In Korea, President Bush was momentarily embarrassed, when he fell for a robot's request to "pull my finger"
"Go two blocks, take a right and then straight to Dupont Circle" was Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's response, after being interrupted in a press conference for directions
NASA announced its' new space initiative, deemed to be operation-ready by 2010, to be able to launch people into space from Landrovers
A bevy of animal rights groups and private citizens are launching a Class Action lawsuit against Walmart, for what they say is "excessive and deceptive" marketing to animals
Former Vice President Al Gore was in New York this week, auditioning for the role of Vito Corleone in a new Broadway musical version of 'The Godfather"
Scientists in New Zealand say that Global Warming has reached such a critical point in the country, so much so that New Zealanders have taken to cooking their meals outdoors, on the ground
Author, actor and Air America talkshow host Al Franken has announced a new auction, with all proceeds going to charity. Bidders need to predict the extact time of day that Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly has a "total meltdown".
Franken, shown under the Offical O'Reilly Meltdown Clock says he'll match the winning donor's bid if the time O'Reilly cracks happens while Franken is on-air with his show
Saturday, November 19, 2005
In Korea, President Bush was momentarily embarrassed, when he fell for a robot's request to "pull my finger"
Friday, November 18, 2005
Cheney Speech Causes DC Police, Homeland Security Grief
Switchboard, 911 System Flooded With Sighting Calls; Troops and Aircraft Deployed
Vice President Dick Cheney's speech Wednesday evening did more than just slam the Democrats and critics of the Bush Administration.
It caused complete havoc in the Washington, D.C. area.
Cheney made an extremely rare public appearance, speaking at the conservative policy group Frontiers of Freedom Institute's 2005 Ronald Reagan gala at the Mayflower Hotel.
While the Vice President was inside the hotel, defending the Administration's use of their version of pre-war intelligence, and calling the Democrats criticism of it "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city," Washington D.C. police and Federal troops and personnel were scrambling around the city, dealing with thousands of calls and reports on the sighting of Mr. Cheney.
As calls began to pour into the main switchboard, police officials initially feared some level of attack on the Vice President, or a possible terrorist plot unfolding. Additional police officers were called in and senior command officers took the precaution of notifying the Department of Homeland Security.
An DHS spokesperson stated that Director Michael Chertoff was notified and that "normal procedures were followed".
This included deploying aircraft that maintained a "No-Fly" security zone around the city, and deploying Federal troops and other DHS staff to augment the Washington D.C. Police.
There were minor reports of some looting and a few scuffles took place. No arrests were reported.
Both the White House and the Vice President's office had no comment.
The Vice President has maintained an extremely low profile, particularly since the indictment of his Chief of Staff, I .Lewis 'Scooter" Libby. The sighting, claimed by hundreds of D.C. residents, was the first in recent memory of Cheney being out of his Secret Bunker.
One resident, Lamar Ellston, claims he was detained by Secret Service agents and drugged, after claiming he saw the location of the Secret Bunker."
"It was like right out of Batman," said Ellston. "All of a sudden, this building opened up and a whole train of limos and SUV's came streaming out of it. Then the building closed back up."
Ellston claims that a van in the Vice President's motorcade broke from the line, made a u-turn and four agents pulled Ellston into the van.
He was taken to an unknown location, questioned for three-hours and "given something to drink", which Ellston claims was laced with a drug that put him to sleep. He said he woke up "miles away' from where he was, and inside a Metro subway station.
The Secret Service declined confirming Ellston's claim, stating they don't comment on operational protocols.
Special White House Council Karl Rove has been racing around Washington D.C. the past two days, excitedly telling people that he "didn't tell Bob Woodward". Reportedly, he has been hounding Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, asking him to "make a note I didn't tell Bob Woodward".
Amazon Wins More Patents; Now Controls Biz Speak For Entire Web
Everything from "Dear Sir" To "Thank You For Your Order" Now Subject To Royalty Payments
After winning patents last week, for their Customer Reviews, Amazon.Com scored a blockbuster today, winning new patents for nearly every possible business phrase used across the World Wide Web.
Everything, from "Dear Sir" or "Dear Madam" to "Thank You For Your Order" is now owned by Amazon. Anyone that uses these words or phrases, or thousands of others, are liable to pay Amazon a royalty.
In a brief statement, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said that Amazon plans to "strictly enforce" its' new patents.
(As a matter of disclosure, The Garlic was required to secure a special wavier to write this article and post it on the web)
The new patents extend over three languages in addition to English - French, Spanish and Chinese.
Just last week, the online retailer of books, appliances and nearly everything else was awarded three new patents, covering its purchase circles, search and consumer reviews.
Amazon has been in fierce competition, and litigation over these patents. In 2001, Amazon sued rival Barnes and Noble for infringing on its' "one-click buying" patent. The companies eventually reached a settlement in 2002.
The breath and scope of the business phrase patent even has industry observers surprised and gaping at the potential windfall and competitive edge Amazon now holds.
"It's absolutely incredible," says Daria Pannesi, editor of 'In The Loot', the newsletter for high tech dollar traders. "Their stock has already jumped 17-points and, if they truly enforce the patents, with the revenue that will flood in, they'll make Google look like a penny stock."
Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez Secretary of Commerce believes it will ultimately cause a "boon of new business", and "a real spike for the economy"
"Businesses, across the board, are going to have to change their websites. That's likely to beef up the employment numbers as more copywriters and web talent will have to placed to accommodate the new language requirements."
Business Schools are now being swept up as a result of this new Amazon patent.
Already, Wharton, Harvard and Stanford have stated that they are in the process of developing new curriculums in the area of creative business writing as a means to get around Amazon's patents. The courses are slated to be available, starting with the 2006 Fall semester.
Among the thousands of business words and phrases that Amazon has secured the patent for include;
"You order will ship in (1-Infinite) days"
"Please hold on for the next available operator"
"Do you want to review your shopping cart"
"Thank You for your order"
"Please come again"
In a bit or irony, customer reviews on the Amazon website are, technically, subject to the patent requirements. Amazon has stated they will take those into consideration on "a case-by-case basis".
Barnes and Noble refused comment, indicating they were "pouring over" the patent. A spokesperson did say that legal action "hasn't been ruled out" and that "for now, it will be business-as-usual".
Upon hearing the comment, Amazon quickly fired off a letter to Barnes and Noble, demanding payment or a retraction.
Citing an infringement of the new patent, Barnes and Noble was informed that "business as usual" is now owned by Amazon.
9. We're fighting an unconvential enemy so we have to use unconventional weapons, but we don't use chemical weapons
8. Got confused and mixed up with bags of chalk for new baseball fields being built
7. If not used, Halliburton could sue for breach of contract
6. We need night vision capablities. since there's little to no electricity
5. Don't know anything about it, must be something Scooter Libby authorized
4. To even question us about using White Phosphorus must mean you're aiding and abetting the enemy
3. Actually, was old supply of Sadam Hussein's chemical weapons and just destroying them, with alittle overspill
2. If you want the real story on it, you're going to have to watch the Fox News Channel
1. With all the pre-war spin, someone had to create some kind of cloud
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Under Fire, Woodward Offers Reason He Didn't Write Plame Story
Not Comfortable With Public Meetings; Didn't Have High-Level Secret FBI Source
Following his disclosure that a source told him about Valerie Plame two-years ago, and that he recently testified before Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and the Grand Jury investigating the CIA Leak, Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward, and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter, has come under a barrage of fire, including from his own newspaper and colleagues, and is seeking to set the record straight.
In a written statement published yesterday, Woodward said that he told Post colleague Walter Pincus, a reporter, without naming his source, and that he was told Plame's name and status while "confidential background interviews for my 2004 book "Plan of Attack" about the lead up to the Iraq war, ongoing reporting for The Washington Post and research for a book on Bush's second term to be published in 2006.
Woodward also indicated he didn’t step forward with the information, or tell Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. until last month because he didn't want to be subpoenaed.
Throughout the investigation by Fitzgerald, and leading up to the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, Woodward spoke often on the case, saying it "wouldn't amount to much", that it was "laughable" and calling Fitzgerald a "junkyard dog prosecutor".
In a brief press conference today, Woodward sought to clarify his remarks and explain his position.
First, Woodward indicate he is still not free to name his source.
"My source is a source, I can't give any name to my source. I only have permission to call my source a source. And that holds until my source dies, then I can, if I choose, name my source. If I die before my source dies, my source cannot name themselves. The identity of the source dies with me - unless we agree, at some future point, that I name my source, or my source names themselves"
Having, with his colleague, Carl Bernstein, investigated and wrote the story of Watergate, the scandal the brought down President Nixon and his administration, Woodward said he "wasn't comfortable" writing about the Plame affair.
'I didn't have a good feel for it," stated Woodward. "I also didn't have a secret, high-level, FBI source that could give me leads, and that I could confirm leads with."
Woodward is referring to Mark Felt, former Assistant Director of the FBI and infamous "Deepthroat" informant from the Watergate story.
"This was a CIA matter and I don't have any close contacts there."
Woodward also indicated that his source wasn't "very clandestine"
"We would meet in the source's office, or have coffee at a Starbucks. They even wanted to talk over lunches and dinners, at public cafes and restaurants"
"At one point," said Woodward, "I suggested a 1AM meeting, at a location in Northern Virginia and my source looked at me like I was crazy … Said that they went to bed by 9:30PM."
Woodward says he even reached out to Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, to see if he had "any paperwork on Plame or the CIA that he could leak to me."
"There was no money to follow, no break-ins," said Woodward. "It was, pretty much, just your straight, run-of-the-mill, leak-and-smear campaign"
Woodward is attempting to stem the criticism, that he is a "White House Stenographer" or crony.
In stating the he told his colleague, Walter Pincus, about being told about Plame, Pinucs says he "doesn't recall Woodward telling him that". As Pincus has been writing about the Plame matter, and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Pincus says "he cannot imagine he would have forgotten such a conversation."
"Are you kidding?" Pincus said. "I certainly would have remembered that."
Woodward said he "doubts" he would start writing about the Plame case now.
"There's likely still a lot to come out on this," admitted Woodward, "but I think that most of the Pulitzer work has already been done, so I don't see what would be in it for me."
At a press conference this morning, Donald Trump explained his firing of Martha Stewart, as "the Big Donald told me to do it and you don't say no to the Big Donald"
9. At dinner tonight, I hope he doesn't get sick, like his father did that time
8. Ask him if he brought the photo album of Vice President Cheney's Secret Bunker
7. It will be a deal-breaker, but we have to hold to no visa for Paris Hilton … We don't want that over here
6. We play our cards right, maybe he'll hire us to build that wall along the U.S.-Mexican border
5. You can translate this directly - If he keeps harping at us about Taiwan, tell him we'll put him on our Axis of Evil
4. No Mr. President, I think you'll be more comfortable riding in the car … The bicycles here in China are alittle different
3. President Bush, to make you feel more at home, we outted one of our secret agents here, in your honor
2. Do you think he's Bob Woodward's source?
1. I don't know what to say, he stepped of the plane and promised us all kinds of hurricane relief aid
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
White House Not Happy, Puts Out RFP For Revisionist To Spin Blame
Ethics Classes; Indictment Worries Cut Into Effort; Need "Top Shelf" Spinner To Pound Out Message
From plummeting ratings, to criticism for using the Veteran's Day Holiday for partisan attacks, to being preoccupied with the Ethics classes and having to prepare for more indictments, the White House, sources say, have quietly put out a Request-For-Proposal to Presidential Historians and other top authors to assist the Administration in countering the liberal and Democrats attacks, charging they misled the country into the Iraqi War.
Since last Friday, when the President kicked off the campaign to paint the Democrats with the same "intelligence brush", the Administration has been relentless, trotting out Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman on Sunday's 'Meet The Press' program and yesterday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield, returning to the pre-war theme of criticizing the Iraqi Policy is akin to being unpatriotic and giving aid to the enemy.
The President has used stops along the way to the Japan Summit to press his case and charge the Democrats with trying to "politicize" the war.
In a confusing and embarrassing moment for the President, a Japanese reporter, in broken English, asked the President about the "storm of controversy" following him. Having been briefed in Air Force One about the latest round of thunderstorms and tornados that hit Tennessee, the President bristled and tersely responded that "the Democrats have access to the same weather reports that we have."
"They don't just want to wag the dog," said Ann Mitchell, veteran Capital Hill journalist, "they want to swing and twirl the entire kennel."
The dogs, however, are whirring just yet.
President Bush is currently at the lowest point since taking office in 2000. In a USA TODAY/ CNN/Gallup Poll released Monday, the President registered only a 46% approval rating.
And, despite the high-level attacks, by himself and staff, the President was rebuked yesterday by the Senate, as both Republicans and Democrats submitted bills to put heat on the Administration to be accountable for the Iraqi Policy.
While somewhat similar, in theme, the Democrat's bill, rejected, by a vote of 58 to 40, called for a timetable to remove troops from Iraqi. The Republican bill, which won approval with a 79 to 19 count, only requested for the White House to submit quarterly reports to the Senate on the progress in Iraq.
"You'd have to say," offered Mitchell, "that if Sam Ervin were still with us, he'd be saying that dog won't hunt."
Mitchell says that the White House is "fatigued" and "bogged down".
"They have these Ethics classes they have to attend, they still have indictments hanging over their heads. I even heard that Karl Rove has 'smear-block'."
Shortly after the Senate vote, White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, reportedly, released the RFP.
It's not known how many were sent out, and to whom they were sent.
Early last evening, Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss, author Doris Kearns Goodwin, and biography Kitty Kelly were seen being escorted into the West Wing. Sometime later, Watergate author Bob Woodward was espied leaving the White House.
"They definitely want a heavy hitters," said Mitchell. "Someone with credibility and someone that can actually write."
There are also rumors that the Administration will be reviving their "paid journalist" program, and that Card has a target list of right-wing pundits that will be contacted.
"Andy wants the top-shelf guys … The one's that have columns, as well as their own radio or television programs, or, at least are regular talking heads on the cable news universe."
There's unconfirmed reports that the Fox News Channel is already on-board with the White House program, pro-bono and also that author and former political operative Dick Morris, as well as former Nixon Speech Writer and presidential candidate Pat Buchanan have signaled to Card that their game for the work.
"If they get their message straight," said Mitchell, "and get these big guns on the team, in two, maybe three-months, they'll have the polls showing that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi trained Al-Qaeda people or were involved in 9/11."
"This reporter, this little, squeeky reporter kept saying we lied, we manipulated the intelligence, so, goodness, I just snapped and gave him the death claw ... Got'em right around the neck and shook him up real good ..."
9. Offered, when first heard "Wilson's wife", he drifted back to his youth, and his Dennis The Menace comic book collection
8. Promised he wouldn't call his new source "Deep Throat II"
7. Said best advise he could give Grand Jury is to follow the money trail
6. Admitted, under oath, he was happy he wouldn’t have to share royalties with Carl Bernstein when he writes book about case
5. Testified in talking with Libby, Plame name never mentioned, however, there was a flashing neon sign behind Libby's desk
4. Said he confirmed Valerie Plame's name by putting flag in potted plant on his balcony
3. Got Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to agree to submit testimony for Pulitzer Prize
2. Insisted on giving his Grand Jury testimony in parking garage, late at night
1. Would only testify if Special Prosecutor guaranteed he'd be played by Harrison Ford when movie gets made
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
White House Discord, Aides Say, Locks Bush Into Blame/Denial Strategy
Cite That Libby Took The "Faulty Memory" Defense, Leaving President Avoidance As Only Option
Starting with ignoring the solemn respect traditionally accorded the annual Veteran's Day Holiday, President Bush's aggressive tactics of blaming Congress members for making misleading statements about the Administration's run-up to the Iraqi War is a result of the continued discord inside the White House, sources tell The Garlic.
"They've essentially come to," says Paula Malady, an analyst for the think tank, All Things Terror, which specializes in Middle East affairs, "that all the other kids are doing it, so it's not our fault."
According to sources close to the White House, squabbling and turf battles inside the White House has lead to the latest strategy of having the President, aggressively and harshly criticize his critics for "politicizing" the issue.
"He's channeling Lenny Bruce," said a Capital Hill operative. 'Denial, denial, denial."
The reference is to a classic Bruce routine, on infidelity, in which Bruce advises to "Deny it … If they catch you in the act, deny it … If they catch with a chicken, deny it …"
Malady agrees with the denial assessment, as well as the White House discord as leading to, what she refers to as "an losing situation".
"They didn't line up their ducks very well."
As previously reported by The Garlic, Vice President Dick Cheney as already reserved the "Nolo Contendre" defense, should he end up under indictment, after a fierce argument with his former Chief of Staff. I. Lewis 'Scooter" Libby. Libby had sought to use that defense and, after losing his battle with Cheney, has fallen back to the 'faulty memory" defense.
"That leaves the President odd-man-out," says Malady. "He's the one that has to play the denial card."
Sources say it was Special Council Karl Rove who advised the President to begin his offensive on Veteran's Day.
"Rove wanted to augment it with a major smear campaign," said one source close to the White House.
This lead to a "turf battle" between Rove and White House Chief of Staff Andy Card. Card, while on-board for the 'Denial Strategy', wanted to wait until after the New Year to market it.
"Card wasn't comfortable launching a new war marketing program this close to the Holidays," said the source. "He wanted to wait until early January, after the Holidays, when the media is hungry for new stories."
Card had previously advocated, on other Iraqi War material, that "you don't launch a new product in August" and has been, often, a lone voice as to the timing of new initiatives.
"I'm surprised any strategy at all got out of that place," said the source. "They've got some many new people and interns in there, rewriting the administration's history, it's amazing that they could coordinate any kind of campaign."
The Vatican announced today that French Poodles have been added to the decree and that any priest "seen with or owning one" will be deemed gay and both priest and pooch will be banned from the church
Google May Come To Terms With Publishers; Will Digitize Cliff Notes Only
Response To 'Bazooka Joe' Strong; Customers Want Shorter Read, Synopsis Over Full Text
Google announced today that they have come to an agreement with Cliff Notes, to digitize the entire catalog of the popular literature study guide series, as an effort to ward of the growing number of lawsuits from publishers.
Major publishers, including McGraw-Hill, Wiley, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster have joined the Authors Guild in filing suits to block Google, and their programs, Google Print and the Google Library Project, from moving forward with the digitization of their works and collections.
Major libraries, such as those at Stanford University, Harvard University, Oxford University, and the University of Michigan, as well as The New York Public Library have signed on with Google.
Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, in a brief statement released, said that he was "pleased" to come to terms with Cliff Notes and "looking forward to bringing their content to the digital world."
There's more to the Cliff Notes deal than Google is letting on, according to John Ruffing, editor of a the newsletter 'Did You Mean Everything?', that monitors Googles activities.
"After all the fuss to develop Print and the Library Project, the months of research, software development and testing, Google discovered that people want less, not more, as to print, books, etc."
Ruffing says Google's offering of the Bazooka Joe Comics, which they digitized earlier this summer "has gone through the roof".
'They've come close to crashing the Google system for Bazooka Joe, and that says something," said Ruffing. "Follow-up research, much to Google's surprise, kept coming up with people wanted less, not more, to read."
Ruffing says that the Cliff Notes deal may pave the way for the publishers and authors to, eventually, come on-board.
'If I'm a published author, do I want someone quoting me, or Cliff Notes?"
9. Told her she had all the time in the world to concentrate on her K-Mart products from now on
8. Fearing violence, had her probation officer tell her
7. Asked her to bake a German Chocolate Cake - in Germany
6. Gave her a Terrell Owens jersey
5. Brought in former GE Chairman "Neutron" Jack Welch to let loose on her
4. When Martha brought up Season Two, was advised that there was "someone else here who doesn't fit in"
3. Forged Donald Trump's signature in a classic "pink slip"
2. Cited a clause in her contract, that if the Chicago White Sox won the World Series, she had to leave
1. Got her a Guest Slot on 'The Office' and are letting them fire her
Monday, November 14, 2005
Cheney Lobbies Sony To Keep Controversial Secret, Evasive CD Software
Says Spyware Could Aid War On Terror; CIA Could Combine With Patriot Act To Nab Terrorists, Sympathizers
Sources tell The Garlic that Vice President Dick Cheney is appealing to Sony BMG Music Entertainment to keep its controversial, antipiracy program, XCP, on its CD's as a means to assist Cheney, and other agencies in the War Against Terror.
According to a high-level administration official, Cheney's request comes in concert with his lobbying efforts in Congress to have the CIA exempted from any new anti-torture legislation or bans.
"Apparently,: said the official, "the CIA has developed profiling, or some other program, related to music CD's and the listening habits of suspected terrorists and they don't want to disrupt that investigation."
Cheney met over the weekend with Andrew Lack, Chief Executive Officer of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, to make his case on keeping the secret spyware software.
Sony Music had announced last Friday that they were halting CD production, with the XCP software, after a torrent of criticism emerged from consumers, technologists and Internet privacy advocates.
Critics say that the XCP software is a destructive form of spyware that installs itself on a user's computer, without their knowledge and the program offers no instructions of links on its' removal. Additionally, the spyware offers computer hackers a door to take control of a user's computer, as well as allowing Sony to capture data on a user's listening habits.
Following the flood of complaints, Sony BMG issued a software patch a week ago to modify the behavior of their security program, and it also offered users a way to safely remove XCP from their machines.
XCP isn't the only antipiracy software Sony uses. For nearly two-years, Sony has sold about 20 million CDs containing MediaMax, an antipiracy program designed by SunnComm Inc. of Phoenix.
"When Cheney's office got wind of this," said the administration official, "they were in heaven. To have a corporation with the capability to secretly capture this much information, it was almost too good to be true for them."
In the meeting between Cheney, Lack and Cheney's new Chief of Staff, David Addington, Cheney presented the case to Sony that they were entitled to keep the software as is, and that, if necessary, the Vice President's office could officially mandate it under provisions in the Patriot Act.
"Cheney believes this could be their biggest breakthrough as to finding sympathizers, to breaking up terror cells."
Cheney's attachment of the Sony spyware to the CIA exemption of torture leads some experts to believe that the CIA is using music as one of the forms of torture in their network of secret prisons, or "black sites", as was disclosed last week by 'The Washington Post'.
President Bush, last week, vehemently stated that the United States "does not torture people", yet the Administration continues to block efforts to ban military and agency use of torture as related to captured, suspected terrorists.
Sony issued a statement that they have no plans to cease using their other formats of antipiracy software and experts watching this case believe they will simply "reformat XCP" so they can continue collecting the information.
The Vice President's office, as well as the White House, refused comment on the Cheney-Sony meeting, or that Sony BMG Music Entertainment has been awarded a "No-Bid" contract from the Hurricane Katrina Relief Program by the administration.
Outgoing Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Alan Greenspan, when asked what advice he could give to his successor, Ben Bernanke, to keep the U.S. economy afloat, answered "a shot of Jameson everyday, around 4PM, and a prayer ... It worked for me"
9. If the Senate messes with approving Alito, we're going to start the paperwork of taking Harry Reid's house by Eminent Domain
8. With all the judges in here, you'd think they'd rule on getting better food served at this thing
7. Hey look, Harriet showed up … I wonder if she's qualified to have dinner?
6. Nice touch, putting the Constitution on the napkins
5. Oh My God! Robert Bork's here … I'm going to see if he'll autograph my gavel
4. Look at Rove up there … He looks like he's indicted
3. I heard Dick Cheney's going to show up with some CIA people and give a demonstration on how they torture people
2. I liked it when we had Charlton Heston here… It still gets me … "You'll have to take this gavel from my cold, dead hands …"
1. Did you enter Scalia's contest? Whoever writes the brief overturning Roe v Wade gets an automatic appointment to the Court