my amazon wish list

Thursday, December 30, 2004


This is just a really weird story. Has a bit of alien-abduction paranoia undertones, and I detect notes of terroism-fear and something not too common these days: In-Search-Of. The afternote is a lingering, soft taste of Tylenol Tampering.

FBI investigating laser beam directed into airplane cockpit
LESLIE MILLER, Associated Press Writer

Thursday, December 30, 2004

(12-30) 10:43 PST WASHINGTON (AP) --

The FBI, concerned that terrorists could use lasers as weapons, is investigating why laser beams were directed into the cockpits of commercial airliners six times over the last four days.

A federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said that the bureau is looking into one incident in Cleveland, two in Colorado Springs, Colo., and three others. The official said there is no evidence of a plot or terrorist activity.

A memo sent to law enforcement agencies recently by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department says there is evidence that terrorists have explored using lasers as weapons. Authorities said there is no specific intelligence indicating al-Qaida or other groups might use lasers in the United States.

It's a federal felony to interfere with flight crews. Laser beams can distract or temporarily blind a pilot.

On Monday, a laser beam was directed into the cockpit of a commercial jet flying about 15 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport at an altitude of between 8,500 and 10,000 feet, the FBI said.

The pilot landed the plane, and air traffic controllers used radar to determine the laser came from a residential area in suburban Warrensville Heights.

On Monday night in Colorado Springs, two pilots reported green pulsating laser lights beamed into their cockpits. Both planes landed without problems.

Police sent patrol cars and a helicopter in a fruitless search. FBI agents were continuing to conduct interviews, agency spokeswoman Monique Kelso said.

In September a pilot for Delta Air Lines reported an eye injury from a laser beam shone into the cockpit during a landing approach in Salt Lake City. The plane landed safely.

Since I've been away...

Mr. Penishead went bye-bye in several embarassing ways. But he strikes me more as the shadowy type of sleezy, former manservant, so I'm sure he'll do fine in his career, with whatever creepy security company / private army / crowd-control / non-lethal weapon firm decides to pay him an outrageous and most likely undeserved salary. It'll almost be like heading up Homeland Security after all (just minus the press confernces).

The Network Haytahs have been exposed and lost some of their fire-and-brimstone thundah, but that won't stop the FCC from continuing to stifle free expression on our airwaves. If they could give the exclusive rights to the wholesale thoughts of the American people over to the media conglomerates, I'm sure they would...

Rumsfeld continues to be an incompetant, crotchety asshole doing a superb job.

Dear Leader continues to lead with his decisive boldness and love of all things fuzzy and cute. If professing a faith and never attending a service of that faith can make one the "good christian man" so many see this fortunate son to be, then I'm the fucking high lady dalai lama, motherfuckers! Now gimme some scarves. Shit. A girl can't wait all day. Take your blessings, dammit.

Herr Gropenfuhrer reneged on the rip-off-the-workers no lunch for you! move they were trying to pull. It's an interesting thing about Conan the Governarian -- if confronted with too many lamentations of the votahs, he often backs down... like the time they were going to cut the program that provides in-home visits from nurses that help little old ladies and disabled folks buy their groceries and stuff. That went down the same way this one seems to have. Eh. I'm sure they'll try to sneak it through, but it's doubtful the legislature will let it happen.

I haven't been following shit in the news lately. It all just gets me too, too upset. But of course, I'm too much of a junky to leave the stuff alone for long. Always gotta go back for a little taste and before I know the monkey's on my back again.

And there are the things that cannot be igored. Hundreds of thousands dead across the Indian ocean. We gave what money we could. Even semi-poor people like my family in America are livin' large compared to the absolute destruction there. And if my Dr. clears me to do it, I can start giving blood again, and that's a way that even broke-assed folks like me can do a little something to help victims of disaster.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

They always say it's about giving workers more "flexibility".

But then again, when your government is so hell-bent on fucking workers every which where and way, I suppose we should consider it a kindness on their part (improving our "flexibility")... And Herr Gropenfuhrer ought to know a thing or two about it, huh?

Almost forgot the second point they always make: you gotta keep those lawsuits under control. Gotta keep 'em from happening. You know, it's just not good for business, holding employers accountable for their misdeeds. Gotta let business do whatever it wants. Laissez faire, motherfuckers! Ahl bee bock! Heyuh duh lamentations ov duh wimmin, Kullyfoneyah! Heyuh dem!

From the article [All emphasis and bracketed comments mine]:

The Schwarzenegger administration is seeking an emergency rule [Where's the fire, here? are we in crisis? This asshole has been trying to use this percieved emergency rule "loophole" since he hoodwinked the governorship aways from Gray Davis.] that would weaken a Gov. Gray Davis-era law that protects the rights of workers to take lunch breaks.

The unusual move by the governor's labor officials is aimed, they say, at limiting lawsuits by employees [natch] against their employers and clearing up confusion among employers about their responsibility to provide breaks [i.e. by removing the responsibility!].

But critics of the order, including labor groups and some Democratic lawmakers [Why isn't it ALL Democratic lawmakers?? Guess the rest were "out to lunch" ha ha errmmm...], accuse Schwarzenegger of trying to undo a long-standing right to lunch periods that was strengthened by Davis in 2000 to allow employees ranging from farmworkers to bus drivers to sue employers who denied them breaks and recover years of lost wages.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Blame these loons:

In case you thought it was a loose group of whackos independently writing letters of complaint to the FCC on such sundry topics as Janet Jackson's nipple peep show, or those lewd Olympics, think again.

It's the same bunch of thumper freaks doing it EVERY GODDAMN TIME. Check this out from my local T.V. columnist (It's a good column, you should read the whole thing, but here's the meat):

"My vote for best media/television story of the year goes to one you may have missed. Mediaweek reported on Dec. 6 that of all the "indecency complaints" to the Federal Communications Commission in 2003, a startling 99.8 percent of them came from one conservative group, the Parents Television Council.

And through October of this year, apart from complaints over Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction," a full 99.9 percent of the complaints about indecency have again come from the Parents Television Council. That means a small group of highly mobilized conservative watchdogs has essentially driven the "moral values" campaign directed at the FCC.

Hey, blue staters, this is a much smaller picture than you ever imagined. Forget about looking at that depressing election map and feeling overwhelmed, like you're on a cultural island apart from the rest of the country. The sad fact is, while you've been pouting -- and prior to that, when you were watching Jon Stewart and gloating -- you let a small group of reactionary conservatives set the agenda.

In short, you've fallen asleep at your Mac, friends. In the land of the tech savvy, you've been e-mailing among yourselves instead of sending off missives to FCC Chairman Michael Powell. You've missed a chance to say, "Hey Mike, I'm an adult who knows how to work my television's remote control. I may not like everything I see, but I want you to know that I am disinterested in creating some McCarthyesque chill factor in the creative community. Yours sincerely."

What's the use of all that wireless capacity, that lust for cool tech, if you're going to surf EBay instead of, say, dictate the national debate on indecency?..."

"...If 2004 was the year the Culture War became a scene out of "The Lord of the Rings," we now know that scare tactics and chest-pounding about moral values came from the finger-clicking of a relative few and found their way up through the FCC and out of the mouth of President Bush. Just remember, you might feel like you're in Helms Deep right now, but when you look out at the vanquishing horde of conservative watchdog goons, it's really just a CGI illusion.

Which means there's hope in beating back the censorship rampage of a very tiny minority.

The Mediaweek story said that the number of complaints to the FCC in 2003 totaled 240,000, which was up from a mere 14,000 in 2002. People complaining to the FCC in both 2001 and 2000 numbered about 350 in each year. So, let's see, that's roughly the amount of people in three BART train cars on your morning commute."

I keep telling people it's a tiny group of people doing this crap. Here are excerpts from the Mediaweek story:

Activists Dominate Content Complaints
December 06, 2004
By Todd Shields

"In an appearance before Congress in February, when the controversy over Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl moment was at its height, Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell laid some startling statistics on U.S. senators.

The number of indecency complaints had soared dramatically to more than 240,000 in the previous year, Powell said. The figure was up from roughly 14,000 in 2002, and from fewer than 350 in each of the two previous years. There was, Powell said, “a dramatic rise in public concern and outrage about what is being broadcast into their homes.”

What Powell did not reveal—apparently because he was unaware—was the source of the complaints. According to a new FCC estimate obtained by Mediaweek, nearly all indecency complaints in 2003—99.8 percent—were filed by the Parents Television Council, an activist group.

This year, the trend has continued, and perhaps intensified.

Through early October, 99.9 percent of indecency complaints—aside from those concerning the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” during the Super Bowl halftime show broadcast on CBS— were brought by the PTC, according to the FCC analysis dated Oct. 1. (The agency last week estimated it had received 1,068,767 complaints about broadcast indecency so far this year; the Super Bowl broadcast accounted for over 540,000, according to commissioners’ statements.)

The prominent role played by the PTC has raised concerns among critics of the FCC’s crackdown on indecency. “It means that really a tiny minority with a very focused political agenda is trying to censor American television and radio,” said Jonathan Rintels, president and executive director of the Center for Creative Voices in Media, an artists’ advocacy group.

PTC officials disagree.

“I wish we had that much power,” said Lara Mahaney, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles-based group. Mahaney said the issue should not be the source of complaints, but whether programming violates federal law prohibiting the broadcast of indecent matter when children are likely to be watching. “Why does it matter how the complaints come?” Mahaney said. “If the networks haven’t done anything illegal, if they haven’t done anything indecent, why do they care what we say?”

And what does Chairman Powell have to say about this (again, from the Mediaweek piece):

“Advocacy groups do generate many complaints, as our critics note, but that’s not unusual in today’s Internet world…that fact does not minimize the merits of the groups’ concerns,” Powell wrote.

Riiiiiiight. I'm sure you'd pay equal attention to complaints from a non-conservative, non-GOP fellating group that wouldn't help your nepotistically supercharged career, Chairman. Mmm-hmmm.

And even Fox is pissed. Check it out:

even the number of complaints becomes an object of contention. For example, the agency on Oct. 12, in proposing fines of nearly $1.2 million against Fox Broadcasting and its affiliates, said it received 159 complaints against Married by America, which featured strippers partly obscured by pixilation.

But when asked, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau said it could find only 90 complaints from 23 individuals. (The smaller total was first reported by Internet-based TV writer Jeff Jarvis; Mediaweek independently obtained the Enforcement Bureau’s calculation.)

And Fox, in a filing last Friday, told the FCC that it should rescind the proposed fines, in part because the low number of complaints fell far short of indicating that community standards had been violated.

“All but four of the complaints were identical…and only one complainant professed even to have watched the program,” Fox said.

UPDATE: Well, hell. I didn't realize these were the same nutcases from last weekend's giggles over at the ole' Eschaton, but nevertheless, it's good to keep pounding at and exposing the wingnut apparatus. It's such a tiny thing, really; like my first dog, a cockerpoo-type that barked deep and low like a really big dog. Once you saw him, it became a joke.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Purveyors of fine, free sonic butt massage are just so cool.

This is what I put up with outside the window on weekend nights.

I'm not one to wholly criticize the youth from having their fun-and-games. You gots to do something with your cars and cliques and stereos on the weekends, and sometimes when you're young and stupid (hell, a lot of the time, to be honest), it falls in the grey area of the not-so-legal. But this shit is so obnoxious, so dangerous, and so lamely idiotic, I just can't fathom it.

Am I getting old? Out of touch? I suppose it's a way of weilding a kind of power for those who feel powerless, but honestly, it's a pointless display.

I think, in the time we've lived here, there have been only 3 or 4 sideshows nearby (there've been plenty in the far and middle distance, screeching away), but the jerks congregate and meet up in the bank parking lot behind our building, proving time and again to all around that yes, their car stereos can rattle windows and be a nuisance even to the deaf with their badass booming bass. Oh how lovely it is to curl up and indulge in a movie on a Saturday night only to have to blast the volume so the conversational bits are audible over the shitheads at the bank.

My sympathies to those who get innocently caught in these things, but as to the rest, I hope all their cars get impounded.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Merry Christmas!

And by that I mean Merry Santa Claus, Flying Reindeer, Pine-needle-shedding-tree, Rudolph, Frosty, Jingle Bells, Tangles-O-lights, Naughty-or-nice Christmas!

Just put up the tree here. Kiddo even helped us decorate without prodding. The cheesy music is playing, electricity consumption is up and at least for this one instant, things seem timeless and evergreen.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Poor, big, mean-looking, former manservant....

Looks like someone won't be cracking the Grand Old Whip at Fatherland Security after all...

Well, that didn't take long. Hmmm...

So, will it be an old face or a new face -- or an old face in a new place (ooo!) -- called in to replace the replacement?

There's always something...

It can't be outright nut-itude. That would be too obvious. But there's always something, some quietly hidden rapaciousness or visciousness or just plain fucked-up-edness about these lunatics. Like Frist and his cat vivisections, or (since cancer seems to be one of the day's topics) Gingrich leaving his cancer-stricken wife in the hospital. You know, ruin whoever or whatever you have to, it doesn't matter if you win!!

I mean, it's not enough that the guy has styled himself so that he looks like G. Gordon Liddy if he were to morph into a graphic novel supervillan. And it's not enough that he'll have achieved a level of power few bodyguards can dream of. No, he's gotta have that loyalty to the party. They all do. Doesn't matter if they're wrong, because they're always right.

Of course, NYC Police Commissioners have a reputation for being, shall we say -- flamboyant in their zeal to do the job, so it's no enormous shock that there's been some behind-the-scenes, arm-twisting shenanegans.

These appointees and cabinet people, and general BushCo flunkies are the sorts of people that are very scary when they can get the job they'd like to get done accomplished... Thank G-d for incompetence. I never thought I'd say that, but I think it's been our secret, saving grace for quite a few years now.

Of course, I'm sure the Iraqi people feel differently. I know those soldiers that grilled Rumsfailed do...

Larry King of the Asshats


From the CNN transcript, John Edwards illustrates what a man who isn't a serial groom thinks of King's sick questioning (when he has to be polite and tape is rolling):

KING: Senator, has there been any thoughts, and this happens in any case when the male hears the news from the mate, aesthetically how will Elizabeth look?

How will she respond?

Do you have those feelings?



J. EDWARDS: Honest to goodness, Larry, the only thing I have thought about is making sure that we have 40 more years together. And Elizabeth and I have been married 27 years. We are physically connected to each other. And we've been through a lot with our children and with our family and our lives. And our lives are completely intertwined. And all that I have thought about is making sure we get her well and that she is there for me and for my kids.

KING: Did you have those concerns, Elizabeth?

E. EDWARDS: No. My biggest concern really has been the loss of hair, which the kids thought was pretty amusing. But right now I have lost not all of my hair but a lot of it. And I think I actually, without this wonderful wig, I think I look sick. And I don't want my children who don't think of me as sick because I'm not -- now that they have anti-nausea medicine, I'm not vomiting or anything and because I am able to do most of the things that I was able to do. Get a little more tired, but otherwise -- I don't want to look sick to them. So that for me is my big concern. Not for John, who has seen me with him...

J. EDWARDS: I have to tell you she looks just as beautiful now as she did before this to us, to all of us who know her and love her.

If anything, a real man loves his wife all the more going through something like this. He'll see her as more dear and lovely and beautiful than he ever thought before. Poor Elizabeth Edwards. To have a question like that put to her and her man by that creepy, cradle-robbing, raisin-faced shithead... I know early in my treatment I had a lot of anger. If anyone had asked me something like that, I'd have launched myself across the room at them.

"Hey Larry! I got your lumpectomy! I got it right here! Now tell me how YOU feel about it."

What a jerk. Dare I say it -- what a boob.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Mot du jour


Begging via one's blog.

So, okay, buy something from Amazon through my links, or make a holly jolly Christmas a reality chez Monica_CA. It's barely going to be a Christmas here, and we're getting to our last straw, so I'm asking on the internet for contributions from anyone with a yen to play Santa for us. This is the only time I'll do this, so no worries once this goes up.

Just so you don't think we're not worth a little effort, let me give a specific or two you may not be aware of: I'm supporting the three of us with an admin's salary. Our son is disabled (autistic), and his care requires more money than we have. We're basically a blue-collar kind of family, with no professional credentials or career options. My husband works out of the home so he can care for our son, and well, like many families being left behind by the "Bush boom" we are struggling to make ends meet, let alone have a proper holiday for the kiddo (who is actually interested in Christmas for the first time this year). I have medical bills to pay from having had to go through chemo and radiation for breast cancer last year even with insurance to cover the vast, overwhelming cost of it all ( and I'm doing well so far healthwise -- yay!), but well, it's pitiful, really, this blegging, but there it is. The wish list is a fanciful thing in many respects, yes, but it's there. If anyone reading this could at least buy from Amazon through my link ads, it'd be a help to us.

And even if all you do is keep us in your thoughts this holiday season, I thank you.

That is all.

Suffer the little children to come unto me and hold slaves!

"You can have two different sides, a Northern perspective and a Southern perspective,"

I can think of some other perspectives...

You can have two different sides, a Jew perspective, and a Nazi perspective.

You can have two different sides, a woman's perspective and a voter's.

You can have two different sides, an Indian perspective, and a British Raj perspective.

You can have two different sides, a Township perspective, and an Afrikaans perspective.

But don't take my word for it, read the post. Read the reference in the post.

In my Godless Secular Humanist High School We Read Color Purple in 10th Grade.

In this NCLB-age, I guess the closest this lady's kid gets to that is to color with a purple crayon (not to say that I think Color Purple is all that, but it was a good book; made me think about just what a success in life really means).

Possessor of the pinched, suspicious expression currently required of all red-stated 'Merkin Moms, she's found things she doesn't like about Catcher in the Rye.

Voila le quote de l'argent:

Before filing her complaint, Minnon said, she and her husband researched the book using Sparknotes, an online study guide. She is now reading the book.

"That's where we got a lot of our information about (Holden Caulfield) being with a prostitute, his lying, his drinking, using girls for pleasure and his depression problems," she said.

Those mature themes, plus the profane language used by the main character, are inappropriate for 14-year-olds, she said.

Nothing like using an on line cliff notes site to determine whether you oppose a book's being on a reading list, is there?

And in other book-hating homophobe news, there's this gem from yesterday's Guardian:

What should we do with US classics like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or The Color Purple? "Dig a hole," Gerald Allen recommends, "and dump them in it." Don't laugh. Gerald Allen's book-burying opinions are not a joke.

Earlier this week, Allen got a call from Washington. He will be meeting with President Bush on Monday. I asked him if this was his first invitation to the White House. "Oh no," he laughs. "It's my fifth meeting with Mr Bush."

Bush is interested in Allen's opinions because Allen is an elected Republican representative in the Alabama state legislature. He is Bush's base. Last week, Bush's base introduced a bill that would ban the use of state funds to purchase any books or other materials that "promote homosexuality". Allen does not want taxpayers' money to support "positive depictions of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle". That's why Tennessee Williams and Alice Walker have got to go.

But there's more. There always has to be more from a nutcase of this caliber...

"Well," he begins, after a pause, "the current draft of the bill does not address how that is going to be handled. I expect details like that to be worked out at the committee stage. Literature like Shakespeare and Hammet [sic] could be left alone." Could be. Not "would be". In any case, he says, "you could tone it down". That way, if you're not paying real close attention, even a college graduate like Allen himself "could easily miss" what was going on, the "subtle" innuendoes and all.

So he regards his gay book ban as a work in progress. His legislation is "a single spoke in the wheel, it doesn't resolve all the issues". This is just the beginning. "To turn a big ship around it takes a lot of time."

Hopefully the attention-span addled American public hive mind will view this bigoted religiousity as a fad, and be bored with it all by next season(I say hive mind as opposed to the individual American mind, which works pretty well when left to think on its own). But crazier shit has happened with worse material to work with.