Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Just a question

But, how did a 5-4 ruling in a case that had 11 of 21 justices that ultimately held any sort of opinion on the case supporting the position of Justice Sotomayor become a 9-0 smackdown?

And what's up with Justice Alito's concurrance?

Life is so much better with short hair

Just had to share.

Monday, June 29, 2009

A few Random Thoughts

I'm working again tonight. I worked yesterday and last night. I worked the day and night before that. Friday, I worked, but not at night. All last week I worked at night except on Monday when the network was down for maintenance.

I've put in quite a few hours, yet I think we have less money to show for it. Daycare at $2000 a month is a bit steep. Maybe next year we'll buy some tickets and fly them all up to Indiana for the summer and save a little bit.

The kids are excited about the neighborhood pool. We've been the last three days (not today - they're closed on Monday). Now I just need to get them swimming and not grasping on to my shoulders.

It rained a little today, about 5 minutes worth of drops. It's the first rain we've had in June.

I need a haircut, the Boy and the Apple need haircuts. My car needs an inspection, a taillight, gas, and a wash.

It's going to be a long night, but at least I've made up my time for not working on Friday.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tattletales, 5 year old version

Just overheard in the living room: "Mom! (The Boy) called (the Princess) the "E" word! He called her an idiot!"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yu-Gi-Yoh = June 25

Fifty-nine years ago today, North Korean soldiers, with backing from the Soviet Union and PRC, crossed over the 38th parallel and invaded the First Republic of Korea. The DPRK soldiers caught the ROK soldiers completely off-guard, and began routing the South Korean army and the few Americans left in country. After three years of bitter fighting, leaving approximately 900,000 Chinese, 520,000 North Korean, 400,000 UN and ROK, and 155,000 US soldiers either killed or wounded, a Cease-fire was declared, with the line being approximately where it was before the fighting began. To this day, no treaty has been signed, and these two countries are still technically at war.
Take a moment to remember those who died protecting those who couldn't protect themselves from the yoke of tyranny.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


One of my biggest criticisms about the Bush administration was its inability to be transparent about anything. The Obama administration thus far has done somewhat better, but on the issues upon which I had hoped he would demonstrate "change," we are seeing slow, if any, progress.

When asked at the press conference yesterday about Neda in Iran, President Obama was interrupted during his answer. As Glenn Greenwald (I'm telling you, you need to read him!) writes:
As Obama was answering -- attesting to how "heartbreaking" he found the video; how "anybody who sees it knows that there's something fundamentally unjust" about the violence; and paying homage to "certain international norms of freedom of speech, freedom of expression" -- Helen Thomas, who hadn't been called on, interrupted to ask Obama to reconcile those statements about the Iranian images with his efforts at home to suppress America's own torture photos ("Then why won't you allow the photos --").

The President quickly cut her off with these remarks:

THE PRESIDENT: Hold on a second, Helen. That's a different question. (Laughter.)

Of course, Ms. Thomas has a salient point, and one that deserves an answer, but she didn't get it. The most effective way to ensure that our nation doesn't repeat the travesties of the previous administration is to get all the dirt out in the open. Show the photos, let the country and the world see what we were when governed by a compassionate conservative.

Greenwald's article is superb, and truly deserves reading, not just for the commentary on this important issue, but also because he provides further evidence that the Conservative Bloggers are somewhat foolish in their criticism of President Obama fielding a question from the Huffington Post (one of the most difficult questions of the conference, he notes)...

All around good stuff.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm Really Starting to Dig Glenn Greenwald

Here he goes to town on NPR and their refusal to call a spade a spade (or torture "torture). Can't summarize, he does too good a job - just read the whole thing.

What, Exactly, would happen?

What would happen to the people of Iran if President Obama came out directly in support of the protesters? We have a nation, Iran, that is sovereign, whose people are reacting to widespead voter fraud, who are (apparently) rejecting the putative leader of the nation after the fraudulent vote, the same man who came in to power with the "American bogeyman" concept in place. A softer response helped lead to the position where dialogue was possible, maintaining such silence will do nothing but aid the cause of those who want change over there, as it denies Ahmadenijad a foil, a target for fearmongering. As long as we remain neutral, it's the Iranians' fight. Once we take sides, then the protesters are part of us, which weakens their position. It's simple, but it seems to be lost on the Neoconservative Right.

Perhaps Matt Steinglass is right in his binary reasoning hypothesis...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fatherhood is

Listening to your five year old son sit on the can with the door open singing "Footloose."


So, I've watched most of the new miniseries episode of Impact this evening. I'm somewhat underwhelmed.

First off, Natasha Henstridge, while an attractive female lead, is hard to buy as a world-renowned astronomer. But more unlikely is the concept of people in two different parts of the United States, in England, and in Germany all watching a meteor shower at the same time, all in the middle of the night, and all with perfectly clear skies overhead. Seriously - at least make an attempt at reasonability...

Happy Father's day, everyone!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's Saturday Night

And I'm working. At home. All evening.

Because there is a whole lot of work left to be done, but also because I need the overtime to help pay for a trip to Arkansas.

Just so you know

I hate the air of superiority of pharmaceutical companies.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Small Circles

One of the problems with expecting change from the government (and yes, this includes "the One," who I've not heard referred to as "the One" except by Neocons and their ilk) is that the ones governing us run in small circles - tight communities where everyone's hands wash each others'.

Glenn Greenwald highlights one of the problems with the government in this post where he discusses illegal wiretapping and its continued abuse by the government, despite the government's insistance that it would be fixed...

Key passage is the second paragraph:
Every time new revelations of illegal government spying arise, the same exact pattern repeats itself: (1) euphemisms are invented to obscure its illegality ("overcollection"; "circumvented legal guidelines"; "overstepped its authority"; "improperly obtained"); (2) assurances are issued that it was all strictly unintentional and caused by innocent procedural errors that are now being fixed; (3) the very same members of Congress who abdicate their oversight responsibilities and endlessly endorse expanded surveillance powers in the face of warnings of inevitable abuses (Jay Rockefeller, Dianne Feinstein, "Kit" Bond, Jane Harman) righteously announce how "troubled" they are and vow to hold hearings and take steps to end the abuses, none of which ever materialize; (4) nobody is ever held accountable in any way and no new oversight mechanisms are implemented; (5) Congress endorses new, expanded domestic surveillance powers; and then: (6) new revelations of illegal government spying emerge and the process repeats itself, beginning with step (1).
Of course, we shouldn't be surprised that it doesn't change, because it's not affecting those in power - they can continue to act the way they have been with little to fear in the way of recourse. That's shameful.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Things I don't Understand

Former President Bush stated today that he hopes the closure of Guantanamo Bay doesn't risk our national security (souce: Yahoo!). What, then, does he feel about the commander he selected noting that Guantanamo Bay was one of the biggest RISKS to our national security in terms of recruiting tools for those we fight?

I remember President Bush once said something to the effect of "well, I guess you can blame me." Not quite the Truman "Buck Stops Here," but he still didn't mean it, if you look at how he's hemmed and hawed away anything that remotely sounds like something negative that he should take the hit for - "some have said," "mistakes were made," etc...

That being said, I think it's kind of a no-brainer that people don't want our national security harmed. But, I wonder what he meant about "therapy," really? It sounds like he's playing politics - trying to give the Right another trite talking point that really means nothing, but if it's out there, it might fester...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Show of Hands

Who out there believes that we would be seeing what's going on in Iran right now if Senator McCain and Governor Palin had been elected to office? Does anyone else believe that by softening our position and making real dialogue an option, we took the wind out of Ahmedinejad's sails, helping foster this (mostly) peaceful demonstration in support of something closer to a democracy?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Gone Scamming

I got a really neat letter in the mail yesterday. Apparently, my name has been selected as a secret shopper based on a suvey I took that I don't recall taking! It's a pretty cherry gig. The company, Day Pitney LLP (a law frm), has decided to pay me for some part time work - $600! All I have to do is do some market research as a secret shopper, and as an added bonus, I get to keep what I purchase!

I have two projects, which are hands on self training designed to equip me with the knowledge necessary to carry ourt my assignment(s) as an experienced research personnel. Such a brilliant command of the English language, how could I refuse?

The first project is to evaluate Western Union as a way of rating their competency. I need to transfer funds to the Area Manager Emily Franz. Fortunately for me, the check they sent me includes the amount I am to transfer. Additionally, my second assignment is to withdraw the sum of $250.00 for shopping at a home improvement or retail store. The check also includes the funds for this, plus the money for the "send fees." The total of the check is $3980. I am to send $2990 to Emily Franz and spend $250. The rest I get to keep. I need to call my account Manager Andrew Young at a phone number that starts with the area code 289 for instructions.

Let's consider this for just a moment. First off, Day Pitney LLP is a law firm that, to the best of my knowledge does not possess a "career research" department with a "secret shopper" program. But that's not going to stop a lot of people from considering this legitimate.

Next, my account manager is "Andrew Young," whose telephone number is area code 289-892-3265. This is not an area code for New York. I actually looked up this number on whitepages.com and found it to be a cell phone in Ontario, nowhere near New York City. I suppose it's possible that a person would have an Ontario area code on a cell phone in New York, but why would they use that as a contact number for a business transaction?

Third is the telephone number for Day Pitney. The telephone number listed is 212-714-8399. From what I could tell when I looked up Day Pitney, their New York office number differs from this, as does their NJ office. Even stranger, the fax number listed is a 206 area code, which I remember from growing up in Washington State as a Seattle area code.

This does not even take into consideration the typos found in the letter sent to me, which I highly doubt any reputable law firm would send out - I know ours wouldn't.

Here's how this scam works. They give you this great concept - you deposit $4000 into your account and then you withdraw $3000 and take it to Western Union where you wire it to the scammers. In the meantime, the check gets returned (i.e. it "bounces") and you get notified that you do not have the funds in there. You have now lost your $3000. In addition, you've not received your $600 for the "work" that you've done. The scammers insist that you contact them after every step - this is to help ensure that you work quickly, as time is of the essence. Additionally, they are "showing you their trust" by sending you a check for far more than what you are expecting to be paid, thereby implying you need to be fastidious in what you do. It's not a particularly clever scam, and it's one that's been done over for years and years, but it still works, because people see this as easy money with an $850 payoff ($600 in cash plus $250 in products).

Beware if you get any acceptance letters from Day Pitney Career Research. It is a scam and not linked to the legitimate law offices that are Day Pitney. Andrew Young and Emily Franz are names you need to watch out for.

If anyone else comes across this or other similar scams, please comment - let others know of the situation.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Stupid RedWings

Had to lose to a team that outplayed them.

It's hard not to be happy for the Penguins, though, though with the asterisk...

Oh well, best of three next year?

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Who is to blame for the current economic mess in which we find ourselves? The Rushes of the world would point every finger they have at President Obama, Barney Frank, and the Democrats.

I would point to this recent study that shows who is responsible for what. President Obama is clearly responsible for some of the debt, and clearly is owning part of what President Bush started. Note the amount of debt attributed to tax cuts and increased spending (i.e. two wars and medicare reform, inter alia) that President Bush and his "deficits don't matter" (to the tune of $43 TRILLION) office. Not that this hasn't been foreseen - look at this chart from the GAO from 2005 (during the high point of the Republican majority in Congress and the White House) and you can see that this has been a long time coming.

Yet there are still those who will point to Barney Frank and the Democrats for this entire mess. Craziness.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Release the Pictures

If these reports are true, then they need to be aired. If not, then they need to be refuted. Either way, this is not how people who are merely suspected of wrongdoing should be treated, regardless of actual guilt.

Yes, I know there are actual terrorists being detained, but I know just as well that many (see: Boumediene, the Uighurs, etc.) have done nothing wrong but be of Muslim descent during this decade.

Wednesday is Haiku Day

After a brief hiatus...

My friend Susan's mom's
Bulgoki - is there any
Better? I think not!

As always, I look forward to your contributions.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

On Boumediene v. Bush part II.

Part I is here.

Lakhdar Boumediene was captured in 2001 - not on the battlefields on Afghanistan, not in Iraq, not in some cave somewhere plotting the next attack on the United States. No, he was captured after the Bosnians arrested him for plotting to attack the US. After an investigation, the Bosnians released him, finding the evidence of any wrongdoing lacking. However, instead of releasing Boumediene as they'd initially planned, instead, they turn him and several other Bosnians over to the United States under pressure from the latter - an "early victory" in the war on "terror." Such began Boumediene's story.

He was awayed to Guantanamo Bay - where only the "worst of the worst" were kept. There he stayed, a man who, after a formal police investigation was found to have done nothing wrong and had already had the charges against him dropped once, for 7 1/2 years. While under American custody in an area where the government speciously asserted American Law didn't reach (a wonderful, magical world called Gitmo! where only the guilty - read: whoever we say is bad - is held indefinitely), he was tortured, abused, beaten, shackled, denied sleep for up to 16 days, denied adequate access to legal counsel, and denied even the opportunity to see the (lack of) evidence against him. Finally, the Supreme Court - see PART 1, above - got its hands on the case and ruled in favor of Boumediene, and afterwards, a Republican-appointed judge held what had been determined to be the case 7 years ago - namely that the evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Boumediene lacked.

ABC News did a story with Mr. Boumediene where he highlighted what he went through.

One can only imagine what a journey like this could do to one's psyche. It might drive someone to hate his captors, perhaps join the opposition. Maybe, just maybe, it creates those very terrorists that we'd been trying to capture. Maybe, just maybe, those who turn to terrorism after their detention, after their release due to lack of credible (or usable) evidence of their wrongdoing are not acting in a state of recidivism, but instead are being created anew, and reports stating otherwise are inaccurate...

Perhaps, just perhaps, it's not as dangerous to house terrorists in the United States, and perhaps, just perhaps, we could trust our department of justice in holding terror suspects without the histrionics recently displayed.

If it Weren't For That Liberally-Biased MSM...

Then perhaps we wouldn't have read this in the New York Times - wait, we didn't. Instead we read the Cheney-esque version, sans torture.

There really needs to be an investigation into just whose authority the torture that occurred in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere under the Flag of the United States was ordered under.

Monday, June 08, 2009

PR Fluff

That's what this post on generic drugs vs. name brand prescriptions at the Detroit Free Press is. I'd write more, but I've got to get to work. Suffice it to say, the only people that stand to profit from this type of article are the manufacturers of the generic drug that can charge the premium price.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


It's cumbersome, looking at the same blog screen for 3 1/2 years. I thought I'd change it up.

One thing I like about this layout is that it's a larger viewing area for the text. Kind of helps make it easier to read.

What do y'all think?

Sunday Morning

A Quiet Sunday Morning.

Yesterday I took care of a bunch of yard work, cutting the grass that didn't get cut last week due to our trip to San Antonio. We have some nuclear grass in the back yard - that stuff grows like it's on steroids.

In other news, we went to see UP yesterday. Very good movie, though I wouldn't put it at the top of the Pixar family, I would say it was another very good film.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

On Separation

I've posted in the past letters from Lenni Brenner's book Jefferson and Madison on Separation of Church and State. Tonight, I post one more from one of the Founders and framers of the Constitution.

This is James Madison's leeter to F.L. Schaeffer on December 3, 1821:

I have received, with your letter of November 19th, the copy of your address at the ceremonial of laying the corner-stone of St. Matthew's Church in New York.
It is a pleasing and persuasive example of pious zeal, united with pure benevolence and of a cordial attachment to a particular creed, untinctured with sectarian illiberality. It illustrates the excellence of a system which, by a due distinction, to which the genius and courage of Luther led the way, between what is due and (sic) Caesar and what is due God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations. The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of relugious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.


So one of my friends is leaving our office. He's moving to another floor in the building we're in, where he'll serve as a marketer for the referral firm there. It's a sad time for me, as this is a person I consider a relatively close work friend. His job, essentially, is to find trial firms to take this firm's mesothelioma cases. Knowing that there are many mesothelioma cases that have been tried over the years, I decided to see what exactly it is.

I started by going to the National Cancer Institute. Apparently, mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium (go figure). This of course begs the question, "what is the mesothelium?" Well, the website linked to above covers that, as well. It is a membrane that consists of two parts that surround the organs of the body. Mesothelioma is a disease wherein these cells become cancerous and divide erratically, damaging surrounding organs (this is the condensed version of the answer, the longer answer is much better read at the NCI website).

Mesothelioma is almost always caused by asbestos exposure, hence the asbestos cases over the past several years.

I wish my friend well in his new job, but I don't envy the situation of those who partake of his firm's services.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Stating the Obvious

Anyone who's been paying attention for the past 5 years knows that there was never any connection between Iraq and 9-11. I've posted about this in the past.

This of course didn't stop the Republicans in office during the previous administration from alleging that there was, in fact, such a connection, including Dick Cheney himself. Nor did it stop them from alluding to a connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq to help push through funding for a new invasion of Iraq while the war on terror took a back burner.

One must wonder, then, why now, after making such loud claims of the effectiveness of torture in securing useful information and in light of the evidence coming forward that this torture was ordered to prove up an Al Qaeda/Iraq link, why Dick Cheney would choose now to confirm what we already know.

It's an interesting question.

Monday, June 01, 2009


That's really the best word to use to describe the antics of the Operation Rescue (OR) crowd - the group that had been harassing Dr. Tiller and his staff for the last umpteen years for performing a legal service with which they disagree. Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings describes in some detail here.

The suspect currently detained was reportedly a follower of OR. He also reportedly had a conviction for driving with bomb-making materials. He was a fanatic - an extremist subscriber to an extremist philosophy.

The irony, of course, is that an abortionist was killed by a pro-lifer, be it the suspect in custody, or someone else. What shouldn't be lost is that this is the result that those such as Bill O'Reilly and Troy Newman had undoubtedly hoped for, even if they couldn't outright ask for it.

What this amounts to, essentially, is someone killing someone else because they have a difference of opinion. Dr. Tiller believed that he was performing a service to women who requested it, making a legal choice. His murderer, and many pro-lifers, believed that he was nothing less than a murderer himself, because their faith dictated it be so - their belief was, by this virtue, founded on another belief. A difference of opinion resulted in the cold-blooded murder of a doctor and obeyer of the law, yet there are those defending the action of the murderer as justifiable.

The irony.

Random Trivia

In honor of the NHL Finals and the Red Wings' stellar victories over the last two nights:

The Canadian National Sport is not hockey - it's Lacrosse.