Thursday, October 27, 2005

List of Missteps That Led to Poll Results


Let's have a recap of this year to see what led to this month's poll results:

Tsunami in Asia - Bush stayed on vacation; then has an multi-million shindig to celebrate beating ol' Poppy.

Social Security - Bush and co. forgot that people generally aren't as self-centered as they are. Promising retirees that gutting Social Security wouldn't affect them since it'll only be for people under 49 wasn't a home run since people who relied on Social Security could see their children and grandchildren living in poverty without SS. After all, they had a somewhat less hectic life than their offsprings and with more savings too.

Terri Schiavo - Bush interrupting vacation to sign legislature that affects ONE brain-dead person. Millions in America imagine themselves to be Terri or Terri's husband and not liking the result.

Elections in Iraq - would've worked the other way, IF hundreds of soldiers didn't die in the months after, IF gas prices went down, IF a timeline had been set for withdrawal. Instead, people are starting to wonder, were purple fingers worth it?

James Guckert aka Jeff Gannon - having a ringer in the WH Briefing Room just wasn't smart. Calling out to him by name from Bush, well, that wasn't any brighter. Especially when he was found out to be the proprietor of not just one, but three man-on-man prostitute sites.

Denver Three - Kicking out three respectable citizens from a town-hall meeting (they didn't say that it was a town-hall TYPE meeting until after this episode) for fear that they might possibly *gasp* dissent just didn't appeal to American's sense of fair play. People who heard the story started questioning the right of the Administration's use of tax dollars to discriminate.

Preventing the filibuster - Again, this directly flew in the face of American's sense of fair play. Anyone who watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, understands the importance of the filibuster. It is the ONLY weapon an opposition party has in this country, and to many, it was like never allowing the other team to come up to bat. That just wasn't fair.

Abu Ghraib - First off, it was torture. And it was the supposed good guys doing it. Secondly, and I think this has much more to do with enlistment, is all of a sudden, family and friends of people in the military began to see the military institutions in a different light. As in, "What the hell are you teaching my little girl to do?"

Tom Ridge admitting that evidence for some terror alerts were flimsy at best - 'nuff said.

An amateur pilot accidentally flying into the no-fly zone in D.C. and the secret police evacuating Cheney, Laura Bush AND Nancy Reagan, but no one bothered to tell Bike Boy? - This, more than anything, made people sit up and wonder to themselves exactly how important is Bike Boy to our administration?

Bush falling from his bike and crashing into a Bobby - how many of us winced while thinking this man represented us.

Bush standing beside Tony Blair after the London Bombings and sounding like an inarticulate frat boy (which he is) and then Tony Blair sounding like a real leader. Again, how many of us winced?

Bush taking a 5 week vacation - (notice that during the tsunami he was on vacation in Jan. and Terri Schiavo in March, he was on vacation. Does this man ever work?) Given this past year, I think people began to resent his taking time off work so much, especially with our young'uns at war.

Ignoring Cindy Sheehan - Oh yes, ignore that pesky mother of a dead patriot during the slowest news cycle month of the year. Though many didn't agree with Mrs. Sheehan, they still thought to leave her out in the heat of Texas by the roadside was no way to respect someone who gave a son to the country.

Katrina - this is recent enough that it needs no recounting.

Plamegate - read Firedoglake for the background on this. Too intricate for me to tackle.

Harriet Miers

And now it looks like Wilma might do a number on this administration too.

So I really don't think his poll numbers are just a reflection on the current situation or just Katrina and Iraq. I think people are now just starting to realize, all this happened JUST this past year?


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ever Notice...

... that the yearbook pictures featured in ads of almost always are white?


A Huge Victory for the Little Guys

And no, I'm not talking about midgets or dwarfs.

I'm talking about the White House caving in to all the House Democrats and 37 House Republicans' demand that Bush's wage cut gift to his big business (Halliburton) pals be reversed. HOORAY!

So, a HUGE thank you to Rep. George Miller (D-CA) for finding the obscure passage in the congressional rules, that he could force a repeal if he had enough votes.

Speaking of Big Business, anyone surprised at this? Gee, who'd thunk? ConocoPhillips, the 3rd largest oil/gas producer in the U.S. posting 89% profits despite Katrina and Rita? I suppose that those $5/gallon can't be construed as gouging, but rather, keeping up the economy?

Friggin Mammon worshippers.


A Perspective of Resigned Idealism


Apparently, this is how my co-workers view my blogging.


Kurtz Blurtzes Again

Argh! Friggin Howie Kurtz does it again. Compares apples to oranges and then tries to tell you a lemon is an orange.

Today's column, Scandal Scorecard has a comparison between the investigation into Clinton and the Plamegate comparison. Two points I have problems with.
9) Most controversial character. Clinton: Linda Tripp. Bush: Judy Miller.

10) Vanity Fair spread. Monica posed while a prosecution witness; Valerie posed while a covert CIA operative.
I mean COME ON! Judy Miller as the most controversial character? I think that to you journalists, she was the most controversial character. To us normal Americans? It's FRIGGIN KARL ROVE! Sheesh. Like that doesn't create a controversy? To out a CIA agent in the middle of the war, by a political operative? Oh, yes, equate not revealing a source to revealing a CIA agent's identity. Make the lesser CRIME the controversy and downplay the significance of outing a CIA agent.

Let's see, a newspaper losing its reputation, or numerous agents on the run for their lives. Howie, when you pull your head out of the metaphorical journalistic ground you stuck it in, realize that ground isn't quite as hallowed as you might think it is.

SECONDLY, Valerie Plame did NOT pose for Vanity Fair while a COVERT CIA operative.

You see, Howie, when an agent gets outed, the word "covert" kinda loses its meaning. I mean, covert means secret and when Bob Novak publishes a column stating that she was a CIA agent, gee, you might possibly surmise that she's not covert any more.

But I guess that's really giving you too much credit.

Why the hell do I continue to read him? Oh yeah, to see what disinformation is being put out there for any gullibles to swallow.


Sounds of Silence


Yeah I know neither of us has posted in a while. Work got hectic for me, school got hectic for Bratworse, and also two words: new games.

Besides, the only thing I'm really observing and paying attention to, are posts about Plamegate. So I'm reading Firedoglake and Americablog religiously several times a day. But to feed this new addiction I've had to cut back on others like Talking Points Memo, The News Blog, and T-Bogg. I still check in on them daily. Just not several times a day like I used to. The readings from Firedoglake usually are long and in-depth which is what I like since Flamegate has so many players and twists and turns.

If Plamegate really does bring Fitzmas around early, there will be such a celebration aboard the Monarch of the Seas this weekend. Bratworse and I are going on a gay cruise (our first real vacation!) and we're going with my best friend and his lover. Can you imagine the festivities aboard this ship as the men who stoked up anti-gay sentiments get indicted? Whoooo-yah!

And then, to top off the trip, DISNEYLAND! Those of you who've known me for years, knows there's a very real disconnect in my head about Disney and Disneyland. Disney at times represents the evil empire to me, yet Disneyland will always be the happiest place on earth for me. Something magical happens to me there. I manage to live in the present and actually be happy. Bratworse can tell you, me and happy doesn't quite go together. Don't get me wrong. I laugh a lot. But if my brain starts to analyze, the happiness dissipates to be replaced by intellectual curiosity.

Let's put it this way. My friend RangerRobb would hit a jackpot on the slots and be giddy for hours, maybe days. Me? I'd hit a jackpot and instantly try to remember all the combinations prior, so I could recognize when the next jackpot might hit. Yah yah, I was never known for my brains.

Anyway, there might be more Sounds of Silence coming up from Cholotto. Again, Nanowrimo is kicking off November 1st. 50,000 words in a novel before November 30th. That just might hamper my writing efforts here, or it might stimulate it. Time will tell.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Outing CIA Agents

Hey, have you heard? Everyone outs CIA agents, that's why it wasn't a crime that the WH outed not just one, but hundreds of them.

I mean, there's no way we can top the WH - after all, who could out hundreds with just a whisper in the right place? "Brewster-Jennings"

Let me get this right. It's a big *gasp* no-no to out gays who actively seek to undermine other gays' rights (Mehlman or Drier, anyone?) Apparently, it's even a big *gasp* no-no to out outed gays (remember the big collective *gasp* over Mary Cheney?).

But outing CIA agents, for political payback no less, is apparently A-OK.

So make sure you out a CIA agent today. Cause EVERYONE's doing it.


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Extremism? Or Triangulation

Part of what drove people nuts about Bill Clinton was the way he triangulated. He'd take one opinion, and its polar opposite, and took what he saw was the best of both and created a third way. Apparently, what drove people nuts was, they didn't want just part of what they wanted, they wanted all of it.

The other day, I received a call - a poll asking me a series of questions about a proposition that might be on our November ballot. (You know, the special election that no one wants, that everyone thinks is useless since we're having ANOTHER election next June... the one that we'd prefer if the Govenator would pay for himself out of one of his 25 million dollar paychecks from his real job?)

Okay. Get this. They want an opinion about a proposition that would add $3.50 tax (yes, please pick yourself off the floor now) to a pack of cigarettes. And what would this tax pay for? It pays for emergency rooms services.

Stop laughing. No, I mean it. Stop laughing.

My first reaction? "Now why would you impose a tax on a dwindling supply of income?"

Of course, I had to explain. "Look, more and more people quit cigarettes every day. I should know. I quit six months ago. So, again, I repeat. Why would you try and fund services with a dwindling source?"

I went through the questions with this guy, often getting really mad because I was forced into having an opinion about something I thought ludicrous. (Okay, I know I wasn't forced because it was up to me whether to take this poll, but I just had to know the extent of the absurdity I was facing)

I want a third option on our ballots. Instead of just voting for or against, I want there to be an option of "throw it back." You know, you throw fish that are too small back into the water so that they'd grow bigger and you'd have a better (supposedly) meal.

I want to throw back these propositions and say, okay, you have a point. We need to better fund our emergency rooms. Now come up with a better plan to implement it.

We need a "Come back with a better idea around this central theme: __________________" vote.

Because, you know, triangulation really works. Why the hell should we be dictated by two extreme positions? Sheesh! It's like saying okay, I'll buy this house at outrageous sums, or I'll buy the other house at outrag.... oh wait, people do that here in the Bay Area don't they? No wonder they think they can get away with it.


Trashing the System or Praising It?

Okay, my last post may seem like I'm totally trashing the American system of education but I'm not. Two cases in point.

The first is, my family was a perfect example of how one does thrive here. My sister hated the Singaporean system. There, at most, she'd score between 73-90 on tests. This isn't to say that my sister isn't smart. Au contraire. My sister just didn't thrive on that particular system of memorization, and hard objective tests.

When she came to Los Angeles and enrolled in junior high school here, what a tremendous change took over my sister. All of a sudden, she was engaged, couldn't wait to go to school, became valedictorian.

This from the girl who got so despondent over her grades that she gave up and ended up with failing grades instead of passable ones. I've a feeling that my mother tried that "it's not good enough" shit with my sister and it backfired big-time. It's small wonder my mother believes in miracles.

One of the differences was the co-ed system here. I'm not sure if that made a difference to my sister. Another was perhaps the curve. To be honest, I was rather young and too enamored of my freedom here in America to notice what was going on with my sister.

However, I will say this. I remember a sullen, angry girl in Singapore. Here, she laughed.

Since my mother left her here in that state (it was a mixed blessing; you can ask any of us) there has always been a part of me that wondered, did her happiness arrive because here, she could escape my mother's notice? There were 3 adults, 4 children and one on the way in a three bedroom house. Don't ask me how we did it, we did. Trust me, another part of me wondered if she was happier because pesky me wasn't by her side.

At any rate, she thrived here and has a master's if not three, plus umpteen certs.

Case #2 is what I touched on lightly in the previous post. That America teaches youngsters to think for themselves as well as teach creativity. I am a writer today because of America. I have correct spelling because of Singapore and pretty decent grammar because of Singapore (those my American-born friends and sister might disagree about the decency of my grammar - which reminds me of yet another point I want to touch on).

America gives people the choice in how they should learn. I honestly think that if you can determine how certain children learn, and then send them to a school meant to teach that way, you'd have more people learning.

Oh man, I'm realizing I have a TON to say about the educational system. It's been a hobby of mine to observe it just because of the benefit of dual systems at work within me.

I'm a visual mnemonics type of learner. Give me a weird mnemonic and I'll have it in my brain forever. "My Very Elegant Mother Just Sat Upon Nine Porcupines." That is how I learned how to remember the order of the planets in the solar sytem. "Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto." See? I learned that in 3rd grade I think.

Anyway, time to pick Bratworse up from the BART station. I'd better not get too lost in writing, otherwise I'll forget. She's already fearing it since I picked up the phone and without saying hello, I said, "I'm writing a ton!"

So far, all these thoughts running through my head isn't helping me get any closer to my novel. Oh well.


The Curve


When I came to America for high school, I encountered the term "The Curve" for the first time. As in, getting yelled at by others in my class that I was ruining the curve for them. When I finally figured out that American teachers graded on a theory called the "Bell Curve", and that only a few could get A's, more than a few could get B's, the majority C's, some D's and a few F's - I was at first agreeable.

Then came the shocker to me. This so called curve moved! And it moved due to the people who were able to get A's.

Okay. I came from Singapore. The educational system there was a testament to the powers of memorization, but deductive reasoning and being able to write essays weren't subjects that they concentrated on. And the grading system there went like this.

Everyone was scored on a top score of 100. 92-100 meant an A; 83-91 = B; 74-82 was a C; 65-73 was a D and anything under 65 was an automatic F. I was consistently in the top 5 of my class in Singapore, which meant, nothing less than 92 was satisfactory to me on any given test.

So, when I came to America and was yelled at by my classmates that I was "bringing up the curve" did I listen? Nope. My opinion back then and now still, is why should I dumb myself down just cause you're lazy?

I remember my best friend in elementary school in Singapore. Yee Mei Kew. Her father was a trishaw driver. Every day, he'd bring her to school in a trishaw. I could see my friend's embarassment as she climbed out of the cab, but what she didn't know was, everyone of us were secretly wishing we were coming to school in that cool trishaw. Mei Kew was the smartest of our class, and the quietest. Whichmade her the safest in my eyes and hence our friendship. I wonder if she remembers me.

Anyway, Mei Kew helped out at home after school and yet always got her homework done, and in that pretty small handwriting of hers. The rest of us? Well, we got to goof off after we got our homework done.

I guess the whole point of this post is, there are standards, and then there's looking good. Looking good is, if your class falls into the bell curve quite nicely. Oh, this by the way, appears not to be the standard anymore. Apparently, the bell curve is only half a curve. Teachers aren't allowed to fail anyone anymore.

I must admit, I never felt dumb in my life (well, except in that college physics class but that's another story) so maybe I shouldn't offer my opinion. The only times I got C's or D's was when I ACTIVELY sought them.


Must Keep Repeating...

My nephew is a grown man. My sister is a grown woman. They are responsible for their lives. They can blame me for all their woes, but I don't have to feel responsible.

Apparently, my nephew is living on the street. My family's reaction? Oh, the horror, the shame. My reaction? Good. It's about time he learned the value of the dollar and that he can't keep lying and thieving his way through life.

Yes, I believe my nephew is a thief and a liar. Until his dependence on crystal meth is nil, he will continue to be, in my eyes, a thief and a liar.

I have not known ANYONE who had a dependency on crystal meth, to be NOT a thief or a liar. If your car gets broken into three times in a neighborhood, when you go there, do you lock the doors? Same analogy.

My sister is apparently thinking of taking my nephew back into her house. Every fibre of my being is screaming, No! Don't do it! But, I have to keep repeating to myself, they are adults. If my sister wants to risk her marriage for her son, so be it. If my nephew is bound and determined to ruin my sister's marriage, so be it.

My sister doesn't realize that since the 6th grade, my nephew has had one goal, and one goal only. To hurt my sister as much as his feelings got hurt when all of a sudden, her world revolved around someone other than him.

What my nephew doesn't realize is, that he has hurt his mother many more times and in many different ways than he has ever gotten hurt. He got hurt badly but he is the one who keeps picking at the scab and making it bleed over and over again.

What he's done to my sister is, create a thousand cuts, then pour lemon juice over it.

I don't like my nephew. I do like my sister. I want to bang my nephew's head against the wall and say, you asshole! over and over again until he realizes what he's doing to the family, to himself.

I want to turn my sister's head and say, just apologize to the kid for not realizing he was that co-dependent.

I want to say to my nephew, it wouldn't have mattered if it had been my brother-in-law or anyone else, ANYTHING would've been too much for him, since he was such a selfish kid.

The only thing I fear, is the fallout for the two young'uns. I've been plagued by nightmares the last two nights cause of them. They are the innocents caught up in a game of payback. My nephew, tho he'd like to think of himself as an innocent, isn't innocent, nor a child anymore. I wish he'd figure that one out.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Question to Ask Bush If Ever We Meet

*makes a mental note to self*

Remember to ask how Iraqis magically grew the number of self-sufficient battalians from 1 to over 100 in the span of one night - Was it a miracle from the FSM?


Dell, An Excercise in Frustration

Well, since no one at Dell will respond to me, I guess I have to resort to this. Dell's customer service SUCKS! Here is what happened. My boss ordered two computers from Dell. We wanted extra RAM in it, so it was sent to be built.

Apparently, that's where the problems started. When I went to go check the status, there was NO status after it had been invoiced. At least that's what the order status page on Dell's website said. So, I call Dell, seeing that it was PAST the due date.

First off the ONLY way to get a live person at Dell is to pretend you're buying a new system. I left messages for the person who sold my boss the two systems on Monday. It is now Wednesday and he still hasn't returned my call. His name is xxxx XXXXXXX at ext. xxxxx. So, if this guy changes jobs, and you're looking up his resume? stop by here. Cause this man doesn't return calls, at least he didn't return mine. So if you're willing to field angry calls from irate customers...

[Please note, the name has been removed to protect someone who apparently went to a sibling's funeral - as noted below, that sort of family emergency does tend to drive things like work out of one's head. But apparently, Dell doesn't back up people who go away on family emergencies]

So I pretend to be a salesperson. I get Cynthia, who is a nice person and genuinely tried to help out, and keep a sense of humor. I give high marks for her.

Cynthia works for Amy Haynes, at ext. 7367383. Amy, I never talked to. I left her two messages yesterday to find out the current status of the order since the website hasn't any new information even though it says it has current information. Hmm, she doesn't return calls either.

Cynthia says that Amy approved changing our shipping to next day air instead of ground, and that Amy also approved removing the freight charges. That is fantastic. HOWEVER! I emphasized to Cynthia over and over again, that it's not the cost, we just want the damn computers! We have a new hire that's moving from cubicle to cubicle cause we don't have a working computer for him. WE have an IT guy waiting in the wings on HOLD cause Dell can't get its head out of its ass to tell me when I can expect the shipment.

So again, if you want to hire Amy Haynes of Dell Computers, be careful. I think she lies or at least in this case, she appears to have told less than the truth (hey it works for the WH, why not Dell, one of their biggest $ supporters?)... why? Cause she told Cynthia to tell me that on ONE of their systems, they show that the computers were actually built, and were just waiting instructions on where to be shipped to.

So today, what response did I get back from Dell's oh so wonderful customer service email department?
Kindly note that your order # 580828343 is currently backordered and should ship on or before 10/10/05. Please note that the shipping date given for your order are estimates only and if possible we will ship it sooner than the estimated shipping date given for your order.

Dell Computers, YOU SUCK! Thank you oh so much for making our lives harder when it could take your customer service department an HOUR to ensure that we got our computers in a timely manner. But no, you have to be the corporate monkey don't you. No wonder Michael Dell votes Republican and gives to them. He obviously believes in incompetence as much as the administration does.

Addendum: It is now October 11th. Our Dell computers have finally arrived. Our salesperson, Mr. xxxx XXXXXXX has now left two messages with me yesterday and one today. One of my co-workers spoke to Mr. xxxx XXXXXXX yesterday and was assured that our computers would be shipped out yesterday. I could've told my co-worker and Mr. xxxx XXXXXXX that. After all, that IS what the automated response said, that it was due to ship out on or before October 10th.

Mr. xxxx XXXXXXX has also let me know that he was in the office only one day last week, due to a family emergency. I am sorry to hear about the emergency. It would've been nice if Mr. xxxx XXXXXXX has the capability to hand off his work to someone else, but apparently, Dell doesn't believe in backing people up, only backing computers up. I am still unsure as to why Mr. xxxx XXXXXXX couldn't have someone check his messages (which my boss does whenever he's away for a few days, as do I when I'm away for even an afternoon). Maybe the emergency drove all thoughts from his head. If so, I am truly sorry. The type of emergency that does that to a person is tragic indeed.

But that doesn't answer the question of why Mr. xxxx XXXXXXX didn't have back up.

Dell? Do you have the answer?


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Not Much to Post About But This...

Okay, most of you have heard/read Bill Bennett's comment
But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could—if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.

Some of you are saying this isn't racist.

Therefore, here goes (and remember, this isn't sexist).

You could abort every male baby in this and EVERY country, and your rape rate would go down, your mass murder rate would go down, your violent crime rate would go down, your white collar crimes would go down, to name just a few. That would be an impossible (maybe not so much since we do have sperm banks), ridiculous (only in a non-logical emotional kind of way), and morally... hmm, wait, why would this be morally reprehensible?

Okay, if you're a male, did your balls just crawl up into their sacs? Gee, why? It couldn't have been that this WAS a totally sexist and presumptive comment.

Just cause you're a male, you're going to rape, or kill, or commit violent and/or white collar crimes? That WAS the assumption of this statement.

Now go back and read Bill Bennett's comments again and tell me it wasn't racist. Go on. Then go friggin abort yourself.


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