Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Donate To Jeff Merkley Via ActBlue

Matt, from the comments in the last article, suggested that if I love Jeff Merkley so much, then why don't I marry him ...

... no, no, joke! joke! I maek funnay joak!

Anyhow, he suggested I set up a donation page at ActBlue, so I did.

My pitch is, ever since Jeff got to Washington he's actually been doing the things we elected him to do, and money makes the world go round. I'm saying, every time he takes action on credit cards, or mortgages, or any one of the many things he said he'd promise us he'd do, we should go and toss him a bone or two ... whatever you have.

Because I'll bet he'll notice that, the little thank you's (and the big ones too).

Anyway, the quick-donation box is in the sidebar there, and my own page at ActBlue to donate to Jeff is here:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Give Jeff Merkley Mad Props, Yo!

He's actually doing what he's promised to do, taking on the credit card companies.

Do they allow that in Washington any more?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Play Ms. Bachmann Out, Keyboard Cat

From Chinuk Studios, a Chinuk Production, Directed by The Chinuk, Written by the Chinuk, and starring Michele Bachmann (R-Venus or maybe Saturn) and Keyboard Cat in ..

Play Michele Bachmann Out, Keyboard Cat!

This had its world premier over on PK a few hours back, but I want to celebrate my triumph here too!

Buffoon EPIC FAIL "Hoot Smalley" Bachmann + Keyboard Cat = AWESOME!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Janet Jackson's Breast: Still Public Enemy Number One

And the Supreme Court demands that a lower court take another look at it:

The Supreme Court today ordered a lower court to revisit the case of pop singer Janet Jackson's so-called "wardrobe malfunction" in which she inadvertently exposed her breast during the 2004 broadcast of a Super Bowl halftime show.

The Federal Communications Commission had fined CBS, the show's broadcaster, $550,000, and found that the show was indecent because it depicted a sexual organ for nine-sixteenths of one second.

Nearly 90 million viewers watched the performance of "Rock Your Body" by Jackson and singer Justin Timberlake. CBS challenged the fine, arguing that such fines by the FCC could chill the free speech of broadcasters.

Some days, it's tough to be a jurist.

And by tough, we mean AWESOME!

This could be the start of a new era in BROADcasting, amirite?

I better stop now.

That's How They Roll

Republicans sure are a funny bunch. They'll ignore you, ostracize you, vilify you, put you down, and diss you.

But just one Republican Senator goes Democratic, and all of a sudden, they're buying you ice cream:

Oh hey there, remember last year when, during the election, John McCain’s pathetic campaign resorted to offensive yet hilarious attacks against those of us who live in Northern Virginia? Remember how they called us communist and “fake Virginia.” Yes!? Well guess what!! Now the tool bags are coming here to hold the first in a series of events where they will feverishly try to figure out why they suck and what they can do to fix it.

Congratulations, Northern Virginny! You're fashionable now!

You want Republicans to start celebrating Teh Gay?

As soon as Teh Gay becomes instrumental in getting Republicans elected, male-on-male pegging (warning: That link goes to an unexpectedly adult Wikipedia article) will become a sacrament. You can bank on that.

My salute to those in "fake Virginia". Work those bastiches for all you can, then kick them to the curb so you can watch them cry.

They earned it.

Now, THIS Is A "Fair" Tax

The President is going after Cayman Islander "POBox" Corps, amongst others:

Going after companies and individuals who funnel money to tax havens in the Cayman Islands or Swiss banks is just one part of the proposal. Much of Mr. Obama's plan aims to limit what the president considers the tax avoidance of multinational corporations who use subsidiaries and foreign branches to avoid paying higher taxes in the United States.

The White House, in a release detailing the plan, said the current tax system "is rife with opportunities to evade and avoid taxes through offshore tax havens."

There's no essential sin in trying to pay the minimum tax one is entitled to. Also, nobody deserves to get fleeced.

But corprations have been getting away with sucking profits out of America for so much and for so long that, even though it's legal, it's un-American. And it's you, me, and every one we know (speaking for us proles, that is) that's paying for it – either through increased taxes or decreased services. Usually decreased services.

I don't know about any of you folks, but I get tired of sacrificing so that some "too-big-to-fail" corporation gets to have even bigger profits.

Legal tax reductions can be good. But just like you can actually get poisoned if you drink too much water too fast, too much of any good thing isn't eventually good at all.

Corporations have been making bank for a very long time now on a favorable business climate (so favorable, for instance, that Oregon will allow you to skive on out of here for a single $10 bill), and its time that they pitched in thier fair share to maintain the edifice that made their success possible.

It's past time, actually.

Kicking It Blogstyle

A bit of a mention here about thanking BlogBurst for activating this here blog. I just visited the dashboard and found that an article I posted, noting the grim state of the Chinook salmon runs here in the Northwest, was picked up by a newspaper's blog, the Gary, Indiana Post-Tribune.

Nifty! Thanks BlogBurst!

I am still posting like mad over at Preemptive Karma, so don't forget to join me there too!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ahh, Persephone, Returned From The Depths To Us

Good news if you, as I, have been missing la belle Rhodes...

She's coming back! Back on The POJ mid-May.

And the nifty party?

She's being syndicated by Premier Radio Networks ... the same syndicator which runs the Unavuncular Carbuncular Creepy Uncle of America – Rush (we call him "Mr") Limbaugh.

She's gonna eat him alive. As big as he's gotten, she'll need a doggy bag.

But what doggy would have him?

I invite discussion on Preemptive Karma. Join me there.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Simple Answers To Simple Questions Re: Cash Gifting Refunds

In scanning my hit counter, I noticed I got a hit on the following query:

"possible to get money back from cash gifting"

Which I interpret as the following question:

Q: Can I get my money back from a cash gifting pyramid?

and the simple answer:

A: I don't think so.

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, your mileage may vary. If you want to risk your nuts in a "cash gifting" scheme, by all means, go balls-to-the-wall.

But the reading I've done ... some of it documented in my earlier post on the subject ... suggest that the only players likely to get anything out of it are the ones who got on on the ground floor.

An easy way to find out if you've gotten in on the ground floor: if someone's inviting you on board the airplane, you ain't it, bunky.

And if the network collapses and you find yourself out in the cold, are you going to complain to someone that you got burned in a scheme designed to make you a bunch of money without paying taxes and without working for it? Pretty embarrassing. Would it get you some government attention? I don't know. Do you? Are you willing to take the risk?

And by now, the money is long gone anyway, spent by the people upline of you that got it already. It's gone.

Better you stay away from this stuff, and remember what Mom Always Said: if it sounds too good to be true, it is. This sort of carp is the reason why Mom came up with that saying.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Randy Leonard Needs To Go, Too.

In the last several days we've seen several reminders as to why, regardless of how Sam Adams conducts his private life, why he's proven himself to be the exact opposite of a visionary, thoughtful steward of the city's future.

But let's look at Randy Leonard just a little. Up until quite recently, we were a huge fan of Randy. We liked his scrappy style, and liked the way he took on Dave Frohnmayer over the "Made in Oregon" sign issue.

But latterly, he's been just a little too much the bully. Over on Preemptive Karma, I commented on Sam Adams's crass equivalency of a luxury hotel that I couldn't possibly afford to stay in to a significant regional transportation link in urgent need of reconstruction. And, despite Randy's newfound enmity for Sam, apparently they can remain freinemies: Randy will happily, apparently, back Sam's play for "support my hotel, or the bridge gets it".

I came to the conclusion that Randy's no longer looking out for the town but for other interests when I watched this report on KGW. At the 1:53 mark, Randy accuses Ted Wheeler, County Chair, as "someone who's having a temper tantrum because he's not having his way."

Let's go to the map, shall we?
  1. Wheeler asked for figures
  2. The City Council sat on the request for six weeks.
  3. On Monday, the Council finally delevered the request – and gave Wheeler until Thursday ... that's tomorrow ... to make his decision.
  4. When Wheeler objects and takes his case to the media, he's throwing a temper tantrum.
I could be missing something here.

But I don't think I am.

Randy doesn't deserve to be on the City Council anymore. Since he's not in as much public hot water as Sam is, I don't think he'll be recalled. I doubt that anyone with sufficient gumption will challenge him for re-election either.

Which is sad, because Randy doesn't deserve to serve anymore.

To threaten to pull support on a good for all the people unless you support something that very few of the people will enjoy in an economy that can't support it is simply to play the "big kid in the room" card, and we're already supporting one hotel I can't afford to even walk through the door to visit (I'm looking at you, "The Nines").

The Portland City Council, as expressed through the power plays of Sam Adams and Randy Leonard, has evolved into one big bully. I'm sorry I voted for Sam and Randy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

An Addition To the Reading List

So far, in this blog, I've recommended two books for those who want the properly cynical footing to cope with the cynical political landscape – if you can't keep up, you can at least keep an eye on things.

I've decided to add two books to the assigned reading in this course. The complete list is:

  1. Dune, by Frank Herbert
  2. Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell
  3. Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein
  4. Stand on Zanzibar, by John Brunner
Each is important for diffferent reasons. Dune matters because Herbert had immense insights into power blocs and power struggles, and what might tilt things one way or the other – and that a random chaotic event can cause amazing results. Also, Herbert understood, perhaps better than any popular author, the explosive mix that religion and politics can make – and this, is the most important message, because he does it without making it a preachy cautionary tale.

Nineteen Eighty-Four is important for all the obvious reasons – the cynical manipulation of the population by a power elite, the evil deleterious effect on the zeitgeist and the human animal that opression can bring. But the real lesson I want people to take away from it, and the source of my sarcastic caption on the cover picture, is the effects of a power elite for whom power is the only object. They speak of addictive substances, nicotine, methamphetamine, what have you. Kissinger glibly commented that power is the ultimate aphrodesiac (not without reason). But more than that, power is the most addictive substance known to man and woman. You can't have it without wanting more, you can't have more without wanting to keep it all for one's self, and you can't keep it without greedily scheming to order affairs so that you never lose it.

When I say the Republican Party's main platform can be found there, it's the addiction to power and the need to get it for its own sake, at any cost. They would kill our country for it if they had to, and events suggest to me, they are still trying.

Stranger In A Strange Land was suggested by reader Phil. He recommends it highly, and my review of the plot suggests it has much to say about community and power. I've not read it yet, because I've never been much of a Heinlein fan, to be quite frank. But it's on my list now.

Stand on Zanzibar is a challenging book to read. John Brunner's visionary classic challenges the reader with a layered structure, an army of intertwining characters, and the strife of what was then the distant future time of the 2010s to paint a picture of a planet going crazy under the strain of overpopulation and technology that's zooming ahead of Man's capacity to reason with it all. With its piercing insights on what makes man tick, it's not predictive, but it does have Mankind's number, and is as relevant now as when it was written back in the 1960s.

Those are your assignments, if you care to take up the challenge. Since my topical work is being done over at Preemptive Karma for the nonce, we can use this area as a sort of reading and book discussion club. I'm going to go back through Dune soon and make public notes. Everyone is welcome to come along.

I think we can all learn something from each other. I believe this.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yay BlueOregon!

Blue Oregon's really cleaning up this year.

First that blogger on The Fix named BO to his 50-State Blogroll, now I hear that the George Washington University Institute for Politics, Democracy, & the Intarweb got what, if it isnt the Oscars or the Emmy at least it has to be the Golden Globe for public policy intarweb commentary, the Golden Dot as best damn state political blog for 2008.

Blue Oregon's one of those things that got me inspired to start DIY punditin'. I admire Kari's work and quite frankly think this is a very deserved honor, so I'm not only commenting on this in my capacity as part of the PK posse but also here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Blue Oregon!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pacific Wonderland Vintage Plate? I Am Totally There For That!

One of these would look soooo cool on my '72 VW:

Over on Oregonlive (where I nicked the above image, lensed by Randy Rasmussen) they've broken the story of a proposal to bring back the old Pacific Wonderland plates for a 25,000 limited edition.

I mentioned this to my wife and she said it was, well, a fait accompli. We weren't alive when the PW plates happened, but both our families were the kind to keep cars - and plates - around for an awful long time.

Not everyone is impressed: a commenter opined:

Since Oregon museums are reducing hours and laying off staff, I believe we don't really need a new history center.

Legislators. This may come as a surprise to you in the ivory tower but we have real issues to deal with in Oregon.

Yeah, whatevs, buzzkill.

I'm going to be lining up for them plates! Maybes they can get prisoners to stamp them like they used to ...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Reach Teh Big Time ...

... or at least the medium-sized time.

I've been a fan of Preemptive Karma since I started reading local blogs. I admire wit and clever prose, and it had it in spades. It was one that really challenged me to think, dammit! It's always been a ground of great reading, and at least one PKer has gone on to greater things.

I'm speaking of course of Carla "The Unimpeachable" Axtman, who's currently Fellow at Blue Oregon.

That Carla wears the title of Fellow is cosmically funny to me since, after all, Carla's apparently a woman*. I know. I've seen a picture of her.

Anywhoozle, one can imagine my surprise when Kevin at PK contacted me and asked me if I wanted to join the PK crew.

Flattered? You bet. Excited? Hells-to-the-yeah!

After talking with him and figuring out things, I've decided to take him up on the offer. I am now offically affiliated with the PK crew, and will be taking my comedic wit and nimitable style there too.

This blog will remain, and will have postings of a more personal and abstruse nature from here on out, just updated a little less frequently.

I plan on tripping the light fantastic over on PK; please, please join me and book mark both places!

* yes, I know what "Fellow" is. I maek funnay joak. You Laff Now!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I Evolve Upwards ...

Details to follow presently.

Stay tuned to this channel. This one, too.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Portia Di Rossi Knows How To Take Responsibility

At least someone does.

Another lesson gay people can teach us straights. Pay attention!

First Black President? Not Good Enough For ASU

Someone once told me an easy way to sense BS.

"Do you know why it doesn't make sense?" he said to me. "Because it isn't true."

This will do nothing but p*ss you off, and I'm sorry to have to share it, but I've had an ab-so-lute gutful of organizations that do the little weasel dance to avoid looking like they wanted to have President Barack Obama speak.

First it was the pained fretting of Catholic priests who moaned about President Obama (and I'm going to use that name repeatedly if it makes some people cry so much) speaking at Notre Dame which was painted as being all principled and stuff but actually had more than the whiff of hypocrisy about it.

I didn't think anyone could top the childishness of that move. But ASU did.

Arizona State University has invited President Obama to deliver the commencement address on May 13th. It's tradition (and, I understand, the "done" thing) to award the commencement speaker with an honorary degree.

As of this writing, according to and broken by the Politico, ASU has decided not to award the country's first black President an honorary degree. He just hasn't worked hard enough yet, you see:

The university decided against awarding Obama the degree because it is customarily awarded for “lifetime achievement,” ASU spokeswoman Sharon Keeler told POLITICO.

“It’s normally awarded to someone who has been in their field for some time,” she said. “Considering that the president is at the beginning of his presidency, his body of work is just beginning.”


A man of Barack Obama's stature and achievements hasn't rated the honor yet?

This is like refusing to call Neil Armstrong the first man on the moon because he hasn't done it twice yet.

If this man hasn't rated your respect yet, he never will. And ASU doesn't even have the courage to come up with a reason based on a solid debating point. At least Notre Dame did that. And they gave him an honorary degree.

WTF, ASU? Neocons on the board? Fear of a black planet? What? And you actually announced that and expected it not to look like weasel words and embarrass you? Are your PR people on vacation or payyy-ote or something?

There's buzz out that they're reconsidering. Thats as maybe. Damage is already done though. Well played, Asinine State University, well played.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Actual Smart Person Roger Ebert Pwns Bill O'Reilly

This is kind of neat, actually. One doesn't get two beautiful examples of textbook pwnage in one week. First, it was "Charlie" knocking Mr. Limbaugh off his routine so much that "sticking it" at the end was simply not possible, then, Roger Ebert dials Bill O'Reilly's number ... and nails it utterly.

One point of reference in my universe is that Roger Ebert is a national treasure. He is an incredibly gifted and readable writer. Yeah, I know, he does all that movie reviewin' and stuff, but can you name any other movie reviewer that's won the ever-loviin' Pulitizer for his reviewing?

Trick question. There isn't another (at least not at this writing).

Now comes along Mr. O'Reilly, who's a very important pivotal sort of person (and if you don't believe him, just ask him). He has taken it upon himself to compile a "Hall Of Shame" of doubleplusungood media outlets that he doedn't like, nosirree. And Ebert's employer, the Chicago Sun-Times, is new on the list, in the "Media Outlets That Traffic in Defamation" list.

At this point, it may be helpful to note that to get on this list, all one has to do is, they believe, to have "regularly helped distribute defamatory, false or non-newsworthy information supplied by far left websites".

By that metric, one can cut and paste three words from a Media Matters press release and qualify. And I may not be a lawyer but I have a feeling that defamation might not mean what they think it does. But for the moment we'll concede the point.

How does an Actual Smart Writerly Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Person return the favor? With reality, served with a side of dry wit and a droll chaser:

I understand you believe one of the Sun-Times misdemeanors was dropping your syndicated column. My editor informs me that "very few" readers complained about the disappearance of your column, adding, "many more complained about Nancy." I know I did. That was the famous Ernie Bushmiller comic strip in which Sluggo explained that "wow" was "mom" spelled upside-down.

Your column ran in our paper while it was owned by the right-wing polemicists Conrad Black (Baron Black of Coldharbour) and David Radler. We dropped it to save a little money after they looted the paper of millions. Now you call for an advertising boycott. It is unusual to observe a journalist cheering for a newspaper to fail. At present the Sun-Times has no bank debt, but labors under the weight of millions of dollars in tax penalties incurred by Lord Black, who is serving an eight-year stretch for mail fraud and obstruction of justice. We also had to pay for his legal expenses.

So there. I'll not show you the rest, as that would be rude (and legally actionable); use the above link to read it yourself.

As for the rest of us, I think Mr. O'Reilly can consider himself pwned.

I doubt it will make much of a difference; after all, in Mr. O'Reilly's world, he never actually loses.

Somebody's Gotta Go: New Reality Show Makes Me Hate Us All

I think I've just seen proof that our civilization does not deserve to survive.

The buzz is that FOX is coming up with something on the order of an abomination. No mere trifle this, the show, said to be titled Somebody's Gotta Go, is all about people losing their job, and their fellows slipping the knife in.

Bob Sassone at TV Squad:

Someone's Gotta Go will feature employees of a real company who give a pay cut to a fellow employee and vote out a fellow employee at the end of each show. Please note that these are real employees at a real company who are really going to lose their jobs, not to mention have their personal details revealed on national television.
I was going to link to what Sarah Ball at Newsweek's PopVox column said about it, but she seemed to enjoy the idea too much. If this idea wasn't appalling enough on its face not to make its sordid way from the Netherlands (where worldwide TV purveyor Endemol concocted this foul thing) to be pitched, straight-faced and unironically, to a TV network in the USA, then what it says about us as a culture is too ugly to put to words.

Seriously, I don't have a funny rejoinder to this one. This just makes me sad. Seriously, it makes me sad.

But don't let me harsh your vibe. If this sort of program sounds like fun to you, watch away. You're the one who'll have to look yourself in the mirror.

Abandon handbasket; we've arrived in Hell.

If Ed Orkney Hadn't Died Back In '76, This Would Have Killed Him

When we heard that (GI)Joes was going into bankruptcy, a lot of us hoped the handwriting wasn't on the wall, though deep down, a lot of us knew it was.

How did we know? The seeds were planted when an equity firm bought what was then GI Joe's, a Northwest friend since all of us can remember. GI Joe's was forever, man.

In retrospect, I think the surprising thing was how fast Joe's collapsed. From cherry property for expansion and competition on 2007 to failing company by the end of 2008, mere weeks after opening its 31st location in Nampa, Idaho – that's fast enough to make one's head swim.

We maybe really knew it in our gut when they did the "G.I"-ectomy, turning G.I. Joe's , the friendly Northwest friend, into Joe's Sports, Outdoors, and More, a name generic enough to go up against any sports retailer in any market.

Trouble is, there were already too many of them.

I don't know how long the late Mr. Orkney figured his business would last when he started it in that tent on North Vancouver Avenue in 1952. And I'm pretty sure that Norm Daniels didn't figure that when Gryphon got a controlling interest in Joe's that they would go and de-Oregonize the name and then see the company into a swift decline.

But that's what we got.

One of my first memories was the store opening in Salem in 1976, when we could finally go to G.I. Joe's whenever we wanted and not just on our all-to-infrequent jaunts to Stumptown. It was the first store opened outside the Portland area, and the fifth G.I. Joe's, on the way to 31 locations across the Northwest.

Those were good times, my friends. Good times.

G'bye, G.I. Joe's.