Berry's World
Saturday, February 07, 2004

Instapundit grapples with the Plame Affair:

July 28, 2003: The Plame Affair breaks while Instapundit is on vacation. He concedes that there is a lot going on in the Plame Affair, but he doesn't know what it is.

August 26, 2003: Instapundit admits he never got up to speed on Plame Affair.

September 28, 2003: Instapundit claims the Plame Affair is ‘too complicated’ for him to grasp, although some people don't believe that. His main problem is that he can’t figure out why it would be done.

October 6, 2003: Instapundit clearly wants to get to the bottom of the Plame Affair. Instapundit does concede that it’s possible that President Bush doesn’t know who leaked.

October 8, 2003: Instapundit likes the idea of President Bush requiring ‘every official in his administration at Executive Level II or higher’ to sign sworn statements saying they didn’t leak Plame's identity and don’t know who did. However, her prefers his ‘subpoena-the-journalists’ idea.

October 9, 2003: Instapundit still thinks Plame Affair is complicated. Makes known his first suspicions of CIA involvement in the matter. If somebody did leak Plame’s identity, it’s terrible, but Instapundit just can’t figure out why they would do it.

October 12, 2003: Instapundit is still confused by the ‘complicated’ Plame Affair. Again he hints that the leak came from the CIA.

October 15, 2003: Instapundit wants Robert Novak to be forced to testify about who leaked Plame’s identity. Says because the 6 reporters 'to whom the story was allegedly "shopped" appear not to exist', the Plame Affair may be over, but maybe not. Says that 'even the biggest Plame-conspiracists are now admitting, things are, um, complicated'.

October 22, 2003: Instapundit compares the leaking of The Rumsfeld Memo to the leaking of Plame’s identity. Wonders why the people outraged at the Plame leak aren’t as outraged by the leaking of the memo.

December 3, 2003: Four and a half months after Novak's column appeared, Instapundit has finally mastered the complicated Plame Affair enough to make a public announcement: 'OKAY, I'M OFFICIALLY PRONOUNCING THE PLAME SCANDAL BOGUS'.

December 31, 2003: Instapundit says his thinking is in accordance with Eric Rasmusen's, who surmises that if there was any leaking, it wasn’t illegal, and Attorney General John Ashcroft’s recusal was an attempt to circumvent charges of a whitewash; OR that if there was any misbehavior, it was on the part of the CIA or Plame herself, but whoever misbehaved is opposed to the Bush administration.

January 2, 2004: Instapundit again hints that whatever happened, it wasn’t illegal.

January 28, 2004: After publicly claiming the Plame Affair to be 'bogus', Instapundit starts wavering, saying that if the story is true, it would ‘just be too unimaginably stupid’.

February 5, 2004: Although it was Instapundit who proclaimed the scandal was bogus, he now says maybe the Plame Affair 'isn't as bogus as Joseph Wilson made it seem.'

February 7, 2004: With Tony Blankley predicting, on this weekend's edition of The McLaughlin Group, that 'indictments are imminent', Instapundit is expected to order the crow for dinner sometime soon.

NBC kept promoting last night's Ed, as the 'final episode'. I just figured it meant that it was the last show of the season. It looks like I was wrong.

TV columnist Dave Walker, of the New Orleans Times Picayune, reports the sad news that Ed is a goner. Fans of the quirky show are trying to bring Ed back to life, but it doesn't look good.

I blame you people. Oh sure, you'll watch Survivor, American Idol, and The Apprentice, but you can't throw me a bone an watch Ed for an hour?

Simply more proof that you'll never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

In an effort to get out of St. Louis, quarterback Kurt Warner went 'one toke over the line sweet Jesus.'

Warner was speaking at a church in Houston when he said:

I actually had [Rams] coaches say I was reading the Bible too much and it was taking away from my play. It was OK when we were winning, but now I was [messing] this thing up? People were saying I had lost my job because of my faith.

It appears that playing the God-card was not the smashing success Warner might have hoped. Rams coach Mike Martz answered Warner the next day:

We're not trading him. I can't foresee any circumstance where we would trade Kurt Warner, and he needs to understand that.

The problem is the huge salary cap hit the Rams would have to take if they cut or trade Warner. Of course, there is another wacky, off-the-wall option for the Rams. Considering Warner is a former NFL MVP, and has won a Super Bowl (it would be two if not for Martz' play calling deficiencies), the Rams could actually, you know, play him.

Like all connoisseurs of taste and style, I avoid any and all 'reality' shows. In fact, I take pride in my Ripken-like streak of never watching a single episode of any reality program. However, I have seen like 9 million commercials for The Apprentice, so it seems like I've seen the The Donald say 'You're fired,' about 9 million times.

What I don't understand is if Trump (the person, not the game) is so comfortable saying 'You're fired,' why in God's name hasn't he uttered those two words to whoever cuts his hair?
Friday, February 06, 2004

If you answered 'Large', chances are you don't live in Southern California. The region got its report card from the Southern California Association of Governments, and it wasn't good. If your kid brought home these grades, you would ground him and take away his TV privileges.

Here's how we've done from 1998-2002 in the seven categories that are annually judged:

EMPLOYMENT: 1998: B-, 1999: A-, 2000: B+, 2001: B, 2002: B-.

Notes: During 2002, the region lost 22,000 jobs, the first loss since the end of the last recession in 1993. The unemployment rate also increased from 5.1 to 6.1 percent in the region during the same period, slightly higher than the national average at 5.8 percent.

INCOME: 1998: C+, 1999: C+, 2000: C, 2001: C, 2002: C-.

Notes: Real personal income per capita also declined in 2001 for the first time since 1993 and most likely continued declining through 2002, considering the job loss amid significant population increase.

HOUSING: 1998: C, 1999: C-, 2000: C-, 2001: D+, 2002: D+.

Notes: While more than half of the nation’s households could afford a median-priced home in 2002, less than a third of the region’s households could achieve the same. Housing affordability also worsened for renters.

MOBILITY: 1998: D, 1999: D, 2000: D, 2001: D, 2002: D-.

Notes: Since 1990, the region has been consistently ranked as the most congested metropolitan region in the nation. For example, residents in the region incurred a total of 50 hours of delay per person due to traffic congestion in 2001, the highest among the metropolitan regions in the nation.

AIR QUALITY: 1998: C, 1999: B-, 2000: B, 2001: B-, 2002: C.

Notes: There were adverse trends in the region’s air quality, particularly for ozone pollution, contrary to the steady trend of improvements made during the last two decades. In 2002, ozone pollution worsened in the South Coast and Mojave Desert Air Basins. In the most populous South Coast Air Basin with more than 15 million residents, the number of days exceeding the federal one-hour ozone standard increased from 36 to 49 days between 2001 and 2002. There were also more days with health advisories.

EDUCATION: 1998: D, 1999: D, 2000: D, 2001: D, 2002: D.

Notes: In 2002, the 8th graders (graduating class of middle schools) in the region continued to perform below the national median in reading and math test scores except in Orange and Ventura counties. There were no noticeable improvements regarding high school dropout rates. In 2002, every county in the region had less than 40 percent of high school graduates complete courses required for University of California or California State University entrance.

SAFETY: 1998: B, 1999: B+, 2000: B+, 2001: B, 2002: B.

Notes: Within the region, violent crime rates declined in every county in 2002, particularly for Imperial County (-9 percent) and Orange County (-6 percent). Violent crime rates in Los Angeles County, although reduced by more than half since 1990, were still among the highest in large metropolitan counties in the nation.

In short, the Southland is a mess. Yet, despite all of this, 330,000 more people insisted on living here.

The fools.

I don't know if the KISS concept originated as an Army rule of thumb, or a marketing tool, or even who came up with it, but right now "Keep it simple, stupid" is a concept we Democrats should wholeheartedly embrace. If we really want to find out exactly what happened while President Bush was a member of the Air National Guard, we've got to keep it simple.

Right now, there are simply too many questions being asked for the public to grasp the seriousness of the situation.

Is President Bush a Deserter?

Was George Bush AWOL?

What happened during the last two years of duty with the National Guard?

What's the deal with the torn document?

Did Bush drop out of the National Guard to avoid drug testing?

Did Bush aides scrub his Guard records?

Did President Bush lie about his military service?

I could go on and on and on.

Going on and on, however, won't help the public (people who don't scour political websites every day) to understand things. What we've got to do is boil things down so anybody and everybody can get it. Thankfully, David Neiwert has already done it for us.

In one simple post, Neiwert gave us the roadmap to the Promised Land:

Can anyone name any veteran who has been a major candidate for the presidency in the past half-century who has not released his military records?

This list, it must be remembered, includes John McCain, Robert Dole, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Barry Goldwater, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Not to mention John Kerry, Wesley Clark, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, Lyndon Baines Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and Harry Truman.

The answer, as near as I can determine: One. George W. Bush.

People might not understand that the torn document may not be authentic, and showed up rather late in the president's career, and doesn't have his name on it, and doesn't have totals on the bottom like his other attendance record.

But they will understand that President Bush won't do something every other candidate for president did.

From now through the day President Bush releases his records, we should simply keep asking the same question:

Can anyone name any veteran who has been a major candidate for the presidency in the past half-century who has not released his military records?

And keep repeating names of those before him who already have. McCain. Dole. George H.W. Bush. Eisenhower. Kennedy. Truman.

Eventually, the drumbeat will become so deafening, you just know President Bush will cave. Look at his record:

Bush Opposes Extension of 9/11 Probe

Bush Backs More Time for 9/11 Panel


Bush rejects call for intelligence investigation

Bush orders probe of Iraq intelligence

Of course, there is the chance that President Bush simply won't release his military records.

And that's the best scenario of all.

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley announced that former Inglewood police officer Jeremy Morse won't face a third trial. Two previous juries could not agree whether Jeremy Morse dealt appropriately with a struggling suspect or needlessly punched a handcuffed 16-year-old in the face.

Despite the D.A.'s decision, Morse might do well to wait on holding a celebration. While the people of California won't retry the case, the people of the United States might not be so easily placated:

Federal officials today launched a criminal investigation against Jeremy Morse, the former Inglewood police officer videotaped slamming a teenager against a car, after state prosecutors decided not to pursue a third trial.

Further, Morse will have to deal with a civil lawsuit being brought by Donovan Jackson, so his courtroom appearances aren't completely behind him just yet.
Thursday, February 05, 2004

Knowing what I knew then and knowing what I know today, America did the right thing in Iraq.

President George W. Bush

In a chilling documentary on PBS, First To Worst, we got to watch the stunning decline of the California public school system

In 1978, Howard Jarvis led the charge for California to pass Proposition 13, which dramatically reduced property tax rates. In fact, Proposition 13 resulted in a cut in local property tax revenue of $6 Billion.

Of course, that meant cuts had to be made. In the 1950's and 1960's when California had one of the best school systems in the nation, we spent about 5.2% of our gross state product on public education. Today, we spend about 3.1% of our gross state product on public education.

So, how are the schools today? Let's ask the NEA:

---California ranks 7th worst in the country in the total taxable resources spent on public education. Education spending by the state of California and its localities amounts to just 3.1% of its gross state product.

---California ranks near the bottom (49th of 50 states) in the number of students for each teacher.

---With an average of 577 students per school, California is the 3rd largest state in the nation in the average size of its elementary schools.

---The average size of a California elementary school is 30% higher than the national average.

---With an average of 993 students per school, California is also the 8th largest state in the nation in the average size of its high schools.

---The average size of a California high school is 32% higher than the national average.

---Education Week gives California a failing grade of "F" for the adequacy of its public school spending.

---Eighty-seven percent (87%) of California schools are in unsatisfactory environmental condition.

---Fifty-six percent (56%) of California schools lack power outlets and wiring to accommodate computers and multimedia equipment in classrooms.

---Forty-three percent (43%) of California schools have a building that needs extensive repair or should be replaced — 40% of the schools have crumbling roofs, 41% have bad plumbing, and 29% have poor ventilation.

How's this for priorities? We Californians spend $27,000 per year to house a prisoner, but only $6,000 per year to educate our children.

If you don't live in California, this shouldn't worry you, right? Don't count on it. One of every eight students in America attends a California public school. That means that in a few years, when you are going to have to count on somebody to say, change your tires or haul dangerous materials, or be your president, there will be a 12.5% chance they were educated in a California public school.

Do you feel lucky?

So, how did you spend Super Bowl Sunday?

Chances are, you had a better day than Ronald Herrera.

Herrera, a prisoner at Corcoran State Prison, began "ranting and raving" about midday Sunday, and medical personnel examined him near halftime of the Super Bowl. But Herrera kept howling. A glance through the one window in Herrera’s cell wouldn’t have helped all that much, as Herrera covered it with blood soaked toilet paper.

Of course, that might have been a sign of trouble in itself. A guard was going to check on Herrera but his supervisor told him not to bother. "He's not dead," the sergeant was quoted by officials as saying. "Just keep an eye on him."

Herrera's howls carried on 'all through the night'. Finally, early Monday morning, a guard decided to check on Herrera, and 'saw what he said looked to be "raspberry Kool-Aid" streaming out from the cell.'

They just had to open the cell door at that point:

Inside, he found Herrera slumped over on the floor, lifeless. Much of the blood had drained from his body, corrections officials said. Blood filled the toilet bowl and washed over the concrete floor of the 8-by-10-foot cell.

What on earth could have happened?

It was unclear if Herrera was trying to commit suicide and then changed his mind or if something more sinister happened, corrections officials said. His desperation, they said, played out for nearly 10 hours without any intervention from staff.

His desperation, they said, played out for nearly 10 hours without any intervention from staff.

Why wouldn't somebody at least check on him?

On Wednesday, Kings County and state investigators began a probe to determine if Herrera's death resulted from criminal negligence by prison staff too busy watching the Super Bowl.

My tax dollars at work.

Every president since John F. Kennedy has appeared on Meet the Press during their political career, and President George Bush, who made two appearances as a presidential candidate, will make his first appearance since February 13, 2000 when he sits down with Tim Russert on Sunday.

If only there were a hot topic that Russert could ask about. Like:

And needless to say, much of this could be resolved if Bush voluntarily released his entire service file. Why won't he?

If Bush wanted to resolve the questions about his National Guard service, he could do so very easily. If he simply agreed to release the contents of his military personnel records jacket, the Guard could make public all his discharge papers, including pay records and total retirement points, which experts say would shed the best light on where Bush was, or was not, during the time in question between 1972 and 1973.
Eric Boehlert –Salon

It's the issue that Republicans are wishing would just go away. And guess what? It isn't. At least not until Bush actually releases his records.
David Neiwert-Orcinus

President Bush should release all of his military records and let the voters decide whether he fulfilled his obligation to the National Guard.
Michael Impagliazzo, Apple Valley-Letter to Minneapolis Star Tribune

I don't want to associate myself one way or another with Michael Moore, but I think the controversy could be cleared up easily if Bush publicly released his military records.
Sidney Blumenthal

Absolutely. He could solve this very easily by coming clean with the American people and letting them know what he did and didn't do.
Howard Wolfson-adviser to New York Sen. Hillary Clinton

So, do you think Russert grows some won-tons and asks the president why he hasn't released his military records? He could point out that if he did, he'd be joining an exclusive club which includes:

Senator John McCain, Senator Robert Dole, President George H.W. Bush, President Gerald Ford, Senator Barry Goldwater, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Senator John Kerry, General Wesley Clark, Vice President Al Gore, President Jimmy Carter, Senator George McGovern, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, President John F. Kennedy, and President Harry Truman.

Or does Russert pull a Howie Kurtz:

Salem, Ore.: The proof of the soft-pedaling of the press on W. lies in your column. You referred to his absence from the Texas Air National Guard as "alleged." It is only "alleged" because the mainstream press refuses to clear up the serious, relevant questions. When will the press ask Bush to release his military records?

Howard Kurtz: The press asked for those records many times during the campaign.

For some reason, my money is on the latter.

Janet Jackson's revealing halftime show, in addition to making her name the top search term on Yahoo, got FCC Chairman Michael Powell all hot and bothered. Now we can add a new name to the list of people peeved at Ms. Jackson:

Mark Roberts.

Roberts, who claims the bizarre title of 'serial streaker', alleges Jackson was horning in on his publicity train. Roberts streaked onto the field just before the second half of Sunday's Super Bowl and managed to do an Irish jig and the Moonwalk before being clobbered by a player and carried off the field by police, but feels he is not getting his just recognition.

She took my thunder. If she hadn’t done that I would have been front page material.

Ordinarily, at this point, I would make some wise-ass remark like, 'his mother must be very proud', but Roberts has an answer to that one:

I think my mum is secretly proud, although she doesn’t say it to my face.

OK, well then, if not to his face, where would she aim her pride?

I think John Cole over at Balloon Juice is a pretty smart guy but, as I've mentioned before, I think he allows his rhetoric to get so overheated that he needlessly loses some of his credibility.

However, in a rare case of finding common ground, John and I formed an awkward alliance yesterday concerning Bob Novak's 'savage attack' of Brad Carr in New Hampshire. I feel that Carr might not want to run around bragging about chasing 72-year-old Bob Novak whilst calling him a traitor five or six times. John had a similar take, although he used a little more colorful language when assigning blame.

John went a step further, pointing out that the man who caught Carr when he slipped on the ice was a guy by the name of Mike Stinson, which is the same name of the guy who produced an ad for MoveOn.org's Bush In 30 Seconds contest, which alleged 'Bush/Nazi ties'. I thought the Stinson connection was irrelevant, but John backed it up with quotes, and it didn't really bother me.

John finished up his post with: This is going to be the most vicious, bitter, and bile filled election in history. These lunatics need to be locked up.

Now Dane, speaking of lunatics that need to be locked up, at the cleverly titled DANEgerous Weblog, takes the story a step further. Here's his headline:

MoveOn.org has a new tactic:
Move's On to beating up 72 year olds

Dane quotes the MoveOn.Org portion of John's post, and completely misrepresents the facts. Suddenly, because Stinson caught Carr, the story becomes: MoveOn.Org's 'Brownshirts physically intimidating 72 year old journalists in the streets with transparently false accusations about their patriotism'.

One of the reasons I enjoy reading Balloon Juice, mean spirited invective aside, is because John makes every attempt to use facts to back up his arguments, and he seems always willing to listen when a counter-argument is proffered. I may disagree with John, actually I almost always do, but he doesn't stoop to lying.

Sadly, that's not something that can be said about Dane and the DANEgerous Weblog.

The Today Show is running their 47th annual 'Where In The World Is Matt Lauer?' contest (which is a complete rip-off of 'Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego?').

My question is; shouldn't we have a chance to vote whether we want to find him or not?

Wrapping up Nightline, Ted Koppel tried to tie everything together with a colorful quote:

Revenge is a desert best eaten cold

As any self-respecting mafia-buff knows, revenge is not a desert, it's a dish! And it isn't eaten, it's served! As in:

Revenge is a dish best served cold

Google stats:

Revenge is a dish best served cold--11,300 sites.

Revenge is a desert best served cold--3 sites.

Revenge is a desert best eaten cold--0 sites.

It was just so unseemly. Kind of like when President Bush tried to make this quote work:

There is an old saying in Tennessee, I know it's in Texas, it's probably in Tennessee that says 'Fool me once...shame on...shame on you. If fooled me, you can't get fooled again.'
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Anybody notice a pattern here?

September 11, 2001 America is attacked.

November 27, 2002 President Bush signs legislation that authorizes intelligence activities for the 2003 budget year and establishes an independent commission to investigate the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States.

January 11, 2004 Paul O'Neill appears on 60 Minutes.

January 12, 2004
The US Treasury Department calls for an investigation into whether its former head leaked secret documents in a new book.

July 14, 2003 Robert Novak writes infamous Valerie Plame column.

September 30, 2003 The FBI begins a full-scale criminal investigation into whether White House officials illegally leaked the identity of an undercover CIA officer.

February 1, 2004 Janet Jackson bares a boob during the halftime show at the Super Bowl.

February 2, 2004 FCC Chairman Michael Powell orders an investigation into the broadcast of the Super Bowl's halftime entertainment show.

March 19, 2003 The United States begins invasion of Iraq.

June 2, 2003 Senator John Warner, R-Va. and Senator Bob Graham, D-Fla. urge investigation of Iraq claims.

February 1, 2004 The White House leaks that President Bush will sign an executive order to establish a full-blown investigation of United States intelligence failures in Iraq.

Yeah, me either.

Justin Timberlake, speaking after the halftime show:

Hey, man, we love giving you all something to talk about," he laughingly told "Access Hollywood.

Justin Timberlake, speaking to KCBS today:

When what happened happened, I was completely shocked and appalled. All I could say was 'Oh my God, oh my God.'

Atta boy Justin. When you find yourself in trouble, lie your ass off.

Whenever I check the box office totals, I'm always amazed at how much money some movies are making:

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers made a PROFIT of $367,493,037.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone made a PROFIT of $357,900,000.

The Matrix Reloaded made a PROFIT of $236,700,000.

Of course, some movies actually LOSE money. Just for fun, see if you can pick which of the following lost the most money:

Town & Country

Judge Dredd

The Wild, Wild West

Babe: Pig in the City


The answer is in the comments.

Sure it's hearsay, but it's also absolutely chilling news. Danny Schechter reports on his blog over at MediaChannel.org, that Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy is saying that PBS is under 'extreme pressure' to cancel NOW With Bill Moyers.

Unfortunately, Schechter doesn't have any more information, and doesn't say who is pressuring PBS, but if this news is true, it's a crying shame. NOW is, by far, the smartest show on television. Look at it this way, 60 Minutes is like NOW With Bill Moyers for dummies, and losing it would be another step towards the dumbening down of America.

For those who might be so inclined, you can tell PBS how you feel here.

UPDATE: Jeff Chester e-mailed to let me know who is leading the charge against NOW With Bill Moyers. My guess was Representative Tom DeLay, but it's none other than Senator John McCain!

The Washington Post is finally reporting on Bob Novak's physical encounter with Brad Carr in Manchester, New Hampshire last month. Take Back The Media reported the story earlier with this headline:

Novak savagely attacks onlooker at New Hampshire Primaries

So, what happened? Let's get the skinny from Carr himself:

"I called him a traitor because of his involvement in the outing of Valerie Plame, which I think is unconscionable," Carr told us yesterday, recounting the Jan. 27 incident, which he reported to police. "He gave me a dirty look and ignored me, so I followed him outside to a CNN bus [where] I called him a traitor, probably for the fifth or sixth time. . . . He turned around and grabbed me by the arm . . . gave me a little shove, cocked his arm back as though he was going to hit me, and then someone from behind dragged him away to the bus."

Further, we find:

Carr, who says he is "either retired or unemployed, it depends on my mood," is mulling whether to press the case further. For now he wants an apology from Novak.

What exactly is Carr mulling over? Does he really want to push a case where he chased a 72-year-old man calling him a traitor along the way? The only thing that I don't understand is what took Novak so long to hit the guy. I admire his restraint.

Novak may be a lot of things, but traitor is not one of them. Carr, on the other hand, certainly showed himself to be an ass.

Sunday's Super Bowl, as Super Bowls go, was pretty damn good. Bob Ryan called it 'Perhaps best Super Bowl ever played', but he's from Boston, so his enthusiasm should be taken with a grain of saltpeter. Edwin Pope, of the Miami Herald, says the game was 'Simply the best'. The fact is that the best Super Bowl ever played was Super Bowl XXXIV, but Sunday's game certainly ranks in the top five.

Seriously, who couldn't have loved Sunday's game?

Well, Stevie Gardiner, for one.

Gardiner wrote a BuzzFlash Reader Commentary which claimed Bush Ruined My Super Bowl. Hey, I'll blame President Bush for a lot of things, but ruining the Super Bowl? How could a guy who was sleeping through the second half (much like his entire first term) ruin one of the greatest title games ever?

Apparently Gardiner's day was ruined when he watched President Bush give an interview to CBS Sports from the Rose Garden.

I watched that segment on CBS and the thing that caught my attention, was that you couldn't see the President's breath. If Bush was really outside, his warm breath would have been visible in the freezing cold.

Now, we're on to something! Forget about Valerie Plame, and the Iraq intelligence. Let's impanel a blue ribbon committee to get to the bottom of this one! Once we prove President Bush wasn't outside, there's no way he'll win a second term. This nation owes a debt of gratitude to Stevie Gardiner.

The star witness against Martha Stewart had his credibility shattered yesterday:

A defense attorney moved Tuesday to raise doubts about the star witness in the Martha Stewart trial, getting his former supervisor to admit she once reprimanded him for cursing on company e-mail. Judy Monaghan, an administrator at Merrill Lynch & Co., also testified that she told the witness -- former brokerage assistant Douglas Faneuil -- to stop using company e-mail for personal messages.

That's right. Not only did he use the company e-mail for personal messages, but he cursed, too!

Clearly, there is no way the jury can believe a word he says. Martha, that shocking news just bought you an acquittal!
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

This is the second installment of a continuing series of actual e-mails between Mrs. Rita Edula Komaki and my alter ego William ‘Buzz’ Phillips. (Part one is here.) To recap, Mrs. Komaki spammed me looking for help in transferring several million dollars into the United States. Buzz Phillips immediately offered to help. Mrs. Komaki generously offered Buzz a 25% cut of the fortune in exchange for his help, although the altruistic Buzz told her that he didn’t want the money. Buzz, who along with his wife Lady Duck regularly plays cards with Mr. And Mrs. Andrew Sullivan, only wants to help those less fortunate than himself. When last we saw our heroes, Rita had convinced Buzz to contact her attorney, Dan Musa in Nigeria. (Of course, only reading from this point does leave you at a disadvantage, so here’s your last chance to catch up by reading part one).

The following is a complete, unedited account of our correspondence:

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 17:33:48 -0800 (PST)
From: Add to Address Book
Subject: Concerning Rita Edula
To: barrdanmusa@justice.com

Dear Mr. Musa,

Hello! My name is William 'Buzz' Phillips, and I have been asked to contact you concerning Rita Edula. Rita has explained that she needs some sort of help to get herself and her three children out of the terrible circumstances she finds herself in.

Frankly, I was honored that a mutual friend would recommend me to Rita, and I am excited about the prospect of helping her.

So, to that end, I am ready to travel to Nigeria to visit with you and do whatever is in my power to help Rita. I have my passport and traveling papers in order, so I merely await your word of when I should arrive.

Further, I am still unsure of which hotel I should stay in. I will be arriving with my wife and not more that one member of my personal staff, so I shouldn't need more than two suites. Can you advise me where we should stay? I should tell you that we don't need the most fancy of accommodations, but as we have never been to Nigeria before, we would like to do some sightseeing while we are there. Also, I would prefer an ocean view.

As soon as you let me know when you can schedule an appointment with me, and advise me of the hotel situation, I will make preparations to travel to your beautiful country post haste.



From: Barrister Dan Musa,
Dan Musa & Associates,
22 Edmond street,
Victoria Island,
Lagos, Nigeria.
Telephone: 234-80-55123927,
Fax: 234-1-7592585.

Attn: Mr William Buzz Philips,

Your mail acknowledged. As per your discussion with my client, Madam Rita Edula Komaki, the process is a straight forward one as long as you are honest in your desire to assist her.

First and foremost, I will require the names and address you have in your international passport or drivers licence for identification. With this information, I will obtain a court sworn affidavit which will empower you as the benficiary of this fund from the Edula Komaki's family. I will also require your name and address to transcribe the file contents in the certificate of deposit from the bank before the fund will be transfered. Please be very sure of the information you are giving to me for the ease of reference and identification.

Secondly, I will need your bank account information where you wish this money transfered into by wire transfer or certified bank draft. Your personal telephone and fax number is needed for easy communication. As soon as I get this information, I will expedite action.

Regarding the desire to visit Nigeria for this purpose, I will advice you do not bother to come here now as your presence in Nigeria is not really needed for this transaction as long as you provide me with the required information. Do bear in mind that the local bank here will have the money transfered to their affiliate bank in Italy or London depending on where they have foreign exchange available for this payment. You will need to travel to Italy or London to collect the certified Bank Draft from any of these two countries.

Please call me on this telephone number: 234-80-55123927 or write me a mail if you are not clear about what I have stated.

Yours in active Service,

Barr.Daniel Musa,Esq.

(Editor’s note: Buzz doesn’t necessarily care for attorneys.)

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2004 12:51:19 -0800 (PST)
From: Add to Address Book
To: barrdanmusa@justice.com

Dear Mr. Musa,

I must say, I was a little put off by your e-mail, and was ready to call this whole thing off. I was stunned that you would question the honesty of my desire to help Rita. Maybe it's because I am an American, and courtesy is second nature to Americans, I was shocked that you would have the temerity to be so rude. After all, it is YOU who is the attorney, so perhaps I should be questioning YOUR honesty.

However, after thinking about poor Rita, and her three beautiful children languishing away in Senegal, I have reconsidered and will be glad to help her.

Here is the name and address from my drivers license you requested:

William J. Phillips
1526 H Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

(Editor’s note: Buzz is lying. The above address is not where Buzz lives, but in actuality is the address for the California Governor’s Mansion.)

Now, as Rita seems to depend on me for advice, I want to be able to assure her that you are looking out for her best interests. So, while I don't wish to cast any aspersions on your surely unblemished character, I must request that you provide me with your Bar number, and the name of the law school you attended.

Now, you mentioned that the funds would be transferred to Italy or London. I was under the impression that the funds were going to be transferred to the United States. Why won't the funds come to this country?

I await your reply.


William 'Buzz' Phillips

(Editor’s note: Attorneys don’t necessarily care for Buzz either.)

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 14:43:11 +0100
From: "edulakomak" Add to Address Book

Dearest Buzz,

I just received a mail from Barr.Daniel Musa and he also forwarded me the copy of the mail you wrote him. The man Barr.daniel Musa like I told you earlier was an associate of my late husband and even at that, my husband never trusted him that much and because I did not have much choice, I decided to use him for this transaction.

(Editor’s note: Buzz isn’t the only one who has a problem with Dan Musa!)

I sincerely, from the bottom of my heart apologize for the rudeness Barr.Daniel Musa exhibitted in his mail to you. He was so rude and nasty to me stating that he was only trying to help me out and now I have allowed my American friend to question his integrity and honesty only because he Musa was trying to protect my interest. He adviced me to go ahead and look for another foreigner who will help me receive this money because he is not ready to work with you because you are rude and arrogant to him.

Please dearest Buzz, I have always prayed to meet a helper like you and God really answered my long standing prayers and sent you to me and from the day you responded to my mail, I have known absolute peace in my spirit and my hope has come alive again,God forbid that I will succumb to Barr. Musa's advice, on the contrary, I just responded to his mail now before writing you asking him to hands off from this matter because I have found another attorney who will help me proceed with the transfer of this fund and nothing he will say will ever make me change my mind to use him for this purpose or ever deal with him again. I thank God that his game plan is unfolding now, he has always tried to introduce some foreigners to me who will help me receive this money, but somewhere in my spirit, I have always had the strong feeling that his intension was not genuine or honourable.

Dearest Buzz, now that he has revealed his evil intension, I have decided to use the Togolese Attorney whom I contacted after you wrongly told me that you cannot do business with a Nigerian because of their rapour with Sadam. I contacted him and he agreed to give me his time and support in ensuring that I get this fund transfered to you . The man is a perfect gentleman in every sense of the word, I am sure you will be delighted to work with him. Please contact him and give him your particulars as you gave to Musa and please seize further communication with Musa.

TEL/FAX: 228 9097362
EMAIL: williamsrossel@justice.com

(Editor’s note: Another attorney!)

Please Buzz,contact him and let him know I directed you to him for the purpose of this transaction.

I want to apologize once again Buzz, am very sorry if I hurt your feelings. I swear by the soul of my children that I will never do anything intensionally to hurt you. Ironically, I want to thank you for helping me expose the evil intent of Barr.Musa. Only God knows what he would have done if we had continued with him. Please acknowledge the receipt of this mail and assure me that you are not angry with me for the insult you received from Musa.

I appreciate your good intention towards my children and I and may God continue to bless you.

Extend my warmest regards to your wife. I hope to hear from you.

Yours sincerely,


(Editor’s note: Sometimes Buzz is slow in returning his correspondence. Rita doesn’t brook that, and writes again.)

Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 03:18:39 +0100
From: "edulakomak" Add to Address Book

Dear Buzz,

How are you doing over there with your family? I wrote a detailed mail to you yesterday apologizing for the rude attitude of barr.Musa to you and subsequently gave you the other Attorney's contact detail so that you can contact him. More importantly, I need to hear from you to be sure that you are not angry with me over the mail you received from Barr.Musa. I have dropped him as a result of this and I do hope this will make you
happy with my kids and I.

Please I need to hear from you today.

Good wishes,


Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 15:01:39 -0800 (PST)
From: Add to Address Book

Dear Rita,

I fear I must make a startling confession: after my dealing with the rude and impolite Mr. Musa, I began to wonder if somehow our dealings weren't part of some sort of scam. As part of my role at my late parent's foundation, I have the honor or distributing several millions of dollars per year to worthwhile charitable causes, and on numerous occasions charlatans and scallywags have attempted to bilk the foundation out of large sums of money. You’d be surprised at the nerve of these chiselers, connivers, and swindlers.

Once we even received a request to fund a program to feed the foodless from a destitute woman in Southern Alabama, but when we checked into it, the request actually came from a well-known Australian media mogul who runs a TV network here in America.

Anyway, after the e-mail exchange with Mr. Musa, I thought it would be prudent to have our people look into this matter. Through an associate of the foundation, Vincent Terranova, (Editor’s note: Vinnie Terranova was actually the lead character on the TV show Wiseguy.) I was put in touch with an officer of our Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by the name of Frank McPike (Editor’s note: Buzz is lying again. Frank McPike was Vinnie Terranova’s supervisor on Wiseguy, but they both worked for the Organized Crime Bureau (OCB), and had no affiliation with the FBI). Mr. McPike is a Special Agent In Charge (SAIC) based in the Washington, D.C. office.

I spoke with Mr. McPike at great length, and advised him of your situation, and my attempts to assist you. In fact, I even forwarded copies of our e-mail correspondence to him for review. I heard back from Mr. McPike today and, happily, he said everything sounds legitimate and on the up and up. He did mention that Mr. Musa was rude, and he was as stunned as I was by his behavior. I think that we, as Americans, are simply confounded whenever we run across somebody without manners. I’m sure that when you arrive here in the United States that people are just more polite than in other parts of the world (Don’t even get me started on those rude and obnoxious Brits!).

Rita, I do realize that checking up on you was not the act of a true friend, and after all we’ve been through together, I should have known that you were totally honest with me. All I can do is ask your forgiveness.

Oh, by the way and before I forget, Lady Duck wants to know if you have a picture of yourself, as Mr. McPike recently was divorced and she thinks you two would make a marvelous couple. Much to my chagrin, she is constantly trying to fix people up! Of course, I must say, that while I don’t care for her meddling in people’s lives, Lady Duck does have a pretty good track record in her match-ups. So, if you have any interest in meeting a single, rugged, and well-educated FBI Agent when you arrive, let me know.

Now, I am…hold on a second Rita, the blasted phone is ringing! I don’t know why we pay people if I have to answer our own phone!

OK, sorry about that. It was another telemarketer. I thought they were going to stop calling after the Do Not Call law was passed, but I promise you it seems like we get more calls now than we ever did before. Where was I? Oh, that’s right, I received the name of your new attorney, Mr. Rossel, but I recall you mentioning that he was going to, shall we say, gouge you in terms of his fee. I have a better idea.

Here in California, we have an attorney who is absolutely top notch. His name is Larry H. Parker, and while I have had no dealings with him personally, I can assure you he is good as he has commercials on TV. Maybe it’s time you begin to think about using an American attorney. I can meet with him here and make all of the arrangements, and I’m sure we can have you and your three darling children on a plane to America post haste!

Please give it some thought, as I think it may be best for you and your little shavers. I am going to tell Mr. McPike all about you, as I am due to meet with him tomorrow. I await your reply, and remain your dutiful servant.



(Editor’s note: Buzz has crossed a line.)

Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2004 5:14 AM

Dear Buzz,

I feel so sad and broken hearted after reading your mail. I do not for a munite entertained the thought that you will question the legitimacy of my predicament. Like you rightly pointed out, it is not a gesture to show to somebody you call your friend. Now that am begining to feel I have a friend in you, you decided to break my heart. How could you do this to me? I know that the world is full of fraudulent people whose fear I entertain so much that I had to dump the services of my late husband's associate Barr. Dan Musa when I started suspecting some foul play after your encounter with him.

You went further to suggest a match making between your friend and I when I am still mourning the death of my husband and presently facing a bleak future with my kids until we are not able to get this money from Nigeria. I am still a young woman, no doubt hungry a man" care and love but am not in a hurry, I know that at the appropriate time, God will provide the right man for me who will fill up the vaccum my late husband left.

Concerning the prominent lawyer you suggested, I think I will feel more comfortable dealing with somebody that understand's the business terrain in Nigeria handles this transaction on our behalf. That is why I consider my second choice of Mr Rossels a wise one because he understands Nigeria and is even married to a Nigerian. So I will prefer we use him for this transaction for obvious reasons and I can voutch for him.

I do appreciate your initial concern for my kids and I, and I will implore you in the name of God not to do or say anything that will hurt my feelings any further since I have enough burden in my heart.

I will continue to appreciate you.

Yours sincerely,


(Editor’s note: Rita’s pissed, and Buzz isn’t happy. Will these two be able to reconcile their differences, and help Rita and her three lovely children? Part three is coming soon!)

Like a lot of people these days, Steve Burd isn't enjoying a whole lot of job security. Burd is the C.E.O. of Safeway Inc., and he may find himself out of work after February 12th, when Safeway's earnings report comes out.

I'm sure most Safeway shareholders will, in unison, say 'What took so long?'

Burd has overseen the loss of $20 billion dollars of shareholder wealth in slightly less than 3 years. Safeway was trading at $62.50 in early 2001, and closed today at $22.95.

Don't feel too badly for the C.E.O. though. Even as Safeway's shareholders were taking it in the shorts, Burd has pocketed $44 million by exercising nearly 1.9 million stock options, including $16.1 million in the past five months. Of course, while the grocery workers who have been locked out and are on strike are barely scraping by, it's good to know that Burd won't have to worry about next month's rent.

Soon after Safeway dismisses Burd, he’s expected to pursue the only option available for such a failure in business. He’ll start laying the groundwork to pursue the 2008 Republican nomination for president.

I wish somebody would tell us the rest of the story, as this tale is far from complete:

Tuesday, January 13, 2004--Dan Marino returned to the Miami Dolphins as senior vice-president of football operations.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004--Dan Marino resigned as senior vice-president of the Miami Dolphins.

There are all kinds of reasons to dislike Wal-Mart. Recently the retail outfit paid for a study that claims Wal-Mart would be good for Southern California. Wal-Mart has been charged with locking their janitors inside the stores during their shifts. Wal-Mart has been charged with hiring undocumented workers, and some of them were paid as little as $2 a day.

Now we find out that Wal-Mart is No. 2 among top campaign givers in the 2004 federal elections. Where is Wal-Mart's money going? Naturally, 85% of the company's contributions have gone to Republicans.

In early January, Lloyd Grove told us that California's First Lady had been 'essentially fired' by NBC. Apparently NBC News officials had been 'freaked out' by Maria Shriver's 'alleged behind-the-scenes lobbying to pass her husband's budget plan' and wanted her to 'to exit gracefully'. Neal Shapiro 'suggested that Shriver announce her departure with a warm-and-fuzzy statement'.

We got that warm-and-fuzzy statement today:

'After much soul searching, I have asked to be relieved of my duties at NBC News.' Shriver said in a statement.

You know her statement is totally true. The last time I got fired, I also did a tremendous amount of soul searching. I searched my soul the whole time I spent walking from the office to my car, before I realized I needed to make a change.

Bitter Girl had a pretty good Saturday night. After 4+ Guinnesses, she karaoke'd a Patsy Cline song, made fun of the 'lame-assed' Madonna fans, and let her 'inner truck stop' out. Then she was ready for some fun:

Now it's BJ time.

I know. She's like a dream date.

During the recall election and the early part of Governor Schwarzenegger’s reign, I have thought that the actor-turned-politician was merely a rich guy who bought himself an election (and rather cheaply, I might add).

Well, I’m all wet, according to this story from yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle:

Unlike Ventura, Schwarzenegger Shows He's A Real Heavyweight

Writer Jennifer Nelson paints a picture, complete with quotes and everything, of a Governor who ‘is engaged in the details of public policy and the job of running the nation's most powerful state.’

Everybody, it seems, has something good to say about Governor Schwarzenegger.

‘I think he has gone to lengths to emphasize the importance of focusing on issues and minimizing partisanship.’ is the early call on the Governor from Chuck Poochigian. Of course, Poochigian is also known as state Senator Chuck Poochigian (R-Fresno), so maybe his views might be a little jaded.

But ‘longtime Capitol lobbyist’ Maureen Higgins was nearly breathless in her praise:

There is definitely a new game in town. We have a governor who is engaged and smart and has shown that he will jump in on issues.

Well, to be accurate, in addition to being a ‘longtime Capitol lobbyist’ Higgins is also a former official in Republican Governor Pete Wilson’s administration, so maybe another grain of salt is required. (I wonder why I had to learn this on Google and not from the story.)

But there is no denying that Oakland based writer Jennifer Nelson is impressed with the Governor. But, then again, Nelson worked in policymaking positions for Republican Governor George Deukmejian and Republican Governor Pete Wilson.

Hmmm. Perhaps I wasn’t wrong about Governor Schwarzenegger as much as I was about the San Francisco Chronicle. I’ve always thought The Chronicle was NOT an arm of the California Republican Committee.
Monday, February 02, 2004

The investigation into the Iraq intelligence will above reproach:

The senior White House official said it would be patterned after the Warren Commission, named for Earl Warren, its chairman and chief justice of the United States at the time, who led a 10-month investigation that concluded in 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing President John F. Kennedy.

We'll certainly get to the bottom of things now. I mean, there's never been any questions about the Warren Commission, right?

President Bush ordered a bipartisan probe into our pre-war intelligence:

Q: Yes, Mr. President. I'd like to ask you about this intelligence investigation that you're going to order. Do you think that the country is owed an explanation about the Iraq intelligence failures before the election, so that voters have this information when they elect a new President?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the -- first of all, I want to know all the facts. We do know that Saddam Hussein had the intent and the capabilities to cause great harm, we know he was a danger. And he was not only a danger to people in the free world, he was a danger to his own people; he slaughtered thousands of people, imprisoned people.

What we don't know yet is what we thought and what the Iraqi Survey Group has found, and we want to look at that. But we also want to look at our war against proliferation and weapons of mass destruction, kind of in a broader context. And so I'm putting together an independent, bipartisan commission to analyze where we stand, what we can do better as we fight this war against terror.

Before I move forward with the commission, I want to sit down with Mr. Kay. I appreciate his service. I've invited him to come down to the White House. I'll be doing so soon. I do want to get a briefing from him.
(Emphasis added.)

Apparently the administration will decide what they thought before the war after the results of the investigation are made known.

Calpundit points out that 'polls taken nine months before an election are pretty meaningless'. While he's dead right, he might be underestimating things. Think back to 1988:

As the Republican convention opened, an ABC News poll found Dukakis 15 points ahead of Bush. An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll had Dukakis up by 14 points, and the CBS-New York Times poll showed Dukakis with a 17-point lead.

For the record, President Bush won 426 electoral votes to Governor Dukakis' 111.

Due to the appearance of Janet Jackson’s bare breast during the Super Bowl, we’re going to have a 'thorough and swift' investigation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). While I didn’t see the boob, I do find it comical that FCC Chairman Michael Powell is ‘outraged’. At least he has an open mind, as the investigation is still incomplete:

Like millions of Americans, my family and I gathered around the television for a celebration. Instead, that celebration was tainted by a classless, crass and deplorable stunt.

To be honest, I don't have a dog in this fight. It seems like it was an accident, and both Jackson and Timberlake apologized, but if the FCC wants to have an investigation, fair enough.

What this incident is doing is gaining more face time for Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Representative Doug Ose (R-CA), who have gained notoriety for their bill, which would ban 8 words or phrases from being used in television.

HR 3687 IH reads in part:

(b) As used in this section, the term 'profane' used with respect to language, includes the words 'shit,' 'piss,' 'fuck,' 'cunt,' 'asshole' and the phrases 'cock sucker,' 'mother fucker' and 'ass hole.' Compound use, including hyphenated compounds, of such words and phrases with each other and with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases, including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms.'

Naturally, the bill has met with some derision. Talk Left reports:

One lawyer who read the bill speculates that it just a step toward re-instating blasphemy laws. He says "Profane" is a religious term and refers to blasphemy" and "The antonym to "profane" is "sacred."

Of course, Talk Left was the exception and not the rule when it came to discussing the bill, as most used profanity while showing their contempt:

Irregular Times discussed the matter under this title:

What the Fuck?

Not to be outdone, Get More Ass queried the authors of the bill directly:

Hey, Reps. Ose and Smith

Mike, from the cleverly titled, Mike's Blog opted for repetition:

Are you fucking kidding me? What kind of fucking era are we fucking living in? And who the fuck is named "Lamar" anyway.

Wayne Madsen, writing for the Online Journal, gave us:

So it would be illegal for any broadcaster to call Mr. Smith a Texas shithead and Mr. Ose an asshole (or in his case, would that be an Ose-hole?).

There are a lot of arguments against the anti-profanity bill. George Carlin made a good one when discussing the 'Byzantine legislation':

"That, of course, leaves out the fact that there are two knobs on the radio and television: One turns it off, the other changes the station."

First Amendment lawyer Robert Corn-Revere thinks the bill might have legal problems:

There's no conceivable way that an approach like that could survive constitutional review.

Sarah Mausolf, assistant features editor for The Review, says the bill is just plain censorship:

To sum up, the right to say whatever the hell we want in this country, including profanity, is legal, part of an American tradition and representative of a larger right to express ourselves as we so choose.

Well, at the risk of being banished from the Democratic Party (again!), I have to say; I don't see what's so wrong with banning the 8 words or phrases from non-news TV.

You mean to tell me that the bright and intelligent minds from Hollywood can't make due without using the words 'shit,' 'piss,' 'fuck,' 'cunt,' 'asshole' and the phrases 'cock sucker,' 'mother fucker' and 'ass hole'?

I don't have kids, so I tend to look at this as if my 11-year-old niece Meagen would be watching TV and somebody just had to use the word 'cunt'. I would be appalled. And I certainly wouldn't want Meagen to grow up to be the next Nicole Ritchie, the classless, talent less Paris Hilton hanger-on who used broadcast of the Billboard Music Awards to quip:

Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada purse? It's not so fucking simple.

I know it may not be politically correct, but I don't see a problem keeping non-news TV free of the 8 aforementioned profanities.

Recently, the matriarch of Arrested Development (have I mentioned it's the funniest show on TV?) Lucille Bluth (played perfectly by Jessica Walter) and her daughter Lindsay (Portia DeRossi) were, due to Lucille's blood sugar being 'at a perilous low', forced to eat in a common restaurant called Klimpy's. While ordering, we got this:

Lucille Bluth: I'll have the Ike and Tina tuna.

Waitress: Plate or platter?

Lucille Bluth: I don't understand the question and I won't respond to it.

Now is the time to jump on the Arrested Development bandwagon. Remember, Heather Graham is coming!

In January, I e-mailed my elected officials with what I thought was a good idea concerning presidential accountability. Today, I heard back from Senator Barbara Boxer. Below is a copy of the e-mail Senator Boxer, and then a translation of its actual meaning:

From: senator@boxer.senate.gov Add to Address Book
To: chinmusic41@yahoo.com
Subject: Responding to your message
Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2004 09:28:00 -0500

Dear Mr. Berry:

Thank you for contacting my office to express your views. I believe that all citizens should become involved in the legislative process by letting their voices be heard, and I appreciate the time and effort that you took to share your thoughts with me. One of the most important aspects of my job is keeping informed about the views of my constituents, and I welcome your comments so that I may continue to represent California to the best of my ability. Should I have the opportunity to consider legislation on this or similar issues, I will keep your views in mind.

For additional information about my activities in the U.S. Senate, please visit my
website, http://boxer.senate.gov. From this site, you can access statements and press releases that I have issued about current events and pending
legislation, request copies of legislation and government reports, and receive detailed information about the many services that I am privileged to provide for my constituents. You may also wish to visit http://thomas.loc.gov to track current and past legislation.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I appreciate hearing from you.


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator


Dear Mr. Berry,

A low-level aide in my office opened your e-mail, and although he or she did not read it, he or she did check your name against the list of my constituents who have made financial donations to my campaigns. Unfortunately, your name did not appear on the list of my financial backers, and therefore, your opinions and views carry no weight with me.

However, rather than just delete your e-mail and disregard you and your opinions completely, my staff developed this form e-mail to send to non-contributors like yourself, mainly to protect me from the claim that I ignored you. Of course, after sending you this form e-mail, my low-level aide did, in fact, delete your e-mail, and you can rest assured that I never heard your name or idea or opinion.

In closing, I encourage you to become more involved in the political process by donating to my re-election campaign. When you do, and depending on the amount of your donation, I may well hear about your views.


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Last night I was poking a little fun at my good friend Kevin McCullough for his view that Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake ‘should both be held accountable for the attempt to present public nudity before scores of children and minors watching across the country.’ Basically, I have the same feeling about this vital national issue as Nicole over at Passenger Pachyderms:

Oh for Pete's sake people. It's a Boob. It's a boob we didn't even see up close, or for that long.

It turns out that, compared to others, Kevin was showing himself to be pretty tolerant. While discussing the Jackson Boob Sighting, a caller to Sean Hannity’s radio show gave us this solemn observation:

This drumbeat of filth is a recruiting video for al-Qaeda.

I’m almost positive the caller was serious.

Further, on Hannity’s website, they have this poll:

Do you think the incident was intentional during the "Super Bowl" half-time show involving Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake?

With over 3,300 people voting, 96% answered in the affirmative.

Well, I guess it's nice to know that some folks aren't worrying their pretty little heads about insignificant things like the number of people who are out of work, or the lack of WMD's in Iraq, or the possibility that the White House knew the Medicare Bill was going way over budget but never mentioned it until it passed.

Over at Tapped, Nick Confessore says, basically, that Michael Moore was wrong to call President Bush a deserter but hopes that the national media takes a fresh look at the president's military record.

I wonder if Nick will get the same treatment that I did after posting a similar thought last week. After I dared to say that Moore calling President Bush a deserter was damaging to General Wesley Clark's campaign, several readers tried to help me out by offering some heartfelt constructive criticism:

‘You are full of shit.’

‘What a stupid commentary, and so typical of reactionary thinking.’

‘If you really are a Democrat and find it rude to speak the truth-- go stick your head back in the sand-- shut the hell up. More likely you're just a Republican mole though-- crawl back to your sewer.’

‘I'd rather you "shut the hell up" about Michael Moore, one of the few people with courage to expose the truth about Bush and cronies.’

‘"Democratic" Miss Manner's like this twit, lecturing on courtesy in the face of fanatic right-wing ranting and radical anti-Americanism have brought our Democracy to the brink of ruin.’

‘What a schlock. A one-man, internet think tank, running on empty.’

'I'd almost be tempted to think your some Bush/Cheney mole trying to undermine the oppositions most compelling arguements against Bush.'

Most people claimed that I was the one doing damage to the party by badmouthing a loyal Democrat in Michael Moore. When I asked them, considering how helpful Moore was to the party in 2000, what made them think Moore was a Democrat, they got pretty silent.
Sunday, February 01, 2004

Donna Harding was stunned to be accused of spouting racial insults and assaulting a young Hispanic girl. Harding’s attorney said that, in actuality, Harding was attacked by a Hispanic mother and daughter team, and was called ‘white trash’. Imagine Harding’s torture when somebody alleged that she said, during that confrontation, "niggers" and "spics" do not belong in Breezy Point, and that they should "go back to Orchard Beach" in the Bronx. Doesn’t your heart go out to her? Well, take it back. Friday, the tortured Harding pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and promised a judge that she would attend a nine-hour anger management class.

Washington state Senator Alex Deccio, R-Yakima, called Washington state Representative Tom Campbell, R-Roy, a "nigger in the woodpile" during a meeting about health insurance reforms Thursday night. Both men are white. Senator Deccio has apologized to Representative Campbell, the other people in the meeting and the House Republican caucus. The 81-year-old senator said he also plans to personally apologize to all the black members of the Legislature.

Bossier City police Lieutenant Royce Chapman has been suspended for 10 days for using a racial slur during a patrol shifts roll call. Lieutenant Chapman, the shift commander, used a derogatory comment about blacks to describe the lowest-ranking officers at the department. Well, with the time-off due to the suspension, Lieutenant Chapman will learn his lesson, right? Well, you do have to wonder about that, considering that Lieutenant Chapman was suspended in 1994 for the same thing.

Nicholas Holmes was walking with friends early on a Sunday morning in the common area of the Royal Lexington Apartments when someone shouted a racial slur at Holmes' roommate, who is biracial. Holmes, who is white, tried to prevent a fight, but another man head-butted him, knocking him to the ground. Holmes died hours later of head injuries. Aaron A. Roth of Louisville pleaded innocent to second-degree manslaughter in Fayette County District Court.

New Haven firefighter Carole LaCroix was eliciting donations for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) when she referred to the group as the "United Nigger College Fund". Twice. The Board of Fire Commissioners suspended LaCroix without pay for six months and demoted her to a probationary firefighter for an additional six months upon her return to work. In addition, she must complete a discrimination-awareness course. LaCroix’s attorney, John R. Williams, claimed that his client's actions were caused by learning disabilities and a fear of public speaking.

Louis Gialanno shouted racial slurs at a 14-year-old African American teenager in the parking lot of a Largo restaurant. Later, inside the restaurant, Gialanno of Zephyrhills threw a noose around the neck of the young man. Gialanno, who along with two of his friends were charged with hate crimes, remains behind bars at the Pinellas County jail. According to a family member of one of the juveniles being charged with the hate crime, none of the kids who perpetrated the incident are racist.

As I mentioned earlier, I was boycotting all of the commercials on CBS, and that meant halftime too. When the first half ended, I zipped on over to an episode of I Love Lucy (the one where Lucy gets jockey Johnny Longden's loving cup stuck on her head, and Ethel loses her in the subway. As usual, it was a madcap adventure). Was there some kind of strip show at halftime?

The game was barely over when I got an e-mail alerting me to Kevin McCullough's weblog, and Kevin feels 'Ms. Jackson's reckless use of a national platform to flash a little "boob"...' should have stern repercussions for Ms. Jackson (if you're nasty) and Justin Timberlake:

Ms. Jackson AND Mr. Timberlake should both be held accountable for the attempt to present public nudity before scores of children and minors watching across the country...

Further, you can vote in the poll answering this question:

TAKE PART IN THE POLL: "Should Janet and Justin be prosecuted for public indecency?

To vote in the poll, e-mail Kevin here.

You know, had they announced that Janet Jackson was going topless, I would have stuck around. It's not like I would have been missing Lucy's Vitameatavegamin episode.

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