Wednesday, January 01, 2003

bush’s hypocrisy

Why N. Korea isn't like Iraq, according to Bush, The Straights Times, January 2, 2003 (it's tomorrow in Asia)

The story reports the total inconsistency of our appointed president's stance on North Korea vs. Iraq. It makes absolutely no sense -- unless you consider how much oil North Korea is sitting on vs. how much Iraq owns. Then it makes perfect sense to ignore a real threat and blow up an imaginary threat.

"The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) believes that North Korea already has two nuclear weapons and could build five or six more in the next six months if it reprocesses its large stockpile of spent nuclear fuel into weapons-grade plutonium.

"As for Iraq, the CIA and Britain's foreign intelligence service estimate it would take the country five years to develop such a weapon - or a single year if Mr Saddam is provided with missile material." [Emphasis added]
posted by lee on 01/01/03 at 05:40 PM
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Thursday, January 02, 2003

Way to go, Turkey!

CBS News | Army Deploys More Soldiers To Gulf | January 2, 2003 -- but Turkey is refusing to go along. At least for now.

"... refusal so far by Turkey to open its military bases to a buildup of American troops is complicating and threatening to delay U.S. plans for war against Iraq.

"There are currently 2,000 American servicemen in Turkey with the mission of patrolling the no-fly zone in northern Iraq.

"But U.S. war plans call for moving an entire army division -- 12 to 15,000 troops and all their equipment -- through Turkey into northern Iraq to secure Iraq's valuable oil fields and to prevent civil war among Kurdish factions competing for power in a post-Saddam Iraq.

"So far, Turkey has not even permitted the pentagon to survey Turkish bases to determine what improvements would be needed to handle the planned buildup.

"Turkey recently elected a conservative Islamic government and U.S. officials are worried its parliament will not permit Turkish bases to be used for a war against Iraq. As long as Turkey refuses, U.S. officials say, it will be impossible to open up a northern front and that would significantly increase the risks in any war."

Now I wonder if the appointed president is going to threaten Turkey for not going along with his criminal war plans. I hope the Turks continue to stand their ground against the US buildup and war with Iraq.
posted by lee on 01/02/03 at 08:40 PM
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Friday, January 03, 2003

Israeli terrorists

A Brutal Routine (

"THERE HAS BEEN a lull recently in Palestinian attacks against Israelis; a shooting attack that killed four in a West Bank settlement last week was the first major incident in a month. But almost every day, Palestinian civilians, including many children, are being killed by the Israeli army and police. An 18-year-old high school student named Amran Abu Hamediye was found beaten to death in the West Bank town of Hebron on Monday; family and neighbors say he had been detained by Israeli forces a few minutes before. On Sunday, an 11-year-old boy was shot and killed by troops in the town of Tulkarm. The day before, a 9-year-old girl was killed as she played outside her home in the Gaza Strip. At least four other Palestinian children under the age of 16 were killed by Israeli fire in Gaza during the past month. In one case, an 11-year-old girl was shot in the chest and killed as she leaned out her bedroom window to watch the funeral of a teenage boy who had been gunned down the previous day."

The United States should suspend all aid to Israel immediately. I wonder how arrogant that nation would be when cut off from it's $10 million PER DAY allowance from Daddy USA. Why are we funding Israeli terrorism?
posted by lee on 01/03/03 at 05:08 PM
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Saturday, January 04, 2003

Banished Words—or words that should be, at any rate

Banished Words is my favorite annual "award." Lake Superior State University (in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan) publishes a list of them every year.

From the press release:
"Make no mistakes about it,ђ Lake Superior State University issued its 28th annual extremeђ List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness, which the world needs now, more than ever.ђ

"LSSU has been compiling the list since 1976, choosing from nominations sent from around the world. This year, words and phrases were pulled from a record 3,000 nominations. Most were sent through the schools website:

"Word-watchers pull nominations throughout the year from everyday speech, as well as from the news, fields of education, technology, advertising, politics, and more. A committee gathers the entries and chooses the best in December. The list is released on New YearҒs Day."

Last year LSSU added "functionality" to the list—a non-word that indicates the user can't figure out what something really means, or is too lazy or stupid to describe, in plain English, what something does.

This year's list (read the why's on the website):

One of these days I'm going to start making my list of tv news clichés. I suspect it will take exactly two weeks to cycle through the entire collection. Submit your entries now!
posted by lee on 01/04/03 at 03:17 PM
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Sunday, January 05, 2003

Dead Zone a little better, but not much

I really didn't care much that The Dead Zone started up again, but there was nothing else on and Stanley wanted to see it, so ... I pretty much gave up on the show after the vision in the cave with the shaman from long ago episode--what a pile of horse manure that was. And Stillson didn't appear until the last episode of the season.

Tonight's episode was better, sort of. It didn't explain anything, though, and wasted some good characters. Why did his visions suddenly come back after being absent for weeks? Why did the loony involve Johnnie in the kidnapping? What was his message all about? The writers for this show pretty much suck -- worse than the writing for the last two years of X-Files. Tries to be mysterious but ends up being insubstantial and just very annoying.

All in all, pretty disappointing. Next week is supposed to be about Sarah again--who cares about her? The writers try to make her seem noble, just screwing around on her husband that one time. But instead she comes off as a selfish, whiny slut. And Walter comes off as so noble he just seems dumb. Get some better scriptwriters!
posted by lee on 01/05/03 at 10:37 PM
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Tuesday, January 07, 2003

the shield, new season

We watched the first episode of season two tonight of The Shield. It's STILL good--Vic is losing his grip ... wonder if Television Without Pity is going to start covering it?
posted by lee on 01/07/03 at 08:30 PM
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Wednesday, January 08, 2003

your atmosphere-killer is funding terrorists. dump that suv now!

Arianna Huffington's current column, Road Outrage: How Corporate Greed And Political Corruption Paved The Way For The SUV Explosion (January 6, 2003) shines a light on the money Detroit has spent on pushing SUVs: "the auto industry spent close to $37 million on lobbying in 2000. And you can bet that money wasn't spent trying to convince Congress to designate a "Windshield Wiper Appreciation Week." Although I'm sure Congress would have been glad to oblige if its deep-pocket pals in Detroit had only asked. After all, the industry has donated over $77 million to federal candidates and the political parties since the 1990 election -- with $12.5 million doled out during the 2002 election cycle." That's for LOBBYING. How much has the Detroit auto industry spent on advertising and financing deals for these rolling obscenities?

She wrote, "How ironic that if American car buyers want to do something truly patriotic, they have to buy Japanese to do it."

In October, Arianna first wrote in Salon about what's now called The Detroit Project: 'So how about using the same shock-value tactics the administration uses in the drug war to confront the public with the ultimate -- and much more linearly linked -- consequences of their energy wastefulness? Imagine a soccer mom in a Ford Excursion (11 mpg city, 15 mpg highway) saying, "I'm building a nuclear bomb for Saddam Hussein." Or a mob of solo drivers toodling down the freeway at 75 mph shouting in unison, "We're buying weapons that will kill American soldiers, Marines and sailors! Yahoo!"'

Huffington and others put together The Detroit Project, an organization called Americans for Fuel Efficient Cars. Get involved, join them, make a donation on The Detroit Project website: Get rid of your SUV -- nobody, absolutely nobody, needs an SUV.
posted by lee on 01/08/03 at 08:52 PM
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Thursday, January 09, 2003

Senator Liebermouth Emits more hot air

Senators McCain and Gasbag Offer Bill to Require Cuts in Gases, New York Times, By Katherine Q. Seelye

Lieberman said the administration's approach would "allow greenhouse-gas emissions to keep increasing indefinitely, presenting this country and the world with a bigger and bigger environmental crisis to tackle down the road," hurting the economy and America's stature in the world.

What Lieberjerk failed to mention is that if he were to shut the frell up rather than shoving his face in front of any available camera and/or microphone and yammering away while saying absolutely nothing, the United States's production of greenhouse gases (or gasses) would fall by 75%.

Last night our friend George referred to Liebermouth as another version of Al Sharpton. I think George is right -- though I think Liebermouth is worse because he has more money (not his -- taxpayer money) to use to fuel his flapping facetime minutes. Sharpton at least picks causes he knows something about. Not Liebermouth. Doesn't matter, as long as he gets that facetime in. He pretends he's a democrat. Yeah, right.

Let's see, next week he'll probably announce a bid for the presidency. So he'll have a chance to waste even more taxpayers dollars and waste another two years of his term not being a senator for Connecticut. He wasted two years running for vice president already. I want him to refund his salary along with two-thirds of his staff's salaries -- I figure they'll maybe work for us a grand total of two years out of his six-year term.

Funny, but despite all the time Joe Blowhard spends spouting word after word on the telly, I can't think of one single thing he's done for his consituents.
posted by lee on 01/09/03 at 08:48 PM
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Saturday, January 11, 2003

incompetent driver + incompetent cop = lousy friday evening

Strawberry Hill Avenue in Norwalk, CT is a one-lane residential street posted 25mph. This street is about 1.5 lanes wide in each direction, but it is still a one-lane street. There are three schools on this street (we live right next door to one of them). The time was between 6:45 and 7:00 pm. Traffic was heavy in both directions. I was making a right turn into our driveway. Or trying to. It was not to be.

Behind me, in a reddish (I think -- it was dark) Grand Am, was Damon Grant, Incompetent Driver and Drummer. Also in this car was Blond Stupid Man (BSM).

Grant, for whatever reason, decides to pass me on the right. Stanley thinks it was because he was following too close, too fast and wasn't paying attention and tried to swerve around me. At any rate, this incompetent driver struck my right front fender as I was turning into my driveway. Grant's car ended up on top of the sidewalk, two piles of ice, and our hedge. I am really glad there were no pedestrians on the sidewalk there or this would have been a tragedy instead of just an extreme annoyance.

So, cursing and shaking, I pulled up alongside Incompetent Driver Grant's car, and turned on the hazard lights. When I could, I got out of the car and asked Grant what the hell was thinking, what kind of a dumbass move was that, etc.

ID Grant: I didn't know what you were doing. You just stopped.
Me: well of course I stopped -- I was turning into my driveway.
SBM: we didn't know what you were doing.
Me: (wondering why SBM needed to know what I was doing as he was not driving) I had my turn indicator on, I was turning ...

More conversation ... I forget it all.

ID Grant and SBM climb out of Grant's car.
ID Grant: What do you want to do?
Me: Call the cops. Do you have a phone, or should I go into my house and call (while writing down the license plate number lest they decide to be totally stupid and bolt -- which ID Grant did not do). SBM digs out a cellphone.
SBM: What's the phone number for the police?
Me: (amazed, then speaking slowly and carefully) 9 - 1 - 1
SBM: But that's the number for emergencies, I can't use that number, blah blah blah
Me: Give me the phone, I'll make the call
SBM finally dialed 911, giving them our address.

We're waiting for one of Norwalk's Finest to show up.
Me: why were you passing me on the right?
ID Grant and SBM: We didn't know what you were doing -- you had your left turn indicator on and pulled over and stopped.
Me: What the hell are you talking about? I had my right turn indicator on and, at any rate, even if I had no turn indicator on, it's still illegal to pass on the right. And I didn't pull over anywhere -- there's nowhere TO pull.
ID Grant the liar: No, you had your left turn indicator on, and we didn't pass you on the right.

And so this non-conversation went. It was clear Grant wasn't enough of an adult to admit that he made a mistake and decided, abetted by SBM, that he would take the dishonorable route of lying and blaming me.

I concluded that he was too childish to deal with further, decided to wait for the cop, and then went to get Stanley -- and asked him to bring the camera for pictures.

Finally, a cop, one Officer Page, shows up. He asked for the story. I tell him my side. Liar Grant tells him his story. Cop doesn't ask any questions, just gets our papers, goes back to his car and begins writing and whatever. Stanley took some pictures, but there was really nothing to see -- my car was knocked out of alignment but no visible damage.

Page finally finishes whatever he needed to do, comes back to us, hands us our papers and says, "You both have the same insurance, so it'll be a wash." That's it? I said something like, "What's the story here? You're not issuing a ticket?" Page said there are conflicting stories, so no ticket. I said "whatever the stories are, it's illegal to pass on the right, so he was wrong." Page said to me: "How many years did you spend in the police academy?"

I was shocked. I gave a lame reply, like "I went to driver's ed." But I was profoundly shocked. Mostly by his rudeness, but also by his incompetence. If I were wrong about the law, he could've just pointed it out. Or he could've just said nothing. But what he did was insult me and, even worse, let this incompetent, lying driver Grant get away without even knowing he did something wrong.

Officer Page did not do his job. He failed in two areas: investigation and prevention. ID Liar Grant lives in my neighborhood, on Lockwood Lane, and will likely be driving on Strawberry Hill Avenue again, and will think it's okay to try to pass on the right. And a couple of minutes of actual investigation by Page would have turned up the fact that MY RIGHT-TURN INDICATOR WAS STILL ON.

I did nothing wrong. But I was the one insulted by a person whose salary I pay.

When I got back in to the house, I called the Norwalk Police Department and asked how I could file a complaint against a police officer. The guy who answered the phone said I needed to speak with a supervisor, and transferred me to the front desk, where Officer Front Desk told me the supervisor would call me back because they were all busy doing something or other. She took my name and number.

I expected to have to call back, but I was wrong: a supervisor, Sgt. Stephen Couture, called me back within the hour. I asked him how to file a formal complaint, and he told me I should come down to the police station before 11:00pm while he and Page were still on duty.

If he hoped that asking me to show up at the police station instead of filing over the phone would somehow avoid the whole thing, he was wrong. Maybe I'm being overly cynical about it, but I doubt it.

Stanley drove me over to the police station. We waited for about ten minutes, and then Sgt. Couture met us and escorted us back to a report room, where I told him my story and my concerns. He said he understood that I feel reprimanded even though I was not at fault, that I was indeed right about it being illegal to pass on the right (and explained the circumstances where it is legal, though on most of Strawberry Hill Avenue, there are no circumstances where it is legal), and that Officer Page was wrong to have said what he said.

Couture said he hadn't seen the accident report yet, but based on what we'd told him, it should've been fairly obvious what had happened. He gave me a copy of the statute regarding passing on the right. He talked to us for a bit about our concerns about the traffic on Strawberry Hill Avenue and my observation that I rarely see the police doing anything about it, and that I didn't think anything will be done until a child is killed on the way to school.

He then told us that Page has been at a call where an old woman was stroking out and had spent a long time there trying to resuscitate her (successfully), etc. I told him that was no excuse for rudeness, that when I had to work in an emergency room if we'd been rude to anyone for any reason we would've been fired on the spot, and that despite the fact that I'd just had my new car (well, it is new to me) hit and I was upset, I was not rude to Page, and that we pay way, way too much in taxes (we pay more than $4,000 a year in property taxes -- and we don't live in a mansion on a huge plot of land, not by a long shot) to take any abuse from any Norwalk employee.

If Page didn't think before he shot off his mouth, that makes me VERY concerned. This man carries a gun -- he MUST think before he does ANYTHING.

While Sgt. Couture was very sympathetic and a pleasant man to deal with, I wasn't mollified. There needs to be consequences for bad behavior, whether it's an illegal pass or a smart-ass comment by an officer of the law. ID Liar Grant's consequence is that his pretty car has some ugly damage (including a torn-off side mirror and some dandy scratches from the hedge), and his insurance rates are likely to go up. But the only way there could be consequences for Page's bad behavior is if I filed a formal complaint.

So I did. I don't know exactly what is supposed to happen, but I have a receipt and instruction from Sgt. Couture to call him if I haven't heard anything in about a week.

Stanley wasn't so crazy about the fact that I did this -- like most people, he's afraid of repercussions by Page or by the Norwalk police in general. That innocent citizens should fear their police department offends me to my very American core. That police officers should get away with bad behavior -- whether it's a smart-ass, rude comment by a cop or even more serious offenses -- because of this fear is even more appalling. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." (Edmund Burke) It seems like a trivial matter, not worthy of all this effort. But it's a slippery slope -- where does one draw the line? If a cop is having a bad day, will that justify anything?

My next step is to write to Mayor Alex Knopp.

What I would like is a written apology from Page, with a copy of the complaint and the letter of apology placed into his personnel jacket, some more training for Page since he obviously needs it, and for the Norwalk PD to contact ID Liar Damon Grant and let him know that he really did do something wrong -- and I want proof that they did this.

Stay tuned ...
posted by lee on 01/11/03 at 11:42 AM
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Sunday, January 12, 2003

when are we going to care about real threats?

AIDS Hasn't Peaked Yet -- and That's Not The Worst of It (

Tuberculosis and malaria kill more than 3 million people per year, and AIDS kills another 3 million. These numbers are growing rapidly, dwarfing the number of people who could conceivably die from terrorism or conventional warfare. These three diseases are taking many countries backward, back to life expectancies and mortality rates the world hasn't seen since the early 1900s. Each of them can be prevented, if not cured. Yet we spend billions trying to prevent terrorism and pennies on fighting these much bigger killers. In 2001, for every person who died of war and violence, seven people died of one of these three diseases, nearly all of them children or young adults.

There is a lot more information in this column -- very troubling information -- about threats to you and to me that are real threats more urgent, and affecting more people, than terroristism of any stripe.
posted by lee on 01/12/03 at 10:33 AM
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