Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Meanwhile, In A Red State

Let's start the clock and see how long it takes for this to be called a "cheapshot".

Whatever...or Whoever...Could They Be Referring To?

I do like the question that is posed. Good humor. A true tickler.

It Boggles The Mind 2

So the long-grass Nazis are already out in force in East Peoria. If you don't live there, you should know that as soon as your lawn gets a little long, you get a "friendly reminder" from that city that you need to mow the lawn or risk getting a ticket.

Meanwhile, the weeds along the sides of many city-owned and maintained streets in the area are already three-feet high. Yet another "do as I say" proposition to make more money for a municipality.

A source of revenue, that's all it is. Like parking tickets in Pekin. Look forward to another edition of "It Boggles The Mind" highlighting Pekin's insane parking ticket racket in the next few days.

Reid In Hot Water...And He Should Be

Senate's top Democrat took free boxing tickets

Add Harry Reid to the list of dipsticks getting free stuff to "learn how his legislation might affect an important home state industry." Bull. Boxing is one of Nevada's largest industries and the lobbyists wanted something from him, so they provided him with primo seats for big fights.

With all the idiotic ethics violations finally catching up to the GOP, the last thing Democrats need to do is the same idiotic stuff. And this qualifies as idiotic stuff. Yet another guy that needs to be punished and subsequently voted out next go-round. Way to go, Harry. Not.

For the record, Harry Reid is one of my favorite politicians I've ever hung out with. He was a regular visitor to my radio show in Carson City, NV in the early 90's (along with Richard Bryan, former Governor Bob Miller, and the coolest Republican on the planet, Nevada Secretary of State Dean "The Machine" Heller, who I got hooked on stock car racing to the point where now he has his own stock car). For him to accept these gifts is one thing, to try and defend it now in this time of "gotcha" is silly. I wish he'd just say, "dang, I screwed up big time and deserve punishment of some kind."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

It Boggles the Mind

Obviously, this one has been going on for years. But it doesn't make it any less annoying. It just happened again on my way back from the store:

While I sit inside my 4,000 lb Pontiac coupe, surrounded by air bags both front and side, metal all around me and over me, safety features built into virtually every inch of the car to ensure that I am safe...I have to strap on my seat belt, whether I want to or not.

Next to me, 35 MPH, cruising down Knoxville, is a husband and wife on a motorcycle. Never mind the fact that he is barefoot, she is wearing flip-flops. Never mind that he is shirtless and wearing cutoff shorts, and she is wearing a tiny tank top and a pair of shorts. That, to me, is their choice and a dumb one at that. What boggles the mind is the fact that neither of them have helmets on, and they're well within their legal rights to do so. That's what boggles the mind.

I'm an inundated with commercials (bought with taxpayer dollars, btw) ordering me to click it or get a ticket. While the guy next to me has the right to cruise on a fenderless, roofless, bike with his head, elbows, legs, and feet completely uncovered. I'm not complaining about the biker and his wife, they can be stupid and dangerous if they want to...they're doing nothing illegal.

It's a screwed up world.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Happy Trails, Don't Reach For The Soap.

Buh-bye, Kenny-boy. Buh-bye Ol' Skillster. Hopefully someday some of the good ol' boys living in the White House can join you. Jerks.

Tip Talk

There's been quite a bit of talk in the Journal Star letters to the editor lately about tips. Gratuities. The writers say the people of Peoria are poor tippers, i.e. tightwads. They're right, from what I can see.

I spent seven years in Nevada. You give everyone a tip who provides a service for you. At first, I would calculate the 15% in my head and just leave the standard tip. But some service is better than others. So you found yourself tipping more. Now? I don't tip less than 17 or 18% anywhere I go, and sometimes will go to 22-25% of it's warranted. Why? Because I appreciate the good service, and I appreciate that many of these hard working folks don't make a lot of money. Niether do I, but that doesn't mean I can't tip them for good service.

And as I've done this around town, I've come to have servers thank me for the big tip, and co-workers or friends I'm dining with, and even guys sitting at the next table, say, "wow, why so much?" Then I watch as they calculate 10% or sometimes even less, or I watch as some people get up without leaving even a penny and then walk to their new Cadillac (I witnessed this last summer), and I'm embarrassed for them.

"That's why you'll never have a Cadillac," I'm told by such tightasses. Well guess what, if I've gotta be a snotty, under-tipping customer with no apprecation for living day-to-day and check-to-check, then I'm GLAD I'll never have a Caddy.

If you read this and you're a Mister 10-percenter or less, cough up a bigger tip next time. On a $30 check, it's an extra buck fifty. You can save it by buying the eight dollar cigar instead of the 10 dollar cigar next time you're at the Weaver Ridge clubhouse.

Wow. How Long Will The Bushies Let THIS Guy Stay?

Iraqi minister defends Iranian nuclear program

So here's a man who was appointed by the Iraqi Interim Governing Council, which was appointed by the Bush Administration, saying that Iran has every right to pursue nuclear technology.

Look for him to get his walking papers sometime in the next week or two, that would be my guess. From the story:

"Iran doesn't claim that they want to obtain a nuclear weapon or a nuclear bomb, so there is no need that we ask them for any guarantee now," Hoshyar Zebari said after meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki.

Iran's nuclear ambitions are "an international issue," Zebari said. "In our beliefs, it is a matter of principle. Every country has the right to have its nuclear technology, every country like the Islamic Republic or any other country, since it is for peaceful purposes."

How many F-bombs do you think Dick Cheney has dropped over this one this morning?

Boy, I Hope It Isn't True

I have long said, and taken heat from co-workers for it, that I don't make blanket statements like "I support the troops", because in fact I don't support all of them. I don't like to make ANY blanket statement, because there's always a bad apple or two in every bunch.

So when I see this:

Pentagon sources: Civilians likely killed without provocation

I am saddened, but not surprised. I am also vindicated in my thoughts, but not happy about it. I hope it isn't true, but if it is, I don't want to hear excuses about the "pressure" they're under. I don't care what kind of pressure they are under, they are smart enough to know the difference between right and wrong. I would hope to see these soldiers brought to justice the way they would be if they killed our own citizens on our own shores. Why? Because they give our other brave armed forces personnel (the vast majority) who HAVEN'T done this kind of thing a bad name.

"There was no firefight. There was no IED that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood," Murtha said. "They actually went into the houses and killed women and children."

That is just not right. Yes, I know that's a politician commenting, but commenting after he'd seen video of the incident. But what is even worse, is that there will be comments after this post that will condone the soldiers' behavior, and those comments will be made by people who talk a tough game but refuse to sign up and get their rear ends over there. I believe the term is "chickenhawk".

Friday, May 26, 2006

Now That I'm Moving...

...to Kewanee, in the next month, I can write an open letter to Ameren:

To Whom It May Concern,

If your company's mission statement is to have yourselves and your employees become known as the meanest, rudest, most heartless, most uncaring, most undiplomatic, most arrogant monopoly in history...CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'RE A WINNER!!!!

If that is NOT your mission statement, you need to make some changes.


A customer who cannot wait to get power from another company.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

From My Favorite Column

The Minneapolis Tribune's "By The Numbers" always puts things into perspective for me.

Here are some recent findings:

73 percent

Correlation between those saying that "prayer is an important part of my daily life" and those saying that "the best way to ensure peace is through military strength," according to a study by the Harvard Institute of Economic Research.

Praise god, pass the AK-47.



Number of gallons of crude oil that were spilled on Alaska's North Slope in March as a result of a leak in a pipeline.


Number of consecutive days in the week prior to discovery of the pipeline leak that an alarm went off signaling a leak, but was ignored as a false alarm.

"Hmmm...we ignored the leak and lost crude...let's jack up the price to cover it."

And one more:


Date on which President Bush nominated Gen. Michael Hayden as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, saying "he's the right man to lead the CIA at this critical moment in our nation's history" and that he will "provide outstanding leadership to meet the challenges and threats of a dangerous new century."


Date on which Bush nominated then-Congressman Porter Goss as CIA director, saying "he's the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation's history" and that he is on an "essential mission to lead the agency for the challenges and threats of a dangerous new century."

"Hey, can we use this speech again?" "Why not, they're just Americans, they're below us. They'll never know the difference."

$48 To Fill Up A Grand Prix?!?!?!

I couldn't believe it. Ever since gas went completely out of hand (along with the profits for the oil companies), I've tried to fill up when the tank got to half-full, so it didn't seem to be as bad in my mind.

So we filled up Diane's work car this weekend. She was on "E" for "End of Ride". The car took $48 to fill up. $48! Just one year ago it would have been $25! Just four years ago, after 9/11, that same fillup would have cost $16.

I see the conservatives and free market supporters trying to trot out numbers about how "adjusted for inflation, it's still lower...blah blah blah". Well, adjusted for inflation, has anybody reading this have your paycheck tripled since 2002? I didn't think so.

Michael Barrett Is A Punk

Nice sucker punch, Barrett. Even Dusty Baker said Pierzynski's play was simply baseball the way it was meant to be played.

Here's the difference in the two franchises in Chicago right now: One of them gets guys who want and know how to win, the other tries to make a profit. You people who continue to root for these guys and spend money on jerseys and hats and buy tickets to that pathetic, rickety old dump on the North Side have to STOP doing that if you want that team to win. Demand excellence. Demand a winner. Or shut up when you get your butts kicked by the teams that want to win.

For all of those Pierzynski haters out there...in and out of the game of baseball...I'd like to point out that that kid has never played on a losing team, and only missed the playoffs twice...since becoming a full-time big leaguer. He was Minnesota's catcher in 2001, taking a team that had finished last the year before (69-93) to an 85-77 season, finishing second in the AL Central. Only three regulars changed from 2000 to 2001, BTW: Pierzynski for Matt LeCroy behind the plate, Doug Meintkeiwicz for Ron Coomer at first base, and Luis Rivas took over for Todd Walker at second base. Please note that while A.J. is now with the White Sox, both Ron Coomer and Walker became Cubs, and LeCroy has just this year helped the Washington Nationals go from contender to doormat. Good teams find the right players...bad teams (i.e. the Cubs in most cases) take what's left.

In 2002 and 2003, the Twins won the Central with Pierzynski behind the plate. In 2004, he went to San Francisco and that team missed the playoffs by one game. Then in 2005, it was off to Chicago, where as we all know he was a key player in the Sox winning the whole ball of wax. They'll do it again this year, and you can bet Pierzynski will be making big plays all the way.

The Cubs catcher? He should spend a couple of nights in jail for assault.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Wow, This Wraps It Up Nicely

But it already needs updating. So much has happened since December. No matter what party you a part of, by the end of the list you're just giggling.


Google Fun

Just type in "indicted" and among the top six stories are:

"DeLay Indicted"
"Abramoff Indicted"
"Cheney's Top Aide Indicted"

The other three talked about a drug smuggler, the guys who hacked into Lowe's corporate computers, and the South Korean scientist indicted in the cloning scandal.

Pretty good company, there GOP.

Now, we await word on Saturday's rumors that no less than Karl Rove has been indicted. Nothing definite on it, but don't be surprised when it happens this week.

It's Starting To Get Funny

Look, I'm well aware that both major political parties in this country have their crooks and corruption, but isn't it safe to say at this point that the GOP is pitching a shutout in 2006?

Kentucky governor indicted over hiring practices

It's not major, it's misdemeanors that we're talking in this case, but he'll still have to step down if found guilty.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Anybody In Here Rich Enough To Benefit From This? Not Me.

This stuff has got to get to the voting public. I never see this talked about in the local news, and it IS important. Does any local station or paper talk about this? This is from a New York Times editorial this past Thursday:

A puzzling aspect of Congress's latest tax-cut package is why its overwhelmingly Republican supporters believe that its passage will be a big win for them and their party. There's nothing in it for most Americans, and yet all Americans will pay its cost: $69 billion over the near term. That price tag will be reflected in incessant budget deficits, which will further impair the government's ability to meet Americans' needs, and force the government to borrow more, mostly from abroad, to plug the budget gap.

The bill, which was passed yesterday by the House and is expected to clear the Senate as early as today, has two main provisions. The first, and dearest to the hearts of President Bush and his allies in Congress, is an extension of the temporary low tax rates on investment income. The top 10 percent of income earners will get almost all of the benefits, and everyone else will get crumbs.

To justify the giveaway, President Bush and Congressional Republicans insist that tax cuts for investors benefit everyone — and pay for themselves — by stimulating economic growth. That assertion is seriously delusional. Economic theory suggests that a fraction of the tax cuts' cost could, perhaps, be offset by higher growth, all other things being equal. But when a nation must borrow to pay for tax breaks, as is the case in the United States today, any ability of tax cuts for investors to spur growth is severely diminished.

If you've got the free subscription, it's here:


What A Bunch.

At least this cabinet member ADMITS what goes on in today's White House:

HUD secretary's blunt warning

They have no shame. From the story:

"He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something ... he said, 'I have a problem with your president.'

"I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'I don't like President Bush.' I thought to myself, 'Brother, you have a disconnect -- the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn't be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don't tell the secretary.'

"He didn't get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."


Speechless I am.

Rifle pointed at protesters in Florida during Bush visit

Hat tip to my buddy Allan.


If I was in charge, somebody would get fired over this:

Sensitive Presidential Papers Found In Trash

Sunday, May 07, 2006

More Findings

From the USA Today, three months ago:

The price of ethanol has been driven up because major oil refiners are suddenly buying in bulk. They're stocking up on ethanol as a replacement for MTBE, a petroleum-based additive suspected of causing cancer. MTBE and ethanol boost the octane of gasoline and can reduce pollution.

So, even though it's cheaper to make and therefore should be cheaper at the pump, we can thank the refineries (i.e. the oil companies) for making sure that gouging stretches to E85 pumps as well.

Just Throwin' Out Some Of My Findings From Looking Around

Ethanol takes more energy to produce than it contributes.

FACT: In June 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture updated its 2002 analysis of the issue and determined that the net energy balance of ethanol production is 1.67 to 1. For every 100 BTUs of energy used to make ethanol, 167 BTUs of ethanol is produced. In 2002, USDA had concluded that the ratio was 1.35 to 1. The USDA findings have been confirmed by additional studies conducted by the University of Nebraska and Argonne National Laboratory.

These figures take into account the energy required to plant, grow and harvest the corn—as well as the energy required to manufacture and distribute the ethanol.

The net energy balance of ethanol production continues to improve because ethanol production is becoming more efficient. For example, one bushel of corn now yields 2.8 gallons of ethanol—up from 2.5 gallons just a few years ago.

Attention State Police:

Thank you.

Thank you for starting to crackdown on I-74 construction zone speeders. It is appreciated. Good idea, too, by being where those drivers least expect you to be.

And it WASN'T entrapment, because you announced it before you did it:

Trooper will pose as flagger on I-74 today

This thank you comes from a guy who is unashamed to admit I speed on open highways. 74-77 MPH on the interstate, 64-67 MPH on two lane highways in Illinois.

Like I said before, I don't speed in construction zones, school zones, and residential areas. I speed on the open road. If you catch me, fine, but I'd rather you be doing just what you did Friday...catching people speeding where men and women are trying to work.

Thank you.

Sorry, Josh

I think I mighta made Josh H. frustrated. For that, I apologize. Back on Feb. 25 I wrote this:

Who is responsible for these words:

"MUslims do not "hate our freedom," but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states. Thus when the American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy."

I should have answered this weeks ago, but here it is:

William Schneider, Jr., Chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Science Board, and a signing member of the Project For A New American Century papers, the scary works written by all of the country's most well-known war mongers during the Clinton era.

Paul Wolfowitz had asked Schneider to study "how America could improve its strategic communication in the global war on terror".

The worst part? The report was finished and presented to the administration in September of 2004, but not released to the press until the day before Thanksgiving 2004. Why? Well, because there was an election to steal first. Then, of course, the timing of the actual report comes on a day when few actually read the paper. By giving them the info on Wednesday, the story shows up on Thanksgiving Day newsstands, (the ones that are open, anyway), and...oh, darn it...the networks - both radio and TV - have their main newspeople on vacation and in many cases, preempted entirely by football. In other words...no one cares about news on Thanksgiving, therefore, no one knows about this report.

So, in summary, a formal report from an advisory board to the likes of Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, from inside the Pentagon, written by the guy who is supposed to be a cheerleader for the administration, tells those same people how off base they are.

And to think, Democrats, Independants, and wise Republicans thought WE were the only 67% who thought that.

Big Brass Ones, Part Duex

Since many of you that NEED to read this WON'T take the time to register with the NY Times, I'll go ahead and reprint the whole editorial:

One of the abiding curiosities of the Bush administration is that after more than five years in office, the president has yet to issue a veto. No one since Thomas Jefferson has stayed in the White House this long without rejecting a single act of Congress. Some people attribute this to the Republicans' control of the House and the Senate, and others to Mr. Bush's reluctance to expend political capital on anything but tax cuts for the wealthy and the war in Iraq. Now, thanks to a recent article in The Boston Globe, we have a better answer.

President Bush doesn't bother with vetoes; he simply declares his intention not to enforce anything he dislikes. Charlie Savage at The Globe reported recently that Mr. Bush had issued more than 750 "presidential signing statements" declaring he wouldn't do what the laws required. Perhaps the most infamous was the one in which he stated that he did not really feel bound by the Congressional ban on the torture of prisoners.

In this area, as in so many others, Mr. Bush has decided not to take the open, forthright constitutional path. He signed some of the laws in question with great fanfare, then quietly registered his intention to ignore them. He placed his imperial vision of the presidency over the will of America's elected lawmakers. And as usual, the Republican majority in Congress simply looked the other way.

Many of the signing statements reject efforts to curb Mr. Bush's out-of-control sense of his powers in combating terrorism. In March, after frequent pious declarations of his commitment to protecting civil liberties, Mr. Bush issued a signing statement that said he would not obey a new law requiring the Justice Department to report on how the F.B.I. is using the Patriot Act to search homes and secretly seize papers if he decided that such reporting could impair national security or executive branch operations.

In another case, the president said he would not instruct the military to follow a law barring it from storing illegally obtained intelligence about Americans. Now we know, of course, that Mr. Bush had already authorized the National Security Agency, which is run by the Pentagon, to violate the law by eavesdropping on Americans' conversations and reading Americans' e-mail without getting warrants.

We know from this sort of bitter experience that the president is not simply expressing philosophical reservations about how a particular law may affect the war on terror. The signing statements are not even all about national security. Mr. Bush is not willing to enforce a law protecting employees of nuclear-related agencies if they report misdeeds to Congress. In another case, he said he would not turn over scientific information "uncensored and without delay" when Congress needed it. (Remember the altered environmental reports?)

Mr. Bush also demurred from following a law forbidding the Defense Department to censor the legal advice of military lawyers. (Remember the ones who objected to the torture-is-legal policy?) Instead, his signing statement said military lawyers are bound to agree with political appointees at the Justice Department and the Pentagon.

The founding fathers never conceived of anything like a signing statement. The idea was cooked up by Edwin Meese III, when he was the attorney general for Ronald Reagan, to expand presidential powers. He was helped by a young lawyer who was a true believer in the unitary presidency, a euphemism for an autocratic executive branch that ignores Congress and the courts. Unhappily, that lawyer, Samuel Alito Jr., is now on the Supreme Court.

Since the Reagan era, other presidents have issued signing statements to explain how they interpreted a law for the purpose of enforcing it, or to register narrow constitutional concerns. But none have done it as profligately as Mr. Bush. (His father issued about 232 in four years, and Bill Clinton 140 in eight years.) And none have used it so clearly to make the president the interpreter of a law's intent, instead of Congress, and the arbiter of constitutionality, instead of the courts.

Like many of Mr. Bush's other imperial excesses, this one serves no legitimate purpose. Congress is run by a solid and iron-fisted Republican majority. And there is actually a system for the president to object to a law: he vetoes it, and Congress then has a chance to override the veto with a two-thirds majority.

That process was good enough for 42 other presidents. But it has the disadvantage of leaving the chief executive bound by his oath of office to abide by the result. This president seems determined not to play by any rules other than the ones of his own making. And that includes the Constitution.

November 2006 can't come fast enough.

Big Brass Ones

King George never fails to disappoint.

Goss Resigns

The ink on Goss' resignation wasn't dry before Bush tapped Gen. Hayden of the NSA. Which means this is in the story:

The new CIA director must be confirmed by the Senate, which may bring Hayden's tenure as NSA director in 2001 under scrutiny, after Bush authorized a controversial anti-terrorism spy program.

Without court warrants, the NSA monitored the communications of people inside the United States who were in contact with suspected terrorists outside the country.

November 2006 can't come fast enough.