31 January 2006

State of the Union Drinking Game...

Play along. If you dare...

George W. Bush State of the Union Drinking Game

First, you’re going to need a lot of beer. We’re talking 12 pack minimum here for this extraordinary rendition of this year’s game. You might be doing a lot of tippin’ during this little talk he’s going to give this evening. This might even warrant an extra trip or 2 to the store if you need a break, or need to be shaken awake during the telling of the tale. Or as the down home folks in Texas like to say, “A spinnin’ of a yarn.” For some, this might make watching the nationally televised speech more tolerable to the palate, and to the stomach. And for those of us who can’t stand to watch the man even speak, let alone give a long ass speech to the country, we might want to start throwing them down early. Pre-game warm-up one might say. Here we go (I’ve bolded the words that you should be looking for)…

1. Drink every single time Bush mentions or utters “9/11” (this alone could get you plastered).

2. Drink every time Bush says “freedom”.

3. Drink every time Bush says “liberty”.

4. Drink when Bush mis-pronounces “nuclear”, drink 2 if he uses that word in conjunction with “Iran”.

5. Finish the bottle of whatever it is you’re drinking if he mentions the name, “Bin Laden”, because let’s face it, he hasn’t talked about that guy in like what? 2? 3 years?

6. Drink 2 for every mention of “Iraq”. One for you, and one for the men and women we’ve lost over there due to a bad decision made by George W. Bush on invading that country.

7. This one might be a stretch, but drink 1 when he mentions the phrasing, “up or down vote” when talking about Sam Alito who will be sitting there as a newly sworn in Supreme Court Justice (YUCKKKK…).

8. Drink when he mentions “god”. We all know what a good god fearing man he is. Hates gay people, loves the death penalty, loves war. Yep, good Christian he is.

9. Drink when he says “health savings accounts” or “HSAs”. These are primarily private social security accounts meant to pay for your health care, and are meant to save you a great deal of money, which as anyone who has ever used them knows, this is not true. High deductibles, and you have to pay a lot out of pocket, this is the movement. This is Bush’s solution for the health care problems of the country. Like I said, this is just Social Security private accounts wrapped up in a health care bundle. Look out for this one.

10. Drink when he says “war on terror”.

11. Drink when he says “The Patriot Act”. Which is a good spin on bad legislation meant to take your rights away. Republicans love doing this. If it’s something that is actually bad, give it an appealing and shiny name, oh, and make sure it gets passed through both houses of Congress during the night when everyone is sleeping. That makes things so much easier.

12. Drink and then yell and curse at everyone else in the room if he says “Saddam Hussein”. Just trying to emulate what is going on during Hussein’s trial over there in Iraq.

13. Drink and then give him the finger when he says “brave military personnel” or anything related to the military. Because really, he doesn’t care about them.

14. Drink and then call your grandparents when he says something about his new and improved “medicare” plan and or “prescription drugs”. I say call your grandparents because they probably need all the help they can get figuring out that mess of BS.

15. Drink if they pan the camera over to Laura, and she is talking to someone else while her husband is up there speaking.

16. Drink twice if they show the Bush twins Jenna and Barbara, because they would like to be doing what you’re doing right now.

17. Don’t drink if he mentions “Hamas”. They’re a radical Muslim group after all, and they don’t booze.

18. Drink if he mentions that “warrantless” surveillance is meant to protect Americans.

19. Drink if he makes that stupid smirking face of his. You know what I mean. The one that you feel like throwing darts at. Yeah, THAT face.

20. Drink if he has someone from a military branch sitting in the front row to give good camera shots.

21. Drink if you think Ted Kennedy is hammered while watching the speech.

22. And finally, if he mentions “Katrina” finish whatever drink you have in your hand completely. And then yell, “Heck of a job Brownie!”

I think that’s all I can think of for now, of course, feel free to add your own variations to this list, and to modify it as you see fit. If this list doesn’t get you completely wasted while viewing the State of the Union address this evening, I’m not sure what will. Good luck!

30 January 2006

It's 5:47AM...

And what the hell am I doing awake? Don't know really, well, I do know, but I figured I'd start this week off right, get into work at a decent hour, say 7AM, and make a list of things to do this week for work, and hopefully get them all checked off by Friday. I'm sure that something will derail me between now and Friday, and I'll get about one quarter of the things done that I need to do, and then we'll go from there. Re-make the list a week from now, wash, rinse, repeat, and continue throughout the rest of the year. I am looking forward to this week for the simple reason that I feel motivated again. I feel like riding again. I feel like training again, and for the the first time in about 3 weeks or so, I actually feel like getting out of bed and heading off to work, fully showered and everything. These are good things. I'm certain, almost certain, that as soon as I walk into the office this morning, someone or something is going to piss me off, it's almost a guarantee. Kind of like death and taxes, but hey, that's what they're paying me for, sort of.

In other news, Alito is going to get onto the bench, this I have no doubt about it. Kerry made a short sighted attempt at filibustering this nominee, but damn, the man is smart enough, can't he count? That's the basic skill you need to be a Senator, you've got to know how to count. If you don't know how to count, then you can't count how many votes and people you have on your side, and how many you don't. In the case of Kerry attempting to filibuster Alito, he couldn't count, or forgot how to count. Of course if he did count right, and did have the votes to do it, this would have triggered the old Nuclear option that the republicans are so fond of trotting out into the front of the US citizenry, and we would have had a gigantic mess in the Senate (not that it isn't already) for the remainder of the year until mid term elections. I'm sure that democrats would stall almost all of the republican agenda, and hey, nothing gets done. And really, what good is that for the country as a whole? Now we're looking at having a very right leaning court. People on there who don't so much believe in the right to privacy. People on there that don't believe in a woman's right in making her own health care choices. People on there who believe only certain rich white people should go to their former schools. Yep, turning a corner we are, down into a dark alley I think. I can only hope that Alito gets some enlightenment on the bench when he gets there, and actually does make decisions based on the merits of the cases presented before him, and not his own personal beliefs, because we can't have activist judges running the country now can we? Yeah, I know, that's a term that normally the republicans trot out, which is funny because if you look at the record of the SCOTUS in the last 20 years or so, all of the legislation that has been overturned, has been done so with a majority of the republican members of SCOTUS ruling in favor of it. A little fact that they forget to mention that most times when laws are ruled as unconstitutional by courts, it is done so by judges who are known conservatives and republicans. Prepare to see Roe overturned in the next 5 years unfortunately, and we'll see the death rates of pregnant women who sought abortions in that same dark alley we just turned down increase sharply, all the while, the rich daddy's girls will just get flown out of the country to have the procedure done. Once again, something that might come about that is going to highly affect the poorer population of this country as opposed to the wealthy. Also, a fact for you. The rate of abortions before they were legal and now that they are legal hasn't really changed over time. The abortion rate is almost exactly the same as it was before. It's just now, women can have it done in a clean environment by an actual doctor, and don't have to worry so much about something bad happening. Alito will take away some of our privacy, increase the girth of the executive branch, and make health care decisions for women. Is he good for the country? I think not.

Time to hit the showers.

29 January 2006

The Serbians are coming! The Serbians are coming!!!

Well, maybe they're not all coming this way, but this weekend we were treated to a little Serbian smackdown in the form of the Aerospace Engineering cycling team. For some reason, they decided that the local January Nationals outlaw road race held in Chatham County NC was a good place to be on Sunday. Luckily for me, I was not participating in this little "race" mostly since my fitness is crap right now, and since I really just started riding again, oh, say, last week. And by last week I mean Friday 3 days ago, but hey, 3 days in a road, and feeling like crap. It can only get better right?

Anyway, don't know how these guys found out about this little local gem that has been going on for as long as I can remember, and even before that, but they showed up team car, 4 strong, and ready to ride the local cat nothings into the ground. You see, this is an open race, anyone can ride in it, and by and far, most of the people that are in it are from around the Chapel Hill area of town, and that means not a lot of guys that actually race bikes, but mostly people who THINK they can race a bike if they hang in tough on the Saturday Performance ride, and well, that's not how it really rolls. Don't get me wrong, sometimes that Saturday ride is hard as nuts, but it's not a race, and doesn't even approach the efforts I've expended in some races, which of course makes sense given that, once again, most of the guys on the Saturday ride don't race. That Saturday ride is their race, and they ride it like a race, well, at least how they think a race should be ridden, but anyway, I digress. There is a ride like that in every town where there is a strong cycling presence. This one is no different. I'm sure that you could find them from coast to coast. The good old, "we only drop our friends" kind of ride.

So yeah, the first race of the weekend. Year's past, I have done this race, and it's fun. It's short at 50 miles, or close to it, and for some reason, everybody and their mother is out to prove something to one another, in January. I like sitting in the group and watching those guys punch each other in the throat while they're vying for the January Nationals title. Aerospace Engineering showed up this year as mentioned, they're a pro team out of Florida I think, who have some of the stronger guys in the country, and they happen to be Serbian. So this race was probably great conditions for them to ride in. Gray skies. Rain threatening. Crappy road conditions. Unsavory characters sitting in the group. Yep, perfect for them. Except for this race, there are no landmines to worry about, which they often have to worry about in the Tour of Serbia every year. As far as what I can piece together from what I saw, the 4 Aerospace guys ripped the group apart, and got 3 of their guys in the early break of about 10 people. Which then through the course of the next couple of laps got split into 2 groups of 4, with one Aeropspace guy off the front of the race by himself, which was impressive, considering the wing was howling at about 20 miles per hour pretty steady and not letting up. On one section of the course, the tailwind must have been amazingly stiff, and when you turned around, it was block, straight in your dome piece, which would have sucked. I know this because riding out there, I encountered these winds, and when I was facing the headwind, on a section of road where I normally would have been going about 20 going pretty easy, I was moving along at 14 MPH and working the old ass off.

The race came down to the Aerospace guy holding on and taking it solo across the line for the win. Robert McConnville, a cat. 5 at the start of last year rolled across second, even after being worked over by the Serbian trio in the front group, which was pretty impressive, because that's a strong ride for anyone. Too bad he's an asshole. I hate it when that happens. Maybe he'll turn himself around at some point in time, or maybe I'll just put him into the ditch at some point in time (probably the latter). My good friend Mark Jellous I think rolled across 3rd or 4th on the day, good outing for him, and he'll be strong this year methinks. The Chad, skipped this one. I ask once again though; what the hell is a good portion of a pro team doing out in Chatham County on a Sunday afternoon? Ah well, the locals needed to see something like that to prove to them that indeed, they're not as strong as they think they are. Maybe bring some humility to the local crowd. Curtis, as usual, was talking about how he "just missed" the break, again. If you know Curtis, you know that he says this about almost every race he's ever been in. That's OK Curtis, we still love ya' man, and in a shocking revelation today, he did mention that he's now rollerblading to class. Yikes Curtis, just yikes. You've got to stop fruitbooting to school, that's just, as we like to call it, no good. Damn son, just damn.

In "other" racing news this weekend, cyclcross world championships were this weekend, and not surprisingly, nobody from the US could come up with the goods. The best that one of our riders could do was 10th place, a good ride, but not a podium place. Jonathan Page should be pretty darn pleased with that ride, but I'm pretty sure he would have liked to have been on one of the 3 steps (not like mountain biking where for some reason if you come in top 5 that call that a podium placing, but podium places are only top 3, that just goes to show mountain biking doesn't know what the hell they're doing, but that's another rant for another time) of that podium. He's come the closest in the elite men's category, and our guys are getting better, but here's the rub. Since cyclocross is NOT an Olympic sport, USA Cycling really doesn't fund it, or barely hands any money over to the guys and girls that do go over to compete at World Championships. I think only one or two people get money to go over and get their trips paid for. Everyone else has to pay their own way, which is bullshit. If they want a damn good team over there, they can't keep letting people, or I should say, making people pay their own way, and our people have to get over to Europe and ride in the big Belgian and Dutch 'cross races, because let's face it. Racing cyclocross here is getting better, but the level of the competition is nowhere near what it is across the pond. There is a lot more parity in road racing, and even some in mountain biking, but in cyclocross racing, it's a whole different ball game over there. Imagine this scene. People tailgating. People organized into fan groups, painting their faces, getting hammered before the event, singing and cheering for hours on end, and then imagine 200,000 people. This is what happens at a "typical" Belgian cyclocross race. The biggest guys in the sport have immense support in just people working for them. Taking care of them, so that all they have to worry about on the day of the race is getting on their bike, and hammering. People from the US like Jonathan Page, have spent entire cyclocross seasons in Europe trying to race against the best, and his support is spotty at best. He has some friends help him out, and his wife, god love her, is there as well, in the pits helping his small support staff, while she has their baby strapped to her back and or chest. It's amazing that he can get a 10th place with all of the stuff that he has to do, that the top guys don't have to do, like prepare his bike, his food, his pre-race warm-ups, and other stuff that for others, is completely taken care of. He's done well, but he needs more support, as do the rest of our national team, and we need to start sending national teams to the world cup competitions where they do compete as nations. But, we don't do any of that, because it's not an Olympic sport, and frankly folks, that's just stupid. Participation in cyclocross in the US has jumped incredibily over the last few years. I've seen local races in NC get 500 people racing in all categories. Try doing that at a mountain bike race. Good freakin' luck, it's not going to happen. More support USA cycling, more support for cyclocross riders. We need it if we want to compete at the highest levels of the sport in the world, without it, we're going to be also rans for cyclocross forever.

Anyway, the guy that was heavily favored to win this weekend, Sven Nijs (a Belgian rider of course) was in the thick of things, when he took a bad spill, and essentially knocked himself out, and out of the race. His countryman, Erwin Vervecken took the win, ahead of another Belgian and a French guy. This is the first time in several years that I can remember it not being an entirely Belgian podium at world championships. Final results were:

1. Vervecken - Belgium
2. Wellens - Belgium
3. Mourey - France

The Belgians, being Belgian, were not too happy with "only" getting the top 2 spots, they wanted the whole thing to themselves again, but they were happy that their guy took the rainbow jersey, again (2nd time for Vervecken). Ah well, maybe next year guys?

22 January 2006

The doping bans continue...

Another cyclist, this time, a woman, has been banned, for life, for testing positive for rEPO that was found when she was tested in competition at the Tour de Toona this past year. All I can say, is that Genevieve Jeanson, the woman who got busted, let's just say, this isn't a shocking surprise honestly. Why you ask? Well, since she came onto the cycling scene, she has dominated. And I don't mean just winning a race here and there, but actually dominating the elite of all women cyclists in the world. She was doing times in her time trials that would have put her a lot of the times, in the top 10 of the men's pro race. This is not to say that this couldn't happen, it's just that nobody else in the women's ranks were doing this, or even coming close for that matter. She would get into a race, and simply ride off the front of the pack, and never be seen again. I saw her race several times first hand, and saw her throw it down, and destroy women's fields most of the time, on her own. She had a team, and a few teammates here and there, but she didn't need them. She was way too strong for everyone else, and let's just say that suspicion ran very high amongst the women in the rank and file of the cycling world. I know a few of the pro women, and that's all they would ever say, that Jeanson was on the juice, and really judging from her performances in some of her races, there is really no doubt about, and of course, now we have the positive test result as well. She also had some strange behavior, namely, going to races where she knew there wouldn't be doping controls, avoiding European races for that same reason, and basically staying in North America and cleaning up here. Her coach, was also pretty shady, or known as such in the world of cycling. Andre Abut, lots of questions hanging around him, and there was always the question of what kind of relationship did they have between coach and athlete, because there was lots of talk about them being together, if you know what I mean, and I think that you do. Also, another piece of evidence against her fell into place a couple of years ago when she was busted for a high hematocrit level at World Championships the year they were in Canada. Now, this is not an indictment of EPO use, but a higher than normal red blood cell count normally indicates abuse of something that raises said levels, namely EPO. When you get popped for a high 'crit level though, essentially the UCI asks you to take a few weeks off. You're not suspended, but you're under a light and people are looking your way. The following race season, Canada would not issue a racing license to Jeanson, so she got one from USA cycling, where she spent most of her year anyway. This license was issued to her with the knowledge that if she messed up, she would be banned for life possibly. That Spring, she missed a doping control at the women's Fleche Wallone race, and in the eyes of the UCI, this is the same as being positive for something. She was not suspended again, but given a warning, after her excuse for missing the test was checked out and found to have veracity and some truth to it. Her excuse? She left the race site, and did not hear her name called for random doping controls. Shortly after that, her doctor was busted for prescribing illegal performance enhancing drugs to the athletes under his care, which he admitted, but then took back after pressures were brought onto him. He had a book of doping clients, and what he gave them, but that was quietly stashed away, and nothing could ever get proven from her doctor. Now fast forward to 2005, she is racing the Tour de Toona in Pennsylvania, her name is called for random. She gets busted, and now, to make a long story longer, she's out, banned for life, and since she's banned for life, she has decided to retire from cycling. It's troubling really, because she appeared to be a cyclist who could have had a good career regardless of what kind of substances that she took. She was naturally strong, and naturally gifted, but I think winning, and the pressure of an overbearing coach took its toll on her, and then she was expected to win, and she took the sure route to winning. She doped, and now, she can never participate in cycling again. She severely screwed up, and now, she's out and will never come back. And to her, I say good riddance. We don't need her type in the sport, we don't need her to screw things up more for the sport, and since she's a doper, she should be drummed out of cycling, and I'm glad that she's gone, never to return again. It is people like her, that damages our sport, and makes people wonder about the performances of athletes who do compete in this sport, and question their results constantly. Jeanson is damaged goods.

I've got another bone to pick with the cycling community in America in general. Look people, especially ones who organize and put on races, can you stop naming your races Tour de something or other? I ask this because first of all, we're not in France here. Only in France is it OK to call your race Tour de France for instance. Why? Because it is your nation's language. In the good old USA, why can't we just say Tour of Georgia instead of Tour de Georgia. It just sounds silly, and stupid. And this year, we have the Tour de Toona (as mentioned above) and of course the new race, the Tour de California. Cripes it's annoying to me. I don't know why, but it just is. Use the word "of" in place of "de", it doesn't make your race anymore European to use "de" in the title of the race, it doesn't make it more mysterious and or international, it just makes it sound stupid. They just need to give that shit up and get on with it. If I ever put on a race, there will be no "de" in the title of it. It will be something like, "The Leg Breaker Tour" or maybe the "Bite Your Stem Criterium" or something like that, indicating that it's going to be a hard race. Don't get me wrong. I like France, and the French, great people and great country, it's just that, a race running through the Georgia countryside is about as far from France as you're going to get. Which brings me to another point. I am betting that the Tour of George (I refuse to use its proper name) is going to die after this year. They have had a couple of good years, but just 2 years ago, it looked like it was going to flop over and die, but a certain cyclist named Lance Armstrong decided to race it, and that brought in the sponsors. That brought in the money. Guess what though? This year, there won't be Lance there, he's retired, and I think we're going to see it, and lots of other races around the country dry up, as the so-called "Lance Effect" wears off, and people decide that they don't care about cycling again. And really, before 3 years ago, people still didn't know much about it. With the hype of Lance winning his 5th Tour de France in a row, and then his 6th and then his 7th, well those wins brought the people running, but now that he's gone, cycling is going to be ignored again, and settle back into oblivion. I hope that I'm wrong about this, but I don't think that I will be. You'll see, people don't know any other cyclists out there anyway aside from Lance Armstrong, so this stands to reason really that people won't pay attention again. The same thing happened when Greg "I won a virtual 5 Tours de France" Lemond retired back in the early 90's. People in the US, if we don't have a pony in the biggest race, forget about what is going on over in Europe during the race season. Unless another American can pull a win, or even a good finish in the Tour again this year, and we do have some contenders in there that could pull out a win this coming July. The list could go as follows:

Floyd Landis
Levi Leipheimer
Tom Danielson
Bobby Julich (real outside chance there)
And the guy that I would love to see do really well at the Tour: George "I need a sandwich" Hincapie

Now some of the above names have experience in racing big grand tours, well, actually they all do. We'll just have to see what could happen this year. We'll have to see how it all shakes loose. I'm kind of excited for the Tour de France this year, because for the first time in 7 years, we don't know who is going to win this year. We have a good idea who the players are going to be, but we don't know for sure. Yeah, of course, there were always people who were gunning for Lance, and who talked a good game, but nobody could ever come through and do anything about it. The list for contenders this year is growing by the day I think. I think honestly we could see a lot different guys come to the forefront, some for a second time, others for the first. It's going to be interesting.

That's about all the thoughts I have for now. Right now, the Steelers are kicking the crap out of the Broncos, so there is a good chance they'll be back at the big game here in a couple of weeks. Then later today, it is going to be the Carolina Panthers against the Seahawks for the second spot in the Super Bowl. I'm hoping for a Steelers Panthers showdown in Detroit, because than I can heckle my friend The Chad when the Panthers lose again. Yeah, as I said before, I'm a hater.

20 January 2006

I knew this was going to happen...

Not the fact that Bin Laden would pop up again, we all pretty much knew that this was going to happen, but the thing that I knew that was going to happen would be the conservative radio talk show, TV show, and blog writers and what their response to this "revelation" by Bin Laden was and will be. They are already selling democrats down the river saying that this is what they've been crying for all of the time. A truce with Bin Laden. Which in the real world of things, the thing that we democrats have been asking for, and or looking for solutions for is a war in Iraq. You are crazy if you think that there is one democrat in the federal government today that would say, "Yeah, we should sit down and work out a truce with Bin Laden." Please. Are these conservative guys serious about this? When the release of the Bin Laden tape became public information and everyone started to hear about it, I heard immediately the conservative blow hards talking about how the democrats and the liberals, this is what they've wanted all along. Rush was of course the first one that I hear extolling this. Change of station, Boortz doing the same thing. Driving over to the SO's house this evening, of course Savage was all over it like it had happened already, that the radical left, as he calls them, supposedly lead by Hillary Clinton (who is very moderate if he had ever bothered to look), and of course, Ted Kennedy were already making flight arrangements to go and visit Osama and sign off on a peace truce or something like that. I will say right now that if a democrat does come out and say that maybe we should sit down and talk about a truce, well, someone is going to get punched in the throat, or at least receive a strongly worded letter (probably the latter) from me about that whole idea. I've been saying this for awhile now. There aren't any democrats who are against the war on terror as we have defined, but there are plenty of people who think that our resources and military assets could be better used in the war on terror than how they are being used now, meaning placing most of our eggs into Iraq. There aren't any liberals out there who would even suggest talking to a terrorist, let alone sitting down and making a truce with them. First, that would be pure political suicide, as I believe an overwhelming majority in this country believes that our fight against terrorists is just, and right, and I think that this majority is correct in that yes, we do need to find, fight, and kill terrorists. Iraq, if we all remember correctly, was not about terrorism, it was about dis-arming Saddam and separating him from his weapons of mass destruction that in the end of things, didn't exist. Not about terrorism. You'll be hard pressed to find any democrat that is against killing of terrorists. Of course there are going to be some on the far far left extreme edge of the party, who are complete pacifists, and who would argue against killing any living thing, but this viewpoint, as far as I know, is not widely held. If I'm wrong, please let me know. In the political boards that I frequent, almost as soon as Rush was spouting this new line of rhetoric from the right, which in my opinion is being used to make the left look like they are weak on terrorists, the right wing wackos that love to cut and paste and have a direct line to the republican daily talking points were saying the same thing, with the same phrasing, and passing it off as their own "wild" idea. Freakin' joke if you ask me, a big ass joke. Now they are attacking people and the party before we even do something. New tactic I guess.

And now for your pleasure, more government intrusion into your daily activities. Are you getting even a little bit concerned even now? Now the DOJ wants the search records from Google for 2 months so that they can do a little fishing expedition to see if porn sites are enforcing the rules of what they're supposed to be enforcing. How about this. I'm sure that there are a lot of computers hooked up to the internet at the DOJ. For them, all they have to do for research is go to www.google.com, and enter the word porn into the search engine. I'm sure they wouldn't be surprised to see what they see, and then they can go and look for themselves at what porn sites registered in the US are doing, and whether or not they're following the rules that were established to keep kids from accessing adult stuff on the internet. I've got a better idea. If they're so concerned about kids seeing this stuff (and they shouldn't be, kids are going to see it regardless), then maybe they just step up their parenting skills a little bit. Once again, here you have a federal government being run by people who claim to be conservatives, claim to be all about some personal responsibility and not letting the government take care of them, and here they are trying to play nanny again. It's all about the children right? So that makes it OK. Indeed it does not. Look, what is the internet for if not for porn. It's the biggest use of the internet, and porn has made the internet essentially what it is. Like I said, go to Google, and check out the word porn, millions of hits I'm sure. In the name of writing about facts here. I just Googled just the word "porn" and indeed came up with 41,200,000 hits on Google. Why does the government want all of the searches from those 2 months? Is that when porn searching is at an all time high or something? And why do they need to look at everything? They shouldn't be looking at any of it, and why doesn't Google go the route that libraries have been going, in other words, destroying the records of the searches, or in the case of libraries, destroying the records of who takes out what book or books. That would make this whole issue moot don't you think. It could go something like this, "Hey, we're the Department of Justice, we need all of your search records for these 2 months." Google says, "Oh sorry neo fascists, we destroy that stuff on an hourly basis. Here's a nice Google mug for your troubles." If they don't have the records, they can't subpoena them right? I'm sure that they keep the records at Google for a business purpose, but maybe they shouldn't? 1984 was only 21 years ago, I guess Orwell might have been off schedule just a touch, but not that far off. Add this into the wiretapping debacle, and any other number of things that have been done since 9/11 to ensure our safety and all. Damn. If you voted for Bush in 2004 let me ask this; why in the world would you do such a thing? I'm starting to really dislike a lot of republicans these days. I think that the best thing that could happen would be for Hillary to win the Presidency in 2008, just for the simple fact that I would love to see them flipping out for at least 4 years while she's in office. God, it would be a joy and a wonder to watch them be way more exasperated than we are about Bush. Most conservatives, you mention the name Hillary, and they go into convulsions at the mere mention of her name. It's actually very fun to watch. I also think that people are wrong when they say that she can't get elected, as being too divisive, that's a straw man's argument. The people that hate her, are not going to vote for her anyway, but she's so moderate, she can pull votes from the middle, and possibly take the election. Like I said, convulsions.

Anyway, it's time to hit the rack. Couldn't sleep again tonight, so here I am writing at late hours, or early hours of the morning if you will. I hate it when this happens. Several times a week, and the last 2 weeks seem to have been the worst lately of the insomnia mess that I'm wrapped up in. I get good sleep for a night or 2, and then nothing, like now, 1:25AM on a Friday morning, and I'm sitting in my kitchen composing this little entry. I don't know if you've ever had insomnia, but it's infuriating, because we all know how good sleep is, but this is getting ridiculous. I need to get a refill on my sleep medicine, and tried to do it today, but the office never called me back. Must call them again tomorrow, or just drop in there and get them to write me another prescription, I can't possibly keep doing this, it's putting me out of sorts as it is. Well, feeling sleepy now so off to bed I go.

15 January 2006

E-bay and ideas...

Shameless E-Bay Plug

Yeah, that's right, I said shameless E-Bay plug, that's not below me to hawk my wares on my own blog of course. Come on, who doesn't need a busted up wheel to use for spare parts? That's what I say. Do yourself a favor, and buy this thing. You know you want it, so why wait around and not doing anything about it? Indeed, get after that stuff. OK, maybe you don't need it, but then again, you could always buy it as a joke gift for someone else maybe? Spare parts are the name of the game for this wheel. If you have a set of Ksyriums and want some low cost spare parts, get this wheel, most of the wheel is fine and dandy, although some of it is chewed up right now, but I digress, get on it. I've started to sell off stuff that I don't need on E-Bay lately, and so far, it has netted me some good cash honestly. For stuff that I haven't needed, or I should say, didn't need. Mostly extra bike parts and a few watches that I had laying around that I didn't need either, it's worked out pretty well. I think that it's true that there is someone out there that will just about buy anything, E-Bay has proved that out with a successful business model right there. So far, everything I've tried to sell on there has sold, and normally for more than I wanted to sell it for. For example. Yesterday, sold an old fork that I had for a bike that I no longer have. Complete frame, fork, and headset for the old bike was like around $300, I rode it for 2 seasons, raced it hard for 2 seasons, and then sold just the fork yesterday for $61. In my opinion, that ain't too bad really. The guy who bought the fork got a decent fork, and I for my money's worth out of it. If you need and or want something, and don't want to pay too much for it, head to E-Bay, and look for some deals, they're out there. Sometimes you have to dig a little but they're in there. The only sticking point in there is the whole shipping thing. Packing up, bring your package somewhere, and getting it shipped can sometimes be a pain in the ass, but fortunately, for me, I found a local shipping spot a very short distance from my house, and their rates are good, and they're a locally owned place, so I frequent that place when I can so as to not increase FedEx and Kinko's profits. They've got enough for now, they don't need my business for the most part. Although my local place was closed yesterday, so yes, I used them. I know, kill me and crucify me now. When I did go in there though, of course they had the pseudo-intellectual guy working the counter with the glasses, and the frustrated look on his face, the one that says, "It's a copier I should not have to show you how to use it buddy." You know what I'm talking about. He looked like he was about to have a break down as it appeared that he was the only one there, but he had this pained expression on his mug like he was about to open fire with an AK into the crowd of people. Luckily for me, the stuff I had to do I could do on my own. No problems there. I just had to hand off my boxed up bike part to him for shipment, no issues. I think that when they hire people at Kinko's, those are the people that they look for. The ones that look like they're smart, but they're working at a Kinko's. How smart could they be? I mean, isn't just like working at a high tech McDonald's more or less? Instead of asking if they want fries with that, they ask things like, "You want that in color." Someone has got to do it though I suppose.

I still think I need to come up with that one great idea. The one that will make me tons of money, but then again, isn't everyone else looking for that great idea as well? I think that they are. I had an idea once to maybe make a bunch of really weird t-shirts and sell them on-line, but that niche has been filled by www.tshirthell.com. It's one of those things where you think of something, and then someone, or a bunch of someone's have already done it, and aren't making that much money off of it. I would think though that in this day and time, if you offered something with like great customer service, whatever that is, there is such a lack of good customer service in businesses these days that when someone even does a half decent job of customer service, they are praised to high heaven for whatever it is they are doing. Just have to come up with the business idea that would allow me to give good customer service. And that's the hard part. My friend, The Chad once came up with this idea that I thought would kick ass. The old pick up someone's car, and change their oil, and then bring it back to them gambit. It would be easy to do, and people are lazy enough, even with the proliferation of the quick oil change place in America, to pay someone a little extra to pick up their car from their workplace, take it somewhere, change the oil, vaccuum the carpets in the car, and then bring it back to them. Then, of course, I saw an article in the local paper in Raleigh that said someone was doing that. That bastard stole Chad's idea. I think he needs a beat down for doing something like that. I still think that it would work though, just couldn't be in Raleigh, but then again, I don't live in Raleigh now do I?

And in some more political news, it appears that the Republicans, or some faction of the Republican party is now trying to "Swift Boat" representative Jack Murtha from Pennsylvania. Yeah, it's true. It's sad but true. A man who served is country, is still serving his country, and received some military decorations from his time in Vietnam is now being disparaged by a group that claims that his decorations for his military service were not real, or are questionable at best and that he indeed doesn't deserve them at all. This sits funny with me for a couple of reasons. One, this is the same party that will tell you that they are 200% behind the military, that they are very pro military. That is unless someone from the military, or someone who used to be in the military comes out with criticisms, and then they go on the attack. And once again, they are attacking the messenger, and not the message that said messenger is bringing to the public. It's the only tactic that they use these days, and one, that in my opinion is getting tired, and a tactic that more and more is being seen through by the American public I think. I said "Swift Boating" before because this is eerily reminescent of what was done to John Kerry during the 2004 election by some opponents of his. It was never proven, or never could be proven that the Bush election campaign had anything to do with it, but let's face it, they got a lot of mileage out of it, and honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if Rove was behind the whole Swift Boat thing back in 2004, and I would bet that he's probably behind this. Because as we've all learned in the past, you attack the President on something, or try to make criticisms, you're going to have to deal with Karl Rove somewhere in time, and this appears to be another time where he's flexing his muscle to get at someone attacking the President and his policies. Sickening really. They never want a policy debate, they want to destroy the person bringing the noise. It's sad that they don't address the criticisms, and maybe work with the other side in straightening things out, but as we've seen time and again with this administration, it's either their way, or the highway. Either you're with us against the terrorists, or you're not. As Obi Wan said in the most recent Star Wars movie, "Only a Sith speaks in absolutes." As we all know, the Sith are the baddest of the bad, and the most evil of the evil. What was Lucas trying to say here? Hmm.. Doesn't take much extrapolation does it?

14 January 2006

Quick post...

I need to go and collect some breakfast, and then get my rather fat ass onto my bike for a ride this morning before the weather turns foul (looks good out there right now so far though), but there is just one little snippet I want to throw out for this morning because I'm so mad about it. No, it's not about Bush, or the Republicans, this time.

Homeless men beat down in the street...

I want to know where these kids, and they do appear to be kids, live. Because what I'd like to do is round up a couple of my meaner friends (like Jason Beck if anyone knows him), roll over to their house, pull them from their beds, and start beating THEM with a baseball bat while they're trying to sleep. Stuff like this makes me want to puke, and I know that it goes on all the time, but this beating was caught on tape, and I hope they catch these little bastards, and send them straight to the gas chamber. Come on. Is there any need for an unprovoked attack on a homeless person? I freakin' think not. I'm sure when caught, and I'm sure that they will be because they probably did something stupid like taped themselves doing it, they'll claim that they learned this from Grand Theft Auto or some other ultra violent video game, and that they were just acting out what they saw. Here's the news kids. You're old enough to know fact from fiction, truth from reality, and you're going to jail for what appears to be a pre-meditated plot to take baseball bats to homeless people. I mean, that's just evil isn't it? Yeah, it is. I'm not normally a violent person, well, I'm not a violent person at all, but if I saw something like this going down, you can bet your ass I'd get in there and try to do something. I've seen some videos before of people getting beat down in the street and there are just people walking by, watching, standing around, not doing anything. What the hell people? Get in there, take the situation down. Doesn't matter why someone is getting beat down like a dog, just stop the craziness. Anyway, these kids need to have their dicks knocked into the dirt.

13 January 2006

Dick Pound...

Yeah, it's not what it appears to be (when the title of this entry is "Dick Pound" - you can all get your minds outta the gutter). Dick Pound is the head of WADA, or the for those of you not in "the know", the World Anti Doping Agency, and let's just say, he's opinionated, and loud about it as well. Lately, as in this week, he has called out cycling, again, as being a sport rife with doping, and essentially saying that entire teams do it en masse to great effect to get good results, and you know, I don't think that he's really all that wrong, or all that out of line. Over the years, doping in cycling has been going on. Hell, greats of the past basically, well, not basically, but did just come out and say, yeah, I do it, and I'm going to continue to do it (sort of like how Bush has said he's wiretapped without warrants and will continue to do so) because I need to do it to continue in the sport. I'm thinking that cycling since the first time someone put on a race, has probably had doping within the sport itself. A lot of people will tell you that it's just too hard to do day in and day out with some outside assistance, especially at the highest levels of the sport that we have today. Dick Pound though, I'm fairly certain that he's a mad man. He's the Howard Dean of the anti doping world, just letting loose whatever is in his head, and you know, for the most part, I think that he should.

Here he is, the man most responsible for taking down illegal doping in all sport around the world, and here he has what might be one of the dirtiest sports going. I love cycling, but let's be realistic, there is a ton of cheating going on in it. We all know it, we all talk about it, we all give the old wink, wink, nudge, nudge, and then when someone gets busted, we're never really surprised are we (well, maybe with Tyler, but nobody else who has gotten busted over the last 10 years or so that I've paid attention to the sport has surprised me)? I think that the people who compete in cycling, even at an amateur level like myself, can see how people would dope in cycling, and would take drugs to succeed. It's very easy to see actually if you've ever pinned on a number, straddled a road bike, and entered a race. I don't recall too many races in my time that were actually "easy". And that's going up through the ranks from cat. 5 up to the Pro 1-2 ranks that I race in now. I think it was Greg Lemond actually who said it best didn't he? "It doesn't get any easier, it just gets faster." Yeah, well, Greg is right. I think if we are to make the world of professional cycling better, and drug free we need these assholes like Dick Pound out there giving people hell, calling them out on their bullshit. We need guys like that. Jesus Manzano was another guy that was a professional racer and still is, who told it like he saw it. Or at least, that was his story about what went on, and really why would he lie about it? He didn't make any money out of it, in fact, most teams then shunned him and cast him away for it, and wouldn't talk to him again, and I'm sure that he lost friends because of what he said, but I'm thinking most of it was true. I mean even on the very local scene that I race and ride in, I've seen guys in the parking lots before races chugging down caffeine pills, taking stimulants, and hell, 2 guys in my neck of the woods got busted for doping. One for EPO use, and one for use of Phen Phen I think it was. And those were just 2 average Joe's. Doping in the American pro scene I'm betting is even more distinct. Why? For the simple reason that there are few and far between races in the US, even the big NRC races, that there is a doping control at. I've been to several NRC races, raced in some NRC races, and there is no doping tent. There is no random selection for someone to come and piss in a cup, there is really no control over it in the US at all, unless you are at the top end of the sport and happen to be an American. Armstrong is one guy like that. He was on the ramdom control list where they can come and knock on your door at any time of the day or night and ask for some urine. But those controls are few and far between really. They just don't exist for your basic run of the mill US pro road racer. And I think that they don't exist much for the run of the mill Euro pro either. This is why we need Dick Pound out there harrassing people about this. It's his job, and he's a bulldog. The rider's association is looking for an apology from him because of the statement that he made, and he's just told them to go to hell about it. He's not retracting anything (Dick Pound tells 'em to go Hell!!).

Now here is what I'm really paying attention to. The Abramoff scandal and how and wide this thing is going to reach. Already we have Tom Delay saying he's not going to run for the House Leadership position again because of it, or I should say, isn't going to seek the Majority Leader position he once so coveted. And now we have Bob Ney of Ohio being asked to resign his chairmanship in the House because of his ties to Abramoff. How far is this going to go? How many Republicans might fall because of this? How many democrats? I say if they're dirty, then whoever is dirty needs to be shown the door. I don't care who it is. Republican, Democrat, either of them need to be kicked out on their asses if they are found to have done something illegal and or unethical or against the rules of Congress. Of course, because Abramoff had such close ties to the Republican party, I think we can stand to reason that there might be a lot of fallout from the GOP side of things, and as I said, we're seeing that already, and he hasn't even started talking yet. My guess is that he's going to sing like a damn canary when they get him in there, if he hasn't already, to save his own ass from federal "pound me in the ass" prison (see the movie Office Space, you'll know what I'm talking about here). The big question is how high up the food chain does this go? Could be interesting, very interesting, and I for one, am not sad to see a lot of Republicans get their come uppence on this front. It took them a very short amount of time to go from the people who wanted to bring you smaller government, and less intrusion, and fiscal responsibility, to the group that brings you all time deficits, tax cuts for the wealthy, wars, and big brother looking over your shoulder to a frightening level. And this only took them what? About 10 years of being in power in Congress before they were really corrupt? Well, one might argue they've become increasingly so since Bush took office, and there really hasn't been much of a "check" with the Congress being majority Republican and the President being Republican and all. For the most part since The Shrub has been in the front office, Congress has given him a rubber stamp. Send us what you want, we'll get it passed through even if we have to change the rules and procedures to do it. Such as leaving open floor votes for hours instead of the customary 15 minutes. Ending debate on issues in minutes instead of days. Strong arming people who want to vote against things, and so on. Don't think for a minute that had this been the Democrats doing it (which they probably did back in the days when they ran things) that they wouldn't be crying foul, but amazingly, for the most part, most Democratic Congress members have remained eerily silent about these things and not made a big deal about it. Anyway, I can see a large contingent of Republicans being brought down because of their ties to Abramoff and his cronies. Maybe they didn't do anything illegal, and maybe they didn't do anything "technically" un-ethical, but popular opinion and the voters back home might just think that they did, and out on their asses they go. I can only hope so. Mid term elections in November of 2006, going to be interesting to watch and see what happens. You can bet that. If Bush has to deal with one of the branches of Congress or worst case scenario for him, both arms of Congress being Democrat, he'll have a freakin' meltdown. His legislative agenda is so bogged down now, imagine what it would be like if the Democrats were in control. He'd flip his lid for certain. I'd love to see it. And maybe just maybe we will.

12 January 2006

I can't believe what I'm seeing...

I'm watching TV, and at this time, there is this reality TV show on, and they're talking about sweet 16 parties that these girls are planning with their parents. It is the most ridiculous thing that I've seen I think. There is this one family out in California that is planning a party for their daughter, and not only did they just purchase her a brand new, we're talking straight off the showroom floor, 5 series BMW, but they're throwing her a $30,000 party. $30k! Unbelievable is the only way that I can term it. Thirty thousand dollars for a sweet 16 party. What happened to having a part with your close friends and mostly family at your house with a cake and a few presents? That's the way I seem to remember my parties when I was still living at home, or even when I was still in Maine, and those were kick ass parties. Hell, the biggest birthday party I've ever had I threw for myself. And it was still just myself, and about 10 friends or so, and once again, that was kick ass. $30k for a party? What the hell? I wonder how much this girl's wedding is going to cost her parents. Damn, if her 16th Birthday ran them $30k plus a new BMW, hmm. That wedding is going to be ridiculous methinks. Talk about spoiled, hell, $30k would be, I don't know, a couple of years at a state school for college. And this young woman, what does she do? She prepares a guest list, and then hands out this elaborate invitations to her "friends" at school in front of everyone else, meaning some of the people that didn't get an invitation, they genuinely looked really sad. I hate to use the word bitchy, but damn, that's what it was/is, and this young girl, damn spoiled. Yet another reason why I don't want to have kids. I would kill, absolutely destroy this girl. She would sit at home, and do nothing if I had a daughter and she acted like that. Death would become her. And holy shit, as I was just writing this, this girl said that her parents got her the best suite at the hotel where they were having the party, and it was $3000/night. Add that to the BMW and the party. Holy shit. That's it, it's official, things are out of control. There is no reason, and I mean no reason why someone should have a $30,000 birthday party. Really, is there? It's insanity. I'm amazed by this all, I've never seen anything like this before, or have heard about anything like this before. Is this some sort of debutante stuff that we don't get in Maine? I guess maybe we really are backwoods in Maine. Which doesn't seem to bother me so much after seeing this mess, well, then again, never bothered me before either. This just typifies for me the old adge that I like to trot out a lot, these people have a lot more money than sense. A LOT more money than sense. I mean, hell, if they have $30,000 to kick out for a sweet 16 party, can they lend a brother maybe just 1/3 of that? I mean, $10k would go a long way in my little world.

Yeah, I know, I'm a hater. What can I tell you?

11 January 2006

Is it coming to a close? Yet???

This week in Colorado, the CAS (Court for Arbitration of Sport) is meeting to possibly once and for all, to decide to fate of one Tyler Hamilton. If you don't know Tyler, that's OK, most Americans don't for the most part. Most people reading this blog will probably know him, as I would believe that a lot of people that I know are bike racers, or just ride bikes in general, and that's what Hamilton was/is. Well, unless you count the last year and some months since he's been suspended for blood doping. Yes, he allegedly took someone else's blood, froze it, and then re-injected it into himself to gain an edge in performance during bike races. There are a lot of people out there that believe Hamilton didn't do this, mostly because he was supposed to be, "The good guy" of the sport. He was the ying to Armstrong's yang, and all of that good shit. Personally, I think he's guilty as hell, should be shunned from the sport and sent away from it for a long time. Hell, it's been over a year now as it is, what's one more year. The man has been spending his life savings no doubt fighting this battle. If he's innocent and gets off, I'll give him a slap on the back, and say good job old man, get back on the bike and race. If he's found guilty, again, then, well, he'll have burned his last match really. He's already appealed the original ruling several times, and every time that he has appealed it, he's been turned down, and pronounced guilty. I think this has happened 2 times already. Maybe he should just move on I guess. On the other hand though, if he is innocent, well, I think I would be doing the same thing he is, and trying to promote my innocence as much as possible. I'm not going to re-hash all of the dirty details here, but let's just say his teammate was also busted for the same thing. Sounds fishy no? Several of his teammates, current (when he was with the Phonak team) and present (when he hasn't been with the team) have been found to be dopers. There appears to be a culture of doping, not just on his team mind you, but in cycling in general. Here is a link to the latest story relating the saga that has become Tyler Hamilton's life:

Hamilton Doping Story - The latest

Believe me, the man did amazing things on the bike that doping never could have accomplished, but those things have been tainted in my view, even if he did do them without assistance. He currently has a gold medal from the 2004 Olympics that he probably shouldn't have, and a few other things. I don't wish him bad, no, but I think if he did do it, he deserves everything that he isn't going to get from cycling. Such as contracts, jobs, and things like that. The sad thing is, is that if he does serve his entire suspension, there is a good chance he'll get another pro contract, come back, and still make good money and race for a couple of years after his suspension, even though he'll be 36 after his 2 years are up. He could still do it I think, and that would be too bad. Really, the only real way to completely stop doping in cycling would be to offer up a lifetime ban. Cycling and the UCI already has one of the toughest anti-doping stances in all of professional sport, but why not take it a step further. Give them the old one strike and you're out deal. Kick a few people out of the sport for the rest of their lives, and see what kind of reaction you get. I'm betting teams and individuals would most definitely take notice of that. Do it. Ban people for life. Show them that you mean business. 2 years is pretty bad, but, lifetime. Now that would be something. Screw the dopers that make the sport look bad for the rest of us.

Georgie boy is at it again giving speeches to specially selected audiences. This time, this stop, Lousiville, Kentucky. What was the topic of discussion? Iraq of course, and the point that he has to keep making that his will, his resolve will not be shaken no matter what happens over there. I'm sorry, but what an arrogant asshole this guy is. Arrogant to the point of having no idea what is going on in the war, and in the world around him. Here is a funny quote I found from this asshat from his speech today, "But he did urge that the tone of the political debate in the upcoming midterm elections be "respectful," a point he also made Tuesday before the VFW group, where he warned about "irresponsible" political debate in the midterm elections." Now, don't get me wrong here, but who is he to decide and to warn about irresponsible political debate in the midterm elections. What he wanted to say here was, any debate is OK, as long as they don't call me out. And again, who is he to mention civil campaigns, when the reason he is sitting in the front office right now is because his guy Karl Rove was the downright nastiest son of a bitch to ever pull on the political hack hat. George W. Bush ran the dirtiest, and most slime ball Presidential campaigns that this nation has ever seen. What gall for him to now pronounce, hey, everybody should be nice. If the terrorists see us having at each other, they're going to think that they've won. You can get the full story with the link below.

Bush on Iraq - Not Changing Anything

And of course we have the side show that is the confirmation process of a Supreme Court nominee this week. He's been doing well, doing the dance, answering, but not really answering questions, you know brushing off the really tough ones. Alito appears to be one smart cookie, and as I was reading on a newsgroup I frequent, the guys on there noted that for the most part, the guys in the judiciary branch of the government are probably the smartest people in government, and I do agree with them. Roberts before Aliot, and now Alito, they're both smart. Maybe too smart. Like when one Senator pinned him down about this little club that he was in, what was? The Concerned Alumni of Princeton. It appears that this little group that he was involved with tends to look down on things such as letting women into the school, and minorities. Now here is a smart guy, a very smart guy who I doubt forgets very much at all, and yet he can't remember joining a club of which he was a member in the 1980's? Is it that the man just doesn't remember, or that he DOESN'T REMEMBER, you know, mid 80's, he's definitely a yuppy lawyer running around town, and probably got big fat job right out of law school no doubt. What does a young yuppy kid in the 1980's do with some extra cash aside from buy his first BMW? Yes, he snorts coke, it's the cool thing. Now I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with that (although there is plenty wrong with that), and I'm not saying that he did do that, but it just appears weird that there are spots in this brilliant man's mind that he can't remember. Hell, old wrinkled and on the warpath Ted Kennedy gets is, "It's extraordinary to me that this nominee can remember all 67 of his dissents in great detail ... and he still is mystified about his association with a CAP organization that he used as a job reference," he said." You go Ted, you do New England proud. You've done some bad and morally reprehensible things in your day, but keep up the good fight. The man doesn't believe the Roe is settled law even after repeated attempts to bring it down (39 I believe at last count), but then in the next sentence says that he firmly believes in precedent and that they should be upheld. He has more waffles than bucking leggy if you ask me. I would love to see the deems bring down a filibuster on his ass during this year of mid-term elections. Flex what little muscle that we have left, and then burn them in November when their scandals come home to roost (Delay, Abramoff, Scooter, and hopefully a Presidential impeachment hearing). I hope that the republicans liked their 10 years in power in Congress, because that shit will be coming to an end in about 10 months I hope and pray.

Let's look at the club that Alito was a part of shall we. From one of my favorite sites, Wikipedia we have the following:

The Concerned Alumni of Princeton (CAP) was a group of politically conservative former Princeton University students that existed between 1972 and 1986. Its initial purpose was to protest Princeton's position prohibiting recruitment by the ROTC after the ROTC building had been burnt down by anti-war radicals. CAP also opposed affirmative action designed to increase minority attendance at the Ivy League institution. CAP also exhibited strong support for Princeton's eating clubs.
The existence of the organization attracted wide notice during the nomination of former CAP member Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court of the United States, as Alito included his membership in the organization on a job application to work in the Reagan administration in 1985[1]. Former Senator Bill Bradley, a Democrat, was a member until 1973, when he resigned because of the tone of the organization's magazine, Prospect. Republican Senator Bill Frist, at the time a recent Princeton alumnus, contributed to a report that labeled the organization as far-right and extremist.

CAP Alito's Facist Friends

Just him being a member of this group at one point in time, not so long ago, when he was looking for a job in government brings up an entire host of questions doesn't it? Such as the following that I can think of off the top of my head:

1.) Will he be fair to women when making rulings?
2.) Will he be fair to minorities when making rulings?

Just those 2 items should make people think. He wanted to exclude these 2 groups of people from his alma mater, and yet, he's supposed to sit down with 8 other associate justices and decide cases that will include both of those groups. I think there is a very good chance that at one time, he was a vile and rampant bigot, I'm not saying that it's not possible that he's changed, but at one point in time, he held these views, at a time long past the time he should have had these views. What other views is he holding onto that we don't know about yet? This is a damn lifetime appointment, and we need to be sure that this is the right guy. That he can judge and rule fairly for the life of his appointment. Either that, or we're going to have to pull the filibuster lever. I'd hate to have the democrats in the Senate do that, but if a vast majority of the democractic senators decide that this is what they need to do (good chance getting them to decide), then they need to throw the switch, and send the bum back to his lower court never to be heard from again. This guy loves the executive branch, sees how they can have expansive powers, break laws that Congress has passed, and so on. I think he's a scary candidate. His record shows clearly that he's pro big business, and doesn't have much use for the little man, which makes sense, him being a big Princeton man and all. Why would he have use for the "little" man, except maybe for someone to cut his grass and clean his yard, as I'm sure that is how he looks at it. He also, doesn't appear to have much use for the rights of women in this country, especially when it comes to abortion. I do believe if confirmed, he will do everything that he possibly could to take down Roe v. Wade, and to make it illegal again. Which as we all know doesn't actually decrease the amount of abortions performed, but then makes them increasingly dangerous, well, not for the rich folks who can fly their teenage daughters to Canada, and have the Canadian people pay for them, but once again for the cut and rank on the ground in the US, they'll be toughing it out in back alleys if this comes to pass. Once again, it would be a sad day. Of course at the end of the day, unless something super revelatory gets trotted out, this newest Bush crony appointee is going to get his seat on the court, and then we can really start to watch our civil liberties and rights start to get flushed down the toilet.

07 January 2006

The meat parade...

Look, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse, but if you haven’t do the following. Don’t eat for about 3 days. Find a local Brazilian steakhouse. Go there on the night of the 3rd day of fasting, and wear some loose clothing. Here is the concept, and as far as I can tell, it’s brilliant. They start you off with a kick ass salad bar, and then from there you have gauchos walking around with spits of meat giving you whatever they are serving, and however much of it you want. It’s gluttony at its best honestly. The day I got back from Maine post Christmas feasting, we went there to celebrate my friend Chad’s birthday, which was actually on the 3rd, but hey, who’s counting really? It was a few days ahead of time that we went there, but damn, just damn. I had been warned about this place by The Chad and The Alex beforehand, as they had attended this particular venue before. As I mentioned, it was gluttony, but damn fine gluttony. Some of the meat courses we had included lamb, pork tenderloin wrapped up in parmesan and black pepper, bacon wrapped filet, prime rib, ribs, top sirloin, sausages, and a bunch of other stuff was in there as well. I have thus re-named this place The Meat Parade, because that’s what it is. A parade of meat all so tasty and delicious, it’s hard to stop eating. I don’t think my stomach has gone down since that day, but then again, it’s kind of large these days anyway, but I digress, this didn’t help it much. The price wasn’t that bad either. For 2 of us, with a tip added into the bill, we rang up at around $85. Or maybe it was $87, but whatever, it was kick ass, and a shit ton of food for that amount of money. Hell, I’ve paid $100 for a dinner for 2 before, and it was horrible. Oh, and that included a few bottles of wine and some other drinks as well, so overall, once again, not so bad, not so bad at all. If you’re ever driving through Greensboro, NC, look up Leblon, Brazilian Steakhouse, you won’t be sorry. That’s my little restaurant review for today. You’ll leave full, you’ll leave happy, and oh yeah, you’ll be back. That should be their mantra maybe. Or their advertising slogan. I wonder if I can copyright that shit?

I know that I write about this stuff a lot, but work, damn work. It’s been a hell hole again, but, I think, and I stress the “I think” part, that it’s going to slow down here for me in the next few weeks. The program that I have been slaving over for 60+ hours per week sometimes (and I’m one of the folks who is possibly working the least at times – there are people working on this program who have been putting in 80+ hour weeks lately), has been approved for production by the customer. Yes, Ford approved something for us. Which is a freaking miracle, I guaran-damn-tee you, especially in this case. The big payoff though was that the customer, that being Ford, was especially happy with what we’ve done with this program, and the grunt work that the entire team has done. Sure, the program, and the work has frustrated me, and annoyed me to no end, but, I am extremely proud of a lot of the people that worked on this thing with me, beside me, and late into some nights, and early in the mornings. I would like to do something for them, especially the folks on the floor, and I might try to do something, don’t know what for sure, but something. They deserve it, and the customer made a special trip out to the floor to shake all of their hands and to say thanks, that was pretty nice, and I know that it meant a lot to the people that have been killing themselves on this thing. The bad part though. There is another program behind the one we just finished up (one that I’m not involved with for the most part, but I know I’ll get pulled into it because I have the “knowledge” now) that is even worse off than the one that we just finished, which means… The people that just finished off this one program get approximately 0 days off, and they’ll be back putting the nose into the floor again next week. As I said, that program, not mine, but the guy that does have it, well, sometimes he’s a little slow doing things. He does a good job, but there are a lot of times that he is not so good at multi-tasking, and what he has ahead of him is going to require a lot of that, and since I have already been through it, I’ll get the nod from the boss to jump in and help I’m afraid, but I will not be staying there late into the night. I’ll help, but when the little hand on the clock points to the “4”, and the big hand is on the “12” I’ll be sneaking out the side door with the rest of the shlubs. I need a damn new job. I never did look for new ones when I was home for Christmas. Yeah, never got around to it. Maybe this weekend, the resume will get a polish, and get sent out again to some people. I need out of the there. It’s bad for my health. I’m out of shape, haven’t had time to get back into shape, and well, it’s making me feel worse. It’s bad enough that I hate it there for the most part, but my fitness has suffered greatly, and when I’m not fit, I don’t feel at my best. I’ve got to get back on it, and I will. I’ll be putting in some good work this weekend on the bike, and on the running trails of Chapel Hill as well. Yeah, I keep saying this, but alas, I’ve got to do it, just buckle down and do this shit.

I did find out that there was this position at the old workplace that is still open and it might be something that could be looked into for me, but honestly, I don’t think I want the hassle of it. It would be like being a lackey to some folks that I don’t really like to begin with, so that might be something to not look into. The reason I bring it up, is that the guy who was doing that job, and has since moved into another position within the company was getting paid, get this, $79,000 / year to do what, I have no idea. As far as I could tell his job was to run meetings and make timelines for new programs. As far as I could tell, that was what he did. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not naïve enough to believe that those 2 functions were the only things that he did, but I used to sit in the same cubicle as him, and between calling meetings, being in meetings, and being on conference calls, and writing timelines for stuff, that’s all that I ever saw him do. As I mentioned before though, there are 2 guys that he sort of worked with and in conjunction with on lots of things, and they treated him like a piece of dog shit. I know that if I were in the same position that he was, and those guys treated me like they did him, someone would most definitely get punched in the throat. I would get fired, so maybe, just maybe, it’s not even remotely a good idea to even think about that position. Also, everyone that works within that certain group is basically looked upon as dead weight (I look at them like that as well), and actually, most of them are. We did get a new plant manager this week though, on another subject. I don’t really know him, but he seems like a good guy so far, but then again, he’s only been there a couple of days. We’ll have to let him be there for a month or so before I can pass judgment. I don’t know how I could get worse than I had before. I liked our other plant manager, as a person, and someone I could debate with, but as a plant manager, let’s face it, he kind of sucked ass. You wouldn’t know, but you’re going to have to trust me on this one.

In talking about the new plant manager, it’s funny to watch the people in the office and how they’ve changed their attitude completely with this new guy. Sure, you want to make a good impression with the new boss and all, but the ass kissing going on, hell, I can detect it easily, and my ass kissing detector does not function very highly, mostly because I refuse to do anything that even appears to be ass kissing, at work at least. For example, I was sitting in a meeting today with my customers, and the rest of the leadership team from the plant in there as we were wrapping things up for the day, and the actions of my boss, I was chuckling to myself in my head. I hope he can see this, and if he is as perceptive as I think he might be, he’s is sensing this BS as well. I think my boss is honestly worried mostly because with the last plant manager, she could essentially do whatever the hell it was she wanted. I’m thinking that she won’t be disappearing at lunch for 2 hours anymore, or taking off for a half of a day to go and eat lunch with her kids at school without taking a vacation day (which she did 4 times in the 2 weeks before Christmas), and she won’t be skimping on her vacation days either. Meaning, last year, it was sometime in October before she took an “official” vacation day, but the woman had been out of the plant more than I had been in there I think by that time. And believe you me, she made it known far and wide within the office that she was “finally” taking her first vacation day of the year, and that she still had 4 weeks to burn before the end of the year, and she didn’t think that she’d have a chance to use them all before the end of the year, and so on and so forth. Which is insane really. If you took all of the half days that she used to hang out with her kids at school, entire days she took to go on field trips with her kids, entire afternoons she went to lunch with her husband, her days would have been used up 10 fold, but since nobody made her accountable, well, she just kept on doing it. For now though, she is on her best behavior, and I’m enjoying this. The old school network is dead, this new plant manager is not within the ranks of the people that have been there forever and grew up in that town, and well, I think it might be good for the plant. This, as I mentioned before, remains to be seen. I think I’ll try to make friends with him though, always nice to be good buddies with the big cheese, well, maybe not buddies, but be congenial, you know. I won’t be my usual stand-offish self is what I’m trying to say. I also told the outgoing plant manager that if he needed a new crony over there in Durham working with the big big cheeses to give me a call. Like I said, always good to have friends in high places somewhere along the line. Now if I could only get them to send me over to Europe to work for a couple of years, or something along those lines. Now, that would be sweet. I mean, we can all dream can’t we?