Rush Limbaugh, Philanthropist

I can't believe shit actually got reported like this.

Rush Limbaugh got in trouble for downing OxyContin like they were peanut butter M&M's. He was charged with "doctor shopping" to get as many as he could.

So the case has ended as follows:
Firebrand radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was charged Friday with fraudulently concealing information to obtain prescription drugs, but prosecutors will drop the charge after 18 months if Limbaugh remains in treatment for drug addiction, his lawyer said.

Limbaugh also agreed to pay the state of Florida $30,000 to help cover the cost of the investigation into the conservative radio personality's alleged "doctor shopping," a felony in Florida.

Attorney Roy Black said the deal will end a lengthy investigation into whether Limbaugh "doctor shopped," which is illegally obtaining prescriptions from multiple sources.
Agreed to pay? To cover the cost? Aw, what a nice guy. No, dickheads, IT'S CALLED A FINE!

The "deal"? Other sources have called it a "settlement agreement'. It's a goddamned PLEA BARGAIN you assholes!

Your Liberal Media, hard at work.

EDIT: Oh and just for shits and giggles, let me add the following words from Rush:
"Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. And the laws are good because we know what happens to people in societies and neighborhoods which become consumed by them. And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be
convicted and they ought to be sent up."

"What this says to me is that too many whites are getting away with drug use, too many whites are getting away with drug sales, too many whites are getting away with trafficking in this stuff. The answer to this disparity is not to start letting people out of jail because we're not putting others in jail who are breaking the law. The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too."


My Life In Cats, Part I: Kirby

When I was a little kid in Lemoore, we briefly had a dog named Max. Max was pretty much a playful, energetic mutt. Fun dog, hyperactive, and our neigborhood just could not contain him. On a regular basis he would escape our back yard and roam the streets. Soon, me and my friends were chasing Max around, trying, fruitlessly, to catch him. Max would let you catch him at a point of his choosing. Max was just too much too handle, and eventually my dad decided to take him out to a farm in the country. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "Um, Jerry, that's just what your parents told you. He probably Old Yeller'ed Max." Thing is, I went with them to the farm to drop Max off. So unless my parents were part of a grand conspiracy to protect my already sad heart, Max lived the rest of his days happily frolicking on a farm. At least that's what I choose to believe.

That was when I was like 10 or something. For the next 6 or 7 years, our household was petless. I never really thought about having any sort of pets; I was fine being a surrogate to my friend Chad's cat, T.J.

And then Kirby came.

Kirby sort just showed up in our backyard. I'd give her some food. She'd eat and be on her way. This continued on and on until one day she was just "our" cat. When it was decided that this new addition needed a name, "Tony" and "Gwynn" were the obvious top contenders, seeing how that part of my life was devoted to Tony Gwynn worship. But that seemed a little too obvious, so I went with my second favorite player, Kirby Puckett.

I never thought of myself too much as a cat person, but I took to Kirby right away. Maybe it was because she liked to ignore me, a pattern with females which follows me to this day. Kirby was sort of a mean cat to everyone, especially the occasional gopher or bird that chose to cross her path. Everyone, that is, but my dad.

That, I will never understand. No matter how much I played with her, fed her treats, or pet her, she would not hang out or sleep anywhere near me. My dad, on the other hand, made it a point not to become attached to the cat (that would change), and was rewarded with a warm cat curled up at his feet in bed every night.

I think Kirby just had a long-term charm offensive strategy, because my dad would eventually come around. If Kirby didn't come home at night, my dad would pretty obviously get stressed out, going outside in his robe and yelling for her. It was actually really sweet. Don't get all emo on me.

I think my mom liked Kirby. I know for sure she liked to cuss Kirby out in German. "Out with the filthy cat!" was a favorite, but she never really meant it. But in 1989, my mom passed away. My sister and brothers had been out of the house for years at this point, so it was just me, dad, and Kirby. I was in my senior year and had college to think about. I didn't feel right leaving my dad, and I was probably scared to be alone myself, so I decided to attend a JC about two miles from home. After two years there, I probably could have transferred to almost any college I wanted, but man, I still couldn't fathom being away from my dad. So I moved to Fresno, went to Fresno State, came home almost every weekend, and that was that.

During this time, my dad and Kirby did some serious bonding. I missed living with that ungrateful beast. Kirby, not my dad. I mean I missed him to, dammit you know what I mean. My girlfriend at the time offered to get me a cat of my own, but I felt like I'd be "cheating" on Kirby. Eventually, I would adopt another stray in Fresno (that's part II, whenever I get around to it), but Kirby was still gato numero uno.

After college, I decided to stick around in Fresno. Back in Lemoore, my dad's health was getting worse, and who could blame him? My mom was gone, and in 1994 my brother Phil passed away. My dad was never one to show a whole lot of emotion, but by this point he had pretty much been emotionally devasted. It's pretty easy for me to believe that, alone in the house that since the early 70's had been home to love, loss, happiness, sadness, yelling, cops, fights, parties, drama, calm, but never utter silence, that Kirby was his daily reminder of what once was. I know my dad was depressed those last few years, but I think without Kirby it would have been much, much worse.

So, as if to prove their bond, as my dad's health deteriorated, so did Kirby's. By this time I had moved to San Diego for grad school, and my visits went from weekly to monthly. On one of my visits, Kirby had developed a large fleshy lump on his head. She was dizzy and could not walk straight. I had to leave before I could find out what was wrong with her, but I know after a visit to the vet she had disappeared. Since his memory was going, my dad began keeping a daily diary, in which he logged things as "Still no sign of Kirby". A few days later, the entry read, "Don (my sister's husband) found Kirby". Kirby had passed away. Don buried her in the back yard.


Apology Shmology

Boy, it's really fun to try and blog once in a while while you work full time. You read something, get yourself all worked up about it, write about it, then kind of forget about it for a week, at which point you don't want to waste what you wrote, but now the story is old news. Great.

So yeah, I wrote this last week. Sue me.

Chinese President Hu Jintao made a visit to the U.S., and some shit went down. Wang Wenyi, a reporter for a Falun Gong newspaper, heckled the President, yelling "Evil people die early! Hu, your days are numbered." To President Bush, she yelled, “President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong! Stop him from killing! Stop the torture and killings! Falun Dafa is good."

"What the hell is she talking about?" you ask.

I don't really know how to describe Falun Gong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falun_Gong. To me it seems like a weird mix of yoga, Scientology, Buddhism and whatever those dudes in Heaven's Gate believed in, except without any placenta-eating celebrities. Weird and eccentric? Yeah. Dangerous? I don't theenk so.

Well, the Chinese government does think so, and in 1999 made the cult illegal and has been cracking down ever since. Falun Gong members have been beaten, sent to “reeducation” camps, imprisoned, and sent to mental institutions. Many have died while improsoned. I think Scientologists are friggin' weird, but I would never support any sort of government crackdown on them (we'll leave that job to Gawker), unless they were doing something out and out illegal.

The persecution of Falun Gong is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Chinese repression of it's citizens and political opponents. Just ask Tibet, Taiwan, and anyone in China who dares challenge or even question the political order in China (thanks Yahoo!).

So, keeping all of this in mind, what do you think President Bush's response was to the heckling by Wang Wenyi? That's right, he apologized to President Hu, and now Wenyi faces Federal charges for “harassing, intimidating or threatening a foreign official”.

Why is the president bending over backwards to protect the feelings of the leader of a country that doesn't allow political or religious freedom? Well, because money talks, motherfucker.

China has managed to keep the repressive political side of Communism. But economically, it has transformed its system into one that has more in common with capitalism than communism. Hear that? I said capitalism. To the U.S., if you embrace any sort of capitalism, then your political sins and repression can be overlooked.

You think I'm wrong? Then tell me, Dear Citizen, why don't we ever invite the head of Cuba, another Communist country, to the U.S.? Hmmm? Is Cuba more of a threat than motherfucking China? I don't theeenk so.

Now don't get me wrong, I actually think it's a good thing to have a dialogue with leaders of other countries, no matter what we think of their political system. What we shouldn't be doing is excusing their behavior and apologizing to them when they are called on their shit. We should be talking to China, but we should also be talking to Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and Hamas. We should never excuse their heinous ways, nor should we apologize if one of our citizens calls them on their shit. But we should at least talk. Let them know there is a place at the table for them should they choose to shape up, or at least get on the path towards shaping up.

Ahh...there's the rub.

Our actions of the last five years, the authorization of torture, renditioning of suspects to totalitarian regimes, secret “black site” prisons, illegal wiretapping of citizens, outing covert CIA agents, holding prisoners for years without bringing up charges, all of it combines to rob of us of any moral authority we once had.

Which leaves us sucking up and apologizing to dictators, at least those not named Fidel Castro.


<3 Harry Taylor, My Hero <3

Poor President Bush. Everywhere he goes, the handpicked, friendly audiences grill him with difficult questions. Fer Chrissakes, check out these hard questions he was forced to answer from an audience last week:
Q (Inaudible.) I want to thank you for coming back to Charlotte again. We certainly enjoyed your wife here a few weeks ago. Okay, thank you. But I just wanted not to ask a question, but just to offer you a message of encouragement. I know many men and women in this room and around our region—both Democrat and Republican—continue to pray for wisdom and encouragement for you and strength during these times. So we just want to continue to encourage you.
Q Right. And I wanted to say to you, Mr. President, that on the war on terror, Social Security, the tax cuts, Dubai Ports, immigration, you have shown immense political courage. And I really think that you will be vindicated on all of those positions, as Ronald Reagan was, for example. And also I wanted to know what else would it take for me to get my picture taken with you?
Q Yes, sir. Actually, I’m bringing a statement to you for a friend. Sahara Bozan (phonetic) is a young Iraqi woman who just came to America last year. She grew up under Saddam, and she actually worked for the U.S. forces during the war as an interpreter. I talked to her this week. She wanted to make sure that she knew—that you knew that her family that’s still there is grateful, that she thinks that even though there may be terrorists still going on, that they are safer now than they ever were before. And her goal is to one day meet you to thank you in person, because you have changed their lives. Even though we might not see that in the press, their lives are much better today than they were three, four years ago.

This pathetic display of slobbing the presidential knob went on and on, like it does in city after city. Is there anyone who can save us from this slobknobbery?

Dah-da-da-da! Yes! Our Saviour's name is Harry Taylor. Somehow he got through the screening process and actually derailed the script.

Go, Harry, it's your birfday:
Q You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that. But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food. If I were a woman, you’d like to restrict my opportunity to make a choice and decision about whether I can abort a pregnancy on my own behalf. You are—

THE PRESIDENT: I’m not your favorite guy. Go ahead. (Laughter and applause.) Go on, what’s your question?

Q Okay, I don’t have a question. What I wanted to say to you is that I—in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington, including the presidency, by the Senate, and—


THE PRESIDENT: No, wait a sec—let him speak.

Q And I would hope—I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration, and I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself inside yourself. And I also want to say I really appreciate the courtesy of allowing me to speak what I’m saying to you right now. That is part of what this country is about.
(Thanks, Thinkprogress.)


The Simple Life

Mark, my best friend, owns a home. He bought it about six years ago, just before the housing market went batshit all over the country. So he ended up gettin a pretty kick ass house for less than $100K. Sure, it's in Lemoore, but Mark likes Lemoore, so that's not really an issue. He owns his home and is happy. So leave him the fuck alone, okay?

Since the housing market exploded, everyone has become a real estate expert, not at all shy to dish out advice on what other people should be doing. Mark owns a home? One he bought at a good deal? Well, then he HAS to cash out the equity. He's be an idiot not to, right? Then he could buy another house, and rent it, and tax write-offs and blah blah blah blah. When I hear that kind of talk, the first word that comes to my mind is.....headache. Mark just wants to live in a house he actually owns and doesn't owe the bank a mind-numbing amount of money for. He doesn't want to deal with having to rent another place out, or with the maintenece and upkeep of another house. I mean, he only has one Mom (Just kidding, Mark).

Why would you want to worry about more than you have to in life? For "net worth"? Fuck all that, you greedy bastards. I'd rather sleep at night. Without ulcers.

What ever happened to just trying to live a simple, happy life? Why are we obsessed with having more, more, more? Why is it a bad thing to own your one home outright? Why am I asking so many goddamn questions?

I simply do not understand the mindset that says you are what you own. If I'm at the store, and I see an attrative woman get into a normal, perhaps even shitty car, suddenly I find her more attractive. Yeah, maybe she's really depressed at the fact she's not driving a Lexus, but I'd like to think she's just cool with a normal car, and is confident enough of her personality that she doesn't need to make a statement with what she drives. To me, the statement that an overly expensive car makes is, "I owe the bank a lot of fucking money in order to impress you with this here car that I can't even afford, and I am stressed out beyond belief with these huge car payments, but I am going to fake it, because I lack personality and need something to make me the least bit interesting."

The headaches people are giving themselves in order to keep up with the Jonses has reached a breaking point. People cannot fathom the idea of living simply (he types on his laptop from an overpriced coffee shop - yes, I can be a huge hypocrite), and once this real estate bubble bursts, it's gonna bite everyone in the ass.

I just hope I'm not supposed to feel sorry for them when it does.

This Shit Is Bananas

Well, I actually got out of the friggin' house last night and saw Sacramento's drunken lo-fi pop punk Gods, The Bananas. The acoustics of the place, The Fools Foundation, left a lot to be desired, but hey, if it sounded perfect, it wouldn't be the Bananas, now would it?

Opening was The Mothballs, from the shithole of Oakland. You should check them out. 60's influenced, Hi-Five-ish garage punk. They are really good, even if the combined weight of the band is under a buck fifty.

For the record, I know I take god-awful pictures. I'm a lover, not a photographer.


Women Are Not Objects, They Are Mathematical Formulas

Because most women already have such high self-esteem:

FEW women would claim to have the perfect bottom. But for those in need of reassurance that it is within reach, a scientist has come to the rescue by working out a mathematical formula they believe adds up to the perfect posterior.

The magical figures are (S+C) x (B+F)/T = V. Though the equation looks rather complicated, it is, according to the scientist, simple.

It assesses shape, bounce, firmness and symmetry – all factors that add up to the bottom line.

S is the overall shape or droopiness of the bottom, C represents how spherical the buttocks are, B measures muscular wobble or bounce, while F records the firmness.

V is the hip to waist ratio, or symmetry of the bottom, and T measures the skin texture and presence of cellulite.

David Holmes, a psychology lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, England, devised the formula.

He asked about 2000 women across Britain to assess their bottoms using a simple points scale.

For example, those who believed theirs resembled a trodden doughnut scored just one point for shape, whereas those with a small peach scored the maximum five.

Points were then entered into the formula and the closer a bottom scored to 80, the nearer it was to posterior perfection.

"The perfect female derriere has firmness to the touch and a resilience that prevents undue wobble or bounce, yet looks soft with flawless skin," Dr Holmes said.

"Slender thighs and a hip-to-waist ratio of 0.7 will frame the perfect bum, well perfectly."


America's Dirty Wars

It will certainly be intresting in twenty years or so to see the full extent of U.S. involvement in the 2001 failed coup against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Right now, there is a lot of suspicion, but little in the way of hard evidence. But just wait.

Always suspected, it is now, thanks to declassified documents, indistputable fact that the U.S. was implicit in supporting and abetting the 1973 coup against democratically elected Socialist Salvadore Allende in Chile (Henry Kissinger: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people”). Brazil, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Granada, the list goes on and on. The United States just cannot help itself from butting into the affairs of Latin American countries.

Now, in newly declassified documents, there is documented proof of long suspected U.S. support for the 1975 military coup in Argentina. Again, Kissinger plays the key role.
"I do want to encourage them. I don’t want to give the sense that they’re harassed by the United States," said Kissinger, even after staff aides warned of the likelihood of murder and repression.

The dictatorship in Argentina ruled from 1976-83.Under orders from the it Argentina's military waged a "Dirty War" against its population where torture, assassinations, and disappearances were used as tools of repression and control. Execution techniques included throwing drugged, naked prisoners from planes into the ocean. As many as 30,000 Argentines remain missing.

"Whatever chance they have, they will need a little encouragement from us," said Kissinger after the coup.

Time will bear out truth of the matter. While we pretty much already know the truth regarding Venezuela, it is always nice to have a paper trail.

Not that it actually prevents us from making the same mistakes again and again and again and again....


The President Has Springed A Leak

Today's bombshell is that Scooter Libby says that Dick Cheney told him the President gave the green light to discuss classified information in the Valerie Plame affair. Taken on its face, that would make the President the source of the leak. Which brings up the mattter if it's even possible for a President to leak anything, since he is, afeter all, the head of state. That's a whole 'nother discussion that people much smarter than me will debate in the coming days. Instead I would just like to be on the record with the following prediction:

Dick Cheney lied to Scooter Libby. The President didn't authorize anything. Cheney, drunk with power and feeling he's in charge anyways, just blurted that part out because Libby was having some doubts on whether or not it was kosher to do what they were going to do.

That means the President would be off the hook, and Dick Cheney is toast.


Jill Carroll, Part 2

When I wrote my previous post on the release of Jill Carroll, I was under the impression that she was already in safe hands when she made her statement about her captors. As it turns out, she was not yet out of harm’s way when her statement was made, which makes the right wings smears of her and her comments even more odious. The subtle implication was that she was, at the minimum, a terrorist sympathizer, and maybe even a collaborator. Jonah Goldberg , John Podhoretz, and John Hinderaker, and all the others who basically accused Carroll of sleeping with the enemy are complete and total jackasses who haven’t an ounce of the courage Jill Carroll has.

It was stupid for anybody, including me, to comment on the situation before the facts were out. I’m not going to be reflexively defensive and try and convince you I was 100% correct, but that is exactly what the rightwingers are doing. “See, we were right, she was under duress when she spoke”, they say. But that was never their argument. They, like me, assumed she was free to speak her mind. Given that assumption, they chose to cast aspersions on her motives. They were not doubting her freedom to speak.

They are actively trying to sell this bullshit, so let’s make sure not to forget their exact words. Tell me if you see any references to her not speaking freely…

Jonah Goldberg:
But Jill Carroll is increasingly starting to bug me. The details are still murky and it’s hard to appreciate what she’s been through. And maybe JPod’s right about Stockholm syndrome. And maybe the media’s selectively choosing what to show of her statements. But it would be nice to hear her say something remotely critical of her captors, particularly about the fact that they murdered her translator in cold blood. I’m very glad she’s alive, but I’m getting a very bad vibe.
Hey Jonah, any sentence that starts “I’m glad she’s alive, BUT…” makes you cocksucker.

John Podhertz:
It's wonderful that she's free, but after watching someone who was a hostage for three months say on television she was well-treated because she wasn't beaten or killed -- while being dressed in the garb of a modest Muslim woman rather than the non-Muslim woman she actually is -- I expect there will be some Stockholm Syndrome talk in the coming days.
Hey John, those are the clothes she was made to wear, and was wearing when she was released, jackass. I can’t believe such basic things need explaining.

John Hinderaker:
No doubt her joy at being freed overwhelms all else, and it is probably churlish to critique her public comments. Nevertheless, I want to register a small protest against her statement, widely quoted in the press, that she was "well treated" by her captors. This is a sentiment that one often hears from people who have been released by kidnappers; one gets the sense that the victims are grateful--understandably, perhaps--to the terrorists for letting them go.
I’m glad you register her joy, and don’t pretend to feeling any joy yourself at her release. At least that was honest.

Fuck these pseudo intellectual assholes for just not admitting they are complete pseudo intellectual fucking assholes. How they sleep at night, I have no idea.


Opening Day

Ahhhh, baseball is back. Life begins again.

Man, if you thought I normally was obsessed with moving back to San Diego, multiply that by 1000 during baseball season.

Oh, how I wish I was at Petco for first pitch…

Oh yeah, Padres 6, Giants 1. Great start to the season.