Monday, January 28, 2008

Sock it to ME???

Strange waking dreams (I guess you could call them that) vexed me over the last few days… I saw President Nixon singing pop songs by female vocalists.

What songs and by what singers?
It all started with “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne… very strange. The song itself is mostly fun pop, but definitely in the modern pop feel. I’m not sure if it is pop-parody, a jab at psycho-girlfriends, a jab at narcissist girls, or an “empowering” song for girls with no scruples. All that from the original 60s Comeback Kid.

Not only “Girlfriend”, but “Take It Off” by The Donnas… which is an absolute blast (especially with Guitar Hero), but undeniably bizarre when you imagine a former president (not to mention a dead former president) singing any line from that song.

What else?
“Ready to Go” by Republica
“We’ve Got the Beat” by The Go-Gos
“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper
“Like a Virgin” by Madonna

I have no idea why… however, it lead to a couple of funny songs at work.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Strib Letter: G.W. Rebate No Good

Spot the flaw in this guy's logic.
Don't leave out the poor

The Bush administration's economic-stimulus package does not provide rebates for the very poor, specifically families making less than $24,900. Once again, this Republican administration wants to stiff the working poor in favor of the wealthy. Not only is this morally wrong, it is economically disastrous.

The working poor are far more likely to spend a rebate than the wealthy. That extra spending will create demand for products and services, which in turn will create jobs. In the end, business owners will see increased profits and will get their share.

Stiffing the working poor will only increase the federal deficit and dig us deeper into the recession we are likely already in.


Not enough rebates for folks who make under $25K. The natural questions, "I suppose", are how much tax do folks in that range pay, and how much to they get back?

What's more, do you really consider the middle class to be The Wealthy? Not only that, but isn't this guy talking about the same idea that folks chided President Reagan on in the 1980s?

Isn't Jeff Sommers suggesting that we should rob Peter to pay Paul?


BWCA Idiocy and Mayhem: Barton Update

Well... what's up?
Barton pleaded guilty to felony aiding and abetting terroristic threats in connection with the Aug. 7 night-time incident on Basswood Lake, in which dozens of BWCA campers reported being harassed by men who fired guns and yelled threats from motorboats.

Barton also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of underage drinking and reckless discharge of a firearm. He testified that he fired a .22-caliber pistol at objects on the shore and laughed as his companions yelled and swore at campers.

Don't you love listening to kids try to skip responsibility with comments like, "Dude... I don't know," and "I guess"?

Look no farther than Zack Barton... total moron. (Buggs might call him a maroon.)
Lake County Attorney Russ Conrow asked Barton on Tuesday: "Do you believe that what was being said or how it was said could have caused terror?"

After a long pause, Barton answered: "I suppose."

Maybe you might agree, clearly and without a vague response, that the acts you, Zack Barton, committed were not only wrong but completely stupid... right?
"I suppose."

What in the flaming hootie-hoo is wrong with you, kid? Don't you have any idea about how serious this is?
"I suppose."

Christ! You must be a complete jerkoff.
"I suppose."


Speaking of dorks...
Also on Tuesday, defendant Barney Lakner, 38, was allowed to continue his next hearing until Feb. 19, and defendant Jay Olson, 19, pleaded not guilty and requested a trial.

Olson's attorney, David Keegan, produced letters from more than 30 character witnesses on his client's behalf. Several wrote that Olson's alleged crimes were out of character and that they hope his punishment won't prevent him from finishing college.

His drove the boat. (Allegedly.) He also yelled at whoever told Lakner, MU, and him to shut up (and apparently, to knock off the shooting.) Olson and Lakner appeared to be the ringleaders, with the MU kid playing big shot.

However, in Olson's defense, he seems to have thought they should have stopped or knocked it off or not gone too far.

What else? The prosecution is pushing for extended jurisdiction for "MU"... the 16-year-old kid who thinks his penis is large and is eager to proove it.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

No Cash, Please... We're Jerks

Apparently, a tech store in Boise, Idaho refused to accept cash for a big purchase... I'm also left with the impression that the clerk, manager, and security guard were not very polite about the story policy. Of course, I might be mistaken.

The customer got a call back from the store's corporate office to explain that the policy was not company-wide:
...31 U.S.C. 5103 says that cash is legal tender for all debts, public and private. Creditors can't refuse cash.

The individual store may refuse cash, though. Of course, that's probably not a great idea. Certainly, it might not be worth maintaining the policy at all costs.

The corporate guy also apologized and assured the customer that cash would work out for the purchase. When the customer calls the store back to make certain that the items were still in stock...
...after I asked the guy about them he said, "I know who you are, [you're] the guy that wanted to pay cash. My district manager & corporate called me and read me the riot act over this. Thanks for getting me in trouble!"

He then hung up on me!

You probably know the name of the store... but you won't have much of an opportunity to shop there much.

Not THAT Cold

Sure it was colder, but it was hardly impossible to go outside. I actually rather enjoyed it. I popped outside with a friend for a quick cigarette... now, we didn't linger, but it was possible. Saturday night was even better. Bella luna, too. Nice and calm with the moonlight on the thin layer of snow.

Last weekend was filled with game nights... role playing on Friday, Wii on Saturday, and a tabletop game for WWI aviation battles (Wings of War... and it's fun). Couple of cocktails and beverages each night, too. Vodka gimlets on Friday, margaritas on Saturday, and Jack Daniel's on Sunday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Anniversary... Already???

Oh, dear God... this quaint little idea is becoming more and more difficult. At least on my paycheck.

For almost every wedding anniversary, I take the traditional present idea and think of something silly. Ever since my first attempt she loved the concept.

On our first anniversary (traditionally a paper gift) I bought her a surplus of paper towels, toiled paper, paper tissues, paper napkins, and a couple of reams of printer paper.

Our fourth anniversary (traditionally a gift of fruit or flowers) yielded freshly squeezed orange juice and grapefruit juice, a can of pinnapple juice, a jar of Maraschino cherries, a variety of canned fruits, about four bouquets of flowers, and at least four potted plants. Fairly obnoxious... and it made her smile.

This year? Pottery and willow. Huh? We don't really need anything, so I can't get practical. Getting sarcastic with pottery is mostly a waste... get some goofy thing in pottery and you're simply asking to throw it out within the month. The modern gift is leather... and we took care of that back on our third anniversary. (A nice pair of comfy shoes.)

This gets even more tricky since the D&B reads my blog a little more regularly now... so if I start mentioning [whatever it is I'm thinking of], then the game's up. Hmmm, maybe this year I'll post a picture.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Do Me No Favors

It makes me want to think up captions for this photo. He looks a little disappointed or even annoyed at the "help".
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for the White House Thursday

Sen. Obama: "Actually, Mr. Heinz, I'd prefer support from a winner."
Kerry should be able to provide some organizational and fundraising muscle to Obama.

Since losing the 2004 race, Kerry has kept a national network of supporters intact. He has an e-mail network of 3 million supporters...

At least one-third of those e-mails all go back to one guy with multiple usernames on where he continues to review conservative books with 1-star ratings and snotty rants.

Valuing Fathers

It is good to remember your dad.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

BWCA Idiocy and Mayhem: Erzar and Fenske Update

Getting a lot of traffic... that must mean there's a development in the story of Barney Lakner and His Jackass Six.
You remember, he's the guy in his 30s who got a bunch of guys in their late teens and early twenties drunk (plus an underage, 16-year old, snot-nosed kid refered to as MU in the criminal complaint, apparently with a big mouth) on cheap beer, fired off guns, scared the shit out of a bunch of campers (possibly a bunch of wanky enviro-safe, urban dwellers who think the Indigo Girls are really neat), and "implied" that one of the girl campers was going to get used for hours.

For refreshers on the topic: Here, here, here, and here. Also, the charges and the criminal complaint.

The only defense brought to light by commentors here suggests that threats of rape are perfectly fine when you want some 'smores.

What's new?
As part of guilty pleas entered Monday, two of the six defendants charged with terrorizing campers in a drunken shooting spree last summer must testify against the others and can't enter the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for three years.

Which of the two morons?
Travis John Erzar, 20, charged with three felony counts of terroristic threats, six felony counts of harassment and one misdemeanor count of underage consumption.

Casey James Fenske, 19, charged with four felony counts of terroristic threats, six felony counts of harassment, one felony count of criminal damage to property, and misdemeanor counts of reckless discharge of a firearm and underage consumption.

Erzar apparently didn't do much.
Erzar said in court Monday that while he was along for the ride, he didn't yell or shoot any guns. He pleaded guilty not only to the felony count but also to a misdemeanor count of consumption of alcohol by a minor. He agreed to be sentenced to three years' probation, to testify if necessary at the trials of the remaining defendants, and to stay out of the BWCA for three years.

Yeah, we've heard folks say "it wasn't me" before... however, it's probably true. Barney and the other punks probably think Erzar is a pussy. "The fucking pussy didn't fire a rounnd and he turns us in." Erzar probably didn't like the crappy beer they had either. I can't say I would blame him.
...Fenske admitted firing his .22-caliber pistol 40 to 50 times that night into the water. He also admitted to shooting the door of a "gauging station," a government structure. In addition to the felony count, he pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property and a misdemeanor count of reckless discharge of a firearm.

Perhaps he was just excited to see (or be seen by) one of his friends skinny-dipping.

I can only imagine what the guys themselves really think... or if they are browsing this very blog right now.

Future updates to come. How do I know?
The attorney for a third defendant, Zachary Barton, 20, said in court Monday that they too are negotiating a potential plea. Sandvik ordered Barton to reappear Jan. 22. Also scheduled to appear that day for pretrial hearings are defendants Barney Lakner, 38, and Jay Olson, 19. The 16-year-old's case is pending in juvenile court, Conrow said.

This might get wrapped up by the middle or end of February. Even when the case is over, we'll never know if any of those folks are at least a little creeped out by a 38-year old man plying a kid as young as 16 with (crappy) beer and letting some of them go skinny-dipping.

Anyone? Anyone?

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Again With the "Turnback"

Just looking at yesterday's subject again... this whole "turning back" threat from Hillary [Rodham] Clinton.
"I have so many opportunities from this country, and I just don't want to see us fall backwards as a nation. This is very personal for me."

Where? What opportunities were granted to you that exclusively came from politicians like you that are threatened by politicians who may run against you or may get the Democrat nomination instead of you?

What exactly are these opportunities? Who made those opportunities possible? What law protected them? Who is threatening those opportunities? Is it a passive threat or an aggressive threat? Are the opponents of your opportunities evil or merely stupid?

Are you talking about champions for women? The poor? Immigrants? Illegal aliens? Blacks? Homosexuals? Who?

We'll never get an answer... however, we might get an answer to our prayer. ;) She not dead yet (ten months is a long time in politics), but you might be able to see a little bit of it from here.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Her Own Worst Enemy?

Amanda Carpenter mentioned a couple of Hillary [Rodham] Clinton's post-Iowa statements.
“I see what’s happening and we have to reverse it. And some people think elections are a game, who is up and whose down, but it’s about our futures and it’s really about all of us together.”

Nobody knows the trouble I've seen. Nobody knows the sorrow.

Isn't this exactly the same sense of panic and urgency we hear from politicians in every election? This is especially the kind of nonsense that comes out of the mouths of liberals when they point the finger at their boogieman... conservatives. What does she want to reverse? Troops in Iraq? Tax cuts? The boarder wall? Or is it the work The Man did against the poor, helpless women? Apparently, Liza Minnelli knew something about this some years ago.

Maybe she simply needs to "reverse" the No Job For A Lady... and only she can do it. Certainly not any of the other women involved in American politics... or Lady Thatcher. Or Elizabeth I.
“You know some of us put ourselves out there and do this against some pretty difficult odds and we do each one of use because we care about our country and some of us are right and some of us are wrong,” Clinton said.
"Some of us" translation: "Me".
"I care, they don't."
"Some folks out there just aren't smart enough to see how right I am."
“Some of us are ready and some of us are not. Some of us know what we will do on day one and some of us really haven’t thought that through enough.”
"I've been inside the White House! I know where everything goes!"
“And so when we look at the array of problems we have and the potential for really spinning out of control this is one of the most important elections America has ever really faces.”

Yeah. All of those other presidents were not ready either, but they managed well. Okay, President Carter didn't... but the odds are pretty good that you, Senator Hillary [Rodham] Clinton, will fare no better than any of the other potential candidates. To be honest, the only disaster I see waiting to happen is probably Senator Edwards. I'm willing to believe that you'll be a total trainwreck, though.
“So, as tired as I am and I am and as difficult as it is...”

Wasn't G.W. lampooned for suggesting the work was a little tiring? This is a woman who is tired now... long before she even gets into the real fight. What a sissy. keep up what I try to do on the road like occasionally try to exercise and try to eat right, it’s tough when the easiest food is pizza. I just believe so strongly in who we are as a nation, so I am going to do everything I can to try to make my case and let the voters decide. Thank you.”

I'm the last guy to say this election is over for Hillary, as her team have apparently always known how to play the long game. That said, you would think that someone from Team Clinton would know how to coach their candidate better... how to more carefully sculpt these moments. Hmmm... maybe they have.

Whatever that means.


Friday, January 04, 2008

Perpetual Political Campaigns... That's Bad, Right?

Maybe this works in our favor... sometimes.

John Hawkins points out where I assume we all agree.
* The Perpetual Campaign: We've gotten to the point that actual governance is being treated as markedly less important than campaigning.

The run at the presidency now features candidates spending a full two years on the campaign trail raising money and campaigning. Over and over again, important legislation is ignored so that symbolic votes on hot issues like the war can be held even though everyone knows that they're meaningless.

Instead of working on key issues like, let's say border security or Social Security reform, Congress looks for bills to attach earmarks to because that's how they believe you get elected, by bringing federal tax dollars back to their district to be used on comically useless Bridges to Nowhere, Liberace Museums, and buildings named after the Congressman who acquired the pork to fund them.
Who disagrees with that? No one, I expect.

However, take one of his other points later in the column (under Lack of Bipartisanship).
Granted, gridlock is generally a good thing in Congress, but it would be nice if the politicians in D.C. were willing to actually try to work together for the good of the country on occasion instead of only cooperating when they want to throw our money away on more pork or help out a lobbyist who has been spreading around a lot of campaign cash.

Government only takes away from the people... and it does so at the point of a gun, or with the threat of such violence. It collects taxes, the fruits of our labor, and in some cases distributes that to others... and if we refuse we'll eventually succumb to the force of government one way or another.

A government, specificially a legislative body, passes laws... and those laws cannot really grant us more freedom. We're already supposed to be free. The government only takes away. Some people reap the rewards of those laws, but it is probably at someone else's expense. Look at this item and this item from the Anti-Strib... is that or is that not a blow to freedom?

That is why I really enjoy a good government shutdown. We still go on, but government stops and creates no new laws (or, new infringements upon our liberty) our freedoms are more secure.

Of course, John is right when he says we want politicians to work on Social Security or boarder enforcement or illegal aliens or national defense. He's also right in regards to politicians making themselves look good by passing legislation that panders to the voters... that's where my idea falls short. When politicians engage in re-election activities we might very well see more bullshit laws than we see a politician simply neglecting his duties (and therefore not passing more laws).

Perhaps I'm looking for the silver lining.

By the way, welcome to 2008.