Friday, April 29, 2005

Friday 29 April 2005

Bush May Tap Coulter For Energy Source
Studies Cite Time Cover Girl "Has Enormous Capacity"

Following his Press Conference last evening, President Bush, when pressed by reporters for more details about his proposed Energy Bill, indicated that he is considering asking Congress for appropriations to develop Ann Coulter as an alternative energy source.

"She has enormous capacity" the President said. "Boy, if we could harness just about half of what she puts out, I'll tell you, I wouldn't trade in my SUV"

The right-wing, conservative commentator, recently featured on the cover of Time Magazine, has been a perpetual streak of energy, offering a wide range of criticism, aimed chiefly at Democrats and Liberals, on virtually any topic.

Coulter has attacked, among many, former President Clinton, the late Princess Diana, Ted Kennedy, former Ambassador Pamela Harriman, Vietnam veterans, National Review editor Richard Lowry, Rep. Christopher Shays (D-CT), as well as Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, actress/singer Barbra Streisand and rapper Sister Souljah

She ascribed that Princess Diana and Ambassador Harriman were "whores".

Following the September 11th attacks, Coulter advocated, referring to the terrorists, that we should "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity." Coulter, when criticized for the remarks, defended them, adding further;

"Congress could pass a law tomorrow requiring that all aliens from Arabic countries leave....We should require passports to fly domestically. Passports can be forged, but they can also be checked with the home country in case of any suspicious-looking swarthy males."

President Bush offered that Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman had his staff conduct a study of Coulter and, using a complicated formula, the results show that Coulter puts out nearly as much energy as a nuclear reactor.

"I think a lot of neighborhoods wouldn't mind if we built more Ann Coulter's around them", joked the President.

When pressed how he would go about employing Coulter as an energy source, the President stressed that "cloning" would not be involved. He did state that adult stem cells would be involved and the process would be well within Federal guidelines on the use of stem cells.

Bush stated that tapping Coulter as an energy source would be part of the package of the bill he will be sending to Congress. In his Press Conference, Bush challenged Congress to pass the Energy Bill by this summer.

Democrat Leaders were cautious in commenting on the President's proposal. Rep. Nancy Pelosi indicated that "let's wait and see the entire bill … If he's putting something that outrageous in it, there's likely something else that he really wants".

Republicans, upon hearing some of the details hailed the President's choice of Coulter as "bold"

Coulter's commentary and writings are often, over-the-top, cartoonish and very much based in the standard tirades of many other conservative pundits. Coulter often attaches to Democrats and Liberals certain tags and code words, meant to distort the issue and often defends conservatives, citing unending persecution.

Coulter could not be reached, however a representative did confirm the Ms. Coulter has been in talks with President Bush and is thrilled that she could be in position to become an energy source for the nation. The representative offered that Ms. Coulter asked the President if her "energy can only be used in strong, Republican districts"

More Steroid Hearings
The NFL Goes To Congress
McGwire Surprise Witness; Still Not Talking

The National Football League went before Congress on Wednesday, to give testimony as to it's Steroid Policy and the efforts they are employing to keep the illegal drug out.

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue told Congress that since 1989, 111 players have tested positively. Of that group, 54 were suspended and 57 chose to retire. Tagliabue defended the NFL policies, citing that they are effective.

Tagliabue did acknowledge that advances are being made in masking the use of steroids but that is a "overall problem", one not related solely to the NFL.

The Congressional panel complimented NFLPA Director Gene Upshaw, for his involvement and monitoring the league's drug program, highlighting the contrast versus Major League Baseball. In the hearing last month, baseball executives were often confused, or outright wrong, about what their steroid policy was and who was administering it.

In a surprise move yesterday, the panel called back former baseball slugger Mark McGwire. Citing he had the "size of a football player", the panel offered McGwire a second opportunity to offer his testimony as to his steroid use.

McGwire again cited that he doesn't "talk about the past".

McGwire went on to testify that he does watch NFL games, both on television as well as attending in person and is looking forward to the upcoming season this Fall. When pressed by the panel, McGwire did admit that he "occasionally" wagers on football games, both professional and college.

Top Ten Cloves: How President Bush Plans To Get His Energy Bill By This Summer

10. Strong-arm DeLay to get his lobbyists to fork over more money

9. If he gets the Social Security Bill he wants, can throw in a few Private Retirement Accounts

8. To underscore his position, make all congressman and senators ride bicycles to work

7. Conveniently, invite Senate and Congress Leaders to discuss bill over lunch - at Hooter's

6. Start having 'Energy Renditions' - Invite Saudi Prince over again; Hold him hostage until they lower the price for crude

5. Ahhh, the hell with it … We'll just invade and occupy the entire Middle East

4. Forget filibusters; Arizona Minutemen will patrol Capital Hill, not letting anyone leave until the bill is passed

3. If Bolton gets confirmed, we'll have him deal with Annan - We have plenty of food we can trade for oil

2. Presidential Pardon to 'Kenny Boy' and have him get the old Enron gang together to figure it all out

1. Rally the Right and start having Energy Bill Sundays!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Thursday 28 April 2005

Old Ethics Rules Back In Force
DeLay Now Facing Additional Charges
Stowaway On Air Force One Effort To Avoid House Investigation

After President Bush concluded his weekend meeting with Saudi Prince Abdullah at the Western White House, and as Air Force One settled into its flight pattern after take-off from Galveston, Texas, Secret Service agents discovered Rep. Tom DeLay huddled behind a food cart in the service area.

A White House source, who was present on the flight, indicated that there were tense moments, when the Secret Service discovered the uninvited passenger and issued a 'lock-down' on the President, staff and other passengers.

Apparently, a flight attendant tipped the Secret Service by indicating the something was amiss, as there was food missing. Soon after the lock-down, agents emerged from the rear of the airplane, with DeLay in handcuffs, and he was escorted into the President's cabin.

"He was disheveled, sweating and glassy-eyed", said the source. "Clearly, he was in a panic".

The Secret Service, and the White House refused comment on the situation, saying it was an on-going investigation.

Other witnesses, including a cadre of the traveling press described the situation as 'bizarre'. Rumors quickly circulated, some saying that DeLay may have been on the airplane all weekend.

At the time, on the ground at the Capital, House Speaker Dennis Hastert was paving the way to overturning the contentious rule changes made to the House ethics process and reverting to the old rules, likely opening the House investigation into persistent questions as to the ethics of Mr. DeLay

At question is DeLay's overseas travel, and his cozy and beneficial relationships with prominent lobbyists. Some of those lobbyists are under federal investigation on other matters. Delay is already facing a grand jury investigation in Texas as to his fund-raising operations.

The Democratic House leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, hailed the move back to the old rules, saying it "avoided a significant political embarrassment for the majority". For the second time this year House Republicans have had to backtrack. In January, a rule was restored that prohibits leaders from staying in the posts if they are indicted, The initial rule changed was widely criticized as directly trying to protect leader DeLay.

Despite the glowing photo op's of a smiling President Bush walking with a smiling DeLay after landing in Washington, DeLay now faces a battery of federal charges for his stowaway attempt.

"Even if he wanted to", the source offered, "Bush can't help him. There's too much light shining on DeLay right now. Even his lobbyist buddies don't have enough money to make this one go away".

Books Pulled From Retailer May Be Related
Police Investigate Arson Incident At Apple
CEO Jobs, Others Questioned Over Small Fire

As the Cupertino Fire Department doused a small blaze on the sprawling campus of Apple Computer, the police department was called in to join the state's Fire Marshall in launching an arson investigation and was seen questioning CEO Steve Jobs, and other Apple executives.

Reportedly, numerous witnesses have given statements indicating that Jobs was standing over a pile of burning books.

This comes on the heels of Apple pulling all titles from the shelves of Apple stores from publisher John Wiley & Sons over a upcoming release of an unauthorized biography of Jobs, ``iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business,'' by author Jeffrey S. Young.

Included in the removal of the Macintosh-related titles, was the popular "Macs for Dummies, 8th Edition'' by New York Times columnist David Pogue. Also pulled were a series of books, including the latest, ``The Mac OS X Panther Book", by Andy Ihnatko.

Apple is currently in a legal fight, over the release of company-related news and pending product announcements, with three websites.

The Garlic first reported back on March 6th (Apple Takes Blog Ruling As New Club On Criticism and Dissent) of Apple's efforts to control news and opinion about Apple and its' products. Apple has established a hotline - iSqueal - for people to phone or email in tips as to who may be leaking, or disparaging Apple, or any Apple products. Newer iPods have the capability of detecting criticism, shutting down and giving a signal for Apple to dispatch a lawyer to serve lawsuits.

Numerous marketing executives have cautioned that, should Apple protest to strongly over the Young book, it could backfire and increase sales.

Apple refused comment on the arson incident, beyond stating that a small fire was discovered and the fire department was called. A brisk "no comment, was offered when asked about ``iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business" book.

It had been reported that Apple, and Jobs, did secure an advance copy of the book.

Investigators from the Fire Marshall's office could be seen sifting through the still-smoldering pile and collecting evidence. At one point, it did appear that a singed and charred dustcover of a book was placed into a bag.

Top Ten Cloves: Other PBS Reality Shows In The Works

10. Antiques Roadrace - Survivor-style series, pitting teams racing against each other; First Season's Antique - Chariots

9. Tucker Carlson Unwired - Sans the bow tie, Tucker lets his hair down and shares his favorite music each week

8. Suzie Orman's Treasure - Constants search for buried stock certificates worth millions, but must endure Suzie's harping advice on how to spend/invest it

7. Lost! - A priceless artifact of a rich-and-famous celebrity is hidden and we go along for anxious, panicked search

6. Lidia's Dysfunctional Family Table - Lida lets Uncle Tony out of the attic and her kitchen will never be the same

5. This Extreme Old House - Kevin O'Connor and the boys take a completely modern house and turn the clock back to 1789

4. Washington Weak - Guest Journalists and Politicians go through a grueling Obstacle Course

3. Last Charlie Rose Standing - First contestant not to fall asleep at the table is the winner

2. Un-American Experience - Average citizens, plucked at random, accused of being terrorists; Warning - Some graphic scenes from Special Renditions may be shown

1. McLaughlin Groupies - Contestants compete with arcane political trivia for a seat with the raucous group

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Wednesday 27 April 2005

Bush Plan For Iraq Statehood In Jeopardy
No New Government Yet; Window of Opportunity Closing

Late Tuesday, Iraqi's political leaders delayed for another day the naming of it's new government, indicating that they may leave some posts vacant for the time being.

This has the Bush Administration worried, as Iraqi is already behind the schedule President Bush has laid out and, at the moment, puts Bush's plans for Iraqi statehood in jeopardy (See The Garlic, Tuesday 10 April; Bush Moves On Making Iraq 51st State)

"Cheney and Rumsfeld are steaming", offered one source close to the administration.

Sources say that Bush is worried that the move to Iraqi statehood could get bogged down by the Iraqi's inability to establish their government, and drafting an Enabling Act.

With the Congress preoccupied by the protracted debate in the Senate over judicial nominee voting, the DeLay Scandal and the stalled hearings on Bush's appointment of John Bolton to the U.N., the window of opportunity is closing to grant Iraqi statehood under-the-radar.

"Andy (Chief-of-Staff Andrew Card) is really juggling a lot of balls. He's got Cheney and Rumsfeld breathing down his neck, the loose cannon that DeLay is, now Frist playing like Elmer Gantry and the Bolton thing sinking faster than his Social Security plans … They'll be lucky if the Iraqi cabinet doesn't start shooting at each other".

Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari is anticipated to submit a cabinet to the National Assembly today but it is expected to be incomplete, putting pressure on President Jalal Talabani, who is already under fire, from both Iraqi's and the Bush Administration, for not having a government formed.

At play is the role of the Sunni Arabs, who boycotted the January elections. Shiite and Kurdish alliances have fear that former Baathists, who were the oppressing force, will be included in the Sunni delegation.

Vice-President Cheney is eager for Iraqi to become the 51st State, believing that the congressmen elected from Iraq to serve will be conservative Republicans, adding to the majority and thereby enabling the President's agenda

A spokesperson for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld indicated that Rumsfeld understands that "the business of government and launching a new state is untidy".

"We shouldn't expect miracles", offered the Secretary in a statement released to reporters. " But, My God, if I had been oppressed … If I was living under a dictator and suddenly breathed the air of democracy … I'd be damned sure to get my house in order as soon as possible …I wouldn't lollygag around"

Syria Leaves Lebanon After 29-Year Stay
Bill Unpaid; Towels and Soap Missing

The United Nation yesterday, verified that Syria has finally left the country of Lebanon after a 29-year stay, leaving in its wake, an unpaid bill and the theft of towels, soaps, bathrobes and mint candies.

"They had the best rooms, and they still trashed us", sighed Gen. Michel Suleiman, commander of Lebanon's army, who watched the last of the Syrians leave.

It was 1976 when Syria first came to Lebanon, as part of a Arab peacekeeping force following a civil war. Others left but Syria stayed. Over the years, various efforts were made to have the Syrians leave, with talks and sanctions from the United States, Israel and the U.N. and, including intervention from the International Hotel & Restaurant Association.

A spokesperson for the IHRA, Guy Franchot, confirmed their participation but admitted that it had little effect.

"Over the years, we had drawn up, from experience with rock bands, boisterous conventions and the like", offered Franchot. "A number of policies in dealing with unwanted guests. The Lebanon situation was quite unique".

As Syria began leaving Lebanon, thousands of Lebanese discovered missing towels, soaps, and bathrobes. Grocery stores and retail shops were stripped of their mint candies.

Gen. Ali Habib, leader of the Syrian Army, denied the claims that Syria left without paying it's bill, or the theft of any items.

Franchot indicated that the policy in such cases was "next time they come in, you can refuse to accommodate them or accept any reservations. Or, you can also require a deposit in-advance"

Top Ten Cloves: Early Signs That Steroids May Be Out of Baseball

10. Bat boys are bigger than Jose Canseco

9. Haven't received a congressional subpoena in weeks

8. Hitting and scoring is down; Pitchers now have lob ball in underhand

7. Barry Bonds is down to just sulking, and hissing at the media

6. No more dirty syringes on the locker room floor

5. It now takes two players to hold the bat

4. Mark McGwire is talking again

3. Fans are doing steroids now; One recently had a fight with Gary Sheffield in Fenway Park

2. Only grandslam sluggers seen recently are at Denny's

1. Any player caught giving another player a shot in the ass, well, that's something entirely different

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Tuesday 26 April 2005

NHL Bombshell!

NHL Owners Prepared To Go With Robot Players in 2005
Players Stunned, Outraged; Issued Ultimatum To Take CBA

The NHL owners stunned its Players Association yesterday, abruptly halting the recently restarted talks with an ultimatum - Take the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or the league opens with robot players in the Fall of 2005.

Commission Gary Bettman gave the order to NHLPA President Bob Goodnow in a late afternoon session. Goodnow, visibly shaken, sat stunned as Bettman calmly walked out of the room, witnesses say.

The NHL was the first North American sports association to lose an entire season due to a labor dispute.

The Players Association was clearly caught off-guard. Hanging over the negotiations was the prospect that the owners would use replacement players, from their minor league system and open tryouts, to start the 2005-2006 season in the event an agreement wasn't reached. The use of robots was never looked at.

Bettman declined comment last night. A spokesman for the NHL owners stated that the owners began looking at robots, fairly recently, with the news Qatar is switching to robots for their camel races and that this year's Kentucky Derby considered robot jockeys (See The Garlic, Friday 15 April: Derby Considers Child Jockeys From Qatar).

The nation of Qatar recently, and successfully, replaced its child camel jockeys with robots.

Very quietly, a small committee of owners was put in place to study the use of robots for NHL play. They met with the Swiss manufacturer to discuss the needs, which included hard-hitting and rough play, as well as skilled and finessed passing and shooting. The manufacturer indicated that their robots could be adjusted for the physical nature of the NHL play and it was a matter of reprogramming their software to accommodate the skills needed.

Reportedly, an exhibition game was played, in a small town in Northern Italy, pitting a team of robots against a Swiss junior team and the robots competed surprisingly well, losing by a score of 6-5. The owners, noting the crisp, pinpoint passing by the robots, walked away satisfied that they could recommend the move to robots to the other owners.

The owners deferred questions as to how records would be kept, being, would the existing records be broken by robots or if the league would start with a blank slate.

The NHLPA also refused comment last night. Reports indicate that they have hastily called a meeting, bringing in current stars, as well as retired former greats, to strategize a response to the owners and to condemn the use of robots to replace them. It was said, they are targeting August as having a proposal in place to counter the owners offer.

Said one owner, who wished to stay anonymous, on hearing the news on using robots;

"I guess, unless you program them, we won't have any candy-asses or big ego jerks anymore"

Amazon Earnings Due Today; Modest Bump Up
Adjusts DVD Profits To Come Early in 2017; Overall Black Ink in 2045

Amazon.Com, the on-line retailer, will be reporting its quarterly results at the end of today's market session and CEO Jeff Bezos predicts that all will be happy

After the dismal last quarter, in which Amazon missed its estimated earnings by a significant margin, analysts are anticipating a modest bump, perhaps in the 25-cent-a-share range, with revenue growing by roughly 20% to nearly $2-billion.

Last year Amazon was NASDAQ's best performing stock

Bezos gave analyst a bit of surprise when he adjusted the sales projections for Amazon's anticipated entry in the DVD rental market.

Amazon has reached out to its competitors, including Blockbuster Inc and Netflix Inc, seeking a partnership. Amazon has such revenue sharing agreements with other major retailers, like Target, The Gap, Toy's 'R Us and Circuit City (Ed.Note: Amazon recently ended it's partnership with Circuit City and is in litigation with Toys 'R Us to end their agreement)

Amazon originally pegged profit for DVD sales in 2025. However, with a pending partnership, and factors that Amazon cites, such as the continued growth of digital entertainment, Bezos felt that profits will likely come sooner, in 2017.

Bezos kept in place the overall profit for Amazon coming in 2045.

Top Ten Cloves: Things Overheard At Bush-Saudi Prince Meeting In Crawford, Texas

10. Mr. President, could you arrange for me to take a shift with those Minutemen on the Arizona border?

9. Ahhh shit …Look what's sticking out of his briefcase … Invoices for all those Special Renditions we did last month ...

8. Mr. President, my sources tell me that everyone at the U.N. will file for a handgun permit if you push Bolton through

7. He's calling again? … Tell DeLay I'm busy …. Tell'em that me and the Prince are out on the horses - all day long!

6. Don't forget to give the prince that wallet, for the Bin-Laden's … You know, the one they lost on that Sept 12th flight

5. Stick an Exxon decal on my flight suit and get the gas tanker ready! … He's talking about lowering by a nickel, or more!

4. Tell me more of your No Child Left Behind …The Kingdom would be glad to take some - they make excellent camel jockeys

3. Yes, I know their Jewish, but Ari's in a bind … Besides, they're handy .. They can build whole towns in, like, a weekend

2. I don't think I could answer that Mr. President … Everybody, kind of, has a Private Retirement Account in Saudi Arabia

1. I got me a Justice Sunday hangover this morning boys and I'm lovin' it!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Monday 25 April 2005

Thousands Overwhelm Justice Sunday Rally
Sick and Infirm Disappointed; Came Seeking Faith Healers

'Justice Sunday', a program by conservative rightwing Christians calling for an end to liberal judges by Democrats, was marred as tens-of-thousands of sick and infirm people - some coming from as far away as Indonesia - overwhelmed the Kentucky megachurch, spilling out into the streets and setting off chaos.

They had mistakenly taken the rally as a faith-heeling session and refused to leave until they saw Dr. Bill Frist.

Sponsored by Tony Perkins and his Family Research Council, 'Justice Sunday' had a theme of "The Filibuster Against People of Faith". Posters for the event depicted a young man holding a Bible in one hand and a gavel in the other.

"I don't understand this" offered a beleaguered Perkins, as he worked with event security and local police in an attempt to control the crowd. "We exploited the rhetoric … We targeted the judges and the Democrats … It was very clear what tonight was supposed to be …"

Shortly after the program began at the Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, with 3,000 already in attendance and speakers defending Rep. Tom DeLay, bashing Democrats and judges, calling the Supreme Court "unaccountable," and "out of control," streams of people began pouring into the church, disrupting the program.

They came with crutches and wheelchairs. One man carried his teenage daughter, who had braces on her legs. There were young children and elderly. They came clutching videotapes and DVD's, crying out for Dr. Frist and asking, begging that he heal them.

Frist, last month had correctly diagnosed the late Terri Schiavo and Pope John Paul II, from watching videotape, and live broadcasts (see The Garlic April 5th - Frist Concurs With Vatican Diagnosis)

As the crowd grew, with bus loads of new arrivals pulling up at that church throughout the evening, local police were called in. Traffic for blocks surrounding the church was gridlocked. Police estimate the crowd at 10,000. Organizers hastily erected a tent awning and rigged up speakers in a section of the parking lot to accommodate the overflow crowd.

Frist, who participated in 'Justice Sunday' via a pre-taped video statement was tracked down by the event's organizers and, through a conference call, broadcast to the attendees, urged those who came seeking healing to be peaceful, and not disrupt the night's program any further.

Frist also offered that those with video's and DVD's could send them to his Washington office, where he will review them and offer his recommendations for treatment and healing.

Some of the sick and infirm left the church and, as of late last night, were camped out at the main post office in Louisville. The rest of the crowd remained at the church, conducting a vigil, and praying. Many of the 3,000 who came for 'Justice Sunday' joined in the vigil. Others left and game back with food and water.

There were unconfirmed reports that Perkins and his Family Research Council were making arrangements to bring in the family of Terri Schiavo to address the crowd. Paul O'Donnell, a Franciscan monk and the spiritual adviser to the Schindler family was said to en enroute to Kentucky.

When reached late in the evening, Perkins looked at the event optimistically.

"Maybe we have a new cause to mount here … We can start bashing the Democrats on healthcare and activist doctors …"

Overweight Protest New Study Results
Says Confused Over Health and Where Self-Esteem Should Be

Many overweight and obese people are protesting the new findings of a study released last week, saying that people who are a little overweight are likely to live longer than people who are underweight or obese. They say they are deeply confused as to where their self-esteem is, as well as what is healthy for them.

Reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a team of doctors from the American Centres for Disease Control U.S. took data from three U.S. surveys about health and nutrition practices that spanned three-decades, from the 70's, through the 90's. The study only looked at how long people lived and not at obesity-related disease.

Using a measurement called Body Mass Index (BMI), with a range of 18.5 to 25 considered normal, that the people who had BMIs higher than 25 but lower than 30, which meant they were moderately overweight but not obese, did not have a reduced life expectancy.

A spokesperson for Jenny Craig, a provider of weight loss programs and diets, was dissatisfied with the findings of the study, saying "it left a lot of overweight people in limbo, not knowing if it was a good thing, or a bad thing". The spokesperson went on to say that it wasn't expected to see any loss of sales because of the study findings

Kirstie Alley, star of the popular cable program, 'Fat Actress, on the Showtime Network worried about the study

"God, what should I do? Should I worry about being a Fat Actress or start boasting that I'm going to live longer and be fine with it …And what's this going to do the show? … We may have to rewrite and reshoot scenes … I suppose we have to address this …"

Alley later stated that, looking at it in a different light, it could mean additionally work for her, perhaps extending the 'Fat Actress' series.

A spokesperson for the American Centres for Disease Control declined to address the concerns, indicating that all persons should maintain the best practices of a balance of healthy diets and exercise, and to maintain their proper body weight.

Top Ten Cloves: Signs That You May Be A Fat Actress and Don't Know It

10. You go shopping for a new car and you come home with a bus

9. Your dry cleaner starts charging you double, to cover the extra chemicals needed

8. Liz Taylor is calling you out

7. On your day off, you visit Sea World; Shamu is intimidated and won't perform

6. Only half of you face can fit on the jumbo screen at the ballpark

5. Tom Arnold starts hitting on you

4. Your Spinning Class instructor has you walk to the fictitious location of the exercise

3. You're confused - Is the mirror in your dressing room a regular mirror or a fun house mirror?

2. Bakeries keep sending you heavily frosted layer cakes, looking for a product placement

1. Okay to be fat; New study shows it!