Sunday, August 31, 2008
-Nielson Media Research reports that over 40 million people watched Barack Obama’s acceptance speech Thursday night.
That’s more people than watched the final show of American Idol!
-My favorite line from that speech may be the bit about trickle-down prosperity:
“In Washington they call this the ownership society,
but what it means is –you’re on your own.”
-But the best line from the convention probably came from Barney Smith, a laid-off factory worker from Marion, Indiana who said:
“We need a president who puts Barney Smith before Smith Barney.”
-Stock in Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac ended their week-long climb Friday on news that Bank of China Ltd has reduced it’s holdings in recent months by 29%, selling off shares worth from three to seven billion dollars. This ought to serve as a warning of what to expect if we were to elect the economic team of John McCain and Phil Gramm.
-And bankruptcies in the US are on track to exceed 1.1 million in 2008, the most since the glut of people filing in 2005 before the Republican bankruptcy “reform” bill took effect. Remember that most family bankruptcies happen over medical expenses, and not just by uninsured people.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
State Judge Jerome Jones died Saturday in his home in
The following is a story the twice-divorced judge told to “Say What,” at texasbar.com:
“From Judge Jerome Jones, probate judge in
Q. And so you had a conversation with the deceased prior to his death.
A. Yes, I did.
Q. When was this?
A. About three months after his wife's death.
Q. What did he say?
A. Well, he asked me to marry him.
Q. And what did you say?
A. I said, "Isn't that a little bit soon?"
Q. And what did he say?
A. He said, "Well, she's as dead as she's ever gonna be."
If DeLay had copped a plea he might be out by now.
Freshly released from prison, former Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney is ripping into the administration, leveling charges that they were behind his prosecution.
Justice Dept Seeks Reduced Abramoff Sentence
Since his conviction on fraud and conspiracy charges, former lobbyist Jack Abramoff has spent more than 3,000 hours helping more than 100 law enforcement agents in an ongoing federal corruption probe that has implicated "scores of other persons not yet charged," attorneys said in court filings today.
The Post's James V. Grimaldi reports that the extent of Abramoff's cooperation was described in documents from both prosecutors and defense lawyers. They are seeking leniency from the judges who heard the two cases that landed the Republican influence broker in federal prison in Cumberland, Md
The ex-powerhouse lobbyist had helped convict more than a dozen people, in addition to admitting guilt himself, and his case had prompted reforms that the attorneys said were widely known as "Abramoff Ethics Rules." Among those who have pleaded guilty were former Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio), who this month was released after he completed his prison sentence, and J. Steven Griles, the No. 2 official in the Interior Department.
The court papers indicate an extensive ongoing investigation by referencing a document that is sealed because it contains grand jury information. Still under investigation are former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and retiring Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.), among others.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I noticed from cruising the weatherblogs last night that the forecasts on Hurricane Gustav turned about 180 degrees from what they were yesterday afternoon, bringing the storm more towards the Gulf Coast.
My interest in looking in on the weather nerds is the lingering stink of failed computer models on Faye, that has them fighting amongst themselves.
For those of us that don't enjoy picking out a safe-room, boarding up, and estimating the number of weeks until we can safely shower, less squabble and more scientific consensus would be better.
I think the safest bet in terms of forecasts is the following from one of the lay-meteorologists at www.wunderground.com
Beyond late Saturday night, the global models have different ideas on where they want to track Gustav. The Canadian model is forecasting a landfall on the central Texas coast on Labor Day. The NOGAPS model is forecasting a landfall on the central Gulf Coast next Tuesday. The European model is forecasting a northern Mexico landfall around next Tuesday. The overall synoptic situation once Gustav gets into the Gulf of Mexico late this weekend will highly depend on the timing of a departing eastern trough of low pressure and a building ridge of high pressure that will move in behind the departing trough. If the departing trough is able to pick up Gustav, then a eastern Gulf Coast hit may occur as early as Labor Day. If the trough of low pressure leaves Gustav behind and the ridge of high pressure pushes Gustav further west, then a central or western Gulf Coast hit may occur late Labor Day or next Tuesday. Therefore, all interests along the entire Gulf Coast should pay close attention to the forecast for Gustav.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Leave It On The Floor (or just leave)
This guy Paul Slansky, said it all in Huffpo today:
"The McCain campaign continues to level dishonest attacks on Barack Obama's integrity and patriotism," [foreign policy adviser Susan] Rice said, adding that Americans were tired of "Karl Rove's say anything, do anything politics." Rice also accused McCain of trying to "mislead the American people in order to obscure his own record of failed policy judgments." -- Seth Colter Walls, The Huffington Post, August 20
They "continue to level dishonest attacks"? Well, maybe that's because it continues to work, while the only thing you disgracefully spineless wimps seem able to do in response is calmly observe that they're doing it. Americans are sick of Karl Rove's scum? Really? They sure seem to keep guzzling it down. McCain's trying to "mislead the American people"? Oh, no! Say it ain't so!
Four years ago Americans were desperate to be rid of George W. Bush. Not only could the Democratic convention have safely eviscerated him, the country was waiting for it to happen. Instead, the party offered barely a peep of criticism and wasted four days lionizing John Kerry's Vietnam service, then sat there helplessly gaping as Rove and his ghouls turned that service into a liability, allowing the race to be close enough for them to steal another election and give the worst American to ever hold power four more years to continue his devastation of the country.
And now, those four years later, Americans DESPISE this hijacker of the presidency like they've never personally hated a politician. The nation's contempt is the only thing Bush has ever honestly earned. He is loathed for his incompetence, his ignorance, and his arrogance, and John McCain is wearing a neon sign saying "MORE OF THE SAME." If that doesn't make the Democrats - not just Barack Obama, but dozens if not hundreds of his surrogates - feel safe enough to go on a rampage against those who are destroying the future of the country as we've known it, then please, let's stop pretending the party stands for anything. If that Democratic convention next week isn't a Republican bloodbath leaving the violent nasty prick who publicly called the wife he cheated on his first wife with a "cunt" writhing on the floor, then it's way past time for the party to go the way of the Whigs.
This isn't a game. It's life or death for America as we know it, and if that isn't worth fighting for as viciously as necessary, then the wrong people are on the front lines. If Obama can't work up some genuine outrage about what's happened to this country over the past eight years and demonstrate a willingness -- no, an eagerness -- to do whatever it takes to stop this grotesquerie from continuing for another four, then maybe the superdelegates should take it away from him and give it to Hillary. Say what you will about the Clintons, but they're killers, and nothing less is needed now.
Hey, Barack. I seem to remember you saying, "If they bring knives, we'll bring guns." Well, buddy, unholster those fucking guns already and start firing. Otherwise, stop wasting our time, stop taking our money and stop raising our false hopes.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The New York times reported Monday that contrary to Pastor Rick Warren’s assertion, John McCain was not in any “cone of silence” during Barack Obama’s question and answer session, and could have received a preview of the questions he was to be asked when his turn came up.
After McCain arrived, greeted Obama on stage, and took his seat for his half of the two-hour forum, Pastor Rick asked him “Now, my first question: Was the cone of silence comfortable that you were in just now?” Mr. McCain deadpanned, “I was trying to hear through the wall.”
But hearing that McCain was not secluded backstage as advertised raises questions for me. After watching Obama give thoughtful answers to difficult questions for the first hour, I then saw McCain hit the same questions out of the park, serving up sound bites of red meat for his right-wing base, while reminding me of the McCain I loved when he was a thorn in the side of the phony conservatives who have taken over the Republican party.
I was already steamed at how Fox and CNN presented this event, with a rash of logos about the screen, and the insidious news crawl across the bottom, no doubt doing a Vance Packard job on the folks trying to pay attention.
I remember that last year the League of Women Voters declined to participate in a debate event because they “refused to take part in the hoodwinking of the American electorate.”
Barack Obama is a smart man, who should be able to talk circles around McFudd in a real debate. I hope he gets the chance.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Don't Touch That Dial! (or I'll Kill You)
This year's Olympics have been the best yet!
Every night I am glued to my set transfixed at the intense level of sports competition.
It doesn't take long for me to feel myself swelling with pride at the sights and sounds of the best amateurs in the world vying for gold, baby!
Thank God for Tivo - I could watch this stuff all day.
In fact, I've sat in this chair for 49 consecutive hours without food or sleep, and after several boxes of official Olympic tissue, I can still raise my cramped hand to signal, "America No.1."
I'm having so much fun, that I've thought of some possible new events for next time: women's mud wrestling; girl's pillow fights; women's tandem makes-outs; wet tee shirt competition; women's nude trampoline, and more!
What grace and beauty! I got the Olympic fever, and I don't think I'll ever let go!
For the first time in my life, I'm really proud of my country.
God Bless America.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
-Well, billboards get my goat on general principle, being a blight on the landscape and a revenue stream for Clear Channel. Yesterday I saw one on I-45 that did those one better; it had a picture of a county official on it.
Seems that County Judge Ed Emmett figured that the Harris County Office of Emergency Management’s exhortation to be prepared for hurricanes would be more effective if it included his name and picture.
You know, when freshly re-elected Judge Robert Eckels resigned his position and convinced the Commissioners Court to appoint Emmett as his replacement, I gave Emmett the benefit of a doubt. I liked Eckels alright, he worked well with Mayor White after the hurricanes, and Emmett seemed competent, plus he was from outside county government. The first sign I got of business as usual was when he rushed to throw Chuck Rosenthal under the bus after his female troubles became public. Now he appears to be grandstanding two months before he stands for election. Stinks.
-I enjoy the segment on “Marketplace” Fridays when David Johnson gives some inside baseball on the economy. This week he was all sunshine, the Dow up, and commodities prices down: things looking up for the US economy. Then he broke out the crystal ball and predicted that the next troubles will be in the credit card and auto loan fronts. Great.
-The Center for Responsive Politics (http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2008/08/troops-deployed-abroad-give-61.html) reports that members of the US military deployed overseas have given six times as much money to the Obama campaign than to McCain’s. Why do they hate America?
-And finally, check this from Mo Dowd’s “McCain’s Green-Eyed Monster:”
“McCain could dismiss W. as a lightweight, but he knows Obama's smart. Obama wrote his own books, while McCain's were written by (Mark) Salter. McCain knows he's the affirmative action scion of admirals who might not have gotten through Annapolis without being a legacy. Obama didn't even tell Harvard Law that he was black on his application.”
Saturday, August 16, 2008
“I’m not feeling very good about myself,” she said. “I’m fat, I’m getting wrinkles, and my hair’s turning gray. I need you to tell me something nice about myself; something to make me feel better.”
Ed thought a moment and answered “well, your eyesight’s damn near perfect, for one thing.”
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Hi all, I just had a fine trip up to Toy town, but didn’t find much time to read the papers so no Chupacabra reports forthcoming.
I do want to mention some good news of the sort that I expect to see more as we commence our recovery from years of Republican misrule.
The NYT lead editorial on August sixth told of the Federal Reserve receiving 56,000 complaints about abusive credit card practices legalized by the Republican congress in the 2005 bankruptcy law.
Here’s a rundown on some of these by Adam Levitin at Credit Slips: (http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/2008/02/the-credit-card.html)
“(1) Universal cross-default means that if you are declared in default (accurately or not and with notice or not) by any other creditor (another credit card, the cable company, the landlord, your uncle Jim), then that constitutes a default on your credit card and penalty interest rates can be applied, even if you have been making payments on time to the card issuer.
(2) Any-time, any-reason rate changes permit the card issuer to change the interest rate it charges you for any reason at any time. You opened up another credit card (to get the extra 10% off the initial purchase)? Well, your interest rate just went up 5%. Your issuer made a lot of lousy subprime mortgage loans to other people? Say howdy to a 10% APR increase. You’re wearing yellow today? Meet my little friend Mr. 32.99% APR. If your issuer feels "insecure" (all the other banks are so much prettier)—hey why not a 200% APR? Delaware doesn’t have usury limits, after all, so let's shoot the moon....
(3) Retroactive application of interest rates is exactly what it sounds like. At the time you borrowed your cardholder agreement provided that your APR was 7.99% above Prime. Now the issuer has unilaterally changed the rate to 20.99% above Prime, and applied that to the balance you accrued when the rate was 7.99% above Prime. You thought you had made a deal? Guess again…
(4) Two-cycle billing means that if you revolve a balance, interest accrues not just on the actual balance being revolved, but also on the balance from the previous billing cycle, even if it has already been paid off. To illustrate, in month one you charge $600 and pay it off in full at the end of the month. In month two, you charge $500 and pay off $400. Interest accrues as if on a balance of $700, even though you only owe $100.
(5) Unlimited overlimit fee applications means that if you go over-the-limit multiple times in a billing cycle, you will be charged multiple overlimit fees. So if your limit is $1000 and you go $10 over the limit on day 5, and another $20 over the limit on day 6 and another $25 over the limit on day 18, you will be charged 3 overlimit fees, whereas if you simply went $55 over-the-limit all at once, you would be charged on overlimit fee.
(6) Limits on overlimit. Your credit card may have a credit limit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t charge more than that limit. Whether you can or not is at the issuer’s discretion, but if the issuer allows you to exceed your credit limit, it will cost you in overlimit fees. The bill would allow consumers to elect to have their credit limit actually be a limit which they could not exceed.
(7) Pro Rata Allocation of Payments. Currently if you have balances accruing interest at different interest rates (e.g, a purchase balance and a cash advance balance), the card issuer can, pursuant to the cardholder agreement, apply the payments however it wants. Typically this means that payments are applied to lower interest rate balances first. The Cardholders’ Bill of Rights would require payments to be applied pro rata to balances (although issuers can always apply them to higher interest rate balances first).”
-The Times editorial was blowing kisses to author Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, for getting her worthy bill through the Financial Services Committee, but chances look slim for it to pass the House, much less be reconciled with Sen Chris Dodd’s bill and overcome a Bush veto.
Still, this should be a reminder that we need to elect robust Democratic majorities in November in order to effect the heavy lifting ahead of us cleaning out the elephant stables.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
When Radio Kills
I heard your news reader repeat a story today about the Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman being critically injured in a shooting in Little Rock. He will likely die, and the gunman was killed by police.
The glee with which your reader reported this tragedy was deeply, deeply offensive and his repeated turn of phrase "Democrat" in place of the proper use of "Democratic" reveals the taint of bias that colors WOAI/Clear Channel news operations. Please tell that punk it's not the "Democrat" Party Chairman who lays dying from his wounds, but rather, he is the Democratic Party Chairman, and we all pray for him and his poor family. Rush might pat your news reader on the head, or let him kiss his ring, but the FCC who I will report this to, probably won't, since the repeated use of this pejorative constitutes hate speech against liberals, several of which have been gunned down in the last few weeks.
Why don't you guys lighten up? We get it. Real people can get real hurt by people with weak minds who do not understand you don't want to kill all the progressives in this country.
O. A. “Liquiddaddy” Murchason
It was Bob Guthrie at 1:30 p.m. yesterday. And by the way, the chairman died. I thought you guys monitored these things? Doesn't FCC require you to keep some sort of transcript. Your confusion seems silly to me.
Also, this is not feedback. Rather, it is a FCC complaint. You are not trying; your tone is defensive, instead of showing concern about what Bob Guthrie and others are doing while you are not listening, you are challenging me as to the facts related in my e-mail contact with Mr. King.
For instance, do you object to my use of news "reader" to describe this man? Am I missing something? Is Bob Guthrie a reporter? If he writes his own news copy, then (absent a taped transcript) that's where I suggest you start to look for any evidence. Shoot, I got a better idea! Why don't you just ask him?
Thanks for your response. I would prefer I real reply containing an explanation for WOAI/Clear Channel fomenting violence among your more radical listenership.
p.s. It shocked me more than Rush's suggestion that Elizabeth Edwards should have shut up and performed fellatio on Sen. Edwards as an explanation for his infidelity. That's what I call "Clear Channel Classy." Given the level of smut and hate on your airwaves, what do you tell your kids you do during the day, Pete?
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I work with the disabled, excuse me, those with "special abilities" like, using a spoon, not crapping their pants very often, or crushing kittens with their bare hands, and I like to use the word, "retarded" as the description that best fits.
The latest in political correctness has relegated folks like me to use vague euphemisms instead of "retarded" to describe people who are retarded, such as "significantly sub-average IQ's" or the even vaguer "mentally disabled"; or "mentally challenged."
There's a new movie out that looks pretty funny called, "Tropic Thunder," that has other advocates for the retarded, besides me, calling for boycotts of the film. From Huffpo:
The groups are outraged over scenes featuring the liberal usage of a disparaging term used to describe the mentally disabled. In the movie, director and co-star Ben Stiller plays a fame-hungry actor cast in a war movie who previously had a role as a mentally disabled character named Simple Jack. The DreamWorks film, which opens Wednesday, also stars Robert Downey Jr. and Jack Black.
"When I heard about it, I felt really hurt inside," said Special Olympics global messenger Dustin Plunkett. "I cannot believe a writer could write something like that. It's the not the way that we want to be portrayed. We have feelings. We don't like the word retard. We are people. We're just like any other people out there. We want to be ourselves and not be discriminated against."
Mr. Plunkett, your clients are not like other people. They have IQ's in the 40's, 50's, and 60's, that make it extremely difficult for them to function outside of very highly structured support settings, which the government is happy to take away from them once they are "normalized" by well-meaning, highly functioning, slightly impaired white retards like you. You can't imagine how frustrating it is to fight for accommodations for deserving people only to be thwarted by evil people spewing stupid platitudes like, "handi-capable," as they slash benefits. Black people with Downs Syndrome still live 1/2 as long as their white counterparts. It is the wealthy white families with retarded children who are making this insipid noise to the detriment of others who need support.
It makes one wonder who the retarded ones really are.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Let Them Eat Mixed Nuts
The Osteen's have provided us endless fun and hilarity here at ZDD and I would be remiss not to publish this gem from Huffpo:
HOUSTON — A jury was seated Wednesday in a lawsuit alleging the wife of nationally known pastor Joel Osteen assaulted a flight attendant. Opening arguments were set for Thursday in a case Victoria Osteen's lawyer called "silly."
But Reginald McKamie, attorney for Continental Airlines flight attendant Sharon Brown, said he hopes the trial will show "that celebrity status doesn't take precedence."
Brown accuses Victoria Osteen of assaulting her before the start of a 2005 flight from Houston to Vail, Colo. Brown alleges Victoria Osteen threw her against a bathroom door and elbowed her in the left breast during an angry outburst over a stain on her first-class seat.
The Federal Aviation Administration fined Victoria Osteen $3,000 for interfering with a crew member. Joel Osteen was at his wife's side Wednesday in court. McKamie said he expected to call the couple as witnesses.
Joel Osteen preaches at Lakewood Church, a Houston megachurch where about 42,000 people flock each week and where Victoria Osteen is co-pastor. His weekly television address is broadcast nationally and internationally. Some potential jurors during questioning admitted to being star-struck by the Osteens and that their respect for them might affect their judgment. "He has gotten me through a lot of tough times. I would believe what he has to say. I have a lot of respect for him," one female in the jury pool said.
Other potential jurors said they didn't like preachers or televangelists and that ministers can lie. Story continues below advertisement Brown wants an apology and punitive damages amounting to 10 percent of Victoria Osteen's net worth as part of her suit.
Victoria Osteen's lawyer, Rusty Hardin, said before jury selection began Wednesday that Brown's claims are false and that what happened was a "minor incident." Hardin also asked a judge to throw out an FAA report detailing the alleged incident, saying the agency's investigation was "incredibly incomplete." "This is a very silly case," Hardin told reporters. McKamie said the FAA did an appropriate investigation.
State District Judge Patricia Hancock said she would make a decision later on whether the report would be allowed. Brown's suit claims the flight attendants asked to have Victoria Osteen removed from the plane. Hardin says Victoria Osteen and her family left voluntarily. The incident delayed the flight about 2 1/2 hours.
According to court documents, Brown claims that she suffers from anxiety and hemorrhoids because of the incident and said her faith was affected. She is also suing Osteen for medical expenses for counseling.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
The famous Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2000 years, with the first known information on these meteors coming from the Far East. In early Europe, the Perseids came to be known as the "tears of St. Lawrence."
The shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the greatest activity between August 8 and 14, peaking about August 12. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour. They can be seen all across the sky, but because of the path of Swift-Tuttle's orbit, Perseids are mostly visible in the northern hemisphere.
To experience the shower in its full, one should observe in the dark of a clear moonless night, from a point far outside any large cities, where stars are not dimmed by light pollution. The Perseids have a broad peak, so the shower is visible for several nights. On any given night, activity starts slowly in the evening but picks up by 11 p.m., when the radiant gets reasonably high in the sky. The meteor rate increases steadily through the night as the radiant rises higher, peaking just before the sky starts to get light, roughly 1½ to 2 hours before sunrise.
Monday, August 04, 2008
Your Tax Dollars At Work
Remember the anthrax attacks? I recall that winter there was a lot of croup going around my mundo, and remember talking to my brother long distance and hearing him cough and wondering if those jihadder SOB’s had really spread something.
The FBI had a “person of interest” in their sights, but couldn’t quite frame him, and he kept trying to sue Government’s Ass off until he was cleared. Now they say that their latest prime suspect has killed himself. Was he guilty, or simply driven mad by the investigation? Hell, people suicide themselves over tax cases and family law, forget about getting the third degree about bio-terrorism.
However this turns out, odds are pretty good that the Anthrax Killer got his virus from the US Army Labs at Fort Dietrich Maryland, just as Saddam Hussein did.
Friday, August 01, 2008
More news that gets my goat:
Worst President Ever still on the job.
-The White House released their estimates of the Federal deficit to be $482 billon this year, not including their estimate of $80 billion in war costs. The repubs say this is OK, that at 3.5% of GDP, they’re doing better than Reagan did at 4.7% of GDP. Big whoop. Once the fudge melts off their numbers these clowns may yet give the Gipper a run for the rathole.
This is why it costs $50 to fill your gas tank; why energy costs are squeezing out food, shelter, and f-ing health insurance as the number one bite on the family budget.
-Congress is trying to figure out if they can get rid of party hacks illegally appointed to Justice Department jobs by Alberto Gonzales and Monica Goodling, now that they are in civil service protected jobs. Many appointees have already fallen out of their positions because they just weren’t up to the jobs, such as prosecutors and immigration judges recruited out of Pat Robertson’s Liberty University Law School.
-Prosecutors in the Guantanamo Bay trial of Salim Hamdan, Osama Bin Laden’s driver (stay tuned for the trials of Bin Laden’s cook and housekeeper) are showing jurors a Pentagon produced film, “The Al-Qaida Plan,” as evidence. It is not known if prosecutors will introduce DVD’s of “24” and the movies of Jean Claude Van Damme as evidence. Interesting that Al Qaida has a plan when the White House hasn’t had a clue.
-And the Environmental Protection Agency has been telling its employees not to talk to congressional investigators, reporters, or even EPA investigators. Apparently they want to avoid responsibility for years of protecting polluters from federal regulation.