American Media scores huge victory: John Edwards drops out of Presidential Race

January 30, 2008

Well, it appears John Edwards has finally dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination.

Alas, so many haircut articles will now wither on the vine.


The Anthrax Attacks happened

January 29, 2008

This is a true story: Living in an apartment in Victorville, California, not long after 9/11, I went to my mailbox. Standing in front of the mailbox’s was a woman, probably a couple years younger than I. She was wearing gloves. She was shaking. She was crying. She looked at me, still not able to open her mailbox, and said in a trembling voice, “I am so afraid.”

The Anthrax Attacks happened.

So President Bush and the right wing can repeat the mantra of “There has not been another attack on our soil since 9/11″ over and over again, but it’s a lie. As Atrios wrote:

… anthrax was what made things like “mobile chemical weapons labs” sound so scary. Not everyone agrees, but I think more than 9/11 the anthrax freaked the country out. 9/11 was horrible, but the anthrax made it seem like we’d reached a new era where some horrible creepy shit was going to happen every day.

And then it was all forgotten.

The Anthrax Attacks happened. And they terrified the living hell out of people. Just ask my former neighbor.


Interview with the Troll: The Troll Chronicles

January 28, 2008

“I see,” said the troll thoughtlessly, and then slowly stumbled across the room.

“But how many posts do you have for me to comment on,” the Troll asked.

“Enough for a troll, I think,” said the Boy.

“Then let’s begin, dickwad,” said the troll, turning on the light.

“But I thought trolls didn’t like the light,” said the Boy, who wanted to say more but halted, he knew trolls were prone to hurl out insults at anyone for no reason other than to get attention. It was something in their blood. They had no control over it. But he had responded to the Troll and now here they were.

“Oh my God,” said the boy as the harsh yellow light flooded the room, exposing the troll for the first time. His skin was white and damaged like bleached bone. But it was the troll’s eyes which most caught the Boy’s attention. They were lifeless and dark, as if all hope and knowledge had been drained from them.

“You haven’t always been a troll, have you?” asked the boy.

[Read more]

Calm down everyone, Halliburton is doing great

January 28, 2008

Seriously, you people and your worries about the economy. Just chill out. After all, Exxon is doing fantastic, as is Shell. And so is Halliburton.

“Halliburton jumps on revenue, growth”

HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. said Monday its fourth-quarter profit rose almost 5 percent from a year ago, helped by growing business in the Eastern Hemisphere, where the company is placing greater resources.

Net income in the October-December period rose to $690 million, or 75 cents per share, compared with $658 million, or 64 cents a share, during the same period a year ago.

Halliburton’s quarterly revenue rose 19 percent to $4.2 billion from $3.5 billion in the previous year, topping analysts’ estimates of $4.1 billion.

“I am very pleased with our performance in 2007,” said Dave Lesar, the company’s chairman and chief executive. “We’re particularly pleased by our growth in the Eastern Hemisphere, where revenue increased 27 percent year-over-year, and operating income increased 26 percent year-over-year.”

So really, people just need to relax about the economy. It’s all going as they planned.


Wikipedia picks New England to win the Super Bowl

January 28, 2008

Taking a look at Wikipedia’s page on the Super Bowl, I was struck by the photo they used of the Lombardi Trophy:

The actual photo?

Wikipedia super bowl patriots

I’d say the New York Giants could tape this to the wall of their locker room as a show of how disrespected they’ve been heading to Super Bowl XLII, but if they’re doing that then the Giants locker room must look like Jim Carrey’s house in Bruce Almighty after he decided to put all prayers he received in Post-it form:

Giants locker room


Like exposure to Bush Administration, Lead Exposure to sicken future generations

January 28, 2008

New research is showing that lead exposure, like tobacco and asbestos, can have long-term effects on humans, with early lead exposure hastening brain aging later in life.

While the U.S. pushed through laws against the usage of lead in such things as paint and gasoline (fighting the lead industry the entire way), the Bush Administration’s anti-science beliefs and stance that business should be allowed to do anything to anyone at any time to make profits means that lead exposure will very likely be a future health problem for today’s children.

From the Environmental Working Group:

The Bush administration’s proposed 2005 budget cuts $35 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s lead poisoning prevention program, a 20 percent reduction from the previous year. The program pays for expert home evaluations and repairs to prevent young children from being exposed to lead-contaminated dust, soil and paint chips (Washington Post 2004). Primary prevention is the key to ending future lead poisoning and the related personal and social costs. Cuts to this program serve only to perpetuate unnecessary lead poisoning of future generations.

This is not the first time that the Bush administration has hindered lead poisoning prevention efforts. In 2002, in a move that catered to the interests of the lead industry, the Bush Administration shuffled the appointments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention, replacing reputable public health and pediatric lead experts with panelists with a history of defending the lead industry in the courts.

More simply put, from Bradford Plumer of The New Republic (via N.Y. Times Opinionator Blog):

“The Bush administration loves lead. Loves it. They want it everywhere. Okay, that’s only a slight exaggeration: Back in 2002, the White House tried to stack an advisory committee on lead regulations with industry types. Last December, the administration announced that it would consider doing away with the standards that cut lead from gasoline, at the behest of battery makers and lead smelters. And its EPA has weakened a rule on removing lead paint from older residences.”

George W. Bush will spend tonight trying to talk up his conservative legacy, but his legacy is set in stone, as future generations will not only be forced to clean up his fiscal and foreign relations disasters, but they’ll also suffer physically from his and conservatism’s actions.


Michael Vick’s dogs to be adopted - but pit bulls still need our help

January 26, 2008

When the story of Michael Vick’s dog fighting business came out, I was at once outraged and ashamed. Ashamed of myself for being outraged, in a way. Because I knew there were evil people out there who trained dogs to fight. I knew dog fighting existed. I knew pit bulls were the most abused dogs in the U.S.

But I suppose it took a big media event to take it from the back of my mind where I had hidden said hideous knowledge. And even with Michael Vick and cohorts behind bars, there is very likely a pit bull out there right now being trained to kill another pit bull. Just as there is a pit bull actually killing a pit bull right this very moment. While people cheer and bet.

While one can only hope that Vick’s incarceration will help be the beginning of the end for dog fighting, it will take a lot longer to restore the image of the pit bull. Once the most popular dog in all of the U.S., it is a dog now feared by many, and wanted by few. Having once rescued a pit bull mix, I vividly remember be told at the pound that there was no realistic chance of it being adopted while in their care, and that it would most assuredly be destroyed. People are afraid of this breed. And while pit bulls have attacked people, and will again, it is because they were taught that behavior, not because the breed is somehow flawed. They are not a breed without complications, but they are not born blood-thirsty monsters.

The plight of the pit bull is brought to mind by a story in the San Francisco Chronicle about a pit bull rescue group in Oakland that is putting up five of Vick’s former dogs up for adoption.

“Mike Vick’s pit bulls up for adoption”
Five dogs that were rescued from the most notorious dog-fighting kennel in the country trotted out in Oakland on Friday to meet the public, wag their tails and try to dispel some long-standing human prejudices about canines.

They were, as always, man’s best friend, even if man has not always held up his end of the relationship.

“This dog is somehow able to put its past aside and move forward,” said dog lover Kim Ramirez, rubbing the ears of a 3-year-old pit bull named Teddles. “We humans can learn from that.”

The dogs are pit bull terriers, among dozens rescued in a celebrated raid last year on the Virginia dog-fighting kennel owned by disgraced NFL quarterback Michael Vick.

Ten of Vick’s dogs were awarded to Bad Rap, a pit bull rescue group in Oakland that has spent months evaluating and socializing the dogs and placing them in foster homes.

Friday, the dogs came to the main lounge at the Oakland animal shelter to meet the public for the first time in their new role as pit bull ambassadors.

“He’s experiencing normal life now,” said Ramirez, a Fremont resident who is looking after Teddles until a permanent adoption can be arranged. “He follows you into the kitchen. He’s very gentle. He likes oatmeal. He likes rope toys. When you’re a dog in a dog-fighting kennel, you don’t get a lot of toys.”

Bad Rap founder Tim Racer, who was holding another ambassador, Hector, in his lap and scratching Hector’s ears, said dogs fight because dog owners train them to fight.

“Dog fighting is cruelty, which is a human activity and a human illness,” Racer said. “It’s not the dog’s fault.”

According to Racer, hardly any of the dogs at Vick’s kennels were dangerous or unfit to be pets.

The dogs that will be put up for adoption by Bad Rap will be adopted. They are famous, after all, and that helps. But there’s a long way to go for this breed. There are literally countless pit bull rescue groups all over the U.S., looking to help a breed that has been badly abused by humans.

It’s heartening to know that these groups exist and are fighting voluntarily for dogs that were forced into fighting. More important, however, is that we don’t forget what the dreadful Michael Vick story taught us - that we can’t pretend that pit bulls and other dog breeds are tortured by sick individuals who will make them fight for their own pleasure.

And we can’t hide from this knowledge any longer. Because at this very moment, a pit bull is getting its throat ripped out by another pit bull. And while that’s horrifying to think about, it doesn’t make it any less true. And it doesn’t make it the pit bulls’ fault. Hopefully, thanks to the work of Bad Rap and those like them, eventually we’ll all come to recognize another truth - that pit bulls are good dogs.

Find out more about Bad Rap and the good work they do for pit bulls by clicking here.

My thanks to Shaker Vicster for the heads up.


William K. Wolfrum’s Short Movie Reviews in Bad Portuguese: “Eu Sou a Lenda”

January 25, 2008

Boa vinda às Revisões de Filme Curtas No Português Mau de William K. Wolfrum!

Hoje, eu vou revisão o filme “Eu Sou a Lenda” com Will Smith:

Revisão: Como sempre, um vírus mata a maioria de todo mundo. Mas, faz também alguns povos em zombis que come outro pessoas. Um dia, um vírus não fará povos em zombis, por favor deus. Total a filme era aprovada.

Will Smith era muito boa. A menos que for agora uma Scientologista. Então, não era assim bom. Por que umas Scientologistas são sempre maus. Sempre.

Em uma escala de uma a milhão: 786,231.

Veja-o vez seguinte Revisões de Filme Curtas No Português Mau de William K. Wolfrum.
Boa fim de semana.

Traduza aqui ou não. Realmente não é importante.


NYT endorses Clinton, names McCain least crappy Republican

January 25, 2008

It wasn’t that long ago folks, myself included, were writing off John McCain. We overlooked one major factor, however: all the other GOP candidates are much more horrifying. Ask the New York Times:

“Primary Choices: John McCain”

We have strong disagreements with all the Republicans running for president. The leading candidates have no plan for getting American troops out of Iraq. They are too wedded to discredited economic theories and unwilling even now to break with the legacy of President Bush. We disagree with them strongly on what makes a good Supreme Court justice.

Still, there is a choice to be made, and it is an easy one. Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe.

With little about McCain to be excited about, the majority of the rest of the piece is dedicated to telling the world how bad the rest of the GOP candidates are:

Rudy Giuliani: “… a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power.”

Mitt Romney: “(Romney’s) shape-shifting rivals that of Mr. Giuliani. It is impossible to figure out where he stands or where he would lead the country.”

Mike Huckabee: “To attract Republican primary voters, he has become an anti-immigrant absolutist. ”

And in endorsing Clinton, the Times was unable to find much wrong with the Democratic top 3:

This generally is the stage of a campaign when Democrats have to work hard to get excited about whichever candidate seems most likely to outlast an uninspiring pack. That is not remotely the case this year.

The early primaries produced two powerful main contenders: Hillary Clinton, the brilliant if at times harsh-sounding senator from New York; and Barack Obama, the incandescent if still undefined senator from Illinois. The remaining long shot, John Edwards, has enlivened the race with his own brand of raw populism.

The right-wing can - and will - complain bitterly about the Times being a bastion of liberal goodness, but they have to know the truth - their candidates are a bunch of unendorseable stiffs.


Dear MSM: Let Heath Ledger rest in peace

January 24, 2008

I understand that there are many interested in how exactly actor Heath Ledger died, but this story - the Lead story at - shows just how embarrassing the U.S. mainstream media has become:

“$20 bill in Heath Ledger’s home tests clean”

NEW YORK (CNN) — Tests on a $20 bill found at the Lower Manhattan apartment where “Brokeback Mountain” actor Heath Ledger died yielded no drug residue, New York Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said.

The bill was collected to see whether it had been used to snort illegal drugs because of the way it was folded, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said earlier.

The Academy Award-nominated actor was found dead Tuesday. He was 28.

To CNN, that $20 bill is the biggest story in the entire world, and the most important story to Americans. And like Ledger’s death, that’s just sad. Not as sad as John Gibson openly mocking Ledger’s death on Fox News, but sad nonetheless.


Michael Savage: Why do Office Depot, Geico and others pay for his hate speech?

January 24, 2008

First of all, I recognize Michael Savage is an entertainer who has taken advantage of, and added to the hatred of Muslims, women, minorities, etc., in the U.S. He has the soul of a pornographer or war profiteer, so he could care less what he says as long as he gets paid for it.

He’s free to spout whatever he likes, but why do sponsors like Office Depot and Geico Insurance sponsor his ridiculous hate speech? The folks at Brave New Films are asking the same question:

These sponsors have already dropped Savage: Intuit (TurboTax), Chattem (Gold Bond, Icy-Hot, Garlique), ITT Technical Institute -and Union Bank of California.

But some big sponsors remain. Why? Ask them yourselves if you like:

Geico Insurance (800) 861-8380
Wyeth Consumer Healthcare (Makers of Advil, Robitussin, Centrum) (800) 322-3129
Office Depot (800) 463-3768


Blog Note: Comments section to be fixed soon

January 24, 2008

For the many, if any, who would like to comment to any of my posts, the comment feature should be up and running soon. The error is one that seems common with WordPress.

Aside from that, I hope you’re all doing wonderful today.


Calm down everyone, Exxon is doing great

January 23, 2008

Let’s stop with all this “whiff of panic” talk, shall we? Sure, the stock market is having trouble and the dollar ain’t what it used to be. But Exxon is doing fantastic!

“Exxon guns for profit record”

NEW YORK ( — Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, is within striking distance of setting an all-time profit record - again.

Analysts are expecting the company to post solid quarterly and full-year earnings next Friday (see correction below) - and if the results top forecasts, Exxon (XOM, Fortune 500) could end up reporting the highest profit ever for a U.S. company.

With oil prices having recently crossed the $100 a barrel threshold, it comes as no surprise that Exxon is a whisker away from setting a new milestone.

“Exxon is likely to have record quarterly earnings,” said Fadel Gheit, a senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer. “For every $1 [increase] in the price of oil, Exxon makes [another] $125 million for the quarter.”

When asked if Exxon could top profit records, another analyst said: “That’s not out of the realm of possibility.”

The company is expected to earn $10.37 billion in the fourth quarter, according to earnings tracker Thomson Financial. That’s about $330 million shy of Exxon’s previous quarterly profit record of $10.7 billion set in the fourth quarter of 2005 - which also was a record for any U.S. corporation.

In winner-take-all capitalism, it’s pretty obvious who the winners are, isn’t it?


Meeting with Rudy Giuliani convinces Miami Dolphins they’ll win 2008 Super Bowl

January 23, 2008

MIAMI — After stumbling through a 1-15 season in 2007, the Miami Dolphins have announced that they will play in, and win Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3 in Phoenix, Ariz.

The stunning announcement came after Dolphins officials emerged from a two-hour meeting with GOP Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani. The former mayor of New York has been campaigning almost exclusively in Florida, and Miami officials credit him for creating the plan that will make them Super Bowl champions.

“Wow, what Rudy said really made sense,” said the Dolphins’ new vice president of football operations, Bill Parcells. “He truly has a plan, and that plan doesn’t necessitate any success whatsoever in order to win the big one.”

Giuliani, a one-time favorite for the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election, has stumbled badly in the state primaries, though has insisted all along that his plan for victory is intact.

“It’s playing out the way we thought it would,” Giuliani said after polls showed that his one-time 33-point lead in his home state of New York is now a 12-point deficit.

Giuliani, who has based most of his campaign on Sept. 11 and terrorism issues, has received almost no support in recent primaries in Nevada, South Carolina and New Hampshire. And despite polls saying he is falling behind in Florida, Giuliani officials say the former mayor has his competition right where he wants them.

“This plan is brilliant in its simplicity and the competition is falling right into Rudy’s trap,” said Giuliani spokesman Sean Hannity. “Just because no one’s voting for you, doesn’t mean you can’t win spectacularly. Think about it.”

In a meeting with the Dolphins - who since the end of the 2007 regular season have replaced nearly their entire staff and brought in Parcells and new head coach Tony Sparano - Giuliani laid out his “secret plans” for how to win big without winning anything prior.

“It was a very productive meeting,” said Sparano. “Now that we see things through Giuliani’s eyes, we know we’re a shoe-in to win the upcoming Super Bowl.”

No mention was made on how exactly the Dolphins would win the Super Bowl, which is scheduled to pit the undefeated New England Patriots from the AFC and the underdog New York Giants from the NFC. Sources in the NFL have said that anyone with any affiliation to the Dolphins won’t even be allowed in the stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, partly as punishment for having such a miserable regular season.

“I’m not quite sure what the hell is going on in Miami,” said an NFL spokesperson. “Is there some sort of super-flu down there? Seriously, what’s up?”

Nonetheless, the Giuliani camp has remained firmly behind the Dolphins, and are saying that their fool-proof plan will most definitely lead to the third Super Bowl victory for the storied franchise.

“A lot of people may be confused that Rudy isn’t automatically backing the Giants, but he doesn’t roll that way,” said Hannity. “He’s a Jets’ fan and is a supporter of the AFC and the AFC only. He only wants the best for that conference and the country, and despite what the public feels, a Dolphins’ victory will be for the best.

“It’s all part of the big picture, and it’s all coming together,” added Hannity. “You’ll definitely be seeing Rudy elected President of the United States, just as you’ll be seeing the Miami Dolphins crowned Super Bowl Champions.”


Progress in Iraq: Temporary new font on third revision of flag amidst only a few dozen deaths

January 22, 2008

Things are coming together for Iraq now. Because as Conservatives crow about the spectacular success of the “surge” (read: Escalation), the Iraqi Parliment has now shown it’s not completely incompetent. They’ve made changes to the Iraqi flag. Again. But it will likely change again.

“Iraq Parliament Purges Hussein Vestiges on Flag”

BAGHDAD —Iraqi lawmakers adopted a modified version of the national flag on Tuesday, removing three stars that symbolized the Baathist ideals of unity, freedom, and socialism, and Saddam Hussein’s handwritten calligraphy of the Koranic incantation “Allah u Akbar.” …

Several lawmakers said that because the flag had been changed out of Kurdish expediency, they expected it to be changed again.

The flag is the second design to be introduced in Iraq since the American-led invasion in 2003. In 2004, the American-appointed Iraqi Governing Council announced a white, blue and yellow flag with a prominent Islamic crescent. That design was scrapped after Iraqis criticized it for being too radical a change from the original, and too similar to the blue and white flag of Israel.

Billions and billions of dollars gone, hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced, and now the fruits of the labor are coming together. Iraq now has a flag that they’ll vote to change again in the near future.

But, at least the surge has worked. We know that because according to Fareed Zakaria, the war is over:

The Democrats are having the hardest time with the new reality. Every candidate is committed to “ending the war” and bringing our troops back home. The trouble is, the war has largely ended, and precisely because our troops are in the middle of it.

So nothing to see here.

In Diyala Province, north of Baghdad, Iraqi police officers said they had found the bodies of a family, a father, his three sons and three nephews. They had been shot to death and discovered in Buhruz, the police said. In Baquba, the provincial capital, a water boiler packed with explosives detonated near a high school and a checkpoint for an American-allied tribal security force, killing three people, and wounded 12 students, the Iraqi police said, and, separately, a gunman killed a civilian near a medical clinic.

The bodies of two more Iraqis, a woman and a policeman, were discovered about 30 miles outside Hilla in the south, the Iraqi police said.

And in Basra, gunmen killed an Iraqi policeman, witnesses said.

“US military sees first Iraq fatality in new armoured vehicle”

BAGHDAD (AFP) — A new-style anti-mine armoured vehicle the US military is hoping will reduce casualties from roadside bombs in Iraq has proven vulnerable, with a first soldier killed in an attack at the weekend.

“An American soldier was killed in an improvised explosive device attack on a MRAP vehicle in Arab Jabour” on the southern outskirts of Baghdad on Saturday, US military spokesman Major Winfield Danielson said on Tuesday.

“This was the first fatality involving an IED (roadside bomb) attack on a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) anywhere,” he added.

“There were three other soldiers who sustained non life-threatening injuries as a result of the attack,” Danielson said.

“Suicide Attack at Funeral In Northern Iraq Kills 17″

BAGHDAD, Jan. 21 — A suicide bomber infiltrated a funeral Monday evening and blew himself up among the mourners, killing 17 people in the latest attack in a volatile region of northern Iraq.

But they have a flag. For now. It makes staying there forever all the more worth it.


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