Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell - DEAD....FINALLY

Good riddance to an evil, bigoted, corrupt piece of shit that used religion to gain power, money and influence on our nation he NEVER should have been allowed to have. Jerry, enjoy your time with "God." I hope it's all you thought death would be. The worms will have a field day with your bloated corpse.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Start demanding real news from the media!

Here's the main complaint page for CNN:

Tell them to stop acting like a gossip channel and start talking about real news.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Death of the News Media in America

I realize I like to complain about a lot of things and seem to find the negative in most situations, but I think I'm pretty justified in being completely outraged at what our news organizations in the US have become. I've gone out of my mind a few times in the past when I watch some 10:00 news and the lead story is Woody Allen banging his teenage adopted daughter or Britney dropping her kid. But every major news organization in the US - CNN, MSNBC, Fox, AP and Reuters - have apparently decided that celebrity gossip (and it doesn't matter if it's an A-, B- or C-list celeb...) is now considered major, breaking news.

I stopped watching CNN the day Anna Nicole Smith died. Why? Wolf Bliltzer, who I grew to love during his coverage of the first Gulf War way back in 1990 or 91, was practically gasping for air for more than two hours talking about the Anna Nicole Smith death. Are you fucking kidding me???? On CNN.com, MSNBC.com and other news sites, this dumb slut's death was treated as BREAKING NEWS! The amount of attention given to this non-story boggles my mind. It's on par, literally, with the coverage Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan got when they died. How fucking pathetic are we as a nation?

I work for a Tribune-owned newspaper (I'm not a reporter by profession anymore). Know what we had on the front page the next day? Yeah, Anna Nicole. Front page, full below the fold story. Unbelievable!!!!!! I was so pissed off about all this that I think my co-workers were wondering if I was going to have a mental breakdown. Maybe I will. But little did most people realize while they were mourning the loss of a moronic drug addict who became famous for being incoherent 99.9% of the time, is that more soldiers died in Iraq that day. And the day after. And the day after that. yet, none of that was front page news like the death of Anna Nicole or, now, the collapse of Britney Spears.

If you were to ask 1,000 random people, I'd be willing to bet a large majority would know the intimate details of this bimbo's life and death but know nothing of what is happening in Afghanistan or Iraq or the rest of the world.

Here's a letter I sent to MSNBC.com today, which is similar to the one I fired off to CNN and Wolf Blizter last week:

I'm beginning to run out of options both on TV and on the web to find legitimate news. Anna Nicole's death is being treated like the murder of a president on CNN, MSNBC, Fox and even my local ABC affiliate. Those news organizations' respective web sites continue to flash BREAKING NEWS banners every time there is something going on with Anna Nicole Smith, Britney Spears or some other useless "celebrity." I have news for you at MSNBC: THIS IS NOT NEWS!!!! Please stop insulting your audience and stop posting celebrity gossip posed as real news. In case you forgot, we have young soldiers being blown to bits or being shot in the head every day in Iraq or Afghanistan. There's a lot of crap going on in Washington that affects our every day lives. There's a lot going on around the world we need to know about. Yet, what do you folks at MSNBC/.com post as headline news? Bullshit stories about a drug addict moron who did nothing but humiliate herself for 15 years and became famous for being said moron.

I've already decided to stop watching MSNBC and CNN after you both decided to devote hours and hours of coverage of Anna Nicole's death and now Britney's problems. I'm so disgusted by what you now consider news. I hope those of you in charge of deciding what to showcase in the future will finally wake up to the fact celebrity gossip belongs on the pages of the National Enquirer. So, why don't you please decide what you are: a news organization or a gossip tabloid.

I hope the news-viewing/reading public begin to wake up from their obsession with celebrity bullshit and start holding the heads of these news organizations responsible for completely dumbing down the "news" and force them to do their jobs. I no longer watch cable news and I'm starting to not watch my local news either because of this. I'll tune into BBC News or find something better online while dodging the barrage of useless gossip.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Catholic Church Continues it's denial of abuse problems

I read another article today on how incredibly stupid and ignorant the leaders of the Catholic Church are. They're now hiring criminologists to study what the root of its abuse problem is. Duh. Is it not obvious?

US Catholic Church seeks to find root of priest sex abuse

BALTIMORE, United States (AFP) - The US Roman Catholic Church has asked a criminology school to delve into the darkest pages of its history by probing the causes of a priest sex abuse scandal.

At a meeting due to end Thursday in the eastern city of Baltimore, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops voted to disburse 335,000 dollars to fund the first three phases of a study by New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

"It will be a groundbreaking study, never done before in the US, nor in the world," Bishop Gregory Aymond, who chairs the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, told AFP.

"We don't know what would come out of it, but we are going to tell the truth," said Aymond, of Austin, Texas.

In 2002, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice had made a list of complaints and pedophilia cases in the US Catholic Church since 1985, when one of the first scandals came to light with the case of a Louisiana priest.

The university will now look into the "social and historical context" of sex abuse to see if such cases are more frequent in the Church than in the rest of society, notably in schools and youth clubs, Aymond said.

The Church wants to "look at what is unique" in the priest sex abuse crisis, he said.

The first part of the study would be completed in 2008 and made public, although the names of suspected priests would be omitted.

In the second part, the university will evaluate the Church leadership's response to sex abuse cases.

"We want to see where we failed and made some mistakes, and learn from those who handled it well," Aymond said.

The study will also paint a psychological profile of pedophiliac priests by reviewing cases in treatment centers.

The review will aim to show "to what extent is a priest sexual abuser profile the same as the psychological profile of the non-priests who are sex offenders," Aymond said.

The university will also interview abuse victims and examine education at seminaries over the decades.

The majority of priests accused of sex abuse were trained in the 1960s and 1970s in seminaries where psychological tests and sexuality education have since been introduced.

A final phase of the study will make proposals on how to prevent sex abuse and help victims.

"Our goal is to ascertain the causes of the clergy sexual abuse crisis and if we need to change any method we have now," said Teresa Kettlekamp, the executive director of the bishops conference's Office of Child and Youth Protection, which was created in 2002, in the wake of the sex abuse scandal.

But the study would also be useful to schools and youth groups, Church officials said.

"The pathology of abusing children isn't unique; it's a societal problem," Kettlekamp said.

"We are hoping it will be a big, big help to the society in general," she said.

I'm amazed how blind the church is when it comes to what's going on. Here's the issue: The church REQUIRES priests to be celibate. Hence, suppressing a basic human need in these men. The church also says being gay is a sin. Since being gay is NATURAL for gay men, this represents a painful conflict for gay men who are raised as Catholics. So, in order to "escape" being gay, they enter the priesthood. Well, human sexuality is a pretty strong, natural urge to suppress for a lifetime. So where do these conflicted men turn to? Vulnerable children, who won't tell on them.

If the church would get its collective head out of its ass and start recognizing REALITY it might not have this problem. Yet, it continues to hold onto this ass backward belief of celibacy (why can't a married man be a priest? WHY?) and continue to promote hatred of gay people it can never get to the root of its abuse problems.

I have little hope these closeted old men will admit this.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Are Evangelicals and Ostriches the Same?

Like I predicted below, it was only a matter of time before Rev. Ted Haggard came clean and was expelled from his Evangelical empire. This whole situation is disgusting - not because of what he did, but because of how hypocritical these supposed Christians are. I was following the news reports over the weekend, heard his apology and what his wife said. I also saw what his "followers" were saying about him.

It's ironic that this guy was part of a religious sect that claims to live a peaceful life, follow the teachings of a fairy tale character of peace, yet promote such hatred and bigotry at the same time. This guy - who is clearly gay - was made to feel so ashamed of who he is that he was forced to live a double life. He was made to believe being a normal human being - who happens to be gay - is a sin. A crime, even. And now he's been expelled. Ostracized from the very movement he built up.

I'm still waiting for a real explanation on what made this man "sexually immoral." Because he pursued his true feelings? Sure it is a moral crime to deceive your wife and family. but any of these hypocrites would have done the same had the tables been turned.

I began to wonder maybe this would force thee head-in-the-sand sheep to re-evaluate some of their outdated beliefs. But, after seeing some worshipers at his "church" it became clear that they are so brainwashed and close-minded into following this Evangelical path of bigotry and false teachings that not even their leader coming to terms with WHO HE IS DESPITE BEING TOLD OTHERWISE can make them see the light. How pathetic. What would Jesus do, indeed. I don't recall hearing any stories in the Bible where Jesus turned into a gay basher.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Evangelical Hypocrisy

Did I ever break out in laughter last night as I watched CNN last night. A leader of 30 million head-in-the-sand Evangelical Christians is exposed for being a closeted gay man. Rev. Ted Haggard resigned as head of the National Association of Evangelicals after a gay escort went public with his relationship with Haggard. I probably would have given Haggard the benefit of a doubt on this one had he not immediately resigned and said he would be seeking "spiritual guidance" on this. (I am just now reading he HAS confessed to "some" of the allegations, so we know where this is headed)

I didn't laugh at the fact he's gay inside. In fact, I think it's sad he was forced to hide his true feelings and nature because of the giant cult he belongs to. I laughed because the more Evangelicals become involved in politics to pursue a 17th century moral agenda and force their ass backwards belief systems on the rest of us free-thinking folk, the more they are exposed for...being human.

A close friend of mine once told me that whenever you see someone fighting so hard against something in public - be it pornography, homosexuality or other sexual-related issue - more often than not that person is doing so out of guilt. There was a prosecutor in Texas a few years back leading a charge against the sale of porn in Texas. Guess what? He was carrying on an affair behind his wife's back. Mark Foley championed going after Internet pedophiles and sex predators. We all know where that ended up. Snake salesman TV preacher Jimmy Swaggart lead a moral crusade against every vice imaginable. Guess who got caught banging a hooker? And now we have anti-gay crusader Ted Haggard. Leading a bogus charge against gay marriage and brainwashing his flock that gays are immoral, evil people - yet he's been with men for years.

I wouldn't mind this whole evangelical thing if these people would stay out of politics. Frankly, I don't care how my neighbor lives his or her life. As long as they aren't killing, raping or selling drugs, they can do whatever they want. That's one of the great things about the US. If you want to live by a book of fairy tales called the Bible, be my guest. If you're happy, I'm happy. But what I sure as hell will not stand for is when you force your asinine belief system on MY life. I don't want people who are brainwashed by religion to decide what I read, what I watch, what I say, what I think.

Gay marriage has NO effect on my life. If Steve and Dan want to marry, have a commited relationship and raise kids, go right ahead. There is ZERO threat to my marriage. If you're so worried about the sanctity of hetero marriage, then why aren't you doing something about the 50%+ divorce rate among straight couples? Why? because that's not scary enough for you. It's easier for politicians to get you all riled up about gays because many of you are sexually insecure or have been brainwashed into thinking gay people are bad.

Abortion has no effect on me. It's not my decision to make when a woman gets pregnant. It's not your either. Yet, it's a scary issue because you talk about dying babies and it works when politicians use your narrow-mindedness against you to get you to vote for them. Never mind the fact they have sold our country to large corporations, let millions of jobs go overseas, allowed corporations to pollute like no tomorrow (aren't you all supposed to take care of God's creations?), allowed lobbyists to make decisions how your hard-earned tax dollars are spent and sent more than 2,800 of our soldiers to die in a desert for no justifiable reason. You evangelical sheep ignore the IMPORTANT issues in favor of ONE completely irrelevant issue election after election. You can't see you are being completely used. You can't see you live in the 21st century. You can't accept normal human sexual behavior.

So when one of your "leaders" is exposed for who he is - which is simply HUMAN - I have to laugh because your bubble of "reality" is burst. I'm hoping that some day you all will wake up to that. We're all human. We don't all see eye to eye. We all don't worship the same "god" or religion. We have needs - emotional, sexual, physical, intellectual. And just because a 2,000 year old book says something doesn't make it true nor does it make it right for you to force others to live the way you see fit. This is America. Home of the free.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Why is Anna Nicole's problems news?

I'd just like to throw out a plea to the Associated Press or any other news organization to explain something to me. While I understand the general public tends to prefer bullshit "celebrity" gossip over REAL news, I'm curious just why a C-list celebrity's son's death has become one of the top stories of the week. Can you explain what the relevance is? Last time i checked, there was a disatrous war going on in Iraq. Our politicians in Washington are more corrupt than a third world nation. Yet, Anna Nicole Smith having a family tragedy is front page news and on CNN.com's home page. Explain that to me, please. Thank you.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dick Cheney - Fear Mongerer

As news of another foiled terrorist plot unfolds in the UK and Joe Lieberman suffers an election blow in part due to his stance on the "war" in Iraq, our trusty Vice President, war hawl Dick Cheney is once again sowing the seeds of fear.

Dick said yesterday of Lieberman's defeat, "The thing that's partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task. And when we see the Democratic Party reject one of its own, a man they selected to be their vice presidential nominee just a few short years ago, it would seem to say a lot about the state the party is in today if that's becoming the dominant view of the Democratic Party, the basic, fundamental notion that somehow we can retreat behind our oceans and not be actively engaged in this conflict and be safe here at home, which clearly we know we won't -- we can't be. So we have to be actively engaged not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but on a global basis if we're going to succeed in prevailing in this long-term conflict."

"So it's an unfortunate development, I think, from the standpoint of the Democratic Party to see a man like Lieberman pushed aside because of his willingness to support an aggressive posture in terms of our national security strategy."

These comments are the latest example of how low this administration and VP will sink in order to stay in office. Time and time again, this administration plays to Americans' fear of a terrorist attack to scare them from voting Democratic or any other party. Frankly, it's disgusting and I have faint hope that the American population (who, given the results of the 2004 presidential election, have proven they aren't too bright), is finally starting to see through this bullshit.

Cheney continues to toe the line that our involvement in Iraq has somehow made the world a safer place. In fact, he stands behind every single blunder this administration is repsonsible for. yet, while Dick continues to remind everyone of the bad bogeymen hunting us in our back yards, hatred towards our country grows dauly. We now have more than 2,800 dead American soldiers as a result of this bogus war in Iraq. Cheney loves to pretend we're there to defeat terrorists. But last time I checked, Iraq wasn't a terrorist threat (despite the lies Cheney perpetuated otherwise). Now, it's a haven for terrorists and every day Iraqis who spit on our flag as a result of the hell we've created over there. Weren't we there to get rid of these supposed nukes Saddam had? What changed? Oh, we invaded....

The world is probably as dangerous for our country as it has ever been, thanks to neocons like Dick Cheney. To pretend otehrwise is criminal. Yet, he continues to repeat lie after lie to keep his phony cronies in office. Shame on you Mr. Vice President. Your actions are a disgrace and that's what you'll always be remembered for.

Politics - Joe Blowhard

Let's get this thing moving again, shall we?

I'm a CT resident. I am a registered "unaffiliated" voter, and have been since I switched from the Green Party in 2000. Prior to that, I used to be a registered Democrat, but soon realized they are just as corrupt and incompetent as the GOP.

So, here we have Joe Lieberman. VP candidate. Used to be a party favorite. I even voted for him twice. But, my how things do change. I started wondering just who Joe represented beginning a few years back. Here we had a Democrat heavily involved with right-wing groups whose sole mission is to promote mass censorship on all forms of media. He bitched about boobies and naughty words in movies. Stood behind the "V Chip" (I guess it's too hard for parents to turn the channel or hit the "off" button, huh, Joe?). And, to make matters worse, joined the board of consultants of the Parents' Television Council. To top off his "liberal" record, as some moronic pundits and GOP dolts claim he is, he joined with those pieces of shit who dared get the government involved in the Terry Schiavo case. Joe, you lost my support forever.

You can read for yourself here:

While a lot of attention has been paid to the race between Lieberman and Lamont and each candidate's stance on the war, the race is about much more. For me, it's that he's aligned himself with the same right-wing extremists that have done a good job of taking over nearly every office in Washington. While the rest of the world advances, we have these scumbags trying to bring us back into the Puritan ages - scientifically, sexually and socially. What a great way to live in the modern day world!

While the voters have spoken overwhelmingly, Joe thinks it's his mission to continue because the party has been taken over by extremists. Well, perhaps it's time he looked who he's aligned with in wasting and see who the true extremists are. Joe, be a man and call it a day.

Monday, November 28, 2005

It's that wonderful time of year again...

Black Friday. Merchants and economists use this term to describe the Friday after Thanksgiving because it marks when retailers traditionally go from being in the red to in the black. To me, though, Black Friday describes a day in which the worst in people in the US really come out. Take, for instance, the near riots we saw at WalMarts across the country on Friday.

I'm so sick and tired of my fellow American white trash willing to throw every single ounce of dignity out the window for pure consumerism. My god, people. Show some fucking class!! Xmas has become such a sickening time of year here. It's no longer a holiday based in tradiion and family. It's all about how much shit you can get from other people. I see people from all walks of life buying tons of crap either they can't readily afford, or the recipients aren't very deserving. I saw the news like everyone else. Human trash storming through the doors at WalMarts across the land, literally trampling over those who fell.

Gimme gimme gimme.

Did anyone see the video of the fat black lady who lost her wig? Did anyone help her? No. They jumped right over her while she put her hair back on and managed to lift her 400 pound body off the ground. How about the video of four security officers tackling that raging animal at another store? It's fucking CHRISTMAS people!!! Not a time to riot because you can't get your spolied brat a stupid video game!!!

People are hanging Xmas decorations the day after Halloween. The malls are playing holiday music 3 weeks before the holidays even begin. It's absolutely disgusting.

The sad thing is, I see no end to this crazy shit. People have bcome so materially obsessed with stuff and it's only getting worse every year.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bribes from Tribes

Been a while since I posted here. I've been spending way too much time over at Yahoo's news boards. Anyway, I've been getting pretty riled up over politics the past year and there's yet anotehr story that caught my eye and just disgusts me. I really wonder why more people don't care that many of our elected politicians are simply whores to special interests - both GOP and Democratic. This is not a partisan rant. Here's the AP story that was filed today. Please read it. It's long, but worth it:

Abramoff Tribes Donated Funds to Lawmakers

WASHINGTON - Nearly three dozen members of Congress, including leaders from both parties, pressed the government to block a Louisiana Indian tribe from opening a casino while the lawmakers collected large donations from rival tribes and their lobbyist, Jack Abramoff.

Many intervened with letters to Interior Secretary Gale Norton within days of receiving money from tribes represented by Abramoff or using the lobbyist's restaurant for fundraising, an Associated Press review of campaign records, IRS records and congressional correspondence found.

Lawmakers said their intervention had nothing to do with Abramoff, and the timing of donations was a coincidence. They said they wrote letters because they opposed the expansion of tribal gaming — even though they continued to accept donations from casino-operating tribes.

Many lived far from Louisiana and had no constituent interest in the casino dispute.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, held a fundraiser at Abramoff's Signatures restaurant in Washington on June 3, 2003, that collected at least $21,500 for his Keep Our Majority political action committee from the lobbyist's firm and tribal clients.

Seven days later, Hastert wrote Norton urging her to reject the Jena tribe of Choctaw Indians' request for a new casino. Hastert's three top House deputies also signed the letter.

Approving the Jena application or others like it would "run counter to congressional intent," Hastert's June 10, 2003, letter warned Norton.

It was exactly what Abramoff's tribal clients wanted. The tribes, including the Louisiana Coushattas and Mississippi Choctaw, were trying to block the Jena's gambling hall for fear it would undercut business at their own casinos.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Norton on March 5, 2002, also signed by Sen. John Ensign (news, bio, voting record), R-Nev. The next day, the Coushattas issued a $5,000 check to Reid's tax-exempt political group, the Searchlight Leadership Fund. A second Abramoff tribe sent another $5,000 to Reid's group. Reid ultimately received more than $66,000 in Abramoff-related donations between 2001 and 2004.

In the midst of the congressional letter-writing campaign, the Bush administration rejected the Jena's casino on technical grounds. The tribe persisted, eventually winning Interior approval but the casino now is tied up in a court dispute.

Congressional ethics rules require lawmakers to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest in performing their official duties and accepting political money.

That requirement was made famous a decade ago during the Keating Five scandal when five lawmakers were criticized for intervening with federal regulators on behalf of Charles Keating while receiving money from the failed savings and loan operator.

The Abramoff donations dwarf those made by Keating. At least 33 lawmakers wrote letters to Norton and got more than $830,000 in Abramoff-related donations as the lobbying unfolded between 2001 and 2004, AP found.

"This is one of the largest examples we've had to date where congressional action was predicated on money being given for the action," said Kent Cooper, who reviewed lawmakers' campaign reports for two decades as the
Federal Election Commission's chief of public disclosure.

Cooper, who now runs the Political Money Line Web site that tracks fundraising, said "the speed in which this money was turned around" after the letters makes the Abramoff matter more serious than previous controversies that tarnished Congress.

Lawmakers contacted by AP said their intervention had nothing to do with Abramoff's fundraising, and instead reflected their long-held concerns about tribal gaming expansion.

"There is absolutely no connection between the letter and the fundraising," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said. "The only connection was Senator Reid has consistently opposed any effort to undermine the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act."

Hastert ultimately collected more than $100,000 in donations from Abramoff's firm and tribal clients between 2001 and 2004. His office said he never discussed the matter with Abramoff, but long opposed expanding Indian gambling off reservations and was asked to send the letter by Rep. Jim McCrery (news, bio, voting record), R-La.

McCrery sent his own letter as well, and collected more than $36,000 in Abramoff-connected donations.

"We've always opposed these things, in our backyard, in our state, someplace else," said Michael Stokke, Hastert's deputy chief of staff.

Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor, said lawmakers' denials of a connection rang hollow.

"Special interests do get more and they do get what they pay for despite the constant denial that lawmakers can't be bought," said Sloan, who now runs Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a group that monitors public officials' conduct.

Abramoff's spokesman, Andrew Blum, declined comment. The lobbyist has been indicted on fraud charges by a federal grand jury in Florida stemming from his role in the 2000 purchase of a fleet of gambling boats.

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Abramoff's fundraising influenced members of Congress or the Bush administration, and whether anyone tried to conceal their dealings with Abramoff. For instance:

_Hastert failed for two years to disclose his use of Abramoff's restaurant the week before his letter or to reimburse for it as legally required. Hastert blames a paperwork oversight and recently corrected it.

_Sen. David Vitter, R-La., received $6,000 from Abramoff tribes from 1999 to 2001 and refunded it the day before he sent one of his letters to Norton in February 2002. He also used Abramoff's restaurant for a September 2003 fund-raiser but failed to reimburse for it until this year.

_The Coushattas wrote two checks to Rep.
Tom DeLay's groups in 2001 and 2002, shortly before the GOP leader wrote Norton. But the tribe was asked by Abramoff to take back the checks and route the money to other GOP groups. In all, DeLay, R-Texas, received at least $57,000 in Abramoff and tribal donations between 2001 and 2004.

The intervention by congressional Republicans and Democrats was all but ignored in recent hearings on Capitol Hill led by Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz, that examined Abramoff's lobbying inside Interior.

In one letter obtained by AP, 27 lawmakers told Norton she should reject the Jena casino because gambling was a societal blight. But within weeks, several of the authors had accepted donations from Abramoff's casino-operating tribes. All but eight eventually got Abramoff-related donations or used his restaurant for political events.

Rep. Pete Sessions (news, bio, voting record), R-Texas, received four donations totaling $5,500 from casino-operating tribes represented by Abramoff a month and a day after he signed the Feb. 27, 2002, group letter.

"If they want to give a contribution to support Republican candidates, more power to them. That doesn't mean we have to support what they are doing," said Guy Harrison, a Sessions spokesman.

Rep. John Doolittle (news, bio, voting record), R-Calif., received $1,000 from Abramoff several weeks before he signed the group letter, then got $16,000 from two of Abramoff's casino-operating tribal clients about two months later. By year's end, Doolittle also had used Abramoff's restaurant to cater a campaign event and received another $15,000 from tribes.

Some lawmakers intervened more than once.

House Majority Leader Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, signed three letters to Norton. He took $1,000 from Abramoff and $2,000 from the lobbyist's firm around the time he sent a May 2003 letter.

Blunt long has opposed the expansion of tribal gaming and his letters are "consistent with his long-held position and are in no way related to political contributions," spokeswoman Burson Taylor said.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, whose committee is investigating Abramoff, sent a letter on March 1, 2002, opposing the Jena casino. The letter said a company that operates casinos in Grassley's home state was concerned. Grassley got $1,000 from Abramoff's firm the following month and a total of $62,200 in related donation by 2004.

Others who intervened:

_Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., the former Senate GOP leader, wrote Norton on March 1, 2002, to "seriously urge" she reject the Jena casino. Lott received $10,000 in donations from Abramoff tribes just before the letter and $55,000 soon after. Lott's office said he sent the letter because his state's Choctaw tribe and a casino company were concerned about losing business.

_Then-Sen. John Breaux (news, bio, voting record), D-La., wrote Norton on March 1, 2002. Five days later the Coushattas sent $1,000 to his campaign and $10,000 to his library fund, tribal records show.

_Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., wrote Norton on June 14, 2001, one of the first such letters. Cochran's political committee got $6,000 from Abramoff tribes in the weeks before the letter, and another $71,000 in the three years after.

_Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who was engaged in a tight re-election race in 2002, sent her letter March 6, 2002. That same day, the Coushattas sent $2,000 to her campaign and she received $5,000 more by the end of that month. By year's end, the total had grown to at least $24,000.

I wonder what it will REALLY take for the American people to really take a stand against the rampant corruption that has now infests every corner of Washington. We invade other countries to spread "democracy" while we make a complete mockery of it here. I'm not surprised that members of both parties are on the take. More so the GOP, but that goes without saying. Yet, voters are SO fucking uneducated and so ignorant that most don't care what's going on unless it affects them DIRECTLY.

I hope for the day we start rising up against these elected criminals in Washington. It's time for third parties to rise and start throwing what we have now in the garbage. There should be NO money allowed in politics. NO lobbyists. And every candidate should get a set amount of money for campaigning and that's it. Forget about this bullshit argument that this "violates free speech." What's worse: restricting what slimy politicians can do or stopping the massive, blatant corruption that we call democracy in Washington?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Radicals Upset They Can't Control Supreme Court

I love this. While I'm no fan of President Bush (I think he's an idiot through and through), I'm chuckling at the howling coming from religious conservatives over Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers. What's the hubbub? Well, many are simply saying she's not qualified since she's never been a judge before. Funny, William Renquist wasn't either and he served as Chief Justice for, what 20 years?. No, this is all about the smoke and mirrors abortion game. Ms. Miers is a known born-again Evangelical Christian. So, logic would follow that she'd be a shoe-in for these right-wing fanatics. But, no. It's not that simple apparently. Why? Well, a good friend of hers this week said while she holds certain personal views regarding issues like abortion (of which the government should have absolutely NO say and should never be an issue in politics) she would uphold the LAW instead. So, right-wing radicals are crying foul. Hey, assholes, that's what a Supreme Court judge is SUPPOSED TO DO!!

The Supreme Court is not supposed to be used as a tool to push some radical social agenda. It's not to be used to prevent people who love and care for each other to get married. It's not to be a tool to supress women's rights. It's not supposed to be a tool to force theocracy on the rest of the nation. The Court's job is to UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Get over it.

If Ms. Miers happens to follow in the footsteps of Judge O'Connor, then all the better. The woman is a voice of REASON on the court, unlike the radical schmucks like Scalia and Thomas who openly push a far right-wing agenda. So, to all you Bible-thumping morons who cry and yell about this nominee, wake the fuck up and smell the coffee. This is a free country and isn't for you to control or impose your backwards agendas on.

Friday, October 07, 2005

WalMart - the Most Anti-American Company in the World

Wow. What a brilliant piece by Leo Hindery Jr. of BusinessWeek Online today. He published a column this week on a subject I've been wondering about for some time. It's WalMart; one of the most anti-American businesses I can think of. Read for yourself, because I couldn't put it any better than this. If you wonder why China is becoming such a powerful economic giant and small town America and lower-misddle class workers are getting shit on, you can thank WalMart. Walk into one of their stores and I challenge you to find a product made in the USA. Really. Good luck. And then ask yourself, "Why am I supporting a company that has taken millions of jobs away from Americans and one that has devastated so many businesses?"

Using a multimillion-dollar ad campaign, Wal-Mart's executives are defiantly blasting back at opponents who have criticized the retail giant's shoddy labor practices. But most people and even Wal-Mart's critics are missing the real crisis, which is that the behemoth from Bentonville, Ark., with its nationally destabilizing business model, is a dangerous detriment to America's local and national economies and to the middle class.

When H. Ross Perot ran for President back in 1992, he coined a memorable political phrase. The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, he said, would create "a giant sucking sound" -- the sound of jobs escaping out of the U.S. and into Mexico.

Today, if you listen carefully, you can hear a second giant sucking sound: Wal-Mart sopping up the vitality from middle-class American families, local communities, and the national economy.

EMPTY DOWNTOWNS. This happens in three different but related ways. First, there's the clobbering of Main Street: Wal-Mart moves in on the edges of towns, and the much smaller downtown merchants, unable to match its prices, soon go under. Second, there's the miserable wage and benefits package offered by Sam Walton's creation. And third, there's Wal-Mart's purchasing strategy, which seems to be about buying American-made products only as a last resort -- to the point that today Wal-Mart, by itself, is China's eighth-largest trading partner!

You could make the case that we are well on our way to becoming "Wal-Mart Nation." But maybe we don't have to be. Consider Costco (NasdaqNM:COST - News), Wal-Mart's most notable competitor --- whose much more sensitive and noble business model actually serves as a boost to the national economy and to its shareholders.

Costco's pay scale begins at around $10 per hour and averages $16. After four years, a Costco cashier can earn $44,000 (counting bonuses), which is significant purchasing power. In comparison, Wal-Mart's average hourly wage is a miserly $9.68. To appreciate the impact of this 65% difference in average wages, University of California at Berkeley researchers recently concluded that in 2003 Wal-Mart's low wages and benefits for its employees in California compelled taxpayers there to give these employees $86 million in food stamps, health-care, and housing subsidies just to stay above water.

UNCOVERED WORKERS. Overall, only 38% of Wal-Mart's nonsupervisory workers receive health-care benefits, according to the United Food & Commercial Workers Union. The company won't disclose how much of its total workforce receives company benefits. It does say 56% of employees in the core U.S. Wal-Mart unit, which excludes operations such as Sam's Club, receive company benefits. Judging by any reasonable standard, it's clear Wal-Mart has left American taxpayers the burden of picking up a huge tab for its uncovered health-care costs.

Wal-Mart has gone so far as to actively instruct its employees on how to apply effectively for government health-care programs like Medicaid. Costco, on the other hand, covers 85% of its employees' health-care costs. Costco is even pilot-testing a program offering discounted health-care plans to its customers in California who are either self-employed or cannot get coverage at work --- about 1.5 million people.

Not surprisingly, Costco's employee turnover is only about one-third that of Wal-Mart's, and Costco's customers are loyal almost beyond measure.

And yet Costco has operated this way while also satisfying Wall Street investors. Wal-Mart, of course, dwarfs Costco in size --- heck, it dwarfs even General Electric (NYSE:GE - News) and Microsoft! (NasdaqNM:MSFT - News) --- but Costco may in fact be the much better-run company. Wal-Mart operates 5,332 stores with annual sales of $288 billion, or $54 million per store. Costco has 452 stores with annual sales of $48 billion, or $106 million per store.

WAKE-UP CALL. Costco is a living example that a company can be extremely profitable and competitive and at the same time not destroy everything and everyone in its corporate path.

Wal-Mart's success has come at an enormous and painful cost to our national and local economies. From its boarding-up of Main Streets to its failure to pay workers fairly, to its imposing on taxpayers welfare costs for its underpaid employees, to its material contribution to our obscene ballooning trade deficit with China, this "Wal-Martization" of America is leaving us with an economy increasingly characterized by a gaggle of cheap imported consumer goods, shoddy employee practices, and insensitivity to communities.

It is beyond time for all Americans to wake up from this nightmare and support those companies --- Costco, for example --- that believe that companies and their CEOs have as much responsibility to employees, customers, and the nation as to shareholders. And it is way beyond time for us to take our support away from those companies that believe otherwise and do more to aggrandize management than to serve employees and their communities.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Guilty as Sin

What a lying politician

looks like when he's been caught.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....... It's so refreshing to see the biggest political scumbags get what they deserve once in a while. Today, Texas scumbag Tom DeLay - long plagued by ethics problems - was finally indicted today by a Texas grand jury. Of course, he says he's innocent and this is all politically motivated. Well, most times grand juries are pretty fair, you piece of shit, and I'm 99.9% sure you will be convicted. Here's hoping you get exactly what you deserve.

Yet, what's so sad, is that the idiots who vote in this country will continue to vote not only for people like Tom DeLay, but for the other corrupt polticians currently running Washington. Perhaps we can only hope for a good political colonoscopy in 2006 and beyond.

Monday, September 26, 2005

More on why we shouldn't rebuild

I take it most of you saw some of the destruction Rita caused the South this weekend. I found some perfect "after" pictures which illustrates the stupidity in which developers build, people buy and the government supports on land that SHOULD NOT BE OCCUPIED. Take a look at these barrier islands. Their natural purpose is to help filter water, provide sanctuary for young wildlife and also buffer the impact of storms. Well, looks like some people got a lesson in reality. What burns my ass, though, is that you can bet on two things: the gov't is going to give these homeowners flood insurance checks and they are going to allow these places to be rebuilt. Stupid. Let's hope for some sanity in this situation.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Repeal the National Flood Insurance Program - Now!

I found a superb editorial in the USA Today this morning. It's spot on and I urge everyone to write their congressmen and senators to demand this program be abolished so we can restore some common sense back into this country. This program allows people to build in environmentally senitive areas and promotes sprawl on beautiful lands. It's time to stop funding people building homes and businesses in these areas once and for all.

Here's the piece:

Katrina was a devastating storm; Rita may well become one. But it is misleading to call such hurricanes natural disasters.

Storms become disasters only if they hit population centers. Otherwise, they're of interest mainly to scientists and weather buffs but are like the proverbial tree that falls in the forest to the rest of us.

These days, however, there isn't much chance a major hurricane could come ashore in the USA and not become a disaster: 54% of Americans live within 50 miles of a shoreline, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. By 2025, three-quarters of the country is projected to live in such communities.

This unprecedented march to the sea has been abetted by unwise government policies that encourage living along the coast. Principal among them: the National Flood Insurance Program.

Started in 1968, federal flood insurance subsidizes development in coastal areas and other regions subject to flooding by offering insurance at bargain rates underwritten by the government.

As of last year, about 4.6 million policies were in effect with an average annual premium of $438. These premiums are nowhere near enough to cover the program's losses. Earlier this month, Congress authorized the program to borrow $3.5 billion for Katrina-related payments, an amount most experts believe is just the beginning and few believe will be repaid by property owners.

The program not only brings big government into an area better left to private enterprise, it also achieves the opposite of its goal. By lowering the cost of maintaining a home on flood-prone lands, it increases the populations in these areas. That in turn leads to more, and more costly, disasters.

According to the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment, a non-partisan think tank, development density in flood-prone areas has grown dramatically since the advent of federal flood insurance. Before its enactment, lands subject to flooding were 25% less densely developed on average than comparable land not subject to flooding. Since then, the figure has closed to 15%.

Other problems with the program:

•Passing the buck. Private insurers have an incentive to claim that most hurricane damage is caused by storm surges (which are covered by the federal flood insurance) rather than by winds (which private insurers cover). Mississippi is investigating claims that some adjusters pressured homeowners in Katrina's path to sign waivers saying that their homes were destroyed by water.

• Lack of long-term planning. The government makes little or no attempt to quantify the financial risk it is exposed to through its insurance program, which provides more than three-quarters of a trillion dollars in coverage. That makes it difficult for the public to debate what should be done to protect coastal communities.

The government does, to be sure, have a vital role to play in identifying flood-prone areas. But the actual issuance of policies should be left to the private sector.

True, that would lead to higher premiums because private insurers can't run to Congress for money to cover their losses. But then why should taxpayers in Kansas subsidize insurance for people who live in Florida? And why should those Kansans - or anyone, for that matter - want to underwrite a system that each year helps put more people and property in harm's way?

After 37 years, it's time to recognize federal flood insurance for what it is: a disaster.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Bury the Big Easy

I'll admit right up front that I have never been to New Orleans, nor do I know anyone who lives there. This is not an opinion designed to spit on the people who have suffered unimaginably through this horrific tragedy - losing homes, possessions and most importantly, loved ones. I sent in the biggest donation I could afford after watching the inaction of FEMA and whoever else was responsible for evacuating and then helping everyone affected by Katrina. I was sick with disgust that we can send aid to Indonesia in two days, yet we can't help our own people after five. What FEMA has been reduced to under President Howdy Doody's watch is despicable.

But what burns my ass even more is the sheer stupidity that is going on afterwards. Let's backtrack a bit. New Orleans was built on a swamp. Like many other places that should not have existed int he first place, New Orleans was built on soft swampland, which sinks under weight, and square in the middle of a flood plain. Now, 200 years ago, many folks didn't know better and routinely did environmentally stupid things. This was one of them. Speed up to the mid-20th century, and warnings have been abound that the levy system designed to protect NO was inadequate and falling into disrepair. While many pleaded for assistance, the scumbags in charge of purse strings in Washington continued to cut the Army Corps of Engineers' budget to make way for things like a bridge in Alaska to serve 50 people and be named after the piece of shit politician who scored the money for said project.

Well, now. Wasn't Hurricane Katrina a nice payback to those who continue to ignore good science AND common sense?

Large-scale environmental destruction is nothing new in this country, especially when it comes to big business and the South. We know damn well that wetlands act as a filter for clean water, a buffer for large storms and sponge for large floodwaters. Bah! Who cares, right? We're making money! Since the mid-20th Century, the US has ignored wetlands protection in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly 2,000 square miles of VALUABLE wetlands were destroyed. No one with the power to do so gave two shits about it. Well, pay day is here, people.

In the mid-1990's the US finally accepted that homes and businesses should not be built on floodplains and rely on holding back the massive Mississippi River with levees. It doesn't work. After massive floods put thousands of homes and businesses under water, the gov't woke up, said, "Hey, this in't right. We can't beat Mother Nature. We aren't going to allow people to live here and let nature take its course."

Now, since money always seems to rule how we govern this nation, especially when you have these criminal Republicans liek Tom Delay in power, it's back to business as usual. One smart congressman or senator actually threw out the idea that maybe, just maybe we should rebuild New Orleans. He was practically run out of town. Sadly, he is one of the only smart ones residing on Capital Hill.

The call, of course, is to rebuild everything. This is bullshit. How much taxpayer money is going to be wasted on supporting those who continually build homes and businesses where THEY SHOULD NOT BE??? It was interesting to find out that the federal gov't is the *only* way residents along coastal areas can obtain flood insurance. Really? Great. I'm glad my tax dollars are being wasted on yet another wasteful program. What the gov't SHOULD do is fold its insurance program once and for all. Period. You lose your home to a flood in a natural flood plain? Move on. Want to build your fancy vacation home on a barrier island? Go right ahead. But do so at your own risk because when Hurricane X comes along and sucks it out to sea, I'm not paying for it.

Yet, our wonderfully idiotic president can't wait to see his corrupt pal's home on the Mississippi coast rebuilt so they can laugh together at how dumb we are to continuously do things that make absolutely no sense and waste billions upon billions of dollars. It's time to do the right thing. New Orleans and ALL coastal areas that were wiped out should be cleaned up and left back to nature. Yes, a home on the water is about as good as you can get it. But when nature tells you it shouldn't be there, you should listen. I don't want my tax dollars supporting frivolous spending and illogical rebuilding projects. We should not be supporting the replenishing of beaches, which costs tens of millions per year to the nbenefit of a few, nor should we be supporting the destructuve sprawl and development in areas we've nearly wiped out already.

Every single politician from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to Biloxi to Washington, D.C. who doesn't have a set of balls and supports a full rebuilding effort in areas where it doesn't make sense is falt out irresponsible. And that is saying it lightly. What happens when the next Cat 5 hurricane comes along and does the same thing? Well, we'll put our blinders on and do it all over again!

Anyway, that's enough of my ranting. I need to just accept this sheer idiocy and move on to something more important. I just hope that some time in my lifetime this country wakes the hell up and starts putting common sense way ahead of the mighty buck.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Baby Britney

Just a quick post today, as I'm contemplating wasting a ton of energy blasting the fools who think we should rebuild that swamp city in Louisiana or doing nothing.

News flash to the news media about the birth of Britney Spears' baby:





Seriously, why is this shit news? We have 1,000,000 displaced poor folks from New Orleans looking to rebuild their lives, another hurricane hitting us and about ten million other important newsworthy events going on in the world (some parents are losing their sonds and daughters over in Iraq fighting in a war we shouldn't be fighting, in case you haven't been paying attention) and this bullshit "news" is the headline everywhere we look. Leave this crap to the talking bobbleheads on ET or E! If you wonder why you in the news media aren't taken very seriously, this is a good time to reflect on that.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Why We're Driving Ourselves and the Planet Towards Extinction

I really despise certain parts of this planet. Not the places themselves, but the people that unfortunately inhabit these places. A prime example is South East Asia. In case you missed the news this week, Malaysians are suffering through an awful bout with air pollution because of smoke from forest fires. This is nothing new. In fact, most of SE Asia - from India to Indonesia - is under a persistent giant brown cloud of smog because these countries are overpopulated and have no sense of cleanliness. They're backwards.

The cause of this choking smoke are the massive forest fires being set in Indonesia. Indonesia is on a path to completely destroy its entire environment with deforestation and incessant pollution. It's disgusting. But to show you an example of just how backwards and idiotic these people are, do you know what they are doing to try and fix this? Instead of doing the right thing and actually stopping these criminals who are cutting down and burning lush, tropical forests, they pray to a silly god. I can't point the whole finger at religion, as the fucked up Indonesian government is REFUSING offers from other nations to help put out the fires!

"We pray that Allah will bestow rain on this land so that the haze will disappear," said one preacher, according to the AP news story. Yes, let's pray to some bogeyman in the sky! That's going to stop the destruction! If there was a god looking over these people and this land, he'd send a few more tsunamis their way. Yeah, I know, I sound sick and cruel. But short of a major decline in population or cultural attitudes, nothing is going to stop this disaster in the making. Nothing. The Dec. 2004 tsunami wiped out more than 150,000 people, mostly in Indonsia. It's pretty clear more need to go.

It's sickening to see what's going on in SE Asia. China has built and continues to build these massive damns, flooding millions up on millions of people (mostly poor farmers) out of their lands, most of which have been there for centuries. Vietnam and other countries downstream are now also paying a price because of the water control in China. Rivers are dropping lower, the water quality is getting worse, silt is building up and fish are dying rapidly. Automobile usage in that part of the world continues to skyrocket, driving air quality levels to new lows, from Mumbai to Bangkok to Hong Kong. And no one is stopping it.

I wish there was some way to stop all this maddness going on in the world. We have religions that preach against family planning, yet that same philosophy leads to the destruction of what you could call God's creations mainly due to overpopulation. Ironic, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Sad times

It's become pretty clear that we as a nation have become so detached from reality during the past couple of decades. We're fat. We have bad road rage. Millions voted for George W. Bush - twice. During the past few weeks, I've been watching news coverage of the famine that's currently under way in Niger. These stories seem to roll around once every few years and life goes on.

I'm a huge fan of Sports Illustrated's NFL writer Peter King. If you're not familiar with Peter, he writes a weekly column on cnnsi.com. I look forward to it every morning. It's full of insight. It's written well and has a great personal tone to it.

So, what do these two things have in common? Well, in this past Monday's column, King threw in something that should be glaringly obvious to everyone. Here's what he said: "ESPN has to take that eating contest off TV. With starvation in Africa on the news every week, it's a disgrace to show a bunch of idiots gorging themselves to nearly puking proportions."

What King is referring to is Nathan's Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest held in New York every 4th of July weekend. In case you haven't seen it, a bunch of people from a professional eater's club (seriously), wolf down as many hot dogs as they can in something like ten minutes. The current champion this year ate 49 hot dogs (bun and all). Last year he ate 53. It's disgusting and awe-inspiring at the same time.

But with all that's going on half a world away, I'm wondering just how desensitized we've become as a nation. How is it, the richest nation on earth, with the world's richest corporations (including ExxonMobil, which earned, oh, $7 BILLION last quarter alone by raping us on gas prices) can basically ignore something like a famine. It's 2005, not 1805. We have fat shits eating themselves out of their clothes daily hitting up McDonalds, 7Eleven or BK, gulping down 1,000 calorie+ Big Gulps and Big Macs. Yet people who so happen to have been born in a godforsaken desert are lucky if they can get a handful of rice in a day. We have no problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars invading a Middle Eastern country rich with oil, sending 2,000 of our brave troops to their death and countless others into lifelong despair (a study was released this week showing 30% of Iraq war vets suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional maladies). Yet, we do nothing to make sure a few thousands people get a decent meal because they have, what I'm sure our elected criminals see as, nothing to offer us.

That, my friends, is how low we've sunk. Click here, if you want to do your part.