TheKey Chronicle

$6 back issues!

Ballpoint Adventures mega-T
THE INKSTREME BALLPOINT
ADVENTURES

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

NEWT GINGRICH: FREEDOM OF 'NET SPEECH NEXT TARGET

According to a post (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15951435/) of the
transcript of last night's Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSBNC,
Newt Gingrich is now saying that the USG needs to legislate against Al
Qaeda "operatives" taking advantage of free speech in the west and
spreading their message of hate and dissent among their followers and
to "reach out and convince young people to destroy their lives while
destroying us."

That's because apparently, a few extremists with a bomb can destroy us.

Maybe a FEW of us but not the US... not even close.

And like the definition of "enemy combatant" you just know any law
wiping out just the websites displaying AQ messagery would just be the
beginning. This law would soon come to ban websites of anyone
"hostile" to the United States, including anyone who dissents against
USG policies--this is a possible definition of enemy combatant,
too--anyone who provides support to hostilities against the US.

First habeas corpus and now free speech on the 'net.

The extra irony is that Gingrich said all of this in an address at the
Loeb First Amendment Award Dinner in New Hampshire.

o_O

BUSH: IRAQ NOT A CIVIL WAR, SANTA REAL, TOO

Wow--this is hillarious. Yesterday, CNN.com reported on how King
George was insisting that there is no civil war in Iraq.

Yes, we should trust him after all these other things he's gotten right.

OH WAIT--he's gotten NOTHING right so far.

911
No Iraqi WMD
Katrina
Afghanistan
and more!

I haven't been able to follow Iraq news as much as I'd like lately,
but, at this point, if Bush says the sky is blue, I'm going to safely
assume it is not.

CAN WE IMPEACH THIS GUY NOW, PLEASE???

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A JOB THAT DOESN'T SUCK WORSE

Most of the time I blog about current events, politics or entertainment. For this post I'm getting a bit more self-indulgent. It seems to me that there's no such thing as a good job or even [http://thepete.com/a-job-that-doesnt-suck/|a job that doesn't suck] - rather, there is, but it doesn't stay that way for long.

See, I started a gig six months ago that I didn't want to start in the first place. I was only doing it to provide some financial stability. I was making money doing a few different things that I actually enjoyed but the money was sparse and not consistent. It was rough on myself and TheWife, so I bit the bullet and started temping, thinking that if anything sucked too badly, I could just move on to something else.

Luckily, I got a gig at a cancer lab doing what is effectively data entry. As far as crappy dayjobs went, it was perfect for me. I didn't have to talk to anyone on the phones, or anyone in my department--I could just keep to myself, do my job, listen to my podcasts and earn $14 hour (my temp agency told me I'd be making $15, but when I looked at my first paycheck...surprise!) which is enough to live my spartan lifestyle. If I actually owned a car, or ever partied (aka drank, went to clubs, etc), or had any major debts to pay off, or wanted to actually go on vacations anywhere, it's not enough. As it turns out, I don't spend a whole lot of money except on the very occasional gadget.

Then, last week, I was asked by my boss (whom I hardly ever see) how I felt about making some outgoing calls. Literally her words were: "How do you feel about outgoing calls?"

I'm an introvert who is good at pretending, but I respect myself too much to lie so I reply with: "Well, I'm not terribly comfortable dealing with strangers on the phone."

"Oh, OK, well, hopefully the holiday season will be slow, so you won't need to do it."

Hopefully?

I didn't pursue the topic of conversation (one of my longer conversations with her) as she was off, dealing with the next problem facing her job. Then, yesterday, surprise! "It's time to train you on the phones," my immediate supervisor cackles.

Literally, she cackled.

I told her I wanted to talk to my boss before I started any new training.

"Sorry," my supervisor says, "this is from On High," as in GOD?? "this can't wait."

"Uh, well, I sort of feel that... no, actually, it's not that I sort of feel anything, it's that I definitely don't want to do that kind of work." I then added that I'd really just like to talk to our boss about it.

"You can't, she'll be out for surgery until January or maybe longer."

"Well, I don't want to do that kind of work."

Then she made some sort of "good-natured" insulting jibe at my expense which I ignored so much I don't remember what it was and just repeated myself "I just don't like to work on the phones."

Then, my supervisor got a call she had to deal with and I was able to continue with my day. After a few hours, she gave up on the idea temporarily and just before I left to catch my bus I told her thanks for understanding about the phone thing. To that she replied that nothing had changed. I then suggested that I help out the department in some other way--it's not that I'm not willing to do more work (though on most days I'd be hard pressed to find time for it) it was just that I didn't want to do phones and I hadn't really been warned that I'd be forced into training for something new. I was also honest in saying that I just don't like to call people on the phone--especially strangers.

"Just try it, maybe it's not as bad as you think."

???

Try making phone calls?

Why does she think I haven't made phone calls before?

"It's just not something I like to do. I already know this. I probably wouldn't have taken this job if I knew I'd have to call people."

Then she tells me that since the boss is out for the next month, at least, "you'll have to live outside your comfort zone a little bit."

What a bitch. "My comfort zone."

So, now I'm a fucking freak because I am all soft and warm and cuddly when I don't have to make phone calls. I'm a weak, spineless coward because I don't want to deal with frigging idiots who don't know how to do their own jobs let alone answer my simple questions about patient names and birth dates and such.

"Don't worry, I'll train you."

But you're abrasive and rude and I don't like you, I think to myself.

"There's nothing to panic over, I won't throw you to the dogs."

"It's not that," I try to explain, "I'm not scared of making phone calls," and I'm trying hard not to feel insulted by this, "it's that I don't like to make phone calls."

I even suggested they get a new temp in and that I'd be OK with being moving on. Without missing a beat she said that it would take too long to bring the new guy up to speed. By the time we did, my boss would be back and we wouldn't need them to go on the phones. She then added that she thought our boss had already spoken to me about this. I described to her my one mini-conversation about it. "Well, I can understand why you're frustrated."

Yeah.

Ultimately, it's not about how much I don't like making phone calls. It's about simply respecting your workers. Usually my boss has been very up-front and hands-on. But this time she screwed up and put me in a position where I either have to do something I just don't like to do (don't forget, I'm already doing that by having a temp job in the first place--so don't say I can't deal with being an adult) or take a chance on finding another temp job.

This is my point--why can't a job just stay the way it is when I start it? Why must bosses always try to get away with shit? Why can't they just give me a job and let me do it until I quit? Sure, OK, things change, and they need people to pick up the slack--so their solution is make the temp guy do more important work without a pay raise?

Oh yeah and don't warn him about it beforehand either.

Dude, just fucking hire someone full time far enough in advance to have him/her up to speed by the time they are needed.

Noooo, that would cost money. It's easier/cheaper to keep the temp guy in the dark until it's too late and then force him decide against his own self-respect and finding a new temp gig.

Monday, November 27, 2006

PAUL KRUGMAN SEZ: SOMETHING WAS WRONG ON NOVEMBER 7

So, a couple of weeks ago, [http://thepete.com/just-because-the-dems-won-doesnt-mean-all-is-good/|I blogged about how I felt that just because the Dems won doesn't mean we're out of hot water]. In typical mainstream media fashion, it took someone from the MSM a bit longer to suggest that just because the Dems won doesn't mean the fix wasn't in. I've suggested that the fix is in, but it's a very subtle fix that only works if there if no landslide. Columnist Paul Krugman seems to think the same thing. A friend of mine recently forwarded me a link to [http://welcome-to-pottersville.blogspot.com/2006/11/paul-krugman-when-votes-disappear.html|this post] at Welcome-To-Pottersville.blogspot.com that quotes a Paul Krugman column on the case of possible election fraud in Sarasota, Florida. Yep, FLORIDA again. Anyway, here's a cutting:
You know what really had me terrified on Nov. 7? The all-too-real possibility of a highly suspect result. What would we have done if the Republicans had held on to the House by a narrow margin, but circumstantial evidence strongly suggested that a combination of vote suppression and defective — or rigged — electronic voting machines made the difference?

Fortunately, it wasn’t a close election. But the fact that our electoral system worked well enough to register an overwhelming Democratic landslide doesn’t mean that things are O.K. There were many problems with voting in this election — and in at least one Congressional race, the evidence strongly suggests that paperless voting machines failed to count thousands of votes, and that the disappearance of these votes delivered the race to the wrong candidate.


The gist of the rest of the article is this:

There were 18,000 (!!) voters who voted for no candidate. This is called an undervote. Now, according to Krugman, 15 percent of these 18,000 voters voted on electronic ballot machines. Weee...

So, while he writes mostly about how the electronic ballot machines are bad and how we can't verify the voters will with a recount, he doesn't point out how suspicious it looks that the other 15,000+ undervotes occurred at all. To me it looks like the fix was in, there, too.

Is it a coincidence that most of the undervotes came from predominantly black areas? Is it another coincidence that blacks tend to vote Democratic?

Then, one of the comments on the post at Welcome-to-Pottersville.blogspot.com directs readers to [http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_rob_kall_061117_clear_evidence_2006_.htm|this November 17, 2006 post] at OpEdNews.com. Here's a cutting from it:
A major undercount of Democratic votes and an overcount of Republican votes in U.S. House and Senate races across the country is indicated by an analysis of national exit polling data, by the Election Defense Alliance (EDA), a national election integrity organization.

These findings have led EDA to issue an urgent call for further investigation into the 2006 election results and a moratorium on deployment of all electronic election equipment.

"We see evidence of pervasive fraud, but apparently calibrated to political conditions existing before recent developments shifted the political landscape," said attorney Jonathan Simon, co-founder of Election Defense Alliance, "so 'the fix' turned out not to be sufficient for the actual circumstances." Explained Simon, "When you set out to rig an election, you want to do just enough to win. The greater the shift from expectations, (from exit polling, pre-election polling, demographics) the greater the risk of exposure--of provoking investigation. What was plenty to win on October 1 fell short on November 7.

"The findings raise urgent questions about the electoral machinery and vote counting systems used in the United States," according to Sally Castleman, National Chair of EDA. "This is a nothing less than a national indictment of the vote counting process in the United States!"

"The numbers tell us there absolutely was hacking going on, just not enough to overcome the size of the actual turnout. The tide turned so much in the last few weeks before the eleciton. It looks for all the world that they'd already figured out the percentage they needed to rig, when the programming of the vote rigging software was distributed weeks before the election, and it wasn't enough," Castleman commented.


Weee!

Ah, the most powerful democracy on planet Earth isn't even a fully functioning one!

HOORAY!

sigh...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

TIME MAGAZINE ON FEAR, ITSELF

One of the things I'm always going on about is how stupidly scared we all are of everything. Bird flu, Al Qaeda (all 50,000 of them), Iraq, and soon Iran--but what is it all for? Are the odds actually good that any of us will die from any of those threats I just mentioned?

Eleven months ago, my 10 Points post appeared on my blog. It outlines specifically how AIDS, cancer and car accidents are all much more likely to kill you than a terrorist. I even back it up with statistics and links to my sources.

Well, that was back in January of 2006. On November 25, 2006 Time.Com [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1562914,00.html|finally got around to addressing] the issue that, frankly, we ALL should have been talking about on September 12, 2001--fear, itself.

After all, that is the only thing FDR said we have to fear, right? Somewhere along the line we forgot his words and gave in to the idea that there are actual boogie-men out to get us.

The catch?

They aren't.

I mean, sure, there are extremist Muslims who want to kill Americans, but their numbers are tiny and they are NOT well organized. If they were, we'd have seen a lot more successful attacks than just the two on the WTC in 1993 and 2001. I mean, come on, they're really going to topple America with two lucky strikes? Three or four, even? Not likely.

Yes, anti-terror cops are on the job and are foiling plots. But look at the time between 1993 and 2001. It took them eight years to get lucky again and that was under George W. Bush's crack anti-terror administration (perhaps they were on crack to let 911 happen). This is the level of their expertise. At that rate, they should be getting lucky again just in time for the next president. That is, unless we're so scared that we decide to make George W. Emperor of America...

So, BRAVO, Time Magazine, for finally getting off your ass and doing some serious questioning of the way things are going. Kudos to Time.Com for being brave enough to NOT allow comments on their fear article at Time.Com--it takes a lot of balls to be a bald-faced coward in today's world.

Here's to hiding from the truth until it's cool to face it and even then hiding from any possible criticism.

What's even better is that the Time article doesn't address how the media makes things worse by playing the fear card every chance they get.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

THANKSGIVING PARADE??? WHAT ABOUT AL QAEDA???

So, TheWife was in NYC two weekends ago for an acting gig and went to visit an old buddy of my who works at the Empire State Building. She had been wandering around Manhattan for hours with a huge backpack strapped to her, so, in the lobby of the ESB, she crouches down to stretch her muscles a bit. A security guard tells her she can't crouch there. He then tells her she can go in the cafe to sit if she wants, but crouching where she was is not allowed.

According to my friend, you can't crouch in the lobby or dig through your bags for anything (he once was admonished for looking for the pass that let him get into his office) without being harassed by authorities. Seems that if you're crouching, you might be praying to Allah before you blow the place up. If you're digging through your bags, you're clearly looking for your remote detonator.

Flash-forward two weekends to the giant terrorist target that is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Hundreds of people come out every year to watch the parade--when I was a kid I remember going at least once and having a blast. But why is it illegal to crouch or dig through your bags in the lobby of the Empire State Building because you might be a terrorist, but a GIANT PARADE with HUNDREDS OF INNOCENT TARGETS CIVILIANS can go on without a problem?

So, we sacrifice habeas corpus for non-American-born people, allow the government to track our phone calls, bank transactions, and reading habits, put up with taking our shoes off before boarding a plane and only taking with us a few ounces of shampoo or hand lotion on that plane... but a giant parade is allowed to go on?

Come on, folks--this makes no sense.

If EVERY passenger plane is a probable terrorist target, how can Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade not be a DEFINITE target?

Are we scared of Al Qaeda or not?

OH and Happy Thanksgluttony--I mean--Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

AMERICANS HAVE KIDS BUT FEWER ARE GETTING MARRIED

Is it me? Are more people having kids these days? I swear, I see more and more pregnant women wandering around LA.

See, personally, I'm confused as to why people want to have kids at all these days. I mean, I look at the world and think "do I want my offspring to have to deal with/clean up this mess? NO WAY!"

To me, it seems positively vindictive to have kids with the world the way it is today. Would you wish the preteen fascist state that the US is becoming on someone you're supposed to love?

Well, I wouldn't. But most people aren't me. The interesting thing is that fewer couples are bothering to get married than ever before. According to [http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/tribpm/s_477899.html|a November 2, 2006 article] at PittsburghLive.com:
For the first time, married-couple households are no longer in the majority, according to statistics from the bureau's latest American Community Survey. From 2000-05, the percentage of Southwestern Pennsylvania households headed by married couples dropped from 50.5 percent to 49.1 percent, mirroring national numbers.


To top that off, [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1110AP_Unmarried_Births.html|a November 22, 2006 article] from AP.org available at SeattlePI.com reports:
Out-of-wedlock births in the United States have climbed to an all-time high, accounting for nearly four in 10 babies born last year, government health officials said Tuesday.

While out-of-wedlock births have long been associated with teen mothers, the birth rate among girls ages 10 to 17 actually dropped last year to the lowest level on record. Instead, births among unwed mothers rose most dramatically among women in their 20s.

Experts said the overall rise reflects the burgeoning number of people who are putting off marriage or living together without getting married. They said it also reflects the fact that having a child out of wedlock is more acceptable nowadays and not necessarily the source of shame it once was.


OK, now, what I think no one will talk about in the media is why marriage seems to be in decline. Sure its "more acceptable" to have a live with a lover and/or have a child out of wedlock, but why is that?

Well, one of my theories about religion is that it was literally invented to help control people and make them behave in a civilized manner.

"Behave or you'll go to hell!"

And we did. For millennia we've behaved and used religious rituals to signify to God that we were following the rules. Marriage was part of that. We couldn't just run around having sex with anyone because that would be chaotic. Men get possessive of their women (even when they have more than one) and so marriage would bind women to a man. God was used as an excuse to keep women (and men) "civilized".

But now, it seems like we humans don't need God or religion's rules to form bonds with loved ones and have families. We're perfectly capable of being "civilized" on our own without the threat of hell or a lack of heaven hanging over our heads.

I think it's great--religion has told us what to do and what not to do for thousands of years. Now, more and more people are telling religion to take five while they make up their minds for themselves.

Independent thought that still values the family unit/community.

Pretty friggen' cool, if you ask me.

I still think humans should stop having kids until we can feed and care for the kids on planet Earth already.

But that's just me--I think no kid should be parentless or healthless--I'm wacky that way.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

FINISHED MY 50,000 WORDS FOR NANOWRIMO.ORG!!!

This'll be a short post as I just wanted to announce that I've just finished my seventh novel! Well, the first draft of my seventh novel, anyway.

I did it in conjunction with NaNoWriMo--See, the idea is that you sign up at the NaNoWriMo.Org website and then, on November 1, 12:01am, you begin to write a novel with the plan to have it 50,000 words or longer and finished by midnight, November 30 or sooner. See, that's why they call it NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month. The catch is, it really should be called InNaNoWriMo because it's international. Something like 70,000 people around the world take part in this and many of them use the forums to get and give support from and to other writers.

What I did was assign myself a region which then gives me access to a special forum that only folks in that region have access to. From there I can virtually meet up with other novelists in my area. Next, we're planning to have a TGIO (Thank God It's Over) party where we'll all meet in person. Of course, most of them have already met since they had a kick-off party a couple days before this year but I couldn't make it. :(

For the TGIO party, I won't miss it!!

I wasn't the fastest person, but I did finish early. That makes me feel good about myself, which is always a good thing, I think. :) Still, my story ended up being a lot shorter than I had initially planned, so I'm not perfect. Still, any excuse to sit down and let a fiction writing project take over my life for a while is a good excuse.

If you are a novelist or think you might want to give novelism a try, this is a great way to make sure you'll get your book done. Check out NaNoWriMo.org for more info!!

NEW DISEMBODIED ANIMAL HEAD THEATRE RELATED VIDEO!!

OK, I've been meaning to blog on this for weeks but my novel got in the way. Now that my novel is almost done (JUST 300 MORE WORDS TO GO!!!) I thought I'd grab a moment to post the latest video from Andrew Moore, the brains behind Disembodied Animal Head Theatre! This one follows the host of DAHT, good old Tex, as he goes into the studio to record his album of Christmas standards!! CHECK IT OUT:



Or check out the original post at the DAHT blog here:

http://daht.blogspot.com/2006/10/ho-netizens-did-i-say-id-have-video.html

REDS (1981)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? Entirely entertaining! I don't know how I've lived this long without seeing this movie sooner.


Technically any good? This movie was crazy-impressive. Everything about this movie was well done. The acting was brilliant, the script was as solid as solid can get when trying to condense this story to a tiny (but still quite cinematically huge) 3h15m. There was hardly any music, which helped the realism and aside from some sound issues (mostly bad ADR issues in a couple scenes) the "technical" stuff was spot on, as well. Like I said, I don't know how I haven't seen this amazing film before now.


How did it leave me feeling? Inspired to write more :) and to avoid involving myself directly in politics. But seriously, it left me feeling very positive. Actually, for about the first hour, I was having such a good time with the movie (even through the depressing bits) I had a big grin on my face because everything was so well done. I felt like I was on a date with someone who wanted me to have the world on a platter. The film treats you like you're intelligent and familiar with how the world really is and only occasionally gets all liberal on your ass. Generally, though, it stays pretty balanced and actually presents you with the really sucky side of communism, so you know it's not all about the liberal, commie crap.


Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now!! It's particularly timely.

Monday, November 20, 2006

CASINO ROYALE (2006)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? Yeah, but just barely. It was fun and most folks will enjoy it, but I just felt that this film was over-hyped as a new kind of Bond movie when it really wasn't.


Technically any good? Not at all. Sure, the action scenes were exciting, but only slightly less fantastical compared to the action scenes in recent Bond films. The acting was great--really liked Daniel Craig as Bond and everyone else is perfectly believable. Plot was convoluted as hell (YOU try describing the plot in a couple of sentences!) and the dialog was for CRAP. "I have no armor left, you've stripped it from me." BARF!


How did it leave me feeling? Disappointed. I actually had a nice chat with the guy sitting next to me about the film and generally, we both agreed that the film was pretty perplexing and uneven. TheWife enjoyed it more. Generally, I'd say wait for Netflix.


Final Rating? RTV - Rent The Video (not even worth a matinée price in my mind.)

[http://thepete.com/casino-royaleeh/|Read my long-ass, knock-down, drag-out review of Casino Royale.]

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Casino Royale...eh...

OK, I'm not going to talk about my opinion of the new Bond film Casino Royale out in the open like this, so if you really want to read this check out below. Let's just say I have strong feelings about the film.

If you've seen it or don't plan on seeing it, go ahead and read on. If you have yet to see it and plan to, I'd suggest coming back to this post once you have seen the movie and formed your own opinion.

...


...


...


Friday, November 17, 2006

FEDERAL JUDGE: WARRANTLESS WIRETAPPING OK!

I found [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/11/10/america/NA_GEN_US_Domestic_Spying_Challenge.php|this article] a week ago at IHT.Com from AP.org that reports on a federal judge that dismissed a claim by a convicted terrorist that his case may have been tainted by evidence gathered via warrantless wiretapping.

I suppose with all of the other rights the government is dancing upon, it only makes sense that a federal judge would dismiss this attempt to get out of his plea bargain.

Here's a clip from the article that explains a bit more:
Truck driver Iyman Faris, 37, of Columbus, Ohio, is serving a 20-year prison sentence after admitting in a plea bargain that he conspired with al-Qaida on an aborted plot to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge by cutting its suspension cables.

But Faris sought to have his sentence vacated, in part because of suspicions that the government's eavesdropping program tainted the case.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, filed earlier this week, is under seal, so it is unclear why she dismissed the claim.


YAAAY!! WE'LL NEVER KNOW WHY THE JUDGE RULED THE WAY SHE DID!!

Who needs transparency when you've got rich, thick, FOGGY JUSTICE?!?!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

MUSLIM UCLA STUDENT TASERED FOR NOT SHOWING ID

Welcome to the police state!

The headline says it all. I'm still at my cube at TheDayjob, but
TimToon IMed me a link to the below video at YouTube.Com. I have yet
to really research the story, but check out the vid below and then
head over to [http://cbs2.com/topstories/local_story_320104928.html|an article] at CBSNews.com. You can also see how the locals reported on it by checking out [http://dailybruin.com/news/articles.asp?id=38960|an article] at DailyBruin.com (the website for the UCLA school paper).



If the above embed doesn't work, to watch the video, go here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyvrqcxNIFs

How many more instances like this do we need to see happen before we
start to admit that we are living in a police state? Sure, the USA is
not a horrible police state, but when somebody gets tased for not
showing his ID? That's ridiculous.

AMY GOODMAN: MONOTONE HERO

I've been listening to the podcast version of Democracy Now! (DemocracyNow.org) for probably more than a year now. It was tough to get going on because it's so low budget. It sounds low budget and if you watch the show it looks low budget. However, they mange to cover almost every topic they touch on with way more depth than you get from the mainstream news. DN is daily, Monday thru Friday and it's an hour long. That adds up to way more depth than the evening network news shows could ever deliver and still a heckuva a lot more depth than you'll get in an equivalent number of hours on CNN.

Plus you won't hear about independent reporters getting shot during months-long protests in Oaxaca (wah-hah-ka), Mexico. Goodman did a full hour on this American indy reporter who was shot dead by Mexican police who were trying (but failed) to break up a HUGE protest against the local governor. Of course, you probably didn't hear about the protest, either.

But hey, I grew up on reruns of the classic Trek. I can totally deal with low budget and in fact most of the time I prefer it because the content is usually better. The catch here has been that Amy Goodman is not a dynamic personality when she's hosting the show. Her style is rather bare-bones and unemotional. I suppose she's trying to come across "unbiased" but it's obvious to me how liberal she is when she has on two liberal guests and one conservative to debate an issue. Of course, I don't mind that because last week I heard Joe Scarborough, on MSNBC, refer to soon-to-be Senator-Elect Ford (from Tennessee) as a "moderate" because Ford is a Democrat who admits his love for Jesus. So, I figure Amy Goodman stacking the deck just balances things out in the end.

That said, she is still so MONOTONE. It would be great if she could just seem a little less clinical. Early on I would literally get drowsy listening to her voice. Eventually, though, I got used to it and have come to not mind it, really. I mean, it's a small price to pay for the great coverage of stories you get from that show.

The thing is, up until yesterday I still didn't think of her as much more than someone who was a libbie-hippie type who could write decent copy. Then, yesterday, I listened to [http://www.democracynow.org/index.pl?issue=20061113|the November 13, 2006 episode of Democracy Now] and was blown away. On the show she talked about how, back in 1991, Goodman and another reporter were covering the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. There was a group of East Timorese who were attending a funeral for a local community figure. The mob was getting a bit unruly, but there was no violence among the mourners.

Then, Goodman and the other reporter see Indonesian troops marching down the street that led into the walled cemetery. Obviously, they were armed and it was also obvious to Goodman and her friend that these troops were going to use those arms on the mourners.

The two journalists put themselves between the troops and the mourners, holding their microphones, recorders and cameras in full view of the troops.

The troops just marched by them, raised their M-16s and began to fire on the crowd. They also began beating the journalists, dragging both of them to the side of the road. They were both beaten and bloodied and had M-16s pointed at their heads but at the last moment, the troops decided not to murder them.

Two-hundred-seventy East Timorese were killed in the massacre.

Amy Goodman is a fucking hero.

To be sure, so was Allan Nairn, the male reporter who was with her and threw his body over her to protect her against the rifle butts of Indonesian soldiers, but I had never heard of him before yesterday and never fathomed that Amy Goodman had done something that brave.

Seriously, Amy Goodman is a fucking hero.

Sorry, gotta say "fucking". Calling her a hero just doesn't seem enough.

Oh yeah--and the American president's response to the massacre?

More support to the Indonesian military.

Where do you think they got their American-made M-16s from in the first place?

THANKS, GEORGE H.W.!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

JOHN CONYERS LETS US DOWN

So, I get the latest newsletter from Illinois congressman John Conyers in my inbox today and I get part way through before I stop reading. The sentence that tripped me up was this one:

"As many of you also know, I have agreed with Speaker-to-be Pelosi that impeachment is off the table."


Yep. Nicely done, sir!

/sarcasm

Why am I so let down at this? Let me include a bit more of his letter:
Although we won back control of Congress, none of us should delude ourselves into thinking that running the legislative branch in a nation wracked by years of one party rule will be easy. We need to put aside any thought of anger or payback. Instead we need to focus on identifying and correcting abuses and pass legislation which serves the interests of the American people.


OK, that second paragraph above came before the line that tripped me up. Getting to the line that tripped me up instantly inspired me to email Conyers immediately. Here's what I said:
You've let the American people down. For political reasons you are
allowing laws to be broken and criminals to get away with it. Since
when is enforcing the law and convicting criminals revenge? You
insult me and other supporters, sir. I am not interested in Bush
being impeached out of revenge. I am not petty as you and other
Democrats think. I am interested in the truth being known and the law
being followed.

You would sweep both the truth and the law under the rug to ensure an
easier future for yourself in Washington.

Why have laws if you let the people who break them get away with it?

By failing to go after George W. Bush for breaking the UN Charter, the
covert propaganda law and a great many other domestic and
international laws, you send a message to the future that says abuse
of power is acceptable.

You and your party have disappointed me more than I can describe. I
now fall into the category of a person who feels that all politicians
are in it for themselves and are corrupt and power-hungry. Why else
would you fail to go after Bush? So that you or other Democrats can
rise to power and abuse that power the same way Bush has abused it.

You were the one person in the government I felt was still
trustworthy. You were the only person who spoke of impeachment. You
silenced yourself to help your party seem more "moderate" and
"reasonable." Since when is following the law and impeaching a leader
who has betrayed the public trust "extreme" and "unreasonable?"

If letting a criminal get away with it is what it means to be
reasonable, I'll be unreasonable for the rest of my life and I won't
be voting for Democrats ever again.

I'll be sure to encourage others to vote third party, too.

Or, you could do your job and impeach Bush. It's not too late. Don't
let yourself and your morals get squashed by the game of politics.
FIGHT. FIGHT for your country! FIGHT for the people who elected you!
SET a good example for the future!

Please.


Let's hope he listens. You should email your congressperson, too, and tell him what you think. I need to contact mine, here in LA, as well, and make sure he knows that impeachment isn't about revenge--it's about the US Constitution.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

RUMMY'S GETTING SUED FOR WAR CRIMES!

Check it out, people are showing the USG how justice works by suing "retired" Sec of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for war crimes. Reuters.com reports in [http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=politicsNews&storyID=2006-11-14T151311Z_01_L14378286_RTRUKOC_0_US-GERMANY-RUMSFELD.xml&WTmodLoc=NewsHome-C3-politicsNews-3|a November 14, 2006 article] that:
Civil rights groups filed a suit with German prosecutors on Tuesday seeking war crimes charges against outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for alleged abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons.


Sadly the article goes on:
Lawyers for the groups said they did not expect that Rumsfeld, who resigned after Democrats wrested power from the Republicans in last week's midterm elections, partly due to dismay over the Iraq war, will be locked up in a German jail.

"I don't expect he'll go to jail. I think he should go to jail," Peter Weiss of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) told a public presentation of the suit.

"As far as I'm concerned -- and my colleagues agree -- I would be satisfied if he spent the rest of his life in shame."


Oh YEAH, SHAME is WAY worse than jail time!

Well, at least their heart is in the right place...

JUST BECAUSE THE DEMS WON DOESN'T MEAN ALL IS GOOD

In fact, it's anything but good, since the Democrats could have raised a much bigger stink about things like impeachment, the Iraq war being for nothing (along with the deaths of all those USGIs), warrentless wiretaps, domestic spying, secret prisons and and so on. Sure, the Dems didn't have control but if they had raised a big enough stink they could have gotten a lot of attention. Instead, they, for the most part, just played the lapdogs and let Bush and Friends get away with whatever they wanted. Now, I think I know why they did this and it's not because they're lazy, spineless people.

It's because they liked the power they saw the Republicans abusing and decided they'd want the same power when they were once again in charge. So they said little, did nothing and will continue that trend. Why do you think [http://thepete.com/impeachment-isnt-revenge/|Palosi has said as much?] It's because it's their turn to have the power.

I hope I'm wrong--really I do. Time will tell and if we start hearing impeachment talk sometime before the Dems take control in January, I will happily retract the theory I put forth above.

But no impeachment of Bush and they're just protecting the precedent (not the president--Al Gore gave up that job long ago ;) ). By establishing that you can break all the laws Bush has and invade countries illegally, this pretty much sets up the Dems to have the same abilities. When President Hillary Clinton orders the invasion of Syria in 2009 because they've got WMD, no one will bat an eye.

Well, sure, plenty of us will bat our eyes, but if we open our mouths we'll get labeled enemy combatants, thrown in Gitmo without our right to challenge detention.

If you're even thinking about getting involved, please do it. Email your senators and congresspeople. Tell them what you think, even if you disagree with me. Tell them to follow the law and go after the people who break the law, regardless of the fact that their mailing address might be 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Monday, November 13, 2006

IMPEACHMENT ISN'T REVENGE

Earlier today I was listening to the podcast from DemocracyNow.Org for November 10, 2006 (last Friday's) and they run a quote from Nancy Palosi. She was saying something about how the Democrats aren't out for revenge, adding"As I've said before, impeachment is off the table."

I don't want to see Bush impeached because I want revenge--I want to see Bush impeached because he broke the law and violated the US Constitution.

This isn't about him making up for the tens of thousands (more?) who have died thanks to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan--this is about following the law. Just check out my 13 Strikes post to see 13 examples of why impeachment proceedings should begin.

This is about the rule of law, not revenge and any one in any party who says it is about revenge is playing partisan politics.

If he shouldn't be impeached despite his law breaking, why should any of us bother following laws at all? Figure, if there's one guy who should be forced to follow the law, it's the guy in the White House.

CAN WE PLEASE STOP PAYING FOR WAR AND START PAYING FOR CURES?

So, I'm checking out Cinematical.Com during some down time in my cube, today, and I read [http://www.cinematical.com/2006/11/13/rip-reel-important-people-november-13-2006|their latest RIP post]--the one where they list people from movies who have recently died.

The two people that I had heard of who I hadn't heard died were classic mental hygene film director Sid Davis and one of my favorite movie score composers Basil Poledouris. Both died of cancer. A quick glance across the fifteen names in the list shows that 5 out of the fifteen died of some type of cancer.

I wonder how far the almost $500 billion we've spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq could have gone toward finding cures for cancer.

I bet it would have been pretty far.

Too bad the USG is more interested in ending lives than saving them.

IRAN TV: US CLOSE TO AIR STRIKES?

Over the weekend www.AFP.com reported that Iranian news had broadcast footage shot from an Iranian spy plane. The footage was of an American Navy aircraft carrier in the Gulf--and it was clearly stuffed to the gills and looking very threatening. Check out a screengrab I snagged off of [http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/11/11/061111210706.9ddls4rg.html|the November 11, 2006 AFP article] at the oddly named news site Breitbart.com :



See that big plane toward the center of the picture? I believe that's a surveillance aircraft. You can sort of make out the disc that's you see on some surveillance aircraft--see the Navy's P-3B below:



To me this aircraft on deck (and all the other smaller fighters on deck) could mean two things:

1) Training exercises.

2) They're planning air strikes.

Why else would you need a surveillance aircraft?

Friday, November 10, 2006

BABEL (2006)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? INCREDIBLY SO. However, this is a very thoughtful, thought-provoking film and I think that it may not be everyone's cup of tea. To be blunt, you've got to be willing to think and follow along--there are no explosions in this movie. There is some gunplay, though, so the masses might enjoy the film for that reason.


Technically any good? Unbelievably solid. Writing, directing, acting, cinematography, everything is spot on in this film. Sure there are one or two tiny things I'd have done differently, but over all this film does so much I couldn't help but fall in love with it. It's inventive, clever (without being "clever") and says a LOT about humanity.


How did it leave me feeling? Moved and genuinely happy. This film is easily one of the best movies of 2006 in my mind. Not to over-hype it, but I was so impressed that I think it might be one of my all time favorite films. I'll catch it again on DVD to make sure.


Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now - This is a thinking person's movie, but it's brilliant. GO SEE IT!!

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

AND THE DEMS GET THE SENATE!!

Screengrabbed from MSNBC.com earlier tonight:



Well, for the most part. There are two independents, with one being Lieberman (I can't believe those idiots voted for him!) but both say they'll probably vote Democrat.

So that's good news for stopping the Republicans and the Bush administration from running rampant all over our rights!


...I hope!

Just because the Dems will be in control of one of the branches of government doesn't mean we with liberal leanings can rest on our laurels.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. The Dems are still politicians which is why I don't trust them, either. However, at least some of them want to do their jobs and hold criminals in the USG accountable.

Won't that be nice?

THE RULE OF LAW RETURNS!!


WAHOOOOOO!!

I'M SO HAPPY I NEARLY CRAPPED MY DRAWERS!

;)

Let's just hope the Dems still want to do their jobs come January.

I'll be watching and I'll be ready to bash them if they puss-out.

You can bet on that!!

Hey, you think they might want to investigate the last two presidential elections for fraud? Or maybe 911?

>_<

RUMSFELD STEPPING DOWN???

WOW!

I'm in my cube dayjobbing just now and I switch over to CNN.com to
check out the latest on the Senate races in Virginia and Montana and
see the "Breaking News" bar toward the top of CNN's main page
announce:

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is stepping down, sources tell CNN.

If this is true... CHRISTMAS HAS COME EARLY!

The only thing that could make things better is if John Conyers
announced that he was moving forward on filing articles of impeachment
against Bush. I did email him about that already... :)

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Dems Win House, Senate Up in the Air...

Wow, it's been a mixed bag for this voter.

Personally, I think the fix is still in. Sure, the Dems won the house, but there were an awful lot of close races out there. Unreasonably close races. Like the Virginia senate race between Macaca and Porn Novel guy. Why are people having a hard time deciding who the better dude is? Someone who calls people names and tries to prove he's not Jewish by quoting a hamfull diet? Or a guy who wrote some porny scenes in a novel?

I'd say the worst of two evils in Webb--the porn novel guy. He also happens to be a major military man (think: leadership skills) and he's NOT a Republican who thinks the Iraq war was a good idea. Webb's opponent, Allen (the guy who called an Indian-American "macaca" and later disavowed his Jewiness by admitting to partaking in pork) thought Iraq was a great country to invade.

I don't know anything about the Montana race, but it's pretty tight as well.

As for Dems winning the House? It's a release valve. They were allowed to win, but with the Republicans holding onto the Senate, there will still be no movement in either body. Anything the House tries to do the Senate will refuse to play along. Hopefully, John Conyers will at least try to impeach Bush. I'm going to go email him about that right now.

I'm also annoyed prop 89 here in LA didn't pass. Man, there are way to many pro-corporate people in this state.

And fuckin' Arnold is still my governor. SHIT! I HATE THAT GUY!!!

KILL ME! KILL ME NOW! I'M HEEEEUH!!!

SANTORUM IS OUT!! (sez: MSNBC)

YESSS!!


(photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images/MSNBC commentary: ThePete.Com)


Bob Casey in PA BEATS THAT BASTARD SANTORUM!!

AWESOME!!

If memory serves, he's the guy who said American citizens have no right to privacy.

Yeah, it'll be good to see him go.

Also, Allen and Webb are neck and neck in Virginia.

BRING IT!!

The Exit Poll and Actual Poll Results are Coming In!

And boy are they confusing. CNN and MSNBC are jumping all over the place--one second reporting on governors races, the next senators, the next governors and then to house elections. I can't really tell how anyone is doing. I think I remember seeing more blue winners than red, but I can't be sure.

God forbid the bloody media could put up a simple chart and run down the list of winners/losers in an orderly fashion.

Sheesh...

UPDATE: Damn, spoke too soon. If you check out MSNBC.Com, they've got a cool little dashboard up that displays Senate balance, House balance (along with other ingo) and you can click on each for more. Pretty sweet.

CNN/DOBBS: MANY POLLS IN OHIO OPEN UNTIL 10pm

Turns out Ohio (the home of the Diebold computer ballot machines) has had massive problems with their machines across (I think Dobbs said) something like 15 counties. As a result they've decided they have to keep the polls open until 10pm local time.

Dobbs' guest, Warren Stewart of VoteTrustUSA, said that he thinks the reports we're already seeing is just the tip of the iceberg--that there are a lot more problems going on that have yet to come to light.

PLENTY OF WARNING ON E-VOTING PROBLEMS

As reports of problems with e-voting/black box voting/computerize ballot boxes come rolling in from around the United States I thought it would be a good idea to point out just a handful of the obvious warnings we've had that these machines are bad news.

[http://www.engadget.com/2006/09/24/rolling-stone-interviews-a-diebold-whistleblower/|Rolling Stone interviews a Diebold whistleblower] (source: Engadget.com)

[http://www.engadget.com/2006/10/05/diebold-sez-glitch-free-just-dont-touch-those-touchscreens/|Diebold sez "glitch-free," just don't touch those touchscreens] (source: Engadget.com)

[http://www.engadget.com/2006/10/30/florida-diebold-machines-help-you-pick-the-right-candidate/|Florida Diebold machines help you pick the right candidate] (source: Engadget.com)

[http://www.engadget.com/2006/10/31/dutch-pull-10-of-their-voting-machines-more-to-come/|Dutch pull 10% of their voting machines, more to come?] (source: Engadget.com)

[http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061101-8131.html|Primary and early e-voting problems point to gathering storm] (source: ArsTechnica.com)

Oh yeah and [http://politics.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/11/06/2132216&from=rss|this post] got slashdotted--turns out HBO's documentary Hacking Democracy is available in it's entirety at video.Google.com. You can [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7236791207107726851&sourceid=docidfeed&hl=en-CA|watch it there] or even download it to play it on your computer, iPod or PSP.

Of course, tou can also check out BlackBoxVoting.org for plenty of warnings on e-voting.

ALSO: You should check out [http://www.archive.org/download/dn2006-1031_vid/dn2006-1031_256kb.mp4|the October 31, 2006 podcast] at DemocracyNow.org--it's an hour on today's election, e-voting and more about the state of our democracy.

LOU DOBBS SEZ: E-VOTING PROBLEMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

Just watching CNN while finishing up my onigiri from Famima and Lou Dobbs was on, promoing his show that starts at 3pm PST and he said that there are reports of "manageable" e-voting problems across the country.

What does "manageable" mean? I know what "manageable" means, I just don't understand what it means in this context. To me, any problems are bad. That means democracy is having a hard time of it--all problems are manageable, but if ONE person can't vote, then that means democracy isn't working as well as it should.

JUST VOTED!

Just got back from voting. Everything seemed to go fine since it was the Ink-A-Vote system. I still had my ballot scanned by a computer though--I'm going to look into who owns those guys.

Also stopped off at Famima!! and now I'm going to go eat some lunch. WEEE!!

Keep watching this space!!

CNN COMMERCIAL: Net Neutrality is BAD

Holy crap--I just saw a commercial on CNN saying that Net Neutrality was "mumbo jumbo" conjured up by rich Silicon Valley companies that will make "YOU pay more for THEIR services."

The commercial, of course, offer no proof or even vague evidence of this. I didn't get a chance to make note of who was behind the ad. What crap...

Trust me--Net Neutrality is good for US and BAD for the big media companies because it stops them from creating a tiered Internet that puts webmasters with big money above folks like you or me.

EXIT POLLS SEALED UNTIL AFTER 5PM

OK, this makes no sense. The folks in charge of the exit polls are not releasing any info on the results until after 5 pm eastern. What the hell's with that?

They're scared it will effect voters' decisions about whether to vote or not.

What about my right to know?

Stupid asses.

Plus they don't want to get it wrong like they have in years past. So, they wait until after 5pm (why they don't wait until after all of the polls close is beyond me) to make sure they're getting it right. Of course, what happens if they're not getting it right? Will they fudge the numbers or just tell the truth?

Just the fact that I can't be sure shows us how screwed up our world is right now.

Hey, Jack Cafferty's on CNN--he's sounding pretty anti-Bush even if he's not a libbie.

NICE, EVEN HANDED COVERAGE FROM THE CABLE NEWS

So, CNN had on Bay Buchanan (conservative) while CNN.com left up a picture of the Clintons (Democrats) smiling on their main page for hours. Then, MSNBC has conservative Joe Scarborough hosting their coverage during the afternoon while MSNBC.com has "POLLING PROBLEMS" as their main headline.

Niiiice and balanced!

VIRGINIA VOTER INTIMIDATION?

Hey, here's some GREAT news!

/sarcasm

Turns out the FBI is now investigating possible cases of voter intimidation.

MSNBC.com is [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15603344/|reporting] that:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the possibility of voter intimidation in the hard-fought U.S. Senate race between Sen. George Allen, a Republican, and Democratic challenger James Webb, officials told NBC News.


That's the "Macaca Vs. Porn Novel" race, in case you can't remember who Allen and Webb were. Here's more from the article:
State officials alerted the Justice Department on Tuesday to several complaints of suspicious phone calls to voters who attempted to misdirect or confuse them about election day, Jean Jensen, Secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections, told NBC’s David Shuster.

Jensen told NBC that she had been contacted by FBI agents. The FBI in Richmond refused to comment.

State Democratic Party counsel Jay Myerson said in a written statement issued by the Webb campaign that he believed Republicans are behind an orchestrated effort to suppress votes for the Democratic challenger.


YOU DON'T SAY! Republicans behind attempts to suppress Democrat votes???

I CAN'T IMAGINE!

JOE SCARBOROUGH CALLS HAROLD FORD MODERATE

Wow, so for a change of pace, I switch over to MSNBC to find their election coverage (at least for a while) hosted by conservative Joe Scarborough and he calls Tennessee Democrat Harold Ford, a moderate--Ford is a man who openly declares his belief in God and Jesus. THAT'S a moderate? A moderate is someone who believes in something, but doesn't wear it on his sleeve. The very concept of MODERATION excludes the idea of expressing one's religious beliefs--BY DEFINITION.

Then they have on Ana Marie Cox--the former blogger behind Wonkette.com and say she's from Time.Com. How the hell did this chick go from blogging to being a serious news person? WTF!!

Man, that Scarborough looks like Matthew Perry.

I hate Matthew Perry.

WHERE'S OLBERMANN??

HOW ABOUT A NON-CONSERVATIVE REPORTING THE NEWS CABLE, TV?

I'M READY FOR A CHANGE!

VOTING IRREGULARITIES: BIG SURPRISE (or not!)

OK, so MSNBC.com is [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15590530/|reporting] that:
Programming errors and inexperience dealing with electronic voting machines frustrated poll workers in hundreds of precincts early Tuesday, delaying voters in Indiana, Ohio, Miss. and Florida and leaving some with little choice but to use paper ballots instead.


I love how the article says "paper ballots" like they're a bad thing. It's the electronic machines that are bad. Here's more from the article:
In Cleveland, voters rolled their eyes as election workers fumbled with new touchscreen machines that they couldn’t get to start properly until about 10 minutes after polls opened.

“We got five machines — one of them’s got to work,” said Willette Scullank, a troubleshooter from the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, elections board.


That's the spirit! ONE of them's got to work!

Well, not really :)

Here's more:
In Mississippi's Hancock County, where voters were heading to the polls for the first time since it was clobbered by Hurricane Katrina, MSNBC found Pamela Metzler, circuit clerk for Hancock County, Miss., fuming.

“The equipment is just over the top for the average poll worker,” she fumed. “Hell, it’s over the top for me.”


Wow--what's so difficult about pressing buttons on a touch-screen? I suppose that could be very difficult if the software was designed for crap...

For from the article:
Metzler said the Diebold touch-screen machines were “shoved down our throats” by Secretary of State Eric Clark as part of a deal that brought 77 of Mississippi’s 82 counties into compliance with the Help America Vote Act of 2002. Tuesday’s general election was the first big test of the system.

Metzler said the equipment problems were keeping some county residents from casting their ballots on their first attempt.


Nice, so now these Diebold machines are serving as a detriment to democracy. WEEEE!

And a bit more:
In Indiana’s Marion County, about 175 of 914 precincts turned to paper because poll workers didn’t know how to run the machines, said Marion County Clerk Doris Ann Sadler. She said it could take most of the day to fix all of the machine-related issues.

Election officials in Delaware County, Ind., planned to seek a court order to extend voting after an apparent computer error prevented voters from casting ballots in 75 precincts there. County Clerk Karen Wenger said the cards that activate the machines were programmed incorrectly.

“We are working with precincts one by one over the telephone to get the problem fixed,” she said.


Sheesh. My polling place has changed for the first time in the eight years I've lived in my apartment. I wonder if they'll switch from the ink-a-vote system (the non-punch-card punch-cards) to electronic machines. I'll have my minicam there just in case I get an electronic machine. Man, talk about Russian roulette! Will it record my vote properly? Will it not?

WHO KNOWS!

IT HAS BEGUN!

Well, overslept a bit today (what? I'm taking the day off!) and woke to discover absolutely nothing exciting so far. Seems there have been some voting irregularities, but that's about it. I'm looking into what those are and I'll post more once I know. Haven't voted yet myself, but will in about an hour or so.

Gotta love CNN--they just had on Bay Buchanan--one of the more extreme conservatives out there. I guess Fox News already had their dance card filled for the day.

Monday, November 6, 2006

PLEASE VOTE DEMOCRAT!!

One last time, folks!

If the Republicans win this time, in 2008 I'll be encouraging everyone to go 3rd Party!

But for now, we need to vote Democrat across the board! We've got to vote as one people, against the things Republicans have done. Iraq and Afghanistan are a mess. Bush has effectively done away with habeas corpus--one of the most basic, original rights humans have been guaranteed for years (that's the right to challenge your detention in court).

So, please, vote Democrat, vote against Republican bills, measures and acts. Say no to them to let those hypocritical bastards know that we're paying attention and that we're not happy with what they see.

The Republicans in the House and Senate have been rubber-stamping the Bush agenda from day one. This MUST be where the free ride ends.

Unless you want to keep paying for their free ride, that is.

WHAT'S WITH THE HEAT??

Anybody know why the hell it's so hot in SoCal right now?? It was in the 90s today--IT'S NOVEMBER! Even in LA November is supposed to NOT BE HOT.

I'm sitting here at 12:51am with the windows open and I'm thinking about turning on the fan because it's that warm.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

CALIFORNIANS, PLEASE VOTE YES ON PROP 89!

Over the past couple weeks I was reminded as to why I tend to ignore the mainstream news. Sure, I listen to the podcast versions of some mainstream stuff, but none of them went into detail on any of the major propositions various states are voting on this week. The following radio/TV shows/podcasts DID however, delve into California's Proposition 89--the so-called "Clean Money and Fair Elections Act" (which I believe is an accurate name for it):

[http://www.californiareport.org/|KQED's the California Report]
[http://www.pbs.org/now/|PBS' Now with David Brancaccio]
And I thought that [http://www.motherjones.com/radio|Mother Jones Radio] had done something too, but I can't find anything in [http://www.motherjones.com/radio/archive.html|their archives] now.

What IS Prop 89? In a nutshell, here's what it does:

1) It puts a universal cap on how much any candidate running for office in California can accept from any single donor. I believe the cap is $5 (but don't quote me--I can't find the exact figure).

2) It allows public money to fund this program and state matching funds to pay for campaigns.

3) It taxes corporations and financial institutions to pay for it all.

Now, the above is according to my voter booklet, but based on the above and the reporting I've heard about this prop? IT ROCKS.

First, it stops mega-corporations from being able to buy candidates lock-stock-and-barrel. Everyone knows that "campaign contributions" are just legalized bribes. Even if the bribe isn't overt, a mega-corporation has the power to "donate" a shitload of money to a candidate that supports what said mega-corp happens to be into as well.

As individuals, most of us can't do that.

Say Bob Smith is going to run for state senate. He believes corporations should be allowed to stomp on little puppies. It turns out that the Puppy Soda Company gets the ingredients for it's soda from stomped puppies. The thing is, stomping puppies is illegal in this state. So, they give massive bank to Bob Smith who has already said he plans to legalize puppy-stomping. Because the Puppy Soda Company is so HUGE and they want to move into your state, they "donate" a hundred million dollars to his campaign allowing Bob Smith to blitz the airwaves about how cool he is (conveniently leaving out the bit about legalizing the stomping of puppies). His face is everywhere and the marketing campaign he bought with that "donation" from the Puppy Soda Company has convinced nearly everyone in your state that BOB SMITH ROCKS!

He's ushered into office with a landslide victory past a better candidate who tried to get the word out that Smith was going to legalize puppy-stomping, but he didn't have enough money to be heard above Smith's mega-marketing campaign.

The first law Smith pushes is the legalization of puppy-stomping and it passes quickly thanks to the Puppy Soda Company "donating" money to other lawmaker's campaigns, too.

Now, sure, the puppy-stomping example would never happen in the real world (probably) but you can see the parallel.

All MEN are created equal, but corporations have more rights out of the gate just on the principle that they are NOT human. Yet our state and federal governments generally recognize corporations as individuals. The only thing they can't do is vote. However, being able to donate millions is MUCH more than most of us regular folks can do. Proposition 89 is the first bill (that I know of) that takes some power away from the corporations and makes the playing field a lot more level for the rest of us.

Now, people against Prop 89 say that it's bad because it forces public money to pay for (I believe it's a dollar-for-dollar matching fund) public campaigns so if some guy who wanted to get in office, so he could, say, pass a law legalizing puppy-stomping, it would be public money that would give him a platform.

This is true, but the difference is that any other candidate who wanted to run on the anti-puppy-stomping platform could easily raise the funds he or she would need to challenge the pro-puppy-stomping candidate.

Also, it wouldn't be all taxpayer money paying for these campaigns. It would largely be taxes on corporations and financial institutions that do business in California.

So, yes, it will "hurt the small business man," but it will do so at the expense of our having a more audible voice and quieter campaigns. There are many other costs that are rising making the plight of the small business man a desperate one, indeed. However, this is a tiny price to pay compared to skyrocketing health care costs, astronomical insurance costs and inflation (to name just a few). Worry about the real problems and let the political landscape level out.

The citizens need their voices back.

The only negative thing about the bill is that apparently it allow the nurse's union (the folks behind the bill) to have more power. To that I say: SO WHAT?

They're NURSES--they deserve more power. No, it doesn't mean they can pass laws willy-nilly. My understanding is that they aren't taxed like corporations and they don't have a donation cap. Yes, it may seem a little hypocritical, but what's the worst thing a nurse's union will do compared to worst thing a corporation will do?

There ya go--and the benefits of the law outweigh what some call "a power grab by the nurses."

Oh yeah, the REAL POWER in California will be the nurses...

ANYway, I hope I've persuaded you if you were going to vote no on Prop 89 or were on the fence about it.

Corporations are way too powerful as it is. A few years ago a bunch of public interest lawyers tried to get California to revoke (I think it was) Unocal's corporate charter due to repeated violations of the law and endangering the environment, but the state refused to do it. That's because Unocal represents way too much oil money for the state of California.

This prop won't force corporations to be more ethical, but it will remove a good chunk of their power to influence politics.

After all, corporations ARE NOT HUMAN and do not deserve the same rights we have.

Vote Yes on Proposition 89.

Do it for the puppies.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

THEPETE SEZ: US ELECTIONS FIXED, BUT LET'S SEE HOW FIXED!

Wow, I doubt Siskita (TheWife) was thinking about Tuesday's election when she [http://thepete.com/vote-in-miss-horrorfest-2006-for-black-betty/|posted] about her friend Jessica needing votes to win "Miss Horrorfest".

I mean, sure, [http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=msblackbetty|go vote for her] but for God's sake VOTE FOR YOURSELF, by showing up at your local polling place this Tuesday!!

Even if you don't have local elections on Tuesday, why not just drop by your polling place and say hi? OK, so you shouldn't do that if you don't have local elections. BUT IF YOU DO, PLEASE BE INVOLVED!!

Now, I know back in 2004 I said that the election then would prove whether or not the elections in the US were fixed. Kerry lost and there was a good deal of voting irregularities reported so I concluded, logically, that the elections in the US are fixed.

I still believe this.

However, they're not fixed dramatically. If you look at the elections in 2000 and 2004, Bush won both times by a pubic-hair's-breadth. If Kerry and Gore had offered America a strong, distinct choice (aka came off as DIFFERENT from Bush), they both would have gotten a lot more votes and the slight shove Bush got both times due to the fix would not have been enough.

See, if a HUGE fix was in, then it would be obvious.

SO GO VOTE DEMOCRAT!!

I DON'T CARE IF YOU'RE REPUBLICAN!

Do you respect life? Then you MUST be against the war in Iraq because WAY more people have died over there in the name of 911.

Are you against HUGE government? Then you MUST be against all this big brother, rights-taking-away that the Bush admin has been up to.

Are you against BIG SPENDING? Then you MUST be against spending $500 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to kill a whopping (not) 50,000 Al Qaeda terrorists.

That's right. The Republican government has spent nearly $500,000,000,000 to go after terrorists--that's like spending $10 million PER TERRORIST!

THEY HAVEN'T EVEN CAPTURED OSAMA BIN LADEN YET!

Come on folks. I don't like the Democrats any more than I like Republicans, but you HAVE to admit the Democrats have never screwed things up this badly before:

The Republicans:

1) Let 911 happen
2) Invaded Afghanistan, didn't capture ObL
3) Invaded Iraq, got Saddam, but no WMD or ObL and there are more terrorists now than before 911.
4) Bungled the Katrina response, probably costing many lives.
5) Made torture legal
6) Effectively banned habeas corpus, the right to challenge your detention in a court of law.

If those aren't enough reasons for you to vote Democrat on Tuesday, check out the complete list in my 13 Strikes post.

Keep watching this site for more election 2006 coverage and I'll be live-blogging all day Tuesday so be sure to stop by for that!

Friday, November 3, 2006

DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE (1965)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? Uh, actually, not really. Even for the kind of corny-but-fun caper-comedy that was so common from this time period, Dr. Goldfoot comes off pretty damn weakly.


Technically any good? Everyone is great at camping it up, but the the script is pretty uneven. There's next to no meat to the story or the characters (even the kind of meat you find in films like this), in fact, the plot seems like it needed another month or two in the womb.


How did it leave me feeling? Cheated. I was hoping for something like Catalina Caper but I got something much much less entertaining--and that's saying a lot, I think. It's also pretty offensive. Literally, the ONLY women in this movie are literal robots programmed to swindle away rich men's fortunes. When they make a mistake the robots are tortured with menial labor, an electric chair or a cattle prod--I'M NOT KIDDING! Even in 1965 this kind of woman-hating can't really be overlooked. It's one thing to have a lot of women in bikinis, but even this male chauvinist has his limits.


Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See - I really wouldn't even waste a space on your Netflix queue.

TheUsCast Episode 8!

In episode 8 of TheUsCast, Stennie, from the Hucklebug podcast, returns for part 3 of her adventure with us! In this episode we wander in and out of more stores and shops in the far land known as BURBANK! Listen as ThePete comes face to face with psychotic mannequins! Listen as ThePete tries to convince Stennie that Fight Club is actually a good movie! Listen as ThePete explains that he's not really anti-corporate!

Man, ThePete sure does talk a lot! ;)

So have a listen to TheUsCast episode 8 by [http://media.odeo.com/files/2/8/6/1022286.mp3|clicking here] (you can also DL the clip to your computer this way) or use the flash player below! YESSS!

Remember you can also subscribe to TheUsCast, with either of these URLs:

Everything at TP.C: http://feeds.feedburner.com/thepetecom

Just TheUsCast : http://odeo.com/channel/99324/rss

Once you're done listening to episode 8 of TheUsCast, go check out Stennie's podcast, which she and her co-host Bet call: Hucklebug !!


powered by ODEO

First Woman To Die in The Current Iraq Conflict Killed Herself

And you'll never guess why.

This is one of the more depressing stories I've come across over the past couple of days. Maybe that's because I haven't had much time to read the news, but there's just something so sad to me about a woman killing herself.

Here's how DemocracyNow.org reported [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/11/02/1450248|the story yesterday] in the headlines portion of their podcast:
Army Spc. Took Own Life After Objecting to Interrogations
An Arizona public radio station has uncovered new details on the death of one of the first female US soldiers to die in the Iraq war. KNAU Radio reports Army Specialist Alyssa Peterson took her on own life after objecting to interrogation techniques used on Iraqi prisoners. Peterson was assigned to a US air base in Tal-Afar. She died on September 15, 2003 from what the military called a “non-hostile weapons discharge.” But newly uncovered documents say investigators actually concluded Peterson shot and killed herself with her service rifle. The documents also show Peterson’s death came after she refused to take part in further interrogations after just two days. Military officials refused to describe what techniques Peterson had objected to and said all records of them had been destroyed. Specialist Peterson was twenty-seven years old.


Doesn't that just fill your heart with JOY? Jesus--that was WAY BEFORE all this Abu Ghraib shit came out in the open. It's a true shame she felt so pressured. I'd like to personally commend those soldiers around and above her who made her think she had no option but to treat prisoners like shit. I'd like to congratulate them on their supreme ability to make a young woman think her only options were to be cruel to another human or to kill herself.

I'd also like to ask Army Specialist Alyssa Peterson why she didn't get more clever. I can only assume that she was just that desperate.

That's the real shame because if she had spoken out about the cruel treatment of prisoners in Iraq instead of killing herself she would have revealed the US military's poor treatment of prisoners more than six months before the Abu Ghraib story would break. I'm sure had she done that, she'd have saved at least a couple of lives and maybe even some human dignity.

Here's hoping any other people who have witnessed something that should NOT be happening speak out instead of ending their life. Suicide helps no one but yourself.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

TheVlog for 11/1/6!

Want to know why the "Global War on Terror" is a joke? Want to know why there's virtually nothing to be afraid of? Watch this video and one man's opinion just might change your mind on giving up your rights. Tell your friends because no one is talking about this the way I am.

[http://video.lisarein.com/thepete/stuff/ThePeteTV/thevlog20061101.mp4|Grab the 6m5s, 14 MB mp4 here] or just watch it below in the YouTube.Com player.