Monday, November 1, 2010

Watch out world: your 4 yr old can now be sued!

Yep, as of Oct 1st, when Justice Paul Wooten of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, found a young girl accused of running down an elderly woman while racing a bicycle with training wheels on a Manhattan sidewalk two years ago can be sued for negligence.

The judge did not find that the tyke was liable, merely that she can be sued.

The relevant facts are as follows... In April of 2009, Jacob Kohn and Juliet Breitman, both 4, were racing their bicycles on the sidewalk of East 52nd St, while being watched by their mothers, Rachel Kohn and Dana Breitman. At some point in their race, they struck an 87-year-old woman, Claire Menagh, who was walking in front of the building and was subsequently “seriously and severely injured,” suffering a hip fracture that required surgery. She died three months later of unrelated causes, and her estate then brought a suit against the kids and their parents.

The Breitmans lawyers argued that the girl was not “engaged in an adult activity” at the time of the accident and was too young to be held liable for negligence. The Kohns did not try to dismiss the action against them. But, the judge found that while "infants under the age of 4 are conclusively presumed incapable of negligence" Juliet was 3 months shy of her 5th birthday, and there is no bright line rule for those over the age of 4.

He went on to say “A parent’s presence alone does not give a reasonable child carte blanche to engage in risky behavior such as running across a street,” the judge wrote. He added that any “reasonably prudent child,” who presumably has been told to look both ways before crossing a street, should know that dashing out without looking is dangerous, with or without a parent there. Judge Wooten state that the crucial factor is whether the parent encourages the risky behavior; if so, the child should not be held accountable. Here, however, Mrs. Breitman was not cheering her tyke on as she crashed into an elderly woman.

I find it a bit scary that 4 year olds can be held liable. But it seems a sign of the times, our kids have to grow up faster than ever before. Liable at 4 and potentially sexting or drinking by 12... it's a scary, scary world these days.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Obama Streaker Update

So apparently the Obama streaking does not count. WHAT? According to SiFy news, Alki David does not want to pay unless the White House acknowledges that Obama saw Mr. Rodriquez's nasty bits. Really? REALLY? You want the WHITE HOUSE to acknowledge that the PRESIDENT saw a naked man? First and foremost, the White House is not going to comment, and good for them for not descending to your asinine level Mr. David; second - pay the man the million dollars, he was naked within 10 ft of the president.

Apparently instead, in exchange for an undisclosed sum, Juan Rodriguez has agreed with Alki David to try to streak again, in front of another undisclosed head of state. David apparently spoke with Rodriguez directly, and told the NY Post "Mr. Rodriguez agreed that he was not able to complete all the criteria of the challenge. But he came so very close, and his personal story about why he decided to take such a risk for his family, moved me to provide him with a generous consolation prize."

My thoughts are - you're settling with him Mr. David, you're settling with him so he doesn't sue for the promised $1 million AND damages. However, David has said that despite the "failed attempt," (his words) he has agreed to pay all Rodriguez's sister's hospital bills, Rodriguez's rent for the next year and will provide him with an additional undisclosed amount of cash. This is not too bad, because the rent is supposedly $1,600 a month, and medical bills can get quite, quite costly, so hopefully Rodriguez recovers a couple hundred thousand. It's the least, the very least, Mr. David can do.

Additionally I think Mr. David should pay all of Rodriguez's legal bills. But that may just be me, the rest of you may feel that Rodriguez should pay for his own stupidity.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Obama Streaker Shouldn't Be the One to Pay!

So as most of you probably know, President Obama got to see a naked man the other day. Not that its likely that he had any desire to see Juan James Rodriguez's manly bits, nor is it likely he had to see them long before Rodriguez was hauled off by the cops, but still nudity occurred.

And Mr. Rodriguez got certainly more than he himself bargained for. Roidriguez was egged on by a website, which stipulated it would pay US $1,000,000 to anyone who streaked in front of the president, with the website name written on his or her chest and shouted the website's name 6 times.

However, instead of an easy million, Rodriguez was arrested, charged with indecent exposure, public lewdness, and disorderly conduct and only released on $10,000 bail. He also claims he spent $1,300 of his own money for the prank, some of it on the specially designed tear-away T-shirt and shorts he wore. Now, regardless of the validity of his own spending on his pre-nudity costume, it is likely that he will have to shell out quite a bit in legal fees and court fees in order to keep himself out of serious trouble.

However, the internet mogul Alki David, who's promoted this insane act, is now saying he's not sure Rodriguez met the terms of the wager. "It's a lot of money," David is quoted as saying. "We're not going to give the money away lightly." WHAT?!? You'll advertise that you give away this money lightly, and it didn't strike you as a lot of money when you put the offer up on your website. And seeing all of the stupid things people are willing to do on TV for far less money, you HAD to have a reasonable suspicion that someone would follow through on this nonsense.

Not only do I believe that David should have to pay up, and soon, I also believe he should share in the legal repercussions. He knows that being fully nude is pretty much illegal in all of the States, and he knows that conducting nonsense around and near the President of the US is also pretty much always illegal. He point blank incited illegal activities, and I don't think that Rodriguez should be the only one to suffer. You shouldn't be allowed to pull ridiculous pranks just because you are rich and escape scott-free.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A car that drives me? Sign me up!

Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently announced that the search engine giant is actively testing autonomous cars and has already logged 140,000 miles with its test autos.

The way these cars work is through the use of sensors, video cameras and laser range finders in tandem with info collected by manually driven vehicles that Google has sent out to various map routes. The automated cars is then relayed the info gathered by the other cars after it is processed at Google’s data centers.

One of the primary goals of these cars is to, not only, cut energy consumption but to also cut the amount of deaths currently caused by traffic accidents (roughly 1.2 million people per year). Google hopes that with these cars, traffic accidents can mostly be avoided; because even when a human doesn’t see something coming, the car will and will then act accordingly.

Although these vehicles are self-driving, none of them have yet to make a journey without a driver present to take over and additionally, police officers have always been told as to what is going on when tests have been conducted.

If you're interested in more info, you can read more about it here - LINK! And although skeptics think that a fully automated car is a long way off, I'm still hopeful, I would love to be able to sleep my way through my commute.

Monday, October 11, 2010

This week in stupid lawsuits: Paris Hilton vs Hallmark

This just in, Paris Hilton and Hallmark have finally settled their lawsuit over the use of the catchphrase "that's hot."

Hilton recently sued the Kansas City greeting card maker for portraying her as a waitress in a diner handing a patron a plate and using her "trademark" "that's hot" line. I find the lawsuit completely ridiculous in that Hilton is far from the first person to ever utter the phrase, which she unsuccessfully tried to claim as a tradmark in 2007.

Hallmark argued the card was in the "public interest," which is laughable since Hilton hasn't been of public interest (minus recently being declared persona non grata in Japan) since before her suit was filed in 2007.

The terms of the settlement are unknown and not released by either party, but Hilton had been demanding $500,000. The only word out of Hallmark is the settlement was from the Judge, in that it was a "mutually acceptable conclusion," which hopefully means Hallmark won't be producing any more Hilton cards. And hopefully no one else will for that matter.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Capital Punishment Thoughts

So last Friday morning at 9am, the State of Virginia executed its first woman prisoner since 1912. Teresa Lewis, 41, was put to death for plotting the murders of her husband and stepson with two accomplices. Lewis was convicted of "masterminding" the affair in which two accomplices actually committed the murder. The accomplices received life in prison (where one of them committed suicide) but Lewis will be executed, as the Supreme Court has refused to hear her case, and the governor did not pardon her.

What's sad is that later evidence has shown that Lewis had somewhat diminished mental capacity, even though she meets the level to stand trial in VA, and it really looks as if she was manipulated in the whole sorry state of affairs.

The crucial piece of evidence that her attorneys wanted considered by the Supreme Court was a letter from one her 22 year old co-conspirators who she had entered into an affair with before agreeing to the murders. Matthew Shallenberger, who killed himself in jail in 2006, wrote a suicide note, in which he claimed full responsibility for the murder plot and suggested that he pushed Lewis into it. It read ... "From the moment I met her I knew she was someone who could be easily manipulated," he allegedly wrote. "Killing Julian and Charles Lewis was entirely my idea. I needed money, and Teresa was an easy target."

However, this evidence wasn't heard, and Lewis had a lethal injection. I feel bad for her. I'm not saying that she shouldn't have spent the rest of her life in prison, but I feel that if the men who committed the actual murders got life in prison, then it's a little unfair to execute a conspirator who didn't pull a trigger.

But I guess I feel that the whole capital punishment in unfair across the board. A couple of years ago, I went to a panel discussion on it, and met both the brother of the unibomber and the brother of Manny Babbitt, a Marine Corp, Vietnam Vet. The brother of the unabomber, who caused untold pain, managed to avoid the death penalty, whereas Babbitt didn't.

Babbitt earned a Purple Heart for courage under fire in the Vietnam war. He was hit by rocket shrapnel that opened his skull, he lost consciousness and was thought to be dead. He was loaded onto a pile of corpses by helicopter operators where he later regained consciousness, surrounded by severed limbs and bodies. He returned from Vietnam suffering from PTSD, exhibiting bizarre and violent behavior. Eventually he broke into the home of Leah Shendel, an elderly woman, and beat her. She later died of a heart attack.

His brother, Bill, turned him in, fully expecting that the war-hero brother would get all of the medical attention he clearly needed and deserved. But instead, not long after being awarded his Purple Heart, Manny Babbitt was executed one minute after midnight, May 4, 1999, in the state of California, on his 50th birthday.

I just remember thinking at that conference... "How ridiculously unfair!" One man who was a national hero, and suffering from mental illness and despair, who should have been sent to a psych ward for life, was killed, and another, who really shouldn't be allowed to live any longer, still publishes books from jail.

And now this Lewis case... I used to think that I was for capital punishment, that some crimes were so heinous that the accused did not deserve ANY chance of ever being able to hurt people again. But... the way the system works currently, the punishment isn't meted out in a fair way, and I think that if Babbitt and Lewis are the people we're executing and Ted Kaczynski is not, then perhaps we shouldn't be executing anyone.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Let's Hear it for the Strippers

"Thou shalt not strip." ... Funny, I didn't think that was among the ten. But pastor Bill Dunfee of New Beginnings Ministries in Warsaw, OH seems to think that he can add on. That the 10 Commandments are kind of like the Bill of Rights, and he can add amendments as we move along.

Pastor Bill and his flock regularly picket the a strip club about 9 miles down the road from their church. Not only do they picket the club and harass those just trying to go in and see a naked lady, but for the past FOUR YEARS, the flockers have photographed license plates of the club's patrons and asked them if their mothers and wives know their whereabouts.

Recently, the strip club owner and strippers decided to fight back. And I say good for them. The Lord Jesus was friends with out and out prostitutes, and if he could get over that, Pastor Bill should be able to get over ladies taking their cloths off to make a buck. At least these ladies are not on the wellfare system. So that's two points in their favor as far as I am concerned.

Jesus never forced his views on anyone, and in fact, I believe he said something along the lines of "let he who has not sinned cast the first stone." And not since the Virgin Mary has anyone been born sinless Pastor Dave, so I think you should get off your high horse and start trying to be helpful instead of hurtful.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

DEA wants to hire ebonics translators.

Recently, CNN reported recently that the DEA, the Drug Enforcement Agency is looking to hire ebonics translators. My only thought was REALLY? I'm not even sure how that would work. Is ebonics even a consistent language? If I were asked, I would definitely describe it as street slang, which constantly changes and adapts with the times.

Reportedly, the DEA is looking to hire ebonics translators because they feel there is a need due to people trying to use ebonics to evade detection, while trafficking in drugs. The DEA recognizes that it's spoken all the time, like Spanish and Vietnamese, but is becoming more prevalent in drug dealers trying to avoid detection.

I'm not sure that a translator's translation could hold up in court. As of yet, I don't know that there is an ebonics dictionary, and that ebonics doesn't vary from city to city. Is ebonics the same in New York as it is in Los Angeles? Goodness know the English language isn't the same in Boston as it is in SoCal or Austrailia or South Africa for that matter. Is there a reliable source on the nuances and differences of ebonics throughout the world?

The term "Ebonics" -- a blend of "ebony" and "phonics" -- became popular in 1996, when the Oakland California School District proposed using it in teaching English. When the school board came under fire for this decision, it voted to alter the plan, which then recognized Ebonics as a distinct language. Today it is most commonly referred to as "urban language" or "street language" which has crossed over geographic, racial and ethnic backgrounds."

But while the language may be getting more recognition, I'm of the opinion that "translating" it in court could prove troublesome and lead to confusion. As CNN points out, there was controversy during the Black Panther trials in the 1970s, when there was debate over whether the saying, "off the pigs," was an actual threat to kill police officers or more metaphorical. I feel like using ebonics translators hired by the DEA could lead defense teams getting their own ebonics "experts" and suddenly the cost of drug trials goes up and up.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Similiar tragedy, less giving...

In an article posted yesterday, by the Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail, it was laid out that Western donors are giving less toward the most recent world tragedy than they have toward other world catastrophic events.

The reason? The most recent catastrophe occurred in Pakistan. It seems that one week after launching fund-raising efforts to help the victims of Pakistan’s recent devastating floods, a coalition of Canadian charities raised only $200,000 for the region. While some might say that this is a substantial fund-raising effort, it pales in comparison to a week after the tragedy of January’s Haitian earthquake, when more than $3.5-million had been raised in the same time period.

More glaring proof can probably be found in the fact that I can't recall having seen a single television commercial here in the U.S. about the floods. When the earthquake occurred in Haiti, you couldn't watch television for more than 10 minutes without seeing at least 3 commercials detailing how you could help. Text message donations were made available, where one could donate $10 by merely texting the word "Haiti" to a certain number. But for Pakistan, not even a commercial with a mere mention of a group, that one could look up, if one were even interested in helping.

If you are interested, I've just discovered you can donate $10 to Pakistan flood relief by texting "SWAT" to 50555. Or, you can check out Save the Children, which is coordinating relief efforts. Or, if you prefer UNICEF is also sponsoring fund-raising relief efforts.

And quite possibly the most offensive part of all this business are the comment's left on the article published by the Globe and Mail. How people can find derogatory things to say and reasons not to donate to needy children is absolutely beyond me. People are people, regardless of where they are hurting, and you can bet that the people who make decisions to start or continue wars, are not the same people who are starving and homeless due to this tragedy. That's like stating that one should not have helped Katrina victims because Americans stick their nose in everyone's business.

------------------ CHART COURTESY OF THE GLOBE AND MAIL--------------------------------
How far the fundraising for Pakistan is lagging

Total Funding as of Aug. 16/10 Affected population Funding per affected person
Pakistan floods $229-million (U.S.) 14 million $16.36
Haiti earthquake (2010) $3.3-billion (U.S.) 3 million $1,087.33
Kashmir earthquake (2005) $1.2-billion (U.S.) 3 million $388.33
Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami (2004) $6.2-billion (U.S.) 5 million $1,249.80

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Would you still get married?

So a radio station I listen to regularly has people call in and discuss their problems. I heard one the other day that I just couldn't believe.

A girl called in and said that she and her fiancée were supposed to get married this past June, and that she had been saving for her dream wedding for a long time. However, a month before the wedding she found out that her fiancée spent all the wedding money on a big TV.

She plans to marry him anyway, they've just pushed the date back so that it's later in the year, and she has to start saving money all over again. She quotes the fact that they have two children together, and everyone expects her to get married.

My thought is, WRONG REASONS! This man went and spent your money for your dream wedding on a TV. His priorities are not in order. It's not like he's a crackhead and spent it on crack, cause he couldn't help it, he's got an addiction. He's a grown man, who went out and decided his need for a tv was more important than
1) your hard earned money
2) the work you put into saving that money
3) the dream wedding you had planned out and
4) your reputation

Now don't get me wrong, there may be layers here that I'm not reading into, and I don't necessarily think she needs to dump him, but I think they may want to reconsider the whole wedding. That's not someone I would want to be making sacred vows with. What about you?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

There needs to be more outrage!

Last month, an 11 year old in Los Angeles committed suicide by hanging himself with a jump rope in his closet. And the first I'm reading of it is now, in the LA Times.

Apparently social workers had been visiting him for years and noted drugs, violence and neglect in his home, complete with a stepfather with a long history of abuse and domestic violence, who was court barred from living with the boy, but often present when social workers visited.

Although he had been placed in a foster home for about 15 months, social workers thought it acceptable to reunite him with his mother in 2008.

The day that the little boy killed himself, he spent the morning at school in an emotional state and crying. He told his school counselor that life was "unbearable," because schoolmates were bullying him, and his mother repeatedly struck him with a hanger and a shoe while his stepfather held him down. He told the counselor he wanted to kill himself. And yet instead of getting help, the boy was sent home to the mother that hit him and the stepfather who held him down to allow it.

The school did think to send a note to his mother and call social workers and police, but after a cursory search for weapons in the home and getting a statement from the mother who denied hitting the child, the social workers and police left. Apparently they intended to gather more info over the next week, but by the next morning it was too late.

LA blames the neglect on communications breakdown. Apparently, in a 2008 case involving a severely abused 5-year-old boy, a review revealed that eight separate agencies had more than 100 contacts with the boy's family, but those findings were not shared. When the child was finally removed from the home, he was so malnourished that his kidneys were failing, his hands burned so badly that he could barely unclench them.

But all these cases see is an article in the LA Times. Which is a start, but why aren't California politicians up in arms about this? Why isn't someone screaming from the rooftops? Someone should fight for these kids, even though their parents choose not to.

Friday, July 23, 2010

American Greed

Awhile ago, we were all upset by the bonuses that AIG was paying out, despite the fact that it needed government bailouts to stay afloat. The thought being that if you need the government to keep you alive, you should NOT be paying bonuses. I can see both sides of that situation though. The person receiving the bonus, had a contract with AIG, and they may have done NOTHING which inspired the screw up, and so still felt entitled to the bonus which may have gone to pay their mortgage, bills, etc.

However, I confess I cannot understand the most recent example of American Greed, seen in Bell, CA. In Bell, City Manager Robert Rizzo, Police Chief Randy Adams and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia have all recently agreed to resign their positions. Why would they do so you might ask? Public outrage. The outrage comes concerning their salaries ... Rizzo is paid $787,637 a year; Adams makes $457,000 and Spaccia makes $376,288.

To make a comparison, Adams' salary is 50% MORE than the Police Chief of Los Angeles. And another member of this same council, Lorenzo Velez, makes only $8,076. To put that in perspective, it is 1% of what Rizzo makes. The mayor of Bell made some lame excuse stating that this is because Velez was appointed, not elected.

I want to know, would the constituents of Bell have elected ANYONE if they knew that their tax dollars were going to be spent outrageously. More importantly, I want to know how these people could have felt entitled to these sort of paychecks? What could you possibly be doing as city manager that made you think you deserved $15,150 every week. To make in two weeks more than a lot of Americans take home in an entire year.

Granted, you could say that baseball players and movie stars should subsequently feel guilty about their salaries. But at least in their fields, it's customary to make that much money. I'm not sure that there are city managers out there that make CLOSE to what Rizzo did. Especially in cities that are not a major metropolitan area in and of itself.

I hope the Los Angeles district attorney was serious in pursuing whether or not these contracts were legal. I can't even envision myself making that kind of money. And one day if I do, I can't imagine making it all and not donating large sums of it to charity... which it doesn't appear that these folks were into.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Random Ridiculous Rave

Ok, so I came across something GOOD for once in the news that I wanted to share. In the recent age of banks failing, needing bailouts, restricting credit, etc. ... one bank is increasing the credit it lends out, and becoming bigger and better and offering loans to small businesses in often less than optimal areas.

Grameen America, the U.S. offshoot of an Asian microlending institution founded by Muhammad Yunus, is now in its third year of operation in the US and is expanding. This year, the small Bangladeshi bank which already has branches in New York; Omaha; &, D.C. is going to open its fourth branch in San Francisco.

According to Newsweek, since it opened in 1983, Grameen has loaned billions to borrowers around the world, most of these being women below the poverty line. It boasts a 98% percent repayment rate as well. Granted, most of the loans are $1,500 or less, with high interest rates, but the rates are better than borrowers could find elsewhere, and there are some unique practices which Grameen credits its success rate with.

The Grameen model supposedly works because of peer pressure. As do a lot of things in this world. Each Grameen borrower is required to attend a weekly meeting with other borrowers, who, as a group, are responsible for communal payback rates (e.g. the group cannot borrow more money if individual members don’t pay back their individual loans). Each individual borrower must also have add to a personal savings account with Grameen to help create a financial cushion to deal with any unforeseen problems or emergencies while building his or her business.

I think in a world where banking has become faceless, and most people, including myself, have switched to online banking to even avoid dealing with a teller, that this is awesome. It hearkens back to when you had a friend at the bank, who would fight for you and your small business. Instead of a broker on Wall Street, who lumps you in with 1,000-2,000 businesses to spread his risk and save his bonus.

If you want to get involved with Grameen, they have volunteer opportunities here. Or you can just follow them on twitter and promote them with your good PR. They also have a link where you can donate... but I'm against donating to a bank on the whole, even one as nice as Grameen America. If you want to donate, check out Kiva ... where you can lend money to starting businesses in impoverished places, and when they pay you back personally, you can choose to take back your money or invest is a new business!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This week in stupid lawsuits: Stupid attempts at class actions.

Now I'm sure you've all heard that there's a company out there threatening to sue McDonald's, because Happy Meal toys trick kids into wanting Happy Meals and Happy Meals are BAAAAAAAD for them. And while I do think better parenting would fix the solution, that's not even the winner for stupid lawsuits in the food category.

The winner, would be Ms. Payton McClure, of NYC, who is trying to get a class action together against General Mills, and more specifically, Fruit Roll Ups. Ms. McClure claims to be a lifelong consumer of Fruit Roll Ups and has recently discovered, SHOCKINGLY! ... that these snacks are not actually health food? WHO KNEW?

According to her complaint, Ms. McClure alleges that General Mills failed to properly disclose that its fruit products contain partially hydrogenated oil. Excuse her? Has she ever actually SEEN a Fruit Roll Up ... strawberries don't naturally come like that m'dear, it takes some processing. And second of all, I'm pretty sure General Mills discloses the ingredients of their product every time they produce a nutrition label, which is on every little last box out there, courtesy of the FDA.

The complaint stated that use of the oil cause marketing over the past 6 years to be "false and misleading." General Mills is alleged to have advertised that its fruit snacks were "nutritious," "healthy to consume," "naturally flavored," "low fat," and "a good source of Vitamin C," and thus deserved premium prices.

Ms. McClure it's called advertising. They are TRYING to sell you their product. They are not going to say "See this gummy like fruit-ish product, it's mostly oil and byproducts" ... Instead they say it's "nutritious and healthy to consume" which it is, it really only needs a comparison snack, such as "potato chips" or "a stick of butter." And actually, I don't even think that's fair to potato chips, since I've seen even those advertised as healthy recently.

My favorite advertising for Fruit Roll Ups is THIS video, which clearly shows all of the supposed outrageous lies General Mills has been telling Ms. McClure.


The other winner for stupid lawsuits this week comes in the form of a law firm, as opposed to an individual. Kershaw, Cutter, and Ratinoff (who previously filed a suit regarding Farmville... that's right, as if the facebook app didn't get enough coverage in life) has decided to try and drum up a class action suit against the iPhone4.

For what you may ask? Have they been exploding? And causing traumatic harm to users and those that happen to be nearby? Have they been proven to be an actual cause of cancer? Are people getting iPhone4 shaped lumps in their heads?

No, not exactly. Kershaw, Cutter, and Ratinoff want to commence a class action against Apple and the iPhone4 based on dropped calls and spotty service. Which to me, if not most people, would seem like a reasonable risk in a cell phone. Not to mention that pretty much every iPhone4 buyer out there purchased his or her phone, sight unseen! Go figure... a new device might have some bugs that need to be worked out. Could this be reasonably common with new consumer technology? NO! It must needs be deviousness on the part of Apple! SUE! SUE! SUE!

Well, that's it for me this week. Be sure to let me know if you hear of other stupid lawsuits going on out there in the big, bad world of lawsuit happy hipsters.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stupid Russia, tricks are for kids.

So apparently Russia was not content with just being able to see Sarah Palin's Alaskan home, they wanted to know more of the U.S. Federal officials have charged eleven people with being secret agents of Russia... and I thought the Cold War was over...

The FBI stated that the alleged spies supposed to become "sufficiently 'Americanized'" to gain access to the U.S. government's planning and policy apparatus. The FBI decrypted a 2009 message that was sent to 2 of the alleged spies... it went something like this.

"You were sent to USA for long-term service trip," the intercepted message read. "Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc. — all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e., to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in U.S. and send intels [intelligence reports] to C [intelligence headquarters in Moscow]." - L.A. Times.

But what really and truly blows my mind about all of this, is that Russia seems to think it can gloss over the event merely by saying "BUT EVERYTHING ELSE HAS BEEN GOING SO WELL!" Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stated today that he hoped that the spy scandal would not damage "improving relations" between Russia and the U.S. Really? Really? Have you been drinking the same water as Sarah Palin? What is with you people, we discover you've had spies in the country since the early 1990s and you hope it won't damage "improving relations."

The Russian ministry released a statment defending the alleged spies stating that "They [the alleged spies] have not committed any kind of actions directed against the interests of the United States." Hmmm, so we're just supposed to wait around until they do?

An FBI Agent, Amit Kachhia-Patel, said the spy operation was a "deep cover" assignment filled with "false identities, secret rendezvous, such old-school spy craft techniques" as "invisible writing" and a "cover profession" to blend into American society. - L.A. Times

And Oleg Gordievsky, a former deputy head of the KGB (who defected in 1985 and is now living in the United Kingdom) confirmed that Russia probably has around 50 undercover couples living and spying inside the U.S. He told the Associated Press today that the Russian President would know the number of illegal operatives in each target country, but wouldn't be given their names.

Now, I'm not saying that I don't think we're guilty of the same thing... I'm a bit of a conspiracy theorist myself. I'm betting that our government and the CIA probably have a number of spies in Russia. Difference is, we haven't gotten caught. We're just that good. (Don't make me eat my words in a few months CIA, stay classy)

I don't know how you're going to get yourself out of this one Russia, but please try harder than "BUT EVERYTHING ELSE WAS GOING SO WELL!"

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sarah Palin has to give the money back!

In addition to the stupidity of writing talking points on her hand and selectively choosing to become offended in regards to the word "retard" ... Sarah Palin is quite possibly guilty of any number of ethics violations.

While governor she was charged with over 20 ethics violation, which she claimed left her with over 1/2 million in legal fees. And then some idiots (who for whatever reason work for her) raised a fund to pay for her defense.

Problem is... she was still governor. This week a ruling from last year was upheld, specifying that the fund was illegal because it used her official position as governor to raise money for her personal gain. However, the independent counsel dispensing the ruling, gave Palin the benefit of the doubt, saying that she relied on bad advice from out-of-state lawyers. WHAT? WHAT?!?!?! Come on Sarah, I may not be brilliant, but I do know that it's bad to use public persona for personal gain. I mean you all but pulled a Rob Blagojevich here.

Now what is really and truly disgusting here, is that though she has to give back $386,000 plus, she gets to KEEP anything made after she resigned. AND she has gone and set up a new fund. Seriously lady? You've made millions off your public stupidity, and now you want other people to pay for your bad behaviour as governor? Her lawyer told reporters she ran up the debts in public service, so a fund was justified. WHAT? WHAT!?!?! You ran up the debts, breaking the law, and committing ethics violations, that was not serving the public, that was dis-servicing the public!

Seriously, why hasn't someone bought this woman a muzzle?

Friday, May 28, 2010

This week in stupid lawsuits.

So although I still don't think anything trumps Lindsay Lohan's suit, I do find these two particularly amusing.

Hulk Hogan is apparently suing Post Cereal because Bam-Bam beat up a cartoon parody of him in a Fruity Pebbles commercial. His complaint, filed under his real name (Terry Bollea) no less, boasts that he is a "well recognized wrestling champion with long blond hair and a blond Fu Manchu mustache." He argues that Post Cereal used his likeness without permission and he has "been harmed by the false endorsement, including the failure to be compensated for the false endorsement and diminishment of his endorsement value by the unauthorized and degrading depiction in the COCOA SMASHDOWN advertisements."

First and foremost - props to the attorney, Joseph Bain. (his e-mail is in the complaint if you feel the need to e-mail him and congratulate him) Mr. Bain managed to
A) ensure that Fu Manchu was capitalized,
B) look Hulk Hogan in the face and take this complaint seriously
C) managed to insinuate that this commercial devalues Hulk's endorsement value, even though Hulk willingly participated in productions such as: Mr. Nanny, Santa With Muscles and Shadow Warriors 2 ... a sequel to a really bad movie no one has ever heard of. And look at that photo... I mean REALLY! Good job Mr. Bain

But all in all, I think Hulk's in it for the money. Cause frankly, I think getting his butt kicked by Bam-Bam takes his reputation UP a notch.

Also remarkably stupid this week, is the lawsuit from a stripper, a STRIPPER mind you, that a professional football player abandoned her.

Silvia Mena accuses the Washington Redskin's Albert Haynesworth of allegedly impregnating her and then abandoning her. She's asking for $10 million. First of all lady, you're a stripper, he met you at a strip club, what on God's green earth would make you think that he wanted to have a baby with you? Much less acknowledge you in public. She claims he promised to support her and take care of her and blah, blah, blah... how do women never learn that men will say just about anything as long as you take your pants off?

Second of all $10 million? How is does your standard of living merit that? How does raising a kid COST that? Granted, Haynesworth makes a lot of money, but managing to get yourself knocked up by him doesn't mean you should be able to take a windfall.

Mena’s laywer, Salvatore Strazzullo, says, “This man is worth millions. (Mena) has had to apply for Medicaid to take care of her pregnancy.” Yes sir, but this is because she is a pregnant stripper. And last I checked, not that many people were into that. Also, there's birth control AND condoms available, really this is as much her fault as his.

I say Haynesworth should go, get a paternity test and then sue for custody.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Facebook security woes...

... so due to Facebook's recent security breaches, a recent British poll posits that 1/2 of facebook users are likely to quit. I say "horse-do-do!" Facebook currently boasts over 400 million users and if it goes down to 200 million, I will eat something hat-like in nature.

The poll gave 5 options
30% are "highly likely" to quit Facebook due to privacy concerns
30% said it was "possible"
12% of respondents said that won't leave the site
12% said it's "not likely"
And 16% have already stopped using facebook.

Quite frankly, I'd love to know just WHO was polled, because if these stats didn't include high school students, then they're majorly skewed. I mean granted, all stats are skewed, but still.

The world has come too addicted to facebook to quit. Sure you might change your privacy pictures ... or take down / un-tag those photos of you upside down on a keg in a short dress (not me though, I love those photos), but I say the likelihood of quitting facebook is SLIM.

I think the pole should have had more realisitc options.
1 - I quit and I'm not going back ever, regardless of any new privacy procedures
2 - I quit till it's safer
3 - I am quitting UNLESS there are new saftey procedures enacted
4 - I'm not quitting, but I'm taking down those photos of last weekend, and that note my opinion of the CIA's usefulness to this country.
5 - I'm only likely to quit if there are more safety breaches in the future.
6 - I'm not quitting, ever, facebook is my crack... and I'm never going to rehab.

I feel like you would have gotten more honest results.

Seriously, I'm one of those people who facebook is one of my drugs. I'm out to disprove Dunbar's Number.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What is wrong with people?

In case you haven't heard... a Malawi court today sentenced a gay couple to 14 years in jail for practicing homosexuality. 14 years! Really? REALLY? The court cites reasons such gross indecency” and “unnatural acts” under a British-colonial era law.

This blows my mind. There's also various quotes from citizens of Malawi saying that homosexuality goes against their "culture" and their "religion." Well you're religion is your own business, but I've got news for you folks, there is no wholly straight culture on the face of the earth. Homosexuality has been around since the dawn of time, and if you think your culture is free of it, it's just because you didn't notice it before.

I was pretty disgusted when a school in Mississippi told Constance McMillen that she couldn't bring her female date to the prom. And then cancelled the whole prom instead of being forced to honor her equality. And while devastating to a high school student, a prom is a small thing in the grand scope of life, and the regonition she brought the cause, not to mention the cash and job offers she got herself, seem to have worked the whole situation out in her favor.

But JAIL TIME? For merely being human? And refusing to forego love when you find it? That's disgusting! DISGUSTING! And this is not American prison. This is a hard labor camp. These gentlemen will more than likely DIE than survive a 14 year sentence. So now it's a death sentence for being gay.

Seriously third world countries, if you want to start being recognized by the rest of the world, start acting like it. Minus parts of the South of course.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What not to do in a bad economy...

So it comes to light recently, that Bristol Palin, hypocrite daughter on one-time VP candidate Sarah Palin, will be commanding $15,000 - $30,000 per speaking engagement. These prices are set by Single Source Speakers, a group that boasts Drew Brees among its speakers, but really no one else of note.

Palin's available speaking topics include: "Abstinence, Conference, Fundraiser, Pro-Life, Special Event/Holiday, Women's, Youth." ABSTINENCE? You want to pay Bristol Palin, a girl who couldn't keep it in her pants at 16 $30,000 to speak about abstinence? That amount of money is someone's ANNUAL salary! If she's such a good kid and a good Christian and the whole 9, she should take every penny she makes from these speaking events and donate it to those who need it.

I recently commented that I would rather go see Snooki, from MTV's Jersey Shore speak than Bristol Palin. Little did I know that Snooki is currently commanding $10,000 just to SHOW UP somewhere, and probably get drunk there as well. Yep, that's right folks, 10 large for just showing up and acting like Jersey trash. Awesome.

I wonder why I got a law degree. I mean really, going out and making an ass our of yourself in public seems like a much lazier and easier way of making a living. And it looks like it pays better too.

And back in 2007, at an all time high, apparently before having to take yet another stint in rehab, Lindsay Lohan was offered $350,000 to have her 21st birthday party at a nightclub. This of course was before her more recently plummet toward ridiculousness.

Come on people! Are we really shelling out this kind of money for this kind of stupidity? You don't get to complain about what a horrible state the economy is in if you keep fostering this kind of nonsense.

Boycott morons, that is all.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spare Change Charities part Deux

Alright friends, I am not giving up on this idea, just putting it on hold while I sort some things out with it. But a lot more goes into it than I hoped. I need to do several things.

1 - find two other directors to start this thing up with me
2 - write articles of incorporation
3 - hold an organizational meeting
4 - create by laws
5 - file with the state
6 - apply for tax exempt status
7 - figure out the money part
8 - start a records book
9 - open an account with a bank
10 - open an account with paypal

I think I will get started on the Articles of Incorporation after I'm complete the resource of whether a charity that raise money for other charities will meet all of the federal and state rules.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spare Change Charities

So oftentimes in my life, I feel like I am not doing enough good. And I really would like to set up something called Spare Change Charities... but my legal skills are not good enough to know how to go about setting up a not-for-profit. Basically all I want is a paypal account, where people can send spare change, and then I can cut a month check from that account to the specified Charity.

Basically, I was thinking that it would work with people just donating their spare change at the end of each day/week/month/year ... whatever they wanted to commit to. And each month we would pick a different charity to which the grand total would go to.

Say your bank account has $1000.46 cents in it at the end of the day. You could donate your spare change each day, or at the end of each week, each month what have you.

But I'm thinking if I wanted to try this, I could dig myself a big whole if I went about it wrong. And I really don't want the IRS chasing me down for crimes committed on good intentions ... so if anyone has any suggestions as to how to go about this endeavour, that would be AWESOME!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bullied to Death

I'm sure everyone has seen on the news at this point, the suicide of that poor girl in South Hadley, MA. 9 teens have been charged with crimes relating to her death.

Phoebe was a pretty Irish girl who had started school this year as a freshman at South Hadley High. She had a fling with a senior football player, which apparently made some other girls jealous, because when it ended, the rentlentless bullying began. This girl had her books pushed out of her hands, cans chucked at her head, was continually called a slut, often times following her up and down hallways to do so, etc. etc. etc. A lot of this happened in front of teachers. Who apparently did a whole lot of nothing. Her mother called school administrators twice to complain about what was happening to her daughter, again, no result.

Proof positive that America has just become numb to how horrible high school students can be to one another. I remember high school, and I remember how mean kids can be to one another. And it is much easier in that environment to agree with other students that so-and-so is a slut, rather than stand up for her. Because standing up for someone may cause bullies to dump you and land you in the bullied group instead.

And maybe I have rose coloured hindsight, but in all four years of my high school, I don't think anyone was as awful to anyone as these kids were to Phoebe. Yeah we may have called people sluts, but it usually wasn't to their faces, and screaming it at a girl in front of a teacher would have ended someone with detention and some counselling sessions. And while there were fights, I don't recall a lot of one way, never ending assaults, and again, pushing someone's books out of their hands or throwing a can at them would have gotten you punished. Yet everyone seems to have looked the other way with these 9 nasty children.

I think social media has a lot to do with bullying getting worse. When I was in high school, there was no myspace, no facebook, no twitter. If you wanted to call someone a slut, you had to actually say it to someone. And it was sure as shit going to get back to that person that you had done so. Then came myspace, and the ability to belittle people without ever having to face them. They say at 42% of kids have been cyber bullied these days. All you had to do was create a fake page, with some easily grabbed fake pictures from the internet and start harassing whomever you felt like behind the shield of anonymity. It went so far that there was that crazy mother who helped her daughter trick another school girl into thinking that she had an internet boyfriend and then pretending that the boy suddenly hated her. This cause Megan Meier, also 14 at the time to hang herself in her closet as well.

It became so easy to bully someone online, that everyone became desensitized to it, and bullying in real life just gets worse and worse. And while some people say that these 9 teens did not cause Phoebe's death, it was a suicide, I say horseshit. Yeah, Phoebe has to take some of the blame, because she made a choice. But she was a 15 year old, in a new country at a fragile age, tormented by children so hateful and unfeeling that they continued to mock her on a facebook page set up in her memorial AFTER HER DEATH! They then proceeded to brag on their own facebook pages that they had "fooled" the cops when questioned. What are parents, and we as a culture, doing these days that kids have come to this?

While I don't think that these kids are guilty of manslaughter or anything similar. I do think that there need to be serious consequences to what they did and a serious amount of counselling as well, otherwise we could be looking at tomorrow's sociopaths.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Legalize it!

In an effort not to write about the health care legislation, which I feel has been overdone, and really, if I hear one more opinion about it, I may just scream, I choose another topic...

It looks like California may be voting on legalizing pot. And not just in the medical sense (excuse for a minute here while I stop my siblings from packing their bags and loading up the caravan).

Today, Los Angeles County elections officials must turn in their count of valid signatures collected on a statewide legalization initiative. The Los Angeles Times reports that the number is virtually certain to be enough to qualify the initiative for placement on the November ballot.

Now, I'm not a pot smoker, but I say go for it, California. I'm not a pot smoker, but I am for the legalization of marijuana (and across the board, not just medically). Because I think it has the capability to take a chunk out of our defecit, create new jobs and generally boost moral. Because honestly, who's happier than stoners who aren't worried about being caught? And I think it has the benefit of making sure that all the pot sold would JUST be pot, you wouldn't have to worry about your kid accidentally smoking some sort of laced pot and getting addicted to crack/rocks/speed/whathaveyou.

Now, I think there should be serious limits and regulations put upon it. I think you should have to be 21, same as beer. I don't think you should be permitted to drive high, go to work high, or do any of the things you should not be doing drunk, while high.

Plus, can you imagine the jobs that would be created while scientists discover what the legal limit of being high is? Previously, unproductive, pothead members of society could be employed to just smoke pot all day while scientists poke and prod at them like monkeys. (Because I honestly don't think you could get a monkey to smoke pot, and therefore, humans would have to be used.)

And, instead of paying cops to head out and destroy marijuana farms and pot gardens, (which can be a deadly form of employment if the pot farmers are heavily armed) we can pay those same police to just inspect whether or not pot farms have licenses, and if they don't impose a big old fee, which will also help us out of the national deficit.

And I don't think we have to worry about our kids starting on coke or speed, because suddenly pot is legal. If properly restricted to age groups, it will still be as "cool" as booze is to teenagers. And kids are smart these days, they just want to be in an altered state, they don't want to be dead.

And it's not just California (although they are definitely getting the most buzz) Nevada has measure for 2012 which would allow state licensed pot stores. And a campaign in Washington State hopes to put a legalization measure onto the fall ballot as well. And I say go for it. Let's use drugs to dig this country out of its deficit.

Friday, March 12, 2010

This week in stupid lawsuits!

Alright, apparently this week is the week to file the stupidest, most frivolous lawsuit you can thinkg of. . .

Let's start with LiLo, as I'm sure you all know, Lindsay Lohan is suing E-trade because of the Milk-a-holic Superbowl commercial. She and her idiotic lawyer apparently feel that the Lindsay baby obviously represented Lohan, and as such, she is due 100 million dollars. First of all Lindsay, I'm sorry that Labor Pains is all you've put out (well film wise at least) in the past few years, but really, you can't be this hard up for cash. I mean, I hear you've been on Project Runway. And I know you must be miffed that the Obama administration told you that you were not the positive role model they were looking for when they were campaigning, but this is not the way to stage a comeback.

First of all, you are not Madonna or Cher. Get the hell over yourself. When I hear Lindsay, I don't think about you. I think about people I know with the name, or the E-trade baby, matter of fact. When I hear Madonna, I think of Madonna. Hell, even Angelina's got a better claim than you.

Second,in your birth year Lindsay was the 39th most popular name. That's 39 out of about 1 million names people could have chosen for their kids... pretty damned popular. And apparently it's maintained it's popularity through to today, with many baby naming sites calling it "a very popular name for girls" and ranking it 302 out of 4276 today. And while Baby Name Wizard does note you as a famous Lindsay, it also calls you "tabloid fodder."

And third, what does it say about you, that the second you see a slutty, substance addicted character, you instantly jump to the conclusion that it's all about you? Do me a favor, go get your tubes tied, today.

And to the Lohan lawyer, even if you had a leg to stand on, it's call a parody. Did Tiger sue Saturday Night Live? Does Bill Clinton attempt to sue the NUMEROUS TV commercials and radio ads that impersonate the hell out of him, and poke fun at his extra marital affairs and loose ways with the truth? I hope Lindsay paid you up front, cash money, cause otherwise, you're as dumb as she is and you two deserve each other.


My second favorite, remarkably stupid, favorite lawsuit of the week, was filed by Karen Salmansohn, a self-proclaimed, self-help guru. She, is apparently trying to sue her ex-fiancee because he pledged to leave his wife and have a baby with her.

Ms. Salmansohn, I have known from a young age, that men, will say anything, and I mean ANYTHING to have sex with you. Hell, they might even buy you fertility treatments. Why did no one tell you this growing up?

You told this man on your SECOND date, that you longed to have a child. Well there is mistake number one. You KNEW he was still married. Mistake number two. You fell for the line "I wish aliens would come down and remove my wife so I could marry you right away." Mistake number three. (And lady, I've fallen for some dumb lines, but that takes the cake!)

This man was playing your game, figuring you could not get pregnant, (I mean, you're 49 and it's a first child!) sure he dumped cash and presents and all sorts of stuff on you. He was nailing you. He was happy. Sure he promised you all sorts of things about a baby he never thought would appear. Empty promises are easy to make. When you got pregnant, his little dream world shattered. He remained with his wife, he stopped paying for your high ticket lifestyle. Go figure, it's happened to millions of women. Get back up off your ass, and go back to work.

You don't get to sue a guy because you were dumb enough to believe that he'd actually leave his wife and family. Sure he gave you an engagement ring, but last time I checked, bigamy's totally not cool in these United States, and ummm YOU KNEW ABOUT HIS WIFE AND KIDS! Sue him for child support if the kid is his. But as for you, you're dumb, and I would never hire you as my life coach. Maybe that's why you need this lawsuit, all of your customers have walked away huh?

I also hope your lawyer is charging you upfront! Cause there's another case I would not take on contingency.

And that is this week in remarkably stupid lawsuits. Anyone else hear about other stupid lawsuits?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tiger Woods, Sorry for all the wrong reasons

I know I'm late to the game on this, but it took me awhile to collect my thoughts. Did you know, that the little stunt that Tiger Woods called an apology two weeks ago, drew more viewers than the Winter Olympics and the war in Afghanistan COMBINED? Granted, EVERY major news station and channel shut down what they were doing to play this man's forced, scripted, crap excuse for an apology. Now, I for one, don't really think he owes the public an apology, merely his wife and his sponsors, but if you're going to do it... do it right, don't do what Tiger did ...

I happened to be at the tire place when this garbage came on, and both me and the man I was sitting and chatting with in the waiting room thought it was going to be about Joe Stack, flying his plane into the IRS building in Texas. However, nope, it was Tiger. In the words of the crazy man I was talking to "REALLY? This shit trumps wars, plane crashes and Haiti?"

However, as we soon found out that it was on every station, we settled down to watch and ridicule it. What I find most disgusting is that Tiger does not appear contrite at all. Sure, he's sorry he got caught. He's sorry he's losing MILLIONS in endorsements and publicity. But is he sorry he cheated on his wife and made the paprazzi even more eager to chase his children around? No. He's sorry he got caught. If he could go back, do I think he would change what he did? No, I think he would find a better way to hide it, so that he wouldn't get caught. I don't think he would alter his ways one stinking bit.

What I believe truly drums this point home, is that he didn't even WRITE that apology. It was clear from his amateur reading of it, that someone else penned it. Including stage directions. (Now pause, Tiger, look at the camera, attempt to well up some tears)

Also proving he's not sorry, was his refusal to take questions. Tiger, in an extremely childish move, chose the press, and informed them that there would be a statement, no questions. C'mon Tiger, even children get questioned by their parents when they sneak candy before dinner.

It was a bad call, all around. I mean, two months after being caught? You should have either apologized the next day (black eye, golf club wounds and all) or not apologized at all. With all the bimbos out there telling us you're every move, if you hadn't said anything, half of the nonsense would have been chalked up to rumor. If you had apologized the next day and THEN hid out, you could have gone the way of Elliot Spitzer, who sure, had to resign; but is now appearing on Colbert, and in other public venues, managed to keep his law license, and is raking in the cash again. And Spitzer broke the LAW, Tiger, he's guilty of soliciting, paying for sex, and breaking the Mann Act (which while ridiculous, is funny) ... you, you just cheated on your wife. Bill Clinton lied to the public, committed perjury. You, again, just cheated on your wife. I know you have more money than both of these men, how is your choice in PR guys so poor? Both these men took questions, lived their public shame, and came back up. They're both on top of the world right now, and their wives stayed with them. (And stayed docile during their apologies.)

I didn't think you owed the world an apology to begin with, but since you chose to make one, you should have done it right. Take the questions, live the shame and get over it. Don't hide behind a scripted apology. Because all it really said to the public was "please buy things with my name on it again one day"

Also funny was that Playboy model Loredana Jolie Ferriolo was upset that Tiger did not apologize to his mistresses. Really Loredana? You KNEW he was married, you KNEW he had kids, you KNEW who he was. You KNEW you were supposed to shut up about it and not talk to anyone about it from the get go. If anyone owes anyone an apology, you owe his wife one. And I agree with Elmer Smith about you... go "file a classless-action suit on behalf of all Tiger's spurned sluts" ... see if you can't grab some of the cash he's so worried about losing.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Terrorist Act or Suicide?

Although Tiger Woods' pitch to the public and advertising agents to "please be able to respect him [e.g. promote him/buy things with his face on them] again one day" took front line in the news last week, the more important story to me was the story of Joe Stack.

Andrew Joseph Stack, was the man who flew a small plane into an Austin building housing IRS offices, killing himself and one other person, Vernon Hunter, an IRS worker and Vietnam vet. From all the photos, Stack looks like an average dude about my parents age, who ran a software consulting business. But from his manifesto, or suicide note, which can be seen at Smoking Gun ... it appears there was more going on in his head.

A lot of folks I know are calling him a "home grown terrorist" ... and while I feel what he did was despicable, I'm not sure I agree. Terrorism I feel is defined pretty well in the non-definition given by Wikipedia... "Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.[1] At present, there is no internationally agreed definition of terrorism.[2][3] Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror), are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (civilians)."

I'll grant you that Mr. Stack targeted civilians, but he certainly wasn't trying to coerce anything, nor did he seem to have a coherent ideological goal. He was very upset at the tax system in our nation, and convinced that unless there was a body count, no one was going to notice his need for change.

I go back and forth on dubbing him crazy or not. Sure we would all love to pay less taxes. And sure we would all love to see the extremely wealthy pay their fair share. But from the photos in the news it looked like he had hobbies, a house, children, a paying job. Paying income tax didn't give him diseases or make him homeless, or even cause him to not be able to afford a guitar. He merely wasn't one of the wealthy elite. He may not have had enough money to travel to exotic locations or to buy a Mercedes. Maybe he wasn't going to be able to retire as early as he originally would have liked. That doesn't seem like the most hard up life that there is out there. And it doesn't seem like a reason to off oneself. So on that line of thinking, I do think he might have been a little unbalanced.

But he also makes good points. After the Great Depression, a lot of bankers did off themselves. And now, if our bankers and Wall Street screw up royally, they get a bailout, and then they get their bonus, while laying off the people who make a fraction of what they do who will never see a bonus. The people to whom that bonus would have been a lifetime of salaries... and to whom it may mean staying in their home, feeding their kids, etc. Not just whether or not they're going to remain a millionaire that year.

And while Stack's manifesto did say he's sure he wouldn't be the first or the last to feel this way, it did not encourage everyone to go out and attempt to blow up their IRS office. So in short, I don't feel that he's a terrorist. I feel that he's a tragedy... He had some good points, and it looks like at one point in time in his life he tried to be an activist and get people to hear those points, but failed. I think it's sad that he felt he had to end his own life. I think it's sadder still that his daughter calls him a hero to the press. That adds insult to injury to the Vernon Hunter family. But saddest of all is that a man who could have really just used a good shrink and a raise is getting dubbed a terrorist.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Resolutions Update 2/17/10

Well midway through February lets see where I'm at

1 - Lose (AT LEAST) 25 pounds. = Nowhere, working two jobs makes it real hard to diet. I am eating 5 or 6 salads a week, but I'm eating crap too. Boo.
2 - Get toned in addition to losing the weight. = Nowhere, working two jobs makes it real hard to find time to exercise. Hopefully I will be able to quit one, or reduce hours at it soon and make gym time.
3 - Start waking up earlier. SUCCESS - I've been out of bed each morning by 7:15 ... I don't know how much more I'm getting done, but I feel like I'm more up on my blogs, and that I've had time to pack lunches!
4 - Start saving more money. Some success - since I've been packing money, I've at least been saving on lunches, but I haven't really been putting much away.
5 - Start being more positive. Some success - I'm trying to stay positive. I think the healthy eating and maybe a raise might help
6 - Stop biting the nails. = Nowhere. Man this is a ridiculously hard habit to kick.

Ok, having an update helps, because maybe it will help me to get back on track. I appreciate all diet and any nail biting tips as always!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Fat Tax ...

... we've all been there. You get on the airplane, and the person that is seated in the seat assigned next to you is already halfway into your seat. And the flight is going to be 6 hours. Great.

However, it appears that some airlines have been going out of their way to make things more comfortable for the little people. Pun intended. Air France for one... has made its move. It will be charging passengers over a certain weight for a second seat at 75% of the cost for the first seat. The passenger will then accommodated by linking the two seat belts across the two seats to form one seat belt for the larger passenger. And Air France is quick to point out that this will only be done for fully booked flights, overweight passengers will be refunded the second chair price for flights that happen to miraculously have a spare seat on them.

Now I know this may be unfair for certain passengers. Say you're just extremely tall. 6'8" and 300lbs. By no means are you unhealthy, however, you probably do not fit in the seat for a variety of reasons. I mean there's no way your legs will fit in the extremely small space provided. Are they going to charge you for an extra chair? Maybe the one in front of you? Perhaps they can remove it and charge you for extra space for your legs?

I believe that all airline seating should be redone, with human beings in mind, instead of 8 year olds. However, until that is done, I would say that I am probably in favor of the fat tax. I have been smushed all the way into a third of my seat flying home from Europe. And it was one of the most horrible experience of my life. When the guy got up to use the bathroom the girl on the aisle seat, who was practically sitting in the aisle begged the stewardess to move us... alas, it was a full flight.

Southwest, however, in true Southwest form, appears to have gone overboard. It appears Kevin Smith, creator of all things Jay & Silent Bob, was forced to leave a Southwest flight. Smith was told that he must be able to fasten his seatbelt and lower his armrests in order to remain on the flight... after doing both of these, and asking the passengers around him whether they objected to his presence... and receiving negatives from everyone, he was STILL ejected from the flight. I think this is kind of ludicrous. From the photos I have seen of Smith, he is not the passenger I would object to, in fact, I think he is significantly smaller than most of the folks I object to. Smith has been accused of a publicity stunt to promote his new movie... but I don't think so. For one, Bruce Willis stars in it, and for two, Southwest is good at hating: both slutty dressers and moms. And third, do you really want to be called fat by the entire nation just to promote a movie?

Smith has also been criticized for not flying first class or in a private jet. And I agree with him... yeah he has money, but he's not going to hold on to lots of money if he pisses it away on things he feels he doesn't need. He's also been criticized because he has bought second seats on Southwest in the past, and had done so for this flight, but had changed his flight schedule to go home earlier. Just because a man buys a second seat in a flight for comfort reasons, does not mean he should be FORCED to on all occasions. If I ever have boatloads of money, you can bet I'm buying a second seat on all of my flights, because I don't like strangers touching me. Hell, I'd probably shell out for the private jet.

And Southwest's one concession after throwing Smith out of a chair that he fit into, with no complaints from his fellow passenger, was to offer him a $100 voucher. Which I'm pretty sure did not even cover his flight.

But I think the best point Smith made was in his twitter account, where he asks if Southwest treats its STAFF the same.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Video Killed the Radio Star

So Google Buzz has made its appearance. Touted as "one part Facebook, one part Twitter, one part YouTube and one part Flickr," many seem to think that Google Buzz is out to get Twitter and Facebook. I think that's a bit harsh. Google just wants its share of the market. The Droid phones look surprisingly like the iPhones but I don't see anyone freaked out that Verizon(HTC) is trying to push AT&T(Apple) out of the market. Matter of fact, it seemed to be expected that Verizon would find something to draw people away from the iPhone. I don't even remember there being this much outrage when facebook killed myspace.

So the pros.
1 - it automatically loads all of your google contacts as contacts for you.
2 - it puts up your google photo, no uploading.
3 - it constantly runs in g-mail, so you can keep both things open at once, in one window!
4 - there's no annoying character limitation as with twitter
5 - it's something new to try, and new procrastinations are always welcome in my life
6 - when people are "buzzing" it makes me think they've thrown precaution and work to the wind and are daytime drinking. this makes me giggle.

And the cons.
1 - the automatic follow thing, not so cool if you've ever e-mailed a boss from your personal e-mail
2 - it broadcasts your location to the world, "buzzing" at work - your boss now knows, "buzzing" from your phone from a sporting event on a day you called out of work - double bad news
3 - the order in which things update is confusing ... there's no "most recent" vs "most popular" as there is in facebook
4 - it's a little harder to figure out how to change your settings than the rest of google's products
5 - it apparently can grab photos from your phone without you uploading them. this can be disastrous, especially if you taken drunken phone photos
6 - it's getting kinda spammy with all the e-mails it sends me, I can see the buzz notifications right alongside my inbox, no need to e-mail me too google
7 - I still prefer facebook's ability to write on people's "wall" and such

All in all, I'm gonna give it a go. I'm a social person, I like social networks, I also like new technologies. And hey, it may lure me away from twitter for good. Because it looks more twitter-ish than facebook, and more interesting than twitter too.

Well that's me, anyone else have pros & cons to add?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I am a Frequent Flyer Mile Whore...

... yes, I know the language is inappropriate, but it's true. I will do ridiculous things for frequent flier miles. I am a member of two programs. Continental Airline's frequent flier and United Airline's. Continental is attached to my bank card, so for every dollar I spend on the card, I get a mile. Awesome. They also e-mail me other offers, like "change my electrical provider and get 3,500 miles" which also helped, because the electrical provider was 1) cheaper than NiMo, 2) local, and 3) offered a green energy option. Again, awesome. Continental has sent me on 3 free flights in the past 7 years. I <3 them long time.

Recently, I have discovered two online programs through Continental's frequent flier

1) E-miles
2) E-rewards

These programs both allow you to earn frequent flier miles without purchasing anything or really doing much at all. E-miles has you look at offers and gives you 5 frequent flier miles for every offer you look at (you don't have to buy any of the offers or sign up for anything, but if you do, you get MORE miles) and E-rewards give you money/miles for filling out surveys, none of which have taken me any longer than 8 minutes. And both programs partner with more than just Continental. I have earned 750 flier miles from E-miles and 1,000 from E-rewards already.

With United, I am only a member, because I am a member of, where I can redeem my points for miles with United, which I then either sell on e-bay or trade with someone who wants those for Continental on any number of various trading sites.

I am sharing this information with the hope that some of y'all might know of other survey/offer/what have you programs out there where I can pick up more frequent flier miles. I blame the crazy snow storm and all your photos thereof for making me stir crazy and feeling a need to fly off to various and sundry locations. But seriously to have earned 1,750 miles through two programs which eat up no more than 1/2 hour of my week... I want to know if anything else is out there, cause I will sign my tuckus up!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Conan needed a better contract attorney.

I know it's a bit of old news, but it looks like it may be wrapping up with Conan taking $32.5 million and getting another $7.5 for his staff. And really, I don't normally side with people who make shit-tons of money... but in this case, I think Conan needs a better attorney.

Sure, there's the side of it that says NBC can schedule their programs any-which-way they want, and Conan should honor his contract if "The Tonight Show" was moved back. But I'm with him. That's not "The Tonight Show" anymore. When he signed on, he was supposed to get the same Tonight Show that's been playing for decades, in the same time slot. He picked up his family, staff, etc. and MOVED across the country. And seven months later, they're breaking his contract.

Think of it as a nurse who moves across the country, packs up the kids, house, etc, for the promise of a day shift at a hospital, so she can be home when her kids get home from school. Then the hospital after seven months says "If you want a job, you have to work nights." I'd imagine the union would have something to say about it. Granted, the nurse makes less than Conan, and has other concerns, but shitty move NBC.

I think this deal is not enough, I think that NBC should have to pay Conan what they would have paid him for the next five years, and that he should be allowed to host whatever the f%*& he feels like and not have NBC's check be cut down by other monies he makes. NBC should suck it, they f&*%ed him over and they should feel the consequences. The end.

Alright, now that that rant is over with... and anger is abated, I'm off to buy a Team Conan shirt... and never watch Jay Leno again. What a schmuck.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Where have all the inexpensive books gone?

I'm a big fan of reading. I will read pretty much anything set in front of me. I probably get through 2 or 3 books a week depending on what I'm reading. But what makes me angry is that books are so freaking expensive. On, I can purchase many of the computers games I would like cheaper than the books I would like, (both being under the used category). This may be because I am picky and want a book in somewhat decent quality, with the cover attached, but go figure.

At most of my favorite used book stores I've been seeing an increase in price as well. Which really befuddles me, I should not have to pay $12 for a used book that was $16 at new retail. That's not really a bargain at all, I could probably get the book NEW with a coupon that would take as much off at Barnes & Noble or Borders.

Speaking of the two major booksellers. If going in there isn't bad enough, then there's all sorts of expensive coffee and candy that tempts me while I am there as well. So aside from the Border's clearance rack (which is fabulous for cook books) ... I am making a commitment to stay out of large booksellers.

On of my favorite resources to turn to is ... if you're not a member yet, I suggest it. Also, you should write me as your recommending member, user name = maeno83, because I am awesome! And it will get me extra credits, which will get me extra books, which you should do for me, because again, I am awesome. Anyway, getting back on track. If you register 10 paperbacks with them, you get 2 free credits. A credit gets you a free paperback from anything you can find amongst their listings on the site. The catch is, when someone requests one of your books, you have to send it off and pay for postage for it to get to them, BUT when this happen, you get another credit, and another free book! Yay! My one downside with this is that I hate giving up books, so I only list crap books which I would be ashamed to have in my impressive library one day, and the problem with these crap books is that few other people want them either. Therefore, my stash of credits has dried up.

I do find and useful for used book as well, because sometimes you can find good books for around $1. The problem is, the shipping makes them ridiculous, unless you order a pile from the same shipper, which is usually what I try to do. Plus then I eventually get a big old pile of books at my door, which makes me happy.

I also joined the Double Day book club online ... you know, get 5 books for $0.99, and you have to pay for 4 books and shipping over the next 2 years. Well I bought one of those books with my 5 cheap ones, because it came at half price, and I have 3 more to get over the next 2 years. I plan on waiting a bit more for different stuff to go on clearance (about $5 on the site) so I only have to spend $20ish (including shipping) on my next 3 books. This scored me 9 books for about $40, which I think is ok.

Does anyone else have any suggestions for places to locate cheap/inexpensive books. I miss SUNY Oswego's last day of the library sale, where you could load a giant paper bag with books for $5. There should be something like that in the Capital District.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Resolutions Update

So... I've started the diet. I'm not really good at sticking to it everyday. But I would say I ate healthy for 13 out of 15 meals this week. I did not really do any exercise, because I have also sucked at the getting out of bed earlier department... so let's see

Today = weight: 178 lbs (still gross);
toned muscles: still none;
time I got out of bed 8:00 a.m. (not a huge difference, I know);
money I put aside this paycheck $0 (small check this week, planning more next week);
positivity - pretty good today
nails bitten recently? - yes today (I have NO willpower)

I have also resolved to stop biting my nails. Making that #6 ... but I totally suck at that, because I chew them when I'm not even thinking about it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I bit at a nail today. Again, I have no willpower. Ah well, we will see where this goes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hot new technology: No more privacy.

So with today's new Smart Phones and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter... you can assure that everything you do these days can be broadcast to the world instantaneously.

From getting married to giving birth. Now to the couple that updated their facebook relationship statuses and tweeted about their new married state at the altar. I'm not sure that's the correct time and place for smart phones and twitter. It might be, if say you were drunk, and in Vegas. Then yes, the marriage is not sacred and not profound. It is Britney Spears, and tweeting makes sense. However, you appear to have been married in a church, in front of friends, family and God... and I feel like you might have wanted to take that a little bit more seriously. The guy's YouTube page makes some statement about how they aren't all that internet obsessed, they merely wanted to share with friends and family who were out of town. Seriously dude? If these people are that close to you, they KNOW you're getting married, you can show them wedding and honeymoon photos later.

I have friends from college, who are having their second child, and keep us all updated on facebook. I'm very much less offended by this. The miracle of birth is something that should be celebrated by friends and family, and many of them will not be allowed in the hospital with you as hospital staffs have better things to do than try to find space for the 50 odd people that would love to be with you. Tweeting about birth makes a given amount of sense to me. Of course, when your child is 14 ... it may scar him, but maybe at that age our children will be used to having been on facebook their whole lives long. Of course, this will make it that much harder for any kid that was ever picked for anything to ever live it down, because there on facebook will be pictures his parents took of whatever embarrassing story/incident/time of life it was, because to Mom and Dad those stories are cute, not ones that are going to ruin your high school social life.

Then there's the dead scandal of all the politicians facebooking/twittering/playing solitaire when really, they should be using the public's money to do something productive. I just wonder if we haven't gone a bit too far with wanting everyone to share in every moment of our lives. (Or in the case of politicians & celebs ... know that we're doing something important every second of our very important lives) . Frankly, I don't care to check in with Paris Hilton ten times a day to see what she's been doing. She hasn't been interesting since the sex tape.

Now I don't want to go the way of Miley Cyrus or John Mayer and swear that we've become dependent on the internet and we shouldn't use it as often. Because, really, that's kind of stupid. We've become dependent on toliets and forks, I think Cyrus and Mayer should go without those for a week and then get back to us.

But I feel that while social networks are fun, and keep us entertained, especially on boring train rides or that slow hour at the office, I still feel like somethings should be private and respected. There won't be any live social networking at any of my major life events. Y'all will either have to be there, or be subjected to the thousands of pictures afterwards. The good old fashioned way, in a facebook album.
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