Monday, February 28, 2005

That Wacky Washington Times

You can't make shit like this up:
Any parent with a child in a public school has likely discovered our education system is little more than a means by which liberals indoctrinate children with socialist ideology.
[...]
Take the "community box," for instance. How many elementary school kids across the country show up the first day of school, only to have their brand-new supplies pilfered by their teacher and thrown into one big box, to be distributed henceforth as said teacher sees fit? (Karl Marx also had very little regard for private property rights.) Or how about "cooperative learning" methods of instruction? I use quotation marks to point out how impossible it usually is to get kids to cooperate or learn when they sit in groups a pencil length from their neighbors. But if a teacher is blessed with darling little angels who would never think of misbehaving, students who have "more" knowledge are regularly expected to help those with "less." (How's that saying go again? "From each according to his ability.")
Ever heard of social promotion? This egalitarian concept is standard procedure at most public schools, where students are promoted from one grade to the next regardless of academic aptitude. It practically takes an act of Congress to retain failing students these days, lest we give them the impression they are responsible for their accomplishments.
When the revolution comes we'll be able to thank our public schools.

Terrible News from Iraq

Just awful:
In the deadliest single insurgent attack of the Iraq war, a suicide car bombing killed 125 people Monday in Hilla where police recruits were waiting to get physicals, Iraqi government and health officials said.

The attack wounded more than 150 others when the car bomb detonated outside a government office, the officials said.

Chris Rock

I greatly enjoyed Chris Rock at the Oscars last night, and I loved his bit on Bush. Very to the point, and yet it was funny enough that it'll only piss off the extreme right wingers. That's the way to do it.

Quote of the Day

"If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking." Lyndon B. Johnson

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Randomness

I saw my first freeway blogging yesterday, either on 670E or 270, I can't remember. It said something about keeping church and state seperate. Kudos to you anonymous Columbus freeway blogger.

While in a Barnes and Noble I saw a book entitled "The Bible for Dummies". That's just way too easy.

I bought this book and this book while out, and Battle Royale is pretty good, although hyper-violent.

Could Peter Bronson be any more of an embarassment?

No, no he couldn't.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Peter Benenson Dead

From CNN:
Peter Benenson, the founder of the trailblazing human rights group Amnesty International, has died, the group has announced.

Benenson, who was 83, started the human rights group in 1961. He died Friday night.

At first, the group was started "a one-year campaign for the release of six prisoners of conscience," according to a news released on the Amnesty Web site.
[...]
"That appeal attracted thousands of supporters, and started a worldwide human rights movement.

"The catalyst for the original campaign was Mr. Benenson's sense of outrage after reading an article about the arrest and imprisonment of two students in a cafe in Lisbon, Portugal, who had drunk a toast to liberty," the Web site said.

" From there came a worldwide movement for human rights and in its midst an international organization -- Amnesty International -- which has taken up the cases of many thousands of victims of human rights violations and inspired millions to human rights defense the world round."
Amnesty International is the organization that started my interest in politics, and I think it's one of the most important institutions in the entire world. Benenson started something righteous and beautiful when he started Amnesty International, and I'm thankful for his work.

Amnesty International

Quote of the Day

Last of the Hunter tribute quotes:

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." -Hunter S. Thompson

Mahalo.

Friday, February 25, 2005

They Look so Normal ...

Sean Hannity now has a dating service on his website. Surprisingly most of the people look pretty normal, but they sound like raving lunatics.

Well except for this guy.

Also um, this guy:
I am a 49 year old truck driver. Divorced, one daughter, 18, looking for a LADY, 45 to 55 years old, no tatoos, no body piercings except ears, but most importantly NOT LIBERAL (lady and not liberal kind of go hand in hand, don't they?).
The upside is that at 49 the guy's unlikely to breed. Plus, you know, just look at him.

Heh:
I'm 41 and have never been married.
Wouldn't have guessed it.

Jackass:
I'm a Criminal Justice major with aspirations of being, you may want to sit down, a lawyer. CRIMINAL PROSECUTION ONLY!
[...]
I'm 6 feet tall, but I weigh a tad over 300 pounds.
[...]
I just think that it is my biggest handicap because so much of society is so superficial, most people just submit to that superficiality, and don't wait around to see that I'm really a nice person.
The party of personal responsibility ladies and gentleman. Full of fatasses.

What the fuck IS the matter with Kansas?

From the NY Times:
Attorney General Phill Kline, a Republican who has made fighting abortion a staple of his two years in the post, is demanding the complete medical files of scores of women and girls who had late-term abortions, saying on Thursday that he needs the information to prosecute criminal cases.
[...]
Advocates on both sides of the abortion issue said the broad investigation, backed by a judge's subpoena, is the first of its kind in pursuit of criminal charges, although the federal Justice Department has unsuccessfully sought similar records in its defense of a ban on a procedure sometimes used to end pregnancies after the first trimester that doctors call intact dilation and extraction and that critics call partial-birth abortion.
[...]
Mr. Kline's efforts to obtain records from abortion clinics follows his failed attempt last year to require the state's health workers to report any sexual activity of girls younger than 16, the age of legal consent in Kansas.
We seem to have a real live Nazi living in Kansas. How cute.

I wonder how Kansas is doing with retaining their youth once they hit that magical age of 18? I'm going to guess not real well. I wonder if they see the correlation between their youth flight and crazy shit like this. I hope Kansas continues to wither up and die if this is representative of the state.

More Hunter News

From CNN:
The widow of journalist Hunter S. Thompson said her husband killed himself while the two were talking on the phone.

"I was on the phone with him, he set the receiver down and he did it. I heard the clicking of the gun," Anita Thompson told the Aspen Daily News in Friday's editions.
[...]
Anita Thompson, 32, said her husband had discussed killing himself in recent months and had been issuing verbal and written directives about what he wanted done with his body, his unpublished works and his assets.

His suicidal talk put a strain on their relationship, she said.

"He wanted to leave on top of his game. I wish I could have been more supportive of his decision," she said. "It was a problem for us."

Jury Orders Wal-Mart to Pay $7.5 Million

Why does Wal-Mart hate people with cerebral palsy?
The plaintiff, 21-year-old Long Island resident Patrick Brady, suffers from cerebral palsy. According to the plaintiff's attorney Douglas Wigdor, Brady applied for a position in the pharmacy unit of a Wal-Mart store in Centereach, NY. and was hired in the summer of 2002.

But Brady, who worked for just four days before he quit, claimed he was soon reassigned to other responsibilities that included collecting garbage and shopping carts in the Wal-Mart parking lot
I love how CNN feels the need to toss in pure propoganda from Wal-Mart:
"We appreciate the service of the jurors, but disagree with their decision," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Christi Davis Gallagher told CNN. "We feel very strongly that Mr. Brady did not suffer discrimination in our store. Wal-Mart does not tolerate discrimination of any kind."

"As soon as Mr. Brady expressed dissatisfaction with his position, we transferred him to another position that he requested. Although the jury has reached a decision, we do not expect the court to enter a final judgment until we have the opportunity to establish how the jury was wrong. We are optimistic that the award will be substantially reduced or eliminated altogether," Gallagher said.
Way to be CNN, that's some excellent fair and balanced reporting you're doing there.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Quote of the Day

"We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws." - Hunter S. Thompson

SF Weekly Writer Infiltrates Hate Group

Hilarious.
I decide to infiltrate a white supremacist hate group by posing as an eager new recruit, a new hater, if you will. I want to put a face on extreme hate, to find out the hobbies of haters, what haters find hot and what haters find not. I want to learn what someone in a hate group really loooooooves. Ice cream? Everyone loves ice cream. I love ice cream. Maybe hate groups love ice cream, too?

Koufax Awards

I've spent a large part of the morning reading the Koufax Award Winners and discovering new blogs and reading great writing. Here are some of the terrific things I've read this morning:

Al Gore and the Alpha Girls by Jim Capozzola. Made all the more relevant by the fact that I saw this just last night.

Just Go by Riverbend. I remember reading this when she wrote it and wanting to cry. She does that to me alot.

If America Were Iraq, What Would it be Like? by Juan Cole.

The Rise of Pseudo-Fascism by Orcinus.

Crooked Timber a philosophical group blog.

Fafblog a brilliant humor blog:
Don't believe their filthy lies. Giblets saw the Good Doctor with his own two eyes just a few hours ago, heading north in the White Whale. He said he was headed up to heaven to shoot God. "The great bastard's in season and it's long overdue," the Godfather of Gonzo said as he dusted off his elephant gun. "I have full reason to believe they will award me both the head and the tail. Expect me back by the apocalypse." Good hunting, Doctor Thompson. You'll be missed.
Not many people could have pulled that off.

If only Kerry had listened ...

Poker with Dick Cheney. Brilliant.

Very good stuff, and great reading. I'll probably be adding a few new bloggers to my links.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

John Conyers

I'm consistently proud that John Conyers is from Ohio, and especially so today:
Today, Reps. John Conyers (Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee) and Louise Slaughter (Ranking Member, House Rules Committee) have asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to include Jeff Gannon/James Guckert in an investigation of "whether the Administration violated the ban on prepackaged news stories by siphoning print stories to James D. Guckert, also known as "Jeff Gannon."

Good for the Goose ...

Good for the gander:
After House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) did it in Texas, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) "has spoken with several Democratic governors in recent weeks about the possibility of revisiting their states’ Congressional lines in response to the ongoing Republican-led redistricting in Georgia," Roll Call reports.

"Democrats believe their best opportunities lie in Illinois, New Mexico and Louisiana, where Democrats have seized control of all the levers of state government in those states since the 2001 reapportionment and redistricting."

"Regardless of the tactics Democrats may eventually choose, what is clear is that redistricting is no longer simply a once-a-decade process but rather part of the ongoing struggle by both parties to make gains in the House."
This is the only way gerrymandering laws will ever be changed. Forgive me for sounding so Republican, but the only thing these bastards understand is force. We've come to a time when if it's legal and it benefits a progressive agenda then it must be done. Good for Rep. Hoyer for recognizing that.

Gannon Selling Domains

He sure seems to hate all this attention, doesn't he?
Four domain names that are associated with the latest White House propaganda scandal have been placed on the market.

The adult domains are registered to Bedrock Corp, the corporation tied to James Guckert, who is the reporter accused of being a propaganda tool for the White House. They have been parked at Afternic, an online domain broker.

Guckert’s two escort domains, militaryescorts.com and militaryescortsm4m.com, can be bought flat out for $7,500 each. The asking price for hotmilitarystud.com, his most popular domain in terms of traffic according to Afternic, doubles to $15,000.
Here are the links to the auctions:

Auction #1
Auction #2
Auction #3
Auction #4

Anything for a buck I guess. I'm sure we'll see a book before this is all over.

Quote of the Day

For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampeled. - Hunter S. Thompson

So Very Hunter

CNN:
The family is looking into whether Thompson's cremated remains can be blasted out of a cannon, a wish the gun-loving writer often expressed, Brinkley said.

"The optimal, best-case scenario is the ashes will be shot out of a cannon," he said.
A giant among men.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

New Minuteman

Unreal:
Intent on securing the vulnerable Arizona border from illegal immigrant crossings, U.S. officials are bracing for what they call a potential new threat this spring: the Minutemen.

Nearly 500 volunteers have already joined the Minuteman Project, anointing themselves civilian border patrol agents determined to stop the immigration flow that routinely, and easily, seeps past federal authorities. They plan to patrol a 40-mile stretch of the southeast Arizona border throughout April when the tide of immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border peaks.

"I felt the only way to get something done was to do it yourself," said Jim Gilchrist, a retired accountant and decorated Vietnam War veteran who is helping recruit Minutemen across the country.
Maybe these people should, I don't know, get a fucking life.

Other sources reported that Gilchrist's wife came up with the name for the group based on her personal experiences with her husband. /too easy?

Isn't vigilantism illegal? Wouldn't this qualify? I'd personally rather share a country with undocumented Mexican immigrants than these jackasses.

Quote of the day

"Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect." - Hunter S. Thompson

Gingrich

Newt Gingrich has been in the news quite a bit lately, commenting on Social Security and writing a new book called "WINNING THE FUTURE: A 21' Century Contract With America". The Republicans don't seem to have a strong candidate in 2008, and I'm beginning to think more and more that ol' Newt is positioning himself for a run. It's hard to tell what that means for Democrats, but it'd be foolish to dismiss the man. He certainly proved in '94 that he's a capable politician.

Steve Gilliard on HST

I've been reading all the HST tributes and this is the one that resonates:
Which is why Hunter Thompson was a hero. He was honest to a fault and mean to a fault. In a world where journalism has become about asking questions politely and fiction about settling grudges with parents and schoolmates, he was about something far more important.

Only Peter Bronson

Only Bronson would call Amnesty International an "outraged left-wing group".

I wonder what he thinks of the Red Cross? They're probably pinko commies in his eyes.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Rolling Stone on Sinclair

Great article on Sinclair Broadcasting:
"We're in the center," Smith insists, sitting in his fifth-floor executive suite. "Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the media is left of center. Paula Zahn or Peter Jennings or anybody who is attempting to pass himself off as reporting news -- they're not telling the whole story. Dan Rather wants you to believe that Saddam Hussein is a nice guy! There are two companies doing truly balanced news today: Sinclair and Fox."

Democratic Underground

This thread is a great example of how Democratic Underground hurts the left more than it helps. I very rarely posted there, and I only check in every now and again, but I think today was the last time.

Seven Cent Nickel - No Senate for Sherrod Brown

The Seven Cent Nickel is reporting that Sherrod Brown has ruled out a Senate run:
My sources are telling me that Sherrod Brown will not run for Senate.

While Sherrod loves his job in Washington, he'd rather not be forced to run a statewide campaign to return. The only way he'll run a statewide campaign is for the governor's mansion and that decision is still forthcoming.
Opens things up for Ted Strickland, and I'm eager to see him in a statewide race.

Time Magazine on Springer

From Time:
Now that he has set his sights on the Governor's mansion, Springer seems to have embarked on an image makeover. For years, Democratic leaders have urged him to start a radio talk show and distance himself from his TV persona. Springer did just that a month ago. For three hours a day, five days a week, on Cincinnati's WCKY-AM, Springer is talking about the object of his renewed passion: politics. "Republicans get elected on cultural issues," Springer says. "But if they ran on tax cuts for the wealthy or the end of Social Security, which is what they actually stand for, they'd lose."

Just about the only subject Springer avoids these days is his own political plans, though he sounds like a man who is spoiling for a fight. "Unless Democrats start redefining the debate," he says, "it doesn't much matter who runs because they'll continue to lose."
If Springer runs, I'm there. I might be hopelessly naive, but I think the guy could win. He's a very capable politician, and I think he's being wildly underestimated right now. That's not a bad position for Jerry, as I think he's shown before that he thrives as an underdog.

"Secret" Bush Tapes

From CNN:
Private conversations with George Bush secretly taped by an old friend before he was elected president foreshadow some of his political strategies and appear to reveal that he acknowledged trying marijuana, The New York Times has reported.

The conversations were recorded by Doug Wead, a former aide to George W. Bush's father, beginning in 1998, when Bush was weighing a presidential bid, until just before the Republican National Convention in 2000, the Times reported Saturday.
Could this be any more transparent? The tapes uncover virtually no dirt on Bush, and portray him in a 100% favorable light. If I was speaking I'd say this really slowly - this ... is ... not ... news.

Gannongate is news. This is not. This isn't bitchy Linda Tripp recording Monica. These tapes are pure propaganda, and every media outlet is breathlessly covering them.

Quote(s) of the Day

All from Hunter:

"Call on God, but row away from the rocks."

"I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me."

"No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master."

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."

"You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug, especially when its waving a razor sharp hunting knife in your eye."

"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."

RIP Hunter

God what a shame.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Jeff Gannon Writing in 2002

I just found a "Jeff Gannon" article that he wrote for an outfit called the Conservative Monitor back in 2002, called "The 2002 Election Mandate":
Finally, once and for all, the 2000 election of George W. Bush was confirmed. Had he been illegitimate in the mind of the voters, the Republicans would have been removed from power and the administration relegated to a secondary role to a Democratic-controlled Congress. But the result was very much the opposite.

Now that’s a mandate.
What a tool.

Ecstasy for US Soldiers?

From the Guardian:
American soldiers traumatised by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be offered the drug ecstasy to help free them of flashbacks and recurring nightmares.

The US food and drug administration has given the go-ahead for the soldiers to be included in an experiment to see if MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, can treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
I really have nothing to add, but I really get a queasy feeling when I think about the US government experimenting on US troops for any reason. Just seems like a bad idea.

Quote of the Day

Think about this when framing debates:

"A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights." Napoleon Bonaparte

Riverbend

Baghdad Burning has a new post:
It’s not about a Sunni government or a Shia government- it’s about the possibility of an Iranian-modeled Iraq. Many Shia are also appalled with the results of the elections. There’s talk of Sunnis being marginalized by the elections but that isn’t the situation. It’s not just Sunnis- it’s moderate Shia and secular people in general who have been marginalized.
[...]
We were seriously discussing this situation the other day with a friend. The subject of the veil and hijab came up and I confessed my fear that while they might not make it a law, there would be enough pressure to make it a requirement for women when they leave their homes. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well women in Iran will tell you it’s not so bad- you know that they just throw something on their heads and use makeup and go places, etc.” True enough. But it wasn’t like that at the beginning. It took them over two decades to be able to do that. In the eighties, women were hauled off the streets and detained or beaten for the way they dressed.

It’s also not about covering the hair. I have many relatives and friends who wore a hijab before the war. It’s the principle. It’s having so little freedom that even your wardrobe is dictated. And wardrobe is just the tip of the iceberg. There are clerics and men who believe women shouldn’t be able to work or that they shouldn’t be allowed to do certain jobs or study in specific fields. Something that disturbed me about the election forms was that it indicated whether the voter was ‘male’ or ‘female’- why should that matter? Could it be because in Shari’a, a women’s vote or voice counts for half of that of a man? Will they implement that in the future?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Good God People are Stupid

Doing some searching on Wal-Mart earlier and I came across this:
All I have to say is Congrats. We all knew this would happen, even before they had their union vote. As sorry as I am to see all those people lose their jobs, they voted for a union and thus must deal with the consequences.
I have worked for the company for almost 10 years and honestly see no need for a union
And some of the comments:
O_o I cant believe any store MADE it far enough like that to have a union. WHY is my question? Were they brainwashed? The concept is way outdated as it is, and Ive seen unions hear tear many things and people apart. People I guess get promised higher wages... so they can pay more in unions dues.

Personally, Im glad to see this. As hurtful as that is, they brought it upon themselves by voting on a union. Walmart needs to stand firm in its policies, like this, and show unions wont be tolerated. Otherwise otehrs might get ideas and it would have all down downhill form there. I just hope the other store mentioned in that article gets the same treatment.
[...]
As far as Unions go, "Wal-Mart is not Anti-Union, it is Pro-Associate."

I couldn't agree with that more whole-heartedly! Never have I seen a reason for a Union. Never have I needed more or less hours and not have a manager work with me on it. If I want more pay, I work for it or get promoted. It's a truly wonderful setup!
[...]
The way that Wal-Mart works, it doesn't need a union. They haven't made us think that unions are bad, not at all.

Unions are great, but in the right places. Wal-Mart is not the right place for a union. I'm a full-time employee with a Northern Ontario store and things run just fine without one. I get plenty of hours (always my guaranteed 28 hrs and more) and there are always chances for more if I want them.
[...]
I really enjoy my job, and i dont wanta union coming in and stealing my money
How can we even deal with people so misinformed? Education? I really feel for union organizers, they've got a damn tough job. Billion dollar corporations with essentially unlimited resources to brainwash their employees vs. a union with nothing but union dues to try to organize.

I've worked my fair share of menial shit jobs in the past five years, and I've worked at a couple that played the anti-Union video during orientation. Biggs, a grocery store chain in Cincinnati, and Blockbuster. They were so over the top as to be ridiculous and yet people seemed to eat it up. I really don't know what to do about people who are so willing to believe whatever their employer tells them, regardless of the inherent conflict of interests. It's almost surreal.

More Wal-Mart Fun

From CNN:
MISSOULA, Montana (Reuters) - Montana's state legislature is targeting the big-box megastores that have taken the place of the old Western general store, weighing a special tax to offset welfare costs for low-paid employees of the retailers.

A bill up for debate Tuesday calls for taxing retailers like Wal-Mart (Research), Target (Research) and Costco (Research) for each store with more than $20 million in sales.

State Sen. Ken Toole, D-Helena, the bill's sponsor, says Montana residents are tired of subsidizing big-box stores whose low prices -- and high profits -- depend on paying workers low wages.

"When you don't pay workers, they get public assistance," he said. "Guess who pays for that?
It'll be a damn good thing when more politicans start to realize that.

Dowd on Gannon

MD:
I am very impressed with James Guckert, a k a Jeff Gannon.

How often does an enterprising young man, heralded in press reports as both a reporter and a contributor to such sites as Hotmilitarystud.com, Workingboys.net, Militaryescorts .com, MilitaryescortsM4M.com and Meetlocalmen.com, get to question the president of the United States?

Who knew that a hotmilitarystud wanting to meetlocalmen could so easily get to be face2face with the commander in chief?

Quote of the Day

The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice.
--Mahatma Gandhi

Bush to Raise Taxes?

I guess now that there's not an election to be won it's not such a worry.
President Bush (news - web sites) is not ruling out raising taxes on people who earn more than $90,000 as a way to help fix Social Security (news - web sites)'s finances.
2008 is still a long time away, but I have to wonder what Bush's approval rating is going to look like after the next few years. If he keeps making moves like this I could see him dipping down into the thirties.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Craig Spence

Life is oftentimes stranger than fiction.
Spence was a conservative lobbyist during the Reagan-Bush years. The New York Times called him "Washington's ultimate power broker." He was also running a gay prostitution ring which employed adolescent boys. As perks of the job, he treated his boys to after-hour tours of the White House. In The Washington Times of August 9, 1989, Spence "hinted the tours were arranged by top level" persons, including Vice President Bush's National Security Advisor Donald Gregg, whose name also figures prominently in the October Surprise story. The paper added that "Spence, according to friends, was also carrying out homosexual blackmail operations for the CIA."

David McGowan writes that one of the White House tours "occurred just after Spence stopped by the Nightline studio to see his friend, Ted Koppel. Spence reportedly introduced Koppel to a 15-year-old boy, whom Koppel later claimed Spence had introduced as his son. Koppel though had been a close friend for over 20 years and surely knew that Spence did not have a teenage son."
Seriously, click the link and read the rest. Very interesting, very odd, and more than a little troubling.

Quote of the Day

"You have to understand the difference between free-market capitalism . . . and the kind of corporate crony capitalism where you have large corporations running our government. There's a name for that, and the name is fascism."
- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Church and State

I've been meaning to put a link up to this for awhile now. It details a military night at a local church where recruiting took place and other really quite disgusting things happened. The church in question is Porter Memorial Baptist, located in Kentucky. You can view their website here.

Someone's tax exempt status needs revoked.

Wal-Mart Sucks

I'm enjoying the anti-Wal Mart flavor that this blog has had the past few days, so I'll continue it today. Here is a story that details Wal-Mart's attempt to place a store right next door to a Union hall:
Friday was a historic day for the UAW. "White Shirt Day" is a time union members remembering the start of the union.

With that backdrop, some labor leaders may take action against the arrival of Wal-Mart in Grand Blanc Township.

The union hall for UAW Local 1292 is right next door to where they want to put a non-union Super Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.

Just this week, the company announced plans to close a store in Canada after workers welcomed a union. That event is helping to push the UAW into action.

Although 800 jobs could be created by the development anchored by a Super Wal-Mart and Sam's Club, likely none of those workers will belong to a union.

That infuriates some of the leadership of the UAW.
Here's what I don't get. Conservatives like to hold up Wal-Mart as a paragon of virtue, because they're just so damn capitalist, but at what point will Wal-Mart stop hurting itself with all the bad PR? You can't tell me the child labor infractions, the illegal immigrant hiring, and all the communities nationwide that have fought against Super Centers aren't seeping into the nation's conscience. And ask K-Mart how hard it is to change consumer's opinion once they start looking at your store less than favorably.

If Wal-Mart was really smart they wouldn't put themselves into so many political situations. But the Waltons are crazy right wingers so there's not much chance of that happening.

More on anti-free speech Ohio education bill

The Dispatch has more on the Education bill that aims to "prohibit instructors at public or private universities from "persistently" discussing controversial issues in class or from using their classes to push political, ideological, religious or anti-religious views."

Can we start referring to this as No Right Winger Left Behind?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Wal-Mart Violates Child Labor Laws

From the NY Times:
Wal-Mart Stores, the nation's largest retailer, has agreed to pay $135,540 to settle federal charges that it violated child labor laws in Connecticut, Arkansas and New Hampshire.

Labor Department officials said most of the 24 violations covered by the settlement involved workers under age 18 operating dangerous machinery, including cardboard balers and chain saws. In the agreement, Wal-Mart denied any wrongdoing.
Wow, that's a fine with some teeth to it. Wal-Mart made 7.6 billion in operating profits last year, which means it'll take them 9.4 minutes to make enough to pay this fine.

Harsh.

GannonGate

Good God. I really can't wait to see how the right try to spin this one.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Shiites Win Iraqi Election

From CNN:
The United Iraq Alliance, backed by Shiite Muslim Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, won a plurality of votes in the January 30 elections but fell short of an outright majority, the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq said Sunday.
Hooray. We've taken out the old secular regime and installed a fundamentalist Iran-like puppet government. I'm overwhelmed.

Supposedly there are around 14 million eligible voters, and there were 8.46 votes cast in the last election.

That means that about 60 percent of eligible Iraqis voted. About the same percentage of voters as America in 2004. Which is really strange because the Washington Times and the International Republican Institute told me before the election that "81.7 percent of [Iraqis] said they were "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to vote." Huh.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Ohio Casinos

Full disclosure: I play poker. I bet on horses. I gamble. So yeah, I'm biased.

But our state is in serious financial trouble. Three of the surrounding states allow casino gambling, and many Ohioans spend their mone in Michigan, Indiana, and West Virginia's casinos. I think we all know that to be true. Why shouldn't that money be spent in Ohio, where the revenue will be taxed and where that revenue will create jobs?

If surrounding states didn't have gambling then maybe I'd think differently. If Ohio didn't already have a lottery and horse racing, maybe I'd think differently. But they do and we do. It's going to happen, so the state might as well get the most favorable terms that it can.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Wal-Mart Closes Quebec Store

From MSNBC:
NEW YORK - In the latest salvo in a long-running battle between Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and organized labor, the company said Wednesday it will close a Canadian store where about 200 workers are near winning the first-ever union contract from the world’s largest retailer.

Wal-Mart said it was shuttering the store in Jonquiere, Quebec, in response to unreasonable demands from union negotiators, that would make it impossible for the store to sustain its business. The United Food & Commercial Workers Canada last week asked Quebec labor officials to appoint a mediator, saying that negotiations had reached an impasse.
God I hate Wal-Mart.

This seems like a good time to mention that Callahan's Cleveland Diary is doing a series on organized labor. Remember, it's not true capitalism if workers can't bargain effectively.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

What I heard about Iraq

This is a great read.
In 1992, a year after the first Gulf War, I heard Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense, say that the US had been wise not to invade Baghdad and get ‘bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq’. I heard him say: ‘The question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is: not that damned many.’

In February 2001, I heard Colin Powell say that Saddam Hussein ‘has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours.’

That same month, I heard that a CIA report stated: ‘We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction programmes.’

In July 2001, I heard Condoleezza Rice say: ‘We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt.’

On 11 September 2001, six hours after the attacks, I heard that Donald Rumsfeld said that it might be an opportunity to ‘hit’ Iraq. I heard that he said: ‘Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.’

I heard that Condoleezza Rice asked: ‘How do you capitalise on these opportunities?’
The left is squarely on the right side of history on this one. We've been vindicated already, now the key is to minimize further damages from Bush's mistakes.

More Journalist Payola

I'm a few days late, but this story seems to be simmering, ready to boil over:
The Pentagon’s chief investigator is looking into the military’s practice of paying journalists to write articles and commentary for a Web site aimed at influencing public opinion in the Balkans, officials said Friday.
Why wouldn't you just hire freelance writers? Apparently no one bothered to think ahead to how this would all look in the national spotlight.

Dean is DNC Chair

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean appears to have virtually locked up the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, after his last major challenger dropped out of the race and endorsed him Friday night.
Awesome. I feel a sense that things are turning. The Bush backlash is gaining momentum, and Democrats seem to be developing backbone.

Good times.

Don't Like Blackwell? Then you're racist.

I think I'm stupider for having read this:
The leftist blacks, such as Jesse Jackson, and other leftists, such as Barbara Boxer, already are attacking Blackwell. What seems to be behind their message is that he is a disgrace to his race by being a Republican and if he were a genuine Black he would have found a way for John Kerry to win in Ohio.
I'm not ashamed to say it. Blackwell is absolutely a disgrace to his race. The human race.

Link via President Boxer.

Taft, Taxes, and Medicaid

Unbelievable.
Gov. Bob Taft laid out a five-year tax package Tuesday that would lower income taxes for Ohio workers by 21 percent and "unleash Ohio's economic potential."

But that package also includes higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol and keeping part of a sales-tax increase that is supposed to expire June 30.
[...]
Thursday, Taft will unveil exactly how he'll mesh that plan with his new two-year budget of about $50 billion. The budget will include significant cuts to Medicaid - the health insurance program for the poor, disabled and elderly - and no increases for many agencies as Taft overcomes a paper deficit of more than $4 billion.
FOUR BILLION DOLLARS. And he wants to cut taxes. How about raising taxes while cutting programs Bob? How about fixing school funding Bob? Even Republicans hate you Bob.

Bob Taft and the Republican party want to cut taxes in Ohio while simultaneously slashing Medicaid. Surely the Democratic party can pound that message next year. Medicaid isn't exactly an unpopular program, so you'd think we could make some inroads here.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Screw the Elderly

George W. Bush wants Grandma to freeze to death.

If there was ever a meme that bloggers need to pass on, it's this one.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

BlogAds Response

Here is Henry Copeland's response to the concern that I brought up:
There have been questions about several sports adstrips running in parallel on larger nonsports blogs.

On the one hand, I don't want to stifle experimentation and innovation. Lots of the blogosphere's most interesting features come from stretched envelopes and burst expectations.

On the other, I'd like the Blogads.com order pages to provide transparent, apples-to-apples information that is useful to advertisers and Blogads staff as we prepare proposals. So I've drafted these guidelines for the information that appears, going forward, in Blogads.com order pages:

-- any adstrip running on more than one blog should identify the blogs contributing to our traffic tally.

-- labels like "Premium" should be used sparingly, either denoting exclusivity or ads priced at some multiple to "standard" ads on the same blog.

-- if an adstrip is one of several posted in a blog's HTML, the quantity of adstrips should be noted; something like, "the first of three adstrips," or "third of five adstrips" or "middle left of six adstrips" or "one of many." (From Blogads perspective, two or three adstrips per page are easiest to understand and sell.)

-- every adstrip should appear adjacent to content or functionality.

-- adstrip names suggesting topicality should deliver audiences focused on those topics. If a blog's focus changes, rename the adstrip.

-- adstrips listed in our topic-specific pages should deliver audiences focused on the respective topics.

-- one adstrip should not be posted multiple times on the same page.

Any suggestions or critiques to these guidelines will be welcome, either in comments or by e-mail. It may be that we want to settle on the rubric of "describe your blog accurately and put ads beside content" and only split hairs when people ask for details.

This is now what you can see on the BlogAds order page:
Dallas Cowboys Football
News and analysis of America's Team, the NFL's Dallas Cowboys. As a bonus, ads will also run on the archive pages at Outside the Beltway and PoliBlog, where they will be seen by upwards of 20,000 consumers, mostly male and affluent.

The Braves blog and the Final Four blog have no changes.

And all three of these blogs are still in the top four for traffic rankings in the sports blog category.

The Cowboys blog has two ads, the Braves blog has one ad, and the final four blog has 2 ads, and none of the ads are priced at the minimum. To buy an ad on these blogs for a month these are the prices:

Braves Blog: $125
Final Four Blog: $75
Cowboys Blog: $50

The funny thing about those prices is that the Cowboys blog seems to be getting by far the most traffic of the three.

According to SiteMeter here is the average per day traffic for the three blogs:

Braves: 27
Final Four: 27
Cowboys: 47

Except, whoops, the Braves SiteMeter script is also installed on the Final Four blog. So they're also scamming SiteMeter by combining the traffic for both sites.

That's an incredibly low amount of traffic, and yet these guys are making more money from ads on their sites than I make from RedReporter, a site that gets many, many times more traffic per day. Not to mention that I'd have to guess that the majority of the above three blogs traffic comes from search engines, meaning those sites are attracting visitors who could care less about the sites, and who are much less likely to click on an ad.

This isn't a partisan thing, and it shouldn't be swept under the rug. Anyone who makes money through BlogAds (especially sports sites in this instance) should be disturbed by the system being gamed in this manner.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Republican BlogAd Scammers

I've been blogging about the Cincinnati Reds for a couple of years now, and I just recently moved sites from Reds Daily to Red Reporter. I've joined the SportsBLOGS company founded by Kos and Athletics Nation. It is a for profit company and the goal is to make money through BlogAds, the ads you see at many of the higher profile political sites (as well as other sites, but especially prominently at political ones).

So I was looking at BlogAds today to see what it has listed as Red Reporter's traffic. I believe BlogAds pulls its traffic numbers from the Script they have you put on your site.

For quite awhile in the Sports section of BlogAds this site, this site, and this site were the three most trafficked sites.

Not today.

Today these sites were the highest:

Final Four Blog
Atlanta Braves Blog
Dallas Cowboys Blog

Now as I mentioned earlier I'm relatively knowledgable about baseball and sports blogging. I know the bigger Atlanta Braves bloggers, and it's just flat out not possible that I wouldn't have heard of a Braves blog that received more traffic than any other baseball blog listed at BlogAds. There are some pretty high trafficked blogs that have been leap frogged here.

I visited the above blogs and all three are pretty much just press releases with, at best, a small amount of commentary. All three have the same authors, a James, and on the Cowboys blog, a Steven.

Who are these guys?

James is the owner of Celebrity Buzz, what seems to be a conservative celebrity gossip blog. He also operates Outside the Beltway, a conservative political blog.

And Steven is the owner of PoliBlog, another conservative site that gets a great deal of traffic.

The funny thing in all of this is that Steven has the Dallas Cowboys Script on PoliBlog. He's scamming the system, so that potential advertisers think the Cowboys blog is receiving a ton of traffic, when it's really his political blog that people are visiting.

And James has all of the scripts running at Celebrity Buzz, his blog scripts, his OTB scripts, doing the same thing.

I'm not sure if there are rules against doing this with BlogAds, but I'm also not sure that the company currently advertising on atlantabravesbaseball.blogspot.com would be happy to know that they're advertising on a shitty blog with no traffic.

Is this another case of conservative values in action?

Middle Class Bankruptcies

There's a real disconnect for many people when it comes to realizing that politics really does have a real and immediate effect on their lives. This article does a great job of illustrating that concept:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Half of all U.S. bankruptcies are caused by soaring medical bills and most people sent into debt by illness are middle-class workers with health insurance, researchers said Wednesday.

The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, estimated that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans every year, if both debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children, are counted.

"Our study is frightening. Unless you're Bill Gates you're just one serious illness away from bankruptcy," said Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who led the study. "Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick. Health insurance offered little protection."

That's scary shit. It's really quite amazing how well the Right have demonized government run health care, to the point that people find the alternative of mass bankruptcy filings preferable. Just to emphasize, "most people sent into debt by illness are middle-class workers with health insurance". That sounds like just about everyone I know.

We're not talking about the lowest 20% anymore. We're talking about everyone except for the wealthy. Who's best interests do HMOs have in mind?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Coleman for Governor

From ONN:
Mayor Michael Coleman of Columbus confirmed what many have speculated for months when he announced he is running for governor of Ohio.

"I just don't want to hold the job of governor, I want to do the job of governor in the state of Ohio," says Coleman.

Mayor Coleman says he's running for governor because his family is behind him and the state is in crisis.

Winning the governorship is going to take an extraordinary candidate, and I'm not looking forward to the Democratic primary for this race. I hope that all of the candidates will keep an eye on the greater prize, and I also hope that high profile figures will be willing to run for the down ticket posts like Secretary of State.