Wednesday, August 30, 2006


There was this time in my life when things were really going the wrong way, and things ended up getting a lot worse before they got better. And later, when my dad died, I thought happiness was, in the logical formula sense, necessarilly no longer available to me.

I guess one of the things that makes me lucky is that I had a friend who once wrote me something that has had such an impact on my life I've never forgotten it. When I needed it, I used to read it and I needed it so much that I got to the point that I just remembered it. He was a great friend and this is what he wrote:

I too often wonder how I came to be travelling along this particular path, though these thoughts are not very productive. Through it all there is one promise I have made to myself, although I know I am no better at keeping promises to myself than are others, but that is to keep things in perspective.

I have travelled too far, read too much and seen too many to ever believe that my suffering somehow sets the standard, provides the ruler, or is the litmus test against which all other suffering should be examined.

While this does not lessen the burden I bear, it does keep things in perspective.

What I appreciate most about that whole piece is the last sentence. Knowing that other people have it worse, doesn't take away any of the struggle you might be facing. Your hurt and your pain are yours to bear and it's as simple as that. What it does do, is keep things in perspective, and sometimes that's enough to help you believe that things will get better. And that's a good thing, because they will.

The beautiful thing about friendship is, friends make life tolerable when life doesn't seem to be giving up any of the goods.

Sometimes frienship is whacking ya upside the head when ya need it.

Sometimes it's just knowing when you need some time and space.

Sometimes it's vetoing your right to time and space and dragging you out for a beer.

Whatever your idea of friendship is, I hope you know that you've got people around you who care about you and who would do anything to help you out.

...Even if they aren't good enough to be in the BBA.


As I mentioned in a post below, something happened to make a day pretty bad.

Considering the response I've received not only in comments to the post, but also in personal messages, I think it's only fair to share what caused the day to be so bad.

No, I'm not dying. Nobody else is dead. Vito is still at my side.

And I know that what's hurting me right now is by no means and in any context the "end of the world."

But it still hurts. It hurts more than I've had anything hurt me in a very, very long time.

Not only that, it made me think of something else.

I cannot write down what's causing this. It's simply something too difficult to do.

First, read this:

Then, if you're truly curious, watch the following two videos.

Part 1 at

Part 2 at

It's a total of about sixteen minutes and probably the most long-winded video I will ever do, unless I get a movie deal.

And that, as they say, is that.

I'll be just fine.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

There are good days...

...and there are bad.

Today, by far, is the latter.

So bad is it, that, in addition to my recent connectivity issues, blogging will become even more sparse.

For a while, that is. I may come to find that blogging is an excellent release. Or, I may come to find that I just don't care anymore and throw all caution to the wind and explore something else, such as becoming one of them "emo" people.

Regardless, this is what it is. Funny, because hearing something like "this is what it is" is what put me in the place I am now.

So, there you go. I may be back or I may not.

But whatever happens, I know that whatever does not kill me will make me stronger. And I know that this will not kill me, even though it feels a lot like that right now.

It's not goodbye.

It's just so long.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Quick Thought

I happened to catch a story on the news over this weekend lamenting all the trouble Lebanese-Americans living in Lebanon are going through resulting from the recent conflict with Israel.

The gist of the story was, basically, hey, these are Americans!

Of course, nobody seems to want to take note of the fact that countless Israelies immigrated from America as well.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The tremors are starting to settle

I'm sorta on an involuntary vacation from blogging. With some horrid connectivity issues of late, I'm actually sitting in a Stone Creek coffee shop taking advantage of the free wi-fi just to get this post out. It's kinda been nice, though, being away from the blogosphere and all. There's this thing called the sun I seem to recall and I've been forced to bathe more frequently. And the withdrawal is not so bad once the spasms subside.

But I'll be back as soon as all these problems are resolved. I can't do too much posting now because I'm starting to get stares from other patrons. Seriously, why are people so offended by pictures of midgets dancing in panda costumes?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Iranian Response to Danish Cartoons

It's an embarrassing day for all Iranians. Tehran, the capital of Iran, is known for its culture, heritage and, perhaps most importantly, its reputation as a place of higher learning.

Today, it represents nothing more than ignorance, hate and violence.

It's a sad day for Iran.

From the Iran Press Times:

TEHRAN The title of the show is Holocaust International Cartoon Contest, or "Holocust," as the show's organizers spelled the word in promotional material. But the content has little to do with the events of World War II and Nazi Germany.

The cartoons are among more than 200 on display in the Palestinian Contemporary Art Museum in central Tehran in a show that opened earlier this month and is to run until the middle of September. The exhibition is intended as a response to the cartoons in a Danish newspaper that lampooned the Prophet Muhammad and were condemned by Muslims as blasphemous.

"It is not that we are against a specific religion," said Seyed Massoud Shojaei, curator of the show, offering a distinction that visitors to the show are certain to question. "We are against repression by the Israelis."

Read the whole article here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Papa's Got A Brand New Gig

Papa's Social Club, host to the previous and next Drinking Right, is holding its first Papapalooza this Saturday, August 26th.

The no-cover event will feature four bands as well as a raffle to benefit the Penfield Children's Center and donations for the Hunger Task Force.

If you haven't been to Papa's yet and just can't wait for Drinking Right, this is a great opportunity to check it out, not to mention a worthy cause.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Save Nazanin

If you haven't heard of this story, now is a good time to read it. The retrial starts in 7 days, and there are currently 209,725 signatures on the petition. Maybe the viral marketing effect of blogs can help to give that number a boost.

On January 3, 2006, 18-year-old Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi was sentenced to death for murder by court in Iran after she stabbed one of three men who attempted to rape her and her 16-year-old niece in a park in Karaj (a suburb of Tehran) in March 2005. She was seventeen at the time. Iran is signatory to international treaties which forbid them to execute any one under the age of 18; however they continue to do so.

Learn more about the case and sign the petition here.

The Other Half

I was standing at the corner of Wisconsin and Water this afternoon when I overheard a conversation a gentleman that appeared to be in his sixties was having. All I caught was:

"When a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps gives you an order, you follow that order, Lance Corporal!"

I would have loved to hear the other half of that conversation.

The next D.R.

Details on the next Drinking Right are up.

As our hosts at Papa's Social Club were so great last time, it only seems right to hold it there once again. So long as they love having us, we'll love being had. Or, something like that.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

WI government at its finest

Wis. Detour Sends Drivers 50 Miles Away
The Associated Press

GREEN LAKE, Wis. - A detour that bypasses road work near this popular
vacation spot sends motorists more than 50 miles out of their way, even though
there's a five-minute alternative nearby.

The construction work is being done about 10 miles west of Green Lake,
on a 10-block stretch of state Highway 23 in Princeton.

Locals avoid the construction by taking legal shortcuts through
Princeton's downtown, about a five-minute trip.
But those who follow official
signs travel a circuitous route spanning about 50 miles along state Highways 73,
21 and 49.

The official detour is long, but it's the best way to divert non-local
traffic around the construction zone, said Kevin Garrigan, Department of
Transportation manager for the project.

A detour using county highways would be shorter, he said, but many of
those highways weren't built under state standards for lane widths and shoulder

Also, not all county highways can safely handle higher traffic levels,
he added.


[h/t Fark]

Monday, August 14, 2006

Why write in Casper?

I think this says it all.

Back in the Saddle

I'm back from my short stay up nort' and for me vacation officially comes to a close at 8:30 am tomorrow. I'm not yet in full blogger mode, but having spent three hours on the road yesterday a few things ran through my head I figured I'd take a shot at.

  • First off, I was surprised to find that I could still pick up WTMJ just north of Green Bay on Thursday and was able to catch the closing remarks from the Bucher/Van Hollen AG debate. Based on that alone it seemed like it might have gone well. Only a few moments later Jeff Wagner's commentary proved me wrong. Fortunately I was able to hear more of the debate replayed Sunday evening. I realize there's been plenty of blog reaction since then, but here's my take: I'm happy I'm not a Republican but rather a conservative. Not only did these two embarrass themselves but the party as a whole. While their qualifications may be respectable, if I were in a position of choosing between one of these two for a job I'd be throwing an ad up on post haste. Their behavior and short-sightedness painted them both as men more interested in selfish advancement than selfless service. As Wagner said, the true winner of the debate was whoever wins the Democratic primary. If you ask me, it's just one more reason to write in Casper.

  • Speaking of writing in Casper, while in Crivitz I couldn't help but notice there's a race going on for Marinette County Sheriff. Sitting in what is arguably the finest supper club in the area, I mentioned to the owner and bartender that I'm running as a write-in candidate for whomever will have me, and being the sheriff in this part of the state is probably the closest I'll ever get to fulfilling my fantasy of being an Andy Taylor-like sheriff in a town like Mayberry. Let's just say I think I got another two votes.

  • William Clement over at View From the Cheap Seats recently provided his professional opinion on crappy drivers. While I'm far from being a professional driver, I've driven all over this country both for work and play, and I have to second Bill's notion, particularly after driving over 300 miles in the last few days. There's simply no reason I should have been traveling at five miles under the speed limit in the left-hand lane because two cars chose to do 60 mph right along side one another for ten miles. Nor should I be passing cars while driving in the right-hand lane. Nor should I have to repeatedly brake in the middle of nowhere when there isn't an exit for twenty miles in either direction. And it's not like I was a lead foot; I was typically doing about 72 mph. Eventually I gave up and set the cruise control at around 63 (in the right hand lane) just so I wouldn't have to consistently deal with idiots.

  • I've finally come to accept that an appreciation for country music is truly about being in the country and has nothing to do with being in the South. As one friend put it this weekend, the constant isn't what part of the country you're from but the shared experience of living in a double-wide, having a three-legged dog and losing both your pick-up and girlfriend in a single day. I've also learned that when people karaoke country music they're either really really good or really really bad. In between simply doesn't exist.

  • Finally, regarding my write-in candidacy, there will be a couple of announcements in the coming days. If you've gotten this far into the post that means your attention span is long enough to be interested once they're made. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

When Radio Personalities Attack

I thought I'd seen a cat fight go nasty before, but the one going on between Mark Belling and Steve "The Homer" True really takes the cake.

Belling decided on Thursday to thrash Homer and Marquette for the University's decision to go with WAUK-AM as opposed to WISN-AM for basketball coverage. In typical Belling-tirade fashion, his comments escalated like the crescendo of a Beethoven symphony. Here are the highlights:

"As you know, the Marquette play-by-play guy, Steve 'The Homer' True, has been a Marquette whore for 10 years and has altered his positions and thrown softballs at Marquette, and defended them for years and years and years even if in the face of idiotic decisions," Belling said. "So they go to a station where they know that the on-air talent is going to defend their every move and get off the station where the on-air talent, like me, was critical of them.

"In return, however, in exchange for getting this money and going into a station where the on-air talent consists largely of a bunch of whores, they are going to have a much lower profile in the community.

"So we wish Marquette the best of luck as they go into the black hole of local radio," Belling said. "They get what they want - a station they can control, even if it has no listeners and a play-by-play guy who is just a whore."

Vintage Belling. Accordingly, Homer made his rebuttal on Friday. He claims Belling used the word "whore" intentionally, and cited Belling's unwillingness to let other personalities have bobbleheads or cruises as evidence of Belling being nothing but a fraud.

Most harsh, perhaps, was the Victors quip at the end. Ouch.

"Mark Belling has made a career out of saying he will tell the truth while everyone else is selling out. So while he will say publicly that I am a whore, he will privately. . . (try to) see that the whore remains at his radio station. He also speaks as a defender of competition and free enterprise. Open discussion of ideas, publicly. Privately. . . he is exactly the opposite, as any fraud is.

"The Mark Belling cruise - no one else at his station can have a cruise. Why? Because Mark Belling says so. He can be the only one that has a cruise. That, of course, by the edict of free enterprise and open competition.

"Now, I wish his station success without Marquette and no ill will here. I want to emphasize that. . . I assume since he is on the air he can't hear (what I've said), but you can e-mail him or visit him at Victor's every night."

I wonder if Belling is going to key Homer's car this week, or if Homer is going to teepee Belling's house. That would be awesome! I'll be sure to tune in to see if any more fireworks fly. This is better than daytime tv.

Mike Wallace Interview with Ahmadinejad

Mike Wallace was able to interview Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the presidential palace in Tehran. CBS has clips of it available here. The interview in full will be broadcast tonight on "60 Minutes" at 6 pm.

Some highlights:

Speaking about President Bush's failure to answer his 18-page letter that criticized U.S. foreign policy, Ahmadinejad said, "Well, (with the letter) I wanted to open a window towards the light for the president so that he can see that one can look on the world through a different perspective. … We are all free to choose. But please give him this message, sir: Those who refuse to accept an invitation will not have a good ending or fate.

Wallace has a web exclusive piece discussing the experience available on the site. I couldn't grab a direct link, but it's worth watching if you can find it.

Ahmadinejad also has a blog. You can see it here.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

That's Just Sick

In my last post, I was trying to be nice, but after reading this article, it's occurred to me that some football fans in Wisconsin are just sick.

A video titled "Baby Badger" has been made for toddlers to brainwash, errr...I mean, to teach them how to be a Badger fan. The video, it should be noted, is not just sports related. There are educational elements:

Toddlers can learn how to spell "Bucky," just as kids do on public television. And numbers play a factor in the video - though in a strange, athletic sort of way.

For instance, in "Baby Badger," toddlers learn to identify numbers with former Badgers football greats such as defensive back Jamar Fletcher (2) and quarterbacks Brooks Bollinger (5) and Mike Samuel (10), all of whom are seen in moments of football glory.

There are also colors to learn: red and white.

So there you have it. Raise your baby the Badgers way! Then, when he or she graduates at the top of their class, the disappointment will be that much greater when they don't get accepted. At least, that's what I hear is the case with UW admissions.

Packers, Packers, Packers

For some, today is a day much anticipated. The Packers will have their first pre-season game tonight at 9. Being a native FIB, the whole Packers craze usually passes me over, like someone sloshed lamb's blood on my door. Nevertheless, you can't live in Wisconsin and not be effected by the Packers madness.

So, for those of you who are all about Packers, there's a new website you may want to check out.

Packers Radio Network.

Enjoy. Now I've done my nice thing for Packers fans this season.

That said, Go Bears!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Kane Watch: Gas Prices Affect Everyone

I know it's run-of-the-mill writing for Gene to lump inner-city people and everyone else into the same respective economic categories, but this time I've had it.

Kane's article today, "For poor, gas prices more than annoyance," really hit the head on this guy's bigotry. For example, Kane writes:

Many low-income residents in Milwaukee struggle with high gas prices to a degree that doesn't really resonate with the rest of the area. Filling a gas-guzzling SUV or minivan for driving to work in the city and home to the suburbs is a legitimate ordeal for many readers, but don't forget the plight of a single mother in Milwaukee working a minimum-wage job who still needs her car to make appointments and maintain her livelihood.

It may behoove Mr. Kane to consider that the population of Milwaukee alone is greater than the populations of any of the surrounding suburbs. As such, comparing the situation of only those in the inner city, to only those suburbanites who also own an SUV is to eliminate most of his reading audience.

And I'd like to get another thing straight: I'm 28. I've got a mortgage, a car payment (not an SUV), my zip code is 53207, I have $40,000 in student loans and the goddamn gas prices are not just annoying me, they are forcing me to make decisions about where I go and how I spend what little discretionary income I have.

In case I didn't make that clear enough, I'd like to reiterate: I do not live in the inner city, and I don't live in a suburb. I am a "middle-class" Milwaukeean and these gas prices are crippling my budget. If Eugene Kane honestly thinks that the only people who are feeling the pains of this situation are those in the inner-city, then I have to question his ability to observe the world around him. Wake up, Gene.

I'm off

As of last Friday I'm officially on vacation until the 15th.

But tomorrow I'm heading up to the northwoods to make vacation worthwhile by actually getting the hell outta Dodge.

That means there will most likely be no posting from me until I return on Sunday.

Heck, I can't even get a cell signal up there, so I'm not depending on WiFi. In fact, I'm not even bringing my computer.

I've been meaning to post on the most successful Drinking Right to date, which took place last night at Papa's Social Club. Bunches were there, including both a political candidate and the media! And I'm not talking blogger-media, I mean real, live media! (How good a job is it that you get to go to a bar to write your stories?) But, alas, I spent most of the day recovering. There were plenty'o'cameras there, so hopefully some other attendees will have pictures up soon.

So, until Sunday, enjoy your jobs, suckers!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My Alma Matter Makes the Headlines

As a graduate of Montana State University ('01), I am used to scouring smaller publications for any kind of news on my alma matter's happenings. I guess that's why it came as quite a shock when I received several calls from friends today telling me they heard about what was going on in Bozeman. The last big news I heard was that the Rockin' R Bar went hip-hop (I still can't believe that).

In the years I lived in Bozeman, no murders were committed, the school had no reports of rape and the most violent incident that the paper reported on was a man's unfortunate encounter with a bear (or maybe that's just how I remember it). Needless to say, I still argue that Bozeman is the greatest place on the planet. The picture top left is of Montana Hall. It's our most famous building, and it makes for a damn nice photo, although now most students experience it as the place you go to pay tuition and to buy transcripts.

Anyway, this marks the second time in a short while that MSU has gone mainstream and I hate it. What I love about MSU is that it's absolutely, positively not mainstream. I still get a kick out of the townie bumper stickers that read: If you love Montana so much, go back to California. I like knowing where the fishing holes are, and I like even more knowing that tourists have to pay for that kind of information.

While I hope the Egyptian students are okay and just having a Holden Caulfield inspired experience in New York, it is my strongest hope that MSU stays out of the MSM for a long, long time.

Unless, that is, it's to celebrate another victory over the Grizzlies this fall.

Go Bobcats!! Better dead than red.

UPDATE: If you're wondering why the Middle Eastern students were invited to MSU you may read an article about it here.

Illegal Immigrants Sue Labor Contractor Global Horizons

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) A federal judge has granted class-action status to a lawsuit filed by Yakima Valley farm workers who contend a Los Angeles-based labor contractor illegally and intentionally displaced them with workers from Thailand.

The local workers, who are represented by Columbia Legal Services, allege the company violated state and federal law by intentionally displacing them with the foreign workers.

Here is where I'll point out that the 600 "local" workers who were displaced were determined by Global Horizons to be illegal aliens. I'm not joking.

So, in short, what we have here is a government that tells farmers if they hire illegal aliens it's a crime. But, on the other hand, if they fire illegal aliens it's a class-action lawsuit.

Talk about a rock and a hard place. Here's more from the story:

Attorneys for Global Horizons...argued that 264 members of the class should not be counted because they presented Social Security numbers that didn't match federal records.

The judge was said to have ruled that providing a false social security number does not prove anything about your immigration status, and thus it was improper to fire the workers by claiming they are illegal (nevermind that they lied, stole and lied again when they put those numbers on their employment applications). Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, he found that the immigration status of the workers is irrelevant at this point in the case.

Effectively, Judge Leavitt is saying that employers cannot use the immigration status of an individual when determining whether or not to hire that particular person.

The other 300 workers (the ones that didn't supply fake social security numbers) never showed up to work, Global Horizons alleges. This created the condition for the company to
import workers from Thailand under the federal H-2A guest-worker program.

What they have on their hands now, after complying with federal law that prohibits them from hiring illegal aliens is a class-action lawsuit that attacks them for firing illegal aliens.

Am I taking crazy pills here, or is this just plain ridiculous?

You can't make this stuff up

So what happens when a gas station opts to charge just over $2 a gallon but can't do so because of the state's mandatory mark-up law?

Bill Christofferson points out how silly it is to enforce the law, completely ignoring that his buddy Jim Doyle could repeal it in the first place.

I'm willing to bet Sunday dinner at the governer's mansion is going to be uncomfortable this weekend!

Kane Watch: It all makes sense now

It's no wonder Eugene Kane came flying to Kevin Barrett's defense. If you read Kane's latest conspiracy theory, you'll understand why it's so important for him to uphold one's right to blather on and on with little regard for common sense.

Nick Schweitzer sums it up best with:

So according to his theory, one oil company is just kind enough to sabotage
its facilities so that all its competitors can make more money from the ensuing
rise in gas prices, while it makes less money since it has less oil to
sell. How do you envision this working Eugene? Did all the big oil
execs go to a nice hotel in the Caribbean and draw lots to see who got
to take one for the team?

I'm guessing that nowhere in the job description for Journal Sentinel Columnist does the line, "Has a strong grasp of common sense" appear does it?

Kane also makes the claim in his post that...

...if we EVER elect a president - and vice president - with such close ties to
the oil companies again, the entire country should have its collective head

Good advice, and something we should take under consideration when casting votes for the likes of Hillary Clinton or Jim Doyle. After all, lawyers have historically had reputations right up there with big oil executives.

Perception is Reality: A Preface

Kyle Duerstein at Panther Talk Live relates an event he witnessed at the State Fair where a young black male wasn't performing the job he was hired to do and pulled the race card when reprimanded for it.

By the time I got to the third paragraph in the post I knew where Duerstein was going with it, and, like him, sort of wished it had gone in the opposite direction.

I plan on getting into this in far greater detail in the near future, but for now I'm interested in hearing anyone's thoughts on this particular event. Kyle doesn't allow comments on his blog, so let the discussion take place here.

And watch for more on perception as reality coming soon.

Timetable. Timetable. TIMETABLE!!!

The next time Bill Christofferson demands answers from Mark Green (noted here), keep in mind that Jim Doyle's official spokesperson insists on providing them only on their timetable.

[h/t Patrick at Badger Blogger]

Monday, August 07, 2006

AOL Releases Search Logs of 658,000 Users

Do you use AOL? I don't know why you would, but if you do, I hope you haven't done any crazy searches lately. AOL "anonymized" the search queries of 658,000 of its users and published the results on

In the past, publicizing search queries was a hot-topic among internet geeks like myself. The Department of Justice and google got into a tangle of sorts when:

The government's original request demanded billions of URLs and two month's worth of users' search queries. Google resisted the subpoena, prompting the judge's order today.

Google was considered to have won when the judge ruled against forcing google to hand over search queries and cut down the number of URL's to 50,000.

Google's Associate General Counsel, Nicole Wong, had this to say of the ruling:

We will always be subject to government subpoenas, but the fact that the judge sent a clear message about privacy is reassuring. What his ruling means is that neither the government nor anyone else has carte blanche when demanding data from Internet companies. When a party resists an overbroad subpoena, our legal process can be an effective check on such demands and be a protector of our users.

I guess that's why it comes as such a surprise that AOL would willingly publicize the search results of its users. And, they did one better by offering three months worth of searches as opposed to the two that the government had requested from google.

Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that while in the first case it was only the government who would have access to the information, AOL published their findings to the web in the hopes that researchers would use the data set, making the information available to anyone who felt like downloading the file (Read: your HR department, any government, the police, your mom, etc.).

AOL is trying to get a handle on this PR nightmare by claiming that it was not intentional. An apology was issued today:

"This was a screw-up, and we're angry and upset about it. It was an innocent enough attempt to reach out to the academic community with new research tools, but it was obviously not appropriately vetted, and if it had been, it would have been stopped in an instant," AOL, a unit of Time Warner, said in a statement. "Although there was no personally identifiable data linked to these accounts, we're absolutely not defending this. It was a mistake, and we apologize. We've launched an internal investigation into what happened, and we are taking steps to ensure that this type of thing never happens again."

Regardless, the entire situation brings to light an entire, interesting whole new set of questions. Taking a look at some of the anonymous user's queries, you can find segments such as those belonging to 17556639:

17556639 how to kill your wife
17556639 how to kill your wife
17556639 wife killer
17556639 how to kill a wife
17556639 poop
17556639 dead people
17556639 pictures of dead people
17556639 killed people
17556639 dead pictures
17556639 dead pictures
17556639 dead pictures
17556639 murder photo
17556639 steak and cheese
17556639 photo of death
17556639 photo of death
17556639 death
17556639 dead people photos
17556639 photo of dead people
17556639 decapatated photos
17556639 decapatated photos
17556639 car crashes3
17556639 car crashes3
17556639 car crash photo

Wow. I don't know what's more disturbing there. The "steak and cheese" search placed between "murder photo" and "photo of death" or the fact that someone at AOL thought I had the right to look a that search in the first place.

I'm going to put a little spin on this, thanks to 17556639's search and throw a question to our readers: As users of the internet, do you feel that the queries you make on a public site should be considered private? Or, do you think that a company like AOL, who is in the position to spot behavior that seems indicative of criminal behavior, has an obligation to report the individuals making those searches?

Through publicizing these results, AOL has really opened a pandora's box. The bigger problem they are facing is that they did not do an excellent job of anonymizing the users.

So, if you have used AOL in the past 6 months and did searches for high school classmates, or anything that may have prompted you to put in your home address, or, heck, even if you looked up your own name, and you were one of the 658,000 users they randomly selected, odds are even with that number they gave you to make you anonymous, someone could figure out who you are and what you were doing on the internet.

Big brother, anyone?

Tim Rock: Name Caller

Timothy Rock from The Other Side Of My Mouth has a rule for his blog:

What I will not tolerate here is vile and vulgar name-calling. A fellow blogger
from the right side of the cheddarsphere left a message earlier today. To his
credit, he removed it at 5:53 am. What he doesn't realize is I have my site set
up to read all comments as e-mails additionally.

Apparently, in his mind, "vile and vulgar name-calling" is clearly defined. But I'm not sure exactly where that line is drawn.

For instance, in a post just a day later, mimicking Brian Fraley's take on Democratic events at the State Fair, Rock finds it humorous to compare conservatives to the Ku Klux Klan.

No lack of conservatives in action at the State Fair this year. Here is a
conservative schedule of far-right events at the Republican Party booth.

August 3
Come join the KKK and learn how to cut those eyeholes in the right place so
the white hood fits perfectly.

I don't know about you, but I consider the KKK to be one of the most vile and vulgar organizations in the history of the United States.

Obviously, Timmy doesn't think so.

He then goes on to respond to a comment to this post by calling someone a "clown." Granted, not necessarily vile or vulgar, but still, Mr. Rock doesn't seem to have any sort of problem with name calling in general.

Always a good way to debate, if you ask me.

As a matter of full disclosure, Ask Me Later does not condemn nor encourage name calling, you jerks.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Anything the Germans do, we can do better

Friday, August 04, 2006

You Know You're a Bad Worker

When your company can't even fire you to you face.

Termination by text message. That's rough.

Ford lets it all hang out

"We don't have a marketing problem. We have a product problem." From the new Ford web-based documentary.

Being that my daily life revolves around internet marketing, I am interested to see how the world takes to Ford's biggest ever foray into the internet universe: Bold Moves is a weekly updated video documentary series that takes you inside Ford as it attempts one of the largest corporate turnarounds in history.

If you're interested in taking a peek you can do so here:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Sleeping Lion

It is on the heads of innocent Iranis that, with some luck, a sleeping lion will arise. In the last week, two very significant student leaders have made the news. I will take a brief moment to point out that in Iran, student leaders are taken quite seriously, as it's largely due to students that the current regime finds itself in power. Given this condition, the regime is known for the hardline tactics it has taken against freedom-fighters.

Case in point, Akbar Mohammadi, died in Evin prison after he staged a protest via hunger strike as a result of being denied medical treatment. While official reports blame his death on the hunger strike, other Iranian news sources report that Mohammadi was, "tortured to death on Sunday, July 30th, 2006, by the regime's jailers."

Dr. Zin of posted an article that stated: He gave his life for freedom and will forever live on in Iranian history as a national hero.

Replicating the sentiment, the Persian Journal writes: Mr. Mohammadi will live in my heart and the hearts of all freedom loving Iranians. He will never be forgotten and his death will not be in vein. As long as our country has brave and courageous people like him the Islamic Regime will never win.

Also in the news this week is Ahmad Batebi, another student protester who participated in the July 1999 demonstration, the same that condemned Mohammadi to his fate. Worldwide, Batebi is known as the face of that protest, due to a photo that was featured on The Economist and numerous other international publications (see above).

The press did him no good, as it was used by Iranianauthoritiess to identify andapprehendd the man. Batebi spent time in prison for his participation, but was released on furlough. This Saturday he was again arrested by the regime and has been placed back in prison. Calls for his safety have been ringing out around the world.

The Iran Press News warns that, "The Islamic Republic has now specifically announced that should their nuclear dossier be voted for referral by the United Nations Security Council for sanctions in the August round of voting, that all political prisoners, whether on furlough or in prison, will be summarily executed."

Their response to that threat:

As the Islamic regime kills off Iranian patriots and freedom-fighters who fight against their tyrannical and archaic religious rule, they dole out money that belongs to the people of Iran to their terrorist flunkies. The Mullah regime cares nothing for the lives of the people of Lebanon and they are wholly responsible for creating the chaos in that hostage-country. The only reason why they are sacrificing the people of Lebanon and our own innocent patriots who are their prisoners is to buy time for their nuclear dossier and nothing else.

Tomorrow is too late."

Hopefully the MSM will begin to report on the many injustices of the Islamic Regime, and world leaders will become more educated before making statements like the "Jackass French," as it was dubbed in this article which explains: "The French foreign minister, whose government is positioning itself to play a leading part in Mideast peace efforts, has described Iran's murderous mullahs as a respected country that plays a stabilizing role in the region."

Maybe with some help, those in Iran who want to create change will find the courage to do so. Or, maybe, the regime will take one step too far. Either way, a sleeping lion lies in the heart of that country. Let's all hope he wakes up soon.

Read the New York Times take on things here.

Neighborly Concern

So I've come to notice that the neighbor two-doors-down has taken a liking to late night bonfires.

What worries me about this is not such much the fact that it's illegal to have a bonfire in city limits, but the fact that their house doubles as a funeral home....

I think I need a shower.

Insensitive American

Is it really a surprise that British theme park Alton Towers has called off "Muslim Fun Day"? Okay, maybe I'm just an insensitive American, but that headline was way too tempting.

Although in this case the event was set up by muslims for muslims, the article does beg a larger question: Just how far should a dominate culture go to accommodate a minority? Obviously, in a capitalistic society, demand will dictate the choice of supply for business owners, as was the case with Alton Towers.

Nevertheless, can an argument be made that a dominate culture should make efforts to accommodate a minority regardless of the economics?

Thoughts? Comments?

Personally, I do not think a dominate culture should be forced to make changes to accommodate foreigners/immigrants. I support the model of capitalism, but really it's a principles thing with me. I wouldn't go to France and expect everyone to speak English and to set of fireworks on the 4th of July, so why should minorities that go to other countries expect that schools will change the way basketball games are played or amend dress codes to accommodate their culture?

I guess I should point out that I'm one of those people who thinks all government documents should only be printed in English. And, I wouldn't really go to France, but that's a whole other topic. I guess I'm just curious to see how others feel on the matter.

Minimum Wage...Yeehaa!

I'm somewhat torn on the issue of minimum wage.

On one hand, I feel the market should determine the fair value of anyone's work.

On the other hand, I believe that some sort of safety net to protect those unable to adequately negotiate that fair value isn't such a bad thing.

Where it becomes troublesome to me is determining what that safety net, or minimum wage, should be. Should one be in place, it would only seem appropriate that it be occassionally adjusted for inflation. But the problem is that whenever the government considers raising minimum wage, there are those who believe it should be, in fact, a living wage.

I'm not convinced that minimum wage and living wage should be the same thing. I have a hard time getting my arms around the idea of basing what the minimum wage should be on what it takes to raise a family. At the core, minimum wage is "introductory." Anything above and beyond that is an incentive.

So I ask anyone reading this two questions:

Should there be a minimum wage?

And, if so, should it be a living wage?

(Note: click the title of this post for a good, and appropriate, listen)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

XOff hopes you're lazy

Bill Christofferson sure must think that readers of his blog are either awful lazy, not very interested in following links or just that they'll take what he has to say at face value and not bother doing any digging.

In this post, he takes great pleasure in pointing out how Paul Bucher and Mark Green chose not to reply to an ethics survey put out by Common Cause, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, and the League of Women Voters. But if you follow the link he provides and take a moment to see how others responded (or didn't), you'll quickly note that well over a hundred candidates in the state didn't bother replying to the survey, including both Democrats and Republicans.

Or course, Christofferson's non-sexual crush, Big Jim Doyle (hey...Bill's always throwing stuff like that out...why can't I?) answered all the questions.

Whatever that's worth.

Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager (episode 2)

I think the warm weather has melted my brain and left me slightly unable to come up with anything "blogworthy."

So why not check this out.

Episode 1 can be found here.

Please note that when it's 100 degrees below zero my excuse is going to be that my brain has frozen.