, June 30, 2006
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
The Old Phone
WARNING! Tear Jerker below!
When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny
receiver hung on the side of the box I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.
Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time.
My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing.
Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. "Information, please" I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
"I hurt my finger..." I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily
enough now that I had an audience.
"Isn't your mother home?" came the question.
"Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.
"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.
"No," I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts."
"Can you open the icebox?" she asked. I said I could.
"Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," said
After that, I called "Information Please" for everything. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.
Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, Information Please," and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?" She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, "Wayne always remember that there are other worlds to sing in." Somehow I felt better.
Another day I was on the telephone, "Information Please." "Information," said in the now familiar voice. "How do I spell fix?" I asked. All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.
A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please."
Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.
I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"
There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now."
I laughed, "So it's really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?"
I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your call meant to me.
I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."
I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister. "Please do", she said. "Just ask for Sally."
Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered, "Information." I asked for Sally.
"Are you a friend?" she said.
"Yes, a very old friend," I answered.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this," she said. "Sally had been
working part-time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago."
Before I could hang up she said, "Wait a minute, did you say your
name was Wayne?"
"Yes." I answered.
"Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you." The note said, "Tell him there are other worlds to sing in,
He'll know what I mean". I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.
Never underestimate the impression you may make on others.
Only in Vegas
I had forgotten all about snapping this picture until I ran across it today. . .Talk about playing both sides!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Thanks fer yer support
The local right-wing attack dogs have been biting my ankles recently. I won't glorify their campaigns with linkage; they know who they are. I would, however, like to profess my thanks for the traffic generated by their ignorant hate-mongering. My hit-counts are nearing record numbers. . you guys ROCK! Too bad that liberal bogs hold a 3-1 advantage over conservative ones.
Please continue your assaults. *I* will continue to reap the benefits. Your actions are TRULY appreciated. I may hafta buy you guys a beer sometime soon. Thanks again for keeping my name out there, You're the best!
Points to Ponder
I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.
Gardening Rule: When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.
The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
There are two kinds of pedestrians: the quick and the dead.
Life is sexually transmitted.
Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
Some people are like Slinkies. Not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?
Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
How is it one careless match can start a forest fire; but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out?"
Who was the first person to say, "See that chicken there? I'm gonna eat the next thing that comes outta its butt."
Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?
If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?
Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?
Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?
Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?
Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
Monday, June 26, 2006
JFK on Liberalism
"John F. Kennedy on Liberalism"
Liberalism is our best and only hope in the world today. For the liberal society is a free society, and it is at the same time and for that reason a strong society. It's strength is drawn from the will of free people committed to great ends, and peacefully striving to meet them. Only liberalism, in short, can repair our national power, restore our national purpose, and liberate our national energies.
What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollars, then the record of this party and it's members demonstrate that we are not that kind of "Liberal."
But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who look's ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people ---- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties ----- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal!"
President John F. Kennedy
THANK GOD that I was raised a liberal! Thank GOD that my wife was raised a liberal, too! I'm proud to live in a society that shares our values, despite the mis-guided views of the increasing minority of the mis-informed conservative idealogues. And finally, Thank GOD for bringing about the defeat of those who have attempted to deceive us in His name. Jesus was a liberal. He's back, and he's taking down the names of those who have lied in his name. The difference is. . He will forgive YOU.
The difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party is that everyone is welcome in the Democratic Party.
Because Democrats don't care if you are black, white, brown, or a nice shade of green.
We don't care if you pray in a church, a synagogue, a temple, a mosque, or just before a math test.
We don't care if you are young, old, or don't want to tell your age.
We don't care what gender you are or what gender you want to hold hands with, as long as you want to hold hands!
We don't care about the size of your bank account, just the size of your heart; and we don't care where you are today, just where you dream you want to be tomorrow."
So come and join us, we think you will like the company.
JQP Reports on his weekend
John Q Public offers up his sincere apologies for missing my birthday celebration this year, and tells the grand tale of how this came to be in it's entirety. The man is a dedicated public servant; what he will not do for the youth of our society is not even worth mentioning! I am sorry for his absence, yet happy for his selfless efforts. And I'll take him up on the free drinks, of course! ;)
Sunday, June 25, 2006
"For What It's Worth" - 2006
A modern and fitting take on Buffalo Springfield's 1960's protest song. The videos are from the Portland protest. . .the posted lyrics remain the same. The relevence is up to your own interpretation.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
He may be the country's best known businessman, but Donald Trump is no stranger to politics – and unafraid to speak his mind on hot topics.
In an interview with NewsMax, Trump dives into the brewing maelstrom over the continuing prosecution of the Iraq war. And the Donald has some "you're fired"-style advice for Congress and the president: the U.S. should withdraw from Iraq "as soon as practicable."
No matter what, Trump argues, a new Saddam Hussein will eventually take over the country.
In a NewsMax interview Trump wouldn't say if he is planning on a presidential run – he toyed with the idea before the 2000 election – but he has plenty of thoughts about what he would do if he were president.
U.S.involvement in Iraq tops his agenda. The multi-billonaire real estate tycoon and star of NBC's "The Apprentice" said, "I would get out of Iraq as soon as possible consistent with the practicalities of a bad situation."
Trump dismissed worries of a civil war. "The same thing that is going to happen if we leave later. They are going to govern anyway with people who would make Saddam Hussein look like a nice guy."
Trump added that he was never a fan of the war in the first place.
"I think the war was a mistake," he said. "They did not have weapons of mass destruction. Saddam was not the prettiest leader, but I never felt they [Iraqis] were the problem in the world."
Trump is not calling for an immediate withdrawal. "We're stuck there," Trump said. "We can't just leave. But I would leave pretty quickly."
President Bush has indicated that he wants U.S. troops to stay in Iraq until conditions on the ground allow a stable government to take over without American military assistance or until the Iraqis ask Americans to leave.
Trump believes the Bush plan won't work.
"It's being held together by sugar candy. No matter what happens, I believe Iraq will fall again. I think when we leave, the country will be in chaos, and the modern day version of Saddam Hussein will take over again. We're in a war we shouldn't be in. We have bigger fish to fry."
What are those "bigger fish"? Trump says bluntly: "We have North Korea and Iran to worry about."
Beyond Iraq, a "President" Trump has a few other agenda items. For instance he's worried about the real estate market.
"If I were president, I would be fighting hard to stop raising interest rates because eventually the economy will be killed," Trump said.
Another pocket-book issue he says all Americans are being hit with is gas prices.
"I would fight hard to reduce oil prices. There's no doubt in my mind that the right chief executive could have a substantial impact on oil prices by telling the oil-producing states that it's time to start cutting [prices] or else. They're making more money than any country has ever made in the history of the world."
Friday, June 23, 2006
Who knew Star Wars was so full of sexual innuendo?? Blue Gal, apparently.
Human reports on his own experience on the abortion debate and the response that he received.
Glenda had a wonderful time on her Global Warming Field Trip, and interacted with many many fine blogger friends.
Had Enough of government intrusion into your personal life? B Shilladay has.
Robert thinks it's high time that we get the hell out.
John Q. Public thoroughly enjoyed his birthday presents. This reprobate was born on the day before I was.
Jeremy and Craig both offered up the "Coulter Quiz". Can you differentiate her from Hitler? I got 11 out of 14 correct, how 'bout YOU?
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Bayh & Lugar got it right
For the ninth time since 1997, House Democrats proposed and House Republicans have blocked a stand-alone minimum-wage increase. Indiana Senators Evan Bayh and Dick Lugar both voted in support of this bill; however, the 52-46 vote was eight short of the 60 needed for approval. One day earlier, House Republican leaders made clear their intention to not allow a vote on the issue, as they feared it might actually pass.
Republicans often contend that minimum-wage jobs are primarily held by teenagers, or are merely "entry-level" jobs. While those classifications may sometimes fit, the reality is that many of these jobs are the only source of income for poorer and diasadvantaged families. At the current rate of $5.15 per hour, a full-time worker would earn a paltry $10,700 annually, or $6,000 below the poverty line. An increase to $7.25, stepped in over a two-year period would greatly ease the stress on these families without significant impact on business.
The conservatives continue to align with business interests that oppose any increase in the federal wage floor. They also generally support undocumented alien workers. Why wouldn't they? Their very souls are owned by corporate America, which thrives on making huge profits on the backs of the poor and working classes. The cent always holds more value than the citizen with these folks.
The progressive beleives in organized labor, and the rights of all workers to collectively bargain for their greater good. To fight to retain a fair wage and a decent standard of living for all workers. To ensure that adjustments are made to allow for inflation and the cost of living. To insist on adequate health insurance, family benefits, and secure retirement-plan options. To hold the corporations accountable for all of these rights, and to guarantee that all hard-working Americans are treated fairly by their employers.
I fully support a corporation's right to make a profit. As long as it's made after it's employees have been paid a fair day's wage and benefits. That's the true American way. Make a quality product or perform a quality service, and adequately compensate your people for those results.
CEO's making millions while workers are laid off, and profits turn into losses. . .I'm not quite sure what that should be labeled, but it doesn't fit my idea of the American way.
Terror Alert Level raised to. . .PBR?
No less than thirty-five guests at the Swan Lake Resort, in Plymouth, were evacuated from their rooms early Monday due to a local terror alert. At 12:30 AM, a bartender, who may have been sampling his own wares, alerted police to a suspicious red blinking light in the window of the Sam Snead restaurant in the resort.
Within 30 minutes of removing these weary travelers from their rooms, police determined that the "bomb" was part of a Pabst Blue Ribbon window-sign which was suction-cupped to the establishment's window. No reports of anyone suing Pabst, Swan Lake, or the bartender at the time of this report. . .
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Yikes! Another year racked up!
Yes, it's official! At exactly 9:01 AM (PST) tomorrow, I will celebrate 42 years on this great blue sphere that we all call home. Many of you have been cordially invited to a celebration of this event on Saturday. For those of you whom I don't know so well as of yet, please feel free to dispense your birthday greetings and words of advice regarding my advancing years! Remember to be kind to this old fool, as I have quite a large striking range with my cane!
As Frank so eloquently stated "Regrets? I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention. ." I love my family, I love what I do to support them, and I can't complain about my friends. I'm a lucky guy. Life has treated me quite kindly, despite my rants and moods from time to time. I thank all of you, old friends and new, for sharing my world with me. May you all be blessed with the things that are best for you and yours.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Lamont still gaining traction against Lieberman
Bush's best (Dem?) pal ,Joe Lieberman, might be better off skipping the Democratic Primary and running as an Independent this November. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey of the Primary Election shows Lieberman leading challenger Ned Lamont by just six percentage points, 46% to 40%. These are stunningly low numbers for an incumbent Democrat in this extremely blue state.
These results should be viewed as a clear sign that Lamont is gaining traction. The last survey found Lamont at the 31% level of support (that itself was a stunning figure at the time).
Still, some caution is in order. The sample is very small (218) meaning the margin of sampling error is very large (nearly 7 percentage points). Additionally, determining Likely Voters for a Primary is one of the most challenging tasks in the polling business. It is worth noting that the most likely of the Likely Voters were a bit more inclined to support Lamont than the overall sample.
In the General Election, Lieberman wins handily as either a Democrat or an Independent.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Souder disrespects Burmese community
Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was honored today during the second annual Aung San Suu Kyi Day at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. I should correct that statement; She was honored by most of the scheduled guests at today's event.
The following is excerpted from the June 15th edition of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:
"The program will include performances from a Burmese national singer, an African dance group and students from IPFW’s music department. U.S. Rep. Mark Souder, R-3rd, and Fort Wayne City Councilman Thomas Hayhurst, D-4th, will also be present. Souder is seeking re-election against Hayhurst."
This was well-publicized in the local Burmese community, and the Burmese people were excited to meet and hear from both men. However, according to a reliable source who was in attendance today, Mr.Souder cancelled at the very last minute via e-mail no less.
Tom Hayhurst kept his word and was there. He gave a short but supportive speech of the struggle for democracy in Burma as well as showing his respect for Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and heroine of Burmese democracy. He met with many Burmese, talked with them and demonstrated his appreciation and concern for their cause.
There are 3,000 Burmese in the Fort Wayne area, the largest number in the U.S. and a growing number of them are now citizens of this country. I am sure Mark Souder had a reason he could not attend, but Tom Hayhurst did attend, honored their culture and stayed to learn more.
Happy Father's Day
A picture of my Dad and I in 1965. . .Dad so big and strong and in charge, me an 11 month old, obviously happy with my life at that moment(Dad was only ONE year older than I am NOW in this picture). Safe in the arms of my Daddy, not knowing that these would turn out to be the best, safest, warmest, most-missed minutes of my entire life. It was my priviledge to know him, and yet my greatest loss to not appreciate him until he was lost to me forever. Thank you,Dad, for your fine example. If only I can fill one of your shoes I will die happy. My greatest regret is that your grand-daughters won't have the pleasure of being spoiled by you and Mom. You are both dearly missed!
Saturday, June 17, 2006
The Messiah of Morris Avenue
I highly recommend this recent Tony Hendra book. But don't take my word for it, listen to George Carlin's take on it:
"I was prepared for my usual serving of sharp Tony Hendra satire; I was not prepared for his sensitive and highly convincing exposition of the true teachings of Jesus Christ. I love this book." -George Carlin
Tony Hendra's Father Joe became a bestseller and a new classic of faith and spirituality--even for those not usually inclined. Now he's back with a novel set in a very reverent future where Church and State walk hand-in-hand. The story begins as Johnny Greco--a jaded journalist who nurses a few grudges along with his cocktails-stumbles onto a kindhearted young man named Jay who's driving around Jersey preaching radical notions like kindness, generosity, and forgiveness while tossing off a few miracles. The most ordinary of men, Jay is not the sort to impress the rich and powerful religious leaders who now rule America, but he touches the hearts of the poor and troubled in neighborhoods where the other kinds of Christians never seem to visit.
Johnny, who prides himself on being an unbeliever, finds himself inspired. But not in the way anyone might imagine: Using the tricks of his trade, he decides to write a news-making story about Jay's miracles that will rekindle his own career and transform the blue-jeaned, not-ready-for-prime-time savior into a figure to rival the Reverend James Sabbath, America's #1 holy warrior, whose church has become a powerful worldwide conglomerate. But as the reporter's plan starts taking effect, as Sabbath fumes and people across the country begin to ponder the notion that Jay might actually be the Second Coming, something truly strange begins to happen. Died-in-the-wool skeptic Johnny actually begins to believe in something. He finds his own life being transformed by the words of the humble man he has never truly taken seriously.
Hilarious and genuinely moving, The Messiah of Morris Avenue is an especially appealing entertainment that takes on some of the more controversial questions of our time in a funny, appealing, and thought provoking way. Tony Hendra brings to life a savior who reminds the world of the lessons of love and kindness that Jesus actually taught as he wittily skewers all sorts of sanctimoniousness on both sides of the political spectrum. Writing with heart, a sharp eye, and a passionate frustration with those who feel they hold a monopoly on God, Hendra has created a novel that reminds us of the miraculousness of ordinary men and the unfailing power of genuine faith.
Learn more about this book at it's home website.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Daddy Flip-Flop (Or, I love my daughter when it's CONVENIENT)
So, Vice President Dick Cheney, loving father of a lesbian, is flying to Minnesota to help Michele Bachmann, the highly outspoken enemy to gay marriage and gay civil rights, raise money for her bid for the U.S. Congress. What makes me so spitting mad is that I cannot decide whether irony or pandering has the upper hand here.
Remember, this is the same schmuck who thanked John Kerry for his comments about his daughter during the 2004 debates, then turned on him the following day for making those same remarks. Pick a side, and stick with it. You can't have it both ways; either you support your daughter or you don't. I'm a father of two daughters, and I love them unconditionally. Whether they turn out straight or gay is not an issue. THEY ARE MY CHILDREN and I LOVE THEM. They make their own choices and I will support their right to decide for themselves. That's my job as a parent; I will teach my children my personal beliefs, but also let them know that it's okay to reach their own conclusions about our world, whether we agree or not. That is their God-given right.
Read the entire column here.
Pity the conservative rock fan. So many musicians are ganging up on the president. Bruce Springsteen is on tour playing protest songs. The Dixie Chicks just put out an album with a song that finds them standing firm against President Bush. And the Rolling Stones last year released a song calling the president a hypocrite.
But to prove there is still some music for conservative rockers, National Review has published a list of the 50 greatest conservative rock songs. John J. Miller, who compiled the list, explains the criteria: "The lyrics must convey a conservative idea or sentiment, such as skepticism of government or support for traditional values. And, to be sure, it must be a great rock song."
At the top of the list is the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," which Miller calls a theme song for "disillusioned revolutionaries" who've forsaken their naive idealism. Also in the top 10 are "Wouldn't It Be Nice" by the Beach Boys (for its pro-abstinence and -marriage message), "Gloria" by U2 and "Revolution" by the Beatles. Other selections include songs by Bob Dylan ("Neighborhood Bully"), David Bowie ("Heroes") and John Mellencamp ("Small Town").
Not surprisingly, liberal rock fans weren't going to concede these tunes without a fight. After the list was posted online late last month, liberal blogs quickly lighted up with outrage and offered song deconstructions...
...Even the liberal bloggers admit that some of the songs do seem to have a conservative bent. Take, for instance, the Ben Folds Five song "Brick," which tells of a young man's regret and heartbreak over taking his girlfriend to get an abortion.
But on others, Miller seems to have read the lyrics rather selectively. His expanded list includes "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)" by Cracker, included for its line about the world having more than enough folk singers, apparently a notoriously liberal lot. But the song also includes the lines: "Cause what the world needs now / is a new Frank Sinatra / so I can get you in bed." That would seem to contradict the pro-abstinence message that Miller so admires in "Wouldn't It Be Nice."
Read entire article here.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Rios Trial cost estimated at $338,500
These are some expenses Allen Superior Court expects to incur during the Simon Rios murder trial:
♦ $42,000 in translation services
♦ $125,000 for public-defender expenses
♦ $47,840 for hotel expenses for the sequestered jury
♦ $27,000 for jurors’ meals
♦ $38,000 for court reporter expenses
(All figures are estimates.)
For those of you who live outside of the Fort Wayne area, I'll explain this bastard's transgessions as *I* interpret them. He may be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, however, I am not a lawyer, judge or jurist and my opinions are just that. . .my opinions.
Simon Rios abused nearly every trust that one can imagine. He used the safe and familiar faces of father, husband, and neighbor to mask the evil that lurked inside of him. The following is what I beleive occurred last December here in the Summit City. . .
Rios had taken a perverse interest in Alejandra Gutierrez, a 10 year-old friend of his daughter Liliana. Alejandra would have no reason to fear her neighbor, her friend's father, and it was easy enough for Rios to coax her into his van. Any number or ploys or stories would suffice when dealing with a 10 year-old girl who knows you by the above roles only; Lord knows what ruse he employed, the end remains the same. Alejandra was abducted, violently raped , and ultimately murdered. . .her small lifeless body discarded like an old tire, in a ravine 50 miles away from her home.
Several days later, police were called to the Rios home in South Central Fort Wayne, and made the gruesome discovery of the cold-blooded murders of Rios's wife, Ana Casas and daughters Thannya, 1, Liliana, 10, and Kathy, 4. Rios was arrested for the murder of his entire family, but was not immediately connected to Alejandra's murder (disappearance at that time).
Hopefully, we'll get the full truth at the upcoming trial, but here are my thoughts: Either Rios had made advances to Alejandra in the past (which discredits my trust theory) and she had confided this to Liliana, or Rios let something slip in front of his family. Either way, somebody was going to talk. . .and something had to be done about that.
I cannot even begin to fathom abusing a little girl's trust for a few minutes of "pleasure" and then taking her life and discarding her like a gum wrapper, let alone killing your entire family to keep them from talking about it. I don't think this guy deserves a $338,500 trial, but maybe that's just me. Bullets average fifty-cents each, and they're probably cheaper in Mexico, where his victims were laid to rest. Did I mention that Rios is an illegal alien?
Rather than spend $125,000 of public money on his defense alone, let alone over $300k for the whole shebang, extradite his sorry ass back to Mexico to stand trial. I'm pretty damned sure that the trial would be shorter and cheaper and would result in Rios becoming a pinata in the local town square. . .
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
The Ugly American
As Bush's assault on Iraq continues for a fourth year, the global image of America has slipped even further than his ratings,according to a new global opinion poll. Even people in countries closely allied with the United States have expressed their disapproval.
Favorable views of the United States dropped sharply over the past year in Spain, where only 23 percent now say they have a positive opinion, down from 41 percent in 2005. And in Britain, Washington's closest ally in the Iraq war, positive views of America have remained in the mid-50's in the past two years, down sharply from 75 percent in 2002.
Other countries where positive views dropped significantly include India (56 percent, down from 71 percent since 2005); Russia (43 percent, down from 52 percent); and Indonesia (30 percent, down from 38 percent). In Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, only 12 percent said they held a favorable opinion, down from 23 percent last year.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Thoughts From Within
A thought-provoking flash presentation on the state of our world today.
(BIG hat-tip to B.Shilliday @ Left of Center for this one!)
Can you hear me NOW?
Can YOU hear this ringtone?
Students are using a new ring tone to receive messages in class. . .and many teachers can't even hear the ring.
Some students are downloading a ring tone off the Internet that is too high-pitched to be heard by most adults. With it, high schoolers can receive text message alerts on their cell phones, often used to pass test answers, without the teacher knowing.
As people age, many develop what's known as aging ear , a loss of the ability to hear higher-frequency sounds.
The ring tone is a spin-off of technology that was originally meant to repel teenagers , not help them. A Welsh security company developed the tone to help shopkeepers disperse young people loitering in front of their stores while leaving adults unaffected. The company called their product the "Mosquito."
Donna Lewis, a teacher in Manhattan, says her colleague played the ring for a classroom of first-graders and all of them could hear it, while the adults couldn't hear anything.
A Poem for my fellow morning people
I woke early one morning,
The earth lay cool and still
When suddenly a tiny bird
Perched on my window sill,
He sang a song so lovely
So carefree and so gay,
That slowly all my troubles
Began to slip away.
He sang of far off places
Of laughter and of fun,
It seemed his very trilling,
Brought up the morning sun.
I stirred beneath the covers
Crept slowly out of bed,
Then gently shut the window
And crushed his f*cking head.
I'm not a morning person.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
National KOS Convention
I wasn't aware that this convention was happening at the same time as my trip to Vegas until just before. Since we weren't registered, we couldn't access the actual event, but I was able to make it right to the doorway of the hall to look in and listen a bit. This thing was HUGE; it took up several large rooms at the Riviera that had been combined into one large hall. A nice report from the NYT (Full linkage at the end):
LAS VEGAS — If any more proof were needed of the rising influence of bloggers — at least for the Democratic Party — it could be found here on Friday on the Las Vegas Strip, where the old and new worlds of American politics engaged in a slightly awkward if mostly entertaining clash of a meeting.
They may think of themselves as rebels, separate from mainstream politics and media. But by the end of a day on which the convention halls were shoulder to shoulder with bloggers, Democratic operatives, candidates and Washington reporters, it seemed that bloggers were well on the way to becoming — dare we say it? — part of the American political establishment. Indeed, the convention, the first of what organizers said would become an annual event, seems on the way to becoming as much a part of the Democratic political circuit as the Iowa State Fair.
Excerpted from a NYT story.
And even more (video as well).
Barry Welsh meet-up
Robyn and David Honig are hosting a meet-up for Barry Welsh on June 24, from 4 to 6 pm. Here's a bit about Barry from his campaign website:
Barry Welsh is running as a Democratic candidate for the 6th Congressional District of the State of Indiana. He is a life-long resident of Eastern Indiana. He attended Tri Jr. Sr. High School, where he set the football rushing record, Ball State University, and United Theological Seminary, in Dayton. He is now in a continuing course of study at The University of Indianapolis.
Barry was born in Rushville, grew up in Spiceland and now lives in Laurel, where he is in his eighth year as the pastor of the Laurel United Methodist Church.
The Laurel UMC’s commitment to serving the poor in their area through their food bank has bolstered Barry’s compassion for the most vulnerable of Hoosiers. "Nobody likes to be poor, nobody wants to admit that they are poor," said Welsh. Speaking about his decision to run for the 6th District Congressional seat, Barry said, "Seeing how the dignity of people is compromised by situations beyond their control is heart-wrenching and motivating."
Anyone who is interested in attending this event, or would like more information can go to his events calendar and click on the fundraiser by Robyn and David Honig, to read more about it and to register.
David also has campaign cartoons available at his blog.
Was I intimidated by this big ol' slot machine? Nah. . .we were on our way out of Ballys, and Stan just had to plug a dollar into this behemoth. Alas, no payout. . .I seriously thought these "just for fun" monsters never really paid out. But I had a dollar in my pocket too, so. . .I gave her a pull. Fortunately enough, Stan had grabbed the camera just in case anything like the following picture actually happened. I had turned my back on the machine and was surprised when everyone began yelling.
Twenty bucks from a $1 investment. . .not too damned shabby!
Saturday, June 10, 2006
ATTENTION N.E. INDIANA BLOGGERS!
Our beloved representative, Mark Souder, dealt a blow to Internet freedom on Thursday. As millions of us raised our voices to defend the free and open Internet, Internet operators like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast spent millions lobbying the House of Representatives to kill Net Neutrality. A majority of the House members caved—voting for a telecommunications law that would give these companies more control over what you see and do online.
All eyes are now on the Senate, which considers this issue next. We face a more friendly environment there, but we've got to act fast—the telecom lobbyists are working on every vote.
Can you call Rep. Souder to express your outrage, and then call Senators Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh to demand support for Net Neutrality?
Here are the numbers:
Congressman Mark SouderPhone: 202-225-4436
Senator Richard LugarPhone: 202-224-4814
Senator Evan BayhPhone: 202-224-5623
Tell our Senators to protect Net Neutrality by supporting the bipartisan Snowe-Dorgan Internet Freedom Preservation Act (S. 2917).Now, more than ever, it is time for the Internet to fight back to save itself. By calling your Senator, you are helping to make that happen.
P.S. After you call Rep. Souder and Senators Lugar and Bayh, are you still outraged?The best way to fight back after calling Congress is to help expand the reach of our coalition. Ask 5 friends to join our fight for Internet freedom by signing our petition to Congress:
If you are active in local organizations, ask them to join our coalition at:
Friday, June 09, 2006
The north end of "The Strip", in front of the Stratosphere Tower. We went up in the tower today, but wimped out on going on the "rides' at the top. You can hang in a circular car that rides to the top of the needle,then drops back down. That one is obviously pretty tame, but the other two. . .well, I have some pictures here somewhere. Did I mention that this thing is 112 stories tall??
More later . . .
Greetings From Sin City
Hi everyone! Vay-cay blogging from live in Lost Wages! Had a great flight in, non-stop and uneventful. We're jetlagging something fierce and didn't do much this evening other'n roam the strip and hit the slots. I look forward to hitting some tables tomorrow night when I'm a bit fresher.
I can't beleive how many things have changed here over the last two years! Apparently, the local custom is to tear down anything that's a few years old and build something bigger and grander... I'll attempt to post some of the pics we took tomorrow.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
A Brief Vacation. . .
We're off for a three-day stay in Las Vegas tomorrow. I'll have the laptop and will check in when I have a few minutes, maybe post some pictures. . .
Wish me luck! I think I may try my hand at blackjack this time around. Last time I stuck to the cheap slots, but I'm feeling a bit adventurous. ;)
Thanks, Ann Coulter
(By columnist Tom D'Antoni)
Thanks, Annie! Keep up the good work.
Every time you open your mouth you put another Republican out of business. You are the poster child, the personification, the pure essence of Republicanism.
Orrin Hatch, after the defeat of the Gay Hatred Amendment today, asked Ted Kennedy if he thought that 49% of the American public were bigots.Ted can't say yes, but I can.
That's why we need more Ann Coulter on national TV. Please let her open her mouth and spew hatred and dishonesty. I welcome it. The more she talks the more quickly the demise of the Republican party.
For all of Rush and O'Reilly's lies and distortions, even they don't go as far as she does.
Her Today appearance might be the last straw, but maybe not. What else could she say after making fun of widows. WIDOWS! And 9/11 widows besides.
That's like something a political humorist would write as the next logical but ridiculous statement she might say. What's left?
She comes out against victims of child rape, telling them to stop whining.
She says Adolph Eichmann was only following orders, telling Jews to stop kvetching.
She says Martin Luther King asked for it.
See what I mean? I can see her saying those things.
Big Annie is a national treasure. She has helped define Republicans as cruel bigots, haters whose evil is unsurpassed in American life. It's not something I made up. It's something she brays and sprays every time she opens her mouth.
Keep talking, girl.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Bayh & Lugar dismiss Marriage Ammendment
Indiana Senators Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar have both declared their intent to vote against the proposed 28th Amendment to the U.S.Constitution which would institute a federal level ban on gay marriage. Although it is likely a safe political position for both men, I am encouraged by their stance against this desperate election-year ploy by the dwindling members of the far-right. These individuals seem to subscribe to state'e rights or federal precedent depending on how well it supports their own personal beliefs. Beliefs that they are all too often trying to ram down the throats of people who disagree with their views.
Forty five states already have laws or constitutional amendments that forbid same-sex marriage, and Congress legislated that states may ignore other state's same-sex marriage laws a decade ago. The Supreme Court hasn't thus far ruled on whether or not any of these actions are legal.
Bush urged the Senate to approve this measure to "strengthen families, not undermine them. Changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure". Just ignore that near 50% failure rate of traditional heterosexual marriages in America today. Maybe we should work on the underlying causes of that before we attempt to refuse legal union rights to homosexuals who often show greater fidelity rates than their straight peers, without experiencing the devastating effects of divorce, financially and to children.
Advocates of the amendment are nowhere near the 60 votes needed to block a filibuster, let alone the 67 needed to pass the Senate. Indeed, lawmakers from both parties have decried this as a waste of time, noting issues of far greater importance that should be acted upon, but are being ignored or placed father down on the agenda due to issues such as this one. It should be noted that Congressmen Mark Souder (IN-3rd) and Mike Pence (IN-6th) fully support this amendment. If one truly belives in smaller government and the rights of individuals to make their own choices, I present to you two candidates who share your beliefs:
In the IN-3rd District: Dr.Thomas Hayhurst
In the IN-6th District: Rev.Barry Welsh
And please continue to support Mr.Bayh for being on the correct side of this issue, regardless of motive or political posturing.
UPDATE!! And thanks for NOTHING, DICK. . .
International Dining Etiquette
How are your international table manners? Test yourself via this Flash ShockWave quiz:
Don't Gross Out the World
(I got 8 out of 11 correct, mostly by guessing!)
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -- George Orwell
Monday, June 05, 2006
Fort Wayne Police Salaries in Top 20 Nationally
According to a report by the 2006 PolicePay Index, Fort Wayne officers salaries rank 19th out of the 200 largest cities in the nation when adjusted for the local cost of living.
From the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette:
"The 2006 PolicePay Index ranks Fort Wayne Police Department salaries in the top 20 out of the largest 200 American cities. Although Fort Wayne officers are paid slightly below the national average, their wages are 17 percent higher than average because of the low local cost of living, the report said.
“The compensation is pretty good, but when you look at the cost of living – that’s what bumped Fort Wayne up,” PolicePay Index editor Matt Barnard said.
Fort Wayne officer pay ranks 109th when the cost of living isn’t factored in. But when that is included, the salary rank jumps 90 places to 19th – well above the other Indiana cities on the list. Evansville came in at 110 and Indianapolis at 114 when calculated against the cost of living."Although pay level is but one factor in choosing a career path, it can make a large difference in recruitment of new officers. Smaller departments, such as Allen County ($35k) and New Haven ($32k) can't match the starting salary ($40k) that Fort Wayne offers. In addition, the smaller departments just can't match other benefits that Fort Wayne is able to offer such as a pension that pays 70 percent of an officer’s salary upon retirement.
More from the Journal Gazette:
"Beside size and budget, one factor that separates salaries for Fort Wayne Police Department officers from those of other local police is collective bargaining, Fort Wayne City Attorney Tim Mangus said. The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association spent months negotiating its current contract with city officials.
Sweet said collective bargaining gives Fort Wayne Police Department officers a step up in requesting – and receiving – higher salaries.
Like Fort Wayne, many city police departments saw a great deal of movement in pay rankings between straight pay and an adjustment for cost of living.
California cities, when the cost of living isn’t factored in, dominate the top 25. Irvine, Calif., for example, ranks 17th for paying its officers. But it ranks 141st with the cost of living included.
Texas cities – Austin, Plano, Lubbock, Corpus Christi, Dallas and Fort Worth – are in the top 25 because of competitive pay and a relatively low cost of living, Barnard said.
Midwestern cities also tend to pay their police forces pretty well."
Houston, we have a problem!
Blogrolling.com is apparently down for some unknown reason, thus my links to other blogs are down as well. Hopefully a short-term problem. If not I'll paste it all back in manually.
UPDATE 06:10 AM : It's back.
Jack wakes up with a huge hangover the night after a business function.
He forces himself to open his eyes and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins next to a glass of water on the side table. And, next to them, a single red rose!
Jack sits up in bed and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed.
Jack looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotlessly clean. So is the rest of the house. He takes the aspirins, cringes when he sees a huge black eye staring back at him in the bathroom mirror and notices a note on the table:
"Honey, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to go shopping - Love you!!"
He stumbles to the kitchen and sure enough, there is hot breakfast and the morning newspaper. His son is also at the table, eating. Jack asks, "Son...what happened last night?"
"Well, you came home after 3 am, drunk and out of your mind. You broke the coffee table, puked in the hallway and got that black eye when you ran into the door."
So, why is everything in such perfect order, so clean, I have a rose and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?"
His son replies, "Oh, THAT!...Mom dragged you to the bedroom and when she tried to take your pants off, you screamed, "Leave me alone, bitch, I'm married!!!".
Broken table - $200
Hot breakfast - $5
Red Rose bud - $3
Two aspirins - $0.25
Saying the right thing, at the right time... PRICELESS!
Religious Philosophy Test
As with the first one of these tests that I blogged about, "I blame CoffBigPlz"!
|You are a Self-Discoverer|
Sunday, June 04, 2006
New Sidebar Link
I'm pleased to announce that we have joined Indiana Blogwire. You will find their feed on the sidebar to your left, just after the most recent visitors box. This service reads and compiles recent posts of local interest from progressive blogs all over the state of Indiana.
I've also recently added feeds from Media Matters and The Smirking Chimp. These two feeds are located further down the same sidebar as Indiana Blogwire. I offer these alternative news sources to enhance your experience here at Left in Aboite. If you find them useful, good! If not, we now return to your regularly scheduled program . .
Results from the second annual GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test announced last week suggest that licensed Americans lack basic driving skills and knowledge and exhibit alarming behaviors on the road. The study revealed that one in eleven drivers – nearly 18 million people – would fail a state drivers test. Furthermore, the study shows drivers deliberately disregard pedestrians and treat driving as the new “down time,” where they catch up on the day’s activities, diverting their attention from the road.
The startling results come one year after GMAC Insurance first set out to gauge the knowledge of the American driving public, when licensed drivers were administered 20 questions found on a typical DMV written drivers test. The 2006 findings indicate drivers still do not have adequate knowledge of basic rules of the road, and they exhibit bad habits behind the wheel. For the second year in a row, Oregon drivers ranked highest on the test, with an average score of 91 percent (70 percent or higher is required to pass a standard drivers test), and Rhode Island ranked lowest, with an average score of 75 percent.
I got all of them right; how will YOU do?Take the test for yourself HERE.
Nova M Radio
In April of 2006, the NY Times announced that Nova M Radio had started its first radio station broadcast in Phoenix, Arizona. Shelly and Anita Drobny, the co-founders of Air America Radio founded Nova M Radio as the second leg of their goal to bring liberal talk radio to communities that do not presently have Air America Radio.
Further information about Nova M Radio can be gotten at www.novamradio.com. The following appeared recently in Arkansas Time Daily Blog:
ARKANSAS TIME DAILY BLOG
Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 11:52:38
Air America arrives in Arkansas
Air America radio will begin broadcasting in Central Arkansas on Monday with appearances by former president Bill Clinton and retired general Wesley Clark.
The national network broadcast will be carried by Little Rock-based KXDE 1380am, which Nova M Radio recently acquired through LMA with an option to purchase.
"We're about giving people another voice to hear," said Nova M's president and CEO Anita Drobny in a telephone interview today. "We want people to digest, compare, discuss, and have an open forum."
Nova M is buying stations around the nation to carry the Air America feed, and the move into Arkansas is part of its "quest to be as spread out as possible," according to Drobny.
Air America, which started in March 2004 broadcasting in only three U.S. cities, bills itself as a liberal alternative to conservative talk radio, which dominates national airwaves. The Arkansas station will be close to the 100th Air America affiliate nationwide, and Drobny calls the network's expansion "the biggest rollout of a network since CNN."
Its Arkansas debut on Monday will feature Clinton and Clark as guests on both the Al Franken Show (which airs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and the Randi Rhodes Show (2 p.m. to 5 p.m.).
Saturday, June 03, 2006
The Convention Hall at the Hyatt Indy.
3rd District Chair Steve Haines.
80th District Rep. candidate Phil Giaquinta
Secretary of State candidate Joe Pearson
Delegate Maria Parra
Delegate Kevin Boyd
First Report from Indy
Actually, a rather uneventful evening. The only 3rd District Dem that we encountered was our local chair, but he is hard to miss. He also would appreciate the humor in that statement. I must add that the 9th District team knows how to party! Everybody flocked to the 19th floor to share their hospitality.
Before I continue this report, major thanks to Robert for bringing this awesome laptop and to Omni Hotels for th WI-FI hookup.
I was disappointed to find that I wasn't listed in the official program as a delegate, but I was added to the list at the last minute, and I'm on the list to receive credentials later this morning. Alot of things kick off at 8 AM, however our presence isn't actually required until 10 AM. The official stuff doesn't happen until noon. . .
Friday, June 02, 2006
Robert Rouse and I are just leaving for the Democratic State Convention in Indy. We'll report on this experience sometime tomorrow. Behave yourselves in my absence. . =)
THIS JUST IN!!
June 2, 2006 -- A White House source, speaking on background, vehemently denied to WMR that there are marital problems between President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush over a reported extramarital affair between Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. However, two mainstream media sources have confirmed that their sources also have reported an ongoing affair between Mr. Bush and Rice.
The mainstream media is hamstrung in reporting stories about Bush's personal life. For example, in 2001, the media highlighted Bush's comments about his passing out from choking on a pretzel while watching a football game in the White House. In reality, Bush, who claims he gave up drinking years ago, passed out from being inebriated. Washington's movers and shakers knew the story about Bush's drinking but the media studiously avoided it.
Uncomfortable travel mates: Laura Bush and Condoleezza Rice at Jan. 16, 2006 inauguration of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Monrovia.
June 1, 2006 -- UPDATED -- Rocky shoals for Bush marriage? Informed sources Inside the Beltway report that First Lady Laura Bush has established temporary residence in the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC as a result of a tiff with President Bush over an extramarital relationship involving her husband. Mr. Bush's tryst is said to involve Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It is not known how long Mrs. Bush plans to remain at the Mayflower, however, her security detail has been present at the hotel during hours when the First Lady would normally be residing in the White House. While she was National Security Adviser, Rice, who has never been married, referred to George W. Bush as "my husband" before she corrected herself and said, "President. Bush" Rice was speaking at a dinner hosted by New York Times bureau chief Philip Taubman when she made her "husband" remarks.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
More on the "Theft of 2004"
LONG-DISTANCE BURGER ORDERS
by Jim Hightower
Okay, corporate America is shipping our manufacturing, high-tech, and professional-service jobs off to Lowwagehellistan – but at least they can't send our fast-food jobs away, right? After all, these require face-to-face dealings with customers, so surely they're safe.
Well... not exactly. Pull into the drive-through lane at a McDonald's, Hardee's, or Carl's Jr., and there's a chance that the friendly voice on the intercom saying, "Do you want fries with that?" is not inside the building – or anywhere near your town. Unbeknownst to customers, these fast-food chains are testing a new computerized system that centralizes order-takers in far away call centers.
Pull up to the burger window in Mississippi or Honolulu, for example, and the voice saying, "Would you like to supersize your drink?" is likely to belong to one of 125 order-takers working out of the Bronco call center in Santa Maria, California. They take your order from a couple of thousand miles away, then zap it back to your local burger flipper via the Internet.
Why? To cut labor, of course. By centralizing the process, order-taking can be regimented, sped up, and closely monitored. Each call-center worker, who is paid only $6.75 an hour with no benefits, takes up to 95 orders an hour – one-and-half per minute! As Bronco's big boss puts it: "Their job is to be fast on the mouse." Charming. Software constantly tracks the worker's speed – and even in their break room, a computer screen ticks off the number of minutes each one has been away from their station.
There are a couple of pluses to the job, however. Order-takers don't have to wear a uniform and one of those silly paper hats, and they don't go home smelling like hamburgers.
This is Jim Hightower saying... At least these call center jobs are in America – but how long before they're shipped offshore, where an order-taker can be had for a dollar or two a day?