March 2008 Archives

Woes Keep Piling Up

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Roll Call

......roughly 20 percent of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s cash has been wiped out during the past two weeks.....
There will not be enough money for McCain to fight what will be a multifaceted attack on his flip flopping.

Update: I rest my case.

With attention focused on the Democrats’ infighting for the presidential nomination, Senator John McCain is pressing ahead to the general election but has yet to sign up one critical constituency: the big-money people who powered the Bush fund-raising machine.

Introducing Pope Benedict XVI

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New York Times

WASHINGTON — When Pope Benedict XVI makes his first papal trip to the United States in April, he will be guided by a seasoned Vatican ambassador who sees the visit as an opportunity to introduce a little-known pope to a complex set of audiences: American Catholics, Americans in general and global opinion leaders.

“The image of Benedict XVI is not only not well known, but it is badly known,” said Archbishop Pietro Sambi, who, as apostolic nuncio, is the Vatican’s top diplomat in the United States.

I hope he is on the No Fly List.

Star Tribune

The contractor, ICF International of Fairfax, Va., revealed the extent of the overpayments when it issued a March 11 request for bids from companies willing to handle "approximately 1,000 to 5,000 cases that will necessitate collection effort."

The bid invitation said: "The average amount to be collected is estimated to be approximately $35,000, but in some cases may be as high as $100,000 to $150,000."

The biggest grant amount allowed by the Road Home program is $150,000, so ICF believes it paid some recipients the maximum when they should not have received a penny. If ICF's highest estimate of 5,000 collection cases — overpaid by an average of $35,000 — proves to be true, that means applicants will have to pay back a total of $175 million.

One-third of qualified applicants for Road Home help had yet to receive any rebuilding check as of this past week. The program, which has come to symbolize the lurching Katrina recovery effort, is financed by $11 billion in federal funds.

And the incompetence and corruption just keeps goes on and on........

Star Tribune

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama is picking up the endorsement of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, giving him another superdelegate supporter. Klobuchar, a freshman Democrat, says in a statement provided to The Associated Press that Obama has "inspired an enthusiasm and idealism" that the country hasn't seen in a long time.
Ouch! That's gotta hurt.

God, I hope Hillary doesn't think she needs to reenact the boxing scene in Cool Hand Luke. True, Luke lost that particular fight, but he became cool. Of course, he also died at the end of the movie.

Okay, CEU's In The Bag

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Yup, I finished what reading I had left, took the tests, and got myself the rest of my licensing CEUs. Never mind that I have to pay three times the amount a Doctor or a Nurse pays for their license. Never mind that I have to acquire three times the amount of CEUs as a Nurse or Social Worker. Never mind that I am in the lowest paying career in contrast to the other three previously mentioned careers.

It seriously sucks to be a Substance Dependence Counselor in the State of Minnesota. $400.00 to renew my license. That is ridiculous. 40 hours of CEUs. That is ridiculous. And to make matters worse, with the slow, steady strangulation of my field, the employers are no longer supplying free in services. Roughly speaking, it is about $13.00 per CEU. I spend over $900.00 to remain in my field.

And people wonder why I am fucking mad all the time.

This Is A Stall Post

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I really should be working on getting my CEUs for my license as a Chemical Dependency Counselor, but I am in stall mode. Usually, I am in stall mode over posting to this blog. But today, my focus is else where, and in stall mode I tend to do all those things other than what my focus is. So with that said, the long, vile, foul post I was going to write about those calling for Clinton to bow out will have to wait.

Just for the record, I am not committed to any one candidate, just to the Democratic nominee in general. Either will be more than sufficient at running our government. It is just that I have a hard time with the idea that anyone in our party should quit just because the going gets tough. So, fight on Hillary, fight on. But could you do a better job of campaigning? Seriously, you suck lately.
Star Tribune

"We feel horrible about the mistake and want to do all we can to minimize any inconvenience or embarrassment this woman may have experienced," Gavrilos said.

Police sent the woman a personal note of apology and produced a new Crime Stoppers message with corrected information and a public apology, he said.

Police did not release the name of the woman.

See, this is how you handle a mistake, with humility and honesty. Mistakes happen. The only thing that would make a mistake worse is by not admitting to the mistake and attempting an ass covering. My hats off to the La Crosse Police Department for being one class act in this incident.

Friday Stolen Code Blogging

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Bark Bark Woof Woof

Friday Blogaround
It's been a quiet week here...oh, wait. Anyway, here's what's happening in the LC world this week.

- A Blog Around The Clock: find your missing elephant.
- archy celebrates five years and pays homage to the obvious.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof reviews Live from Jordan.
- Bloggg: sign up.
- Dohiyi Mir sets a record.
- Echidne Of The Snakes on the single woman.
- Florida Progressive Coalition Blog tells you how to take action.
- Iddybud Journal reacts to James Carville.
- Left Is Right: how to get that good mortgage.
- Lefty Side of the Dial finds out what "twitter" is.
- Pen-Elayne on the Web with a blogaround with allergy overtones.
- Rook's Rant: what happened to the FEC?
- rubber hose: Al Gore?
- Scrutiny Hooligans preps for the siege of North Carolina by Clinton and Obama.
- SoonerThought remembers the 4,000.
- Speedkill on religion without religion.
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat comments on the his One Rule.
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation: last thoughts on Rev. Wright...
- The Invisible Library: slow food.
- WTF Is It Now?? Free Don Siegelman.
- ...You Are A Tree on five years of war.
Spring break starts for some people this week.
Spring break is done and gone up in these here parts, Mustang Bobby.
The Washington Post

IMAGINE THIS scenario: It's late summer. The Democratic and Republican conventions are about to begin. The parties' nominees have decided that it would be better for the political system -- and, no doubt, easier for them -- to accept full public financing for the general election rather than scramble to raise the money on their own. But there's no way for them to get the checks, about $85 million apiece. That's because before the checks can be issued, the Federal Election Commission must certify each nominee's eligibility to receive federal funding. Four commission members are required for such certification -- and because of a congressional standoff over confirming new members, the FEC is now operating with just two members out of the six it is supposed to have. This means that, in addition to being frozen on public financing, the FEC is unable to write regulations, launch enforcement actions or issue advisory opinions.
So, now we know why McCain exceeded the spending limit; there is no official body to take him to task.
Xinhua.com

BASRA, Iraq, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Up to 30 people were killed and some 60 others wounded in the ongoing fierce clashes between Iraqi security forces and the Shiite Mahdi Army militia in the southern oil hub of Basra, medical and police sources said on Tuesday.

    "Two hospitals in the city have received 30 bodies, including three policemen," a medical source in the city told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
There is also word of the arrest of 17 US soldiers:

ICH

25/03/08 "RTI" -- - Reported, Abu Al-Khasib another city close to Basra, now under Mahdi Army control, Iraqi government calls special forces from Karbala led by Maliki’s “brothers in law” to move to Basra.

Just reported from Alwasatonline reporter in Basra, Mahdi Army managed to arrest 17 American soldiers, and seizes 7 hammer military vehicles, because of these developments the Iraqi government offered to negotiates with MA but Muqtada Al-Sadr refused any negotiations, also 250 Iraqi soldiers gave themselves up to Mahdi Army.
I wonder how long the Legacy Media can keep this out of the news? At some point, the internet is going to be screaming bloody hell over the disaster that appears to be unfolding in Iraq at this moment.
Christian Science Monitor

The Mahdi Army's seven-month-long cease-fire appears to have come undone.

Rockets fired from the capital's Shiite district of Sadr City slammed into the Green Zone Tuesday, the second time in three days, and firefights erupted around Baghdad pitting government and US forces against the militia allied to the influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

At the same time, the oil-export city of Basra became a battleground Tuesday as Iraqi forces, backed by US air power, launched a major crackdown on the Mahdi Army elements. British and US forces were guarding the border with Iran to intercept incoming weapons or fighters, according to a senior security official in Basra.

So much for the success of The Surge™. Be prepared for BushCo™'s call to increase the troop levels. You know, to restore the success of the Surge™.

Worse. Fucking. President. EVER. Worse. Fucking. Administration. EVER. And all of this done just to prove he had a bigger dick then daddy.

New York Times

WASHINGTON — Troop levels in Iraq would remain nearly the same through 2008 as they have been through most of the five years of war there, under plans presented to President Bush on Monday by the senior American commander and the top American diplomat in Iraq, senior administration and military officials said.
<sarcasm>Imagine that. The promised troop reduction pre surge has been abandoned. A raise of hands of all those who are shocked, Shocked! I tell you, at this unforeseen turn of events.</sarcasm>
New York Times

BAGHDAD (AP) -- The overall U.S. death toll in Iraq rose to 4,000 after four soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Baghdad, a grim milestone that is likely to fuel calls for the withdrawal of American forces as the war enters its sixth year.

The American deaths occurred Sunday, the same day rockets and mortars pounded the U.S.-protected Green Zone in Baghdad and a wave of attacks left at least 61 Iraqis dead nationwide.

At this point, rage just won't get anything done. 4000 lives all in the name of Big Oil and Bush's ego. So, do you think he will go to his grave smug in the belief he showed up his father? Yeah, I agree.

What John Cole Got Wrong

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Balloon Juice

Everything.
I am not sure if he qualifies as a modern conservative. At least, not after this post.

Pharyngula: EXPELLED!

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Pharyngula

You know, I can understand why the people who work at denying evolution deny evolution; they are too damn stupid to survive the evolutionary process.
Crooks and Liars

I am waiting for John Edwards to make his endorsement. Or for Al Gore to announce his independent run for president. Until then, I am still holding back.

Friday Stolen Code Blogging

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Bark Bark Woof Woof

Friday Blogaround
The first signs of spring are showing somewhere... here's what the LC is springing up.

- A Blog Around The Clock offers some choice morsels.
- A Rational Animal: another loss.
- archy warns you to be careful when you get nailed.
- Bark Bark Woof Woof on how to beat Barack Obama.
- Bloggg: kissing up.
- Collective Sigh shares a good laugh from PZ Myers.
- Dohiyi Mir tells Barack Obama to broaden his views.
- Echidne Of The Snakes: the Invisible Woman.
- Florida Progressive Coalition Blog: something almost unheard of in South Florida -- a Cuban running for Congress as a Democrat.
- Iddybud Journal on The Speech.
- Left Is Right: among the bits and pieces, Mike remembers Arthur C. Clarke.
- Lefty Side of the Dial wonders, among other things, if people will be listening to the Beatles in 3008.
- Musing's musings: let's get this settled.
- Pen-Elayne on the Web catches us up with her hectic life.
- Rook's Rant: when you'll get your check.
- rubber hose on the Iraq paradox.
- Scrutiny Hooligans: snooping again.
- SoonerThought: caffeinated tailspin.
- Speedkill: make it about the issues.
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat, reviews The Speech.
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation: is Islam a valid religion?
- The Invisible Library notes Arthur C. Clarke's passing as well.
- WTF Is It Now?? Chuck Hagel on big blunders.
- ...You Are A Tree: sunset.
If you celebrate Easter, have a good holiday.
I apologies for missing last week's edition of Friday Stolen Code Blogging, but I believe I was being eavesdropped on and didn't feel like getting caught.

Oh, okay, I overslept. Geez, a blogger just can't get away with anything these days.

Oh, and I don't know about those signs of spring. Currently we have 4 or 5 inches of fresh snow, with more falling as I type. Don't believe me? Well, take a look for yourself:

Spring Snow IV 001.jpg


Spring Snow IV 002.jpg

Spring Snow IV 003.jpg

And it is suppose to be the second day of spring.

Arthur C. Clarke: 1917 - 2008

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Bloomberg

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Arthur C. Clarke, the U.K. science- fiction writer and futurist visionary best known for the novel adapted for the film ``2001: A Space Odyssey,'' has died. He was 90.

Clarke died in his adopted home country of Sri Lanka early today from respiratory complications, according to a statement from his office there. He had suffered from post-polio syndrome for the last two decades of his life and was confined to a wheelchair. Clarke had lived in Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, since 1956 and held citizenship there.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction is coming to an end.

New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi in Minneapolis collapsed last August after construction workers had put 99 tons of sand on the roadway directly over two of the bridge’s weakest points, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report.
In the end, it's going to be a combination of poor design, poor maintenance, and poor repair planning.

When, exactly, is it ever a good idea to dump 99 tons of sand on an old bridge?

5 Years After 'Shock And Awe'

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USA Today

Five years ago this week, as bombs began to rain down on Baghdad, this newspaper's front-page news story said President Bush's order "signaled the beginning of a preventive war unique in American history and one on which he has staked his presidency."

Subsequent events have shown the pre-emptive attack on Iraq to have been one of the great foreign policy blunders in American history, one that has driven Bush's approval rating down to 32%. Saddam Hussein, it turned out, had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, possessed no weapons of mass destruction and posed no imminent threat to U.S. security.

While the U.S. deposed a brutal dictator, in the process it destabilized Iraq, emboldened its archenemy Iran and opened the door for al-Qaeda terrorists to establish a foothold in a place they hadn't been. Efforts to defeat the insurgency and salvage a semblance of stability in Iraq have cost nearly 4,000 American lives and more than $500 billion.

Normally, I do not post opinion pieces from newspapers. However, this one is from USA Today. When America's Cheerleader newspaper states that the pre-emptive attack was a foreign policy blunder, that is saying something.


Oh, and they call the invasion "Bush's Blunder." That's going to stick.
Ka-Blog!

Stimulus Payment Schedule for Tax Returns
Received and Processed by April 15

Direct Deposit Payments
If the last two digits of your Social Security number are: Your economic stimulus payment deposit should be sent to your bank account by:
00 – 20 May 2
21 – 75 May 9
76 – 99 May 16
Paper Check
If the last two digits of your Social Security number are: Your check should be in the mail by:
00 – 09 May 16
10 – 18 May 23
19 – 25 May 30
26 – 38 June 6
39 – 51 June 13
52 – 63 June 20
64 – 75 June 27
76 – 87 July 4
88 – 99 July 11
In case, you know, you wanted to like, know; you know?

Good Morning!

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I am off to a job interview this morning. Oh, don't worry, I still have my current job. And, to be honest, things are going well. The deal here is that I am interviewing for a job with the Department of Corrections. Or, as most in our field say-Department of Cash.

Now, there are a whole bushel of reasons not to take this job, should it be offered; ridged inflexibility that comes with working for any government job, a philosophical approach to counseling in which I have little training and even less experience, and a 5 day work week.

My current job is very flexible; if I get a case of cabin fever while working on my paper work, I can go for an hour walk to calm myself, I have 4 day work weeks (though the 10 hours cuts into family time), I work with wonderful people, and I actually have a fair amount of experience, and self-education, with their philosophical approach to counseling.

However, the biggest draw back to my current job; lack of secure financial viability. The company is small, it relies on the insurance industry for most of it's revenue, and it is intimately affected by the economy.

So, the question is: Do I take an economically secure job that offers little in the way of joy and relaxation, or do I take an economically insecure job that offers quite a bit of enjoyment and flexibility?

Of course, most of this is an exercise in futility, since I am just going for an interview, and have not even been offered a job. Still, it does not hurt to weigh the pros and cons.

I Suppose I Ought Post, huh?

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Yes, I know. It's been 6 days since I posted. Funny thing, my stats didn't go down any. There was a delayed reaction to the post about Tucker being canceled. In fact, Friday, I hit 60 plus, which is good for me. Again, especially after not posting since last weekend.

To be honest, I just do not have the heart to post lately. It seems to be rather pointless at the moment. Especially with an impending depression about to darken our national mood.

Anyway, I figure I ought to post something before all hell breaks loose and the new economy goes the way of the old economy of lore; down the tubes. Maybe it will join the ranks of my lost emails......
MPR

The Minnesota Senate has approved a nearly $1 billion borrowing plan to pay for a package of public construction projects throughout the state.

St. Paul -- With little debate, Senators passed their version of the bonding bill Tuesday by a vote of 51 to 7. The House is scheduled to take up a similar bill on Thursday. But Gov. Tim Pawlenty is urging lawmakers to scale back the bill because of the projected state budget deficit.

Well, there goes the lights.........

The News Tribune

Studies: Iraq costs U.S. $12B per month
By CHARLES J. HANLEY ; AP Special Correspondent
Published: March 9th, 2008 02:07 PM | Updated: March 9th, 2008 05:02 PM

The flow of blood may be ebbing, but the flood of money into the Iraq war is steadily rising, new analyses show. In 2008, its sixth year, the war will cost approximately $12 billion a month, triple the "burn" rate of its earliest years, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and co-author Linda J. Bilmes report in a new book.

Beyond 2008, working with "best-case" and "realistic-moderate" scenarios, they project the Iraq and Afghan wars, including long-term U.S. military occupations of those countries, will cost the U.S. budget between $1.7 trillion and $2.7 trillion - or more - by 2017.

Christ, I can't make the monthly mortgage without facing the prospect of getting my heat shut off. How the hell am I suppose to pay for my portion of this God forsaken clusterfuck?

Tucker Carlson Show Canceled.

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TVNewser

Insiders tell TVNewser Tucker Carlson's 6pmET show Tucker is getting the axe, but Carlson stays on as a political contributor to all MSNBC shows at least through the 2008 election. The official announcement, expected tomorrow, will include details about who will replace Tucker at 6pmET as well as other political programming additions. Sources say the network is going to beef up its schedule with more NBC News talent.
You know, I am trying like hell to work up some sympathy for ol' Tucker. But, try as I might, it is bone dry in that particular department today.

Seriously, that boy got his chops handed to him by John Stewart and he never recovered. He was never a good newsman. The fact he tried to nail John as not asking hard hitting questions on The Daily Show was the clincher. This cancellation is a foot note to a lack luster career.

He really was nothing more than a tag-a-long of the Mighty Wurlitzer. He collected the crumbs from the big boys, attempting to mimic their blow hard bellows to only produce an effeminate lisp.

Oh, and that segment with John Stewart is still great to watch, even if it is close to 4 years old.

Friday Stolen Code Blogging

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Bark Bark Woof Woof

Friday Blogaround
Round up the usual suspects.

- A Blog Around The Clock picks the best science stories, including power-napping pigeons.
- A Rational Animal: Lilith hopes Mark Penn goes.
- archy: what shall we name the planet?
- Bark Bark Woof Woof links to some dramatic pictures.
- Bloggg works the phones for Hillary.
- Collective Sigh reassures John McCain.
- Dohiyi Mir conferenced called Nancy Pelosi.
- Echidne Of The Snakes falls in and out of love.
- First Draft: great moments of eloquence.
- Florida Progressive Coalition Blog: Florida Democrats on cutting education spending.
- Iddybud Journal: Al Gore connects poverty and climate change.
- Left Is Right: keep up the fight.
- Lefty Side of the Dial: the narrative in the news.
- Musing's musings on hockey excitement.
- Pen-Elayne on the Web: food fight!
- Rook's Rant rants.
- rubber hose: where's the wars?
- Scrutiny Hooligans: banks on thin ice.
- SoonerThought: is your state in recession?
- Speedkill: atheists and agnostics.
- Steve Bates, The Yellow Doggerel Democrat: this is your brain on scan.
- Stupid Enough Unexplanation: McCain's Farrakhan.
- The Invisible Library: what we could have bought with the money we spent in Iraq.
- WTF Is It Now?? What not to name the baby.
- ...You Are A Tree: what did he see?
Daylight savings time begins on Sunday. Spring forward.

Labels:


Good Morning Blogstonia!

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I am having one of those days where I am unhappy with the direction of my life. I am working in a field that is swamped with unnecessary regulations and oversight, filled with dysfunctional people, and poorly funded. That means I am paid squat for the work I do in trying to help others overcome their addictions.

I want to write. Not just blog, but write. I have this novel I've been slowly-hell glacially-working on, but I let the other aspects of life interfere. I am struggling in a low paying job, living in a country that currently despises the lower class of it's citizens, which means I feel alienated and hated.

Yeah, I am fed up. I am angry at my country. I am angry at my country's leadership. I am sick and tired of living in a mockracy, not a democracy. We are currently in the early stages of fascism. Our rights have been eroded away bit by bit, each time with a claim of protecting our freedom. My rights are my freedom. Taking away my freedom to ensure my freedom is insanity. Yet time and again I am faced with another claim of taking my freedom to ensure my freedom.

It's like the drunk who keep drinking with the hope that this time it will result in normal drinking; only to wake up in the morning once again having no memory of the activities of the night before.

The country is falling apart, and I feel powerless to stop its slow, inevitable decent into tyranny.

Testing

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Seems that there's a problem, so I did this test post to see if it would clear up the problem.

Update: Yup, that worked.
A Boy & His Computer

Christian beliefs vs. atheist beliefs

Gods that Christians don't believe in Gods that atheists don't believe in
Aesir
Agasaya
Agdistis
Ah chuy kak
Ah cun can
Ah hulneb
Ah puch
Ahulane
Ahura mazda
Aine
Airmid
Aizen-myoo
Aji-suki-taka-hi-kone
Akea
Aesir
Agasaya
Agdistis
Ah chuy kak
Ah cun can
Ah hulneb
Ah puch
Ahulane
Ahura mazda
Aine
Airmid
Aizen-myoo
Aji-suki-taka-hi-kone
Akea

Where I occasionally write

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Control

Politics is the control of wealth and power. You are being conditioned to condemn politics as petty and boring, thus granting all the more control to the powers that be. You are either a part of the problem or a part of the solution. The choice is yours.

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