From Pine View Farm

October, 2006 archive

The Damn Shame Is That It’s Believable 0

One hopes that Susie is not right, but one of the worst things the current Federal Administration has done is to make Susie’s scenario conceivable.

They have destroyed, through their complete lack of personal integrity, whatever trustworthiness the government had on January 20, 2001.


Booman Tribune has another equally disgusting theory.

Again, the sad thing is that the antics of the Bushies make this sort of thing plausible, frighteningly so.

It is a measure of their perfidy that sane people might believe these theories, advance them, and get a hearing.

The damage their lies have done to our polity is immeasurable.


I Spoke to My Son Today 4

He expects to be redeployed in January.

Back to Iraq.

Mission fucking accomplished my ass.

His life and the lives of his compatriots, upholding their oaths to the Constitution of the United States of America, mean nothing to the liars in the current Federal Administration, violating their oaths to the Constitution of the United States of America.

A pox upon them.


The Fighting 101st Keyboarders 0

What would we have done without them.

The Fighting 101st

Learn about them here.


How Dumb Can One Be? (Updated) 4

Update, 10/14/2006

Craig Schelske ran for office four years ago, though his website it still alive (that’s not really a surprise–my old AOL web address still works, though I left AOL almost three years ago).

As far as I am concerned, this in no way affects the point of my post, which is pretty much this: If you want to be in public life, you need to behave, or, at least, be conscientiously hypocritical. What kind of self-entitled arrogance leads one to misbehave, for heaven’s sake, on Craig’s List?

Oh, I guess it was the same type of self-entitled arrogance that led Congressman Cunningham to write out his bribe menu on a napkin, that led Congressman Ney–oh, never mind.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled flame wars.

* * * * * * *

Some years ago, the local school district went through a bad time. The Superintendent was sort of like, well, treating it as his own personal domain. What finally drove him from his job was the revelation that one of the school board members had purchased a refrigerator for him with school funds.

In the next school board election, the reform ticket carried the day (one of the winners in the election was the ex-principal of my children’s high school, who got fired for standing up to the Superintendent–sort of a delicious irony, that).

At the time, someone I knew suggested I run for the school board.

I declined. I’m too lazy to run for public office.

But, had I been interested, I still would have been deterred by the thought that, when someone runs for office, anything he or she has ever done may become ammunition.

Some of my fondest memories (waving a picket sign in Richard Nixon’s face, attending the Big One, conducting workshops at ISPI Conferences, watching my kids grow and mature), and some of my least fond memories, like the time I . . ., and the time I . . ., not to mention the time I . . . , would have been subject to discovery and use.

So how stupid is this? (from RawStory)

Lurid divorce story for GOP candidate, country singer Evans

Or have some politicians concluded they are beyond the law and beyond public opinion?

Oh, yeah. I forgot.

They are just following the lead of George W. III.


GWOT GeeWhat? 0

General William Odom, USA (Ret.), on the Global War on Terror and George W. III:

Edmund Burke, were he alive today, would say they do, judging by his opposition to the British policies that caused and lost the war against American independence. In his letter to the sheriffs of the city of Bristol in 1778, we can see the line of reasoning that he would voice today against the Guantanamo incarcerations, military tribunals, the use of the “terrorism” label, and the Patriot Act. Burke subjected the parliament’s American Treason Act to blistering criticism, noting that it was the ninth in a series of such ill-advised laws enacted to support its American policy, adding dryly that “our subjects diminish as our laws increase.” Today he could say to Americans that “your allies diminish as your counterterrorism laws increase.”

Burke was outraged that the American Treason Act provided for a partial suspension of habeas corpus and enabled the king’s administration “to confine, as long as it shall think proper, those, whom that act is pleased to qualify by the name of pirates.” Thus they could be “detained in prison…to a future trial and ignominious punishment, whenever circumstances shall make it convenient to execute vengeance on them under the colour of that odious and infamous offence.”

If one thinks of the Guantanamo prison and changes “piracy” to “terrorism,” then Burke’s charge sounds surprisingly contemporary. The “terrorism” label is a source of great mischief in U.S. policy today. So-called acts of terrorism are crimes if committed within a U.S. jurisdiction; they are acts of war if committed from abroad against U.S. citizens or interests. In other words, we have more precise terms for so-called terrorist acts, words far more appropriate for legal statutes.

Terrorism is a political label intended to whip up anger against one’s enemy, not to ensure justice in the due process of law. Shouting furiously at the world about the evils of “terrorism” makes the United States look hypocritical, if not downright silly and incompetent.


More Lies 0


Disclaimer: See FactCheck for a bipartisan list of lies and distortions, along with detailed analyses of each case. What leads me to highlight this particular one is it’s being a nationwide party strategy of deception (this surprises me how??) as opposed to smears and distortions within individual races.

Republicans are tagging Democratic opponents across the country for wanting to “give Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants.” But nobody’s proposing paying benefits to illegals, not until and unless they become US citizens.

The charge is a mischaracterization of part of the immigration bill that passed the Senate last May with a healthy bi-partisan majority, 62-36. Among hundreds of provisions in the bill is one that would allow naturalized immigrants to count taxes paid while they were still illegal towards their Social Security accounts – if and when they become citizens.

The measure has become a popular campaign issue for Republicans, particularly incumbent House members who raise it against their Democratic challengers. We have counted 29 GOP ads attacking Democrats with various versions of this misleading claim. Similar misconceptions about the measure were spread as part of a chain e-mail last spring and summer.

Along with this latest swarm of ads comes some related mischaracterizations, including a claim that the Senate plan “pays foreign workers more than Americans.” The Senate bill does have provisions to ensure that guest workers are paid no less than Americans. But no guest worker could be hired if a US citizen accepted the job.


Give Me a Break: One Born Every Minute Dept. 0

On the rare night I watch a little television, other than Law and Order reruns, I saw three ads for this.


Jeez oh man, there must be one born every minute.


Funny Money 3

Two interesting stories today about “Liberty Dollars“:

As preamble, at one time, almost any United States bank was allowed to issue its own money. Congress put a stop to that in the early days of the Republic. It caused monetary chaos and, if a bank failed, as happened from time to time in recessions, the money it issued became worthless.

From the Local Rag, a story about NORFED (the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and Internal Revenue Code) and its funny money.

Privately minted in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and made of silver, Liberty Dollars are a hedge against inflation because they have intrinsic value, according to the Indiana organization NORFED – the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and Internal Revenue Code – which began distributing them eight years ago.

Today, with more than $20 million in Liberty currency in circulation, the group claims a network of about 100,000 people who collect Liberty medallions, (known as “specie”; don’t call them coins), and 2,500 merchants nationally who accept them in trade. Pennsylvania is among the group’s 10 fastest-growing states, a spokesman said. (By comparison, a federal official said, there is an estimated $700 billion in official U.S. currency in circulation.)

Though competing with the almighty dollar might seem like a crackpot’s game, the U.S. Mint, fearing pollution of the wider money supply, takes the group seriously.

“We don’t want consumers to be fooled,” a mint spokeswoman said in a recent alert, adding that the Justice Department says it’s a crime to use Liberty Dollars as legal tender.

The Washington Post emphasizes the crime aspect more heavily:

The U.S. Mint acted after federal prosecutors around the country began forwarding inquiries about the coins. “We don’t take these consumer alerts lightly,” said spokeswoman Becky Bailey. “Merchants and banks are confronted by confused customers demanding they accept Liberty Dollars. These are not legal coin.”

NORFED responded to the Mint on its Web site. “Here it is in plain sight . . . the Liberty Dollar is not a coin, not legal tender, and backed with inflation proof gold and silver!”


Norfed encouraged people to keep doing “the drop,” referring to its advice to drop the coin into merchants’ hands so they can feel its weight.

That could land the dropper in prison, Bailey warns, for up to five years.

The U. S. Constitution seems to put the lie to NORFED’s claims that what it is doing is legal. NORFED can claim it’s not a coin, but, if it walks like a coin and quacks like a coin, it’s a coin. (Of course, they claim to be Republicans, a group which has become expert in serving us bologna and calling it steak.)

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;


To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures . . . .

I used to have a co-worker who believed those websites that claimed you could legally avoid paying your income taxes. I kept hoping he wouldn’t try it. What with all the metal detectors around today, it would have been difficult to slip him a cake with a file baked in it.


At first glance, this seems to be another one of those outfits for people who want the benefits of living in the modern world, but don’t want to pay for them, kind of like the average over-compensated CEO, though the SPLC thinks this group has more sinister aims.

All seriousness aside, people who promulgate and who believe this kind of fanciful propaganda undermine the social contract. If they refuse to pay their share, let them not drive on the roads, not use the hospitals, not send their children or grandchildren to public schools, not use the post office, and, most of all, not accept protection from the police, the military, and the FBI.

But, of course, they don’t want to put their money where their mouth is. They want to benefit from our tax money, while running their mouths and undermining the polity.


What Does the Future Hold in the Mideast? 0

The Guardian hazards a guess:

But what can be hazarded even in a best case is that the US is likely to be less engaged in the region in the future than in the past. That runs against the logic of the war on terror, and against the logic of the western world’s interest in the critical energy-producing countries, as well as being the opposite of the Bush administration’s idea of America as the conductor of a grand democratic Middle Eastern orchestra. But the normal results of a traumatic and costly intervention almost certainly will still apply, in a more cautious approach and in disillusion both with the supposed beneficiaries of American policy and with the reluctant European allies who either helped only a little or not at all.

Let us hope another made-up war does not prove them horribly wrong.


Ebay Gone Horribly Wrong 2

And you thought instant messaging was the biggest hazard . . .

A three-year-old Lincolnshire computer whizz bought a £9k car on eBay while his mum’s back was turned, the BBC reports.


Shoplift and Separate 2

German police are hunting a quartet of surgically-enhanced women who legged it without paying for their treatment, Bild reports.

To help them in their search, Cologne-based plastic surgeon Michael Koenig has provided law enforcement officials with post-operative pics of the four – including 26-year-old “Tanya’s” splendid new €8,000, 30C Bulgarian airbags, taken before their proud owners “went out for fresh air” and never came back.


If You Don’t Want To Get Caught . . . 0

Step One: Don’t Get Noticed

Three men wanted in a Dover home invasion were arrested after neighbors reported seeing their odd car — turquoise with tan fenders — just before the crime, state police said.


Lies and Liars (Updated) 0

Tonight’s comment from Keith Olbermann. He has earned the right to say, “Good Night and Good Luck.

“A special comment about lies and liars:”

Here is the transcript:

While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool …

While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover …

The president of the United States — unbowed, undeterred and unconnected to reality — has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: the Democrats.

Yesterday at a fundraiser for an Arizona congressman, Mr. Bush claimed, quote, “177 of the opposition party said, ‘You know, we don’t think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists.’”

The hell they did.

One hundred seventy-seven Democrats opposed the president’s seizure of another part of the Constitution.

Not even the White House press office could actually name a single Democrat who had ever said the government shouldn’t be listening to the conversations of terrorists.

President Bush hears what he wants.

Tuesday, at another fundraiser in California, he had said, “Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we’re attacked again before we respond.”

Mr. Bush fabricated that, too.

And evidently he has begun to fancy himself as a mind reader.

“If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party,” the president said at another fundraiser Monday in Nevada, “it sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is — wait until we’re attacked again.”

The president doesn’t just hear what he wants.

He hears things that only he can hear.

It defies belief that this president and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow.

Yet they do.

It is startling enough that such things could be said out loud by any president of this nation.

Rhetorically, it is about an inch short of Mr. Bush accusing Democratic leaders, Democrats, the majority of Americans who disagree with his policies of treason.

But it is the context that truly makes the head spin.

Just 25 days ago, on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this same man spoke to this nation and insisted, “We must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us.”

If your commitment to “put aside differences and work together” is replaced in the span of just three weeks by claiming your political opponents prefer to wait to see this country attacked again, and by spewing fabrications about what they’ve said, then the questions your critics need to be asking are no longer about your policies.

They are, instead, solemn and even terrible questions, about your fitness to fulfill the responsibilities of your office.

No Democrat, sir, has ever said anything approaching the suggestion that the best means of self-defense is to “wait until we’re attacked again.”

No critic, no commentator, no reluctant Republican in the Senate has ever said anything that any responsible person could even have exaggerated into the slander you spoke in Nevada on Monday night, nor the slander you spoke in California on Tuesday, nor the slander you spoke in Arizona on Wednesday … nor whatever is next.

You have dishonored your party, sir; you have dishonored your supporters; you have dishonored yourself.

But tonight the stark question we must face is — why?

Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists?

Why have you chosen to go down in history as the president who made things up?

In less than one month you have gone from a flawed call to unity to this clarion call to hatred of Americans, by Americans.

If this is not simply the most shameless example of the rhetoric of political hackery, then it would have to be the cry of a leader crumbling under the weight of his own lies.

We have, of course, survived all manner of political hackery, of every shape, size and party. We will have to suffer it, for as long as the Republic stands.

But the premise of a president who comes across as a compulsive liar is nothing less than terrifying.

A president who since 9/11 will not listen, is not listening — and thanks to Bob Woodward’s most recent account — evidently has never listened.

A president who since 9/11 so hates or fears other Americans that he accuses them of advocating deliberate inaction in the face of the enemy.

A president who since 9/11 has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack — attack by terrorists, or by Democrats, or by both — it is now impossible to find a consistent thread of logic as to who Mr. Bush believes the enemy is.

But if we know one thing for certain about Mr. Bush, it is this: This president — in his bullying of the Senate last month and in his slandering of the Democrats this month — has shown us that he believes whoever the enemies are, they are hiding themselves inside a dangerous cloak called the Constitution of the United States of America.

How often do we find priceless truth in the unlikeliest of places?

I tonight quote not Jefferson nor Voltaire, but Cigar Aficionado Magazine.

On Sept. 11th, 2003, the editor of that publication interviewed General Tommy Franks, at that point, just retired from his post as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command — of Cent-Com.

And amid his quaint defenses of the then-nagging absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or the continuing freedom of Osama bin Laden, General Franks said some of the most profound words of this generation.

He spoke of “the worst thing that can happen” to this country:

First, quoting, a “massive casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western World — it may be in the United States of America.”

Then, the general continued, “the Western World, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years, in this grand experiment that we call democracy.”

It was this super-patriotic warrior’s fear that we would lose that most cherished liberty, because of another attack, one — again quoting General Franks — “that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass-casualty-producing event. Which, in fact, then begins to potentially unravel the fabric of our Constitution.”

And here we are, the fabric of our Constitution being unraveled, anyway.

Habeus corpus neutered; the rights of self-defense now as malleable and impermanent as clay; a president stifling all critics by every means available and, when he runs out of those, by simply lying about what they said or felt.

And all this, even without the dreaded attack.

General Franks, like all of us, loves this country, and believes not just in its values, but in its continuity.

He has been trained to look for threats to that continuity from without.

He has, perhaps been as naïve as the rest of us, in failing to keep close enough vigil on the threats to that continuity from within.

Secretary of State Rice first cannot remember urgent cautionary meetings with counterterrorism officials before 9/11. Then within hours of this lie, her spokesman confirms the meetings in question. Then she dismisses those meetings as nothing new — yet insists she wanted the same cautions expressed to Secretaries Ashcroft and Rumsfeld.

Mr. Rumsfeld, meantime, has been unable to accept the most logical and simple influence of the most noble and neutral of advisers. He and his employer insist they rely on the “generals in the field.” But dozens of those generals have now come forward to say how their words, their experiences, have been ignored.

And, of course, inherent in the Pentagon’s war-making functions is the regulation of presidential war lust.

Enacting that regulation should include everything up to symbolically wrestling the Chief Executive to the floor.

Yet—and it is Pentagon transcripts that now tell us this—evidently Mr. Rumsfeld’s strongest check on Mr. Bush’s ambitions, was to get somebody to excise the phrase “Mission Accomplished” out of the infamous Air Force Carrier speech of May 1st, 2003, even while the same empty words hung on a banner over the President’s shoulder.

And the vice president is a chilling figure, still unable, it seems, to accept the conclusions of his own party’s leaders in the Senate, that the foundations of his public position, are made out of sand.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But he still says so.

There was no link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaida.

But he still says so.

And thus, gripping firmly these figments of his own imagination, Mr. Cheney lives on, in defiance, and spreads—around him and before him—darkness, like some contagion of fear.

They are never wrong, and they never regret — admirable in a French torch singer, cataclysmic in an American leader.

Thus, the sickening attempt to blame the Foley scandal on the negligence of others or “the Clinton era”—even though the Foley scandal began before the Lewinsky scandal.

Thus, last month’s enraged attacks on this administration’s predecessors, about Osama bin Laden—a projection of their own negligence in the immediate months before 9/11.

Thus, the terrifying attempt to hamstring the fundament of our freedom—the Constitution—a triumph for al Qaida, for which the terrorists could not hope to achieve with a hundred 9/11’s.

And thus, worst of all perhaps, these newest lies by President Bush about Democrats choosing to await another attack and not listen to the conversations of terrorists.

It is the terror and the guilt within your own heart, Mr. Bush, that you redirect at others who simply wish for you to temper your certainty with counsel.

It is the failure and the incompetence within your own memory, Mr. Bush, that leads you to demonize those who might merely quote to you the pleadings of Oliver Cromwell: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear, Sir.

It is your own—before 9/11 – and (and you alone know this), perhaps afterwards.

Mr. President, these new lies go to the heart of what it is that you truly wish to preserve.

It is not our freedom, nor our country—your actions against the Constitution give irrefutable proof of that.

You want to preserve a political party’s power. And obviously you’ll sell this country out, to do it.

These are lies about the Democrats — piled atop lies about Iraq — which were piled atop lies about your preparations for al Qaida.

To you, perhaps, they feel like the weight of a million centuries — as crushing, as immovable.

They are not.

If you add more lies to them, you cannot free yourself, and us, from them.

But if you stop — if you stop fabricating quotes, and building straw-men, and inspiring those around you to do the same — you may yet liberate yourself and this nation.

Please, sir, do not throw this country’s principles away because your lies have made it such that you can no longer differentiate between the terrorists and the critics.

A noble plea. No doubt it will fall in deaf ears.

For, clearly, the current Federal Administrator has decided that anyone who does not bend to his way is an E-Vil Doo-Er.

For he’s always right, and he’s never wrong.

He is, in fact, syrup of ipecac.

Addendum, 10/6/2006

Dan Froomkin


Air Bags 11

Creative new uses of old products:

A Bulgarian woman driver escaped relatively unscathed from a head-on pile-up with another vehicle when her 40DD breast implants absorbed most of the impact, Ananova reports.


Pipeline 0





Russian customs officers have unearthed a mile-long pipeline through which ingenious smugglers were pumping home-made vodka to Latvia, Ananova reports.

The tube was discovered six feet underground in Buholovo by workmen digging holes to plant trees. Local border cop Yakov Kabanov said: “We had our suspicions that there was someone running hooch across the border here but we could never figure out how they managed it.


Give Me a Break: Small Minds Dept. 2

Oh, man.

A suburban county that sparked a public outcry when its libraries temporarily eliminated funding for Spanish-language fiction is now being asked to ban Harry Potter books from its schools.

Laura Mallory, a mother of four, told a hearing officer for the Gwinnett County Board of Education on Tuesday that the popular fiction books are an “evil” attempt to indoctrinate children in the Wicca religion.

And the Tarzan stories were designed to get persons to live in the jungle with animals.



The Problem with the Republic 0

A little while ago, I commented on the Local Rag’s editorial about the current Federal Administration’s Concentration Camps.

That editorial evoked a letter to the editor today:

The Sept. 29 editorial “Welcome to Guantánamo” was sarcastic and made fun of our president. That’s fine; it’s your right, but it was nasty and silly. What it said is: We care more about how murderers are treated (not tortured, mind you, but simply “harshly treated,” to paraphrase you) than the safety of our citizens, including women and children whom these terrorists kill.

Here, of course, is the disconnect: There is no proof that any of the persons held in Guantanamo are murderers, though some probably are. There is ample proof that many of them just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But the writer of the letter has convicted everyone in Guantanamo on the say-so of one man: the current Federal Administrator.

Perhaps a danger to society like the 78-year-old man shown below, recently released, with five years gone out of the rest of his life:


Think of that: It took the current Federal Administration five years to conclude that this man was likely not a “combatant.”

This Administrator is the same man who wants to use secret trials, to use “evidence” collected through torture, and to deny the simplest protections that are the underpinnings of justice.

Remember also the history of the label, “enemy combatant.” The current Federal Administration created that phrase so it did not have to use other terms, such as “criminal” or “prisoner of war,” because, had it used those terms, it would have had to obey the law regarding how they treated the captives. Heaven forbid that, for we seem no longer to live under the rule of law.

Their goal was, by changing the label, to release themselves from any obligation to deal with their captives within the bounds of civilized behavior, including the captives’ rights to be a actually implicated in something before being detained, to have their treatment monitored by the Red Cross, to humane treatment.

If we allow one person to arrogate to himself the right to pronounce guilt or innocence, we forfeit our liberty.

But all the letter-writer seems to grasp is that the persons in Guantanamo must be murderers.

I guess the writer’s reasoning goes, “Hey! Otherwise George III Bush wouldn’t have put them there in the first place.”

But, then, again, we know the persons held in America’s Concentration Camps must be guilty. The current Federal Administration says they are, and we have ample proof of the Federal Administration’s voraciousness veracity, now, don’t we?

Oh, yeah, there’s this:

When Pigs Fly

Sorry. My mind seems to have wondered. What was the topic?

Oh, yeah. The problem with the republic.

I’m not sure, but I think part of it is folks who don’t recognize that, if you do not have “justice for all,” you have justice for none.


Whither the Union 0

Professor Cole:

The United States has a one-party state. The presidency, the vice presidency, the cabinet, the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court– are all and have for some time been in the hands of the same party. Not only that, but the most extreme factions within the Republican Party: the theocrats, the Neoconservative ex-Trotskiyites, the John Yoo Torture Apologists, the Grover Norquist advocates of Mr. Scrooge plutocracy, the corrupt Abramoffist lobbyists and Delayist horse thieves–they are ascendant. Parties don’t investigate themselves. They are about power, interests, and money. They are about winning. They aren’t a charity.


Chillin’ 2

Last night my girlfriend noticed that the fridge was looking a little peaked.
This morning, it showed positive signs of running a fever. Now, old GE was 21 years old and didn’t owe me a dime, so it was off to Lowes.

Half an hour later I was on my way home with the new refridgerator in the back of my little yellow truck.


And hour later, I had the door flip-flopped, took another shower, and went to work.

And the new fridge was chillin’.

Why Lowes?

Well, several years back, we were in the market for a clothes washer.

We went to the local Best Buy and found one we liked.

No one was available to take our order. The only person authorized to order large appliances was tied up with a couple who, apparently, were buying every single possible appliance they might need for a new house.

I went back the next night and told Mr. I’m the Only Person Competent To Sell Large Appliances, “I have half an hour. After that, I’m outta here.” Twenty-nine and one-half minutes later he got to me. Two minutes later, I was outta there with the order placed.

The thing arrived on-time, three days later. I picked it up and installed it. Ex came back from a business trip and noticed it had a dent (no, I didn’t dent it).

I took it back. The returns guy was great–sent someone out the take it off the van, was courteous, and prompt. Then he asked, “Do you want a check or would you like the reorder?”

I said, “I’d like to reorder.”

He said, “Then you’ll have to see that man over there,” pointing to Mr. I’m the Only Person Competent To Sell Large Appliances.

I asked, “You mean you can’t just place the order from here?”

He said he was not allowed to.

I said, “Give me a check.”

Then I remembered there was a Lowes five minutes up the road. I went up there, and 20 minutes later, I was on the way home with the SAME IDENTICAL WASHING MACHINE in the back of the van. For $10 less.

To this day, I avoid Best Buys–I go to CompUSA for computer stuff. If I do get desparate enough to go to a Best Buy, I will not purchase anything that I can’t take out of the store in my hands.

And Lowes? That’s where I will forever more purchase my large appliance. And anything else that they carry, from lumber to cabinet knobs.


Patriotboy Gets Serious 0

About legalizing torture.

Well said.


I target patriotism almost daily with my satire, but it’s not a love for country I mock, rather it is the simple-minded nationalism of the right; a patriotism that values symbols over substance; a patriotism that drives legislators who angrily acted to ban flag burning to pass a law gutting our Bill of Rights.

The basic values I love most, the ideals that made me proud to be an American, due process, habeas corpus, the proscriptions against cruel and unusual punishment and the use of coercion to compel confession were destroyed in the name of that kind of patriotism yesterday. Our America, liberal America, died with those ideals.

When the Founders wrote the Declaration, they wrote

that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. . . .

Not some men. Not white men (though they weasel-worded on slavery). Not just “men we agree with.” The ideal, which they stated from their imperfect world: all men.

Now, the Declaration is not the Constitution.

The Constitution says, inter alia,

Article I, Section 9: The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it. . . .

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Now, there is no invasion. Invaders are not assaulting our beaches.

There is no rebellion. There is a threat, but it is localized outside of our borders.

But the current Federal Administration, with its pornographic fascination with causing pain to others, betrays the vision of Founders and steals our freedom, sells out the vision, sells out the heritage which has at one time made the United States of America, for all its faults, a hope for the world.