Doctors puzzled over bizarre infection surfacing in South TexasKarma's a bitch, ain't it, Texas? You inflicted us with a disease that's not quite a fungus, not quite a bacterial infection, and not quite a parasite...OK, maybe it's a parasite.
Web Posted: 05/12/2006 10:51 AM CDT
KENS 5 Eyewitness News
If diseases like AIDS and bird flu scare you, wait until you hear what's next. Doctors are trying to find out what is causing a bizarre and mysterious infection that's surfaced in South Texas.
Morgellons disease is not yet known to kill, but if you were to get it, you might wish you were dead, as the symptoms are horrible.
"These people will have like beads of sweat but it's black, black and tarry," said Ginger Savely, a nurse practioner in Austin who treats a majority of these patients.
Patients get lesions that never heal.
"Sometimes little black specks that come out of the lesions and sometimes little fibers," said Stephanie Bailey, Morgellons patient.
Patients say that's the worst symptom — strange fibers that pop out of your skin in different colors.
"He'd have attacks and fibers would come out of his hands and fingers, white, black and sometimes red. Very, very painful," said Lisa Wilson, whose son Travis had Morgellon's disease.
While all of this is going on, it feels like bugs are crawling under your skin. So far more than 100 cases of Morgellons disease have been reported in South Texas.
"It really has the makings of a horror movie in every way," Savely said.
While Savely sees this as a legitimate disease, there are many doctors who simply refuse to acknowledge it exists, because of the bizarre symptoms patients are diagnosed as delusional.
"Believe me, if I just randomly saw one of these patients in my office, I would think they were crazy too," Savely said. "But after you've heard the story of over 100 (patients) and they're all — down to the most minute detail — saying the exact same thing, that becomes quite impressive."
Travis Wilson developed Morgellons just over a year ago. He called his mother in to see a fiber coming out of a lesion.
"It looked like a piece of spaghetti was sticking out about a quarter to an eighth of an inch long and it was sticking out of his chest," Lisa Wilson said. "I tried to pull it as hard as I could out and I could not pull it out."
The Wilson's spent $14,000 after insurance last year on doctors and medicine.
"Most of them are antibiotics. He was on Tamadone for pain. Viltricide, this was an anti-parasitic. This was to try and protect his skin because of all the lesions and stuff," Lisa said.
However, nothing worked, and 23-year-old Travis could no longer take it.
"I knew he was going to kill himself, and there was nothing I could do to stop him," Lisa Wilson said.
Just two weeks ago, Travis took his life.
Stephanie Bailey developed the lesions four-and-a-half years ago.
"The lesions come up, and then these fuzzy things like spores come out," she said.
She also has the crawling sensation.
"You just want to get it out of you," Bailey said.
She has no idea what caused the disease, and nothing has worked to clear it up.
"They (doctors) told me I was just doing this to myself, that I was nuts. So basically I stopped going to doctors because I was afraid they were going to lock me up," Bailey said.
Harriett Bishop has battled Morgellons for 12 years. After a year on antibiotics, her hands have nearly cleared up. On the day, we visited her she only had one lesion and she extracted this fiber from it.
"You want to get these things out to relieve the pain, and that's why you pull and then you can see the fibers there, and the tentacles are there, and there are millions of them," Bishop said.
So far, pathologists have failed to find any infection in the fibers pulled from lesions.
"Clearly something is physically happening here," said Dr. Randy Wymore, a researcher at the Morgellons Research Foundation at Oklahoma State University's Center for Health Sciences.
Wymore examines the fibers, scabs and other samples from Morgellon's patients to try and find the disease's cause.
"These fibers don't look like common environmental fibers," he said.
The goal at OSU is to scientifically find out what is going on. Until then, patients and doctors struggle with this mysterious and bizarre infection. Thus far, the only treatment that has showed some success is an antibiotic.
"It sounds a little like a parasite, like a fungal infection, like a bacterial infection, but it never quite fits all the criteria of any known pathogen," Savely said
No one knows how Morgellans is contracted, but it does not appear to be contagious. The states with the highest number of cases are Texas, California and Florida.
The only connection found so far is that more than half of the Morgellons patients are also diagnosed with Lyme disease.
For more information on Morgellons, visit the research foundation's Web site at www.morgellons.org.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
We fucked it up with the tsunami. We can do better. Want to bet Bush won't?
Indonesia volcano on "danger" status
By Tomi Soetjipto Sat May 13, 5:43 AM ET
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia raised the alert status of the Mount Merapi volcano to the highest level on Saturday, prompting a compulsory evacuation of thousands of residents living on the slopes, officials said.
"This morning we raised the status of Merapi to the top alert, which is the red code. Every resident has been ordered to evacuate," Subandrio, head of the Merapi section at the Center for Volcanological Research and Technology Development, told Reuters.
Residents said they could see lava flowing and thick smoke rising from Merapi, one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the Pacific "Ring of Fire" that has been rumbling for weeks.
"I could see the lava clearly from my home this morning. Then they ordered us to evacuate our village," said Anton, a 25-year-old resident of Boyong village, around 8 km (5 miles) from Merapi.
Why should we care?
Most Javanese, who make up the bulk of Indonesia's 220 million people, are Muslim, but many cling to a spiritual past and believe a supernatural kingdom exists on top of Merapi.Get to emailing your Congresscritters and your Senators, and start the ball rolling on relief efforts, now. Turn the Lincoln and the Enterprise back from the Persian Gulf and steam them now to the Seventh Fleet to assist in Southeast Asia.
This is a whole lot more important than whether in ten years Iran will have a nuke. It just doesn't matter if we can persuade the rest of the Muslim world we mean no harm. They've forgotten the Serbo-Croatian salvation we did. They forgot how we saved millions of Muslims. We can do better here.
Friday, May 12, 2006
No, this isn't really "Tiffany Minx", it's some guy pretending to be her. It's quite the ironic little twist on the "something for nothing" aspect of the Nigerian scam, and you gotta love this:
From Peter Aka to Tiffany Mynx (Original Email) 11/1It goes on for quite a while longer. Suffice it to say that Peter promises "Tiffany" a big time movie contract and a trip to Ghana to film a movie with an African actor named "Sex Machine", meanwhile poor Peter Aka is thinking he's going to get some from a blonde American porn star AND get his hundreds of thousands of dollars! Alas, poor "Tiff" has been hung up by the Amsterdam Secret Service (A.S.S.)...and the pictures get more and more descriptive...
From the office of: Dr.Peter Aka(C.B.N)
Private EMAIL :(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Personal Number:234 80 33007631.
ATTN:BENEFICIARY CONTRACTOR :
NOTE: THE INFORMATION IN THIS MESSAGE AND IN ANY ATTACHMENTS, CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION AND IS INTENDED SOLELY FOR THE ATTENTION AND USE OF THE NAMED ADDRESSEE (S). IT MUST NOT BE DISCLOSED TO ANY PERSON(S) WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION. IF YOU ARE NOT THE INTENDED RECIPIENT, OR A PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR DELIVERING IT TO THE INTENDED RECIPIENT, YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO AND MUST NOT, DISCLOSE, COPY,DISTRIBUTE, OR RETAIN THIS MESSAGE OR ANY PART OF IT.
RE: UNPAID CONTRACT SUM
After waiting to hear from you or your Nigeria partners for a long time now, I decided to make this direct approach to you in other not to let it be as if I have anything in mind against you. I do not know if you have asked yourself why each time the release of these fund is approved, all of a sudden, the payment will be stopped or one problem or the other will come up. If you have not asked this question or you do not know, this is an opportunity for me to tell you.
Some time ago, your Nigerian friend I mean the people that introduced you to the project approached me through my dear Wife who works with the federal Ministry of Finance and requested me to assist them conclude a money transfer deal they had with you, they requested me to assist them by removing the original contractors name, companys name and bank particulars from Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) vetting computer and replacing them with your name and your bank details in order to make you appear as the rightful beneficiary of this funds. I agreed on condition that they will pay me $100,000 as soon as your name appears as the beneficiary.I did as agreed and demanded to be paid but your friends started telling me stories. They even told me that you promise to send money to me. Do you know that up till now, I have not received a single cent from them and have not set my eyes on any of them.
Based on their attitude, I decided to stop the funds release movement because I cannot be denied of my right in my own office considering the risk as it might affect my job. Secondly, I know the source of the funds and you did not execute any contract in
Nigeria, although I am the only person privileged to know this information and it is a fact. Why I am making this clear to you is that I can see that you are still making efforts spending money in order to conclude this project. Now I am ready to forget the past, I do not need the $100,000 any longer from you but a share of 25% of the total sum. I need your assurance that those your colleagues will be totally keep out of this transaction, I know that none of them is aware of this transaction after trying their best to conclude it without my consent.
Finally, I need your promise that no official of the
Central bank of Nigeria will be aware of my involvement in this regard. Now re-assure me that you will be willing to offer me the 25% of the fund, that you will assist my wife and personal assistant to establish a foreign account in your country where my share will be lodged.
If you are ready to conclude this business with me, you can contact me immediately on (EMAIL:(email@example.com).
so that we can have chat over this issue once and for all so that we can move forward. But if the reverse is the case, do not bother yourself to reach me.
Regards, DR. Peter Aka
DIRECTOR (K.T.T UNIT) C.B.N.
From Tiffany Mynx to Peter Aka (11/4)
Hello Peter Aka,
I received your email but I think it was a mistake. My name is Tiffany and I live in California. Sorry if this was not for me but if there is some way I can help you, let me know.
From Peter Aka to Tiffany Mynx (Nov. 8)
Dear Tiffany Minx,
Thanks very much for your kind message,and on your acceptance to assist in this transaction.As you have seen through my message where i work,such a sensitive possition in the Apex Bank of the federation.
Yes we can work together and you can be of an assistance to us.But first let me have your private mobile phone and fax numbers to enhance our communication.
Here is my direct phone number 234 1 7754554.or 234 8037218281.please call me immediately as soon as you received this mail for us to finalize, also please your Bank particulars will be highly needed to enable us secure fresh approval on behalf of your name.
Expecting your urgent response.
Dr Peter Aka.
From Tiffany Mynx to Peter Aka (11/8)
Dear Peter Aka,
Thank you for the message. The best way to reach me is through email as I am on the road all the time. I work in the adult entertainment industry. I log on all the time from my laptop so don?t hesitate to write. You can trust me with this transaction as I am a woman of high morals.
EBOLA MONKEY NOTE: Adult Entertainment Industry & high morals, see the irony? He won't.
From Peter Aka to Tiffany Mynx (Nov. 12)
DEAR MR TIFFANY MINX,
THANKS YOUR MESSAGE.I AM HONESTLY SORRY FOR THE DELAY IN REPLYING YOUR MESSAGE.I WAS OUT OF STATION ON OFFICIAL ENGAGEMENT.I AM HAPPY TO HEAR THAT YOU ARE PRIVATE PERSON,SAME LIKE ME. BECAUSE OF MY POSITION THAT I'M PRESENTLY OCCUPLYING. FURTHER EXPLANATION/ADDITIONAL INFORMATION YOU MAY WISH TO KNOW ARE.I AM PETER AKA,I WORK WITH KTT/TELEX DEPT OF THE CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA.I ALSO HEAD THE TREASURY SECTION.IAM FROM THE NORTHERN PART OF THE COUNTRY THAT IS HIGHLY DOMINATED BY MOSLEMS,BUT IT HAPPENS THAT I COME A CHRISTIAN HOME IN JOS PLATEUE
STATE.THIS IS MY 12YEARS OF SERVICE WITH THE APEX BANK.
I AM MARRIED WITH THREE CHILDREN,MY FIRST SON IS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS,MY SECOND SON IS ABOUT TO ENTER AND MY DAUGTHER IS STILL IN COLLEGE.IAM 45 YEARS OF AGE.I WILL SEND YOU MY PICTURE AS WE PROGRESS.
NOW TO THE TRANSACTION,THIS MONEY IS $25.6MILLION THAT ME AND MY COLLEAGUES WORKING WITH ME DISCOVERED THAT WAS FLOATING IN THE BANK,WE STARTED ON THE ARRANGEMENT TO MOVE THE MONEY OUT OF THE COUNTRY,WHICH HAVE PERFECTED.WE WANT YOU NOW TO RECIEVE THE MONEY ON OUR BEHALF AND HELP US INVEST IT INTO ANY PROFITABLE BUSINESS THAT YOU MAY DEEM FIT.WE PLAN MOVING THE
MONEY OUT IN CASH THROUGH DIPLOMATIC CHANNEL TO ONE OF THESE AFRICAN COUNTRIES,FROM THERE YOU CAN OPEN A DOMICILLARY ACCOUNT AND THEN TRANSFER TO YOUR BANK ACC,ANY WHERE YOU WISH.WE WILL ALSO SIGN AN AGGREEMENT WITH YOU.
I WILL GIVE DETAILS,YOU MAY WISH TO KNOW WHEN I GET YOUR MESSAGE.
THANK YOU ,
DR PETER AKA.
EBOLA MONKEY NOTE: If he responds to this next email, we know we are dealing with a card carrying idiot.
From Tiffany Mynx to Peter Aka (11/13)
Wow, that certainly is a mouthful. No pun intended. Well, I guess I should tell you a little about me.
Date of Birth: 10/10/1971
Given name: Shannon Cummings (Tiffany Mynx/Minx is my stage/acting name but that's what I prefer to be called)
Birth place: Upland, California, USA
Height: 5 ft. 3 in.
Marital status: Divorced; two sons
I mainly dance now instead of making movies. I'm not a real religious person.
Let me tell you how I got to where I am today. I was doing okay as a stripper but there was so much competition. Until one day one of my driver/bodyguards called and to tell me that he worked on movie sets part time. He went on to tell me that my girlfriend and I should stop by the studio because they needed a couple of extra girls and I could make some good money. I said, "sure." So there I was, in a room full of girls. There was a door in the room that would open, and they would call us in one at a time. When it was my turn, I was walked into a room with a man sitting behind a desk. He asked me to take off my clothes. He told me he liked me and wanted me for the job. Now he mentions to me that he wants me to do two sex scenes. I couldn't believe it, I didn't know what to do or what I should do. Well, you guessed it. I did the job and they called me back again the next week for another gig. My first movie was, "The D.J." and the second picture was called, "The Good the Bad and the Horny." Both movies were shot for V.C.A.. I worked with Tony Tedeshi both times and we became friends. He asked me what agency I worked for, and I couldn't answer because I had no idea there were agencies in the adult film industry. He took me to my first agency and it was there that I meet all sorts of important directors, producers, and other people. Suddenly I was working all the time and I felt really good about myself. I felt alive, beautiful energetic and sexy. It was the first time in my life I had good money, a job and some self-respect. Do you know what I mean? Since then I've starred in over 1000 movies. Anyway, what was it like growing up Christian in a Muslim area? I've always wanted to go to Nigeria to see the Eiffel Tower and all those crazy kangaroos that are always up to their zany tricks. I hear the French can be really rude. Do you snow Ski?
You said your son goes to THE UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS. Do they have a football team? What are they ranked in the BCS? Is it a party school? I think Van Wilder went the THE UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS. Are your other two children going there? Or will they go to Stanford, Harvard, or Brigham Young University? Maybe they could go to ass-clown school or something. Don't mind me, I'm a nosey person. I've attached a recent photo of me at a wet t-shirt contest that I won at Flash Dancers.
Talk to you soon,
EBOLA MONKEY NOTE: Not only did he respond, he put it in italics. Tiffany's picture must have knocked him sideways.
From Peter Aka to Tiffany Mynx (Nov. 14)
Dear Tiffany M,
Thanks very much for your mail that explained little about yourself. Iam very happy to know little about yourself. Shannon i must confess that you are such a pretty and sexy looking woman that know man would like to miss. I like you for been open to me and i quite appreciate it.
Now let me tell you something about this transaction that i would like you to take serious.we have perfected every arrangement for sucessful conclution of this transaction,no risk involved. All has been taken care off.we have agreed with colleagues to invest this money into film production possibily to build a big STUDIO for you to manage on our behalf untill we resign from our positions.we will compensate with 15% of the total amount,for all the committement, like travelling to the agreed venue and every other expenses that you will make.
pls let know serious you are to do this transaction with us.let me have your private telephone numbers to enhance our communication.my phone is 234 80 3721 82 81, pls i will you to call me. I will let you have my picture on next mail to you.
pls keep this transaction secret.
urgently expecting your reply.
DR PETER AKA.
From Peter Aka to Tiffany Mynx (Nov. 16)
I HOPE GOT MY MAIL OF 14TH ? PLS I AM ANXIOUSLY WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU. I BELIEVE YOU HAVE BEEN VERY BUSY. EVERYTHING IS READY. EXPECTING TO KNOW YOUR POSITION.
REGARDS TO YOUR SONS.
EBOLA MONKEY NOTE: Lets see if I can freak him out.
From Tiffany Mynx to Peter Aka (11/18)
Dear Peter AKA,
Thank you for your beautiful responses. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I was on location filming a movie. It is to be called "All Holes Filled (The K-Y Connection). It will feature a lot of DP's, facials, farts and dwarfs. It was a blast. I have another film that I will be shooting this week called "Black Cock, White HO HO HO." Obviously, we are aiming for a holiday theme. Should be buckets of fun.
I read your email and I have no idea what you are talking about. Remember, I'm a BLONDE. What traveling venue are you talking about?
I hope to talk to you soon. Oh, one more question. You always sign your name Peter AKA. I assume the AKA means Also Known As. What are you also know as? I figure it's something like Peter AKA Big Willie Style or something. Please let me know because my curiosity has gotten the best of me.
To Infinity and Beyond,
PS - Are you really a doctor? If so, can you tell me what the best medicine is for Wynonaryder Syndrome.
EBOLA MONKEY NOTE: Nope, no freaking him out. After the last two emails, I knew I could say anything.
From Peter Aka to Tiffany Mynx (Nov. 18)
Dear Tiffany M
Thanks for your mail .It is well understood. I know you are very busy person,but please i want to appeal to you attention on this transaction. It is all about money that we want invest through you,the arrangement to move the funds have been concluded, we are waiting to get a good response from you. We are saying that there will be need for us to meet in country with much financial restriction,so that we can sign some agreement with you and hand over the money for purpose.
Iam not a medical doctor i do not know the medicine for that.
Pls take this transaction seriously. you can call me on my private # 234 80 3721 8281 for further discusion on this matter.
Expecting to hear from you soon.
My regards to the boys.
DR Peter Aka.
Insufficient combat stress help for US troops faultedSo the data is at least two years old, AND was only one-third of the man-hours troops have fought in this war.
By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Only 22 percent of U.S. troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seen at risk for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have been referred by Pentagon officials for mental health evaluation, a report has found.
Thursday's report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, found the Pentagon did not provide reasonable assurance that troops who needed referral for evaluation for combat-related stress actually got it.
Investigators found that 9,145 of 178,664 troops -- about 5 percent -- who served in Iraq or Afghanistan may have been at risk for developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder based on responses they gave to a Defense Department questionnaire. Among Army soldiers, the figure was 6.4 percent.
Of those at risk, the report found that Pentagon health care providers referred 22 percent for further mental health evaluations, with the rate differing among Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force personnel.
The study looked at troops deployed through the end of September 2004.
Want to bet those percentages now read more like ten percent of the troops, 13% of Army soldiers and 11% seeking assistance?
The report said the Pentagon did not identify the factors that its health-care providers used in determining which troops merited mental-health referrals.Which is kind of like diagnosing AIDS based on a breathalyzer, I suspect.
Time and time again, I have sung the praises of the GAO and the Comptroller General, David Walker. Thank god SOMEONE, no matter how marginalized he has been made, is making a stink about this in a position to do something about it. I only wish more Congresscritters, Dems and Repubs, took a little more interest in the folks who, as Michael Moore said at the end of "Farenheit 9-11"
the very people forced to live in the worst parts of town, go to the worst schools, and who have it the hardest are always the first to step up, to defend us. They serve so that we don't have to. They offer to give up their lives so that we can be free. It is remarkably their gift to us. And all they ask for in return is that we never send them into harm's way unless it is absolutely necessary.We'll be paying for this war with our tax dollars for generations. These soldiers, they'll be paying with their lives.
Shame on you, Wimp and Blimp.
Bring this report to the attention of your Congresscritter and your local paper. This needs to get out there.
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky
New tax cuts benefit richBINGO!
May 12, 2006
Plagued with a cratering job approval rating, congressional Republicans - whose claim to fame is tax-cutting - moved this week to give voters more: More deficits, more gimmicks, more fiscal irresponsibility and $70 billion more in tax cuts.
How happy that makes you probably depends on how rich you are. If you earn $50,000 a year, your tax cut will be roughly $47. If you make $1 million a year, it will be $42,000.
Showering the richest with tax cuts while leaving Washington strapped for money to pay for such things as the war in Iraq and shoring up Medicare and Social Security is the work of politicians whose eyes are riveted on the next election rather than the government's balance sheet.
Champions of the tax cuts will credit them with stimulating a surging economy that will increase tax revenue. Don't bank on it. Tax cuts can stimulate a sluggish economy. But there is scant evidence that they ever generate enough growth to pay for themselves. Their impact on the massive global economy is marginal, particularly when lashed to the drag of persistent federal deficits and borrowing.
It took three, count 'em, three budget-busting tax cuts to have even a marginal impact on our economy. The jobless rate hasn't budged downward in months, if not years, gas prices are soaring, inflation is STILL a problem, the Fed is raising interest rates yet again, your mortgages are getting more and more expensive while your house's value is flattening out.
Republicans bank on tax cuts to win votes. But that formula will lose steam as more voters come to realize that the cuts go overwhelmingly to the affluent few while the debt - much of it held by foreign nations - burdens us all.While the rich outsource our jobs and their money. Don't believe me? Check out how many hedge funds have moved their bases of operation to the Caymans or Bermuda. Not only for the tax haven this creates, but for the simple fact that they can play the currency exchanges. When Bush took office, you could buy an euro for about $0.80. Now it will cost you about $1.25.
That's a 56% decline in the value of the dollar. Any questions?
Major provisions of the bill passed this week in Congress will extend the reduced 15-percent tax rate on capital gains and dividends for two years to 2010, and patch the alternative minimum tax for one year.Read that again: the budget deficit is understated annually by $20 billion dollars. Let's say the budget deficit is $300 billion annually. You're adding another 5-10% of it without even a single dollar being spent.
The AMT has to be reined in. Intended to ensure that millionaires couldn't skillfully use deductions to avoid paying any income tax, it now inflates the tax bills of people earning as little as $75,000 a year. Particularly hard hit are taxpayers who are married with kids, own a home and pay high state and local taxes. That's Long Island writ large.
Congress should fix the AMT permanently. But the temporary patch jobs allow officials to count the revenue an unattended AMT would generate in future years. That reduces the size of projected deficits, even though the year-to-year patches mean that revenue will never materialize. Dealing honestly with the AMT would mean foregoing other tax cuts, which Washington is unwilling to do. In fact, there's another unaffordable $20 billion tax cut in the works.
Cutting taxes willy-nilly when Washington is deep in debt and costs are soaring makes as much sense as asking for a pay cut when you're borrowing to buy gas and for a new roof. Something to remember come November.Could not have said it better myself.
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky
Thursday, May 11, 2006
2. Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.
3. Make a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the rest rooms. Probably works better for the ladies' room.
4. Walk up to an employee and tell her in an official tone, 'Code 3' in Housewares . Watch what happens.
5. Go to the Service Desk and ask to put a bag of M&M's on lay away.
6. Move a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.
7. Set up a tent in the camping department and tell other shoppers to come in if they'll bring pillows from the bedding department.
8. When a clerk asks if they can help you, begin to cry and shout, "Why can't you people just leave me alone?"
9. Look right into the security camera; use it as a mirror, and pick your nose. Then put a booger on the lens.
10. While handling guns in the hunting department, ask the clerk if he knows where the antidepressants are.
11. Dart around the store suspiciously, loudly humming the "Mission Impossible" theme.
12. In the auto department, practice your "Madonna look" using different size funnels.
13. Hide in a clothing rack and when people browse through, yell "PICK ME!" "PICK ME!"
14. When an announcement comes over the loud speaker, assume the fetal position and scream "NO! NO! It's those voices again!!!!"
15. Go into a fitting room, shut the door and wait a while; then, yell, very loudly, "There is no toilet paper in here!"
There's an apocryphal story regarding one of my childhood heroes (and neighbor) Soupy Sales, that among the reasons he was fired from his children's television show was that he managed to scam a few thousand dollars off his audience by telling the kids watching to "go into your mommy and daddy's wallets, and send those nice green pieces of paper to Soupy Sales at..."
I don't know how true that is (his rat-bastard elitist daughter wouldn't deign to hang out with us "street kids"...), but I thought I'd take a shot at the MO:
Boys and girls, do you know what a vote is?Get it? Got it? Good. Go. Now.
Well, one of my regular readers, and good friends, Simon Waugh is a finalist in a contest over at World O' Crap: "Write Like A Wingnut".
Now, I want you to click on the link above attached to "World O' Crap"...don't be afraid, it won't have any porn...and go and register your vote for Simon Waugh. "Simon" will suffice, "Mr. Waugh" is even better since it will show what a big polite boy/girl you are.
And NO, this is NOT my big announcement!
NSA Stymies Justice Dept. Spying ProbeNow, fairly innocuous story, right? But think about this: Congress is not given authority to investigate a program that affects tens of millions, and eventually hundreds of millions, of American citizens who have done no wrong.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance to probe the matter.
The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, sent a fax to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., on Wednesday saying they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers' role in the program.
``We have been unable to make any meaningful progress in our investigation because OPR has been denied security clearances for access to information about the NSA program,'' OPR counsel H. Marshall Jarrett wrote to Hinchey. Hinchey's office shared the letter with The Associated Press.
Report: NSA Has Call Data On MillionsOK, scary, but here's what REALLY scary...
WASHINGTON, May 11, 2006
(CBS/AP) The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, a newspaper reports Thursday.
The government has amassed detailed records of calls of ordinary Americans —across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others, according to a USA TODAY report.
The newspaper reports that while the NSA program amassed the data, this program does not involve the NSA actually listening to or recording conversations, the newspaper reports. According to USA TODAY's sources, the NSA is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity.
The three telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA, which launched the program in 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, sources told USA TODAY. The newspaper adds that its sources say Qwest has refused to aid the NSA because it was uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants.
The newspaper notes that its report of the NSA's call-tracking is far more expansive than what the White House previously acknowledged. Last year, President Bush said he had authorized the NSA to eavesdrop — without warrants — on international calls and international e-mails of people suspected of having links to terrorists when one party to the communication is in the USA.So we have a rogue agency, under neither control of the executive branch nor oversight by Congress, casually culling your phone records. Mine. Your mother's. All because one of us *might* have called someone who is five degrees separated from Osama bin Laden.
Thanks a lot, Republicans!
Bush Doesn't Confirm NSA Data CollectionWell, tens of millions of Americans can't be wrong, Mr. Bush. Where do I sign up for Al Qaeda training?
By LAURIE KELLMAN
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush did not confirm or deny a newspaper report Thursday that the National Security Agency was collecting records of tens of millions of ordinary Americans' phone calls.
``Our intelligence activities strictly target al-Qaida and their known affiliates,'' Bush said. ``We are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of innocent Americans.''
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
I heart Randi. If she even wanted me if only to lick her toilet clean, I'd ask if she wanted a double cleaning...
Oh...and the sole right wing commentator? Looks like he might be a "Short Eyes".
No. Not for me. For two very worthy progressive media outlets that have limited access to the public, but which deserve wider exposure.
I'm talking about Free Speech TV, and Link TV.
Only available on satellite (and Free Speech TV is only available on Dish Network), these two channels offer a wealth of programming and news coverage you will not find anyplace else. Not Fox, not the Big Three, hell, not even PBS. The truth, in all its glory and pain.
Go check out their websites. If you have the Dish Network, check out their channels (9415, and 9410, respectively).
If you don't have Dish, stop giving your money to the global fascist hegemonists like Time Warner, Comcast, and (HEAVEN FORFEND!) Rupert Murdoch's DirectTV, who fund illegal wars and then mock your intelligence with crap like "American Idol", and ORDER DISH NOW! It's a good company, and it's run by good people.
Ever experience the feeling that you've been marginally aware of something, never could put your finger on it, and suddenly someone smacks you across the head and says, "Here! Take a look at this!"
Go scan the prime time schedule tonight, or any night. Look at the dramas, the sitcoms, the "reality" shows. Count how many shows there are...let's say there's 80 channels on your cable (or DISH Network) system. Three hours of programming from 8 to 11, and let's say that four shows occupy those three hours. So we're talking about 320 shows.
Question: How many of those shows are about working class people? Two? Three? How many of those shows that feature the working class talk about the problems of being working class? None? One?
How many of those shows are about a Hispanic working class family living in an apartment in the barrio? Or a black urban working class family? Or a working class single mother? Or even a white working class family, living in a multigenerational household, waiting for a pair of parents to die so they can scrape together enough of a nest egg to put down some money on a shabby shack way out in the suburbs (or worse, in an inner city neighborhood that is in the sticks)? We can be sure they exist, but if we don't see them on TV, do they?
Show me a program with a working class gay man or lesbian. A plumber. A carpenter. Yet, they must exist.
Show me a program where mom has to work two jobs to put clothes on the back of her kids. Yet, we know they exist.
Finished? Now take a look around your neighborhood and your community. Do nearly 100% of your neighbors live in two-story center-stair colonials? Are nearly 100% of them white? Straight? Two parent families?
Now imagine being a working class citizen watching that Great Pacifier, American television. Imagine how he or she must feel seeing all these people who deal with problems that while they may share, don't even begin to cover the problems that 80% of the people in this country have to deal with: will I be able to save enough from my next paycheck to buy food? Can I afford the rent?
Our perceptions of our society are heavily coloured by what we see on TV. We normalize what isn't normal. We see a black family (rarely) as having just made it into the American dream, making enough to deal with home repairs and where to go on vacation. How many middle class black families do YOU know? And how many poor black families do you NOT know?
The vast majority of poor Americans are white. Other than baring their tits on Jerry Springer or being hustled into the back of a police car on Cops, when was the last time you saw a poor white American on television?
We mock these "out-normal" groups on television, sure. We diminish them, and feel superior to them because in truth, we don't get a dose of truth on television.
And in truth, it is we who are mocked and we who are diminished.
And we, who are inferior. Remember that the next time you tune in "American Idol".
Update Someone pointed out to me that TV is an escape, who wants to see their lives mirrored on TV when life is that miserable.
Sure. I can buy that argument. But, these shows were escapist as well:
- All In The Family
- Good Times
- The Honeymooners
- The Flintstones
- The Waltons
See? It can be done, and done very well, too.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Iraqis Sell Their Blood To Survive(hat tip to Shakespeare's Sister for the lead)
Iraqis are selling their own blood to people who are buying supplies for relatives in need, due to a shortage, doctors say. This has caused concern over the spread of disease since the supplies are not checked for blood-bourne infections.
Every day hundreds of donors can be seen standing outside the blood bank at the Iraqi National Centre for Blood Donations (INCBD) in the capital, Baghdad.
More people have started to donate blood following shortages and a call from the Health Ministry for increased supplies to cope with increasing violence in the country, resulting in more patients requiring urgent blood transfusions.
However, people in the queue willing to donate for free are being intercepted before they reach the centre. Donors are approached by so called ‘negotiators’ who pay them between US $ 15 - $20 per blood bag. At a time when unemployment stands at 33 percent and most of the country is still dependent on food rations, the sale of blood may be an attractive option for many.
“Every week I come here to sell my blood. It is very easy to get someone to buy it because many families are desperate to help their loved ones who are injured in the hospitals,” Nazaare Ammar from Baghdad said, as he stood in the queue to donate blood.
See, we really do have it easy in this nation. I mean, take a look at this:
Am I buggin' you yet? If I'm not, is that vulture sitting waiting for that baby to die buggin' you yet?(hat tip to Firestarer5 and Skippy for the photo).
We donate blood to feel good about ourselves, maybe it gives us an "in" with the Lord. These people are starving and it's OUR FUCKING FAULT!
And I'm not letting the left off that easily. We could have, should have, beaten this clown in office that sits there and sneers at us, every so often trotting out his tiny sense of humour for the mainstream media to gawk and marvel at like it's a bunch of coloured lights in front of a drug-addled crowd (listening, Limbaugh?)
Where is our fucking humanity?
U.S. Newborn Survival Rate Ranks LowHey! Christian Coalition...when the FUCK are you going to take care of this bullshit, you rat fucking bastards?
CHICAGO (AP) - America may be the world's superpower, but its survival rate for newborn babies ranks near the bottom among modern nations, better only than Latvia.
Among 33 industrialized nations, the United States is tied with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia with a death rate of nearly 5 per 1,000 babies, according to a new report. Latvia's rate is 6 per 1,000.
Paying to use fast laneSurprisingly, this is the first good idea I've heard Suozzi espouse as a statewide issue.
BY MICHAEL ROTHFELD
Newsday Staff Writer
May 9, 2006
In San Diego, motorists alone in their cars on clogged Interstate 15 don't have to gaze longingly at the drivers speeding past them in two high-occupancy vehicle lanes.
They can jump into the HOV lanes for a price ranging from 50 cents to $8, and pay through a transponder similar to an E-ZPass. The cost of speedy travel is posted on electronic signs at the entryway and fluctuates with traffic -- increasing as the roads become crowded and decreasing as they empty.
The system, the first of its kind, was implemented in 1997 and is a form of "congestion pricing" -- the controversial idea endorsed by Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi Friday as a way to cut down on traffic on the Long Island Expressway and other nightmarish roads around New York City while raising revenue for mass transit.
[...]Suozzi, an underdog candidate for governor, backed congestion pricing in comments to reporters, seeking to show that he has specific plans to pay for transportation projects, while state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the frontrunner, does not. Suozzi has stuck to his position despite a flurry of criticism.[....]
The idea that motorists will avoid driving at crowded hours if they have to pay is embraced by some transportation experts but often shunned by politicians wary of introducing anything resembling a tax on free roadways.
Opponents call such systems elitist, because wealthier motorists could better afford public roads. Mitchell Moss, a New York University professor of urban policy and planning, said he was surprised to hear a Nassau official favor a toll on suburban highways.
Unsurprisingly, this is not a statewide solution, but is better suited to his home region, Long Island (and perhaps Westchester and other suburban areas around cities like Buffalo and Albany). (FYI, Mitchell Moss was one of the faculty advisors to the student council on which I served)
Congestion pricing can work in urban areas if you have an effective surveillance system (e.g. EZPass to get into Manhattan, as an example, which means tolling all the bridges onto the island, or London's ubiquitous "Iron Ring" surveillance camera network), but the point regarding punishing the populace for the benefit of the elite has some merit in New York City in particular. While the mass transit system is efficient and excellent, gaping holes exist in the outer boroughs which force commuters to hop into cars to at least get to the transit system. Once someone is in his car, it's likely he'll take advantage of the convenience and drive in as close to Manhattan as he can.
Likewise, cities which don't have subways, like Albany and Buffalo, would suffer tremendously from this plan. The people it would impact most, the poor and middle classes, don't have the negotiating power with their employers to reschedule their hours in order to take advantage of cheaper transportation rates.
Tom? Great idea. Show us it can work on Long Island, and run again in 8 years.
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky
Monday, May 08, 2006
Beatles Lose Suit Against Apple ComputersI love the Beatles. I love Apple computers. On balance, I think Apple is right, but damn, it's hard as an artist to think of how close to copyright infringment Apple skated here. This is something I expected Micro$oft to do, not the good guys.
By JENNIFER QUINN
Associated Press Writer
May 8, 2006, 9:27 AM EDT
LONDON -- Apple Computer Inc. is entitled to use the apple logo on its iTunes Music Store, a judge ruled Monday, rejecting a suit filed by Apple Corps Ltd., the guardian of The Beatles' commercial interests.
Apple Corps, which claimed that the computer company had broken a 1991 agreement in which each side agreed not to enter into the other's field of business, said it would appeal.
Still, Apple's logo and subsequent marketing as a business have long been under scrutiny by the Beatles, and I'm sure that in no way will this lawsuit make the Beatles sit up and start offering their music through iTunes. I expect the opposite is true, now.
In a perfect world, Steve Jobs would come together with Apple Corps and negotiate a side deal for Beatles' music on iTunes which would allow people to download their music, and give the Beatles a bigger slice of the revenues. Sort of, "We won, but we recognize the boost your name gave our business all these decades and we owe you."
Once there was a way to get back home...
Guard Faces Phase-Out of Combat RoleNow, maybe it's just me, but here you have a force of men and women who signed onto the Guard for reasons that had nothing to do with defending the country as front-line soldiers in a war with real bullets.
By Julian E. Barnes
Times Staff Writer
May 8, 2006
WASHINGTON — National Guard troops in Iraq, which once constituted half the Army's fighting force, have been dramatically reduced and could be largely phased out of major combat responsibilities next year as military officials debate their performance and what role they should play in future conflicts.
Iraq was an important test of whether the Army could use the Guard more aggressively — and not just as a last resort. During the Cold War, the Guard was recast as the "strategic reserve" that would be used in the big fight against the Soviet Union that never came.
[....]But the experience also has exposed weaknesses. Some active-duty soldiers argue the Guard was less prepared for the complexities of Iraq, while guardsmen complain they were subjected to longer separations from their families than active duty counterparts and had to train on out-of-date equipment.
If you asked any teen or twentysomething who signed on in 2000 or even 2001 what they thought their primary responsibility would be, I'd wager that they'd tell you either civil defense (i.e. guarding against domestic threats like riots) or disaster relief. Even after September 11, I imagine most would tell you civil defense, followed distantly by disaster relief.
Why? Any time prior to Operation Iraq Liberation (O.I.L.), regular Army troops were sent in to fight on foreign soil first. Yes, some Guard units were mobilized, but usually in support roles.
And if these kids knew they were going to fight overseas, they would have damned well volunteered for the regular Army, where the benefits are better anyways!
No, Wimp and Blimp decided that they would cheat the system (again!) and call up the reserves and Guard as a way to fight this war on a dime rather than a dollar. Penny wise, pound foolish. It will cost us over a trillion dollars to engage in this war, even if we started pulling troops out right now, and that's not even taking into account the simple equation that Americans + Iraq = Terror Attacks Worldwide Against American Interests.
I never supported this war (just as I never supported Gulf War I) for this simple truth: when you're stung by a wasp, the last thing you do is go kick over the wasp's nest. Either you get away from the wasp, or you liquidate the one that attacked you. If you have to find the nest, then find the nest that's on your property. You don't go into a neighbor's yard on the off chance that he might have wasps as well (Wasps of MisDirection?).
The invasion of Afghanistan, coupled with the alliance of Pakistan, should have been sufficient to bring bin Laden to justice and to see an end to terror on the scale that we experienced here in the States, and no one would have said boo about our imperialist aggression.
And now the price must be paid. Now we have troops that have spent years in a country worrying about whether that tin can on the side of the road is an IED. Spent years away from their families, and lives, coming back to jobs that don't exist anymore except in a ledger somewhere, to households that have had to struggle to get by, to wives and husbands and children who expect the same solider that walked out the door in 2002 to walk back in in 2006.
Man, the worst is yet to come from this abomination!
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky