Saturday, July 30, 2005

Weekend Special - Sautéed Cloves 30 July 2005

Saying he wanted "to be like millions of American's", President Bush will be driving to his vacation ranch in Crawford, Texas this week

Congressman Duncan Hunter
made a surprise visit to the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, where he served in the role as "Chef-for-the-Day"

Arizona Officias declared a State of Emergency, as within hours after the passing of CAFTA, thousands of undocumnted aliens began streaming over the border

Blue Note recording star Norah Jones was implicted this week by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in the Payola scandal.

USA's Swim Team member Chelsea Davis demonstrates what they hope will be come an Olympic Medal Sport in 2012, High Board Forehead Balancing

Friday, July 29, 2005

Friday 29 July 2005

Spitzer Now Sets Sights On Crayola Scandal

Says Could Be Bigger Than Sony Case; Charges Company With Predatory Practices

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, fresh off is victory in the Sony Payola case, is now setting up his office to tackle what he classifies as an "even bigger" scandal, the Crayola case.

Spitzer says the Crayola scandal extends beyond New York State and will be coordinating his work with attorney generals in, at least, eight other states.

Spitzer charges Crayola with "predatory practices", driving out competition through payoffs, millions in cash, gifts and products.

'Crayola basically hung out a sign to pre-schools and kindergartens that said, use our products, we'll take care of you".

Teachers, administrators and even some parents were lavished with luxury gifts, travel trips such as cruises and envelopes stuffed with cash. The payoffs extend down to distributors and suppliers, even some retails locations.

"All was done with avarice towards their competition", said Spitzer. "The practice was pervasive. This is a more formalized, more corporatized structure".

Spitzer indicated that Crayola used middlemen - distributors and suppliers - to funnel the cash and gifts to schools.

"And when they came across a school or teacher that wanted to go through the proper channels of purchasing, they got tough".

Spitzer says, in such cases, they would lavish even more gifts and attention to other teachers, parents or another school in the same district.

"Or, they would allow the straight purchase, but then, withhold popular colors, like mahogany, atomic tangerine, blizzard blue, to frustrate that teacher. Orders would be late or lost. In the end, the children suffered."

When promoting a certain color, Crayola would often harass a teacher, sending emails and telegrams, asking that teacher "What do I have to do to get inchworm used this week? Whatever you dream up, we can make happen".

Spitzer said Crayola employees sought to conceal some payments by using fictitious contest winners to document the payments and gifts.

With the documentation of emails, and shipping orders. Spitzer charges that top Crayola executives were aware of and condoned the practices.

In one case, Spitzer says that Crayola surreptitiously reprogrammed a teacher's iPod, downloading to it songs with colors referenced, such as "Blue", "It Ain't Easy Being Green" and "Yellow Submarine".

Boy Scouts Fall For Bush - Literally

300 Felled By Heat After Presidential Blow-Off

Already shocked and depressed from the tragedy the day before, when four Scout leaders were killed pitching a tent under a power line, more than 300 Boy Scouts at the Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill were sickened by the heat Wednesday, while waiting for President Bush to arrive for a memorial service.

The President waited hours to notify the Boy Scouts that he would not be arriving, due to the threat of severe thunderstorms in the area of Bowling Green, VA, where temperatures were in the upper 90's, with high humidity. Mr. Bush rescheduled to visit the gathering Thursday.

Gregg Shields, a Jamboree spokesman, said that half of those felled were treated and released from the base hospital, about three miles from the event arena. Dozens more were sent to other hospitals, where they were in stable condition Wednesday night.

Soldiers carried Boy Scouts on stretchers to the base hospital, and others were airlifted from the event.

More than 40,000 Scouting enthusiasts from around the world to the fort for the annual Jamboree.

On Tuesday, some Scouts witnessed the deaths of the leaders as the large pole at the center of a large, white dining tent came into contact with power lines. An investigation into the accident is incomplete.

Shields said it has not been determined yet if any of the 300 Scouts who were felled by the heat would lose badges, or if President Bush would lose his honorary badge.

Top Ten Cloves: What Congress Will Do During It's August Recess

10. Use power of office to see if they can get copy of that Colin Farrell video

9. See if Lance Armstrong can swing by Crawford and teach President how to ride bicycle properly

8. Think of "some really hard questions" to ask John Roberts at the nomination hearings when they get back

7. Busy calling lobbyists to fill their gas tanks while home on vacation

6. Will look into the San Diego Mayorship to see if it pays better

5. If children act up, can threaten them with "harsh discipline" because President says it's okay

4. Secretly lobby the President to give them recess appointment to United Nations

3. Will check son's Grand Theft Auto video game and hope they downloaded the special code

2. Hmmm … If NASA can suspend the Shuttle, maybe they can suspend Patrick Fitzgerald's Grand Jury investigation

1. Now that they passed CAFTA, will look up where Central America is

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Thursday 28 July 2005

New Bush Cry: Let Us Beat Them!

Administration Fights, Lobbies To Keep Inhumane Interrogations

The White House is shifting gears, as President Bush is moving away from "Bring it on" to a more aggressive and harsher position.

The President is now warning terrorists that "If we catch you, we'll kick your butt six ways from Sunday, and then knock your teeth out for mumbling about it".

Flyers are being dropped in Iraqi and Afghanistan, written in English and Arabic, telling the terrorists to give up, or "face the beating of your life". A new television ad campaign of the Administrations harsh interrogation initiatives, produced by the Department of Defense, will soon begin running on Aljazeera.

The President has stated that he needs "the beatings" to make "all Americans safer".

The change comes as the Administration lobbies military officials on the need for the President to order harsh interrogations, as new documents and memorandums, recently declassified at the request of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), show that the military command is at odds with the President on this issue.

One member of a task force, deputy judge advocate general of the Air Force, Maj. Gen. Jack L. Rives, advised that several of the "more extreme interrogation techniques, on their face, amount to violations of domestic criminal law" as well as military law.

Graham, along with John McCain (R-AZ) and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-VA) have introduced amendments to a defense bill that establish rules for the interrogation and prosecution of terror detainees.

Recently, both the President, and Vice President Dick Cheney met with top Republicans, in an effort to have them remove the legislation. Some from the meeting say the Vice President Cheney acted "menacingly".

"He stood there, with an evil look in his eye, pounding his fist into the palm of his hand", offered a source who attended the meeting.

At a press conference yesterday, Scott McClellan, White House Spokesperson, defended the President.

"Just like many of us, the detainees serve at the pleasure of the President. If he wants to beat the living daylights out of them, that's his prerogative".

The Senate Armed Forces Committee is set to investigate new charges of prisoner abuse in Iraq, of forced labor being conducted by U.S. sactioned contractors.

Top Ten Cloves: Retirement Advice That Is Being Given To Lance Armstrong

10. Real Estate - Duke Cunningham can give you some tips to get started

9. Los Angeles Times is trying new things, pitch them Lanceatorial

8. Village People have a new opening and hey, you've already got the lycra shorts and yellow jersey

7. Join Bush Team and help abuse prisoners by making them race against you

6. Mayorship of San Diego is still available

5. Echilance - Research and discover an herb that will stop colds

4. Marry Sheryl Crow, kick back and man the beer chest in the trailer backstage

3. Reality Television Show on bike racing - Signature phrase can be "You're Tired!"

2. Celebrity Spokesperson - Take up Carl's Jr. offer and wash car in bathing suit

1. Two Words - Ankle Bands

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Wednesday 27 July 2005

Congress Getting "Weary" Of Roberts' Visits

Senators Feeling Stalked; Roberts Relentlessly Using Meet-and-Greets To Boast Chances

Numerous Congressman, including many members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, say they are feeling "stalked" by Supreme Court Nominee John G. Roberts over the past week.

Since last Wednesday's prime time debut, Roberts has been "visiting" Congressmen and Senators daily, to introduce himself prior to his upcoming nomination hearings.

"I couldn't eat my oatmeal this morning", stated Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), head to the Judiciary Committee. "I was afraid he was going to pop out of the bowl".

"I had to think quick yesterday and ended up sitting in a feasibility study meeting on moving Alaskan wildlife as part of the Clear Skies Act", said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), a member of the Judiciary Committee. "I had to go out the side door - he sat in my office for over two-hours, jabbering away".

Rumors are rampant around Capital Hill, of members ducking into closets, taking circuitous routes back to their offices, and one, calling in sick, all in an effort to avoid the what they describe as "relentless" meetings and handshaking.

Not fair says Fred Thompson, the former Tennessee Senator and now actor, the Bush Administration has selected to sheppard Roberts around the Hill and through the confirmation process.

"The meet-and-greet has been a long tradition with court nominees. They're not part of the environment here, they're unknowns when they get here to Washington. We're not doing anything different. We're not abusing the process".

"They're not abusing the situation?", asked Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE). "When I pulled out of my garage this morning, Roberts and Thompson were standing at the end of the driveway".

Many on the Hill thought the prime time introduction by the President was good, and expected, the following day, a few short meetings and photo sessions with the candidate. Then, everyone would go away until the confirmation hearings started.

"I stopped by my dry cleaners on the way to the office the other day", said Sen. Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT). "When the cleaner pressed the button to make the rack thing go around, to get my suits, sure enough, Roberts was hanging there, ready to pounce on me".

Senate Hearings Begin Today On How Halliburton Used and Executed Iraqi Reconstruction Funds

NASA Almost Missed Photo Coverage Of Shuttle Mission

One-Hour-Photo Corp. Aids Agency; Builds Stand Inside Cape Canaveral

With all the critical details, all the tension in putting up the first Space Shuttle mission in two-years, and making it the most photographed flight in the history of the program, one detail was almost overlooked.

Processing the photos.

With only days to spare, NASA struck a deal with One-Hour-Photo, who then rushed construction of their signature booth on a unused launch pad near the control center.

NASA has placed hundreds of cameras on the Space Shuttle - from on the launching pad, at various locations on the shuttle itself, including one on the fuel tank, the area that scrubbed the flight two-weeks ago,

NASA has a team of runners, shuttling raw film over to the booth and then returning back to the control center with the processed film. Under a special agreement with One-Hour-Photo, the operation is running 24-hours-per-day until the end of the mission in another 12-days.

"That was a close one" offered Kyle Herring, a NASA spokesman.

"You go over the details. Over-and-over-and-over. We're not sure how we missed this".

NASA is ordering the larger, 5x7 photos and utilizing the discounts Double Print offer.

"We could say we're doing it for back-up", stated Herring, "But I think the crew would like a set when they return".

Top Ten Cloves: Other Groups White House Says John Roberts Not Sure Of His Involvement In

10. Have no paperwork on why the Black Panther Party listed him on their Steering Committee

9. Absolutely never was with the Chicago Cubs

8. Has no knowledge of the John Birch Society

7. Can say with assumed certainty, he watched the 'Our Gang' shows on television as a child, but never joined them

6. He is, de facto, not a card-carrying member of Dick Cheney's Secret Bunker Club

5. Though he did lose his briefs on a flight, can't say he ever joined the Mile High Club

4. Pretty sure he wasn't one of the Hollywood Ten

3. He is on a Dungeon-and-Dragons team, but we don't think that counts as a club

2. Okay, in college, he did a revue show in drag, but he was never with The Rockettes

1. Has been part of the Precision Briefcase Drill Team in Annual Doo-Dah Parade, but that's not a membership thing

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tuesday 26 July 2005

White House In Disarray; Releases Rove, Not Roberts Papers

Judiciary Committee Says "Thanks", But Wants Info On Nominee Roberts

In what has been described as a "last minute rush", before the President heads out on vacation to his Crawford ranch, and the Congress takes its' August recess, the White House late last night released papers on Karl Rove to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee had been asking for the papers of Supreme Court Nominee, John G. Roberts.

Rove, the White House Chief Strategist, is at the center of the growing CIA Leak scandal.

"Someone when into the "R" file and grabbed the wrong folder", stated White House Spokesperson, Scott McClellan.

A sources close to the committee said that there "doesn't appear to be anything of interest in the Rove file".

"It's, pretty much, his standard personnel documents".

Early yesterday, the Bush Administration had agreed to release Robert's papers, from his time as White House council, in the mid-1980's and his early job with the attorney general's office.

Senate Democrats are asking for Robert's writings, covering the four years he spent as principal deputy solicitor general, beginning in 1989

Senator Joe Biden (D-MD), a committee member who will question Roberts, said the release of the wrong file "sounds fishy".

"They're trying to hide this guy … They want to keep us in the dark", said Biden. "I don't know, maybe we need to have a special investigation on this".

President Bush has urged the Senate to begin the nomination hearing for Roberts before Labor Day. However, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) has indicated it's likely that the hearings will start "after Labor Day"

At issue is the Bush Administration's contention that the later writings of Roberts, while he was working in the attorney general's office, falls into the category of attorney-client privilege. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the leading Democrat on the Judiciary Committee believes it doesn't apply.

"Lawyers in the solicitor general's office are not working for the president, but are working for you and me, and all the American people", said Leahy.

"There is just no way the administration can give in on that", said Senator Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), a former Judiciary Committee chairman.

Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) warned that the administration "shouldn't stonewall this nomination" and then immediately blamed Senator Rick Santorum for the trouble with getting the files.

U.S. Military Officials released photos of the first
battle-ready battalion of the new Iraqi Army

Labor Split Worries Calendar Makers

How Many Labor Day Holidays To Mark Causing Delays in 2007 and beyond

With the Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union splitting away from the AFL-CIO, the rift in America's labor unions is having an domino effect on calendar makers around the world.

Two additional unions - the Food and Commercial Workers and UNITE HERE, a group of textile and hotel workers - are considering pulling out as well.

What is up-in-the-air is how many Labor Day Holidays will be necessary to accommodate two, or more labor unions?

Everything, from wall-hanging calendars, to desk pads, jokes-for-the-day, Garfield calendars, On-Line and PDA calendars are effected.

A spokesperson for Microsoft said that 'This could screw up a lot of programs. Could even mean renaming Vista".

"This is a crisis", stated John Markem, of Calendars Are Us.

Markem indicated that 2006 calendars are already printed and ready-to-ship, for most calendar makers. By the end of summer, that would be the period where most calendar makers begin working on 2007 calendars.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney has already dug in a hard-line as to the Labor Day Holiday issue.

"First Monday in September", declared Sweeney. 'That's our holiday … We're not giving that up. Let the scabs go out and get their own holiday".

The departing unions, seven in total, have formed the Change to Win Coalition. Coalition chairwoman Anna Burger stated, after the Teamsters triggered the withdrawal, that "today will be remembered as a rebirth of union strength in America".

Burger indicated that the coalition hasn't taken up the issue of what day will be their holiday.

When reached for comment, Department of Labor Secretary Elaine Chao stated 'that's a very good question".

Markem has a suggestion for the Change to Win Coalition.

"August. It's the only month without a major holiday".

News In Brief 26 July 2005

Village People Policeman Arrested

Victor Willis, the original policeman in the group, Village People, was arrested last week on gun and drug charges in San Francisco.

Police, who found found traces of cocaine and other drug paraphernalia in Willis's home, also had outstanding felony warrants for possession of narcotics on Willis.

Willis co-wrote the disco hits "Macho Man" and "In the Navy" before leaving the Village People.

A court hearing in schedule for next month. Bail set for Willis at $100,000, was paid by a construction worker and an Indian.

Top Ten Cloves: Early Draft of President Bush's Vacation Agenda

10. I hope those darn Secret Service agents don't jump in front of my bike again

9. If Duncan Hunter shows up, we're eating my food, not that crap he brings from Gitmo

8. Start preparing Dick to get ready to fire Libby

7. Oh Jezz - We forgot all about Bolton!

6. Have Andy tell me which labor union I should pay attention to now

5. Good chance to try out those Flip-Flop things

4. Time to invite Tony Blair to the ranch - assuming he's not releasing any more memo's on me

3. Work on courage to fire Karl Rove

2. Go over again with Andy how I'm working to protect all Americans from terrorists

1. Try to remember, no photo's holding hands with Saudi prince's this trip

Monday, July 25, 2005

Monday 25 July 2005

Nader Gets Added To Scandal-Ridden San Diego Mayor Ballot

Gov. Schwarzenegger Considering Old Laws and New Eminent Domain Ruling To Take Over City

Rebuffed so far this year for posts as Iranian President, heading the European Union, becoming Pope and a seat in the new Iraqi Parliament, Ralph Nader made it under the deadline to become the 12th candidate for the open, scandal-ridden San Diego Mayorship.

San Diego, billed as "America's Finest City' and the seventh largest in the United States, has seen three mayors over the past week, following the resignation last week of Dick Murphy, only eight-months into his second term. Murphy believed the city needed a "fresh start", following a storm of acquisitions over civic corruption.

City Councilor Michael Zucchet was named Acting Mayor, but was forced to resign his first day in the post, after being convicted, along with another City Councilor, Ralph Inzunza, of taking payments from a local strip club owner. Both maintain they are innocent and plan to appeal their convictions.

Nader wasted no time in springing to action, collecting the required signatures to place him on the ballot. Nader, doggedly, beat the pavement around the sprawling city, including causing a stir by "caging" himself at the world-famous San Diego Zoo, threatening to stay there until he was placed in the race - including the coveted debates.

This motivated zoo workers and supporters to assist Nader in securing the signatures, as his presence was beginning to upset nearby animals. And, through their keen senses, dolphins and whales at nearby Sea World also showed signs of agitation.

"Look what they force me to do to take part in democracy", lamented Nader.

Among the 11 other candidates Nader is facing, the top three are;

- Jerry Sanders, former Police Chief, who commanded a SWAT team back in 1984 during a mass-murder at a McDonalds,

- Donna Frye, co-owner of a surf shop and an environmental activist. Ms. Frye joined the City Council in 2001 and, in a write-in campaign last November and nearly toppled incumbent mayor, Mr. Murphy.

- Steve Francis, who portrays himself as an outsider in the mold of New York's mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg. Mr. Francis founded, ran and is now chairman of AMN Healthcare Services, a publicly traded corporation that supplies nurses to hospitals.

Nader dismisses his competition.

"I've run in just about every election since 1964. They can't come close to my experience".

Despite a strong economy, a booming biotechnology industry and low unemployment (4.4.percent), Nader has an ambitious plan to lift the city over its' current setback and problems.

"We secede from the United States and annex Mexico. This makes San Diego a national capital and a seat at the table with the big dogs. And that means getting billions in foreign aid from the U.S.".

Looming in the background, ready to throw a wrench into Nader's plans is Governor Schwarzenegger. Schwarzenegger has called a special election for November 8th in an attempt to push through, now two special referendums (a court just recently threw out a third).

Rumors out of Sacramento have been growing that the Governor has his eye on San Diego. Both, through some old, obscure laws still in the California constitution, and the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding Eminent Domain seizures for economic development, Schwarzenegger could take over the city and appoint a person of his own choice to place in the Mayor's office, to serve the remaining term of Murphy.

"I'm sure he would think that to be a 'Fantastic' thing to do" Nader stated drolly. "We know he was being paid under-the-table by the muscle and steroid industry, I'll be filing papers tomorrow to see if he's being paid by the real estate and commercial developers as well".

"Yeah, Mr. Bigshot ... I know a guy who
can get us a deal on a flag real cheap..."

ABC Miffed; Plans On Sending Sawyer To Sudan

Says Mitchell A Wimp; Their Star Will Fight Back To Get Story

ABC News announced that it is preparing to send star correspondent Diane Sawyer to Sudan, to interview Sudanese President Lt. Gen. Omar el-Bashir.

And that "she won't back down to a good fight"

ABC News President David Westin was reported to be fuming that rival NBC and correspondent Andrea Mitchell, who was traveling with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, got into a shoving altercation with El-Bashir's secret police.

Mitchell had tried to ask el-Bashir about his alleged involvement in the violence in Sudan's Darfur region. Security forces jumped on Mitchell and began to drag her away, and soon hustled all other reporters out of the room.

The dust-up came after el-Bashir initially barring all media from the meeting. After complaints, television reporters were allowed in, but with the condition that no questions could not be directed to el-Bashir.

'We'll send Diane over there to get the story. She'll knock the snot out of anyone who tries to stop her", said Westin. "And she won't accept any conditions".

"I guess NBC News must be promoting "Not See TV" these days", continued Westin. "I mean, what is she going to do - send her husband over there to defend her?"

Mitchell is married to 79-year-old Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve Bank Chairman.

Sawyer is said to be preparing for the interview with a regiment of workouts, including boxing and kick boxing instruction.

"I have complete faith in Diane", stated Westin. "When she gets finished with el-Bashir, we might get another series out of it - Desperate Despots Who Get Their Butts Kicked".

Top Ten Cloves: Ways The NHL Will Woo Back Fans

10. New X-Rated Cable Show - Desperate Hockey Housewives

9. Penalty Boxes will have cell phones so offending player can chat with fans

8. Fans that hold on to their ticket stubs automatically enrolled in running for next Supreme Court opening

7. A designated outted CIA Agent will drop the ceremonial first puck at each game

6. Three Words - Monster Zamboni Bash

5. Games that end in tie, even after shootout, Bill Frist gets to call 'Nuclear Option' and Senate votes on who wins

4. For one period each game, goalies wear no equipment

3. Pittsburgh Penguins will field a team of real penguins

2. Word-of-Mouth campaign - Will get the RNC's Ken Mehlman to go on tirade that NHL is picking on Bush Administration

1. Instead of referees, Arizona Minutemen will officiate games