From Pine View Farm

January, 2008 archive

Unsafe on Any Ballot 3


Ralph Nader has formed a presidential exploratory committee, and said in an interview Wednesday that he will launch another presidential bid if he’s convinced he can raise enough money to appear on the vast majority of state ballots this fall.

Via TBogg.


Skate of the Union 0

Dick Polman parses the State of the Union Address.

I won’t even try to summarize or excerpt it.

I’ll just recommend it to you. Here.

The long national nightmare may soon be over.


Empty Suits and Other Trick Games 1

Empty Suit four and a half, McCain one half, the others one each.

From Fact Check dot org. Follow the link for the full analysis:

With a nationwide wave of nominating contests looming next week, Republican presidential candidates held their last scheduled debate against the backdrop of Ronald Reagan’s retired Air Force One. But we found some of the candidates’ facts just won’t fly.

  • Romney complained that McCain used “the wrong data” about job creation to support his assertion that Massachusetts had ranked 47th among the 50 states while Romney was governor. Romney was wrong; McCain was correct.
  • Romney said his hundreds of millions of dollars in “fee increases” merely caught up with years of inflation and weren’t tax increases in disguise. Independent budget experts contradict him on that.
  • Romney said the over-budget costs of his Massachusetts health care plan were due to changes made by his successor. Authorities on the plan say that’s mostly untrue; costs went up because more people than expected signed up for state-subsidized insurance.
  • Romney wrongly claimed McCain’s anti-global-warming bill would boost gasoline prices by up to 50 cents per gallon. Actually, the official estimate is 40 cents for most vehicles, and not until the year 2025.
  • McCain and Romney traded oversimplified assertions regarding a “timetable” for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.
  • Huckabee cited a Heritage Foundation study to back up his assertion that rebates to taxpayers aren’t as good a way to stimulate the economy as the highway construction he favors. In fact, the study does disparage rebates but urges tax cuts instead, not increased spending.
  • Ron Paul repeated his claim that defending the U.S. “empire” is costing “a trillion dollars a year.” But the dubious figure includes costs such as the entire Veterans Affairs budget. Paul also claimed “nobody” is talking about cutting spending, even as his rivals did so 14 times during the same debate.

By the way, a thought occurred to me as I read John Cole’s musings, quoted here:

As to Romney, I have thought about this a good deal, and I simply can not narrow down what exactly it is that thoroughly repulses me about him. It isn’t the Mormonism, as I couldn’t care less about people and their religion unless they are chucking it in my face. I think it is equal parts his naked opportunism, who is supporting him (Hugh and company), and the fact that he is the one individual in the race that when I look at him, my inner self says “he is so totally full of shit.” I haven’t been so thoroughly convinced someone was full of it every time they opened their mouth since, well… Bill Clinton. It really is a mystery why I can not stand the man so much- he isn’t as objectionable as Tancredo or some of the others, but I just have had a knee-jerk dislike of the man since the beginning.

Maybe it’s the emptiness in the suit.

Empty Suit is touting his experience as a “management consultant.”

One of the definitions of a “management consultant” is someone who is more than 50 miles away from home, carrying a Blackberry, who charges [mumble] hundreds of dollars an hour to tell the client what the client wants to hear.

Considering how consistently Mitt the Flip has changed his positions in the past year, it seems pretty clear that he can’t figure out what this client–the American electorate–wants to hear.

His business model is crashing about his ears, because he now has to think for himself.

And the OEM “think-for-yourself” equipment seems to have shorted out.


Time Machine 0

Tommywonk looks at then and now.


Bushonomics 0

Cold economy:

Dover officials are seeing an increase in the number of Dover utility customers who are failing to pay their bills.

The city collected more than $250,000 last year in bounced check fees and fees charged to reconnect customers who have had their electricity turned off. That’s nearly $50,000 more than the amount collected in 2006, which was nearly $50,000 more than collected in 2005.

Kathy Divver, customer service manager at the city’s utility office, thinks people are having a harder time making ends meet.


Let’s Just Go Live in a Plastic Bubble with No Stimuli Whatsoever 0

Being alive is hazardous to your health.

For rabid fans of the New York Giants and New England Patriots, this Sunday’s Super Bowl won’t be just a game. It may be a health hazard. Heart attacks and other cardiac emergencies doubled in Munich, Germany, when that nation’s soccer team played in World Cup matches, a new study reports.

While history suggests European soccer fans can get a bit more worked up than the average American football fan, doctors think there are some valid warnings to be shared.

“I know a little bit about the Super Bowl,” study author Dr. Gerhard Steinbeck of Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich said in a telephone interview. “It’s reasonable to think that something quite similar might happen.”

On second thought, forget the bubble thing. It’s been tried.


I Can’t Argue with This 0



Fly the Friendly Skies 1

And I thought Southwest was the way to go:

From El Reg:

A German company will later this year launch flights for nudists, aimed specifically at former East Germans who pine for the good old days under Communism when just about the only thing that wasn’t illegal was getting your kit off.

The service will run from 5 July from Erfurt in southeast Germany to the Baltic Sea island of Usedom, with 50 unclothed passengers stumping €499 a pop to fly as nature intended.


Bushonomics 0

Delaware Liberal has the skinney.



Whenever I hear a reference to the bank, UBS, I cannot help but think of Martin Mull’s old television show, Fernwood 2Night, on the mythical UBS network, the motto of which was

We put You before the BS.

Still so true.


The “Protect America (Yeah, Right) Act” in a Nutshell 0

More commentary here.

Via Talking Points Memo.


Empty Suit 0


Let’s be perfectly honest here: Mitt Romney is a businessman and, on top of that, he has a Master of the Universe view of himself, and when he spends millions of his own dollars and he still can’t buy a thrill from the electorate, he’s going to be bitter at the fools who refuse to buy what he’s selling . . . .

Under normal circumstances I would say that Romney would be playing for a tie, in this case a brokered convention, where he undoubtedly believes that he could attempt to convince the powers that be (as opposed to the stupid fucking yokels who vote in primaries) that he is the man. But even the powers that be have to see that the more people see of Romney, the less they like him. That’s not the message that every dollar of his campaign has set out to sell, but that’s the one that’s being received.

Josh Marshall:


Why I’m Glad I No Longer Live in Pennsylvania 2

Because it’s a really messed up state commonwealth:

Mary Jo Pletz was really, really good at eBay. But now the former stay-at-home mom and gonzo Internet retailer fears a maximum $10 million fine for selling 10,000 toys, antiques, videos, sports memorabilia, books, tools and infant clothes on eBay without an auctioneer’s license.

An official from the Department of State knocked on Pletz’s white-brick ranch here north of Allentown in late December 2006 and said her Internet business, D&J Virtual Consignment, was being investigated for violating state laws.

“I was dumbfounded,” said Pletz, who led the dark-suited investigator to a side patio area where he grilled her. “I told him I would just shut down,” she said.

The Pletz case has unleashed a political storm in Harrisburg over what – if anything – should be done about regulating Internet auctions in Pennsylvania.

Words fail me.

Ebay is certainly not an auction house as contemplated by the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Of course, it’s the same state commonwealth where the lawmakers are quite happy voting themselves a huge raise in the dead of night.


Why I’m Sorry that My Local CompUSA Is Closing 1

’cause Best Buy doesn’t have a clue.

I’ve already told my washing machine story.

This beats it:

I walked into a Best Buy the other day. We are seeking some price discounts on thumb drives…our K4K kids will need them soon and we need to purchase them in bulk. Just price shopping, but as always, my Linux Hat is on and I usually do not pass an opportunity to spread the word. Even to folks who have obviously heard of Linux or maybe have even tried it on occasion.

Like a member of the Geek Squad (obligatory *tm inserted to please our attorney.)

It did not raise a flicker within the eye of awareness. Not a word I said.

This “Computer professional”…this “Knower-Of-All-Things-Computer”.

He did not have a clue. Not a clue.

I had no choice. I spent the next ten minutes educating him…telling him about the technology and the advantages of the GNU/Linux Operating System. His first response almost took my breath.

“That is not possible. Microsoft would not allow it.”

Follow the link. Read the whole post.

(Especially you, Opie. He uses a Ubuntu live CD with Beryl to make his point.)

Back to Dalco and Radio Slum.


L’Etat, C’est Lui 6

Or so he thinks:

Even though he forced Congress to change its original bill, Bush’s signature yesterday came with a little-noticed signing statement, claiming that provisions in the law “could inhibit the President’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations.” CQ reports on the provisions Bush plans to disregard:

    One such provision sets up a commission to probe contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another expands protections for whistleblowers who work for government contractors. A third requires that U.S. intelligence agencies promptly respond to congressional requests for documents. And a fourth bars funding for permanent bases in Iraq and for any action that exercises U.S. control over Iraq’s oil money.

In his “Memorandum of Justification” for the waiver, Bush cited his Nov. 26 “Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship” between Iraq and the United States. This agreement has been aggressively opposed by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress as not only unprecedented, but also potentially unconstitutional because it was enacted without the agreement of the legislation branch.

So little Bushie Boy had a temper tantrum because the elected representatives of the people of the United States of America incongruously assembled passed a law he didn’t like.

So he’s just going to ignore the law.


So take that, people of the United States of America!


He’s the king. You are forbidden to tell him no.


Skate of the Union 0

I didn’t watch the speech, as I promised here.

Reading the post mortems, I can say quite certainly I didn’t miss a thing.

From Fact Check dot org:

Bush pretty much stuck to the facts in his final State of the Union address. But he chose his facts carefully and didn’t always tell the whole story (and this surprises us how?–ed.)

  • He correctly noted that the number of jobs has grown steadily for a record 52 straight months. But the number of jobs gained is a fraction of the gains made during Bill Clinton’s years, and wage gains have been eaten up by inflation.
  • He claimed his proposal to give tax deductions for those who buy their own health insurance will “put private coverage within reach for millions.” Some say that’s true, but other experts doubt it. And even the most optimistic say his plan would still leave the large majority of the uninsured without any coverage.
  • He said “we” foiled a terrorist plot to blow up U.S.-bound airliners over the Atlantic, but the plot was actually uncovered by the British, as Bush himself said in last year’s State of the Union address.
  • He talked tough about pork-barrel spending, saying he’d issue an executive order for agencies to ignore more Congressional “earmarks.” But he delayed the effect until November, rather than making it effective with the current fiscal year.

On other matters, Bush noted that he has begun bringing troops home from Iraq, which is true, though troop levels have been reduced by only a few thousand since the peak of the surge. He said more than 80,000 Iraqis are fighting terrorists, a figure that includes at least 60,000 “concerned local citizens” who are being paid by the U.S. He was mostly correct in describing progress in test scores since his No Child Left Behind Act was passed, but he overlooked some recent backsliding in reading scores and the fact that some test scores were on an upward trend before the new law went into effect.


The Jumping Frog of Clabasas County 0

With apologies to Samuel L. Clemens.

It’s amazing how much money people get for running companies into the ground:

Countrywide Financial said on Monday that Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo, a lightening rod for criticism over the subprime- lending meltdown, is giving up a $37.5 million severance package.

The package is less than a quarter of the money Mozilo collected selling Countrywide stock in 2007 as the company’s shares slumped almost 80%.

The Calabasas, Calif., lender said Mozilo is giving up cash severance payments, post-closing consulting fees and continued perquisites that he was owed in connection with the mortgage lender’s takeover by Bank of America (BAC).

There’s something wrong about rewarding executives for failure.

But in the closed-bubble world of American CEO’s, overpaying incompetence is somehow seen as attracting the best talent.

It seems to be sort of like professional football coaches.

The losers keep being recycled to new teams at higher salaries.


Framed 0

There’s a reason I always preferred CompUSA:

Big box retailer Best Buy has admitted that it sold digital picture frames over the festive period containing malicious software that targets Windows-based PCs.

The US electrical retail giant said that a “limited number” of the LCD panels were “contaminated with a computer virus during the manufacturing process”. It sold the 10.4 inch flat-panel frames, which display digital images, under its in-house Insignia brand.


There Are Gun Nuts . . . 1

. . . Then There Are Gun Nuts.

A Dallas man who accidently shot himself in the head while “showing off his pistol to friends” at a party last Saturday looks certain to make the 2008 Darwin Awards nominations.

According to the Dallas Morning News Andreous Robinson, 20, had been partying with chums in West Dallas when he decided to pop outside at around 1am and fire off a few rounds skywards.

Homicide officer Sgt. Bruce McDonald explained that Robinson “then came back inside and thought that he’d discharged all of the rounds, so he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger”.

Robinson’s counting skills proved inadequate, and he was later pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital.


Drinking Liberally 0

Brendan suggests going there to drown your sorrows tomorrow after watching the Straightjacket of the Union screech tonight.

I don’t plan to watch the screech.

I’m tired of the lies and really don’t see any point to subjecting myself voluntarily to them.

If you plant to watch it, drink and play bingo.

But I’m still going to try to be at Tangier Restaurant, 18th and Lombard, Philadelphia, 6 p. m. to 9 p.m., tomorrow evening.

I’d say the odds are about 60-40 that I’ll make it.

So be there in case I can’t.

Bingo card via Susie.