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Rant. Muse. Eat. Sleep. Recycle.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Writing SEO articles is an art ... kinda

I wrote this for Airborne Athletics couple of months ago; it's one of a series of 10 they commissioned from me. It is SEO'ed within an inch of its life. It's an example of micro-targeting that's been effective for them. They asked me to keep it simple and I did. Simplicity, as Mark Twain will tell you, isn't as easy as it looks. I rewrote this about five times to get it "simple" enough -- and that was after I'd done buttloads of research. I don't get a byline or royalties, but I'm told the views have been "very satisfactory." - Jae
Basketball gives us all we need to succeed. The 18-inch rim is twice as wide as the ball. Put ‘A’ in ‘B’ and repeat.




But, even the greatest basketball players lose sight of that simplicity. When their stroke is broken they may overthink the problem. That’s when it’s helpful to get advice from a shooting expert, someone who can help quickly resolve scoring woes.


Shooting blogs are great resources for amateur basketball players. In the NBA, a team will pay legendary shooters like Mark Price to walk players through shot corrections. For the rest of the basketball world, the advice of shooting blogs is free, helpful – and free.


Some players don’t wait for their shot to break before following a blog or two. They use the suggestions to continually improve their games.


Whether you’re looking to make a fix, maintain your skill or keep up with the latest training methods, the 10 shooting blogs listed below help make the game simple again.


  1. DrDishBasketball.com:     This site stresses tech savvy training and features the Dr. Dish basketball shooting machine. There is a ton of helpful shooting-related information. One article, for instance, analyzes shooting percentage drop-offs between first and fourth quarters, which is a great indicator of shooting effectiveness.
  2. BreakthroughBasketball.com: This site has about two dozen basketball-related blogs. The shooting blog contains 21 tips that were written in 2008, but are still solid. The list is especially good for ailing shots. Tips touch on mechanics -- 'land in front of where you shot from' -- and psychology -- 'shoot 50 easy shots before every game' to bump your confidence.
  3. IQMatrix.com:  IQ Matrix focuses on the mental part of the shooting game. The shooter's mindset and intensity are where most of its advice is focused. This site tries to give you a shooter's attitude, with a few basic shot mechanics included.
  4. Swish22.com:  Go to the blog section of this site and you will be treated to a slow-mo breakdown of Steph Curry's shooting form. Most of the shooting tips are sold via video download, but there is some good free information.
  5. BasketballShootingCoach.com:  Coach Jones is the mastermind behind this well-stocked blog. Its tagline is, "It's about the shot" and that's believable. There are a number of free shooting tips as well as references to other resources. Shot mechanics are king on this site, but be prepared to read. Coach Jones uses text and still pictures instead of video.
  6. InspirationalBasketball.com: If you're a Christian baller, this might be the site for you. Inspirational Basketball gives solid, basic shooting advice using easy-to-follow written instructions. While it's a Christian site, there's no mention of religion in the shooting suggestions.
  7. JoshWilsonBasketball.wordpress.com:  Wilson's five tips are covered in-depth, with no video. Tip #1 is square up for your shot and Tip #5 is have confidence in your shot. His suggestions on release and follow-through are worth the price of admission.
  8. CoachingToolbox.net: This all-purpose site name-checks NBA players and high-profile coaches. The gem in the midst of all of this information is the Celtic toughness drill. It's a timed shooting excercise that forces you to make two shots in a row before moving on to the next spot. 
  9. DrillsforBasketball.humenews.com:  This is a no-frills site with a few how-to videos. The shooting suggestions are basic for all ages. This site offers simpler directions than some of the others, but the advice is still helpful.
  10. ThePESpecialist.com: The PE Specialist is for a younger set. The concepts are easy to grasp and instructions are simple. This site is best for younger athletes, but if you want to break your shot down to bedrock, this will do the trick.




link | posted by Jae at 4:27 PM | 0 comments

Slaughterhouse Live

An article I wrote for the River Cities Reader (Davenport, IA). I went undercover to investigate the IBP meat packing plant in nearby Joslin, IL. There had been several ICE raids and the Hispanic community felt they were being targeted. For example, raids typically occurred on paydays, which meant those detained and deported lost their bi-weekly wages. More importantly, the raids seemed to do nothing to harm IBP's hiring of more Hispanic and Asian workers.


Slaughterhouse Live
Getting up at 4:00 in the morning is like performing an exorcism.

I know I'm in there, somewhere, but damned if I can find me. Banshees in my head call me back to the inky blackness of sleep. Demonic phrases like, "Call in sick" and "You don't need this job," cajole me. But, those are minor incantations.

Satan is in the details. There's a pain in my left shoulder like a heated Ishanti Dagger being jammed into the socket. My right ring finger is the bloated lead singer in a hellish band of swollen digits, screaming in pain. My left hand is sore and I can't close my right hand into a fist. I finally rise out of bed; I have to be at work by 5:30am. I work at IBP (Iowa Beef Processors).

Since the INS (Immigration & Naturalization Service) raids two weeks ago, much has been mentioned in the press about IBP's hiring practices. A standard statement made by sympathizers of the 142 immigrants arrested by the INS is that employment at IBP is undesirable, something only immigrants would even consider. Such publicity is almost beyond the realm of spin control: "Sure, the pay is lousy, but the work is hard and the hours are long."

What's wrong with taking home a paycheck from IBP if their checks don't bounce? I was brought up to believe there was nothing dishonorable about physical labor -- in the abstract.

So, I applied for a job at the Joslin, Illinois, IBP plant. I'm not an immigrant; I'm a cable-TV dependent, well-padded American with a belief in my inalienable rights to creature comforts. If I was Republican, I'd be Pat Buchanan - if you did about a dozen lime Jell-O shots and squinted your eyes very tightly. I expected to be hired at IBP; I expected to succeed at whatever they handed me. I had no fear of hard work -- after all, I was once the editor of a monthly magazine.

I possessed no loathing for the assembly line process; my American automobile was made on an assembly line. What I wanted to know was why IBP had such a bad rap among the working class.

IBP is based in Dakota City, Nebraska. I imagine that place to be as generically Midwestern as possible. I learned the location of corporate HQ in my 2-1/2 day classroom training session. I was in a group of ten men, seven of whom were Hispanic. We watched videos on security, safety, and company history.

However, my own research had turned up more interesting nuggets than those offered by a somber talking head, who claimed to be IBP president Bob Peterson. I say, "claimed" because if I made more than $6,000,000 a year -- as president and CEO Robert Peterson is listed in Hoover's Business Index as making -- I don't think anyone would ever catch me without a grin on my face.

For instance, Video Bob didn't mention that, early in its history, when it went by the name Iowa Beef Packers, the company put your neighborhood butcher out of business. In the early 1960s, the company's highly automated plants were staffed by local unskilled workers; IBP paid better than other meatpackers, but offered few fringe benefits. Employees organized and, in 1965, walked out over the right to strike. Union relations eroded further two years later when the company began cutting meat into smaller portions -- minus fat and bone -- for shipping, thus reducing supermarkets' need for butchers.

By 1969, the company grew to eight plants in the Midwest. That same year, workers in Dakota City, Nebraska, went on strike over pay reforms. When three Iowa plants shut down as well, IBP sued the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) for sabotage and other interference.  

That's when things really began to get interesting.

IBP's civil suit elicited decidedly uncivil behavior; vandalism, death threats, shootings, and 56 bombings (one at an IBP vice president's home) ensued over the next several months in a struggle based, in part, on demands for a raise of 20 cents an hour. The company eventually won $2.6 million for damages suffered in the strike.

In 1970, the company changed its name to Iowa Beef Processors. Its takeover of two Blue Ribbon facilities in Iowa drew an antitrust challenge, and the company was barred for 10 years from acquiring plants in South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa.

In the early 1970s, IBP's co-founder, Currier Holman, paid a mob-related meat broker almost $1 million to ensure that unions wouldn't interfere with New York City distribution. The company and Holman were convicted of bribery.

As IBP began new operations in Texas, Idaho, Washington, Kansas and Illinois, it ran into more trouble. It was investigated in the late 1970s for anti-competitive practices, but the inquiry was eventually dropped.

During the 1980s, IBP was fined $2.6 million by OSHA for unreported worker injuries and was penalized for hand disorders suffered by workers caused by meat-cutting techniques.

So, there were at least 2.6 million reasons for me to be sweating beneath 20 pounds of meshed metal protective gear at IBP's Joslin plant. Before my first training session with a knife, I, along with my training class -- now down to nine with a third day defection -- had to do 15 minutes of hand exercises.

 We stretched our hand muscles in an immense foyer outside the production room floor. The temperature, comfortable in normal clothing, made me dizzy beneath my protective gear. I wore two mesh metal aprons, one for the front and one for the back, a mesh arm and shoulder protector, a white frock, and a safety helmet. I wore a plastic scabbard around my waist on a chain link sash that had a meat hook with an orange plastic grip and a John Deere combine colored EBT (edge burnishing tool) attached. A clear plastic sheath covered my left -- non-knife -- forearm; a mesh glove was on my left hand. Two Kevlar sleeves were on my arms and I wore yellow gloves on my hands. I was ready for war with the bloodied carcasses idling overhead on meat hooks.

 It was a relief when our trainer led us into our designated worksite: the cooler. The temperature there is below freezing, so it felt good to be comfortable for a few minutes. There, standing around watching our trainer demonstrate our respective jobs, the cold crept into my body.

At 6:20a.m., on a hot July morning, my hands began to lose feeling. Still, it was hard to complain in the presence of so much death. The cooler is a gigantic storehouse of cattle corpses. I estimated a thousand carcasses just in the small area I could see. Those cows gave their lives to be on a bun near you; I could live with tingly fingers.

And therein lies the real relationship: IBP employees and IBP product. Both are brought in en masse in an orderly fashion -- herded -- to each of 25 North American IBP plants and used to maximize profit. The difference is that one group is encouraged to remain intact by the end of each day.
"We want you to leave the same way you came," a trainer named Jeff told my training class.

In each of my initial three days on the job, it struck me how similar the human influx was to the bovine entrances. The mob of humanity – predominantly Hispanic with a sizable Asian population -- reporting for A & B shifts has to climb two sets of stairs and pass an inspection checkpoint in wafting breezes that smell like charred feces. Those carrying bags or cases have to open them for security personnel. The cattle don't have to climb the stairs, but face similar inspection procedures -- most don't carry any baggage.

Once their shift starts, the humans are on schedules as tightly regulated as the carcasses flowing from the killing floor. For my shift -- 5:45a.m. to 2:15p.m. -- the first 15 minute break comes at 8:30a.m. The cafeteria, two floors up from the processing floor, is where one can grab an early snack. Or one can use the bathroom, where signs in three languages command you not to throw toilet paper on the floor or the company will remove the toilet stall doors.

There's not time to eat and use the bathroom because employees are required to remove their frocks and protective gear to enter the bathrooms. Removing my mesh takes 2-1/2 minutes, putting it on takes the same amount of time. Walking to the cafeteria takes a full minute, as does the return trip. Factor in bathroom time versus eating time and the first break becomes an input or output choice.

The second break -- "don't call it lunch," said a co-worker -- is at 11:15a.m. It's an unpaid 30 minutes that I use to grab something to eat. I take off my equipment at my locker and sneak a glance to my right at the rotund, bespectacled white guy, who has the same break time and uses it to sit exhaustedly on the bench in front of his locker. He closes his eyes and rests his head on his chest; the blood on his apron is nearly as thick as that of a killing floor worker.

I always wonder what job he does, but my childhood lessons to avoid strangers covered in blood and bearing knives won't let me interrupt his reverie.

Exhaustion is commonplace at IBP. A worker told me codeine or speed can alleviate the strain. I demurred, but completely understood. The cows have the edge in attitude; their oblivion is complete. Ours comes in small stretches when cutting isn't what we do, it's who we are.

My job is to pull the scapula, a shoulder muscle the shape of the Aetna logo, from beneath a layer of fat. It's a four part job: hook to stabilize, outline with knife, hook the head of the scapula, rip the muscle out to let it hang.

When I pull scapulas at full count, I perform those four steps about 300 times an hour. That's 2,235 scapulas per shift. I pulled a full count on just my second day of work in the cooler. But then I missed my next day because my hands were throbbing like a Bootsy Collins bass line. When I returned, my supervisor put me on 2/3 count, which irked the Hispanic worker on my line, who had to pull the scapulas I missed, in addition to his own work.

"Juevos," he said simply.

"Juevos?" I asked.

 "Juevos," he said again, and grabbed his own testicles for emphasis.

The white guy on the line sympathized with my aching hands, but advised me to get used to it.

"We all live with it," he said.

Pain is just one scenario IBP workers live with, another is disease. A young Laotian woman showed me a skin disease she contracted since working at IBP called "beef rash" (numerous, small, pimple-like protrusions). Another man has "pork rash" from his previous employment at a pork processing IBP plant.

Just like the cows, we follow the movement of the conveyer, except the cows go only one way. We humans get to go back and forth, hooking, cutting and pulling, thousands of times each work day. The additional direction doesn't help break the tedium. Therefore, line workers in the cooler are prone to shouting obscenities and whistling wolf calls at the few blood-stained females who pass through the cooler.

Occasionally, the men grab each other and playfully dry hump legs, hips or buttocks.

"Watch it, motherfucker! You're holdin' up progress!" screamed a man on the line when bumped by a trainee pushing a cart full of carcasses.

Other remarks are just as profound, Daffy Duck-ish "Woo Woos" or the "llorando" of a heartbroken Mariachi.

Across the 16-yard stretch of bloody, white plastic conveyer belt at which I work, are the Grade Six master cutters: the clod pullers. Clods are 40-pound slabs of meat cut and ripped away from the carcasses. By comparison, my job is a Grade One, which means when I demonstrate proficiency; I can make $9.04 per hour, instead of the $7.00 I make now. Qualified clod pullers make $10.65. For their money, clod pullers get a face full of blood. I call them the meat dancers. Their cuts are intricate and made while walking. They twist, turn, dip, and sway with the meat. I failed the clod puller training, but understand the process better for my effort.

While walking with a shank of meat, clod pullers make jagged incisions along the joint, slice down, trace the paddle bone, rip the meat down with a forearm, cut the tendons, trace the other side of the paddle bone, rip the meat down further, then cut the clod off, hook it and throw it onto the conveyer belt. There are 10 clod pullers, and they let it be known that their side of the line is no place for "maricons" or sissies.

Immediately after they've pulled a clod, they clutch their knives to their chest -- a safety precaution -- and walk to the head of the line to have another dance.

I like to think the repetition and monotony is unnecessary, that the company could make the work more rewarding and less stressful on the human body, but I don't have experience generating $12 billion in sales as IBP does annually.

I'm sure their success reaffirms their belief that their employee situation is fine. However, I do have experience being human and there is one thing IBP makes obvious -- from their mandates on bathroom walls to their bodily function-unfriendly break schedules to the general debilitating and severe pain endured as a normal part of the job--  I am no more important to them than a Hereford.

link | posted by Jae at 8:21 AM | 0 comments

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hello World!

I haven't blogged for awhile. I think I will start back up.

link | posted by Jae at 6:23 PM | 1 comments

Monday, April 20, 2009

All Grown Up

Newt Gingrich is fuming because President Obama shook hands with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela -- and smiled! Left-leaning organizations say they feel betrayed because Obama isn't going after the CIA agents who tortured.

I'm not an expert at much, but I spent a good 30 years in childhood and can attest to the fact that grown-up positions suck from a child's point of view. Of course, I can't know the exact breadth and depth of the challenges our president faces, but I can say this: he's acting like a grown up in dealing with them.

As a self-described, proud-ass liberal, I'd love to see him go Rambo and run roughshod over the Michelle Bachmans and Newt Gingrichs of the world. I'd like to see him make them cry. I'd like to see the torturers punished as part of an orgy of leftism that would include Bush, Cheney and Rove as cellmates and Gonzalez and Ashcroft and the rest of that regime living under an overpass together.

I'd like to see him get a wild-eyed gleam in his eye -- the one that made me so nervous with Bush -- and kick some serious ass.

But, Obama's not a cowboy. He doesn't want to be an astronaut or a fireman when he grows up because he's a fully functioning adult who has to keep it together while the kids are growing up.

Would he like to belt a couple of these jerks in the chops? I'm sure he would. But, in a two-party system, when you exclude the other party as the Dems were excluded for eight years, bad things happen. That pretty much puts the kibosh on a gib-smacking rampage.

So, metaphorically, Pres. Obama is holding a barbecue for those crappy neighbors who never mow their lawns in order to talk with them about property values; he's shaking hands with a teacher whom he despises because his kid needs a good grade for college; he's working 60 hours a week with that knuckle-cracking idiot in the office who makes his head ache.

He's doing this because grown-ups don't have the luxury of cartoonish revenge. When adults are laid off, they don't go in and shoot up the office; they curse their fate and update their resume because it's not about just them. It's also about the kids -- us.

Grown-ups forego revenge and grand gestures because they're planning for the future of others that they greatly care about.

So, he will extend his hand to those who badmouth America because grown ups say, 'sticks and stones..." And, he will treat tantrummers like Boehner and Cantor and Perry as adults in the expectation that they eventually will recognize that's what they're supposed to be.

So, when Newt is pissed off about a handshake, Pres. Obama patiently explains that the old ways of doing business didn't work -- and a handshake isn't a contract. And, to the left he explains that torture is a terrible thing, but prosecuting what was legal at the time is a waste of resources and our only recourse is to ensure it happens no more.

That's what a grown-up does. Nobody's happy, but there is a consistency of purpose and vision and there's a guiding ideal behind both situations.

Still, I would never underestimate his desire to keep us safe on the way to our own "adulthoods." Having lived through one of the most childish regimes in memory, I'm OK with having an adult in the White House.

link | posted by Jae at 11:08 AM | 2 comments

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How's This for Brass Ballage?

On Tuesday, Republicans argued that the entire electoral process in Minnesota is filled with doubt.

In a fundraising plea to supporters, Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said that the court’s ruling was “fundamentally misguided” and failed to resolve the equal-protection and due-process violations alleged by the Coleman campaign, saying that some 4,400 absentee ballots remain uncounted.

“It’s frankly shocking that many of the same Democrats who so loudly decried voter disenfranchisement during the Florida recount in 2000 have so quickly run away from that principle when it no longer fits their political agenda,” Cornyn said.

Holy shit! Let me say that again more slowly: Holy. Shit.

This guy is looking to 2000 Florida as a bright and shining moment for his party? And, if you break his statement down, he's saying that the Dems were right and principled in their stand back then. But, he's "shocked" they're not supporting Coleman's position in 2009.

Let me break it down for you Mr. Cornyn: 'We try not to support cheaters. We're kind of weird about that.'

And before any of you get on your high horse [Crazy Michelle Bachman, I'm looking at you!] and say, 'Oh! He's not cheating; he's just exercising his rights under the law." BS! Norm Coleman is a cheater.

Coleman is cheating the citizens of Minnesota out of representation; with his assertions, he is cheating and cheapening the legacy of the decent principled people of Florida who back in 2000 had tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people of color bamboozled out of their votes; Coleman is cheating the U.S. by blocking a senate vote during a time of stress and change; he is cheating because he's not looking for fairness or equality or justice -- he just wants to win.

Here is Coleman's legacy: When the Election Night tally had him up by a few hundred votes, he publicly begged Franken to concede -- even though a recount was automatic by law -- in order to save the people of Minnesota the cost of a recount.

'It's what I would do,' he lied.

This reminds me of the old Southerners during the Civil Rights era who decided to filibuster -- I believe Strom Thurmond read the phonebook for hours straight -- in order to block votes on the Civil Rights bill.

My hope for this sleazebag is that he goes the way of Rudy Boschwitz and falls out of everyone's memory forever.

link | posted by Jae at 7:53 AM | 2 comments

Friday, March 20, 2009

Oh, And I Don't LIke Ronnie, Either

I am neither angry nor irritated by conservatives who are blaming Obama for the nation's mess. Anyone reasonable knows this is an inherited situation.

But, I will not further abide with those who wish to make me a co-conspirator in canonizing Ronald Reagan.

Listen, people - I'm not that guy. I have nothing good to say about the man, so look elsewhere if you want to talk up Ronnie.

I think we spent the last eight years surrounded by Ronald Reagan's spirit: the lingering racism, the class warfare, the appropriation of the GOP by evangelicals, the demonization of progressive thought, anti-intellectualism, the notion that people in positions of financial power will police themselves and the air of general intolerance.

I remain flabbergasted that he is considered a good president. I was there and I wholeheartedly (and if I could borrow somebody's heart it would be doubleheartedly) disagree. I think he was terrible for America.

So, there's that.

link | posted by Jae at 1:08 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Politics and common sense parting ways

Though I'm loathe to give that idiot a forum, I must consider the problem of Rush Limbaugh. But, at least I'll be able to focus on the abstract instead of the specifics of HOW IN THE HELL did Clear Channel decide to pay him $400 million to tear the country apart? And, why isn't anybody boycotting Clear Channel? Jeez!

Anyway, my abstract concern is the Democratic strategy to tie the GOP to Limbaugh. Intellectually, I think it's brilliant with some risks. Personally, I think it's messy and hard to support.

By messy, I mean that, at least in the short run, it gives this guy an expanded audience and puts his divisive remarks front and center. Structurally, it couldn't work any other way. After all, Clear Channel needs to protect its investment so any rebuttals by Limbaugh opponents would be "front page" news (Yes, Virginia, journalism is dead). And, since journalism is dead, you have headline writers bestowing heds like "Limbaugh Address Energizes Youth." WTF? Energize youth? Didn't the GOP just lose the youth vote in a landslide?

I would argue that what really makes the situation messy is not the guy's listeners, but his broadcast partner. They've got 400 million bones to recover. So, having Limbaugh lead the GOP is their wet dream. It's a large enough forum in which to recoup their investment.

And, here's where I see the brilliance of the Dem's strategy. Limbaugh is an entertainer, no matter his delusions of relevance. His audience is comprised of pissed off white males, with a sizeable segment of them racist (his valentine to them was his commentary on black NFL quarterbacks and Donovan McNabb). Even more than a politician, entertainers play to their base. If he attempts to pull in moderates, he will get slapped silly -- like Don Imus.

Limbaugh appealing to moderates would be tantamount to Oprah Winfrey chucking her empire to create a bass fishing show. His core would evaporate.

Imagine Limbaugh saying Hispanic immigrants are important to this nation; imagine him saying racism does exist; imagine him saying that the U.S. political and economics systems are geared to the wealthy. All of it's true, but toxic, to an audience that believes the only truly aggrieved demographic is the white male. And, here's a scary proposition: Limbaugh can't make a pan-American outreach. He can't try to get us all working together. Why? Because it goes against everything he's built his empire on. It has to be us-versus-them for him because that's his only foundation.

So, when he makes the African American man who is the elected head of the GOP apologize for calling his show what it is -- incendiary and vicious -- the Dems have painted the GOP into a corner. Republicans embrace Limbaugh and he has to embrace bigotry, class warfare and intolerance. It pays his mortgage. But, that song and dance pretty much sucked in the last election cycle.

Still, the risk lies in good people assuming desirable outcomes materialize out of thin air and hard work is optional. The risk lies in the complacency of people who think evil was overcome in that last election. They underestimate the ease of evil's task. Demolition is a heck of a lot easier than construction.

Plus, it's rarely about numbers; it's about perception. The Nazis in Germany were certainly a minority, but the perception among the German people of the era was that National Socialists were a silent, hulking majority -- listening in on every non-conforming word.

I've met many German people who survived that time. All of them, including one I've never met, the Pope, claim to have abhorred the Nazi's beliefs -- even if they were registered Nazis themselves. Judging by their tales, a dozen guys were true believers and bullied everyone else into toeing their line.

That is the risk. Limbaugh's appeal to our baser instincts could reach a critical mass with enough Americans so that opposition is cowed into silence. By digging in their heels, Republicans could tear down the Dems' hard work. Using a well-placed phrase or glowing headline, Americans could be fooled into thinking hateful beliefs are predominant again.

And, isn't it always easy to think the worst of the person next to you?

link | posted by Jae at 6:59 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Other than, 'Don't do that,' what is the GOP agenda? Seriously.

I ask this question in all seriousness, because I've spent hours talking with my conservative friends who say we are now living in socialist hell because of Pres. Obama's policies. I am especially curious to hear the answers of the middle class conservatives who are angry to be bailing out their neighbor who overextended. Is your answer really to let this economy run its course with no governmental intervention? Really?

link | posted by Jae at 9:52 AM | 1 comments

Even as we go about our daily lives...

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz et al are patting themselves on the backs for being private citizens who are not incarcerated. So, unless one or all of them decide to hold up a convenience store, that is the end of that. Don't let it eat you up.

link | posted by Jae at 9:47 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You know what's weird?...

I'm not carrying around the same anger that possessed me for much of the last eight years. I was no kitten-kicking anarchist; I simply lived a seething beneath the surface life. That happens when you get slapped frequently for no other reason than someone can do it to you. I was embarrassed when we bragged about torturing enemy combatants (slap) and mortified when speaking out against that was considered anti-American (slap). I was flabbergasted at the chutzpah of Lynn Cheney, an openly lesbian woman who practiced the most divisive of sexual and racial politics despite being a target for her compatriots (slap); I was dumbfounded that Halliburton could rummage through our pockets while soldiers died thanks to their bumbling (slap). I was astonished to see an alleged president of the United States so publicly bought and sold by business interests (slap). I despised Dick Cheney and he didn't care (slap). I watched a Justice Department drop racial and sexual discrimination cases so they could protect the interests of white, conservative Christians who apparently were in some kind of danger (slap).

I feel like a character in Portnoy's Complaint; I have awakened from those eight years and the only thing I can muster is: WTF?

What the fuck was that about?

Still, I'm not angry. Would I like to see Bush and his cronies doing time for robbing this nation blind? Yeah, sure. But, more importantly, we've got to fix a whole bunch of crap. I am... resigned to the notion that the party is over and things will be different.

Not that you can tell with the conservative GOP crowd. Lots of obstructionism going on there. A woman named Tara Wall, a GOP operative, twisted Attorney General Holder's words around to make him out to be some kind of racist. He said Americans are often cowardly when it comes to true discussions about race - and I agree. What encouraged me about Wall's comments (as well as Limbaugh's, McConnell's, McCain's, Palin's) are that in the wake of eight years of being slapped in the face by this crowd, we recognize it as the BS that it is.

Wall, for instance, went so far in her attack on Holder that she praised all the white voters for Obama -- the vast majority, of course, being white, DEMOCRATIC voters. Oooh! I bet she wishes she could take that sentence back.

You see, it's just like my mother told me. If you do dirty things and don't change, you're going to end up in places you don't want to be.

So, in conclusion, my life right now can be summed up by my last visit to Ruby Tuesdays, when the waitress wanted to know if I needed more lemonade.

"Nah. I'm cool," I said.

And, I am.

link | posted by Jae at 1:52 PM | 1 comments

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just Got Back and I'm Getting Crap Already

OK Anonymous -
In answer to your "It appears random" remark about my first posting since the Jurassic era: thank you. It is nice to have some interaction, even if it's being poked at.

I am moved by glances, music, smells, bells and kind remarks. If moved enough, I will do what I did in the last election season -- give money I don't have to a candidate I will never meet in the hope that some small part of life in the U.S. will be better than it was before. Talk about your Chaos Theory.

But, mostly, I'm moved by small things... smells, bells, you remember (hell, it was in the last sentence). This particular song, "Flagpole Sitta" by Harvey Danger (no, it's not Lit and it's not Green Day) reminds me of how close this American Family is, even when we hate each other much of the time.

I am moved by the fact that a silly song from 10 years ago, written by someone much younger than me, from a different race and area of the country, could speak so directly to me. It's that American Family thing, again.

It's not the best part of me, admittedly, given this lyric: "I'm not sick but I'm not well/and I'm so hot/'cause I'm in hell/been around the world/and found that/only stupid people are breeding/the cretins/cloning and feeding"

Still, it's cathartic.

So, in conclusion - 'Yes. It was random, but I liked it."

link | posted by Jae at 3:17 PM | 1 comments

I'm Back! Redux

My easy listening recommendation:

link | posted by Jae at 9:15 AM | 2 comments

Friday, January 23, 2009

Norm Coleman, Douchebag of the Year

I LOVE this article. Lots of bile, but spot on IMO. - Jae

Thank you Proud2beMinnesotan, via neptunehillsides.blogspot.com by way of GIN AND TACOS DOT COM)

It was a banner year for assholes.

It would take one gigantic cocksucker to claw his or her way over the likes of Hank Paulson, Liddy Dole, Ted Stevens, Rod Blagojevich, “Hot Karl” Rove, Joe the Plumber, both Clintons, and more political strategists, campaign managers, and pundits than we can count.

Is there any person out there who feels able to answer the call, to remove the Excalibur Dildo from the stone and become its master? The chair recognizes the Senator from Minnesota. Norm Coleman spent 2008 with his hands wrapped around Dignity’s throat, eventually forcing its head underwater until the bubbles stopped rising.

For a man who once lost a gubernatorial race to the pro wrestler who carried the minigun in Predator, it is practically inconceivable that he could go downhill from there. Like a 16th Century explorer, Coleman decided that the only way to find out if an elected official’s career could get any worse was to provision some wooden ships, crew them with a few hundred stout men, and set sail for the edge of the map.

Coleman, widely recognized to be one of the most humorless puds on the planet (and one who looks strangely like the offspring of John Kerry and a yardstick), decided that the way to compete with comedian and former SNL writer Al Franken was to out-funny him with cute campaign ads. Rather than striking a serious tone to make Franken look like an amateurish joke candidate, Coleman managed to make himself look like the amateur.

In a thousand years scientists may understand how a United States Senator managed to look rinky-dink in a race against a smug comedian, but for the moment we remain baffled.

Among his many ads attempting to be funny, the pièce de résistance of Coleman’s idiocy was one entitled “Why Not?” The ad features three actors playing dipshit slobs in bowling shirts (you know, the condescending caricature of how six-figure DC political consultants see “average voters”) discussing Franken’s many failings in a ridiculously affected and overdone “Superfans” accent. That’s how we dress and how we talk!

The commercial ends with the alpha-Grabowski suggesting that they run for Senate themselves…why not? They’re just as qualified as Franken!!!

It’s not the most offensive ad you’ll ever see, but it sets a new mark for inanity which may not soon be equalled. Coleman’s campaign is perfectly represented in his ads, a mixture of mouth-frothing attacks and attempts at humor which appear to have been conceived, approved, and executed by a council of stroke patients.

One commercial break might feature “Angry Al“, painting Franken as an unstable, profane lunatic while the next break would bring the cloying Leave it to Beaver comedy of “Got It,” which may be the first ad to close with an image of the candidate hunching over a garbage can.

In a remarkable synthesis of the two styles, Coleman sunk to new depths in “Excuses“, in which an 8 year-old girl clutching a teddy bear hurls insults at Franken before closing with a “My dog ate it” joke.

A sampling of Coleman’s advertisements leave open the very serious question of whether or not he has ever met another human being. Running the kind of campaign that makes Americans hate politics so goddamn much, one that simultaneously insults their intelligence and bombards them with vile rhetoric, is nothing new. It’s certainly not enough to win a nondescript political figure the CotY.

However, what Coleman did after Election Day elevated him from mere ass clown to the rarefied air of the legitimate cocksucker.

Let’s say you play a basketball game and at the end of four quarters the score is tied. Do we play overtime or does one team simply demand that the other concede defeat?

If you’re Norm Coleman, and perhaps only if you’re Norm Coleman, the latter is the correct choice. Faced with an almost incomprehensibly close outcome on Election Eve, Coleman simply declared victory even though Minnesota law mandates an automatic recount in the unlikely event of a race this close.

He indignantly demanded that his opponent waive “his right” to a recount to - get this - to save the taxpayers the cost of re-counting the ballots. Those fiscal conservatives!

Note well that it isn’t the candidate’s “right” that produces recounts; it’s the voters’ right and the state’s right and responsibility to make sure that we figure out who actually won the goddamn election. Semantics, of course.

Once the recount got underway Coleman really reached into his bag of Asshole, instantly transforming from a nondescript, robotic putz into the incarnation of Nixonian paranoia coupled with right-wing Talk Radio fury.

When Franken gained votes in the recount Coleman’s leeches helpfully noted that it was producing “improbable shifts that are overwhelmingly accruing to the benefit of Al Franken. ” The Secretary of State is a Democrat, proving indisputably and for all time that the process is overwhelmingly slanted to Franken’s benefit.

Campaign lawyer and professional jagoff Fritz Knaak knoted that the integrity of the process had been “breached” and that “the supercharged environment we’re in leads us to suspect everything. ” Nixon would be proud. Knaak and Coleman concocted one baseless charge after another, including the infamous “ballots in the car” story that led Bill O’Reilly to confidently claim “the fix is in” long after Knaak, Coleman, and Gov. Pawlenty admitted that it was not true.

Like all people who go too far in politics, Coleman’s party eventually turned on him. Gov. Pawlenty took to the talk shows defending the integrity of the recount and rebuking Coleman for “throwing gasoline on the fire” of the Talk Radio histrionics.

One of Minnesota’s most prominent right-leaning newspapers editorialized: "It’s hard to believe we’re writing this, but it’s clear that Franken - known for his over-the-top humor and partisan antics - is the one acting with class in this serious situation.

Voters, indeed, deserve to know the outcome of a recount. It’s not up to those who may or may not be the winner. "With Franken in the lead Coleman did exactly as we would expect by taking his fight to court.

While the merits of his legal argument are outside of my jurisdiction, the fact remains that the courts’ rulings in Coleman’s favor have not put him back in the lead. He will continue to drag the race out into 2009, making it likely that Congress will be sworn in before the outcome is known in Minnesota.

What a year, Norm. What? There’s MORE?

Yeah, apparently this fucker is as corrupt as a cheap hard drive. CREW named him one of the most corrupt men in Congress after it was revealed that he lived rent-free in Washington on the tab of a Republican consultant who has been paid almost $2 million from Coleman’s PAC and, in a completely unrelated hiring decision, who hired Coleman’s wife as a “consultant” to the tune of $101,000.

Not salacious enough for you? Well, now the FBI is on Coleman like glue over allegations and hard evidence that an Iranian millionaire (I’m not making this up) from Bloomington, MN named Nasser Kazeminy used an offshore oil drilling company called Deep Marine Technology to funnel $75,000 to Coleman through Hays Insurance, a company whose employees consist of…Coleman’s wife (pictured, who, I shit you not, invented and markets something called the “Blo & Go“).

The Deep Marine CEO and shareholders blew the whistle, telling the FBI that no insurance or services were rendered by Hays Insurance. Coincidentally, and much to the delight of the wealthy investor behind a drilling company called Deep Marine Technology, Coleman introduced a bill in the Senate on June 12 calling for more offshore drilling in US waters.

Norm Coleman, holy shit. You are one enormous cocksucker. You managed to excel at being lame, condescending, dirty, hysterical, paranoid, and crooked all in the span of a few months.

Most people (Blagojevich for example) can only handle one at a time. And Norm, if you think that I am about to make a joke based on the phrase “handle more than one at a time” in an essay about how much wang you suck, well, unlike your campaign ads I tend to work a bit harder than that for comedy.

Congratulations, 2008 CotY Norm Coleman. May your trip home from Washington and, eventually, into Federal prison be a smooth one.

link | posted by Jae at 11:20 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Can we PLEASE Cut the Crap About the 'New South' Now?

I have been on an Obama high for a while now, so it's good to be back and share my absolute joy that Sen. Obama is now President-elect Obama. It's so nice that I even referred to the WHITE HOUSE OCCUPANT (WHO) as president in a recent article. I have never done that, not in 8 years. Ah, the sweet nectar of forgiveness. President Obama is reaching out to opponents as he said he would and studiously approaching some very complex problems facing the nation.

But, I can't help but notice that some are not sharing in my joy.

From the Christian Scientist Monitor:

>The political marginalization of certain Southern whites, economic distress in rural areas, and a White House occupant who symbolizes a multiethnic United States could combine to produce a backlash against what some have heralded as the dawn of a postracial America. In some parts of the South, there's even talk of secession.

And, more:

>In an election in which barely 20 percent of native Southern whites in Deep South states voted for Obama, the newly apparent political clout of "outsiders" and people of color has been unnerving to some.

"In states like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, there was extraordinary racial polarization in the vote," says Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta. "Black Americans really do believe that Obama is going to represent their interests and views in ways that they haven't been before, and, in the Deep South, whites feel exactly the opposite."

But for nonviolent secessionist groups like the League of the South, the hope is for a more vigorous debate about the direction of the US and the South's role in it, says Michael Tuggle, a League blogger in North Carolina.

Mr. Tuggle says his group isn't looking for an 1860-style secession but, rather, a model that Spain, for one, is moving toward, in which "there's a great deal of autonomy for constituent regions" – a foil to what is seen as unchecked, dangerous federal power in Washington.

"To a lot of people, the idea of secession doesn't seem so crazy anymore," says Tuggle. "People are talking about how left out they feel, ... and they feel that something strange and radical has taken over our country." <

What I love about these secessionists is their absolute obliviousness to the black populations within their states. The South has the highest proportion of black people in the union -- Mississippi is the state with the highest percentage. I wonder how "not so crazy" secession because of a black president would seem to them?

And, if they do secede, is their plan to do it without the permission of their black citizens? That sounds more like mass kidnapping to me. Or, are we re-thinking slavery? Wait. Didn't we fight a war over this shit? Yeah, we did. Let me steal the words from annotatedrant.com and provide my learned take on a potential Southern Strategy -- one that excepts roughly 20 percent of Southern white people and 95 percent of Southern black people.

November 3, 2004

Fuck the South.

Fuck 'em. We should have let them go when they wanted to leave. But no, we had to kill half a million people so they'd stay part of our special Union. Fighting for the right to keep slaves - yeah, those are states we want to keep.

And now what do we get? We're the fucking Arrogant Northeast Liberal Elite? How about this for arrogant: the South is the Real America? The Authentic America. Really?

Cause we fucking founded this country, assholes. Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? All that bullshit about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first half of the fucking sentence? Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt sporting revolutionaries were? They were fucking blue-staters, dickhead. Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the fucking monuments are up here in our backyard?

No, No. Get the fuck out. We're not letting you visit the Liberty Bell and fucking Plymouth Rock anymore until you get over your real American selves and start respecting those other nine amendments. Who do you think those fucking stripes on the flag are for? Nine are for fucking blue states. And it would be 10 if those Vermonters had gotten their fucking Subarus together and broken off from New York a little earlier. Get it? We started this shit, so don't get all uppity about how real you are you Johnny-come-lately "Oooooh I've been a state for almost a hundred years" dickheads. Fuck off.

Arrogant? You wanna talk about us Northeasterners being fucking arrogant? What's more American than arrogance? Hmmm? Maybe horsies? I don't think so. Arrogance is the fucking cornerstone of what it means to be American. And I wouldn't be so fucking arrogant if I wasn't paying for your fucking bridges, bitch.

All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it, it’s a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.

The next dickwad who says, "It’s your money, not the government's money" is gonna get their ass kicked. Nine of the ten states that get the most federal fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. That’s right, motherfucker, they're red states. And eight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most? It’s too easy, asshole, they’re blue states. It’s not your money, assholes, it’s fucking our money. What was that Real American Value you were spouting a minute ago? Self reliance? Try this for self reliance: buy your own fucking stop signs, assholes.

Let’s talk about those values for a fucking minute. You and your Southern values can bite my ass because the blue states got the values over you fucking Real Americans every day of the goddamn week. Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can you guess? It’s fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay marriage universe. Yes, that’s right, the state you love to tie around the neck of anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond has the lowest divorce rate in the fucking nation. Think that’s just some aberration? How about this: 9 of the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad. And where are the highest divorce rates? Care to fucking guess? 10 of the top 10 are fucking red-ass we're-so-fucking-moral states. And while Nevada is the worst, the Bible Belt is doing its fucking part.

But two guys making out is going to fucking ruin marriage for you? Yeah? Seems like you're ruining it pretty well on your own, you little bastards. Oh, but that's ok because you go to church, right? I mean you do, right? Cause we fucking get to hear about it every goddamn year at election time. Yes, we're fascinated by how you get up every Sunday morning and sing, and then you're fucking towers of moral superiority. Yeah, that's a workable formula. Maybe us fucking Northerners don't talk about religion as much as you because we're not so busy sinning, hmmm? Ever think of that, you self-righteous assholes? No, you're too busy erecting giant stone tablets of the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the fucking Northeast Liberal Elite. And who has the highest murder rates in the nation? It ain't us up here in the North, assholes.
Well this gravy train is fucking over. Take your liberal-bashing, federal-tax-leaching, confederate-flag-waving, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bullshit and shove it up your ass.

And no, you can't have your fucking convention in New York next time.

Fuck off.

link | posted by Jae at 2:20 PM | 1 comments

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

McCain's Conundrum, Distancing Himself From a GOP That Defines Him

By Gary Kimaya in Slate
Here is the link: http://www.salon.com/opinion/kamiya/2008/10/28/gop_shipwreck/index.html

Some conservatives have tried to argue that Bush betrayed true conservatism by running up a ruinous deficit and expanding entitlement programs like Medicare. They compare him unfavorably to Ronald Reagan, modern conservatism's patron saint. But this revisionism gets the historical record wrong.

The truth is that Saint Reagan expanded entitlements, grew the federal government -- including a $165 million bailout of Social Security -- and raised taxes. The right-wing myth of Reagan as an anti-government, anti-tax purist is just that: a myth. The same is true for his anti-Communism. Reagan talked a tough game, calling the USSR an "evil empire" and rattling his saber, but usually behaved pragmatically. When his ill-considered intervention in Lebanon failed, he wisely pulled U.S. troops out. In short, Reagan's ideology and his practice were often at odds.

The dirty little secret of modern conservativism is that Bush is more like "Reagan" -- the mythical Reagan, that is -- than Reagan himself ever was.

Bush actually did what Reagan just said he was going to: He cut taxes for the wealthy, handed over the keys to the economy to corporate interests and deregulated everything in sight. His most glaring and destructive imitation of the mythical Reagan was his catastrophic decision to invade Iraq. Fatally, Bush really believed his own Churchillian rhetoric. He decided the fight against Islamist terrorism was an epochal showdown of good vs. evil -- and unlike Reagan, he proceeded to act militarily on this grandiose belief. (Yes, Reagan illegally tried to overthrow the Nicaraguan regime, but the Iran/Contra scandal that tainted his legacy wouldn't even make the Top Ten list of Bush's misdeeds.)

This is why, to this day, the Republican Party and the mainstream right wing has never repudiated Bush. (To their credit, "Paleoconservatives" like Pat Buchanan and right-libertarians like Ron Paul and Antiwar's Justin Raimondo broke with Bush on Iraq, but they are marginal figures on the right.) How can conservatives repudiate someone who put into practice all of their most cherished ideas? To criticize Bush on substantive grounds, they'd have to explain not only why his policies violated conservative orthodoxy, but why they never once made that argument for the last eight years.

They can't do either, which is why they are forced to take the evasive, intellectually dishonest line of blaming Bush's failures on his arrogance and incompetence. Of course Bush was arrogant and incompetent, but those shortcomings don't explain his failed presidency. He failed because he acted on the extreme right-wing ideas that Reagan only paid lip service to.

The right wing is running as far away as it can get from Bush, but it still shares his beliefs. That's why it [and John McCain] cannot and will not muster any real arguments against his policies.

link | posted by Jae at 11:39 AM | 2 comments

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Reason I Despise George Will

George Will: Colin Powell Endorsed Obama Because He’s Black

By: Blue Texan Sunday October 19, 2008

This morning on "This Week" George Will was asked what he thought about Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama.

His response?

Black, black, blackety-black black black blackety-black.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: We just found out that former Sec. of State General Colin Powell has said he's going to vote for Barack Obama. Big impact?

WILL: Some impact. And I think this adds to my calculation -- this is very hard to measure -- but it seems to me if we had the tools to measure we'd find that Barack Obama gets two votes because he's black for every one he loses because he's black because so much of this country is so eager, a, to feel good about itself by doing this, but more than that to put paid to the whole Al Sharpton/Jessee Jackson game of political rhetoric.


Excuse me, but what the fuck do Al Sharpton and Jessee Jackson have to do with George W. Bush's Secretary of State, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a lifelong Republican endorsing Obama?

Oh, right -- they're all black.

Pretty incredible that no one on the panel challenged Will's blatant racism (America's voting for the black guy out of white guilt) but based on the batshit crazy wingnut comments on Faux News' website. Will is just articulating what the GOP base is telling itself: Powell's just going with the brother because he's a brother.

Here's a great response to “George Will, and there were hundreds -- in TEXAS, no less!:

"George Will and the rest of the GOP Klan can bite my large white butt, Remember, the ‘R’ in Republican stands for racist. It’s part and parcel to their philosophy and platform. They live it, breathe it, feed it to their kids every morning with corn flakes and toast.
They try to dress it up, to make it more palatable to the rest of us but as the saying goes: No matter how much frosting you put on a cowpie, it’s not a birthday cake."

I concur. Hell, I don't think anyone's stated the obvious. The GOP has had every opportunity to consider an African American candidate. And, contrary to the reports I originally read, Colin Powell was not actively pursued by the GOP higher ups. He was considering it himself, but demurred because he didn't feel he could be protected. The chants of 'Run, Colin, Run' only came from the GOP after he had decided not to run.

link | posted by Jae at 6:31 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

America's Relationship to the GOP

Milhouse to Bart Simpson: Remember the time your cat ate my goldfish? And you lied and said I never had goldfish. Then why did I have the bowl Bart? Why did I have the bowl?

link | posted by Jae at 10:11 AM | 1 comments

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm No Michael Richards Fan, But This Was Some Sublime Writing

Helene:Hello Kramer.
Kramer: Oh Helene how are you?.
Helene: I Haven't worked since 1934 how do you think I am?.
Kramer: Well that's only 58 years.
Helene: It was a Three Stooges short, "Sappy Pappies." I played Mr. Sugerman's secretary remember?.
Kramer: Right,right, that was Shemp right?.
Helene: No, no Curly. The boys play three siblings, who find a baby, the baby's been kidnapped, and the police think they did it.
Kramer: Uh right.
Helene: But, but of course they didn't do it, the police have made an awful mistake.
Kramer: Right.
Helene: Moe hits Curly with an axe; the Stooges catch the kidnappers.
Kramer: Right.
Helene: But it's too late.
Kramer: Really?
Helene: The baby's dead.
Kramer: Really?
Helene: The boys are sent to Death Row and are executed.
Kramer: Well I don't remember that part.
Helene: I played Mr. Sugerman's secretary.
Kramer: Oh yeah you were very good!.
Helene: It was so sad, for the Three Stooges, what with the dead baby, and the stooges being executed and all.
Kramer: Yeah well that was an unusual choice for The Stooges.

link | posted by Jae at 10:48 AM | 0 comments

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bank Robber Hires Decoys on Craigslist, Fools Cops

By Caroline McCarthy, CNET News

In an elaborate robbery scheme that's one part The Thomas Crowne Affair and one part Pineapple Express, a crook robbed an armored truck outside a Bank of America branch in Monroe, Wash., by hiring decoys through Craigslist to deter authorities.

It gets better: He then escaped in a creek headed for the Skykomish River in an inner tube, and the cops are still looking for him. "A great amount of money" was taken, Monroe police said, but did not provide a dollar value.

It appears to have unfolded this way, according to a Seattle-based NBC affiliate: Around 11:00 a.m. PDT Sept. 30, the robber, wearing a yellow vest, safety goggles, a blue shirt, and a respirator mask went over to a guard who was overseeing the unloading of cash to the bank from the truck. He sprayed the guard with pepper spray, grabbed his bag of money, and fled the scene.

But here's the hilarious twist. The robber had previously put out a Craigslist ad for road maintenance workers, promising wages of $28.50 per hour. Recruits were asked to wait near the Bank of America right around the time of the robbery--wearing yellow vests, safety goggles, a respirator mask, and preferably a blue shirt. At least a dozen of them showed up after responding to the Craigslist ad.

"I came across the ad that was for a prevailing wage job for $28.50 an hour," one of the unwitting decoys, named Mike, said to the NBC station. As it turns out, they were simply placed there to confuse cops who were looking for a guy wearing a virtually identical outfit.
Authorities eventually found the getaway inner tube (a getaway inner tube!) and suspect that accomplices may have picked up the robber in a boat. According to the NBC affiliate, police hope to track him down by figuring out who posted the Craigslist ad in the first place.

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark was not immediately available for comment.

link | posted by Jae at 8:22 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Honest to God - Someone Wrote This

Newsweek Blogger MrZoid: No sir, it is as far fetched as it gets. All politics aside, Dinosaurs and Human beings never roamed the earth at the same time; I reference you to the procedure of carbon dating. No more conversation on this topic please, for the sake of all on this board, no more dinosaur talk.

Preparing for jaw to drop. Wait for it. Wait for it....

Newsweek Blogger Guesswhat_imaconservative: mrzoid...i'm a chick...and no it's not far-fetched. guess you never been to glen rose, tx. carbon dating is bs by the way. they've dated fish as being extinct for millions of years, then found live ones. oopsy. dino discussion dropped.

And, there it is. The failure of our educational system. The Cubs' reason for losing. Santa's mistress. It's all here. I have peered into the face of abject stupidity and it has no self-esteem issues.

OK. I have to repeat this with amazement in my voice:

"They've dated fish as being extinct for millions of years, then found live ones."

My God.

link | posted by Jae at 1:31 PM | 1 comments

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

GOP Running With Scissors and No Leadership

From Slate.com: Lord of the Flies" inside the GOP:

So who runs the Republican Party? Apparently nobody. Perhaps the most startling political development of the bailout process thus far was the amazing lack of leadership on the GOP side of the aisle.

Let's run down the list of Republican leaders who attempted to persuade skeptical House Republicans: President Bush, John McCain, Dick Cheney, and John Boehner. (We'd add Newt Gingrich to this list, but no one is quite sure if his last-minute support was actually cover for his behind the scenes whipping against the bill.)

Bush's leadership and trust issues within his party has been evidenced for quite some time, and the icing on the Bush legacy cake is that fact that he could only convince FOUR Texas House Republicans to support his bill.

And then there's John McCain, who last week decided to insert himself into the process and then (before the bailout failed) took credit for getting wavering House Republicans on board. Perhaps he did get a few wayward House GOPers on board -- but it wasn’t enough.

Now McCain gets a double stomach punch: He's stuck being seen as supportive of this bailout (which isn’t exactly popular with the conservative grassroots) and he gets to share in the blame for the defeat since he didn't have enough political capital to get this done (By the way, not a single member of the Arizona GOP delegation voted for this bill). Watching the McCain campaign deal with this yesterday, one could sense that they were fearful that they were going to look inept and take an even deeper political wound than they sustained last week.

link | posted by Jae at 9:42 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Hail Mary from McCain? He's Going to Run Out of Hails or Marys Pretty Soon

What Is Politics?
By Marc Armbrinder

This is the time when politics matters the most, not the least.

* When the philosophical differences that each party organizes around are put to the test of reality.
* When conflict builds consensus.
* When the public craves answers and debate from their politicians.
* When the stakes of the presidential election could not be more acute.

Comparative advantage: the best thing the presidential candidates can do now is to practice their politics honestly, not to abandon politics altogether -- itself, of course, a political move.

Suspending your campaign basically says: all that over the past sixteen months? It wasn't important. Ignore what I said or did. Too late.

The tough thing here for McCain is that nobody in Washington asked him to come back; nobody seems to need him to come back; and that Democrats simply do not trust John McCain's motives.

link | posted by Jae at 10:54 AM | 1 comments

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Do Not Go to Ortho" Nothing Political Today, Just Supporting a Fellow Twin Cities' Blogger

Do not go to Otho. I'm not talking about the food, the drinks, or the decor. The reason you should not go there is much more serious.Background: My good friend Imran and I threw a party at our building last Friday night. It was 80's themed with costumes, decorations, and a professional DJ. Many people we work with celebrated with us - public defenders, private attorneys, city attorneys, county attorneys... It was a welcoming environment and everyone had a blast. We even worked out a deal with Otho for a late night happy hour special and 80's music for our guests starting at midnight after the party ended.

Background on Otho: It's located in the Skyscape Condominium complex. Considering both Grant Park Condos and Skyscape are full of young professionals adjacent to this restaurant, you would expect it to be constantly crowded. But it's not. Imran and I always tried to support business there.

We had celebrated a birthday there. And Imran and his fiance had their engagement party there. We thought we were doing our local establishment good by bringing them our business.

What happened: At midnight, as we were cleaning up the party room, I received a phone call from one of my guests: "The bartender is saying there aren't any drink specials. He's being really rude about it." I walked over to try and clear up the problem. I walked toward the establishment and many of my other guests were standing outside talking about how rude the bartender was being to them. I walked inside and asked to speak to the manager.

When I found her she indicated to me that now they were honoring the special and playing the music. I thought the problem was solved. I was excited because the wild party-goers had calmed down and now everyone was talking in different groups. No one was boisterous. No one was going nuts. And there were only 4 people in the entire bar that were not with our party.When Imran came, he ordered a few shots for himself and two friends.

The aforementioned bartender poured them and then printed up the bill. Imran was planning on spending more money, so he told him to hang on to it and he'd pay it. That was not good enough for the already angry bartender who continued to wag the bill in front of him to get him to pay immediately. Oblivious, Imran then went to grab the other two shot-takers to come to the bar. The bartender followed him with the bill in hand.

He approached him and said:"Hey, [racial slur] take your fucking shots and pay your bill!"

Imran was so shocked by this statement, he said, "What the fuck did you just say?" As words were exchanged, the bartender said, "If we were out on the street, I'd fucking kill you!" and proceeded to come from behind the bar in an aggressive manner.

Several people were witnesses to the bartenders aggression. The manager grabbed me and told me that Imran had to be kicked out of the establishment. I saw the confrontation and went between everyone and grabbed Imran and said,

"Let's get out of here." Once outside, I found out what happened and came in and told everyone who I brought to Otho that we were leaving and not giving them another cent of our money.That bartender used a racial slur against my friend and threatened his life. The establishment kicked my friend out.

That bartender was back at work at Otho the next night. I would not be surprised if he had a history of such behavior based on how he was acting to the patrons before he served Imran. To this date, no formal apology has been issued to Imran and as far as I know that bartender is still working there.

The service industry is no place for racism or violence; and therefore, should have no place for Otho.

Do not go to Otho.

If they are willing to keep such a person under their employ, they do not deserve your money or your time. And please, tell everyone you know.Update: Both my friend and others have been in touch with management several times since this incident. One individual stayed after we all left that evening to speak with the manager and Imran himself called after he got home. As far as I know, no apology has been issued nor has there been any action taken against the bartender.

link | posted by Jae at 3:02 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Secret Killing Program In Iraq

This is what my own personal fear has always been. America has already been listening in on her citizens' electronic conversations. Now, there is a secret and, I assume, high-tech assassination program. Are we to believe we'd never be targets?

Bob Woodward's new book says this new, secret killing program in use in Iraq has been much of the reason violence there is down.

Militant of Reddit, a community of bloggers, chimes in. He or she hints about having inside information about the program. Here is the link -

"When this program is shown to the world, it will be marveled at, until the basic methods sink in. This, coupled with news that special forces were able to listen in on every move and heartbeat of the Iraqi PM...

"All I can get away with saying is put two and two together. And then, ask yourself whether this is a technology and a tactic and a program that you feel comfortable with your government having and keeping secret.

"I know the broad overview of what this program is and how it is operated - how much of the specifics I know is a matter I'll leave alone. But do you, the voter and citizen of a 'free' country, enjoy the idea that people can be tracked and listened to no matter where they go or what they're doing or what precautions they take? When the very sustenance they take in results in the loss of their privacy? Sure, in this situation one would think, 'Oh, but they're terrorists!' But do we -- now -- believe in summary executions on the battlefield? And, wouldn't you like to know what this is all about, considering the level of secrecy and threat coming from washington these days?"

link | posted by Jae at 7:06 AM | 2 comments

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin's Speech

Lawyers have a phrase that goes something like "If the facts favor you, argue the facts. If the facts don't favor you, but the law does, argue the law. If neither the facts nor the law favor you, attack your opponent." The strategy of the McCain campaign seems pretty obvious. Unfortunately, the "elite" "liberal" media appears for the most part to have been entranced by what was in reality nothing more than pushing attack buttons. The uniform praise for this speech from the media is really an embarassment. Sure it sells copy and raises ratings, but there is more at stake here.
-- John, Charlottesville, VA

link | posted by Jae at 10:26 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Southern Strategy - That the GOP is Never Called On and Racist Voters

Richard Nixon strategist Kevin Phillips in an interview included in a 1970 New York Times article, he touched on its essence:
"From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats."

Now that the Bristol/Sarah Palin issue is a rallying incident for the arch-conservatives, I am once again confronted with rampant, flaming racism. I'd like to address at least one of them. I'll put it in the form of a question. Black people in America - when they've had the vote - have voted for white politicians in every election in the nation's nearly 250 year history. Why are we singled out as racists when we vote for the ONLY black candidate ever to win a major party primary? I have white friends who don't want to vote for Obama and one of the reasons I don't see them as racist is they don't make an issue of black people voting for him. Quick hint: if you're on a message board, bitching about black people voting for Obama you're probably a racist.

Oh, and by the way - tokens, quotas, pre-marital/unprotected sex are cool with the GOP, now? Sweet! I would join, then... if not, you know, for that whole racism thing.

link | posted by Jae at 5:44 PM | 2 comments

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