Monday, October 31, 2005

But We Haven't Got To The Walmarts Yet

OK, here's a riddle for you. How many hours of electricity do the residents of Baghdad get each day now that the Americans have been in charge for three years? Give up? Less than eight hours. "Saddam may have tortured us, but at least he could do it with the lights on," said one Iraqi.

"We could work on their electrical problem if we could just stop attacks in the green zone," said Major Francis Piccoli, spokesman for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. "I mean it's been three years so we've pretty much given up on controlling Baghdad, but you'd think the insurgents would let us have our own little zone."

Calm down Major. Turns out it doesn't matter because there isn't any more dough. As the money runs out on the $30 billion American financed reconstruction of Iraq the officials cannot say how many planned projects they will complete, and there is no clear source for hundreds of millions of dollars a year needed to operate the projects that have been finished.

Jim Mitchell, a spokesman for the inspector general's office said 1,887 of 2,784 rebuilding projects that have been completed. "Now, to be fair, we're counting electrical substations that were built but never connected to the electrical grid. Building is building," he added.

The security costs have "proportionately reduced funds for other reconstruction projects," the report said, leading to countless initiatives being scaled down or canceled. Rick Barton, a senior adviser and co-director of the post-conflict reconstruction project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington explained: "It dawned on us, after about 1800 American causalities that we weren't going to be welcomed as liberators and that sort of threw a monkey wrench into plan A."

"I think that the report confirms what we have been saying for some time - that we continue to make progress in rebuilding Iraq and the insurgents continue to make progress in blowing it up," said Lieutenant. Colonel Barry Venable, a Pentagon spokesman.

Regarding the shortcomings detailed by the report on the ability of United States forces to measure progress, Colonel Venable said, "There's a war going on, so we're not getting too far outside the green zone. If you want to go look at the progress on building a parking lot, be my guest."

Five electrical substations examined by the inspector general's office were built in southern Iraq at a cost of $28.8 million. "The completed substations were found to be well planned, well designed and well constructed," the report says. Unfortunately, the system for distributing power from the completed substations was largely nonexistent. "Picky Picky Picky," said a pentagon spokesperson who asked to remain anonymous.

The inspector general found that $7.3 million was mismanaged and $1.3 million entirely wasted through duplicate work and buying overpriced equipment in the construction of a police academy in the city of Babylon, south of Baghdad. "Yeah. Funny story there," said Colonel Venable. "Turns out, after we got the academy built, no cadets signed up. Must be something about the 4,208 death and injury claims from folks working on our projects. Place is a Laundromat now."

$1.8 million was paid in advance for work that was not performed during the rehabilitation of a library in the city of Karbala. "Oh, yeah," said Venable. "That was the Halliburton project."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday Hound Blogging

Well, there is certainly no shortage of stupidity in the greyhound racing industry, but this sets a new standard.

A former employee of the Shoreline Star dog track faces cruelty to animal charges after tying a dog's tail to the starting chute before a race. The tail was torn off when the greyhound began running.

"I guess I was just stupid," worker Shaun Smith told a reporter.

You guess?

"Look, do you know how hard it is to get people to work for what we pay?" said a track spokesperson. "He could read the application and he didn't have a criminal record. He seemed like the perfect employee."

The dog's owner, Paul Guimond, told police that Silent Stalker, who had nine wins in his career, will likely never race again. "This really ticks me off," Guimond said. "I mean when they can't make me money any more sure, do what you want to them, but this dog was still a profit center."

Smith also faces charges of rigging a race. He told police he does not gamble and does not understand how to bet on the dogs. "You mean people bet money on this?" He said. "And you guys think I'm stupid." are stupid Shaun. No more thinking is necessary on that topic. Greyhounds reach speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour in a race, and because of their athletic ability they get those speeds in three bounds. So you see, Shaun, that's what's called explosive speed. So calling what you did stupid is an insult to stupid people all over the world.

Oh, enough about Shaun, let's meet this week's hound and his tail. Say hello to Minitonka:

Tonka is very lively and friendly. He is very curious and energetic. He likes to play and run in the yard. He is very affectionate and will approach for pets. He gets excited and barks when he sees the leash for a walk. Tonka loves to fetch and run. He is learning more commands. He is a very friendly boy. He loves to have his ears rubbed really hard and will give a playful moan. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Welcome To Walmart. Can You Spare A Buck? I Got Kids At Home

Ok, Harriet has gone back to Ozzie and that means no one is watching the Beaver so it's a perfect time to visit our Walmart friends again (Motto: You'll save 7 cents on your toothpaste, even if we have to starve all of our employees to do it). Let's see what the boys of Mordor are up to.

On Monday, Chief Executive H. Lee Scott Jr. pledged to bring inadequate health insurance almost within reach of his 1.3 million U.S. employees. On Wednesday, a leaked company memo revealed "bold steps" to reign in Wal-Mart's minimal employee benefit costs.

The Ironicus appears to be Maximus. Can you explain Mr. Mart?

Sarah Clark, a company spokesperson said that the memo was not a final list of recommendations "We've still got cuts we can to study," she said.

"How do you continue to provide crappy benefits to employees and remain competitive?" Clark said. "Well, the answer is you don't, but since the law won't let us stop paying wages, we're going after benefits again. Look, we do this in Thailand all the time."

Securities analyst Mark Husson said, "It's like a religious cult — it has a low-cost gospel to bring to the country and sees it as a divine duty to do that and nothing is going to get in its way."

Later, in a news conference CEO Scott said, "And verily I say unto you brothers and sisters, that THE LORD has come to me and he has said '$1.79 for laundry detergent. I am well pleased my son.'"

Vice President of Benefits Susan Chambers wrote a 27-page benefit memo in which she referred to the company's lousy public reputation. "Well, it only took one page to talk about the benefits," she told reporters. "The rest was taken up with finding ways to explain why children of our employees go hungry when the rent is due. We're going with blame the victim."

Chambers recommended "reframing" the Medicaid issue as everyone's problem. "Look there are a ton of poor people in this country and they're all sick. Is that our fault?" She also posits that the company would have "political cover" for requiring employees buy into health savings shell games if other retailers would do the same. "Somebody needs to tell those idiots at Costco to wake up and smell the coffee. And we're not talking about that fair trade slop either."

The memo concludes that if all the recommendations are adopted, the company's healthcare enrollment will drop because of the shift to more illegal workers and that a "significant number" of employees and their children will die off before becoming eligible for health care. "We're also thinking about offering to take over Medicaid," Scott said. "We'd call it Marticaid, and no one would get any benefits. That way our employees wouldn't stand out so much."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Don't Make Me Get The Pope Down Here

First they came for the communists and we did not speak out because we were really more in the socialist vein. Then they came for the liberals and we did not speak out because there was this great concert by Country Joe and the Fish and we were like so wasted man. Then they came for the bloggers and there was no one left to speak for us.

Effective immediately, students at Pope John XIII Regional High School were told to dismantle their accounts or similar sites with personal profiles and blogs. Defy the order and face suspension, students were told. "Respect mah authorita," said Reverend Kieran McHugh, principal of the high school.

The story we're sticking to about the ban is that it's to protect students from sexual predators explained McHugh. When asked if that approach was necessary since most of the priests already knew who the kids were, McHugh said he wasn't talking about local predators. "We don't need perverts coming here from all over the country."

Students, who asked to remain anonymous because free speech has been designated a mortal sin, said the majority of the student body protested the new rule. They tried to argue that they are American citizens. "We were told if we going to grow up to be good Catholics we shouldn't be exposed to life in the 21st century," said one student.

"They told me they were afraid I'd find out that women can do more than have babies and cook for their husbands," added a female student. "I was told since the internet isn't in the Bible, it must be evil," added another.

While Pope John's school handbook does not specifically forbid students from creating personal profiles on Web sites, it does prohibit students from thinking for themselves or critiquing the decisions of the school administration. When asked if that was the real reason behind the blog ban, McHugh said, " Of course not. Everyone loves it here. Why would you say that? What have you heard? Anyway that teacher isn't here anymore."

One student, who identified himself as a senior who was expelled, wrote that "pope john kicks you out once you think freely."

"As well we should," countered McHugh. "Look, this is a Catholic school. Parents send their children here to be, yes imbued with a deep sense of what it means to be a Catholic by some of the best teachers in the state."

When asked how he could claim Pope John had the best teachers when the salaries Catholic school teachers are paid fall far below that offered by local public schools, McHugh said, "You probably got that off a blog didn't you? See why we're banning them?"

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I Saw A Brown Person In Maryland Once

OK, so everyone's got their knickers in a twist over the nomination of Harriet Miers to be White House Court, wait a minute...Justice. Supreme Court Justice. Yeah. Well, as we wrote yesterday, so what? Let's talk about someone who makes Ms. Miers look like Oliver Wendell Holmes, who makes Michael Brown look like Rudy Giuliani, who makes Don Rumsfeld look like George Patton, who makes Condoleeza Rice look like Martha Stewart...oops, forget that last one.

President Bush has nominated Ellen Sauerbrey, who twice lost bids for Maryland governor, to be assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration. "I think she is uniquely qualified for the job," Bush said. "After all, Maryland is a state with a small population, almost no refugees and hardly ever any migration. Works for me."

"I don't think we see the requisite experience that we've seen in other nominees" for the job, said Senator Barbara Boxer. "And by 'requisite experience' I mean the ability to find their way home without looking at the address on their driver's license. Heck even Brown could do that. Well, if you gave him a couple of do overs."

In the wake of ousted disaster relief chief Michael Brown, Democrats especially have complained that some of Bush's nominations carry the whiff of cronyism because they lack experience in the jobs for which they are nominated. "Whiff?" said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "Is that all? Well, nobody ever said the Democrats had a good sense of smell. After all, Bush has been pulling these nominations out of his a...well, let's just say it's a very select pool of candidates and leave it at that."

Despite the criticism, Sauerbrey is expected to win Senate confirmation. When asked why she thought Sauerbrey would win confirmation even if she didn't appear to have the qualifications, Senator Boxer replied that if qualifications were the primary criteria for government work, "We'd all be saying 'Hello, welcome to Walmart.'"

Monday, October 24, 2005

On The Bright Side, She Writes A Mean Greeting Card

Admittedly, we haven't been all that interested in the Harriet Miers saga. After all, what's one more inexperienced, unqualified, incompetent in an administration if inexperienced, unqualified, incompetents? What's caught our attention though is that members of the president's own party seem to have come out of their comas realized they are about to be surrounded by idiots. Rapidly approaching off year elections will do that to a body. (Campaign slogan: He's not our president either)

Harriet Miers currently lacks the votes for confirmation, despite an intense White House campaign to sell her, lawmakers from both parties acknowledged. "Well, the woman is named 'Harriet,'" said Arlen Specter, Republican chairman of the judiciary committee. "What I want to know is, where's Ozzie? Ha Ha. Get it? Ozzie and Harriet? Those were the days."

"I think, if you were to hold the vote today, she would not get a majority, either in the Judiciary Committee or on the floor," said Democratic Senator Charles Schumer. "I think you have concern on these three areas -- intelligence, judicial philosophy and she dresses funny," Schumer pointed out.

Asked how he would rate the nominee's chances, Specter remained circumspect, saying somewhat cautiously, "She can be confirmed." Later he added, "And pigs can fly." Conservatives are concerned that with the choice of Miers, Bush might be screwing the pooch again, just like in Iraq. "This guy could screw up a hanging with a new rope," said one Senate staffer who did not want to give his name. "Does he even dress himself?"

They believe the nominee, who has never worked as a judge, has no persuasive track record on any of these issues could not be counted on to lend unwavering support to conservative causes. "Look. All we know for sure is that she's good at sucking up. That's not enough for me," said one spokesperson for a prominent conservative think tank.

Moreover conservatives argue, the opportunity to install another 19th century throwback on the bench should be seized now that James Dobson is firmly in control of the Senate, a situation that could change as early as next year, after congressional elections. "With DeLay, Frist, Plame, and a dead end war, we are going to get our butts kicked. Especially since Rove will probably be in jail and not much help," said a White House aide on condition of anonymity.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Friday Hound Blogging

We've written before (here, here, here and here. Oh heck, here and here too. Yeah, and let's not get the picture) about the great lengths the overlords go to in the care of the dogs.

So, having established the high degree of professionalism and deep sense of responsibility the overlords have, you can imagine how much of a shock wave crashed through the industry when this happened.

A faulty ceiling fan sparked a fire that killed 73 greyhound racing dogs at a private kennel. The dogs, which had multiple owners, were kept in cages inside a 60-by-14-foot trailer.

We admit to no love for mathematics (nor much skill in it either), but even our meager calculating ability determines that 73 dogs in a 60-by-14 foot trailer means each dog lived in an area a little less than three feet on a side. This is for a dog that could weigh upwards of seventy pounds and stand about three feet tall at the head.

"I wasn't real happy with that setup," Brooke County Sheriff Richard Ferguson said of the trailer. "That guy gives idiots a bad name, but there is nothing I can find in the law that says being useless is illegal."

"We had inspected the facility and found it to be acceptable," said a racing industry representative. "Of course 'acceptable' for us means the owner is current in his dues."

A woman who answered the phone at the home of the kennel's owner, (Eds. Note: we are not making this name up) Edward Zeroski, refused to comment or to take a message. "I ain't seen that pile a trash since he took off with the rent money," the woman said.

Zeroski had another deadly incident at a kennel he owned in 2000, the Sheriff said. An air conditioner malfunctioned, and 50 dogs died. "Yeah. I remember that," Sheriff Ferguson said. "Seems like every time the mortgage is due, or taxes or something like that there's a fire or something. You know, come to think of it, that's pretty weird."

Tell us about it. So the guy's name is Zero ski and he ends up as a dog racer. The Ironicus is Maximus, right Vinny?

Vinny is a very affectionate young dog. He is what is known as a "Velcro" dog which means he likes to be where you are at all times. He approaches everyone for friendly contact and attention. He is a young dog so has lots of energy therefore should live with a more active family. He is not a typical couch potato right now but isn't over exuberant either. He knows some manners already but is still in the learning stages of how to be a housedog. Rather then being shy around new things Vinny seems to approach with curiosity. He likes to investigate things he does not know or understand. He has an easygoing personality but is always ready to go somewhere when you are. Vinny has a long Roman nose and one ear that flops forward while the other one flops back. He would make a wonderful companion for an active family. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

Sure his polls are in the toilet, his staff is about to be indicted and his war is going nowhere, but this president rocks!

Before getting on stage before his fans, U2 frontman Bono bent President Bush's ear about the world's poor. The rock star and the president had lunch in the private dining room off the Oval Office. "They had a very interesting discussion about world hunger during their lunch of Shrimp Hushpuppies followed by a Classic Caesar Salad and topped off with Fried Green Tomato BLT on seven grain bread, served with applewood smoked bacon and basil aïoli," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

Bono told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview before they dined that he had no fear of meeting Bush. "Sure, I heard the stories about Abu Grahib and Rumsfeld's 'hobbies' but It would look funny if I didn't show up for the concert tonight."

Bono told the magazine, "I'm representing the poorest and the most vulnerable people. On a spiritual level, I have that with me. I'm throwing a punch, and the fist belongs to people who can't be in the room, whose rage, whose anger, whose hurt I represent. I'll be doing that right after the Authentic Key Lime Pie with whipped cream, fresh fruit and mango-strawberry coulis is served."

"Bono will not be allowed to punch the president," said a Secret Service spokesperson. "Only Laura can punch the president. Well, sometimes we let Cheney slap him upside the head, but that's just to remind him who's boss."

Over an hour and 40 minute meeting, Bono and Bush discussed debt relief, AIDS, malaria and world trade, said McClellan. "The president also wanted to know if Bono saw Cher that much anymore. He's always been a big Cher fan."

Bono said he is "capable of having a row" if he doesn't get what he wants. "I'm a rock star after all." He once criticized Bush for not getting the Millennium Challenge money out quick enough and was rebuked for it. "One senator threw a Bible at me in a meeting. 'How dare you disrespect the president of the United States! He's like a god to us.'" Bono said.

When asked to name the Senator who threw the Bible Bono declined, saying the person was having enough trouble with his reelection campaign in Pennsylvania anyway.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

We're Winning, Except When We're Not

We're not sure why the Congress keeps calling Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice back from her shoe shopping trips to talk about Iraq. After all, it's not like we've turned the corner there, or the insurgency is in its last throes or anything. Let the poor lady shop you guys.

The U.S. Secretary of State faces tough questions by lawmakers over U.S. policy in Iraq. Despite violence that shows no sign of abating, State Department officials said Rice was expected to stress the Bush administration's view that progress is being made, citing last weekend's relatively peaceful referendum as an example.

"Well, sure the vote didn't really mean anything," said State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack, "but at this stage we'll take whatever we can get. Did you know there are less homeless pets in Iraq now?"

The Bush administration has come under strong criticism for not doing enough to stabilize Iraq and of botching up rebuilding programs aimed at winning over angry Iraqis. "What angry Iraqis?" Asked McCormack. "Oh, you mean the ones blowing up our troops. They're all outside agitators."

Rice is also likely to answer questions on Syria, which Washington accuses of fanning the insurgency in Iraq by having a common border and also being an Arab nation. "The hearing is focused on Iraq. If there are any questions related to Syria, she'll be ready to answer them," McCormack told reporters. "After all, most of her answers boil down to 9/11! 9/11!"

In a week long visit to Europe and Central Asia last week, Rice lobbied Paris, London and Moscow to take tough action against Syria over Iraq. "It's not like we can do anything about it, being all bogged down in Iraq and all," Rice told reporters, "but it just frosts us when people don't do what we want."

When asked if Bush expected any actual accomplishments from the Secretary as opposed to always testifying before Congress and complaining to the UN, McCormack replied that "You go with the Secretary you have, not the one you wish you had."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Yo Quiero Crazy Beef

In the Nothing's Too Good For American Refugees Department we learn that food donated by other governments to help victims of Katrina and Rita is being dumped on third world countries.

The United States offered countries that aren't concerned about the health of their citizens more than 330,000 packaged meals donated by Britain to feed Hurricane Katrina victims but rejected due to a U.S. ban on British beef. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said, "We certainly accepted these MREs in the spirit of friendship and charity, but since we think British beef will turn your brain to mush we don't want any part of it."

After Katrina struck there was a need for about 500,000 readily packaged meals and the State Department asked its embassies worldwide to seek food donations. Britain was among the first countries to offer MREs. "We know the Brits have been looking for a way to get rid of their crazy beef," Ereli explained, "I guess they figured that since most of the people that needed to be fed were poor and black we wouldn't notice."

An additional 33,000 MREs from Germany, Russia, Spain and France had also not been distributed to hurricane victims because of U.S. legal restrictions. "Well, they just went and donated the food," said Ereli. "We only use food that companies can bill FEMA outrageous amounts for."

"We obviously want to find populations of poor and or brown people and unload these supplies on them as soon as possible, so if your country doesn't have import restrictions on tainted beef we want to talk to you. We're eager to move this stuff," said Ereli. Asked if he knew what the expiration dates were on the food packages were he replied, "No. Is that important?"

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hut Left Right, Or If You Only Have One Leg, Hut Left Left

When we wrote before about the Army's difficulty recruiting fodder for their cannons, we weren't aware that they had a strategy to convince young men and women that violent dismemberment and death is a career option.

The Army has a master plan for recovering from this year's recruiting problems that includes new financial incentives for enlistees, greater use of computers, a new way for recruiters to make their pitch and a proposed finder's fee for soldiers who refer recruits.

Finder's fees? Not a good time to be male, homeless and sleeping out in the open.

Opinion surveys indicate that daily reports of soldiers dying in Iraq have dampened young people's interest in joining the military.

We needed an opinion survey for that? Wonder if the Bush administration paid for it. Nah. Nothing in there about last throes.

The Army is encouraging combat veterans who return home on leave from Iraq or Afghanistan to meet with young people in their home towns to talk about their experiences. Now, let's think this one through. Vets come home (hopefully with all their body parts) and they're supposed to sell kids on the benefits of fighting in a country we don't understand for a cause that changes daily?


Parts of this new strategy were put into practice several months ago; others await congressional approval. Raymond DuBois, acting undersecretary of the Army said, "We got the go ahead to incentives to lure recruits, but that whole impressment thing is still hung up in committee.

Recruiters are now being trained to take what some call the "consultative" approach. That means addressing the individual recruits' personal hopes and fears, rather than using the traditional hard sell. "that's turning out to be a bit problematic, " said DuBois. "When their concern is getting an arm or a leg blown off our recruiters are having a hard time putting a positive spin on that."

The Army has put more effort into recruiting people who have begun their college careers but not yet earned a degree, on the assumption that some would be interested in taking a hiatus to try military service. "We catch them right after math midterms," DuBois said. "This is turning out to be one of our most effective techniques."

Also, the Army will target those of high school age who are being home schooled - a potential market the Army has largely ignored. "Now there's a potentially lucrative market for us," DuBois explained. "Those kids are used to not thinking and following orders. Plus they're totally clueless about what's going on in the world."

Using mathematical formulas based in part on demographics, a recruiter can more easily prioritize his or her high-payoff leads and thus become more productive. "well, it's not that complicated of a formula really," DuBois said. "Poor and ethnic, that'll get our attention right away."

Friday, October 14, 2005

Friday Hound Blogging

It probably goes without saying that common sense isn't one of the overlords' strongest attributes, but even given the, shall we say, tenuous connection to reality that most in the dog racing industry have, this is still surprising.

Four dog kennel owners whose dogs raced at the Plainfield Greyhound Park have sued the owners of the track, claiming they were misled into believing live racing would continue throughout the year. "Well, sure, we noticed that there wasn't anybody in the stands," said kennel owner Bob Witts. "But we just figured they were still getting stuff at the concession stand."

Witts said just days after Plainfield approved zoning that would allow a car race track to be built, kennel owners were called in by dog track management and told live racing would end. "It's like they didn't even want us around," said David Tatro, another of the kennel owners. "Besides, who's going to come and see car racing? Do they really think they can make money off of that?"

"Most of the kennel owners were keeping between 100 and 200 dogsin kennels designed for 80," Witts said. "We had them really crammed in there because you need to run a lot of dogs to make any money. It's not like people on social security are independently wealthy you know. A two dollar bet means cat food for dinner if they don't win."

John McGrath of Willimantic, the plaintiffs' lawyer, said some of plaintiffs have subsequently moved dogs to other tracks, while others have given up the dog racing business and were forced to find homes for their dogs. "My clients are now forced to work for a living. Do you know how traumatic that is? Especially for people with no education and poor people skills."

Boo Hoo. Tell it to the hand Counselor, 'cause the hounds ain't listening. Especially this week's hound Hi Best Twister:

Twister is a typical greyhound who is described as a "Velcro" dog. He wants to be part of the family by following you around the house and being near you at all times. He looks to his foster home for guidance, since being in a home is new to him. He will need a home that is willing to accept having a shadow with four legs. Twister is so loving that he wants to express his love by giving out kisses. In return for kisses he would appreciate a neck and ear rub. He loves to play because he is just 2 years old; he has an average amount of energy. He enjoys playing with his toys. He also is a quick learner. He would benefit from an obedience training class. Twister's tail is extra long so it curls up at the end and he has it on auto-wag all the time. He is also considered an extra large greyhound but he is very gentle and calm with people. He would make someone a wonderful companion who could take him places and spend lots of time with him because he does not do well being left alone for long periods of time. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hey Kid. Want To Dominous My Vobiscum?

OK, it's not like we're...umm...obsessed with this or anything. We're just trying to be an equal opportunity blog. Yesterday we pointed out some of the more, shall we say eccentric elements of the Christian faith, and today we'd like to do the same for the Catholics, who, depending on whom you talk to, may or may not be Christians. There's that whole virgin Mary thing you know...very problematic. And the Pope. What's up with that?

Records of sex abuse claims against 126 priests show that church officials moved accused priests to parishes with congregations of lower socio-economic levels. "Poor people tend to be less finicky about their local pastors. Heck, most of them don't even speak English, let alone Latin," said Archdiocese attorney J. Michael Hennigan. "Besides, so what if you screw up a mexican or a black kid. It's not like they're going to be discovering the cure for cancer anyway for Chrissakes. Oh, excuse my French."

Raymond P. Boucher, the lead plaintiffs' attorney said, "The significance of these files is that they provide a little more information for the public about what these guys have been doing at the overnight prayer camp for troubled youth, but until the all the files are made public, we're not going to know for sure how many children are running around thinking they've been baptized with the miraculous rod of heaven, if you get my drift."

The records cover priests who were ordained as far back as the 1920s. Cardinal Roger Mahony, who has led the archdiocese since 1985, had overseen many of the men. "'Overseen.' So that's what the clergy are calling it these days, huh?" said Boucher.

A spokesman for Mahony has repeatedly insisted the cardinal wanted to reveal the information to promote reconciliation with victims, but was barred by confidentiality laws. "Yeah. That and he didn't want his cassock sued off," added Boucher.

In many of the files, there was little mention of child molestation. Instead, euphemisms such as "boundary violations" were used to describe the conduct. "I got my 'boundary' violated about six times before I was 12," said one litigant who declined to give his name.

One priest was convicted of molesting two boys and given probation. The conviction was later expunged from his record. A subsequent report was made in 1994 of "boundary violations," in which he allegedly patted the buttocks of a teenager. He entered alcohol treatment days later. "OK, let me get this straight," said Boucher. "He's been caught squeezing the merchandise on several occasions, so they send him to AA? Did he grab booty because he drank, or did he drink because he grabbed booty? That's what I want to know."

Another priest's file shows the archdiocese received repeated complaints that he engaged in "inappropriate sexual conduct with children" beginning in 1959, but that it did not appear to take significant action against him until 1994 when he was relieved of his duties. "Well, he wasn't so much relieved of his duties as he...uh...well, he died," said a spokesman from the archdiocese. "He was on our list though. He was definitely someone we wanted to talk to."

Many bishops have said they were misled by therapists to believe that a sexual attraction to young people could be cured. "We should have never listened to those guys. I can't tell you how many spinach and mayonnaise poultices I've applied to servers," said Cardinal Mahony. "And the aroma therapy! Wow. There were times they had the whole rectory smelling like a whore house...well...not that I'd know what a whore house smells like. But if I did know that would prove I don't like the little kids, right? I'm just talking hypothetically here."

As church officials' understanding of sex deepened, (no pun intended) accused priests were generally removed from their ministry and sent to "alternative seminaries" usually in places without strong criminal sexual conduct laws. Places like Mississippi and Alabama. "Hey. Down there by the time you're 13 you're likely to already have a kid or two. Just the place we were looking for," said Hennigan.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hey Little Girl. Want To See My Bible Verses?

The George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There Just Listen Photo Of The Day will be taking a break for a couple of days. After all, the president is on top of the hurricane disasters now and it's only been a couple of months. Oh, and did you hear the Iraqi insugency is in it's last throes? Ok, Ok. One last photo:

OK, so Louis Beres has been his "hand" in the "cookie jar," so to speak. Now we finally know why people like to be Christians. It's like you can do what you want, and when you get caught you get a free pass. All you have to do is say you're a weak contemptible sinner and you've been very, very bad.

Christian folks have to let you off because they're weak contemptible sinners too and would probably be doing exactly what you were doing if they had the chance. A few tears, a couple of Bible verses and you're on your merry way.

Well, there is that whole rendering unto Caesar thing. That can get sticky--no pun intended.

Local law enforcement officials are investigating complaints that Louis Beres, longtime chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon, molested three female family members when they were pre-teens. "I was molested," said one of the women, now in her early 50s. At the time he told me he was using his mighty staff of righteousness to root the devil out of me. I later found out that wasn't true."

In a statement Beres denied any criminal conduct and said he wanted to "reconcile" with those making the accusations, if he can find out which ones they are. "I have unleashed the mighty staff of righteousness on many nubile helpless victims of Satan over the years."

Beres is the longtime chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon which champions socially conservative candidates and causes. Its web site describes the group as "Oregon's leading grassroots organization defending our Godly heritage." When asked is nonconsensual sex with minors is part of our "Godly heritage" Bere's replied that he had a "team of Biblical researchers working on that. I'm sure we'll be able to come up with some sort of justification in a few days."

Beres blamed "personal and political enemies" for the reports and said, "I never molested anybody. Satan has long been envious of my mighty staff of righteousness. I'm sure he's behind this. Him or democrats."

Two of the alleged molestations occurred decades ago and likely would not result in criminal charges, but one case may fall within statutory timelines. It involves a female family member who was allegedly molested by Beres when she was in elementary school.

"See, what you people don't understand is Satan seeks out little girls. He's attracted to their wide eyed innocence; their young supple bodies, their flawless white skin, their it hot in here?"

Beres is also former chairman of the Multnomah County Republican Party. When informed of the charges, Rick Myers, current head of the party said, "Well, at least it's not money laundering. We got enough of that right now. Wait. The girls were white weren't they?"

Monday, October 10, 2005

Come On...Can't We Do Just A Little Torture?

President Bush decided shortly after the September 11 attacks that terrorism detainees would be treated in accord with the Geneva Conventions. But according to the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There Just Listen Photo Of The Day there have been in the policy.

The Bush administration pledged to veto legislation banning the torture of prisoners by US troops. "I don't get what all the fuss is about," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "In the first place, these people are terrorists. Well, some of them are anyway. At least we think so. And those that aren't? Hey, if you want to make an omelet you have to break a few eggs."

The Senate vote saw the measure forbidding torture passed by 90 to nine. Most senators said the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal and similar allegations at the Guantanamo Bay prison influenced their votes. "You, know, this reality stuff. Sooner or later I guess we all have to pay attention to it," said Senate majority leader Bill Frist who supported the measure. "And since my campaign to be president pretty much got screwed with the Terri Schiavo thing I decided I'd do the right thing for once. Hey. Anybody want a hot stock tip?"

The man behind the legislation, Republican Senator John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner in Vietnam, said, "Viet Cong stuck bamboo under my fingernails during the war while President Weenie was getting professional manicures, but he's so bad he wants to stuff glowsticks up people's behinds. What a wus."

The administration said Congress was attempting to tie its hands in the war against terrorism. "Well, actually you're trying to keep us from tying brown people's hands," said McClellan. Ha ha. Get it? Tie them up instead of us. I'm such a card."

The amendment was attached to the $440 billion defense spending bill and if Bush vetoes the amendment, he would have to veto the entire bill. That would leave America's armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan short of cash as early as the middle of next month.

"We're ready for that," said McClellan. "We've been stocking up on dog leashes, women's underwear and dog biscuits." When asked if the pentagon had also increased spending on armor, ammunition and food for the troops McClellan smacked his hand to his forehead and said, "D'oh!"

Friday, October 07, 2005

Friday Hound Blogging

A greyhound race takes a little over thirty seconds, but the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There Just Listen Photo Of The Day: lasts a long, long time (probably until the next election).

Now, this is interesting. Overlords have long said that if the state would just allow them to have casino style gambling and poker rooms at the tracks their slowly dying attempt at making a living off the backs of their dogs would be reborn.

At least twice a week, Glenn Oshima heads to the dog track for a chance at a payday. In a year and a half of going to the Daytona Beach Kennel Club, Oshima has never bet on the dogs. For him and many others these days, the real action is inside where he risks his money on Texas Hold 'Em poker.

"You mean they got dogs out there?" Oshima said. "What for?" Daytona's Kennel Club has become so successful drawing poker players that revenues from the card room are helping offset shrinking profits from greyhound racing.

"It's bringing people back to what was a dying business," said Pat Biddix, president and general manager of the Melbourne Greyhound Park.

OK, let's stop right there for a minute and think about this. People are coming to the tracks to play poker. Dogs don't play poker (except in velour paintings). People who play poker don't bet on dogs. So this is saving the dying racing industry how?

"Well what I meant was I still have a job," Biddix said. "Dogs, poker, heck whatever reason that'll get people out here with their social security checks is fine by me."

But what about the dogs Mr. Biddix? "Ah, dogs schmogs. Look whether the rubes want to lose their rent playing cards or betting on dogs, it's all money in my pocket. Racing's a dying industry anyway. Running poker rooms, now that's the future for folks with GED's and no people skills."

He could have a point. So this week's hound got out just in time, but he's got one more stop to make, and that could be your couch. Meet Okie Nitera:

Okie is a very happy dog. He is always wagging his tail and makes friendly contact with everyone he meets. He is a very silly and energetic boy who loves to play and explore. He seems to think the handsome greyhound in the mirror wants to be his friend so he paws at it; not knowing it’s he. After he eats his meals he likes to stay clean by rubbing his face on the rug or carpet area... Who can resist a self-cleaning guy? Okie is super sweet and is going to be a very special companion. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

What Kind Of Song Does A Jail Bird Sing?

...And she's buuuyyying a stairway to the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There Just Listen Photo Of The Day:

Let's admit right up front that we're just as likely as the next person to download a snappy tune, or "borrow" a friend's CD (yes, we do have friends...and they don't come cheap either). The various adult legalities of the aforementioned transactions haven't unduly overtaxed our thoughts either.

Until now.

Having already failed once to nail 14 year old Brittany Chan through her mother, Big Music is now going after Brittany again, this time by herself. "This girl is not going to the prom unless she's out on bail," said T. William Wilcox, attorney for EMI Records, one of the plaintiffs in the suit.

In their latest move, the Big Four (EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony BMG) are demanding that the US District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan appoint a Guardian ad Litem, in other words, an official legal guardian. When asked to explain the move Wilcox said that "Her real momma likes her too much. We need someone on our side. Plus since she's just a kid there's bound to be all that crying and stuff. It would just look bad if she was in the courtroom all alone."

In the original suit against Brittany's mother, Candy Chan The RIAA claimed Mrs. Chan was indirectly liable as a copyright infringer because she'd given Brittany a computer. "What'd she think the girl was going to do with it?" Wilcox asked. "Homework or something? We'd like to get all these computers out of people's homes so they're forced to go back to the record stores."

“Notwithstanding that her own testimony implicated her daughter, Mrs. Chan is an adult, and suing her isn't going to send the message our clients want, so we are forced to file this action directly against Brittany Chan because she's just a little kid. Besides we can't keep billing the record folks if we let the whole thing drop.” Wilcox said.

According to the complaint filed in court the record industry seeks "extended grounding of the accused, no TV for a month, no phone calls with friends and come straight home after school."

The first hearing date was canceled because Brittany was told by a friend that Tommy didn't like her and was too upset to attend. It was later determined that was a rumor started by Jessica who actually likes Tommy too. The hearing has been rescheduled for after the history test.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hey Kid. Wanna See My Gun?

Over hill, over dale as we hit the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There Just Listen Photo Of The Day:

We're not sure why so much ink has been spilled over the army not being able to meet its recruiting goals. Sure there are the cool uniforms and patches, but having to buy your own bullet proof vest really cuts into the old college fund. Yeah, the government will help you go to school when you get back, or at least when whatever pieces of you that are left get back, but you'd better not get sick until you die. That is if you didn't die in the first place, which is much more considerate of you from the government's point of view.

Now, before you accuse us of getting all up in the Army's grill and all, we just want to say that we're sympathetic to the obstacles recruiters face when the kids they are trying to recruit are smarter than they are and when the mothers of the kids they are trying to get all medieval about protecting their sons.

So what's a poor army to do except set their sights a little lower. Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey announced that the Army would allow up to 4% of its recruiting class to be Category IV recruits — those who scored between the 16th and 30th percentile in the battery of aptitude tests that the Defense Department gives to all potential military personnel.

For those of you watching at home that means that these are the people who scored lower than 70 to 84 percent of those taking the aptitude test. "Look if you can see reasonably well and bend your index finger we can make it work," said Harvey. "Oh, and duck. You have to be able to duck too."

Harvey insisted that by lowering standards the Army was not lowering standards but merely conforming to Department of Defense guidelines that lowered standards. "They lowered standards first. We're just playing catch up here."

Before being admitted into the military, a potential recruit takes a group of tests known as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. "This is no cakewalk," Harvey said. "We give the recruits pencils, but we don't sharpen them first. They have to figure out which end does the writing."

The Pentagon benchmarks were established to prevent the military services from meeting quotas by accepting too many people with low IQs. "Yeah. Well that was before the people with high IQs decided they didn't want to get shot," Harvey explained.

Harvey denied that the Army was in the midst of a recruiting crisis, pointing to a series of new initiatives — including increasing the Army's advertising budget by $130 million and putting 3,000 more recruiters on the streets — that he hoped would reverse the downward trend. "We're going to have more recruiters buying more kids more beers than ever before," Harvey said. "If we could just get a couple of state legislatures to go back to the eighteen year old drinking laws, we'd have this shortage turned around in no time."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

And The Lord Sayeth, "Run Roy Run!"

Thou art reality, and upon this rock I shall build the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There Just Listen Photo Of The Day:

Our old daddy used to say, if you want to win the game, make the rules. That apparently is what Judge Roy Moore (yes, that Judge Roy Moore) has decided to do.

Rejected in his bid to turn his courtroom into a shrine to that good old time white religion by the godless heathens on the Supreme Court, The good Judge has decided to run for governor of Alabama on the holier than thou ticket.

"God says vote for me so we can save our country and save our courts for our children," Moore said at the press conference kicking off his campaign. "Well, I think it was god. The voices in my head confuse me when they all talk at once."

Moore's candidacy could set up a showdown with Governor Bob Riley, a fellow Republican, and turn the Ten Commandments dispute into a central campaign issue in this Bible Belt state. "The way I figure it, things are pretty good here in Alabama," Moore said. The ten commandments should be the issue on everyone's mind."

When asked for his position on employment in the state Moore said, "The Lord helps those who help themselves." When asked about health care he responded, "If thine eye be an occasion of sin for thee, pluck it out. But don't expect the state to pay for it. Or rehab."

When asked about economic growth Moore explained that the residents of Alabama should "Render unto Caesar their tax dollars."

Moore said that if elected, he has no plans to relocate the Ten Commandments monument from its new home at a church in Gadsden to the capitol rotunda. "Although I am thinking about moving the capitol to Gadsden."

"But I'll tell you what I will do. I will defend the right of every citizen of this state — including judges, coaches, teachers, city, county and state officials — to acknowledge my God as the sovereign source of law, liberty and government," he said. "Or else."

To those who have criticized him as a one-issue candidate, Moore said Monday that his main issue is summed up by his campaign theme: "Return Alabama to the people. The white Christian people. Evangelical white Christian that is."

Moore signed a giant copy of his campaign platform in the shape of a cross that called for requiring legislators to attend church services three times a week, barring lawmakers from marrying outside his faith, ending annual tax reappraisals of property owned by the church and imposing new penalties on businesses that employ Episcopalians. "They like the homos you know," Moore said.

A Riley spokesman said much of Moore's platform is similar to Riley's in the 2002 campaign. "Well, except for that part about outlawing Catholics," the spokesman said. "That's new."

Monday, October 03, 2005

Hey. It's Not Like She'll Have To Manage A Hurricane Or Anything

But first, a word from that other bright spot in George Bush's administration, Iraq, brought to you by the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There Just Listen Photo Of The Day:

Keeping up with his long standing tradition of finding the most unlikely, unqualified, inexperienced applicant for important administrative positions, president Bush has nominated Harriet Miers to replace Judge Sandra Day O'Conner on the Supreme Court.

Apparently Ms. Miers' primary classification is that she thinks George Bush is most brilliant man she ever met. OK, we'll give her the benefit of the doubt and just assume she doesn't get out much, but does she have a TV? Does she read the paper at all? Has she ever seen The Jerry Springer Show? Surely somewhere she has run across a specimen of masculinity that carries more intellectual gravitas than the fellow currently taking up space in the White House. Has she ever seen the WWF?

"She has devoted her life to sucking mean the cause of justice," Bush said. "At least I think she has. Harriet, you are at least a lawyer, aren't you?"

Miers traveled to the Capitol to begin courtesy calls on the senators who will vote on her nomination. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, was first. His welcome was a statement in praise. "With this selection, the president has chosen another sycophant to sit on our nation's highest court," it said. "This nomination ranks right up there with that of Michael Brown, John Bolton and when Shemp joined the three stooges."

Miers told reporters, "If confirmed, I recognize I will have a tremendous responsibility to like, understand the law and stuff and to help insure the court meets their obligations to favor the rich and keep the poor in their place. Do I get a parking pass?"

During Bush's first term as governor of Texas, his Attorney General Alberto Gonzales used information turned up by Miers to persuade a local judge to excuse Bush from jury duty. That would have forced him to disclose his 1976 arrest for drunken driving. "I plan to bring that same level of professionalism to the Court," Miers said.