Saturday, December 03, 2005

More on NY GOP Woes

GOP is divided over early vote to pick gubernatorial candidate


Not so fast, Stephen Minarik.

That's what some Republicans are telling their party chairman. Don't make us vote on a slate of candidates Dec. 12 — 11 months before Election Day and almost six months before the Republican convention.

Some are saying it privately, in a don't-put-my-name-on-it way to reporters. Some are saying it publicly, like the Legislature's most powerful Republican, a congressman and one of the party's gubernatorial hopefuls.

Even some on their way out the political door ack-nowledge it.

"I would say there is a split," said Charles Nesbitt, who stepped down this week as Assembly Republican leader to take a job in the Pataki administration. "The county leaders I've talked to, some believe it is the right time, but some believe we should wait."

At issue is Minarik's wish to have the GOP settle on a gubernatorial candidate this month so it can begin to raise the tens of millions of dollars it will take to run the campaign.

The reason? Democratic frontrunner Eliot Spitzer is already way ahead of any potential Republican candidates in the polls and will likely have more than $10 million in his campaign chest by January.
While it's true Spitzer seems to be unstoppable (even if Pirro runs, which she has said she will not), it's premature for the NY GOP to foster a slate of candidates. Fundraising isn't likely to be that great this early on, especially given Bush's woes (most Republicans I've spoken to are frustrated by this administration, and clearly the November results speak to a party that is hanging by a thread in NY).

Again, this all sort of points up what I said earlier this week: Al D'Amato was a master of politics in this state, but those days are long gone, and if the GOP is wise (doubtfully), they'll drop the bullying tactics of D'Amato, Bruno, and Giuliani in favor of the more nuanced Republicanism of former Democrat, Mike Bloomberg.

Naturally, as a liberal Democrat, I pray they keep ignorance as their calling card.

You Thought It Only Happened In The Movies

The FBI infiltrating a civic activity to spy? Specifically, Fahrenheit 9/11:
FAHRENHEIT 9/11: "[T]he photo of the man in the newspaper was not the Aaron Stokes they had come to know, [a member of Peace Fresno]. He was actually Deputy Aaron Kilner. And he had infiltrated their group."

"Aaron Kilner, 27, who joined the force in June 1999 and had been assigned the last 18 months to the anti-terrorist team under the vice-intelligence unit, apparently was killed instantly when his blue Yamaha motorcycle slammed into the right front side of a 1999 Buick, Fresno police said." Louis Galvan, "Crash Kills Off-Duty Detective, Victim Joined Fresno County Force in 1999," Fresno Bee, August 31, 2003.

"It remains unclear why the Fresno County Sheriff's Department infiltrated the peace group there, but Pierce said his department's actions were legal. ‘We can be anywhere we want to that's open to the public,’ Pierce said in a telephone interview from his Fresno office." Sam Stanton and Emily Bazar, "More Scrutiny of Peace Groups, Public Safety Justifies Surveillance Since 9/11, Authorities Say," Sacramento Bee, November 9, 2003.
Comes today this story:
FBI Plants Fake Candidate in W.Va. Race

by LAWRENCE MESSINA, Associated Press Writer Sat Dec 3, 3:05 AM ET

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Thomas Esposito's campaign for the Legislature seemed to be following the usual pattern. The longtime Democratic mayor issued press releases, raised money and bought newspaper ads. Signs bearing his name popped up in yards around rural Logan County.

But less than a month before the May 2004 primary election, Esposito dropped out, saying he had to withdraw because of his ailing mother-in-law.

The real reason surfaced only later: The FBI had planted Esposito among the field of candidates to help find evidence of vote-buying in southern West Virginia.

Federal prosecutors say the gambit worked.

They allege Esposito gave $2,000 in government-supplied money to a resident who had offered to bribe voters on his behalf.
Question: Why weren't they investigating the Diebold machines?

Friday, December 02, 2005

Pirro To Stay In Race

After Pataki Talks, Pirro Says She's Still in Race

Published: December 2, 2005
After a meeting with Gov. George E. Pataki today that heightened speculation that she would drop out of the United States Senate race, Jeanine F. Pirro emerged to say that she remains a candidate to oppose Hillary Rodham Clinton in next year's election.

The 90-minute meeting in the governor's midtown Manhattan office came after the Republican State Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, said Ms. Pirro should run for attorney general instead. Polls have shown the Republican Ms. Pirro trailing badly in the race against Senator Clinton, a Democrat. Ms. Pirro, the outgoing Westchester County district attorney, has also had a difficult time raising money.

After the meeting with Governor Pataki today, Ms. Pirro tried to put a positive spin on why members of her own party have called for her to drop her Senate candidacy.

"What's happened in the last several days is that there are people who are complimenting my abilities to run for other offices as well, and I am grateful for their belief that I can run for any office in this state," she said. "Right now, I am a candidate for the United States Senate."

Ms. Pirro declined to discuss details of the meeting, so it was not immediately clear what advice Governor Pataki gave to her.On another front involving the 2006 Republican ticket for statewide offices, Mr. Bruno met with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Thursday to try to persuade him to run for governor next year. An aide to Mr. Bruno cited the mayor's landslide re-election last month, but Mr. Bloomberg quickly rejected the proposal.
Interesting, this last bit.

I happened to have lunch in the governor's office building this afternoon, so I caught this press conference (big deal, two stinking cameras and a handful of reporters...I wish I'd had a tape recorder with me). She looked....frazzled, scared, and a bit morose. her body language spoke of someone who was really weary and fed up.

I don't think this is the last we've heard of this decision.

Now, I seriously doubt Bloomberg will run. I take him at his word about not seeking higher office.

Bird Flu is Here!

Mild strain of bird flu found in N. Carolina

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Turkeys at a farm in North Carolina tested positive for a mild, low-pathogenic strain of bird flu which is common in birds and poses no threat to humans, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Thursday.

Routine tests conducted on poultry in North Carolina found the H3N2 strain of bird flu in turkeys on a farm in Sampson County, in the eastern part of the state, the USDA said.

A much more serious strain of the disease, known as H5N1, has been found in Asia and Eastern Europe and been blamed for 68 deaths.

The low-pathogenic disease found in North Carolina has appeared elsewhere in the United States this year, according to USDA.
And this from Blondesense:
Weak Strain of Bird Flu Found At Sun Valley Farm
But, take a look at this:
Senate Panel Backs Special Vaccine Agency

By ANDREW BRIDGES, Associated Press Writer
Fri Dec 2, 7:39 AM ET

WASHINGTON - By creating a federal agency shielded from public scrutiny, some lawmakers think they can speed the development and testing of new drugs and vaccines needed to respond to a bioterrorist attack or super-flu pandemic.

The proposed Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency, or BARDA, would be exempt from long-standing open records and meetings laws that apply to most government departments, according to legislation approved Oct. 18 by the Senate health committee.
Sorta like Cheney's energy there NOTHING these guys trust us with???

Will Pirro Put On Pataki's Apron And Bake Cookies?

Pirro feels the heat

Westchester DA to meet with Pataki to mull idea of abandoning GOP race for Hillary's Senate seat, instead vying for attorney general

This story was reported by Albany bureau chief ERROL A. COCKFIELD JR., GLENN THRUSH of the Washington bureau and MICHAEL ROTHFELD
It was written by COCKFIELD and THRUSH.

December 2, 2005

ALBANY -- Pressured by fellow Republicans to scrap her challenge of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro will meet this morning with Gov. George Pataki to discuss the fate of her tottering campaign.

Pirro huddled with advisers yesterday, anguishing over whether to stay in the race or quit to run for state attorney general, as many Republicans have urged her to do, sources said. The abrupt turns of mood came on a day in which confusion seemed to reign in her camp.

A top Pirro adviser said she wanted to discuss her political future with Pataki, whose support has waned in recent days. But as of last night she had no plans to quit.

"She got together with her people, debated the pros and cons, and decided to stay in it for now," the official told Newsday.

When asked how long Pirro would remain in the race, the person replied, "Who knows? Ask me in a month."

A Pirro switch would be another in a series of embarrassing setbacks for the Republican Party as it struggles to field candidates for 2006.
This last paragraph intrigued me, and reminds me of something: where's Al D'Amato in all this?

See, when D'Amato was running his crooked political machine out of Long Island, the Republicans regularly registered unusual strength in a highly Democratic state...well, state-wide at any rate.

See, New York state as a political entity is fractious: the large urban areas are overwhemlingly liberal and Democractic, while suburban areas tend to be moderate Republican, and rural areas make the South look like urbane outposts of genteelity.

Having residence in all three sectors, it can be quite confusing!

However, when Alphonse ran the machine (which included the current governor, George Pataki, a shiftless nobody destined to be mayor of a small hamlet in the lower Hudson Valley, until a larger political machine dragged him mfrom obscurity, propped him up in front of a camera and managed to have him beat arguably the most popular governor of the past thirty years, Mario Cuomo), Republicans were nigh unstoppable. Even Rudy Giuliani had to genuflect at Mr. D'Amato's feet and kiss his pinky ring, when in truth, his job called for him to squeeze the shady crook until blood came from his ears.

D'Amato effectively retired in 1998 when Chuck Schumer beat him for his Senate seat, despite Rovian-type campaign ads and a whisper campaign upstate about "the Jew from Brooklyn".

Pataki won re-election last go-round without D'Amato (2002) because he was running against nobody (well, actually, Peter Vallone, Speaker of the NYC Council, which meant nothing outside of the Bronx and maybe Queens). He would have faced a formidable challenge from Elliot Spitzer, a tough-as-nails state attorney general who also had serious street cred as a liberal, ground Pataki can visit with his pro-choice stances.

But note this: even Rudy Giuliani got nailed in the downdraft of the vacuum that D'Amato's absence left in New York politics, failing to even secure the Republican nomination in 2000 to run against Hillary Clinton when he publicly announced he was divorcing his wife before telling her personally.

Apparently, Rudy felt he was Caesar, that New York City was ancient Rome, and that a man could divorce his wife merely by saying, "We're divorced" three times.

(Aside: Let him run for President. I would gloat at the ad campaign that would run against him.)

The political disintegration we're seeing in New York State is a direct result of D'Amato abandoning the wheel and leaving no one (or at least anyone competent) behind in charge to lead. We're now seeing the Bruno/Pataki Albany faction trying desperately to maintain control over a bunch of unruly children who see opportunities and want a piece of the action, primarily from the Hudson Valley districts where moderate Republicans really can run and win.

Too, I think the Democrats smell blood in the water, and are challenging what had previously been held as "safe" Republican seats. Sue Kelly, for example, New York's representative from the 19th district, faces a formidable challenge from no less than five Democrats vying to run against her, including John Hall.

This is a party in deep trouble, and it doesn't bode well for Bush and the GOP national committee that this tempest is unavoidable and happening so close to a major election that will be a referendum on Bush's second term. I can hear the spin doctors grinding their "Well, you know, all Presidents lose seats in their midterms and Bush is no exception" plaint.

tags technorati :

Thursday, December 01, 2005

More Hot Air From The Bushies

US rejects Blair's climate hopes

The US has dismissed a suggestion from UK Prime Minister Tony Blair that it may be prepared to sign up to binding targets to tackle climate change.
Speaking at UN climate talks in Canada, the US chief negotiator said his nation would not enter talks about fixed curbs on emissions of greenhouse gases.

Mr Blair told UK business leaders on Tuesday that he believed all major nations would support new targets.

The current targets within the Kyoto Protocol will expire in 2012.

"We would certainly not agree to the United States being part of legally binding targets and timetable agreement post-2012," Dr Harlan Watson, the head of the US delegation, told reporters at the climate conference in Montreal.
In other words, we'll take our ball and bat and go home.
Dr Watson was responding directly to comments made by the UK prime minister at a Confederation of British Industry conference in London.

Mr Blair told delegates: "Climate change is producing a sense of urgency. I have no doubt where policy is heading, here, in the US, [and] across the emerging economies of the world.

"I believe there will be a binding international agreement to succeed Kyoto when the protocol expires in 2012 that will include all major economies."
I've got a compound word that describes what the US just did to our staunchest ally: smackdown!

We're fucked, the longer these assholes remain in power.

A Moment

Still The One

I swear, that will be the only Orleans pun I use in this piece...

You may recall last year in the election campaign, Bush/Cheney used the song "Still The One" at campaign stops until the band, Orleans, told them to stop?

Apparently, it pushed John Hall, who along with his then-wife wrote the song, to seek higher office. Hall had been a local Democratic legislator, but had retired from public service, and was writing music as well as serving on the board of Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a project designed to attract attention to the pollution of the Hudson River and preservation of the Hudson River valley environment.

So now, given the Bushies, and the big corporate interests placing our nation in thrall to them, Hall has decided to run for Congress. From his website:
I've always been proud of our country, but we deserve to be proud of our government. Dishonesty, cronyism, and pandering to special interests have damaged the reputation and interests of the United States of America both at home and around the world.

If elected, I will be a voice for truth. No more "Clear Skies" initiative that allows more greenhouse gases in our air; no more "Healthy Forests" plan that lets timber companies build roads and cut prime trees in our national forests. No more tax "reform" bills that result in a greater gap between rich and poor, and especially no more wars based on false premises.

It's time to REDEFINE NATIONAL SECURITY to include all the factors that make the United States of America strong and safe, in the present and future.

I've been blessed with a successful career in the music business, but I'm so concerned about the direction the Bush administration and this Congress are taking our Country that I am committing myself fully to this campaign. I am not beholden to any special interest group, and will do my best to represent all the citizens of the 19th District. Please consider what I have to say, and help me in any way you are able.
Good luck, John!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Republican Party, NY Chapter, Is Disintegrating

Bruno to Pirro: Drop out of race


November 30, 2005

ALBANY - The state's second most powerful Republican sent a tremor through GOP ranks yesterday when he said Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro should abandon her challenge of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and instead run for attorney general.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Brunswick) said Pirro was more suited to be the state's top prosecutor because of her criminal justice background, and insiders agreed that the timing of his comments illustrated growing fault lines within the state GOP.


Pirro issued a statement yesterday, making it clear where her intentions stood. "Senator Bruno is a respected majority leader and I appreciate his confidence in my abilities," she said. "However, I am a candidate for U.S. Senate."

Others viewed Bruno's comments as a message to state Sen. Michael Balboni (R-East Williston) that he should not pursue a run for attorney general.
Now, couple that with this story...


November 29, 2005 -- ALBANY — Nassau County Republican Party Chairman Joseph Mondello has joined Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno in an effort to block the GOP from endorsing former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld for governor of New York next month, The Post has learned.
Mondello may even boycott the Dec. 12 meeting of all 62 county Republican chairs, a sit-down called by state GOP boss Stephen Minarik in hopes of lining up support for Weld.
Perhaps this is why
Weld faces school funding scandal
New York candidate headed now-bankrupt college


By Michael Gormley
Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Republican gubernatorial candidate William Weld on Tuesday countered criticism that he is responsible for a failed Kentucky school that he ran and that is now at the center of a federal fraud investigation.

"Nobody feels worse about the school closing than I do," Weld said. "I felt a proprietary relationship with the students."

Weld also said he gave more than $500,000 of his money in equity and loans to the Decker College trade school this summer because he anticipated U.S. Education Department approvals and the release of millions of dollars in aid. The Education Department, however, in late August said it wouldn't release the federal financial aid.

"If I had ever known there was a problem, I wouldn't have put (in) a half-million dollars of my own money in June and July," Weld said. He said he is still working to get the 3,700 affected students transferred to other programs to complete their studies.

"I am not aware of any wrongdoing," he said.
Meaning, of course, he hands the state Democratic candidate (likely, Elliot Spitzer) a golden, Bush-bashing issue. This issue gives a candidate agita, because no matter how you slice it, there's a Republican at the heart of it. If Weld blames the DoE, then its because Bush doesn't like him, and how can he be expected to work with the Federal government, and if he accepts blame for it, how well can he manage the state deficit?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

How She Paid For The Twins

First it was Duke Cunningham, who went down to the tune of $2.4 million, partly in bribes provided by coerced employees of MZM Inc.

Now, the spotlight turns to none other than Katherine Harris, proving once more that graft is an equal-opportunity corruptor. She, along with with at least two other House Republicans (including, of course, Cunningham), have been named as recipients of similar sizable donations from MZM employees.

What does MZM do? Well, no one's really sure. However, former employees point to three government contracts MZM has:
Counter Intelligence Field Activity, a highly secretive program created in 2002 by a Pentagon directive that focuses on gathering intelligence to avert attacks like the ones on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Army National Ground Intelligence Center in Charlottesville, Va., whose mission is to provide soldiers with battlefield intelligence.

The U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command at Ft. Belvoir, Va., just outside Washington, which also provides battlefield intelligence.

MZM has been seeking to increase its contracts with the Central Command, which oversees military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Special Operations Command, both based at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., according to former employees.
Why Harris, whose name is hardly synonymous with "intelligence"?
MZM is also planning to buy a facility in Harris' district, where it can be close to two of its other customers, the U.S. Central Command and the Special Operations Command, which are in a neighboring congressional district.
Thanks to Talking Points Memo for this tidbit.

Quick Quiz

What is the fourth largest city in the US (as of Dec. 2003)?

If you said Houston, you'd be wrong.

The fourth largest city in the United States is the US prison system. It holds 2.1 million inmates at any given time, which also makes it the 36th largest state.

I say this, because our, errrrrm, President actually wants to increase the prison population as part of his new immigration scheme.
On enforcement, he pledged to harden the border with increased manpower and new technology including unmanned aerial surveillance. He proposed returning illegals to hometowns in Mexico's interior and adding capacity to detention facilities.
It could conceivably vault the US detention system to the third largest city (so long, Chicago).

By contrast, there are 40,000 people in Canadian prisons. Mind you, Canada has the *second* highest rate of incarceration in the developed world! In fact, America holds the dubious distinction of having roughly 25% of the world's prison population (but only 5% of the world's population).

Food for thought.

Sounds Like Someone Running For President To Me

Ex-Powell Aide Criticizes Bush on Iraq By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer
2 hours, 26 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of staff says President Bush was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of post-war planning, allowing underlings to exploit Bush's detachment and make bad decisions.

In an Associated Press interview Monday, former Powell chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson also said that wrongheaded ideas for the handling of foreign detainees after Sept. 11 arose from a coterie of White House and Pentagon aides who argued that "the president of the United States is all-powerful," and that the Geneva Conventions were irrelevant.

Wilkerson blamed Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and like-minded aides. Wilkerson said that Cheney must have sincerely believed that Iraq could be a spawning ground for new terror assaults, because "otherwise I have to declare him a moron, an idiot or a nefarious bastard."

Wilkerson suggested his former boss may agree with him that Bush was too hands-off about Iraq.

"What he seems to be saying to me now is the president failed to discipline the process the way he should have and that the president is ultimately responsible for this whole mess," Wilkerson said.

He said Powell now generally believes it was a good idea to remove Saddam Hussein from power, but may not agree with either the timing or execution of the war. Wilkerson said Powell may have had doubts about the extent of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein but was convinced by then-CIA Director George Tenet and others that the intelligence girding the push toward war was sound.
Apparently, Colin has learned how to master the art of the subordinate attack.

The Best News Democrats Could Have Hoped For

Bush Trying to Help Republican Candidates


PHOENIX (AP) - Despite his low standing in the polls, President Bush is working to help Republican House and Senate candidates build their campaign war chests while promoting his own troubled agenda.

The president is expected to assume the campaign role more often in the coming months as the 2006 congressional election year begins.

``I, fortunately, have had my fill of campaigns, but there's nothing like walking into a room full of enthusiastic supporters to give you that spirit, to kind of put that wind behind your back,'' the second-term president told about 1,300 people at a dinner fundraiser for GOP Sen. Jon Kyl in Phoenix on Monday.

The president's appearance was expected to bring in at least $1.4 million for the Republican incumbent.

On Tuesday, Bush was slated to appear at a fundraising luncheon for Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave in Denver at the end of a two-day swing to pitch his immigration reform proposal.
OK, so given that Bush's approval ratings are lower than most women's waist-sizes, you have to ask yourself what help he can be.

If the Kyl event is any indication, Bush will be appearing only in safe Republican states where the incumbent stands a strong chance of winning. After all, even the Christofascists of the Washington Times say that Bush cost them a fairly even race for Governor of Virginia, a state Bush carried handily just a year earlier, and one that, while having elected Democratic governors with some consistency, is not a blue local state by any means. Democratic Lt. Gov. Kaine was leading in the polls running up to the election (in some, by as many as 15 points), however there was a sizable chunk of the electorate that was on the fence, as 12 percent of Virginia voters made their minds up just before or on Election Day.

Things got so bad for Bush that Kaine actually culled 22% of the Republican vote, this in a state that consistently gave Bush a 51% approval rating until this month, one of a handful of states to rate the President above the 50% mark.

So if he could kill a ticket in a state like that, where the hell is he going to fundraise?

He is still popular with the, errrrr, "base" (you remember the quote from "Farenheit 9-11"...'What an impressive crowd: the haves, and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base.'), as he has all but guaranteed the freezing of wealth among the richest one percent for the next several generations.

The money folks.

I'd never given much thought to what happens when you remove from the economic equation the transfer of money down the economic scale. I'm not talking about trickle-down economic theory. That's been shown to be a failure.

No, what I'm talking about is the wholesale transfer of wealth, not just through taxes, but thru family peccadilloes that cause heirs to splurge their wealth without creating replacement wealth.

I may have to give that a bit of thought.

Anyway, good news for Dems. If I'm a Pubbie, I'd be cringing.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Fan Letter to Booze

Dear Alcohol,
First & foremost, let me tell you that I'm a huge fan of yours. As my friend, you always seem to be there when needed. However, lately I've been wondering about your intentions. While I want to believe that you have my best interests at heart, I feel that your influence has led to some unwise choices:

1. Phone calls: While I agree with you that communication is important, I question the suggestion that any conversation of substance or necessity takes place after 2 a.m. Why would you make me call all those ex's when I know for a fact they do not want to hear from me during the day, let alone all hours of the night.

2. Eating: Now, you know I love a good meal, but why do you suggest that I eat a taco with chili sauce, along with a big Italian meatball and some stale chips (washed down with WINE & topped off with a Kit Kat after a few cheese curls & chili cheese fries)? I'm an eclectic eater, but I think you went too far this time.

3. Clumsiness: Unless you're subtly trying to tell me that I need to do more yoga to improve my balance, I see NO need to hammer the issue home by causing me to fall down. It's completely unnecessary, and the black & blue marks that appear on my body mysteriously the next day are beyond me.

Similarly, it should never take me more than 45 seconds to get the front door key into the lock.

Furthermore, the hangovers have GOT to stop. This is getting ridiculous. I know a little penance for our previous evening's debauchery may be in order, but the 3pm hangover immobility is completely unacceptable.

My entire day is shot. I ask that, if the proper precautions are taken (water, vitamin B, bread products, aspirin) prior to going to sleep/passing out face down on the kitchen floor with a bag of popcorn, the hangover should be minimal & in no way interfere with my daily activities.

Alcohol, I have enjoyed our friendship for some years now & would like to ensure that we remain on good terms.

You've been the invoker of great stories, the provocation for much laughter, and the needed companion when I just don't know what to do with the extra money in my pockets.

In order to continue this friendship, I ask that you carefully review my grievances above & address them immediately. I will look for an answer no later than Thursday 3pm (pre-happy hour) on your possible solutions & hopefully we can continue this fruitful partnership.

Thank you,
Your biggest fan

1. Innovative
2. Preliminary
3. Proliferation
4. Cinnamon

1. Specificity
2. British Constitution
3. Passive-aggressive disorder

1. Thanks, but I don't want to have sex.
2 Nope, no more beer for me.
3. Sorry, but you're not really my type.
4. Good evening, officer. Isn't it lovely out tonight?
5. Oh, I couldn't. No one wants to hear me sing.
6. Oh, I couldn't. No one wants to see me dance.
7. Oh, what's this? I could of sworn you were a woman last night?
8. Shots, only one please.

Are You An Irritable Male?

Take the quiz.

I scored a 47.

In our study of nearly 10,000 males we found that a score of 0-25 indicated none or few signs of IMS. A score 26-49 suggests some indications of IMS. You may want to take the quiz again to see if things improve or get worse. A score of 50-75 indicates that IMS is likely and we suggest you seek help. A score of 76 and above indicates that IMS is definitely present and it is advisable that you seek help right away.

Your Primary Category Types are:

Type 6: Exhausted
Men who fall into this category are tired a good deal of the time. We often feel stressed at home and at work. Life can seem overwhelming at times and we think of getting away from it all. Our energy level is low and it seems we are often running on empty. We may have difficulty sleeping. We often feel we haven’t lived up to our potential.

Type 9: Bored
Men who fall into this category act bored, but often feel frustrated. We feel quite cynical about life and often think that things are going down the tubes. Although we are dissatisfied with the way things are we don’t have much hope that things will improve. We can be quite cutting in our remarks and often don’t realize the pain we cause.

Your Secondary Category Type is:

Type 4: Unappreciated
Men who fall into this category often feel unappreciated and unloved. Whether we are with a partner or on our own we have a deep feeling of sadness and loneliness. We try and be nice and accommodating but it seems that we give more than we receive. We long to have an intimate partnership, but our hidden anger often pushes people away.
Ain't that the truth! Well, except for the "hidden" bit...
Oh, while you're at it, taking tests and all....
You are Spock
Very loyal and a good friend. You will sacrifice
yourself for others and give very good advice.
You are very serious person, but also can have
fun if you want.

Which Alien are you?
brought to you by QuizillaHat tip to Miss Cellania


Hat tip To Gort42:
"The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide."

Irony, Thou Art Like Water

Dam at a Catskill Reservoir Needs Emergency Repair, City Says

Published: November 28, 2005
FULTONHAM, N.Y., Nov. 23 - A massive 78-year-old dam in the Catskill Mountains that is owned by New York City does not meet state safety standards and will have to undergo emergency repairs before next spring's snow melt.

City officials said there was a remote possibility that the Gilboa Dam would fail if there was a record storm and snow melt, sending the 20 billion gallons of water in the Schoharie Reservoir roaring through the valley below, a historic area of covered bridges and small farms that is home to about 5,000 people.

In an attempt to reduce the danger as quickly as possible, the city has been trying to lower the reservoir level in recent weeks by sending as much as 540 million gallons of water a day through a 17-mile tunnel. The water flows into a more southerly reservoir, the Ashokan, where it must be treated with aluminum sulfates to remove sediments before it is released to New York City.

But the Schoharie Reservoir refills with rain as fast as the water drains out. The city is now considering hanging 10 large drainage hoses, 24 inches in diameter, over the top of the dam to siphon out more water.
OK, so why is this ironic?

Well, about a decade ago, the counties surrounding the NYC reservoir system were mad as hornets over the fact that the city wished to have eminent domain restrictions relaxed and to have tougher environmental rules enforced on the farms and communities surrounding the water supply. Upstate New Yorkers even called in Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. in an effort to force the city to repudiate any claims as to run-off (asphalt roads, as well as agricultural chemicals), and to back away from purchasing (at fair value) more land surrounding the reservoirs.

The other irony?

The Catskill region is in the grips of a drought! The obvious solution, run a hose to the surrounding towns, may not be feasible, but you have to smirk a little at the irony.

Bad Month For The Chinese

Explosion in China Coal Mine Kills 68

By JOE McDONALD, Associated Press Writer
43 minutes ago

QITAIHE, China - Coal dust caught fire in a mine in northeast China, sparking an explosion that killed at least 68 people and left 79 missing, the government said Monday, as the country's leadership called for tighter work safety measures.

Some 221 miners were underground when the blast occurred late Sunday at the Dongfeng Coal mine in Qitaihe, a city in Heilongjiang province, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Seventy-four miners had been rescued by Monday, it said.

Outside the mine, distraught family members sought answers. Among them were four women, apparently relatives of missing miners, who stood at the mine's gates shouting at security guards to let them in. When they weren't allowed in, they became further agitated and screamed insults at the guards.

A stream of emergency vehicles with flashing lights traveled back and forth on the narrow road leading to the mine late Monday.

Coal mining is a key industry in depressed northeastern China, and huge of piles of waste rock from mining liter the landscape in Qitaihe.
Keep in mind that this is essentially the same area as the two chemical spills earlier this month.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

First, We Had Gay Dogs.....

Hat tip to The Moderate Voice for this doozy:
As reported in The Oxford (UK, and yes, that Oxford...) Student last term, (Sam) Brown had just left the Cellar Bar when he allegedly called out to the policemen “Mate, you know your horse is gay, I hope you don’t have a problem with that.” Warned by one officer not to repeat his comment, Brown reassured him that he was not insulting both horses, and said: “No, don’t worry. Your horse is fine, it’s his horse, his horse is gay.” He then proceeded to follow the policemen down the street, repeating his comments.

“Sam was adamant his equine gaydar was accurate,” eyewitness Daniel Cooper told The Oxford Student at the time. However, the officers considered the comments to be a breach of the Public Order Act, and took him into custody, calling on two squad cars and six policemen to make the arrest.
I'm not sure which is funnnier: the fact the cops just couldn't ride away, or the fact that it took six more cops to arrest the wanker. P.S. He refused to pay an £80 fine (about $150), and is testing the case in the docket.

Good on ya, mate!

hOw biG A NERd R u?

I am nerdier than 65% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!
And I dumbed my answers down...

Hat tip to Agitprop.

OK, Let's Do This Very Quietly On A Holiday Weekend...

And let's let a reeeeeeally junior official announce it, so it misses the raadar. Note that this isn't a real troop withdrawal, per se, just a reduction in the additional troops that were called up ahead of the election season, being scaled back.

This way, the administration gets to play multiple cards: 1) "We're reducing troops!", 2) "But we're committed to staying", 3) "We had this planned all along", and 4) "We're sensitive to the needs of our troops and the concerns of the American people":
US mulls troop cuts in Iraq

by Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon plans to shrink the U.S. troop presence in Iraq, currently 155,000, to about 138,000 after the December 15 Iraqi elections and is considering dropping the number to about 100,000 next summer if conditions allow, defense officials said on Wednesday.

But officials said a variety of planning scenarios, including the possibility of no cut in troop levels, are being reviewed based on political and security conditions in Iraq and progress in developing U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces.

The officials stressed no decisions had been made. This comes amid intensifying debate in the U.S. Congress over whether U.S. troops should be withdrawn after 2-1/2 years of war in Iraq.

"The United States military looks at the full range of things that could occur in Iraq and makes plans accordingly, and makes plans for conditions that would lead to a smaller coalition force as well as conditions that would lead to a larger coalition force," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

Whitman said the plan was to drop back to 138,000 troops, considered the recent baseline level for the U.S. force, following the December 15 elections in which Iraqis will select a new permanent government.

The Pentagon increased U.S. troop levels in Iraq ahead of the October 15 referendum in which Iraqis approved a constitution, and the U.S. force peaked in October at about 161,000, the highest level of the war. After temporarily dropping by several thousand troops, the size of the U.S. force again is rising to help provide security for the December 15 elections.