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Step off, old man!
Wednesday, 24 March 2004
Dirty words or death
I've been closely following this whole Howard Stern debacle, where it looks like the FCC is going to force him off the air by threatening to revisit all his old shows and levy personal fines on Stern if they deem any of it offensive. Funny how Clear Channel, which loves Bush, dumped Stern two days after he turned on the President. Anyway, this is a portion of a letter that appeared in the Cleveland Plains-Dealer.

"I was wondering why the Republicans believe that hearing a four-letter word on the radio is more damaging than death or catastrophic injury. Consider that the Bush administration wants to increase FCC
fines for indecency up to $500,000 per violation per station, yet at the same time, it wants to restrict noneconomic damages in tort cases to $250,000 or $350,000.

So if a DJ says a four-letter word on the radio, the harm is so appalling that a fine of $500,000 per word, per station is justified. But if someone is paralyzed, killed or otherwise catastrophically injured, the most the family could get for the (noneconomic) loss would be up to $350,000."

Posted by brettdavey at 12:58 PM EST
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Tick, tick, tick
There have been a million movies where the good guy has to defuse a bomb and does so under extraordinary circumstances. None of those celluloid heroes has anything on me.

My son has been waking up at 5 a.m. lately. This morning, I got him and tried to rock him to sleep. He was in and out of consciousness, kind of moaning and groaning. I knew the chances were about even that I could get him back to sleep.

That's when the wild card came into play: an ominous smell coming from his diaper.

If I changed the diaper, I knew the game was over. He would freak out and wake up for good. So I sat there rocking him, knowing he had a big load in his pants. Was it wrong not to change him? Hell yeah, but I wasn't about to wake him up for good.

Then, as I sat in the rocking chair at about 5:30 a.m., the second wild card was dealt: I had to go to the bathroom.

There were two choices: put him in the crib prematurely and have him go off or join him in the dirty diaper club.

I put him in the crib.

He freaked out but after I returned from the bathroom, I was able to put him back to sleep. I went to bed around 5:58 a.m. Then, the third wild card came: I couldn't fall back asleep.

Posted by brettdavey at 8:46 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 24 March 2004 12:55 PM EST
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Tuesday, 23 March 2004
Crazy aides
This is from Richard Cohen's column in the Washington Post today. If the White House attacks on O'Neill and now Clarke are accurate, you have to question the decision-making of the President for putting these people in positions of power in the first place. Here it is:

Pity poor George Bush. For some reason, he has been beset by delusional aides who, once they leave the White House, write books containing lies and exaggerations and -- this is the lowest blow of all -- do not take into account the president's genius and all-around wisdom. The latest White House aide to betray the president is Richard Clarke, who was in charge of counterterrorism before and after the attacks of Sept. 11. He says Bush "failed to act prior to September 11 on the threat from al Qaeda."

As with former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill, another fool who had somehow risen to become chairman of Alcoa, Clarke's account of his more than two years in the Bush White House was immediately denounced by a host of administration aides, some of whom -- and this is just the sheerest of coincidences -- had once assured us that Iraq was armed to the teeth with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:03 PM EST
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Now Playing: Excellent rebuttal
This column was written by Daniel Ruth from the Tampa Tribune. It's definitely worth a read and a great rebuttal to all the numb nuts who say, "If you had your way, Saddam would still be in power." Here it is:

Well it took over a year, but finally Vice President Dick Cheney, the Bush administration's leading towel snapper, actually stumbled upon a truth the other day when he suggested if it were up to Sen. John Kerry, ``... Saddam Hussein would still be in power in Iraq.''

Yes, and more than 570 American military personnel might still be alive. And hundreds more of the 3,000 soldiers wounded in George W. Bush's vanity war would not need to be fitted with a prosthetic limb.

And countless other U.S. families would not have had their lives imploded simply because the president of the United States and his fellow country club warriors took a ``Get Smart'' intelligence approach to going to war.

Good grief, there have been times over the past 12 months when the Don Adams-In-Chief has appeared to be on the very verge of saying; ``Would you believe ... we went to war because ... uh, ... because, uh, Saddam was keeping his neighbors up all night playing Bobby Darin records?''

Perhaps this is what happens when you take a frat boy keg party approach to foreign policy - you wind up having to concoct more erratic excuses for killing bunches of people than Joe Pesci in ``Goodfellas.''

Of course, this isn't to say blowing up a country now and then is necessarily a bad thing.

What's the point in being the world's foremost superpower if you can't unleash the full brunt of your military contractors on some poor, unsuspecting Third World tin-horn dictatorship that just happens to be sitting on the mother of of all mother lodes of oil?

Thus the Bush administration plunged the nation into the Iraqi war with less of a grasp on reality than Ezra Pound. And therein lies the irrefutable genius of the Bush White House.

You can tell more whoppers about weapons of mass destruction than Joe Isuzu, Pete Rose and Nathan Thurm combined, and as long as you can make the public think they might wake up tomorrow to find Saddam Hussein living next door, the citizenry will still get more morally outraged over Bill Clinton playing coochie-coochie- coo with an intern.

But for sheer chutzpah, perhaps nothing topped Cheney's feigned Scarlett O'Hara-like outrage over comments made by Kerry alluding to the ``coalition of the coerced and the bribed'' serving as ``window dressing'' in support of the U.S.-led Iraqi occupation.

``If such dismissive terms are the vernacular of the golden age of diplomacy Senator Kerry promises, we are left to wonder which nations would care to join any future coalition,'' Cheney vamped, with a straight face, on both sides.

Inasmuch in the buildup to the beginning of hostilities the United States regarded the international community with all the thoughtful collegial consideration of the galley captain in the ramming speed scene from ``Ben-Hur,'' Cheney would have been more properly obligated to call this moment the golden shower of diplomacy.

As well, it is sort of hard to fathom any future nation that would want to enter into a common bond with this country if its own troops had paid the ultimate battlefield sacrifice after having been deceived and treated as little more than Republican National Committee campaign bunting.

A year after the war began, a brutal dictator has been driven from power, replaced by a puppet government with less authority than Groucho Marx's rule over Fredonia.

It's true, however, that the populace no longer has to worry about being taken away to some horrific torture chamber.

Now for their convenience, Iraqis can be blown up by insurgent elements in the comfort of their own homes. In the parallel universe of the White House, that counts as progress.

Posted by brettdavey at 9:02 AM EST
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Monday, 22 March 2004
Last night's "60 Minutes"
Richard Clarke, the former top anti-terrorism official in the Bush Administration, dropped a few bombshells last night on "60 Minutes", but you have to wonder if it will matter. The majority of people don't care about the truth in this stuff; they'd rather cling to the myth of Bush as the warrior-president.

Is it any surprise to hear the Administration was obsessed with Iraq right out of the gate? Let's not kid ourselves with the "President Bush was very engaged on the topic of terrorism from the get-go.." talk either. Decisions on this were driven by idealogues left over from the first Bush Administration -- Cheney, Rumsfield, and Wolfowitz. To claim otherwise is ignorant.

And if President Bush was so concerned and locked in on the topic of terrorism, why did he take a month-long vacation in August 2001, just seven months after being sworn in as President?

Posted by brettdavey at 8:45 AM EST
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Friday, 19 March 2004
Say one thing, do another
It's laughable the way the President wants to portray Kerry as someone who will not provide for the troops. This compilation of quotes came from

"Thousands of U.S. troops invaded Iraq in March without the new body armor that can stop rifle bullets, and thousands more still lack the lifesaving protection. `I can't answer for the record why we started this war with protective vests that were in short-supply,' Army Gen. John Abizaid told Congress last week." (Richard Sisk, Knight-Ridder Tribune, 9/29/03).

"The administration announced that on October 1 it wants to roll back recent modest increases in monthly imminent-danger pay (from $225 to $150) and family-separation allowance (from $250 to $100) for troops getting shot at in combat zones." (Editorial, Army Times, 6/30/03).

"Hundreds of sick and wounded U.S. soldiers including many who served in the Iraq war are languishing in hot cement barracks while they wait--sometimes for months--to see doctors." (Mark Benjamin, UPI, 10/17/03).

"The Bush administration is formally opposing a proposal to give National Guard and Reserve members access to the Pentagon's health insurance system." (Gannett News Service, 10/24/03).

"The Department of Veterans Affairs announced yesterday that it is immediately cutting off access to...about 164,000 veterans who expected to enroll in the system during the current fiscal year." (Edward Walsh, Washington Post, 1/17/03).

And now this, from (White House press secretary) Scott McClellan's press briefing of March 17: "This president, from day one, has provided strong support to our troops to make sure they have all the resources they need to do their job, and that includes supporting significant pay raises for our troops, improving housing and health care for our troops. This president, from day one of this administration, has been working to make sure our troops have all the resources they need to do their job."

Makes you want to holler.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:38 PM EST
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Wednesday, 17 March 2004
The Godfather meets Wag The Dog
Of course, this isn't news. Why should it be? It's only your money.

This is from the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Last November, during the heat of the congressional debate on the law, the White House reportedly threatened to fire a top Medicare official if he told the truth about the cost of what President Bush described as a $400 billion Medicare bill.

Medicare's chief actuary, Robert S. Foster, said it was clear from the start that the actual cost would be substantially more -- as high as $534 billion. And, he said, the White House was aware of that in June, five months ahead of the debate.

Although, by law, the actuary is charged with providing nonpartisan counsel to lawmakers, Foster said he was silenced by the White House to prevent Congress from getting the true figures. Threatened with "severe'' personal consequences, he was instead ordered to withhold the information, even if Congress asked for it.

Absent the damning cost data, the bill (bitterly contentious even among Republicans) barely eked by, passing in the House, 216 to 215. With cost as the sticking point, the likely outcome would have been reversed, if all the facts had been known. Democrats had argued that the law didn't significantly help seniors and gave drugmakers too much clout. Republicans said seniors didn't gain significantly from the much costlier plan."

That's the first part, where the Bush Administration again acts like the Mob. Here's the second part where they act like "Wag The Dog."

"In order to sell the complicated and skimpy plan to seniors, the Department of Health and Human Services is paying actors to pose as journalists in bogus TV "news'' reports. Videos have been sent to TV stations, along with government-prepared scripts for news anchors to read. The idea is to make propaganda appear to be unbiased news during prime-time viewing."

By the way, you're paying for those actors to be hired as well.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:44 PM EST
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From sun to snow
I'm not even going to rag about coming back from weather in the 70s to a stinking snowstorm. Spring training in Florida was awesome so I've got nothing to bitch about.

Our first leg of the trip took us to Atlanta, where the last 10 minutes of the flight were so white knuckle that none of the passengers were talking at all. Even my 9-month old son got really quiet. Most of us were looking out the window to see if the damn wing was going to fly off the plane. I half expected to see some beast on the wing tearing the plane apart like in the classic episode of "Twilight Zone" with William Shatner. Despite the very rocky landing, we all made it OK although I had a major league case of swamp ass. I'm guessing I wasn't the only one.

I'm not going to bore you with too many details about the trip except for these:

* We went to four spring training games and I came to this conclusion: There is nothing more pathetic than watching a grown man beg for an autograph, especially when their voice gets real high and whiny. "NOMAH, PLEASE!" I was hoping the whiny autograph hounds would get hit in the head with a stray line drive, but no luck.

* The biggest cheers at the games weren't for Nomar, Pedro, or Curt Schilling. They came when the announcer would say before every game: "The game time temperature, 75 in Ft. Myers. In Boston, it's 32." And then everyone would go nuts.

* The hotel where we stayed was home to a couple dozen players on various women's college softball teams. Seems there was a tournament in Florida so there were teams from all over. I hate to engage in stereotypes, but they really did look like women softball players, if you know what I mean.

* There was also a crazy group of older women called the Red Hats. They're part of a national group that goes out and does fun things like take trips and wear crazy clothes. The women showed up for breakfast in the morning, all wearing purple pajamas, red slippers, and red hats with feathers. They were all at least in their sixties. They were loud and boisterous. It made me think: why wait until you're a senior to start a club like that? Let's do it!

That's my abbreviated report. I'm back to posting every day. OK, I can't help it. This weather does suck.

Posted by brettdavey at 11:22 AM EST
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Friday, 5 March 2004
"Leaving a bad tip..."
My favorite part of this story is the quote at the end of the story from the spokesman for Red Robin Gourment Burgers.

CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- Talk about leaving a bad tip at the restaurant.

A 22-year-old woman found the severed tip of a thumb in her lunch salad at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.

Stark County Health Commissioner Bill Franks said a worker at the restaurant, in the Canton suburb Jackson Township about 70 miles south of Cleveland, was chopping lettuce Monday night when he cut off part of his left thumb, including part of the fingernail.

Employees searched for the fingertip, but could not find it. The area was cleaned and sanitized, but the lettuce was placed in a cooler and then used for salads on Tuesday.

"It wound up being served at lunch time Tuesday to a 22-year-old woman," Franks said.

She had eaten most of her salad when she put the fingertip in her mouth, Franks said.

She first thought it was a piece of gristle, a health department report said.

Red Robin spokesman Dwayne Chambers said employees, in their haste to get the injured man to a doctor, failed to follow the chain's procedures and throw out all food in the area.

"We clearly had a breakdown," he said. "We are incredibly sorry about what happened."

Chambers said he spoke with the woman. "She obviously was pretty upset," he said.

Posted by brettdavey at 2:46 PM EST
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See ya for a while
I'm going to Red Sox spring training for the next week and a half. I'm returning on Tuesday, March 16 so there won't be any postings until then. I'll be having fun in the sun but check back week after next.


Posted by brettdavey at 1:08 PM EST
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