Coming soon: “Samba Bill’s” exciting conclusion

February 27, 2009

Oh, the stories I have to tell about the culmination of our Road to Carnival. For now, however, this teaser will have to do:

[Read more]

CPAC the new home for tax-hating conspiricists

February 27, 2009

The Conservative Political Action Conference, where cutting-edge conservative ideas like “cut taxes!” are born, may have officially jumped the shark and be on its way to once and for all become a conference of 9/11 truthers, UFO hunters and moon-landing hoaxers. All of whom want to cut taxes, of course.

But it really can’t be far off when CPAC’s biggest cheer of the night comes from someone pandering to the “Obama is Not a U.S. Citizen” brigade.

Next up at CPAC: Ben Stein discusses how God made everything in a week.


Great Moments in Political History

February 26, 2009

Every now and again, the world of politics gives you a special moment. A moment that transcends politics and becomes a cultural statement. Like Barack Obama’s keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. A speech that put him on the national radar and was his initial push to the Presidency:

Or Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal giving the GOP response to Obama’s speech in front of the joint session of Congress Tuesday. A response that effectively destroyed any hopes he had for the Presidency in 2012:

Politics: It’s all about being perceived as rising to the moment.


No one expects a blogaround LIX

February 24, 2009

Seriously, even I never saw this coming until it was too late:


Samba Bill and the Road to Carnival, Part 4

February 23, 2009

Sitting in a hotel in Rio, but one thought dominates discussion in the barren landscape of my mind: What the hell was I thinking?

Yes, as the clock ticks down toward our first foray into the fabulous, otherworldy, high-octane, mystical, eclectic, surreal, ornate, beautiful, indescribable world of Carnival, the fear and trepidation has begun. The thought that I will be taking center stage at an event that’s like Christmas and the day of your birth combined has led to a nervousness likely only caused by stage fright. heck, the most popular TV station in Brazil didn’t televise the Oscars, so not to interrupt the Carnival activities. But maybe I’m also nervous due to the fact that I still Samba like Gringo McGringo, the gringoiest gringo in Gringslavia. So there’s that. And a little stage fright, sure.

But there’s still a frustrated entertainer inside me, as there is with my wife, which has led us to such adventures as cheating our way to victory in front of 1,000 people on a “Newlywed Game” show on a cruise. I’ve also done some radio work and announcing and been in front of a camera for a variety of things. Basically, I dabble enough so that my performing itch is scratched. Maybe some day I’ll be in a nice community play. Of course, what I’ll be doing Monday night will be in front of the biggest crowd I’ll ever be in front of and broadcast to hundreds of millions. I know I won’t be the main focus, of course. At least I hope not. Because that would be a serious burn.

My Mom could have done it. I say this with confidence as she was the type who could cobble something together for any occasion. I also learned that I had told a lie against her. After proclaiming her a bad dancer (which she was from what I witnessed), I learned she could dance the polka like no one’s business. Keep in mind, she grew in the 1940s and 50s, to a very Croatian family in Pittsburgh. So her being able to polka well was impressive. It’s nice to still learn nice things like that about your Mom.

But my Mom wasn’t big on being in the limelight. She was happy directing things off screen. One funny quirk she always had was how she would get off the phone: “Well, I should be going. I don’t want you to run up your phone bill. I’ve go some clothes in the warsh.” For some reason, she always felt weird hanging up first, I think. Better yet, when she started to use e-mail, she’d end he messages with “Well, I should be going. I don’t want to keep you.”

But while she was more at ease behind the scenes, she also took part in a cancer walk in California and was a great host at the bone marrow drive we held for her. She would have thrived being part of a samba school in front of thousands of happy people. She truly liked when people were happy. Plus, her competitive spirit - which was powerful and meant she’d never just let anyone win, ever - would translate into her doing well in an atmosphere like here in Rio.

So, in roughly 10 hours, the great Carnival Project for Emilia and Bill reaches it’s climactic moment. I sure hope no one watches me. I hope I can get through this without costing the Imperatriz school any points. But while I’m nervous, I’m excited in knowing we’ll have an amazing time.

Well, I should be going. I don’t want to keep you.


See Also:

Samba Bill and the Road to Carnival, Part 1
Samba Bill and the Road to Carnival, Part 2
Samba Bill and the Road to Carnival, Part 3

Fox & Friends gets its hate on

February 20, 2009

The worst thing about having Fox News on my cable here is that I can’t seem to not watch it. Which leads to moments of despair, like this morning watching Fox & Friends. The chirpy propagandists went into a full five-minute hate.

First in an all-out name-calling festival against recent mother of octoplets Nadya Suleman, who they refused to call by name. It was brutal. After that, it was two minutes of hate against government programs that would give parents money for taking their children to the doctors and making sure they stay in school. Or giving kids money if they graduate from high school without getting or getting anyone pregnant. In Georgia. Brian Kilmeade went off on the programs, and just called everyone who’d need such money lazy. There was absolutely no connect at all in his mind that there might be poor people in the U.S. Even Gretchen Carlson seemed to finally notice they were flying off the edge and pulled back, but Kilmeade wasn’t having any of it.

When the TV hosts are this hateful, you can only imagine how hateful their followers must be.


Quick movie review: Bolt

February 19, 2009

Bolt is a great, great movie. It’s about this dog, Bolt, who has this big adventure with a cat and a hamster. They do a bunch of stuff, and in the end, everyone learns a lesson and is happy. I give it 14 stars out of, say, 16.

Though, of course, I may have a dog bias.


From the Sports Desk …

February 19, 2009

Thoughts from an occasional sportswriter:

  • I don’t get to see many NBA games, but I get to be some. Last night I saw New Orleans take apart Orlando, and I really got to see Chris Paul do his thing for the first time. Ok, I get it now. He’s quite the talent. And who knows, maybe Tyson Chandler will pick up his game after being traded and returned, and the Hornets will be a threat again.
  • Ok, seriously, Jeff Reed needs to start accepting just how lucky he is to be a kicker for the Steelers. Going all Christian Bale because a convenience store doesn’t have enough paper towels is very Un-Steelers-like, in my book. But at least he kept the penis cleavage tucked away.
  • Hey look, Tiger Woods has a new kid. Now, he’ll win the Masters. You heard it here.
  • Alex Rodriguez must be held accountable for using performance-enhancing drugs! Charles Barkley getting nailed for the world’s most sexist DUI? Hell, let that one go. Put him back on the air and give him a show on The Golf Channel. He’s so entertaining, after all.
  • Sure, a faded Ronaldinho Gaucho is better than nothing for AC Milan, but my heart breaks a little every time I see him play. Ronaldinho still has great skills and football intelligence, but his loss of speed due to consistent lack of training has really made him a fairly ordinary player.
  • And I agree that Franck Ribery could really blossom into a superstar alongside Messi at Barcelona. And I wonder how long it will be before one of the big clubs takes Diego off Werder Breman’s hands.
  • I wonder if Chris Brown has any idea how much he screwed up his career? Rihanna has quickly become beloved in the U.S. and the world. Nonetheless, hopefully this turns out to be a moment to grow from. So I don’t see where stories about boxers wanting to beat up Brown are helping anything.
  • Women’s boxing in the Olympics? Sounds good to me. As long as golf doesn’t get in, I’m cool.


Wow. CEO Patrick Byrne is an unethical freak

February 18, 2009

After originally disliking the premise of Martin Eisenstadt and fighting to get it realized by all as a hoax, I slowly started to understand and even appreciate their work. I kept outing them as frauds, of course, but I saw the game they were playing with the media and was puzzled at the media’s acceptance of said “Eisenstadt.”

Of course, it’s one thing when a couple filmmakers hoax a gullible media with meaningless made-up factoids. It seems as though it would be another thing altogether when a publicly traded company would go through an amazing amount of hoaxing and “astroturfing” to bolster it’s CEO’s numerous lawsuits.

But such is the world of and it’s CEO Patrick Byrne. Because Byrne understands the Internet, and has given himself a voice using corrupt or invented characters.

But first, let me start at the beginning. Or at least the beginning for me, as others have already done remarkable footwork on the weirdness.

It started for me with an e-mail from fellow journalist Diane Tucker at the Huffington Post, telling me she’d received a comment to her recent blog from one “Shawn Brandom.” And that Brandom didn’t appear to be who he said he was.

Which brings us to the circus. A while back, Byrne hired former journalist Mark Mitchell to spread his propaganda. Along the way, Byrnes started a Web site called Deep Capture. As an aside, won a Weblog award for “Best Business Blog” of 2008. Deep capture focuses on “Naked Short Selling” which is Byrne’s cause du jour.

From Wikipedia:

[Read more]

Eating at Applebee’s in Brazil proves I am the worst person in the world

February 18, 2009

I have a confession to make. I am the root source of all evil on this planet. Me. If the entire world collapses, you can put the blame on me. Because I ate at Applebee’s. In Brazil.

Now, while I understand that no amount of explanation would forgive me of this sin, let me try and explain anyway. You see, I was visiting friends and family in Belo Horizonte and we were out looking for a place to eat. Someone laughed and said there was a new Applebee’s in town. I said “Wow, I’d like to see that.” Of course, being no one in brazil really understands anything I say, this was immediately translated to “Oh boy, let’s eat at Applebee’s.”

Which is how I ended up with an appetizer sampler platter at Applebee’s the other night. Which was pretty awful. Except for the ribs. And the chicken quesadillas were OK, as well. Also, they played a Madonna concert DVD on an endless loop. Now, while I know Brazil’s copyright laws are flimsy, Applebee’s Belo Horizonte is clearly breaking some sort of copyright law.

But this is neither here nor there. Because I know what I did. I helped fund the mediocrization of Brazil. Because if there’s one thing Brazil doesn’t need, it’s a freakin’ Applebee’s.

Because while I won’t say that a big restaurant dynasty like Applebee’s showing up Brazil is a sign of the moral collapse that globalization brings, let me just say this: Applebee’s showing up Brazil is a sign of the moral collapse that globalization brings.

They already have McDonald’s in Brazil, and have for some time. Strangely enough, in Brazil, the empty calories they serve are expensive. There is no Dollar Value Meal at the McDonald’s in Brazil. There are a few other chain restaurants around, but not that many. Though I hear that Friday’s and Outback Steakhouse do well in some parts of Brazil. The latter because Brazilians don’t have enough places nearby to get a steak, I guess. And the former because Brazilians just don’t know how to relax after work, I suppose.

Anyway, I just feel awful about supporting Applebee’s, and I deserve your scorn. Because even if the global economy is helping Brazil out in some ways, it’s just not worth Brazilians selling their souls to eat at distinctly American, and distinctly crappy chain restaurants. Leave that to us Americans who were born and raised on this type of mediocrity.


Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles in Bad Portuguese

Did Sarah Palin threaten daughter Bristol with a shotgun from a helicopter?

February 18, 2009

So, did Sarah Palin threaten daughter Bristol with a shotgun from a helicopter if she had an abortion? No.

Anyway, here you’d think Mario Lopez’s shining face would guarantee integrity. Of course, it is “Extra,” so I don’t have any expectations, but I still think the concept of “Questionizing” everything has truly jumped the shark.

Sarah and Bristol Palin

Did Sarah Palin pressure her daughter? No. In fact, the question is answered within a dozen or so words. Enough following Fox News and it’s devious scheme of making any wild claim into a question. It’s stupid and unethical. It’s time for civil discourse, people.

Conservatives must all work tirelessly to prove Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen

February 17, 2009

I’m about to let you in on a little secret that will very likely cost me thousands and thousands of dollars. Because after I admit this, the spectacular funding I receive from Daily Kos, Media Matters, MoveOn and George Soros will dry up like paint in the Arizona sun. But I must do it. For I am an American before all else:

Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen and his rise to the Presidency is unlawful, unconstitutional and immoral.

I know this, of course, because I am liberal. All liberals are aware of these facts. But we are beholden to higher authorities and won’t admit it to anyone. Plus, we all hated George W. Bush with such an irrationality, that we’d have voted in Jacques Chirac just to mess with the heads of Conservatives.

I can’t really say much more about this, but I can verify some conspiracies:

The Facts

  • The Hawaii Department of Health refuses to verify that Obama was born in Hawaii - True.
  • The birth certificate given out for Obama by Hawaii is a fraud - True.
  • This nation is headed toward a vortex of a constitutional crisis. - True.
  • The divorce decree for Barack Obama’s father and mother indicates they had ‘one child under the age of eighteen, born in Kenya.’ True.
  • Obama traveled to Hawaii before the election to force Hawaii officials to alter his fake birth certificate, not visit his ailing grandmother. True.
  • Republicans have Obama’s real birth certificate. True.
  • Barack Obama helped Congress approve John McCain’s citizenship issues, which helped get him off the hook to have to produce any documentation himself. True.
  • Obama is both a US and a Kenyan citizen - True.
  • The birth announcement in the Honolulu Advertiser on Aug. 13, 1961. was planted by Obama’s grandparents just in case their grandson needed to prove his U.S. citizenship in order to run for president someday. - True.
  • In 1961, newspaper birth announcements like Obama’s came directly from the Vital Statistics Office as reported by local hospitals. True.
  • Obama is a British citizen due to his father’s British citizenship. True.
  • When Obama immigrated to Indonesia, he lost his US citizenship, while getting Indonesian Citizenship, since Indonesia does not allow dual citizenship. Obama reaffirmed his Indonesian citizenship and therefor relinquished his US citizenship yet again as an adult, while studying at Occidental College and traveling to Pakistan. True.
  • Obama was adopted by Lolo Soetoro and because of this he lost U.S. citizenship. Obama was known as “Barry Soetoro” for a few years - True.
  • The American news media are aiding and abetting Mr. Obama in defrauding 300 million American citizens. True.
  • Obama will soon begin to mobilize his unconstitutional ‘standing army of youthful activists’ and then give Amnesty to 20+ million illegal aliens and our hospitals will collapse; our $US dollar is to be converted to the North American ‘Amero’; and we citizens will begin answering to foreign courts and governments; then Martial Law will be declared. True.
  • Chief Justice Roberts intentionally misspoke during Obama’s swearing in because Roberts is in on the whole thing. True.
  • Obama murdered his grandmother to keep her from speaking out about him. True.

All of it is true
. Even the things that contradict each other. Especially the things that contradict each other. That is because Barack Obama is the most notorious criminal in the history of this planet. And he must be stopped. I’d help if I could, but I’m a liberal and I’m in enough trouble as it is. This job requires conservatives. Many, many conservatives, working around the clock, day after day, year after year, thinking only of Barack Obama’s birth.

Conservatives, it is up to all of you. It is time you all came together for a common cause and end this Obama charade. You must prove that Obama is, in fact, a British-Kenyan-Indonesian-Pakistan So get to your computers and stay there. Day after day, year after year. This is the only project worth anything, because if the Presidency is tainted, it’s only a matter of time before the Islamacists come and take over. And then America will die.

So Conservatives, it is time for you to come forth and start Web sites devoted only to the Obama citizenship issue . Because, in all sincerity, I truly believe you’ll all be doing this nation an incredible favor by doing nothing else but chasing around this conspiracy.

Thank you, and God Bless.


The sickness will remain

February 17, 2009

As the U.S. is confronted with an economic crisis that could end up leaving the nation’s economy an empty shell, it’s important to note how we got here. While there is plenty of finger-pointing go on about how the nation’s banks and mortgage companies managed to conduct a financial shell game, it is all really just a symptom of the overriding cultural problem the U.S. faces - We are a nation sick with greed, where the nation’s elite always thinks of dollar signs rather than humanity.

And nowhere is this more evident in this disturbing story from the New York Times about federal judges who sent undeserving minors to private prison camps for kickbacks.

[Judge] Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., and a colleague, Michael T. Conahan, appeared in federal court in Scranton, Pa., to plead guilty to wire fraud and income tax fraud for taking more than $2.6 million in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers run by PA Child Care and a sister company, Western PA Child Care.

While prosecutors say that Judge Conahan, 56, secured contracts for the two centers to house juvenile offenders, Judge Ciavarella, 58, was the one who carried out the sentencing to keep the centers filled.

“In my entire career, I’ve never heard of anything remotely approaching this,” said Senior Judge Arthur E. Grim, who was appointed by the State Supreme Court this week to determine what should be done with the estimated 5,000 juveniles who have been sentenced by Judge Ciavarella since the scheme started in 2003. Many of them were first-time offenders and some remain in detention.

The case has shocked Luzerne County, an area in northeastern Pennsylvania that has been battered by a loss of industrial jobs and the closing of most of its anthracite coal mines. …

… If the court agrees to the plea agreement, both judges will serve 87 months in federal prison and resign from the bench and bar. They are expected to be sentenced in the next several months. Lawyers for both men declined to comment.

Since state law forbids retirement benefits to judges convicted of a felony while in office, the judges would also lose their pensions.

With Judge Conahan serving as president judge in control of the budget and Judge Ciavarella overseeing the juvenile courts, they set the kickback scheme in motion in December 2002, the authorities said.

They shut down the county-run juvenile detention center, arguing that it was in poor condition, the authorities said, and maintained that the county had no choice but to send detained juveniles to the newly built private detention centers.

Prosecutors say the judges tried to conceal the kickbacks as payments to a company they control in Florida.

We are a sick people, indeed. And whether or not the economy rebounds, that sickness will continue until the almighty dollar is replaced with some basic humanity from the nation’s elite.


HT Dgun

Oba! “William K. Wolfrum Chronicles in Bad Portuguese” the new Brazilian sensation

February 17, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I invite you to a new blog project of mine. Sure, you likely won’t understand it, but I’m a realist - you probably don’t often understand what I’m babbling about here.

Nonetheless, I invite you all to view, promote, praise, deify, etc., my new Brazilian blog - “William K. Wolfrum Chronicles in Bad Portuguese.”

My reason for starting this new project is multi-fold. First off, I actually do live in Brazil, and have for about four years. And I’m starting to yearn to become more involved with the Brazilian culture. Secondly, my Portuguese is, as the sign says, “bad.” After four years, I still struggle. So this is a very positive outlet for me to improve on my language skills.

Mainly, I find it to be an interesting and fun challenge. Many of my posts there will be crossposted in English here at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles. But there will also be many “exclusives,” as it were, that I will write only in Portuguese (as best as I can.)

Have no fears, though (because I’m sensing some fear). I will continue to write several posts per day in English. I am an American, first and foremost, and the happenings of my country are my No. 1 motivation. Nonetheless, I do live here. So, being a man of two cultures, I am now working to become a blogger of two cultures.

So drop by “William K. Wolfrum Chronicles in Bad Portuguese” if you know Portuguese, if you are interested in Brazil, or if you just think I’m so cool that you’ll follow me anywhere. You know who I’m talking to.

Here’s to a fun and bilingual 2009.


A Colbertian destruction of Glenn Beck

February 17, 2009

I’m dealing with a slight case of blogger’s remorse this morning, as I feel bad for pointing out the time that Stephen Colbert mispronounced his own last name on camera. Mostly, I feel bad after watching Colbert’s epic tear down of Glenn Beck last week:

Seriously, Mr. Colbert, you feel free to call yourself anything you like after that.


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