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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Well, ok 'friend' may be a bit hasty. But I've filed the application and the JCN clerk's office said all my papers were in order and I would hear back from them.

Although, that was a year and a half ago.

But here's his cool photo spread on the protestors.

via Gothamist.


cuddle and a kiss
cuddle and a kiss on the forehead - you like to be
close to your special someone and feel warm,
comfortable, and needed

What Sign of Affection Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Take the quiz, I'm curious about what the other choices are.



Unless your neighbors call the cops.


When I first started blogging, actually in my very first post, I confessed that "Now that I've jumped on, blogging is officially a bandwagon! Fortunately, if my history is any indication (joined the Seinfeld and Spice Girl Power craze in 1997, shortly before the end) that also means it's almost over."

Once again, my late term trend following has ended a good thing.

Two weekends ago, the USA network ran an eight-hour marathon of 'Monk.' After hour four I was hooked. I taped as many episodes as I could find and then I put in a request for Season 1 on Netflix.

But now the show is about to be retooled. Straight-talking Sharona (and I suppose her son) are out and the producers are looking for "a world-weary but attractive thirtysomething widow who works as a bartender."

Shark, meet jump.

Monk doesn't drink, he's definitely not going to be chilling in a bar and picking up bartenders.

He needs someone to hand him wipes and separate his food.

He needs Sharona. Mmpph.


I saw an ad yesterday playing Dick Cheney's coming out speech.

The voiceover says something like "A father speaks from the heart" and then plays Cheney talking about his lesbian daughter.

After Cheney says "freedom means freedom for everyone"

The voiceover says: "Exactly. What if it were your child, Mr. President?"


Things that make you go...

Hmmm. Scott writes that:

"Like I mentioned in my last post, I finagled my way onto the floor, a bit beyond the boudaries of my credentials. I simply couldn't take watching the event from the portable low-volume TV up in the then-desolate Radio Row."

Yet just yesterday the secret service claimed that they "have an obligation to protect these people," said a Justice Department official requesting anonymity. "Any law enforcement efforts are designed to enforce the safety of convention-goers."

So, where the hell was security?

Oh, here they are.

Monday, August 30, 2004


"We are Americans first, Americans last, and Americans always. Let us argue our differences, but remember, we are not enemies, we are comrades in a war against a real enemy, and take courage from the knowledge that our military superiority is matched only by our ideals and our incomperable love for them."
-John McCain

via random site I blogsurfed to

Man, he's good. Now let's hope the Bushies listen: "let us argue our differences...remember we are not enemies!"

Please stop knocking on our doors, arresting us for wearing T-shirts, interrogating our teens for painting pictures, indicting cops for making off-colour jokes, redacting the words of the Supreme Court.

We are not the enemy. We are Americans.


Allegations that he is gay may have motivated his decision.

via Von Bek


"I got a young man named George W. Bush into the Texas Air Guard - and I'm ashamed."
—Former Texas Lt. Gov Ben Barnes

Play clip.

But that's not all, reportedly Bush used his pull as Texas Governor to keep Barnes quiet.

But, oh yeah, the media is liberal and wants Kerry to win.


Lawyer says the Governor's resignation is enough.


"Pull my finger."


"So there you have it, kids, straight from the horse's ass. The Misnamed Global War on Terror is unwinnable."

If people hadn't been killed, this would be funny.


P.S.: I loved Bush's comment yesterday about the smear-ad: "I can understand why Senator Kerry is upset with us. I wasn't so pleased with the ads that were run about me. And my call is get rid of them all, now." "Us"?? I thought Bush had nothing to do with it.

Newly out of the hammock, Andrew Sullivan.


I am beginning to become McGreevey obsessed with this Paul Hamm situation.

The newest development is that the South Koreans have appealed the decision to a Swiss arbitration board.



Now, I don't have a problem with Republicans.

I swear.

I write all the time about how they aren't evil and we should all get along.

Some of my...

But that was all before.

Before my TV got taken over with Pataki, Bloomberg, Giuliani, Cheney...yes, folks the Republicans are here.

And they're near.

About 11 blocks away to be exact.

It wasn't so bad until the reporters started interviewing delegates.

"This is not about New Yawk, it's about re-electing Gewarge Bush."

"I don't mind Michael Moore being here. I'm from Mississippi and we're used to dealing with jackasses."

(continuing the theme)

"The protestors don't bother me. Alabama is full of pesky insects too."

"We have made the world safer for all these protestors, whether they thank us or not," said a delegate who looked like he couldn't make anything safer for anyone even if he was given bubblewrap and a condom.

It's barely started and I've had quite enough of this convention.

How much longer until the Republicans go back to being theoretical foils for my posts who exist somewhere out there in red state America?

Turns out one was more than enough.

In Elephant's Clothing

What's that saying about walking a mile in another person's shoes?
Well, I wouldn't have lasted ten seconds in these, but the rest of my evening as a Republican went fairly smoothly.
It started out fairly low-key with a ride in the pimped out Al Curtis Kia-mobile (complete with roll down windows, manual door locks and a long metal antennae that allows the vehicle's occupants to hear Roosevelt's fireside chats.)
Karol's flat on the upper east side was the first stop.
We pulled up to a spot right in front of her building and parked at the first meter (this'll be important later).
Having forgotten to check my cellphone voicemail for a few days, I was busy deleting scores of death threats and hate messages before heading inside.
I love visiting Karol and Peter because their building is one of those fancy NYC high rises with driveways and doormen.
Even their elevators are the really snazzy ones with two lights: one that illuminates red for a down elevator and a white one for an up elevator. I mention it only because everytime I visit Karol and the red light comes on she says "that's going down." So I assume this ability to distinguish the up and down elevators is a source of pride for the building's residents and that they want observers to share that information with others.
We spent about an hour watching some old Annette Funicello musical with Peter (really somebody please hire this boy.)
Suddenly it dawned on me that Karol hadn't put any money in the meter. Amazed that the Upper East side residents got free parking, even during rush hours, I said:
"So, how long can you just park there?"
From the wild-eyed gasping, I deduced that the answer was, not at all.
Peter went dashing out the apartment clutching two quarters in his fist. About fifteen minutes later, he came back up, out of breath and sweating.
"The cop was already writing the ticket."
"No way! Stop lying."
He held up the two coins between his fingers as proof.
"I ran up to him and he said he had already started writing it, so I might as well keep my quarters."
"Wow. I am so psychic. I must have sensed the car was in danger."
"Well, I would have made it in time, but when I got in the elevator it went all the way up first."
I wondered if this was a good time to tell him about the red light and the white light...but something told me no.
Finally after hours of primping, we were off to the evening's main events. To wit: A Republican art show, a George W. Bush meetup and then a blogger meet 'n greet.
The art show was, appropriately enough a few blocks from Ground Zero.
Frightened by flashing police lights and a few barricades, Karol decided to play it safe and park several miles away -- (I'm trying to think of a good analogy for non-New Yorkers...how about if the art show was in Florida, we parked the Kia-mobile in Maine...) As we hiked back to the art show, I realized that she was probably just embarrased by the car. On the way we passed Spot on commenter Bob m, who evidently works in the area.
At the entryway of the art show was a patchwork quilt made up of flags from all around the world. I spotted Panama's and gave a shout out.
Then the horror began.
Scene after scene of bloody battles, with modern-day Republicans like Rudy Giuliani recast in the role of Gabriel slaying the serpent or Theseus slaughtering the Minotaur.
Bald eagles were drawn ten times their sizes with claw like talons capturing terrorists. Fighter jets jutted out of images of the American flag.
You couldn't throw a stone without hitting a painting of Ronald Reagan.
But the crowning glory was a painting of George W. Bush -- at least 8 feet tall -- delivering the knock out blow to Michael Moore -- at least 8 feet wide-- in a boxing ring. His gloves were stars and striped and red,white and blue.
It was dizzying. A couple of bloggers met us down there.
"Oh, you're crazy old Dawn Summers."
Sleep with one eye-open, Michael Moore blog brother Ken Wheaton.
"A friend of mine is going to be meeting us here."
"Great. Cool."
"Umm...well...she's..." he leaned in closer and dropped his voice to a whisper "a liberal."
Karol nodded in sympathetic understanding -- "yeah, well, Dawn's here too. Honestly, I don't think anyone has noticed yet."
Hmm...what does she mean by that. What happens if someone notices?
Fortunately, I never found out. Once his friend arrived, we all decided to head out to get something to eat before the meet-up.
At the door, we realized that since the Kia-mobile was parked in northern Siberia, we probably didn't have enough time to get to it and to eat, if we wanted to make it to the meet-up.
And believe me, we wanted to make it to the meet-up.
So the group split up, with Spot On commenter Vanessa joining Karol and I in the Kia.
The meet-up was on the West side of Manhattan, so obviously, Karol decided to take the East-side highway to get there.
Between the traffic on the FDR and the crosstown traffic, we reached the meet-up location with about ten minutes until it ended, and we hadn't even looked for parking yet.
So, we decided to head straight to bloggerpolooza.
On the way, we were listening to Biggie Smalls and singing along.
"I'd be scared to go to a rap concert," Vanessa says from the backseat.
"You know, rap violence."
"What about a Nelly concert.
"No, I'd still be scared. He's like ...I don't know"
"Dude, Nelly is like on the cover of Teen Beat every month," but now, I was curious.
"What about a New Edition concert?"
Still no dice.
Hootie and the Blowfish?
"I'm not racist. I wouldn't go to a heavy metal concert either."
By the time we reached the bar, she was telling me about her best friends that were black and Karol and I were in hysterics.
"Never try to prove to Dawn that you're not a racist. Just accept proudly and move on."
A couple of bloggers were already there when we arrived, notably Stephen Silver and Ken Wheaton.
(Everyone should know that Ken absolutely loves "The Da Vinci Code." He would not stop going on and on about how he's read it like five times and it changed his life.)
Stephen was very cool and I want to welcome him back to civilization after his years of Hoboken exile. (P.S. I am not her sidekick! If anything, she is my sidekick.)
Also I finally met Madonna!! After years of listening to her music and watching her videos. I must say, she is much more down-to-earth and nice in person.
Doug, Jessica, Lisa, Ari, Peter, Mike D. and Scott were also there.
But the guests of honor were definitely Candace and Gib. Although, I didn't get to buy Gib a drink, I made good on my income-redistribution-through-alcohol promise to candace. She in turn made good on her promise to wear stiletto stilts.
Candace reminded me a great deal of Karol circa 1992, she even hated my outfit and told me what to wear the next time she sees me. Ahh, the memories.
Of course, she is way cooler than Karol and much, much nicer and when I grow up I wanna be her now...except for the crazy political views.
I left shortly after midnight and right after the inter-racial dancefloor orgy which I am fairly certain that Karol and Ari started. Or maybe Oschisms did it.
It was early, but at least I outlasted Old Man Wheaton who was in bed by ten and missed the arrival
of Sexless.

Candace and I had a great time mocking him after he left.
Stay tuned for Part II on Wednesday.

Karol wrote about it too.

And Candace.

And now Gib.

And Madonna.

and Mike.

Friday, August 27, 2004

International Gymnastics Federation asks Paul Hamm to give back gold medal.

In a dispute over scores that has turned into a political squabble, the head of the International Gymnastics Federation suggested in a letter to Hamm that giving the all-around gold medal to South Korea's Yang Tae-young "would be recognized as the ultimate demonstration of fair play by the whole world."

This reminds me of Eliot Spitzer asking Dick Grasso to give back $100 million dollars of salary that had already been paid out.

I think the magic words were "pretty please."

Thursday, August 26, 2004


"They tortured people in Iraq, they (the Iraqis) have no weapons of mass destruction. Could somebody explain to me whether you think they're idiots or geniuses?"

-Canadian Member of Parliament Carolyn Parrish


"My husband did not take the news well."

Melida Arredondo told reporters.

After being told by Marines that their 20-year-old son had been killed in Iraq, Carlos Arredondo, smashed the Marine's windows, doused their van with gasoline and set it on fire as he sat inside.


More Americans are now living in poverty.

Oh, and jobless claims have increased.

Japanese Internment Camp Caused 'Suffering'

Like thousands of other Japanese-Americans, Hirai’s parents were uprooted from their home and sent off to a de facto prison, considered a threat to national security simply because of their family tree.
“How do you think that would make you feel?” said Hirai’s 89-year-old mother, Mae. “I really don’t even like to think about it. We just had to take it. But we went through a lot of suffering.”

But...but Michelle Malkin says it wasn't not so bad.

I heard about this story last night watching Kimiko Soldati compete in the women's diving event. Her father was born in a Japanese internment camp, after his parents were forced out of their home into the camp during World War II.

Let's see Malkin debate her. I nominate Chris Matthews to moderate.


Okay, so she's pretty, but she's still evil.

If you want to meet Miss Republican Blogger 2004, please join us and a cache of other prominent bloggers tonight:

Fashion 40 Lounge, 202 West 40th (close to Seventh Ave), 9:00pm.


On August 10th, over on that other site, I wrote:

No, I don't think it's a good power for any President to have --I figure must be a reason the framers gave the power to Congress, don't know why Congress bends over backwards to give it away and I wish the Supreme Court would declare such resolutions unconstitutional. but i can't imagine the kind of lawsuit that would bring the issue up before tye supreme court, so there we are. But I don't like that you keep (intentionally or unintentionally) mischaracterizing Kerry's statement as "he would have gone into Iraq even knowing what we know now" He said he would vote for the President to have the authority to do so and there is a difference.

Last night, Jon Stewart, in a bug-crushing...I mean in a response to Ed Gilespie said:
No, Kerry didn't say he would have gone to war, he said he voted to give the President the authority to go to war as leverage...not that I agree with that, I think Congress should declare war and the President should, I don't know wave at the NCAA champions."

Jon, it's obvious that you are reading my blog and my comments in the blogosphere (or that you took a civics class in junior high, one or the other). Of course, I watch your show fairly regularly, it seems perfectly logical that you should hire me as the official Daily Show blogger.

Whatdya say?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


"I tried to accept that letter and he would not give it to me," Mr. Patterson told The Associated Press, referring to Mr. Cleland. "He would not face me. He kept rolling away from me. He's quite mobile."

A Pro-Bush Texas official describing an attempt to exchange letters with the pro-Kerry veteran who left three limbs in Vietnam.

I'm not happy

I walked into McDonald's for the first time in a few months. I needed cash and they offer .99 cent withdrawals...of course, once I had the cash in hand, I might as well also get an apple pie.
I reached the front of the line really quickly.
"Welcome to McDonald's how may I help you?"
"An apple pie please"
"Would you like two? It'll be the same price."
Mentally, I mark this as a key piece of evidence in my future Big Fat lawsuit.
I handover a $20 and receive 18.92 in change (damn you, ATM machine (sorry, I know what the 'M' stands for, but ATM just looks wrong without machine after it.)
I watch her shake open a brownbag and turn to get my pies out of the dispenser.
Behind the counter is a huge sign that says "Smile Guarantee: if you don't get a smile when you pay, receive a free small fries or hashbrown."
Hmm...Did she smile? I don't remember a smile. Do I really want fries with my apple pie?
As if she could read my mind or follow my line of vision, the cashier handed me my brown bag of artery clogging, Atkins-unfriendly, points system busting treats and flashed her pearly whites.
"Have a great day."
I felt dirty.
It's one thing to require your employees to give out receipts, wear a heinous brown uniform or deliver prompt service, but behavior control?
A smile for every menial transaction with the Times Square fast food hordes?
Jerks and all?
The reason smiles are so wonderful is that they are spontaneous expressions of joy, sent voluntarily from the smiler to the smiled at.
A smile should not be bought and sold for $5.15 an hour.
It certainly should be worth more than a hashbrown.


Al Franken wants to give President G. W. Bush a shout out. Literally.

In the spirit of Paddy Chayefsky's classic movie monologue from "Network," the liberal comedian Wednesday urged New Yorkers -- and other Americans -- to simultaneously scream the all-purpose local wisecrack at the moment that President Bush accepts the nomination.
"This is a form of protest that is very non-disruptive," Franken said at a press conference in the Park Avenue office of Air America radio network, where he hosts a talk show.

Franken said he expected the shouts to last less than five minutes. Out of "respect for the office of the presidency," he asked that participants quiet down once Bush begins speaking so "people can hear him give a bad speech."

Who's in?


Beenie man is out, well not like that. Hmmm...think Eminem will be next?

Not bloody likely.


Publicly splits with the President on the issue of gay marriage.


I don't get my news from the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
I get my jokes about the news Daily Show with from Jon Stewart.
So when politicos (or entertainers...lord help us the day they become one and the same) sit on his couch, I'm looking for do two things: 1. Are they funny and 2. Do they know funny.
When Bill Clinton did his turn a couple of weeks ago, I realized pretty quickly that he's neither funny nor gets funny. I was disappointed.
Last night was Kerry's turn and again, I was disappointed -- but only half as much.
Kerry's definitely not funny ("flip, flip flap, flip" what the hell? and where was he going with the "remember when John Edwards announced his candidacy on your show?" stuff...very awkward), but he definitely gets funny. Stewart said "From what I understand you were never in Vietnam" and Kerry couldn't stop laughing.
Incidentally, I need to stop reading conservative blogs, the whole time I watched his interview I kept imagining how they were going to spin his appearance.
(What's the over/under on how long it takes Allahpundit to photoshop Kerry with laser beams coming out of his eyes?)
In any case, if the inaugaration is on the Daily Show, I'm definitely trying to get tickets.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

RANDOM THOUGHTS # 17,896 and #17897

I can't believe the Titanic was actually called unsinkable and then sunk on its maiden voyage.

I can't believe Lorne shot an unarmed (ha ha) Lindsay.


I sent the following e-mail to my department today:

For those of you who might be interested, Judge Richard Posner is blogging (publishing an electronic diary) on Larry Lessig's blog all this week. So far he has written about the Eldred case, fair use doctrine and disbanding the CIA. You can also leave comments for the judge on the site.


Of course, I wanted to add: I also have a blog which you can and should read everyday.

But I didn't.

Posner blogging? What has the world come to?


Chicago associate goes ape-sh*t on co-counsel.

In the message, Winston & Strawn associate Ankur Gupta in Chicago berates an associate in the New York office of Latham & Watkins for apparently complaining about changes Mr. Gupta and his colleagues requested on a mortgage document. Mr. Gupta tells his fellow lawyer that he should save his "fucking breath" and that if he continues to complain about the changes, Mr. Gupta will make his "life on this deal very unpleasant" by involving his client. The Winston & Strawn associate concludes by advising the Latham associate that if he will not act as a "monkey fucking scribe," his work will be given to a secretary at Winston & Strawn.

No word on who will be getting fired.


The South Koreans want Yang Tae Young to get a gold medal for all-around male gymnastics. Problem is, Paul Hamm already won it. So far two suggestions dominate: Hamm gives the gold to Young or the Olympic committee gives another gold to Young.
In an interview with the dragon lady, Hamm said he "feels in his heart he is the Olympic all-around gymnastics champion" and doesn't favor either losing or sharing the gold medal.
Good for him.
As numerous people have since pointed out, although there was a scoring error with respect to Young's start value, the South Koreans needed to challenge it before the end of that rotation, certainly before the end of the all-around event and most absolutely before the medal ceremony. They didn't. The phrase tough-titties comes to mind, but it's a wee vulgar and not at all appropriate, so I'll go with too bad, so sad. (My bald Eastern European Civil Procedure professor used to say that about unsuccessful litigants, students who wanted grade changes, starving children in oppressed nations...)
Placing a medal around someone's neck is the ultimate: no backsies.
If the South Koreans feel cheated they need to mail the bronze medal back to the Olympic commitee, complete with a note saying stuff it. That's what these guys did.
(Interestingly, with all the hubbub about being given a lower start value than he deserved, the South Koreans are suspiciously mute on the mandatory deduction that the judges didn't take for Young's illegal fourth hold.)
After all, it's not like this is the Special Olympics.

Monday, August 23, 2004


Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina.

"Everything was decided in advance. I had no illusions about this when the judges gave me 9.462 for the vault after conferring with one another at length.

"I practically did everything right, still they just set me up and fleeced me," she said in the interview published on Saturday.

Asked why she felt she was marked down by the judges, Khorkina said: "You better ask them. I think it's because I'm from Russia, not from America!"


Dorothy Zbornak

Which Golden Girl Are You?

After all, I do live with my mother.

via Spot Off


This weekend I rented "Michael Collins."
The movie stars Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn and Julia Roberts.
Set in Ireland, the movie tells the story of Michael Collins, a radical who wanted an independent Irish republic by any means necessary.
After some early attempts to fight the British army in traditional battles, the rag tag soldiers of the Irish Republic, are either killed or jailed. Collins decides the only way to beat the British is with surprise, guerilla tactics.
He trains young men, to assasinate police officers, blow up cars containing British intelligence officers and bomb police stations. Throughout the film, Collins is torn between the horrors of his means and the importance of his ends.
In the end, he fights the British to a stalemate and ends up negotiating a compromise Irish Free State.
In this modern-age of "War on Terror," Michael Collins offers many lessons for viewers.
The most important of which is that Julia Roberts should never try to do accents.


After outing the operation of an East Side poker club, the NYPD shut the place down.

United States: 139 years without a civil war

Blogsurfing the net the other day I came across this post over at annika's:

'We can expect a big freak show at the upcoming Republican Convention in New York. The far left nut jobs will ensure Bush's re-election, even though they will think they're doing the opposite. In fact, i hope they go on a total Bush-hatin' rampage in the streets of New York. Everyone knows who's side they're on, and the worse the protesters act, the more people will realize how low the Democratic Party has fallen.'

-The rightwing blog, Annika's Journal, July 26, 2004

A "total Bush-hatin' rampage in the streets of New York" will certainly result in extensive property damage and probably numerous deaths, and why would one root for such devastation? Oh yeah, because then "more people will realize how low the Democratic Party has fallen." Terrific, who cares if families are destroyed, businesses ruined and my city crippled, if it'll help Bush win in November, it's worth it.

Thankfully, I've never seen a riot, but I have seen the aftermath of riots. In the early nineties, my neighborhood was, essentially, put under martial rule. A makeshift police station was erected overnight in the center of one of the main avenues, to get to the subway station you had to pass police barricades and checkpoints. Stores closed permanently and Korean grocers went to work under police guard. I'm sure residents of Crown Heights and Los Angeles have similar stories to tell.

The last thing anyone, even Republicans, needs is a "rampage" anywhere.

Judging from news reports of agents infiltrating book clubs and interrogating protestors at their homes before they've participated in any demonstrations, "perceived threats" aren't what they used to be. The slightest act may trigger a chain reaction of secret service, FBI and NYPD enforcement. That in return may cause demonstrators to resist that police action, which of course, will only cause the police response to escalate.
Under such a scenario, protestors will be arrested and jailed, putting a strain on the legal resources of this city (public defenders, prosecutors, judges, courtroom administrators), overextending the police force for months to come with cops having to testify in court instead of patrolling the city streets and taxing our prison system, depending on how serious the offenses become.
Police officers will be at risk , if things get out of hand, not only physically, but professionally. Police officers are rightly held to the highest of standards and if in response to a protestor resisting arrest, s/he accidentally clubs an innocent bystander or the police horses get spooked and trample pedestrians, or heaven forbid, gunfire kills or wounds someone, they could be out of a job and facing civil and criminal charges.
There will be thousands of legal observers watching and recording the conduct of law enforcement officers during the convention --- in a rampage--- these men and women could be hurt or mistakeningly swept up in mass arrests. The money and time that will be required to release them and clear their names will be astronomical.
Not to mention the devasting toll of recovering from injuries sustained in a rampage or the family that has to bury children or parents killed in a rampage.
And that's just the short term consequences.
The President of the United States has made many choices in the past 3 years. His administration has drawn sharp lines in the sand and unapolegetically pushed its agenda. However, not everyone agrees with these choices, this agenda or his penchant for viewing the world through black and white lenses. However, for three years dissent has not been allowed to pass the perimeter of the rose garden.

The President has confessed that he doesn't read newspapers, he doesn't do press conferences and his campaign has ensured that audience members sign loyalty oaths and are friendly Bush supporters. He has even managed to create a no-protest zone throughout the entire "city" of Crawford, Texas.

But a convention in New York City is a whole different ballgame. Those who feel that Bush has had his fingers in his ears long enough are taking their opportunity to be heard. Protesting, however loudly, shouldn't be cause for rolling out tazer guns and paddy wagons. To be sure, there will be criminals in attendance and the law enforcement should handle them accordingly. But for the protestors (and no, I don't feel the need to add peaceful, since anything less would be a crime, not a protest) --- they shouldn't be "expecting the police to taser and club peaceful protestors."

They should expect the police to bust the pickpocket trolling the protest crowds for easy marks and fat wallets. They should expect the police to give them directions when they get lost roaming around the village at night.

The restriction on freedom of speech used to be you can't shout fire in a crowded movie theater because it might cause a rampage; now it seems that shouting alone will be enough to cause a rampage.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Wonder if he'll have to re-edit the ad.


When the DNC announced that Barack Obama was delivering the keynote speech, Karol started up with the mockery:

"He hasn't even been elected yet."

"He's just a state legislator"

"This is just because he's black."

Now I hear that the RNC has announced Zell Miller as it's keynote speaker.

Republicans control the House, Senate and White House, but they couldn't find one palpable enough for the prime speaking spot at their convention?

'Nuff said.


After a two day trial, the jury convicted the defendant of murder after two hours of deliberation.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


Just 36 cans and you pass out? For shame.

P.S. Advertising executives, this commercial just writes itself.


Yeah baby, yeah.


Man who jumped into pool during Olympic games sentenced to 5 months.


"I think those who oppose this ballistic missile system don't understand the threats of the 21st century," the president told applauding workers at defense contractor Boeing Co. in Pennsylvania, a crucial state in President Bush's bid for re-election. "We say to those tyrants who believe they can blackmail America and the free world: 'You fire, we're going to shoot it down,'" President Bush said.

Yeah, you fire, we're going to shoot it down....just as soon as we get that shoot-it-down capability.

via The Fulcrum

Does anybody else remember what happened when he said 'Bring it On' last year?


The more intelligent question is, given what we knew at the time, was toppling Saddam's regime a worthwhile objective? Bush's answer is yes, Howard Dean's is no. Kerry's answer is that it was a worthwhile objective but was disastrously executed. For this "nuance" Kerry has been attacked from both the right and the left. But it happens to be the most defensible position on the subject.

---Fareed Zakaria


He made it to 90. Go him.

How Would Jesus Vote?

"As I read the Scriptures and as I understand faith, God's side is the group that's feeding the poor, caring about children, making sure that people have enough food to eat — not killing others," said Tutt, who opposes the war in Iraq.

Looks like Bush is 0 for 4.


No federal taxes for African-American workers.

Now, that I'd like to see; if only because I'd love to see what Ward Connerly and Tiger Woods do.


Mayor Bloomberg announced the creation of a "Peaceful Political Activists" pin, that can be used for discounts at restaurants and hotels in the New York area during the convention.

Activists are encouraged to sign up for the buttons beforehand with the city. The mayor did not indicate whether people wearing the pins would also get earlier call times for their arraignments or comfy mattresses for their night in Central Booking.

This reminds me of the time the U.S. military said they would hold the bodies of Uday and Qusay Hussein until they were claimed by the next of kin.

Pre-register at your own risk, kids.


Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman is demanding that Jim McGreevey step down immediately. In an interview with local news stations yesterday she said it wasn't because he was gay or that he had an adulterous affair, it's because McGreevey hired someone who wasn't qualified for an important job. She added that President Bush should also step down immediately for hiring a former Governor of New Jersey to head the EPA.

The White House would not comment on her request.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Miserable Failure


Karol is working for a new candidate named Al Curtis.

Join me and the staff of Clareified in wishing her the same success she has had in all her previous campaign work.



I know I should just create an FAQ section for the site instead of answering these questions one on one, but not today. So for now, here's my response to the recurring "What's your deal with John Ashcroft" question:

"John Ashcroft's America" is just a phrase I use to describe disturbing changes in the American landscape. It doesn't usually have to do with him specifically. Although, sometimes it does.
That's how it is in John Ashcroft's America. You just never know.


Enter here.


Well, whadya know? I wasn't the only one who was curious.

I say Brooklyn field its own Basketball team next time.

Is blogging an Olympic sport?


"I'm just hoping it doesn't take longer than a week because I've got shows to do," Winfrey told ABC-TV before she was chosen.

Here's to the poor bastard standing between Oprah and her shooting schedule.


Well, sort of.

But let's suppose that Mrs McGreevey didn't know. What if she looked so composed during the press conference because she downed a handful of Xanax a moment or two before it began? What if she, like most straight women who discover their husbands are gay, is devastated by the news? (Self-help titles available on Amazon include The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families and My Husband Is Gay: A Woman's Survival Guide.) If that's the case, I hope the religious right has the decency to send Mrs McGreevey - and every other woman out there who discovers she's married to a closeted gay man - an apology. For isn't duping poor straight women into marrying us the religious right's advice to gay men?

-Dan Savage

via Intl News


I came across this story via Annika's site (good luck in law school!) On her way home from her birthday dinner, this woman comes across a couple that seems lost. She pauses to give them directions and moments later, they mace her, intending to rob her.

What's sad -or really awesome-- is that as she described the scenario all I kept thinking was, "run inside!" And then when she writes that she asked them where they were trying to go, I was thinking "you fool!" Growing up in NYC in the 70s and 80s and attending college in New Haven in the 90s, teaches you a couple of things. Never help strangers with anything. Ever. Especially strangers in groups or pairs.

Alternatively, you learn never to accept help from strangers in groups or pairs.

There is another corollary to this story which is never scold strangers.

The Cost of Free Speech

and I were talking this morning about an article on Drudge about British authorities trying to prosecute a rap group for anti-gay statements in their songs.
We both agreed that curbing freedom of speech was no good.
But true to form we then jumped to opposite conclusions:
"See, that's what your people try to do with all your hate crime laws."
"Whatever, that's what your people are trying to do with your free speech zones and calling the cops because you don't like someone's T-shirt."
Then, as free speech revealed itself to be the theme of my day, I came across the following story on one of the legal discussion boards:

"Shearman’s Diversity Committee sponsored a luncheon featuring a guest speaker who was to discuss the topic. Following his remarks, [a summer associate] inquired about the tension, if any, between the quest for diversity and the pursuit of excellence. He cited three specific sources [Stanford and Yale journals] charging that pressures for diversity and the concomitant lowering of standards were largely responsible for pre-9/11 intelligence failures, diminished effectiveness of emergency responders, and the death of one of the first female fighter pilots as she attempted to land on an aircraft carrier. He closed by asking the speaker something along the lines of “are you concerned about these types of situations and if so how do you resolve the tension?”

Shearman & Sterling, a fairly large law firm in New York, subsequently fired the summer associate one week before the end of the summer internship program. According to the post's thread, either he was fired because of pressure from the prospective client, the fellow summers, or women associates in attendance. Also he reportedly had made similar comments on other occasions, so that while he had good reviews on his work, he was not the most popular kid on the block.

Instinctively, I would say firing a summer is pretty dumb, particularly this late in the game. Philosophically, I would say firing anyone for expressing a dissenting political view is destructive, especially in the context of a forum on diversity. However, from his question, it seems that he holds some appalling views about women (and presumably ethnic minorities) and he probably wouldn't gel in a working environment where he might have to work with women and minority people -- perhaps even taking orders from them. So his firing poses a troubling (daresay I say) tension for me: sure, people should be able to say what they want, but when those words reveal an ethic incompatible with your workplace culture, is firing permissible?
What if it was a senior associate expressing views that homosexuality is wrong or that "Muslims" are a backward people (both of which are actual examples from my personal legal career) should someone be fired for disagreeing? Does it show that they don't work well in the firm hierarchy? I know that when personally faced with ignorant views I have both said nothing and said something. In both cases I felt like a moron afterwards.
"I can't believe I let him get away with comparing homosexuality to pedophilia. I'm such a loser."
"I can't believe I just told the partner that not everyone agrees that Columbus is a national hero. You eeedddioooott!"
Free speech in the workplace is a touchy thing.
But in the end I think the key is to find a workplace where you feel comfortable being who you are and saying what you think.
So Shearman may have just done this kid a favor in getting him a headstart in his search for the right firm fit.

OK "favor" may be an overstatement.


Conservative Marilyn O'Grady, seeking to unseat New York's senior Senator Chuck Schumer, is calling for a boycott of the Boss.

O'Grady made a shocking splash during this morning's newscycles as broadcasters and viewers heard for the first-time that Schumer's re-election bid was being contested.

Who knew?


Disparity between the haves and the have nots widens.

The growing disparity is even more pronounced in this recovering economy. Wages are stagnant and the middle class is shouldering a larger tax burden. Prices for health care, housing, tuition, gas and food have soared.

The wealthiest 20 percent of households in 1973 accounted for 44 percent of total U.S. income, according to the Census Bureau (news - web sites). Their share jumped to 50 percent in 2002, while everyone else's fell. For the bottom fifth, the share dropped from 4.2 percent to 3.5 percent.

Monday, August 16, 2004


FBI agents interrogating protesters in advance of the Republican National Convention.

"The message I took from it," said Sarah Bardwell, 21, an intern at a Denver antiwar group who was visited by six investigators a few weeks ago, "was that they were trying to intimidate us into not going to any protests and to let us know that, 'hey, we're watching you.' ''

The unusual initiative comes after the Justice Department, in a previously undisclosed legal opinion, gave its blessing to controversial tactics used last year by the F.B.I in urging local police departments to report suspicious activity at political and antiwar demonstrations to counterterrorism squads. The F.B.I. bulletins that relayed the request for help detailed tactics used by demonstrators - everything from violent resistance to Internet fund-raising and recruitment.

In an internal complaint, an F.B.I. employee charged that the bulletins improperly blurred the line between lawfully protected speech and illegal activity. But the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, in a five-page internal analysis obtained by The New York Times, disagreed.

Only in John Ashcroft's America.


Beaten by...the U.S....I mean Puerto Rico. What's the deal? Does Puerto have its own passport? Army? Why are they fielding a team against the U.S.?????????????????

Alleged McGreevey Lover is Straight

Golan Cipel tells Israeli newspaper that he is straight and had no idea the Governor was gay.

The Israeli man at the center of New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey's planned resignation over a gay affair said in an interview published Sunday that he is straight and initially had no idea his former boss is a homosexual.

Of course, this leaves a number of questions:

1) Will all the people who said it didn't matter that McGreevey was gay, just that he had hired his lover to fill an important position for which he was unqualified, now stop calling for McGreevey's immediate resignation? I mean, if Cipel says he's straight and never had an affair with the Governor, then McGreevey's mistress...(er mister) must be someone else unrelated to the state payroll.

2) If Cipel did have an affair with the Governor, but is now lying about it, how credible are his sexual harrassment claims?

3) If he isn't gay, does Cipel now have a viable cause of action against every single newspaper and broadcaster who named him as McGreevey's gay lover?

Friday, August 13, 2004



Despite the findings of both a judge and the immigration board, John Ashcroft has personally ensured that a 20-year-old Haitian man remain imprisoned for almost 2 years in order to "
send a message" to other Haitians about coming to the U.S.

Senator Specter urged Mr. Ashcroft to consider a policy in which the Justice Department would address cases like Mr. Joseph's on a less sweeping, "more individual" basis, which would enable officials to determine whether there was any real basis for concern about terrorism.
Mr. Ashcroft was unmoved. He told Senator Specter: "Sometimes individual treatment is important. Sometimes it's important to make a statement about groups of people that come."

My PG rating does not allow me to speculate what that statement is exactly.

McGreevey's Choice

I admit it. I am obsessed with Jim McGreevey's announcement yesterday.
I've listened to his speech 20 or 25 times already. I have watched it about 5 or 6 times. I channel surfed from pundit to pundit and scanned the blogosphere for reaction. (Damn you, hammock man.)

It was the words: "I am also here today because, shamefully, I engaged in an adult consensual affair with another man, which violates my bonds of matrimony" what got me.

I mean: "also"? Really? "I'm gay, my marriages have been shams to please the Church and my family. Thank You, good night...oh, wait, one more thing..."

"Adult consensual"?

Was this a dig at the Church?

Oh, but the whole speech, the whole wonderful 6 minutes 19 second speech should etched in marble for all eternity.

But what of the man?

From reports, it looks like he has been blackmailed for some time by his former lover Golan Cipel. Seems Golan overplayed his hand when he asked for five million bucks in order to keep his mouth shut. Now, with the proverbial golden goose dead, he'll either have to go ahead with his lawsuit or head for the hills to avoid prosecution -- I actually think he'll head for the hills.

Republicans have been quick to call for McGreevey's immediate resignation -- purportedly because New Jerseyans have "the right to choose!"
But of course, they did choose.
They chose McGreevey and nothing happened yesterday to negate that choice. The argument that he gave Cipel a job that he didn't deserve or that he's a sexual harrasser are simply untimely, one is too late (they should have called for his resignation or at least an investigation into that two years ago when it happened) the other too soon (no case has been filed, and once it has been, it'll be years until it plays itself out.)

McGreevey's stepping down was his choice -- he could have just as easily declared he wouldn't seek re-election, instead he chose to wrap things up in the least disruptive manner. "Governor says he's gay and is leaving effective 5 p.m. -- let the campaigning begin at dusk" would have been irresponsible.

The more interesting choice belongs to Dina McGreevey. One I'm sure she has been mulling for days. Should I stay or should I go and when?

Yesterday she stood there, stone faced, and held his hand through his big announcement.
I wonder if he was there holding her hand as she went for an AIDS test.
I wonder if he was there with her when she told her parents, her friends.
"My husband's truth is that he is a gay American," doesn't trip lightly on the tongue.

My favorite moment of the speech was near the end, he says:

I am required to do now - to do what is right to correct the consequences of my actions and to be truthful to my loved ones, to my friends and my family and also to myself.

Right after he says "myself" - his face breaks into the biggest smile I've ever seen during a political resignation speech. He had found relief.

I just hope that one day Dina will also find that happiness.

By D.K. Summers


Denizens of the Sunshine State breathed a little easier knowing that Democratic nominee John Kerry would arrive off the Florida coast early this afternoon to head off "Charley" before he hit the mainland.
"Thank God someone is willing to take the fight to the hurricane, before it hits us here at home," said Emma Mae Dubrock, 56.
Advisers said that when Kerry heard that "Charley" would hit the U.S. this weekend, instinct took over.
"He was on the phone instantly. He contacted the living members of his swift boat crew, and before we knew it, they had taken off," Stephanie Cutter said.
"That man is the real deal," she added.
Other Kerry advisers were less enthusiastic about his trip.
"I thought he was just milking that whole Vietnam swift boat stuff to get elected; but it looks like he may very well be suffering some post-tramatic thing. What's he going to do when he realizes he's navigating himself into a hurricane?"

John Kerry and crewmates head to Florida to face Charley.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


McGreevey didn't support gay marriage.


After two wives and two daughters, he admits on the National stage:

"My truth is that I am a gay American."

What's the over/under on how quickly his wife files for divorce?

I hope he spends the next four or five months being the best darn gay Governor he can be.


Gov. Jim McGreevey to resign.

Via Drudge (but subsequently confirmed by reputable sources)

Governor James E. McGreevey of New Jersey will announce today at 4 p.m. that he is not seeking re-election, and possibly that he will resign soon, people close to the governor said.


Say 'NO!", then Go and Tell Someone You Trust


P. Albinus, New York, New York: "Hi. I voted for Al Gore in 2000 and I plan to vote for Bush in November. Why? The war on terror. Bush may be too conservative for my tastes but he gets the war and the fact that we have an enemy that wishes us ill. Kerry, I'm not so sure."

They know not what they do.

Get on the trolley people. Do you understand that if re-elected, Bush will be President until JANUARY 2009???????????????????????????????????????

TWO THOUSAND NINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pass the pepto.


Happy Anniversary of the last Major League Baseball strike.

Are there really people who are still mad about it?


Yes, there are.


California Supreme Court voids San Francisco's gay nups.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

UPN doesn't have to pay a fine for the slayer's romp with Spike.

Taking the 'Am' out of 'American'

Chris Matthews has a prediction: "I don't think it'll work. Americans aren't about being small."

He said it in response to news that the USOC had asked athletes to be gracious in victory, inconspicuous in the village and all around good invisible citizens of the world; All in all the athletes have been instructed to "tone down" that all that crazy national pride.
One athlete took that to mean act Canadian:

As for political statements, countries have been politely warned to keep them to a minimum. Some, such as representatives of the United States of all places, are doing their best to not be noticed. One American athlete walking through the international zone of the village asked if he could buy my Maple Leaf hat.

"Why?" I inquired.

"Because we don't want anyone to know we're American."


You know how moms always tell their daughters: "I love you, but I don't like you very much?" No? Just mine...what about the beatings with an electrical cord while standing nude in the shower, that happened in every American household, right?
Ok, nevermind, this is not about my 'Party of Five' childhood.
Well, that's how I feel I about G. Dub, but in reverse. I hate him, but I like him.
Policies: whacked.
But there's something about him that I like: namely that he and I went to the same college.
Yep, knowing that G Dub sat in the New Haven rain barking like a dog as the Yale "football" team mixed it up with some Ivy league rival or that he filed into Commons wearing a jacket and tie to listen to 18 straight hours of a cappella music all warms the chambers of my heart.
There's this story that William Coffin, Yale's chaplain once said to the freshman Bush: "Yeah, I know your father. He lost to a better man," about Bush pere's Senate seat defeat.
The dejected son, retreated into the halls of his fraternity and found his niche among the hard drinking, hazing set, eventually becoming President (of the frat, not the U.S...oh, wait...).
I think every Yalie has the story of a figure of authority telling them something that crushes their little high school persona, only to reemerge victoriously as a member of Yale's elite secret society world four years later.
I met George Pataki at a Yale football game -- he was chilling in the stands with his college roommates and I remember thinking how cool: The Governor of New York must have gotten his face blown off by the Phelps gate wind tunnel or slid down Science Hill, too. I didn't vote for him (and I told him so), but I felt a connection to him.
And the same goes for G. Dub. (Thankfully, Joe Lieberman was on the ticket in 2000, it would have been impossible backing the goat sucker over Old Blue).
I bet he got wasted and puked at the Pierson inferno; ok, I bet he got wasted and puked during History 383, but that's neither here nor there.
For four years I walked around on streets and blades of grass that he tread before and he too trailed in blazes lit by John Kerry and his dad before him.
Barbara is my favorite Tied-For-First-Daughter.
Anyway, Ken scared me pretty bad today with the thought of President Cheney and so I'm feeling very protect-George-Bushish right now.
I know he's a bad, bad man -- but he went to Yale, so cut him some slack.


"Robert Novak, Douchebag of Liberty"

-Jon Stewart on Novak's "Veterans Against Kerry" column

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Oops, I mean Kobe Bryant's accuser has gift wrapped her motive to lie and delivered it to Bryant's defense team on a silver platter.

But it's not about the money.


When you are blogsurfing and come across a post which thanks you for doing something you didn't remember you did. And then you realize, it happened yesterday.

Last night I did indeed attend my first improv viewing in four years. It was fairly short -- about an hour -- so perhaps that's why it slipped my mind.

Asphnxma's analysis was dead on: the show was mediocre, but his group was less worse. Improv is a hit-or-miss proposition. The chances that six or seven people will be able to create comedy out of the word "raspberry" without a script or any brainstorming, is slim to none (and slim just took the last bus out of town...).

Yesterday's show began with that irritating, locker room bum rush to the stage. You know, the one where the improv troop -- which usually consists of an incredibly high number of fat, bald guys --runs up to the stage whopping and hollering and then give each other high fives, so that it seems all "high energy", but instead they end up grabbing their knees and panting out of breath because the only regular exercise they get is pulling wedgies out of their butts?
Then it got igry. (A while ago, Rick's Cafe introduced the word "igry" to the world. ) For instance:
"I got a job at dairy queen."
"Yeah, you know their policy about drinking. They allow it."

"We have four kids."

Or something like that.
Then there were the flubs, like in the sketch about a father trying to teach his son to smoke, the players lost track of the cigarette. Or when the girl picking strawberries and putting them in a basket, would forget she was supposed to be holding a basket or the guy says "Hi, my name is Benjamin" and then a minute later another character calls him Billy.

But generally, I like improv -- especially when it's done well. There were two really funny guys (incidentally, all the women sucked) and there were some funny one-liners. A couple of times I thought of funny lines and made myself laugh out loud...there was one scene where a couple is telling the groom's parents that they are going to have a baby. For some reason the bride was played by a man, so I thought they were supposed to be a gay couple. The mother, visibly upset that the bride isn't Jewish, thrusts a tray in front of "her" and says "This is Matzah." She then cries on the father's shoulder. He then, in my imagination says "Well, do you plan to raise the baby Jewish...or gay." That made me laugh out loud, so I don't really know what he really said.
Then there was this other scene where five guys wake up together and no one remembers what happened and one guys says "man, I feel like I've been hit with a truck." In my imagination, one of the other guys looks at his pants and says"wow, I haven't heard it called that in years."
Oh, wait, this is a PG blog... nevermind.


That Colin Powell will endorse John Kerry.

How do you stop an elephant from charging?

I was 18. It was late fall in New Haven. The air was crisp, the leaves had turned that shade of golden red that precedes the depressing brown of early winter. I was riding a blue bicycle I had purchased from a three-fingered vagrant three weeks prior. My dark blue Yale sweatshirt identified me as easy prey.
I looked up to see a cloth covered table advertising an ATT Universal Card. And a free T-shirt.
I stopped pedaling. The bike easily breezed past the table and I began turning the bike around. (The brakes never quite worked properly, so stopping wasn't an option. Actually, the inability of the bike to stop once in motion, led to it being named "Forrest," after Gump. I did mention I bought Forrest for 20 bucks from a three fingered vagrant, right?)
When I was a few inches from the table, I put my leg down and began the hopping brake process until we were stopped in front of the table.
"Hi there. Are you interested in applying for a card?"
"Do I get a T-shirt?"
"Yes, and a frisby."
I began filling out the one page form.
When I reached the box inquiring about income, I did some quick calculations...My library job paid $6.75, I worked ten hours a week, carry the one...uh...$6000.
I handed him back the clipboard.
He frowned.
"Well, for income...how much is tuition at Yale?"
"28,000 dollars."
"OK. We're going to put that down for income. I mean you come up with that somehow, right?"
"He scratched out the $6,000 that I had written and changed it to $28,000.
I collected my frisbee and T-shirt, stuffed them in the front basket on my bike and headed home.
Six weeks later, my brand spanking new credit card was waiting for me in the mail.
I activated the card and immediately set about "testing it." (You know, to see if it worked.)
Now, being the mature, intelligent, knowing-the-meaning-of-hardwork-and-the-value-of-a-dollar, young woman that I was, I wasn't going to run out and buy something I didn't need.
No, sir.
So after thinking long and hard -- I realized that what I needed was a bike helmet.
In fact, it would be irresponsible not to buy a bike helmet.
Minutes later, Forrest and I were off to the bike shop, after doing my patented "U-turn hopping stop," I walked my bike inside. Twenty minutes later I left with a purple helmet, a bike cable and steel-iron bike lock, all of which cost more than the bike.
But I wasn't thinking about all that.
I had walked into a store with no money, walked out with goods and no police were involved.
My credit card worked!
Only recently have I come to realize how well it worked: for the on-campus salesman who signed me up, for the credit card company, for the bike shop, for my employers since I would have to work many more hours now to keep up with the spending and interest charges.
Last year credit cards were "working" to the tune of $1.98 trillion dollars in consumer debt. At the same time, factor in no meaningful job growth, shrinking salaries and costs of living and you've got a recipe for financial disaster.
I know many ridicule the idea of "two Americas," but there certainly are people who use credit cards and people who get used by credit cards.
The one benefit from airlines miles and cashbacks, while the other pays nearly 50 dollar fines and 30 percent interest rates.
I remember talking to a friend of mine about how her parents paid her yearly tuition on a credit card so they would get free airline tickets.
"But isn't the interest ridiculous?"
"No, they pay off the whole thing when the bill comes."
At the time I wondered why they wouldn't just write a check. But of course, now I understand that if you have the money to pay off the bills at the end of each month, credit cards are wonderful things.
The kind people of Chase and Mastercard will give you interest free loans, donate to your alma maters, and send you on trips around the world. But only if you have the money. Is it any wonder that American Express --with it's requirement that you pay off your entire balance --- became the card of "privilege."
For the less privileged, the cards are financial traps. You can buy things that you can't afford, but know that you will then never be able to afford the things you buy. Fast food restaurants in East Coco Beach now accept credit cards. You can use then for online purchases, doctor's visits, clothes, shoes, movies, you name it, you can borrow money to pay for it.
By the time I graduated college, I owned thirteen credit cards. While none were ever maxed out, all but a few had balances on them. Of course, contrary to my application, I didn't have $28,000 a year.
No, I had to come up with the money to pay back the cards, the same way I paid for college -- borrowing.
I took cash advances on one card to pay others. I ignored some for months at a time. Many had levied late fees against my account for upwards of $20 a month, all had significant finance charges and since I used the cards for cash advances -- near-usurious fees were charged on the money I took out.
Chase put a block on my card. Stores started declining my application for their name brand cards.
I was lucky though, and managed to secure a job paying $13 dollars an hour that summer, and every dime I earned went to the credit cards.
Although instinctively I knew that I needed to pay off the balances, I went about the task all wrong. Instead of paying down the highest interest rate cards, I paid off the ones with the lowest balances, so I could see my progress.
I would pay the whole balance on one card, even if it meant paying nothing on the others. Then I would get hit with more late fees and more interest charges.
I did it wrong, but I did it.
And by summer's end, I had cancelled seven cards and only owed money on two of the remaining 6. (Cancelling was also a mistake since your credit score depends on the length of time you've have a particular card.)
During law school, I took a job temping at firm's on the night shift in order to pay down the balances on those cards.
Two years later, after interning at a corporate law firm for more money than I had earned during my whole life, I paid off the final $600 that I owed to Chase.
I never again carried a balance on a credit card.
Ironically, I started my legal career as a bankruptcy lawyer. And fact is that's where many people end up. Day after day I would see families whose financial life were in ruins after years of living on borrowed money. Credit card debt is quicksand. It looks like a solid way to go, until you realize that over the years you've been sinking inch by inch. I've come to realize that Forrest had the right idea -- when you see someone hawking a new credit card: complete with no annual fee, a low APR and a free T-shirt, don't stop.

Monday, August 09, 2004


Jetblue thinks I'm going to pay $329.20 to fly Las Vegas for the weekend. HAHAHAHHAHAHA


Man, talk about getting the big kiss-off.


"The GOP convention here is going to be a zoo though. Talk about hostile territory .. I guess Fallujah was booked."

-Person whose permission I did not ask before publishing.

Hi, Ku in three parts

Hey, have you ever
seen a plane fall from the sky?
Nor have I

Hey, have you ever
seen a plane fall from the sky?
Well, stand by

Hey, have you ever
Seen a plane fall from the sky?


Brain no worky.

Go read Iocaste.

Although I don't know how I feel about anyone who is able to be so witty at 8:05 on a Monday morning.

Still here?

Go there.

But come back later.

Friday, August 06, 2004


According to CNN, he was found dead in his home. He was 56. Sad, after being used in the most famous Chappelle show punchline, he seemed poised for a comeback.


Reality show pits immigrants against one another for ultimate prize: a green card.

A Little Bit Rock and Roll

Stuart Cove knows sharks. The world-renowned shark whisperer is probably the most-sought after expert in the area (especially when Hollywood wants to use the finned-ones to scare our pants off.) When asked how to survive a shark attack, his answer was "Stay still. Don't grab the sharks. If they bump into you, don't push them away." As I read that advice I immediately thought of Peggy Noonan. And laughed. You see shortly after 9/11/01 Noonan wrote a column (which I've written about before, it was that memorable.) where she retold the story of a man and his wife honeymooning in Australia.
They were swimming in the ocean, when they spotted a shark and it was headed straight for the wife, so the man quickly intercepted it and punched the shark in the face.
Peggy loves this part: He punched the shark in the face! Brilliant.
Of course, and now you don't have to be Stuart Cove to guess this, the shark killed the man.
Upon first read, and the subject of my first post, I focussed on the people the man left behind, was it worth it to punch the shark and be killed?
Now it turns out, the man, for all the machismo of the story, had done the very wrongest of things.
Lately there's been a lot of meta political blogs (particularly on that other side of the political aisle.) about how hard it is to be a Republican in a sea of liberal Democrats. The persecution, fear of discovery, angst.
Please, go read them all if you, for a moment, don't believe that Republicans are people too. Yes, they are everywhere, even at Yale, in the law and in Hollywood.
If you cut them, they will bleed. Don't cut them.
Now, throw in the obligatory "some of my best friends are" line (certainly most of the bloggers I read everyday) and we're done with the intro before the big BUT. (Not my big butt mind you, which would merit an entirely different intro...although a shark did try to eat me once and was probably attracted to my big butt, so maybe I would re-use some parts of this intro to tell that story...)
I am not a Republican, but for a few misguided moments in my youth I've never beem Republican or a conservative. I don't think I've ever attacked someone for being a Republican either though.
You wanna work for Dole/Kemp?
Knock yourself out, don't forget to bring back some milk. I also don't get the sense that most Democrats or liberals hate Republicans to the extent that all this meta political blogging about "being a Republican but still being cool" suggests. (In fact, most liberals are too busy yelling at the Democrats, to even pay attention to the other party. Lord knows, we have our own problems.) Republicans, Conservatives, right-wingers are wrong on the issues plain and simple. And let's face it, no one ever became a Republican to help people and feel good.
It's inherent in subscribing to a political ideology of government whose main point is to minimize the importance of government, except for taking time out to kill criminals and legislate morality.
Case in point: Imagine a company that sells rancid milk. A Republican would say, so be it. The company sells the milk, the marketplace buys it once, realizes "man, that was rancid" and then doesn't buy that milk again. Either the company will respond to that buy selling good milk or going out of business. Done and done.
But now supposes a two year old drinks that milk and because he already has an underdeveloped immune system, the vomiting and sickness leaves him in a vegatative state. No insurance company will pay for that kind of long-term care. His parents have two other kids to support and they can't afford to pay for it. Can his parents relinquish parental rights for the two-year-old to the state, so that the government pays for his care? Hell no, says the Republican, "replace government with tax-payers." why should the tax-payers pay for sick boy?
Well, what if the parents sue the milk company?
"Damn trial lawyers and their suing for every little thing, that's what's wrong with America today."
Mom just found out she's pregnant, no way can they afford another -- "Don't you finish that sentence, baby killer."
But if the boy's father hunts down the milk company's CEO, and shoots him dead. Before the gun has stopped smoldering, the Republican wants him in custody and strapped to a gurney to await the "pinprick" that'll end his life.
"Wait, diminished capacity! Temporary insanity"
Humbug, that's just sleazy defense lawyer talk to help killers get away with crimes. If that company had been importing its cows from the Netherlands and the ship is attacked by Syrians envious of all that high-faluting American milk, the Republicans will call for us to attack Syria (or Iraq, sorry, couldn't resist) posthaste.
And so on.
Rather than using government money (or taxpayer dollars) to employ more safety inspectors to certify our food or to pay for long-term healthcare for the disabled (which are really the costs that can tank a family's financial situation), the Republicans say build weapons -- big ones -- to protect us (otherwise, we want the money in our own pockets.)
I enjoy reading conservative blogs and meeting with conservatives because I enjoy politics and policy debates (hey, if Schmari can admit to buying V on DVD, I too can proudly wear my dorkiness on my blog.)
In fact, I'm the first one to tell Democrat-in-name-only people, hey, you might want to consider being a Republican. They don't have horns or pray to satan or anything. I've checked.
But for me, I don't want to pay for my own security, or fire fighting or my own streets and paved roads, private school costs an arm and a leg and lord knows colleges are going to start requiring a mortgage on more than just the student's future. I don't want to decide between going to the doctor or which of the prescriptions to fill because they all have hefty co-pays.
So if there's some way -- say maybe we choose a bunch of people whose job it will be to figure out how to provide all those things, and we pay some dues -- maybe say a percent of what we have -- so that they can pay firefighters to put out fires for everybody, make sure hydrants work and so. I'm all on board.
It amazes me that people who were complaining that the services sucked, then wanted their taxes cut. Hello. There is a connection.
Karol always says I am an American loving liberal. I guess by implication she is suggesting that most liberals don't love America. I think she's wrong. I think liberals love America and in particular the things about America that are uniquely American -- the civil liberties, the crazy freedom of expression, the cultural diversity, the charity, its landscape, its history, its humanity. Conservatives may like those things, but but boy do they love the power, the capitalism, the shoes.
Republicans have the best sound-bites. " I don't like high taxes, big government, a foreign policy that needs to be approved by France or Russia." Or that woman who said "I'm here, I'm fiscally austere."
It all sounds good, like say punching a shark --- but sometimes the "punchy" thing, isn't the right thing to do.
All puns intended.

Thursday, August 05, 2004


"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
-President George W. Bush

Via Iocaste


In a challenge over at daily lunch, the editor and founder said that he wouldn't believe claims of a Republican hypocrisy, unless someone could show him a Republican who slammed Hillary's run for Senate, but is now embracing Alan Keyes' potential bid in Illinois.

How about listening to Keyes himself who in 2000 said:

"I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there. So I certainly wouldn't imitate her."

But rest easy, Yaron, CNN doesn't think Keyes is a hypocrite because they don't think he'll run.

I'm taking a wait and see policy on this. (Unless Drudge or the New York Post reports that Keyes is in, then I'll believe that the man is principled and will sit Illinois out.)

I got served yesterday

I never saw the movie, so what's the appropriate response? "Bring It" felt hollow and besides that, I got nothing.

In the meantime, while waiting further guidance on the re-serving protocol, we're adding the server, Schmari, to the blogroll.


Who's cooler Denis Leary or Samuel L. Jackson?


Joyce (holding an invitation I recently received): Jesse and Victoria? Are you going to a gay wedding?

Me: No. Jesse's a boy.

Joyce(audibly disappointed): Oh.

Me: Why? Do you want to go to a gay wedding?

Joyce: Well, if it's two girls, all the dresses would be gorgeous.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Ron Reagan's not voting for Bush and he's telling you why you shouldn't either.

At least he's no mama's boy.


Iraqi militants overpower kidnappers and free Jordanian hostages.

Maybe Michael Moore was right.

P.S. Is anyone else troubled that kidnappers can earn $500,000?

Bush's Blog Runs Afoul of the CIA

I know everyone reads the Onion, but I thought I'd post the story anyway.

Bush maintained that he's doing nothing wrong.

"I know so many people, but I'm way too busy to keep in touch with all of them," Bush said. "Whether I'm talking about our strategies in Gitmo or my dogs down in Crawford, the blog is an easy way to let everyone know what's been up with me. If I've just had a really good lunch at a new restaurant, or something funny happens in a briefing from the NSA, I want to let my friends and family know about it."

Thanks to the many readers who sent this in.

Don't Mess With Texas

Because 'Don't Mess With A Texas Law Professor and Her Car' won't fit on a bumper sticker.


Captain admits he took OTC and prescription medications which caused him to pass out at the controls.

He faces up to 10 years on each of 11 counts, but considering he tried to impose the death penalty on himself after the crash, I'm guessing he'll take whatever the state gives him.


is President George W. First Lady Laura Bush


When asked if Heinz Kerry's "shove it" comment was appropriate, Bush said: "It's hard when your husband's running for president. It's hard to be scrutinized and to hear the criticisms, and I think that's really what the fact of the matter is in what she said."

In the immortal words of Homer Jay: "I know kids, I'm scared too."


1. Sunday evenings depress you.

2. The quality of your work has suffered, but you don't care.

3. You arrive consistently late to work.

4. You call in sick when healthy.

5. You've become emotionally distant from your coworkers.

6. Your job has taken a toll on your mental and/or physical health to the point where friends and family have expressed concern.

7. Upon hearing rumors of layoffs, you pray, "Please, God, take me!"

8. You don't have enough work to keep busy, but lack motivation to seek new assignments.

9. Time drags and you constantly watch the clock.

10. The lights around your desk or workspace burn out frequently.

Thank goodness I don't have the energy to turn on the lights in my office...

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