Tuesday, February 22, 2005


We take this break from depressing news about the second Bush administration and your privacy being sold to the nearest criminal entity to present one of the great Strong Bad E-mails of all time:

Rock Opera

Ahh, Homestar Runner. The 21st Century opiate of the masses.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled venting, already in progress.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Shady Business 

Anyone who knows me knows my feelings on the eminently shady consumer credit industry. The latest outrage in the Ponzi scheme industry is that a company called ChoicePoint, based in Atlanta, accidentally gave out hundreds of thousands of personal records to a gang of criminals in L.A.

Why on earth does some faceless company in Atlanta get to decide who knows EVERYTHING about my personal life, your personal life, and everyone else's personal life? Why are they allowed to collect this information? Why are they not regulated? Why are they allowed to operate in secret? This is a joke.

Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly's Political Animal hits the nail squarely on the head.
This needs to stop. If a business requests a report, the consumer should be notified - by email, phone, or in writing - and the report should go out only if the consumer authorizes it. If a nonroutine entry is added to a credit report, the consumer should be notified so that she can object immediately if she thinks a mistake has been made. Consumers should be full partners in the creation of credit reports, and any changes or uses of credit reports should be fully transparent to the consumer involved... Someone needs to take this up as a cause. How about it, Senator Clinton?
Yeah, how about it? Rep. Ford?

Monday, February 14, 2005

You Have A Choice 

Last night, as I was flying from Washington National to Charlotte, I had a beautiful moment. We had a very smooth and uneventful flight - miraculous for me lately. As we start to land, I turned off my CD player and zoned out as I watched the passing scenery. The landing itself was nice and smooth, and had the always-fun loud jet roar.

Now, typically when you land, the flight attendant will immediately start the welcome speech. This time was no exception, and I had mostly tuned it out, since I knew what time it was and where I was. But then, the most amazing thing happened. As he went through the spiel he said, and I quote:
All of us at US Airways thank you for flying with us. You had a choice of bankrupt carriers, and you chose us.
My head popped up, and I wondered if I had heard that right. Just about that time, the guy sitting behind me leaned forward and asked if I had just heard it, too.

I don't know if the guy was mad his union conceded 30 percent of his salary, or if was just a long day, but it made my trip, by far.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


My thoughts on the Jeff Gannon Experience are not altogether straightforward. For a great rundown, look at AmericaBlog. More detailed info is out there on Kos (check in the diaries listings, too); Atrios also played a big role in yesterday's Gannon explosion.

First off, this is clearly a good riddance to bad rubbish situation. As much as the right wing crows about the liberal media, anyone with a brain in their skull knows that there are some lines you don't cross. The existence of Talon News is fine, that's what the First Amendment is for, and we have had a strong partisan press much longer than we have had an objective one.

The problem here is that the White House granting access to someone who is clearly a freakin' whackjob diminishes the ability of the rest of the press to do their jobs. Today's Post has a piece by Howard Kurtz outlining the fact that other reports in the press corps saw him wearing a Secret Service-vetted pass with a fake name on it. Press Secretary McClellan has said he can;t decide who is a legitimate journalist and who isn't, and yet Salon today highlights that Gannon/Guckert was denied credentials in the House and Senate.

Here is my worry, though: While exposing Gannon/Guckert's rather bizarre sexual habits and enterprises, we risk taking the focus off the fact that this is part of the developing pattern of the White House manipulating information in an unprecedented way. Whether it is payola for conservative commentators, letting kooks in the briefing room, or just having Bush exist in a complete bubble insulated from criticism, this goes beyond the pale of "spin." The problem here is that the narrative from the right can become all about the gay sex and how bad that is, and divert attention from the question of Bush's manipulations.

Now the game, like so many others at the moment, is about who frames the message most effectively.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Country Living 

Gene Weingarten's column today is excellent, but that's not really news.

The news is that his column includes a reference to beautiful Dade County, Ga. - just across the line from Chattanooga, and actually one of the areas served by the college where I work.

In pointing out interesting bits from the stacks of the National Archives, he comes across this gem from my dear region:
A page from the census report for the inhabitants of Dade County, Ga., in 1850, lists each resident, his or her age, occupation and place of birth, and whether he or she is "deaf, dumb, blind, insane or idiotic." One page lists several farmers and their families, and four single women: Sarah and Mary Doyle, and Lucinda and Susan Killion. One may assume the census recorder did not approve of these women, or had a perverse sense of humor, or both. In a formal, flowery handwriting similar to that found on, say, the U.S. Constitution, all four women's occupations are listed as: "[F-word]ing."

Not only is it great that that is there, but also great is that some National Archives employee knew about it to show Gene.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Pro-Torture Democrats 

Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce.... the Pro-Torture Six!

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Sen. Joe "Mentum" Lieberman (D-CT)
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Sen. Nelson (D-NE)
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Sen. Ken "Kenny Boy" Salazar (D-CO)

These six felt it was a good idea to vote for the man, one Alberto Gonzales, who decided that torture should be the policy of the United States, putting aside freedom for expedience and putting our troops at risk.

Thanks to these fine examples of what a Democrat should be.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Noooo! Not Cody!!!!! 

Damn it. It looks like Cobra Commander is up to his old tricks again.

I think the rescue mission should be assigned to the newest crack fighting force available. Rock, Rock On!

In all seriousness, you have to wonder what the ridiculous terrorist Web site that posted this is thinking right now. Oh, well.

Happy speech-watching tonight, if you can take the pain.

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