27 December 2008

Whew. That was a close one.

This morning I woke up and logged onto the computer to catch the news. Chirp! goes the email inbox alert. There I find a PayPal bill in Chinese for $580.00 CAD, then another one for $25.00 CAD.
Wait. What? I haven't bought anything through PayPal recently. 
Like you, I get a lot of bogus emails, but I do take the time to send them to the authorities because I really hate those miserable bastards. So I check PayPal's site to find where to send fraudulent emails, and I forward it along. The site thanks me for my activism, and advises me to check my account, which I do, and the transactions are listed as "completed."
"Completed"? Wait...what the hell? I didn't click the the "Transmit Payment" button... 
So I call PayPal immediately. Apparently someone accessed my account, and PayPal admits they don't know how. I dutifully used a password with combinations of upper & lower case with numbers, so...well, I don't know how they did it either. But PayPal assured me that I caught it so quickly that no money was actually transferred.
Good thing I got up early on a Saturday.

25 December 2008

A Very Crusty Christmas.

The family is pretty scattered, so we had Christmas a couple weekends ago. It's pretty much just the parents and me in town. 
I suggested we have a Very Jewish Christmas, meaning Chinese food and a movie. Nothing says "peace on Earth and goodwill to man" like watching James Bond blow the holy hell outta everything, and steamed dumplings.
But I don't really know what the plan is, so I'm killing the morning watching "Flight of the Conchords" on HBO on Demand, over coffee and a nice bowl of Irish oatmeal & barley, steamed with pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, almonds, and raisins. I'm wearing footie pajamas that were a gift from the Skymall catalogue.
This is my New Favorite Show. I've been laughing my ass off all morning. 
Favorite moments:
1. The Conchords are working on a women's toothpaste jingle:
Some women like men,
Some are les-bee-in.
Femident Toothpaaaaaaste...
2. Discussing feminism:
Jemaine: My father is a women's rights activist.
Bret: Your dad? Not your mom?
Jemaine: My mom? Oh no, no. Dad wouldn't allow that. No way.

24 December 2008

Rewarding A-holes.

We do it a lot in America.
No-strings-attached corporate bailouts under the guise of the "greater good." Transferring tax revenue to wealthy politically connected developers under the guise of "job creation." Returning kids to abusive or incompetent parents under the guise of "strengthening family." Granting parole under the guise of "second chances." Graduating students who kant speel or do basic math under the guise of "protecting self-esteem." Presidential pardons for political bagmen under the guise of "remedy of a miscarriage of justice."
Giving Rev. Rick Warren the honor of blessing America's new president is another example. 
Yeah, I know why Obama did it. There are a whole lot of Evangelicals, and as a whole, they didn't care for him. Even though he won largely without their support, he wants them on-board, and that's a higher priority than being sensitive to the gay-rights folks who are already on-board and helped him get elected.
Thanks for the work and the money and the votes, queers — but what have you done for me lately?
Obama is, after all, a politician. And the fact of the matter is that Obama doesn't disagree with Rick Warren: "I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman."
So there you have it — "try" as he might, Obama's position on the legal status conferred by civil marriage is utterly informed by his Christianity. Just like Rick Warren's. They share the position that that legally enforcing "tradition" and their personal religious views is more important than allowing fellow citizens to enjoy their fundamental rights. That doesn't surprise me when I hear it from a preacher. But it does surprise me when I hear it from a Constitutional scholar.
One of Warren's arguments for Prop 8 was that if were to fail, preaching that homosexuality was sinful would be prosecuted for hate-speech. That was a willful lie. If I recall correctly, bearing false witness made God's Top 10 List of Sin. Homosexuality didn't.
So Obama will reward this a-hole under the guise of "inclusion." Whatever. I can't agree the Obama-Warren mutual blessing is "kum by ya," any more than I can agree that Warren "loves gays" or Obama believes in "equality." Not when their actions prove they don't. 
And in four years, when the evangelicals line up with Obama's opponent, he better have done something dramatic to win people like me back. Because I won't waste my vote again on someone who thinks I'm politically expendable.

23 December 2008

Have a Cruel Yule.

Tis the season...for Five Famously Tragic Christmases.
Then there's this tale of Holiday Misery from Australia: "A cruel thief who broke into a Woree family's home and stole all their Christmas presents left three children heartbroken and their mum suffering a heart attack from the shock."
This story comes complete with a "must see it to believe it" photograph of distraught children under a bare Christmas tree.
Your Christmas won't be so bad.

21 December 2008

Those lovable scamps!

Some Maryland students are getting revenge on their enemies by photochopping fake license plates with the enemy's license plate number, taping them over actual plates, then blasting through red lights at camera-monitored intersections.
A couple days later, the enemy gets Maryland's $40 citation (which is pretty cheap compared to Kansas City's red-light fine of $100, as seen on crustybastard, below).
The enemy's car's make and model is borrowed for that added touch of verisimilitude.
The important issue here is — machines lie.
If some lovable local scamps photochopped the license plates of some city council members, then did some late-night red-runnin', I wonder if the council would see that point? 

20 December 2008

Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

Remember the kerfluffle regarding Governor Palin and the Alaska state trooper? 
I bet it has nothing to do with the fact that the guvnah's daughter's baby daddy Levi "the f-ing redneck" Johnston's mom got busted for drugs yesterday. By state troopers. Six felony counts. Yow!
The baby is due today. 
I bet Christmas is going to be awkward.

19 December 2008

Marriage is sacred.

Drew Peterson — suspected of murdering 2 of his 4 wives — is engaged again. 
Sure, he's technically still married, since the current wife's body hasn't been recovered.
Peterson's new victim, er, fiancee is 23 years old, just like the previous version. He's 54. Nothing creepy about that either.
Nope, this is all just as God intended, and 5,000 years of history validates.

18 December 2008

KC to become a red-light district

If you borrow or rent a car and are caught committing a moving violation, who gets the ticket — you or the car's owner? You do, of course, because you are the one who violated the law. Ownership of the car is irrelevant. This is basic.
Never one to pass up a bad idea, Kansas City is getting into the "red-light camera" business, and the car's owner gets the ticket, even if the owner wasn't the driver.
The City Council passed it unanimously, but Councilwoman Cathy Jolly was the prime mover. She says, "This isn’t supposed to be a 'gotcha-game.'"
Using rather astonishing prevarication, the offense regarding these specific camera-monitored intersections is written (usually by the camera companies) as something other than a "moving violation," so no points are assessed against an operator's license. 
As a non-moving violation, the issue is a civil, not a criminal matter. If it were a criminal matter, the defendant would be entitled to a presumption of innocence, and the government would have to prove the defendant's guilt. Instead, as a civil matter, the government is free to presume the owner was the driver, and the owner must prove otherwise.
The vehicle's owner will pay a $100 fine, starting in March. The city expects to make $1 million annually. American Traffic Solutions, an Arizona corporation, is the contractor. The city, ATS, and the municipal court will split the cash.
Not that this is about filty lucre! Of course, it's all about safety
"Safety" that involves a municipality treating a criminal offense as a civil collection against a third-party. "Safety" that permits red-light runners to continue to do so as often as they like, without points against their driver's license, as long as the fines are paid.
One might imagine that if it was actually about "safety," in addition to the photograph, there would be some attendant caution to other motorists in the form of a delayed green signal or a warning klaxon.
Nah, there's no revenue to be had in that

17 December 2008

KCimCity 2000 Board of Advisors

15 December 2008

Last-minute entry for Attention Whore of the Year.

A New Jersey man is shocked and upset that his local grocery store refused to put his son's name on his third birthday cake.
The little fella's name? Adolf Hitler Campbell.
Oh,  but wait! There's more. 
Who paid for the cake they eventually got from the Walmarts? The public. 
Mr. & Mrs. Master Race live on Social Security disability payments, but his emphysema and her bad back hardly interfere with their ability to reproduce at an alarming rate. They've been married for 3 years and have 3 kids. The other children are named — I shiat you not — JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell (named for Heinrich Himmler). 
It is all coming to pass, just as the movie Idiocracy foretold. 
And I've hardly scratched the surface of stupid found in the original article. If you dare: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/warren-county/index.ssf?/base/news-0/122923112231930.xml&coll=3&thispage=1
Well of course dad has a neck tattoo and the kids have mullets. Why would you even ask?
Hey chuzzlewit:

12 December 2008

Dogs hate me. The feeling's mutual.

I was at a shop today, clomping down some metal stairs on my way out, when I saw an enormous St. Bernard-Rottweiler-looking hound quiescently lying almost completely across the exit corridor. The lady with whom I was doing business with called something down the stairs to me, and what I caught was:
"...pet the dog." 
So I obligingly reached down to pet the doggie's huge head as I passed.
And the fucking thing bit me.
Stunned, I turn around and look up the stairs and she yells, "I said, 'don't pet the dog.'" 
Ugh. I didn't get pissed because well, she did try to warn me, and also because I wasn't very seriously injured.
But goddam it — why would anybody bring a dog to a store if they knew it bites? 
Look, I know you people love your dogs so very, very much, and your special little smoochy-poochy would never do anything naughty unless he was provoked and all that crap. But ferchrissakes folks, do the rest of us the kindness of leaving the nasty little bastards at home. People do pet pets. See? It's explicitly there in the job description! They don't expect to get their arm taken off below the elbow with purchase.
Brian, this does not apply to your sweet and lovable herd. Or to Maddie or Mellow Leonard.
But the rest of you! GRRRRRRR.

11 December 2008

The best Americans can be imports.

A military jet malfunctioned, the pilot ejected and landed in a tree, horrified by the possiblity someone had been injured. His plane had indeed crashed into a San Diego residence, killing all the occupants — a mother, her two little girls, and the girl’s grandmother.

Earlier that day, a neighbor saw Dong Yun Yoon kiss his wife and baby goodbye in the driveway as he left for work. “I saw their last kiss. I thought ‘what a beautiful sight,’ and later in the day they were just gone.

Here are the words of a man who has lost everything:

"It was God's blessing that I met her about four years ago. She was a lovely wife and mother. She loves me and babies. I just miss her so much. I cannot believe that they are not here right now. I know there are many people who have experienced more terrible things. But, please, tell me how to do it. I don't know what to do."

In his expression of bottomless grief he notes that other people have suffered more?

This gentleman is a saint.

But wait, there’s more. He still had the capacity to be concerned for the pilot.

"Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident. He is one of our treasures for the country. I don't blame him. I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could." 

This gentleman is a hero.

The destroyed home was a rental, and Mr. Yoon works as the manager of a "variety store." Not that insurance money would put this to right, but one imagines that there won't even be much insurance, if any.

If you want to do something for Mr. Yoon, here’s a contact:

Mr. Dong Yun Yoon

c/o Rev. Kevin Lee

Korean United Methodist Church

3520 Mount Acadia Blvd

San Diego, CA 92111

10 December 2008

Wouldn't you like to be a Mammy too?

The Star reports that Kansas City's most controversial midwife, Gloria Squitiro, apparently attempted to diffuse the environment of racial tension she caused by calling a black city employee "Mammy" . . . by subsequently calling white women "Mammy" also. 
I'm sorry, Miss Gloria what? The "fiddle-dee-dee defense"? Um, well, no — I haven't heard of that one, and I gotta say I'm a bit dubious. Hey, wait! We're not finished here. Where are you going? No, I don't think the freaking city will burn down without you.

McCain's pimp hand is strong

Nineteen days before the election, GOP media whore Joe "the plumber" Wurzelbacher said at his residential press conference, "Hindsight, they say, is 20/20. I call it X-ray vision."
And what is Joe's piercing insight de jourAn admission that he felt "dirty" doing his duties on the campaign bus. "It was scary, man."
Joe the Ho was initially seduced by McCain's promises, "Joe, I want to help you," and "We're going to take Joe's money, give it to Sen. Obama, and let him spread the wealth around? I want Joe the plumber to spread the wealth around." 
It seems that Joe is not completely down with how Big Poppa McCain actually spends his money, and hasn't been for a while. He told Glen Beck. "When I was on the bus with [McCain], I asked him a lot of questions about the bailout because most Americans did not want that to happen. I asked him some pretty direct questions. Some of the answers you guys are gonna receive they appalled me, absolutely. I was angry. In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him."
Tell us why you stayed with the bad man, Joe. We want to understand.
"Honestly, because the thought of Barack Obama as president scares me even more."
McCain responded by cautioning Wurzelbacher, "Bitch, flapping your lips ain't making me my money. And don't be giving Obama no reckless eyeball neither." 
McCain then cuffed Wurzelbacher in front of reporters, and asked Wurzelbacher, "Damn, why you always making me hurt you? Don't you know I love you? Now get y'ass back to work. I just bought us some sweet rides, and baby, you're gonna love them." 
Wurzelbacher mumbled an apology.

09 December 2008

The crustybastard I aspire to be.

Three things I love profoundly are Constitutional Law, TV, and clever peevishness. Combine them in blender on high, then top with organic lecherousness, and you have the loveably unlikable litigator Alan Shore of ABC's Boston Legal, which sadly ended its run last night.

Two of my favorite closing arguments from the show, brilliantly crafted by David E. Kelly and splendidly delivered by James Spader:

That stuff is pretty heavy, for sure. So to prevent the whole show from becoming dreary, the rest of it would be a tempest of batshit crazy, an occasional wink sent the viewer's way, then finished off with a scotch and a cigar on the balcony. It was grand. 

I'll miss you, Alan — you magnificently crusty bastard, you

Keeping up with the Jones

My college roommate told me that her mother would go upstairs to watch ABC's This Is Tom Jones on the kid's TV set. And smoke a cigarette. 

God I love that story. 

Anyway, today's video flashback features such a massive quantity of white soul that it actually bends light. 

Favorite moment at 1:37, when Weapon of Mass Dancing first deployed. Solid.

Please to enjoy! 

He's lucky I'm not a military tribunal judge

Because not only would I refuse to indulge this execrable sociopath's "martyrdom" fantasy, I would also sentence him to life in prison plus mandatory bi-monthly full-body waxings.
Rrrrrrriiiiiipppppp —"KELLY CLARKSON!!!"

Day Without A Gay? Meh. How about a tax protest instead?

I agree that gay allies need to engage in direct action, because that's how civil rights get recognized in this country.
But there's just so much wrong with "calling in gay," particularly in light of the fact that some morons persist in calling homosexuality "a sickness." Why make the point for them?
In 30 states including Missouri and Kansas, a person can be fired for being gay, so encouraging this action could jeopardize people's jobs.
Many gay allies have no complaint against their colleagues and employers who have done as much as they can within the confines of the law. However, the brunt of this action primarily falls on one's employer and colleagues.
It utterly loses sight of the fact that the problem is with a government which has unconstitutionally established religiously motivated discrimination as law.
I'd rather see gay allies start paying their taxes "under protest," with a massive class-action suit claiming that gay people unfairly pay a disproportionate share of taxes, as they're categorically denied a constellation of favorable taxation benefits granted to married heterosexuals. That favorable tax treatment is intended to encourage wage-earners to provide for their loved ones.
A suit would force the government to explain its rationale why a certain classification of taxpayers (who engage in a lawful sexual practice) are undeserving of the same encouragement, when no other sexual practice (lawful or otherwise) functionally disqualifies anyone from realizing such preferential treatment.

08 December 2008

The crustybadgering continues, unabated.

I wrote the following to Senators McCaskill & Bond. I urge you to do the same, because it's not only good public policy, it's good legislation in light of our current econopocalypse. Cut & paste at will. (And a tip of the crust to the Buff Crone!)

Dear Senator __________,

If a bankruptcy judge already has the power to restructure the debt on a weathy citizen’s yacht or vacation home, it is not unreasonable to demand that a bankruptcy judge should also have the power to restructure the debt on the primary residence of a modest citizen.

Likewise, if there is merit in Congress’s weaving a safety net of taxpayer dollars to protect multinational corporations, it is not unreasonable to demand that Congress should be at least as quick to provide the same protections to individual American citizens.

I write to ask your support of S. 2136: Helping Families Save Their Homes in Bankruptcy Act of 2008. Only homeowners declaring bankruptcy who are in imminent danger of foreclosure are eligible for mortgage modifications. The benefit to bankrupt homeowners is obvious. The benefit to other homeowners is the preservation of the value of our investments.

This bill would also assist mortgage lenders. Upon foreclose, lenders generally receive only the current resale value of the home. Without the protection of this law, market values will continue to free-fall, reducing the amount lenders stand to recover.

Your support would help stabilize the central cause of community economic instability in a fiscally sound manner. Unlike other corporate bailouts and loans, or a new transfusion of funds to mortgage lenders, this law does not add to the public burden, create additional bureaucracy, or require new regulations. Bankruptcy courts are already equipped to do what the law proposes, because they currently reset valuations on non-primary residences and business property as a matter of course.

Your support would recognize that it is unfair to blithely blame the current situation on irresponsible consumer spending, and recognize that most bankruptcies arise from misfortunes like job cuts and medical bills. 

Your support would correct some of the great injustices that arose from the outrageous Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 — a law plainly intended to benefit incautious creditors at the expense of the very purpose of bankruptcy law.

Your support would acknowledge that the individual homeowner cannot be blamed for the current economic downturn, and should not be asked to shoulder the entire burden while the financial experts are backstopped at the public expense.

I look forward to your response.


the crustybastard

07 December 2008

Pop quiz!

QUESTION 1: This caution was made regarding which leader?
"He is . . . the head of the Council. 
His knowledge is deep, but his pride has grown with it, 
and he takes ill any meddling."
A. Saruman
B. Mayor Funkhouser
QUESTION 2: This warning was made to which devoted companion?
"Don't go getting mixed up in the business of your betters, 
or you'll land in trouble too big for you."
A. Samwise Gamgee
B. Gloria Squitiro

06 December 2008

I'm no economics professor, but ferchrissakes, folks!

Congress, at the insistence of financial gurus, felt compelled to transfuse billions of taxpayer dollars into the banks to open up credit markets. 
It didn't work quite as advertised.
Shortly afterwards, Congress gave the Big 3 US automakers a multi-billion dollar loan. 
Why didn't Congress send the Big 3 to the banks which now have taxpayer dollars to loan?
More to the point, why didn't Congress suggest to all parties they should figure out a way to...oh, I dunno, provide credit so that people can buy cars?