Friday, December 30, 2005

After-Christmas Shopping

I will never understand why non-religious people celebrate Christmas on December Twenty-Fifth. The cost of everything is lower beginning the day after Christmas, so if you are not really celebrating the birth of Christ but are simply indulging in the vulgarity of unbridled consumerism, then wait a day and shop the real sales.

Then the question becomes: Where should I shop?

I always recommend shopping with companies that support Democratic candidates. provides a wealth of information about how companies spend their political dollars.

This list below is gleaned from a search I made of all companies who gave 100% of their political contributions to Democrats. If you follow the link you can find more information about these companies' business practices.

This list shows companies that donated one hundred percent of their political contributions to Democrats and the amount they sent:

2929 Entertainment LP $3,000
AFC Enterprises, Inc $2,000
Aloha Air Group, Inc $7,665
American Apparel, LLC $1,400
Bally Total Fitness Holding Corporation $1,500
Benihana Inc $3,000
Bistro Group, The $300
Black & Decker Corporation, The $1,000
Blimpie International, Inc. $2,000
Boston Beer Company Inc., The $4,250
Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse Corporation $1,250
Charming Shoppes, Inc $250
Claire's Stores, Inc. $17,000
Coach, Inc. $11,000
Consolidated Restaurant Operations, Inc $4,000
Dorel Industries Inc. $3,000
Dress Barn Inc., The $118,000
Foot Locker, Inc $1,000
Frederick's of Hollywood, Inc. $2,000
Google Inc. $71,500
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. $18,500
Gymboree Corporation, The $2,000
Hawaiian Holdings, Inc $2,000
IAC/InterActiveCorp $33,950
Jamba Juice Company $1,500
Jo-Ann Stores, Inc $3,000
Levi Strauss & Co $47,050
Linens 'n Things, Inc $1,750
Loews Hotels Holding Corporation $83,599
Luxottica Group S.p.A. $2,000
Men's Wearhouse Inc, The $56,000
Myriad Restaurant Group, Inc $1,962
New Belgium Brewing Company Inc. $14,400
Panera Bread Company $6,500
Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation $7,500
Powell's Books, Inc $26,250
Recreational Equipment, Inc $6,500
Restoration Hardware, Inc. $200
Skechers U.S.A., Inc $8,000
Sonic Corp $24,170
SPS Studios, Inc $278,244
Starbucks Corporation $23,800
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc $22,000
Tom's of Maine $2,100
Yankee Candle Company Inc, The $2,250

Dick Mac Recommends:

What's the Matter with Kansas?
Thomas Frank

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Catfish Humor

Q: What's the difference between a catfish and a human resources expert?

A: One is a scum-sucking bottom-feeder and the other is a fish.

Thanks to Lisa for sending this along!

Dick Mac Recommends:

Ultimate Punishment
Scott Turow

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

David Letterman Now Free to Stalk Santa Fe Woman

Fifty-nine year-old Colleen Nestler will now have to spend the rest of her life being harrassed by David Letterman.

Letterman Unrestrained
By Joal Ryan

Sometimes a cigar just is a cigar. And sometimes when David Letterman says "Oprah," he just means Oprah Winfrey.

A woman who claimed Letterman's "Oprah" was a secret marriage proposal might wish to consider the latter after a judge in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Tuesday quashed a temporary restraining order against the late-night star.

Letterman's attorneys successfully argued that Colleen Nestler, 59, had no legal grounds to ask a court to keep the talk host 100 yards away from her at all times. The Late Show comic's camp also made a case that the New Mexico court had no sway over the East Coast-based Letterman.

In a Dec. 15 filing, Nestler accused Letterman of inflicting mental cruelty, causing sleep deprivation, and contributing to her financial ruin. She won her temporary restraining order the same day.

In defeat on Tuesday, Nestler sounded undefeated. "I have achieved my purpose," she said outside the courthouse, according to the Associated Press. "The public knows that this man cannot come near me."

To stress her point, Nestler told the court that she would "break their legs" if Letterman and/or his delegates invaded her personal space. Later, she denied that the "break their legs" remark was a threat.

For his part, Letterman, 58, sounds as if he's willing to let bygones be bygones. In court, his attorneys dropped their request for an injunction against Nestler.

Letterman and Nestler's relationship began, according to Nestler, in 1993 when she was a married Nevada art-gallery owner and he was a newcomer to the 11:30 p.m. time slot on CBS.

According to a six-page, single-space typed statement filed with the court, Nestler said her "entire being [became] 'alit'" when she watched the first ever Late Show. She remained devoted to Letterman through 1998, divorcing and moving East. Theirs was hardly a one-sided affair, according to Nestler. Letterman encouraged her feelings by talking on air in code. "It is common in the television industry," she wrote.

Letterman's coded comments, including "Oprah," told Nestler that he (1) wanted to marry her; and (2) wanted to "train [her] to be his cohost." Things began to go badly, Nestler said, when Letterman became too demanding--ordering her to watch Good Morning America, Live with Regis & Kathie Lee ("which I loathed") and the overnight ABC news show, World News Now.

Finally, she said, Kelsey Grammer, via encoded episodes of Frasier, convinced Nestler that she and Letterman had nothing in common.

Her story, Nestler wrote, per the documents posted on the Website of the (Santa Fe) New Mexican, "is ENTIRELY TRUE."

In a similar case in March, an Ohio woman unsuccessfully sought a restraining order against Janet Jackson, accusing the pop star of stalking her and plotting to vandalize her 1992 Honda Civic and 1992 Honda Accord.

Letterman, meanwhile, is no stranger to unusual encounters with the public. For years, he was trailed by a fan, Margaret Ray, who insisted she was Mrs. David Letterman. And in September, a contractor was sentenced to 10 years in prison for hatching a plot to kidnap his son.

E!Online Article Reprinted without permission from Yahoo!

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri

Monday, December 26, 2005

Rafael Palmiero - Baseball's Hypoctrite

Rafael Palmeiro swore under oath to the United States Congress, "I have never used steroids. Period."

His impassioned speech was such a convincing performance that even after he later tested positive for steroids, Congress has chosen to let the liar slide and refuses to pursue perjury charges against him.

This is probably because he is a nice famous 'white' guy and he was able to explain away his steroid use as an accident that was the fault of Miguel Tejada (a not as famous not as 'white' guy).

Palmiero actually said that he must have taken the steroids inadvertently when he took Vitamin B-12 from Tejada's vitamin supply. I don't know a lot of non-needle using guys who would just dip into someone else's stash and inject vitamins.

Do you know guys who just happen to just decide to just shoot vitamins one day on-the-fly?

Nah! The people I know who use needles are people who use needles. None of the needle users I've encountered in medicine, sports, entertainment and the ghetto use needles ONLY for injections of Vitamin B-12. They use them for injecting all kinds of stuff, among which may be Vitamin B-12.

Palmiero is a liar.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Jose Canseco

Friday, December 23, 2005

James A. Franco (1986 - 2005)

A few years ago I met James Franco. He was a passionate, attractive, well-spoken politically-active artist. Everything I like in a man. He had painted a picture about the killing of his friend Matthew Shepherd. I wanted to buy it from him, but he was donating to a foundation. Lazily, I never pursued acquisition of his work.

Last week, James succumbed to injuries sustained in an automobile accident. He was nineteen, attractive and brilliant.

A memorial website has been built paying homage to him and showing some of his work. Please consider a visit and a moment of silence for the world's loss of such a wonderful and beautiful human being.

Lit Cigarette by James Franco

Here is James' obituary:
AGAWAM - James A. Franco, 19, of the Feeding Hills section of Agawam was Called Home on Saturday, December 17, 2005. He was born in Springfield on March 6, 1986 a beloved son of Robert and Katherine A (Grochmal) Franco of Feeding Hills and was a lifelong resident. James graduated from Agawam High School in 2004 and was currently a sophomore at Westfield State College where he studied art, music, theatre and majored in fine arts.

Some of his art work was locally exhibited in the area and he co-starred in the spring theatre productions at Westfield State College. He played the guitar and sang with his band Twin Effects and his solo work was played in Europe on independent radio stations. He was predeceased by his loving grandfathers, Edward Grochmal and Robert Franco, Sr.

Besides his loving parents, he leaves his dear brother, Eric E. Franco and his wife Candice of Feeding Hills. His dear sister, Heather E. Erdem and her husband Cemil of Southwick. His loving maternal grandmother, Madelainne "Mamoo" Grochmal of South Yarmouth and his loving paternal grandmother, Fernanda Davidson of Southwick. His cherished nieces, Emma and Sophia. He also leaves his many dear aunts, uncles and friends, including his special aunt Carolyn Grochmal of South Yarmouth. His funeral service and burial will be private at the convenience of the family. There are no visiting hours. . . . His family has requested that memorial donations be made in his memory to the Westfield State College Residential Life, 577 Western Avenue, Westfield, MA 01085.

Published on 12/20/2005.

May he rest in peace and his legacy shine brightly.

Dick Mac Recommends:
Practice love and acceptance and your life will be better!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Give the Gift of Music

It's getting close to the wire, so your options are becoming limited. Consider a CD for someone you love, or for whom you must purchase a gift!

Poems For Girls That Straight Up Rejected Me
The Jimmy Haig Experience

The Idiot
Iggy Pop

Electric Warrior
T. Rex

I Am Shelby Lynne
Shelby Lynne

Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols
The Sex Pistols

The Supremes Sing Rodgers & Hart
The Supremes

The Complete Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald

Sometime in New York City
John Lennon, Yoko Ono, The Mothers

Murdered By the Music
Yukihiro Takahashi

Patti Smith

Blank Generation
Richard Hell & the Voidoids

Hello Stranger
Barbara Lewis

Greatest Hits
Don Ho

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Merry F^%*king Christmas You Yuppie Scum!

Please, turn down your speakers (or better yet use headphones) if you click on this at work or within earshot of children.

Please enjoy No Christmas For You, a Neurotically Yours cartoon, from Ill Will Press.

Thanks to Frank for sending this along.

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Gospel According to St. Matthew
Pier Paolo Passolini

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Transit Strike Update

Today's earlier post was published before the Transport Workers Union announced they were striking the MTA.

Mayor Bloomberg, ass that he is, has stuck his nose (again) into negotiations in which he plays no role. He's as bad as Hillary Clinton who showed that she is anti-worker by refusing to support the Union.

Elected officials are cloaking themselves in draconian law that prohibits municipal workers from striking.

Bloomberg actually spoke of the Union creating chaos.

The most dramatic chaos in America is the republican plan to gut and eliminate all employee benefits. Leaving working families with insufficient health care, no retirement, and the inability to afford the comforts that America's middle class had come to expect.

Bloomberg, Pataki and Clinton continue to endorse an economic plan that means less for workers and more for billionaires.

I applaud the TWU for this job action and hope their simple, affordable demands are met.

Holidy Gift Idea: Wireless Home Security System

Go to a second-hand store, buy a pair of large men's used work boots. A really large pair. Put them outside your door on top of a copy of Guns and Ammo magazine. Put a dirty dog dish beside it. A really big dog dish.

Leave a note on your front door that says:
"Bubba, Out getting more ammo - back in 10 minutes. Don't disturb the pitbulls, they were just wormed."

This simple technology should discourage any potential thieves.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Never Mind the Bollocks
Here's the Sex Pistols

The Sex Pistols

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Gift Of Poetry

Poetry is the most ignored art form in American culture. If someone you care about knows nothing about poetry, maybe you coulod give them a poetry book as a gift.

Complete Poems
Marianne Moore

The Divine Comedy
Dante Alighieri

The Blind See Only This World:
Poems for John Wieners

William Corbett

Friday, December 16, 2005

New York City Transit Dispute

The contract between the Transport Workers Union and the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York expierd at midnight last night. Contract negotiations reached an impasse last week.

In general, the workers want a 24% wage increase over the next three years. Given what the neo-cons are doing to the American economy, it is unlikely that a 24% pay increse will be sufficient. The Authority has offered 7% over the same period, an amount that would guarantee their workers' inability to support their families.

The Authority also wants the workers to pay premiums for their health care. The workers are wise to reject this. I know from personal experience. Once workers agree to pay a small amount of the premium, the employer increases that amount at each opportunity and also reduces the benefit at the same rate. This is happening to me right now, so I know it is true! I work for an incredibly successful and profitable company and each year my health care benefits are grossly reduced and my premiums and liabity increase. In fact, for example, a medical treatment that costs me seventy dollars a month in December 2005 will cost me $370 in January 2006. If the Transport Workers Union agrees to begin paying part of their health care premiums, this will happen to them too.

Currently, a transit worker may retire at age fifty-five after twenty years of service. This is a good law and works for everyone: the Authority, the commuters and the workers. Subway and bus drivers and their compatriots who maintain the system are public safety workers. They are expected to keep millions of citizens safe all day every day, more than any other public employee including cops and firefighters. When we board a bus or train to get to work we assume a certain level of safety. The transit workers provide that safety. The Authority does not provide that safety; in fact, all their decision in the past 20 years have undermined public safety by reducing the number of employees present in the system, closing token booths, and reducing cleaning schedules of rolling stock and subway stations. If a worker starts driving at 25 years old and continues working for thirty years, they have provided sufficient service, are probably burned-out, and deserve to be rewarded for their hard work. The Authority wants to increase the retirement age until 62. I'm not sure anyone should drive a bus for forty years. It's a bad plan.

New York State Law includes the immoral Taylor Act, which makes it illegal for public workers to strike. So, in reality, the workers risk much by striking the Authority.

I watched the progress of last night's eleventh-hour negotiations on NY1, an all-news station just for NYC owned by Time-Warner. It's a truly second-rate operation, but it is really quaint and I prefer it to the local network affiliates. NY1 has great anchors. I really like them. Their reporters in the field? Not so much. The reporters tend to be very biased in their reporting, and as you may guess, not to the same side of bias I would lean. The reporter working the negotiations last night constantly denegrated the workers by referring to the union statements as 'rhetoric' and their plans and actions as 'tactics.' Those words were never used to describe the Authority, even though more rhetoric and tactics are being employed by management than by the workers.

At 12:01 AM, no strike or agreement had been announced. This was good news for those of us who take public transportation to work.

This morning, I learned that the workers will not strike the Authority, but are striking to the two privately-owned bus lines that provide express bus service. This is brilliant! Workers and sensible citizens know that privatization is a bad idea, and here the Authority learns that the privatized companies are not protected by the immoral Taylor Act, so the workers can take action in this area.

I support the workers and their job actions. As a taxpayer I am sick of my taxes being used to subsidize the nine-figure salaries of corporate farmers, pharmaceutical companies, and military contractors while we nickle & dime the men and women who actually keep us safe each day.

Good luck to the Union and shame on the Authority!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that Arch-Neo-Conservative Hillary Clinton stuck her nose int he fray last night and offered this helpfulness: SHE WILL NOT TAKE SIDES! Hillary and tits on a bull are equally helpful. It's nice to know that she is not pro-worker!

See a news article here.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Our Endangered Values
Jimmy Carter

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Something Political as a Chritmas Gift

How about something political?

Our nation has fallen into an apathetic lethargy that has allowed Conservative big government to hand-over all our resources to corporate interests. We will spend $100,000,000,000 to clean-up post-war Iraq, but there are still tens of thousands of homeless Louisianans who have received next to nothing from our federal tax coffers.

Americans need to wake-up and make some changes.

If there is someone in your life that needs awakening, consider one of these items as a Holiday Gift in 2005.

Wal-Mart - The High Cost of Low Prices
Robert Greenwald

Road To Air America
Sheldon Drobny

The Truth
Al Franken

Imperial America
Gore Vidal

Jon Stewart

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ask Your Doctor For A Reason To Take Panexa

No matter what you do or where you go, you're always going to be yourself. And Panexa knows this. Your lifestyle is one of the biggest factors in choosing how to live. Why trust it to anything less? Panexa is proven to provide more medication to those who take it than any other comparable solution. Panexa is the right choice, the safe choice. The only choice.

PANEXA is a registered trademark of MERD Pharmeceutical Group.

Visit the Panexa Stay Free! Store.

Dick Mac Recommends:

PDR Drug Guide For
Mental Health Professionals

Physician's Desk Reference

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Co-Founder of Crips Gang Loses Reprieve. Tookie Williams Put To Death.

As an American, a patriot, a liberal, a Buddhist and a Christian, I am opposed to capital punishment. Extermination of America's poor and black by the state under the auspices of punishment is one of the greatest campaigns of the right-wing religious-conservatives who call themselves christians. They constantly quote the hateful, unChristian notion of "an eye for an eye." As Jesus Christ said: "That is the old way; the new way is turn the other cheek."

In Matthew 5, Jesus is believed to have said:
You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'If an eye is injured, injure the eye of the person who did it. If a tooth gets knocked out, knock out the tooth of the person who did it.' But I say, don't resist an evil person! If you are slapped on the right cheek, turn the other, too. If you are ordered to court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow.

When will Christians begin to live by the teachings of Christ?

L.A. Crips Gang Founder Executed in Calif.
By KIM CURTIS, Associated Press Writer

Convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams, the Crips gang co-founder whose case stirred a national debate about capital punishment versus the possibility of redemption, was executed early Tuesday.

Williams, 51, died at 12:35 a.m. Officials at San Quentin State Prison seemed to have trouble injecting the lethal mixture into his muscular arm. As they struggled to find a vein, Williams looked up repeatedly and appeared frustrated, shaking his head at supporters and other witnesses.

"You doing that right?" it sounded as if he asked one of the men with a needle.

After he was declared dead, his supporters shouted in unison: "The state of California just killed an innocent man," as they walked out of the chamber.

The case became the state's highest-profile execution in decades. Hollywood stars and capital punishment foes argued that Williams' sentence should be commuted to life in prison because he had made amends by writing children's books about the dangers of gangs and violence.

In the days leading up to the execution, state and federal courts refused to reopen his case. Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denied Williams' request for clemency, suggesting that his supposed change of heart was not genuine because he had not shown any real remorse for the killings committed by the Crips.

"Is Williams' redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?" Schwarzenegger wrote. "Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption."

Williams was condemned in 1981 for gunning down convenience store clerk Albert Owens, 26, at a 7-Eleven in Whittier and killing Yen-I Yang, 76, Tsai-Shai Chen Yang, 63, and the couple's daughter Yu-Chin Yang Lin, 43, at the Los Angeles motel they owned. Williams claimed he was innocent.

Witnesses at the trial said he boasted about the killings, stating "You should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him." Williams then made a growling noise and laughed for five to six minutes, according to the transcript that the governor referenced in his denial of clemency.

Lora Owens, Owens' stepmother, watched Williams die. In the days before the execution, she was one of the outspoken advocates who believed the execution should go forward. She said her stepson was shot twice in the back, even though he begged Williams for his life.

"I believe it was a just punishment long overdue," she told ABC's "Good Morning America."

About 1,000 death penalty opponents and a few death penalty supporters gathered outside the prison to await the execution. Singer Joan Baez, M A S H actor Mike Farrell and the Rev. Jesse Jackson were among the celebrities who protested the execution.

"Tonight is planned, efficient, calculated, antiseptic, cold-blooded murder and I think everyone who is here is here to try to enlist the morality and soul of this country," said Baez, who sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" on a small plywood stage set up just outside the gates.

A contingent of 40 people who had walked the approximately 25 miles from San Francisco held signs calling for an end to "state-sponsored murder." But others, including Debbie Lynch, 52, of Milpitas, said they wanted to honor the victims.

"If he admitted to it, the governor might have had a reason to spare his life," Lynch said.

Former Crips member Donald Archie, 51, was among those attending a candlelight vigil outside a federal building in Los Angeles. He said he would work to spread Williams' anti-gang message.

"The work ain't going to stop," said Archie, who said he was known as "Sweetback" as a young Crips member. "Tookie's body might lay down, but his spirit ain't going nowhere. I want everyone to know that, the spirit lives."

Among the celebrities who took up Williams' cause were Jamie Foxx, who played the gang leader in a cable movie about Williams; rapper Snoop Dogg, himself a former Crip; Sister Helen Prejean, the nun depicted in "Dead Man Walking"; and Bianca Jagger. During Williams' 24 years on death row, a Swiss legislator, college professors and others nominated him for the Nobel Prizes in peace and literature.

"There is no part of me that existed then that exists now," Williams said recently during an interview with The Associated Press.

He said he wanted to continue his advocacy work from prison.

"I haven't had a lot of joy in my life. But in here," he said, pointing to his heart, "I'm happy. I am peaceful in here. I am joyful in here."

Schwarzenegger Denies Clemency for Williams
By DAVID KRAVETS, Associated Press Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to block the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams, rejecting the notion that the founder of the murderous Crips gang had atoned for his crimes and found redemption on death row.

With a federal court refusing to grant a reprieve, Williams, 51, was set to die by injection at San Quentin Prison early Tuesday for murdering four people during two 1979 holdups.

Williams' case became one of the nation's biggest death-row cause celebres in decades. It set off a nationwide debate over the possibility of redemption on death row, with Hollywood stars and capital punishment foes arguing that Williams had made amends by writing children's books about the dangers of gangs.

But Schwarzenegger suggested Monday that Williams' supposed change of heart was not genuine, noting that the inmate had not owned up to his crimes or shown any real remorse for the countless killings committed by the Crips.

"Is Williams' redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?" Schwarzenegger wrote less than 12 hours before the execution. "Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption."

Williams' supporters were disappointed with the governor's refusal to commute the death sentence to life in prison without parole.

"Too often I hear the governor and many who are around him talk about his values system," said NAACP President Bruce S. Gordon. "In this particular case, those values seem to be cast aside. There is absolutely no recognition given to redemption."

Williams stood to become the 12th person executed in California since lawmakers reinstated the death penalty in 1977.

He was condemned in 1981 for gunning down convenience store clerk Albert Owens, 26, at a 7-Eleven in Whittier and killing Yen-I Yang, 76, Tsai-Shai Chen Yang, 63, and the couple's daughter Yu-Chin Yang Lin, 43, at the Los Angeles motel they owned. Williams claimed he was innocent.

Just before the governor announced his decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals denied Williams' request for a reprieve, saying there was no "clear and convincing evidence of actual innocence." The appeals court then declined to reconsider and lawyers filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The last California governor to grant clemency was Ronald Reagan, who spared a mentally infirm killer in 1967. Schwarzenegger — a Republican who has come under fire from members of his own party as too accommodating to liberals — rejected clemency twice before during his two years in office.

In denying clemency to Williams, Schwarzenegger said that the evidence of his guilt was "strong and compelling," and he dismissed suggestions that the trial was unfair.

Schwarzenegger also pointed out the brutality of the crimes, noting that Williams allegedly said about one of the killings, "You should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him." According to the governor's account, Williams then made a growling noise and laughed for five to six minutes.

In addition, the governor noted that Williams dedicated his 1998 book "Life in Prison" to a list of figures that included the black militant George Jackson — "a significant indicator that Williams is not reformed and that he still sees violence and lawlessness as a legitimate means to address societal problems."

Schwarzenegger also noted that there is "little mention or atonement in his writings and his plea for clemency of the countless murders committed by the Crips following the lifestyle Williams once espoused. The senseless killing that has ruined many families, particularly in African-American communities, in the name of the Crips and gang warfare is a tragedy of our modern culture."

Williams and a friend founded the Crips in Los Angeles in 1971. Authorities say it is responsible for hundreds of deaths, many of them in battles with the rival Bloods for turf and control of the drug trade.

Among the celebrities who took up Williams' cause were Jamie Foxx, who played the gang leader in a cable movie about Williams; rapper Snoop Dogg, himself a former Crip; Sister Helen Prejean, the nun depicted in "Dead Man Walking"; Bianca Jagger; and former "M A S H" star Mike Farrell. During Williams' 24 years on death row, a Swiss legislator, college professors and others nominated him for the Nobel Prizes in peace and literature.

"If Stanley Williams does not merit clemency," defense attorney Peter Fleming Jr. asked, "what meaning does clemency retain in this state?"

The impending execution resulted in feverish preparations over the weekend by those on both sides of the debate, with the California Highway Patrol planning to tighten security outside the prison.

A group of about three dozen death penalty protesters were joined by the Rev. Jesse Jackson as they marched across the Golden Gate Bridge after dawn Monday en route to the gates of San Quentin, where they were expected to rally with hundreds of people.

At least publicly, the person apparently least occupied with his fate seemed to be Williams himself.

"Me fearing what I'm facing, what possible good is it going to do for me? How is that going to benefit me?" Williams said in a recent interview. "If it's my time to be executed, what's all the ranting and raving going to do?"

Dick Mac Recommends:

Ultimate Punishment
Scott Turow

Monday, December 12, 2005

2005 Holiday Gift Recommendations

How about something by one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century?

James Earl Carter has done more for civilization since leaving the White House than all the Republican presidents of the last century COMBINED!

No Republican president has left office and done anything for the world at large. Jimmy Carter's life after his presidency has included work to fight homelessness, genocide, voter fraud, hinger and more. Everyday he is working to make the world a better place for everyone.

What did Nixon do for the world after his presidency? I guess we could be grateful that he vanished into a hermit-like hell; but one can only assume he did not suffer enough.

What did Ronald Reagan do after his presidency? Nothing!

George HW Bush? Nothing!

Bill Clinton? Still finding his way, but is working to save the planet through discussions about climate and is not afrad to say that the perpertrators of global warming are wrong.

Still, no ex-President has done for America and the world what Carter is doing! His work is a model for all people.

Consider one of his tomes:

Our Endangered Values
Jimmy Carter

The Personal Beliefs of Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter

Friday, December 09, 2005

Singer Don Ho Says He's Feeling Better

Hawaiian singer Don Ho, 75, smiles and gives a 'shaka' hang-loose sign Thursday, Dec. 8, 2005, while recovering at a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Ho was moved out of intensive care at a Thailand hospital Wednesday and was doing well after an experimental procedure on his ailing heart, his doctor said. (AP Photo/Courtesy Don Ho, Don Margolis)(Yahoo!)

By JAYMES SONG, Associated Press Writer

Legendary Hawaiian crooner Don Ho on Thursday said he's feeling much better and may return home to the islands within a few days.

Ho, known for his signature tune "Tiny Bubbles," remained at a Thailand hospital recovering from an experimental stem cell procedure on his ailing heart. He was moved out of intensive care Wednesday.

"I'm feeling much better and I'm so happy I came up here to do it," the 75-year-old Ho said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to coming home."

A Thursday photo released by his Honolulu publicist Donna Jung shows a shirtless, baseball cap-wearing Ho smiling and waving a Hawaiian "shaka" hang-loose sign from his hospital bed in Bangkok. It also shows a big red heart-shaped pillow, several tubes attached to his body and Ho wearing his trademark raspberry-tinted sunglasses.

"Tell my fans to stay healthy," he said. "I'm ready to go another 50 years."

Ho may return to Hawaii within a few days, much earlier than planned.

Dr. Amit Patel, a heart surgeon from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who oversaw the procedure in Bangkok, said he wouldn't be surprised to see Ho singing before Christmas.

Ho underwent a new treatment Tuesday that has not been approved in the United States. It involves multiplying stem cells taken from his blood and injecting them into his heart in hopes of strengthening the organ.

Patel said Ho was one among the first patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy — a weakened heart muscle not due to blockages in the coronary arteries — selected for the VesCell adult stem cell therapy.

The singer had "an extremely weak" heart that was pumping far less blood than a healthy organ before the surgery, his doctor said.

Ho, who has entertained tourists for more than four decades, has suffered from heart problems for about a year and had a pacemaker implanted a few months ago.

In August, Ho was admitted to a hospital with shortness of breath. He was treated for an abnormal heart rhythm and released after three days. He soon returned to his Waikiki show on a reduced schedule.

The experimental procedure was developed by TheraVitae Co., which has offices in Thailand and laboratories in Israel, where Ho's stem cells were sent to be multiplied. The surgery costs roughly $30,000.

(Reprinted without permission from Yahoo!)

Don Ho Website

Dick Mac Recommends:

Greatest Hits
Don Ho

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Whole Foods Supermarket

I am a fan of the website, because they provide helpful information about companies worth supporting and those to avoid.

When I lived in Manhattan, there was a Whole Foods supermarket near my home and I fell in love with the products and choices (but not the prices).

While visiting yesterday, I found their listing for Whole Foods. The company biography reads:
With food and other items that are free of pesticides, preservatives, sweeteners, and cruelty, Whole Foods Market knows more about guiltless eating and shopping than most retailers. The world's #1 natural foods chain, the firm operates 160-plus stores in 28 states; Washington, DC; and in Canada and the UK. (It pioneered the supermarket concept in health foods retailing.) The stores emphasize perishable products, which account for about two-thirds of sales. Whole Foods offers more than 1,200 items in six lines of private-label products (such as the premium Whole Foods and a line of organic products for children, Whole Kids). In addition, the company has moved into related businesses (nutritional supplements).
Nothing I didn't already know.

I read further and was extremely disappointed when I read about Whole Foods' Labor & Human Rights ratings. Did you know that Whole Foods is called the Wal-Mart of Natural Foods because of their bad employment practices?

CEO John Mackey once likened unions to herpes and in a February 28, 2003 letter to his employees, he explained that "elimination of bereavement assistance, anniversary and baby gifts, 401(k) matching funds, and other benefits . . . were "necessary," to adequately fund its new health care plan."

I think a company should use its remarkable profits to fund employee benefits! The employees should not be forced to pay for them.

The erosion of workers' rights and benefits is frightening. Some of the wealthiest companies in America are slashing health care benefits in the workplace and working to prevent guaranteed health care being provided by the government.

So, I say we boycott Whole Foods. If you need fresh meat, find a local butcher; if you need fresh fish, find a local mongerer; if you need fresh vegetables, find a local green grocer.

Read more about Whole Foods' labor practices, and please Boycott Whole Foods!

Dick Mac Recommends:

Wal-Mart - The High Cost of Low Prices
Robert Greenwald

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

World AIDS Day in Argentina

Click photo to enlarge
The Obelisk of Buenos Aires is covered with a giant condom to commemorate World AIDS Day December 1, 2005. According to a report issued by ONUSIDA (UN AIDS), the number of people infected with the HIV virus in Latin America had risen over the last year from 1.6 to 1.8 million. REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian/Yahoo!

Dick Mac Recommends:

Patti Smith

Monday, December 05, 2005

Top 10 Funny Store Signs

Outside a muffler shop:
"No appointment necessary, we hear you coming."

Outside a hotel:
"Help! We need inn-experienced people."

On a desk in a reception room:
"We shoot every 3rd salesman, and the 2nd one just left."

In a veterinarians waiting room:
"Be back in 5 minutes: Sit! Stay!"

At the electric company:
"We would be de-lighted if you send in your bill. However, you will be de-lighted if you don't."

On the door of a computer store:
"Out for a quick byte."

In a restaurant window:
"Don't stand there and be hungry, come on in and get fed up."

Inside a bowling alley:
"Please be quiet, we need to hear a pin drop."

In the front yard of a funeral home:
"Drive carefully, we'll wait."

In a counselors office:
"Growing old is mandatory, growing wise is optional."

Dick Mac Recommends:

Wal-Mart - The High Cost of Low Prices
Robert Greenwald

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Patriots Fan in New Jersey

A New England Patriots fan is in a New Jersey hotel for a conference and bellies-up to the bar. The bartender and patrons ignore him. Finally, he speaks up. "Could I get a beer please?"

"This is a Jets bar. We don't serve Patriots fans.

"Look I just want one drink and then I'll leave."

The bartender serves him a beer and gives him the third degree.

"What are you doing in New Jersey?"

"I'm here for a taxidermist conference."

"What does a taxidermist do?" the bartender asked.

"I mount animals."

The bartender steps back and yells, "Hey boys, don't worry about this guy! He's one of us."

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Truth
Al Franken

Text of Rep. Jack Murtha's November 17, 2005 Speech

"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.

"General Casey said in a September 2005 hearing, "the perception of occupation in Iraq is a major driving force behind the insurgency." General Abizaid said on the same date, "Reducing the size and visibility of the coalition forces in Iraq is part of our counterinsurgency strategy."

"For 2 1/2 years, I have been concerned about the U.S. policy and the plan in Iraq. I have addressed my concerns with the Administration and the Pentagon and have spoken out in public about my concerns. The main reason for going to war has been discredited. A few days before the start of the war I was in Kuwait - the military drew a red line around Baghdad and said when U.S. forces cross that line they will be attacked by the Iraqis with Weapons of Mass Destruction - but the US forces said they were prepared. They had well trained forces with the appropriate protective gear.

"We spend more money on Intelligence than all the countries in the world together, and more on Intelligence than most countries GDP. But the intelligence concerning Iraq was wrong. It is not a world intelligence failure. It is a U.S. intelligence failure and the way that intelligence was misused.

"I have been visiting our wounded troops at Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals almost every week since the beginning of the War. And what demoralizes them is going to war with not enough troops and equipment to make the transition to peace; the devastation caused by IEDs; being deployed to Iraq when their homes have been ravaged by hurricanes; being on their second or third deployment and leaving their families behind without a network of support.

"The threat posed by terrorism is real, but we have other threats that cannot be ignored. We must be prepared to face all threats. The future of our military is at risk. Our military and their families are stretched thin. Many say that the Army is broken. Some of our troops are on their third deployment. Recruitment is down, even as our military has lowered its standards. Defense budgets are being cut. Personnel costs are skyrocketing, particularly in health care. Choices will have to be made. We cannot allow promises we have made to our military families in terms of service benefits, in terms of their health care, to be negotiated away. Procurement programs that ensure our military dominance cannot be negotiated away. We must be prepared. The war in Iraq has caused huge shortfalls at our bases in the U.S.

"Much of our ground transportation is worn out and in need of either serous overhaul or replacement. George Washington said, "To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace." We must rebuild out Army. Our deficit is growing out of control. The Director of the Congressional Budget Office recently admitted to being "terrified" about the budget deficit in the coming decades. This is the first prolonged war we have fought with three years of tax cuts, without full mobilization of American industry and without a draft. The burden of this war has not been shared equally; the military and their families are shouldering this burden.

"Our military has been fighting a war in Iraq for over two and a half years. Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates. But the war continues to intensify. Deaths and injuries are growing, with over 2,079 confirmed American deaths. Over 15,500 have been seriously injured and it is estimated that over 50,000 will suffer from battle fatigue. There have been reports of at least 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths.

"I just recently visited Anbar Province Iraq in order to assess the condition on the ground. Last May 2005, as part of the Emergency Supplemental Spending Bill, the House included to Moran Amendment, which was accepted in Conference, and which required the Secretary of Defense to submit quarterly reports to Congress in order to more accurately measure stability and security in Iraq. We have not received two reports. I am disturbed by the findings in key indicator areas. Oil production and energy production are below pre-war levels. Our reconstruction efforts have been crippled by security situation. Only $9 billion of the $18 billion appropriated for reconstruction has been spent. Unemployment remains at about 60 percent. Clean water is scarce. Only $500 million of the $2.2 billion appropriated for water projects have been spent. And most importantly, insurgent incidents have increased from about 150 per week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over time and with the addition of more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revelations at Abu Ghraib, American causalities have doubled. An annual State Department report in 2004 indicated a sharp increase in global terrorism.

"I said over a year ago, and now the military and the Administration agrees, Iraq can not be won "militarily." I said two years ago, the key to progress in Iraq is to Iraqitize, Internationalize and Energize. I believe the same today. But I have concluded that the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding this progress.

"Our troops have become the primary target of the insurgency. They are untied against U.S. forces and we have become a catalyst for violence. U.S. troops are the common enemy of the Sunnis, Saddamists and foreign jihadists. I believe with a U.S. troop redeployment, the Iraq security forces will be incentivized to take control. A poll recently conducted shows that over 80% of Iraqis are strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops, about 45% of the Iraqi population believe attacks against American troops are justified. I believe we need to turn Iraq over to the Iraqis. I believe before the Iraqi elections, scheduled for mid December, the Iraqi people and the emerging government must be put on notice that the United States will immediately redeploy. All of Iraq must know that Iraq is free. Free from United Stated occupation. I believe this will send a signal to the Sunnis to join the political process for the good of a "free" Iraq.

"My plan calls:

To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.

To create a quick reaction force in the region.

To create an over-the-horizon presence of Marines.

To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.

"This war needs to be personalized. As I said before, I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.

"Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our obligation, to speak out for them. That's why I am speaking out.

"Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home."


Murtha Resolution To Redeploy U.S. Forces from Iraq:

November 17, 2005

MR. MURTHA introduced the following joint resolution, which was referred to the Committee on _____________________

Whereas Congress and the American People have not been shown clear, measurable progress toward establishment of stable and improving security in Iraq or of a stable and improving economy in Iraq, both of which are essential to "promote the emergence of a democratic government";

Whereas additional stabilization in Iraq by U, S. military forces cannot be achieved without the deployment of hundreds of thousands of additional U S. troops, which in turn cannot be achieved without a military draft;

Whereas more than $277 billion has been appropriated by the United States Congress to prosecute U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan;

Whereas, as of the drafting of this resolution, 2,079 U.S. troops have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom;

Whereas U.S. forces have become the target of the insurgency,

Whereas, according to recent polls, over 80% of the Iraqi people want U.S. forces out of Iraq;

Whereas polls also indicate that 45% of the Iraqi people feel that the attacks on U.S. forces are justified;

Whereas, due to the foregoing, Congress finds it evident that continuing U.S. military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the people of Iraq, or the Persian Gulf Region, which were cited in Public Law 107-243 as justification for undertaking such action;

Therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


Section 1. The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.

Section 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S Marines shall be deployed in the region.

Section 3 The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Worse Than Watergate
John W. Dean

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Contacting Your Elected Officials

I call and write my elected officials on a regular basis. It is my opportunity to let my opinions be known. My representatives have told me they appreciate calls and letters, because it lets them know the positions of their constituents.

Recently (OK, yesterday), I decided to go off on a member of the United States House of Representatives from the Second District of Ohio and the Junior Senator from the State of New York.

Rep. Jean Schmidt is the congresswoman who stood on the floor of the House and called Rep. Jack Murtha a coward. I wrote about Murtha recently.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton sent me an email letter criticizing the current Administration's position on the War in Iraq. I was offended by her missive because she has supported and continues to support the phoney war on terrorism and the Bush War in Iraq. She has voted with the Neo-Cons on every important vote and has done nothing for her constituency.

I decided to share these letters with you and I hope they make you chuckle as much as I chuckled while writing them!

This to Rep. Schmidt:
Re: Bravo!

Dear Representative Schmidt:

It is encouraging to know that there are women in America willing to stand behind the President and take the lead in defending the greatness of America, our military, our war against terrorism, and our sincere desire to spread democracy throughout the developing world.

It is truly impressive that you would speak from the floor of the House and tell the truth about Jack Murtha: anyone who served his country in the military for 37 years and then has the audacity to speak-out against our President's War in Iraq must indeed be a coward.

It takes guts for you to hold fast to the party line and deliver strong words against the cowardice of America-hating liberals like Murtha and the other Democrats trying to destroy our God-given mission to make America safe for free-enterprise and profit, irrespective of its impact on our liberty.

Liberty is for liberals. If more women were true patriots like you, we wouldn't need to protect our liberties so rigidly. Liberty is for thinking people, and God knows that no true patriot is a free-thinker or would use their skills as a sentient being to draw any conclusion that conflicts with the movement now taking such dramatic hold of America.

America needs more women like Jean Schmidt. Women who will stand up and call a veteran a coward. A woman who will toe the party-line. A woman who uses her brain for self-promotion and self-aggrandizement. You are a true American woman in the mold God intend all women to be.

Thank you for your spine. It is doing a grand job holding-up your head!

Best regards,
(Dick Mac)

This to Sen. Clinton:
November 29, 2005

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
United States Senate
476 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Clinton:

I have been a supporter of you and your husband for many years.

Your continued support for the immoral war in Iraq proves to me that you are unfit for any service to America that includes protecting our safety.

Your short-sightedness makes it painfully clear that you are in no position to criticize the current American President. You are cut from the same cloth and your further involvement in our government will be a detriment to every American of every political stripe.

Unlike you, I do not expect the President to take responsibility for his decisions. I also think that if you were in that office, you would take the same self-serving, self-aggrandizing position that the current American president has taken.

You talk about your alleged "outrage" with the Administration. Oddly, I only hear that you do not support withdrawal of the troops at this time. I am more outraged at your positions than the Administration's position. You are supposed to be a forward-thinking liberal. You could not be further from that. You are barely a Democrat! You are an embarrassment to thinking people everywhere!

The bullet-points you proffer in this correspondence is so much pablam that you can't actually believe that New York Democrats believe this!

And this: "Criticism of this Administration's policies should not in any way be confused with softness against terrorists, inadequate support for democracy or lack of patriotism." Softness against terrorists? Islamic terrorism is supported by Saudi Arabia, its royal family, and many wealthy Saudis with whom you and your husband do private business! You have no intention of going after the terrorists at any level. You are happy to make millions through these sheiks and you will break bread with people like the Bushes and the Kissingers and the Saudi royal family and spoon feed lies about your position on terrorism to your constituents.

On top of that, you have done NOTHING for the non-corporate citizens of New York since becoming the junior senator. NOTHING!

Your refusal to use your spine for something besides holding up your head is deeply disheartening to me.

Being a patriot, a liberal and a Democrat, I could never in good conscience support you for election to any public office in the United States.

Please retire to the board of directors of some military contractor or corporate farming concern, where you can reach your true goals more quickly. Just stop destroying what is left of our once-great nation!

(Dick Mac)
Boy, oh boy, it was fun to write those letters! Sure, they may not make much sense; but, it's fun to rip into rich people!

Contact your elected officials. Give them a piece of your mind! (Most of us have plenty to spare!)

Dick Mac Recommends:

Worse Than Watergate
John W. Dean

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"Dictionary of Republicanisms" at The Nation

The Nation magazine is one of our country's last voices of independent journalistic thought. If you are not a subscriber, please consider signing-up for home delivery. Subscribe to The Nation.

Katrina vanden Heuvel writes:
Over the past few decades, the radical right has engaged in a well-funded, self-conscious program of Orwellian doublespeak, transforming the American political discourse to suit its ends. Think tanks like the Cato Institute routinely market phrases for their political resonance, like "personal" vs. "private" accounts. Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster, lexicographer and MSNBC pundit who combines Madison Avenue techniques with K Street connections, sends out regular missives informing Republican operatives and politicians on how to spin conservative policy proposals. (He was on The Daily Show demonstrating his talents, defining "manipulation" as "explanation and education.") Paul Wolfowitz admitted to Vanity Fair that "weapons of mass destruction" was agreed upon as the reason to go to war with Iraq because it was the most salable rationale. And we all know how that turned out. . . .
The Nation is building a new dictionary, and this is currently my favorite entry:
democracy n. A product so extensively exported that the domestic supply is depleted.
Read more at The Nation.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Subscribe to The Nation

Monday, November 28, 2005

"George, where did it all go wrong?"

When I was introduced to soccer in the late 1960s, there were only two names a Boston kid from the projects needed to know: Pele and George Best.

Pele was God's gift to professional athleticism and George Best was . . .

. . . The Fifth Beatle, The Joe Namath of Soccer, a fashion designer, a jet-setter. he was an international icon of all that was fun!

Best was remarkably successful at a very young age, and he lived his life not to the fullest, but over-the-top. And so he has died young. Fifty-nine years old.

While I was living in London, Best was arrested for spousal abuse, sex with a minor, and checked-in to a rehab clinic. I lived in London only for a year! I don't know how often these things had happened previously, but I got the impression it was not the first time.

Dead at fifty-nine. Sad.

He didn't die from some tragic disease. He died from a curable disease. He didn't die in some tragic accident, he died at his own hand.

Georgie Best drank himself to death. He went from being the greatest footballer in England, having won all that he could win, to being a sad, bloated, violent, sickly, abusive bastard.

Best regularly told the story of how a room service waiter found him in bed with a stunning Miss Universe with thousands of pounds (dollars) in bills scattered around the room.

"George, where did it all go wrong?" the man reportedly remarked.

Thank you, Georgie, for all the entertainment! May you rest in peace.

Media pay tribute to George Best
By Ken Ferris

LONDON (Reuters) - British newspapers paid tribute to former Manchester United great George Best on Saturday as they offered their last respects to a footballing genius.

The Sun newspaper ran a front page headline saying: 'Biggest Funeral Since Di" as they claimed half a million people would line the streets of his home city of Belfast next Friday.

"The outpouring of grief will be the biggest since more than a million people lined the streets of London in 1997 for (the funeral of Princess) Diana," said the tabloid.

He will be buried alongside the grave of his mother Ann.

Most papers focused on his amazing skills on the pitch with The Guardian front page showing a picture of a dapper Best in 1966 and the headline "Life's game, as played by George Best."

"The way Best played football was certainly the stuff that dreams are made of... Tales of his deeds on the football pitch will endure as long as the game is played in these islands."

Best died on Friday in a London hospital of multiple organ failure aged 59 after a lifetime of heavy drinking.

The Daily Express devoted the whole of its back page to a picture framed in black of the long-haired Irishman with the simple dedication: "George Best 1946-2005."

Inside, under the headline "Simply the Best," the paper wrote: "We shall never see his like again, for he had everything. Bestie was as near the perfect player as football ever saw. He wasn't a bad bloke either."

On Saturday, there will be a minute's silence at English league matches as a mark of respect for the Northern Ireland winger and a book of condolence opened at Old Trafford.

Celtic fans will follow the continental tradition by applauding Best for 60 seconds before their match.


"Remember him today at 3pm" read the back page of the Daily Mirror over a picture of Best walking away in his distinctive red Manchester United shirt adorned with the famous number 7.

The tabloid paper quotes England captain and former United midfielder David Beckham saying: "As a Manchester United fan I always saw George Best as a football legend and it was a proud moment for me when I wore the same No7 shirt as him.

"He's one of the greatest players to have ever graced the game and a great person as well."

The Daily Telegraph obituary said: "George Best... was the outstanding British footballer of any generation; the mercurial... forward possessed a genius that bears comparison only with the trio of modern masters, Pele, Johann Cruyff and Diego Maradona."

To that list might be added Portugal's Eusebio, who was on the losing side against Best in the 1968 European Cup final. The Benfica forward said: "George Best was the best player in the world, not just England, and a good friend of mine."

The Times obituary remembered the, "Footballing genius who swapped the beautiful game for the playboy life," while the Daily Mail pleaded: "Do Not Mourn, Celebrate Him."

"To watch George Best play football was to fall in love with the game. This was his legacy: Beyond price," it added.

The Independent's front page headline read: "He Made Football Beautiful," while the paper's leading article summed up his colorful life on and off the pitch:

"...with his extravagance, his indulgence, his addictions, his gambling, his womanizing and his booze, George Best was an Icarus for our times."

Soccer great George Best dies at 59
Associated Press

LONDON (AP) - George Best, the dazzling soccer icon of the 1960s and 70s who reveled in a hard-drinking playboy lifestyle, died Friday after decades of alcohol abuse, hospital officials said. He was 59.

The former Manchester United and Northern Ireland star, who had a liver transplant three years ago because of heavy drinking, had been hospitalized since Oct. 1 because of a reaction to the medication he took to control his alcoholism.

"After a long and very valiant fight, Mr George Best died this afternoon in the intensive care unit at Cromwell Hospital," the hospital in London's west said in a statement.

Best's son, Calum, thanked his father's medical team, particularly Prof. Roger Williams and Dr Akeel Alisa.

"Not only have I lost my dad, but we've all lost a wonderful man," Calum Best said. "I'd just like to take the time to thank Professor Williams and Dr Akeel and everybody here at the Cromwell Hospital for doing everything they could do and to all the well-wishers and the fans ... the letters and the flowers and the e-mails, it all means so much to us."

Best's agent, Phil Hughes, said Best would be buried next to his mother, Ann, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Dec. 2.

Manchester United teammate Denis Law, who was at Best's bedside all night, said it was a blessing that Best's suffering came to an end.

"It's an extremely sad day for the Best family," Law said. "It was just a matter of time really. It was not if, it was when that things wouldn't go right.

"In the long run, after knowing him for a long time, it's the best thing that could have happened because he would have been slightly like a vegetable and he wouldn't have liked that. It's awful to say it sometimes but it was a blessing."

Law led the tributes to his former teammate while Prime Minister Tony Blair described him as "probably the most naturally gifted footballer of his generation" and England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said "his ability was an inspiration to everyone who loves football."

Best, who humiliated defenders but frustrated coaches during his wayward career, had been readmitted to intensive care last Friday with a lung infection. He was put on life support Saturday, and his condition deteriorated sharply.

A Manchester United fan lays flowers as a tribute to George Best outside Old Trafford on November 25, 2005 in Manchester, England. (Alex Livesey/Staff / Getty Images)

Best scored 180 goals in 465 appearances over 12 years for Manchester United and helped the Red Devils win the 1968 European Cup. He also played in the North American Soccer League, scoring 54 goals in 139 games for the Los Angeles Aztecs, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and San Jose Earthquakes.

United announced it would open a book of condolence at Old Trafford, and the Premier League said there would be a minute's silence before each game over the weekend. Manchester United plays at West Ham on Sunday and players will wear black armbands.

Best was told never to drink again after his liver transplant in July 2002, but he went back to his old ways and was regularly seen at pubs and bars.

"Unfortunately there is no solution to alcohol, you can't make it go away," Best wrote in a recent update to his second autobiography "Blessed." "Drink is the only opponent I've been unable to beat."

Best, who was born on May 22, 1946, was only 17 when he began baffling defenders with his dribbling skills and thrilling fans by scoring spectacular goals for Manchester United.

Slightly built but with amazing balance and devastating speed, Best would run at defenders and leave them tackling thin air. Sometimes he would humiliate them further by going back to beat them again.

If Best had been born in England, rather than Belfast, he would have been an even bigger star.

He was the standout player for his home country and made 37 international appearances. But Northern Ireland had few other players capable of making an impact in the World Cup or European Championship, and Best never made an appearance in either competition.

Best starred in United's 5-1 win at Benfica's Stadium of Light in 1966, scoring twice in the first 12 minutes, and became known as "El Beatle." He was voted European Player of the Year after the club's Champions Cup triumph over the same Portuguese club at Wembley in 1968.

George Best of Manchester United in action against Fulham at Craven Cottage in London on August 8, 1971. (Staff / Getty Images)

Best retired when he was 27 in 1972 to concentrate on his business ventures, which included night clubs and clothing boutiques, only to come out of retirement three years later, considerably overweight.

Best slimmed down and went to the United States, where he played for the Los Angeles Aztecs. After agreeing to join Fulham in 1976, he walked out on the division two club. FIFA imposed a worldwide ban on Best because he had broken his contract, ruling out a move to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

After the FIFA ban was lifted, Best returned to the United States and had a successful spell with the San Jose Earthquakes. He then moved to Scottish club Hibernian but was fired when he failed to show up for two games because of late night drinking binges.

In 1984, he served two months in jail for drunken driving. In 2004, he was banned from driving for 20 months after another conviction.

In March 2000, Best collapsed from serious liver damage. He was hospitalized with pneumonia in February 2001 and, two months later, had anti-alcohol pellets implanted in his stomach.

Best had a reputation as a wayward drinker and womanizer who couldn't be relied on to keep appointments either as a player, TV soccer analyst or after-dinner speaker.

His colorful private life was frequently splashed in the British press, and he seemed to enjoy the attention.

Best regularly told the story of how a room service waiter found him in bed with a stunning Miss Universe with thousands of pounds (dollars) in bills scattered around the room.

"George, where did it all go wrong?" the man reportedly remarked.

Best was linked to some of the world's most beautiful women. He dated Miss Worlds Marjorie Wallace and Mary Stavin, actresses Annette Andre and Sinead Cusack and singer Lindsay de Paul.

"They say I slept with seven Miss Worlds," he once said. "I didn't. It was only four. I didn't turn up for the other three."

But Best ran into trouble with the taxman, the law and also fellow drunks.

With his career as a player over, one of his lowest points came in January 1983 when Best was hit over the head with a beer glass in a London pub hours after he had appeared at the Bankruptcy Court for failing to pay back taxes.

Just before Christmas the following year, Best was jailed for three months for drunk driving, assaulting a policeman and jumping bail.

In 1990, Best appeared wildly drunk on a live TV show, uttering expletives and embarrassing the host. But, with his second wife, Alex Pursey, standing by him, he contained his drinking enough to make regular appearances on Sky TV's Saturday afternoon soccer program.

But Best's drinking caught up with him again when he was taken seriously ill and rushed to a hospital in west London. Chronic liver damage was diagnosed, and doctors told him that even one more glass of wine could kill him.

In the hospital for a month, Best promised his wife he wouldn't drink again. It was one more promise he couldn't keep.

In April 2004, Alex Best was granted a divorce after nine years of marriage on grounds of her husband's adultery. Calum was born from Best's four-year marriage to his first wife, Angie.

"I don't think that I ruined what you call talent at all," Best told Italian magazine L'Espresso. "I played for 12 years with Manchester United and I won everything. I couldn't haven't done much more.

"Maybe I could have played football at a certain level for a longer period, but I left for the United States, I stayed there for eight years and had a lot of fun there too. I did everything that I felt like doing. You know, my friend, mine was really a great life."

Dick Mac Recommends:

Playing For Uncle Sam
David Tossell

Friday, November 25, 2005

Things To Learn From The Movies

1. If being chased through town, you can usually take cover in a passing St Patrick's Day parade - at any time of the year.

2. All beds have special L-shaped top sheets that reach up to armpit level on a woman but only waist level on the man lying beside her.

3. All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.

4. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off - even while scuba diving.

5. The ventilation system of any building is a perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building without difficulty.

6. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German accent will do.

7. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window of any building in Paris.

8. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

9. When paying for a taxi, never look at your wallet as you take out a note - just grab one at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.

10. If you lose a hand, it will cause the stump of your arm to grow by 15cm.

11. Mothers routinely cook eggs, bacon and waffles for their family every morning, even though the husband and children never have time to eat them.

12. Cars and trucks that crash will almost always burst into flames.

13. A single match will be sufficient to light up a room the size of a football stadium.

14. Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.

15. All single women have a cat.

16. Any person waking from a nightmare will sit bolt upright and pant.

17. One man shooting at 20 men has a better chance of killing them all than 20 men firing at one.

18. Creepy music coming from a graveyard should always be closely investigated.

19. Most people keep a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings - especially if any of their family or friends has died in a strange boating accident.

20. It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involved martial arts - your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessor.

21. During a very emotional confrontation, instead of facing the person you are speaking to, it is customary to stand behind them and talk to their back.

22. When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your room will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish.

23. Dogs always know who's bad and will naturally bark at them.

24. When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.

25. Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their arch-enemies using complicated machinery involving fuses, pulley systems, deadly gases, lasers and man eating sharks that will allow their captives at least 20 minutes to escape.

26. Having a job of any kind will make all fathers forget their son's eighth birthday.

27. Many musical instruments - especially wind instruments and accordions - can be played without moving the fingers.

28. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they're going to go off.

29. It is always possible to park directly outside the building you are visiting.

30. A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.

31. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.

Thanks to Steve for sending this along.

Dick Mac Recommends:

The Celluloid Closet
Vito Russo

Thursday, November 24, 2005

On Gratitude

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.
- Buddha

Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines.
- Satchel Paige

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
- Marcel Proust

All found at Wisdom Quotes.

Reprinted without permission.

Dick Mac Recommends:

Hello Stranger
Barbara Lewis

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dick Cheney's Evil Knows No Limits

The November 18, 2005 entry of John Nichols' "The Online Beat" blog at The Nation discusses the reprehensible behavior of Dick Cheney and his henchmen attacking the heroism, patriotism and honor of Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha.

Since their own are turning on them, the White House is pulling no punches in smearing the reputation of everyone who speaks-out against them.

These guys make Richard Nixon look like a patriotic defender of civil liberties and constitutional values.

Now, I am no fan of Rep. Murtha, or any other hawk who supports war just for the sake of supporting war. Whether it's an ass like George Bush or an ass like Hillary Clinton, I think those who are continuing to defend the ill-concieved, idiotic and murderous war in Iraq should be removed from office immediately.

That said, it is a sin that the president's men would smear the reputation of a decorated war hero who is speaking-out against bad policy.
Cheney Picks a Fight With a Marine

When Dick Cheney, a Wyoming congressman who had never served in the military and who had failed during his political career to gain much respect from those who wore the uniform he had worked so hard to avoid putting on during the Vietnam War, was selected in 1989 by former President George Herbert Walker Bush to serve as Secretary of Defense, he had a credibility problem. Lacking in the experience and the connections required to effectively take charge of the Pentagon in turbulent times, he turned to a House colleague, Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha, a decorated combat veteran whose hawkish stances on military matters had made him a favorite of the armed services. "I'm going to need a lot of help," Cheney told Murtha. "I don't know a blankety-blank thing about defense."

Murtha, a retired Marine colonel who earned a chest full of medals during the Vietnam fight and who has often broken with fellow Democrats to back U.S. military interventions abroad -- most notably in Latin America, where Murtha often supported former President Ronald Reagan's controversial policies regarding El Salvador and Nicaragua in the 1980s -- gave that assistance. . . . Read more at The Nation

Dick Mac Recommends:

Bush at War
Bob Woodward

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What Is the Neo-Con Position on Illegal Workers?

When I have conversations with neo-cons (you know, right-wing selfish people whose parents were Democrats) they say they are against illegal immigration and illegal workers. They are CEO-huggers who think that profit is the same as patriotism. I hear them support armed militia to shoot illegals at border crossings. I hear them brag about supporting organizations like oil companies and Wal-Mart; and policies like drilling in the Arctic wilderness and eliminating job protection and benefits for American workers. They say these things will make America a better place.

It takes less than half a brain to know they know nothing of what they speak and are just parroting Reaganites whose lies continue to destroy America!

Over the past two years, Wal-Mart has been busted for employing over 265 illegal workers. Yup! Wal-Mart, the poster-child for the free-market is employing a vulgar number of the same illegals they profess to be opposed to employing!

So Mister and Miss Neo-Con, what IS your position on hiring illegal workers? Are you against illegal workers or not? Is it OK for YOUR side to use illegal workers, but not the OTHER side? If you are against the employment of illegal workers, are you willing to put your money where your mouth is and begin a neo-con boycott of Wal-Mart?

If you neo-cons are really serious about making America a better place and having the courage of your own convictions, then start a Wal-Mart boycott. Stand-up for America, capitalism, and patriotism and force Wal-Mart out of business!

Of course you won't do it, because everyone knows that neo-cons have no interest in anything but themselves. They want to hide behind patriotism and the free-market; but when it becomes inconvenient to stand-up for their convictions, they just sling the mud and call people names.

Spineless neo-cons are beyond dull, and in God's world there is no greater sin than dullness!
100 Arrested at Wal-Mart Construction Site
By MICHAEL RUBINKAM, Associated Press Writer
Fri Nov 18, 4:42 PM ET

Federal immigration agents detained more than 100 workers at a construction site for a new Wal-Mart distribution center, authorities said.

The workers, who Wal-Mart said were employed by a subcontractor and not by the retailing giant, were detained Thursday on suspected immigration violations, said Department of Homeland Security spokesman Marc Raimondi. They were being taken to Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers for processing, he said.

More than 50 federal immigration agents, joined by the U.S. Labor Department, Social Security Administration and state police, raided the construction site near Pottsville, about 80 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Wal-Mart spokesman Marty Heires said the company would cooperate fully with federal authorities.

"We have written contracts with these subcontractors requiring that they follow all applicable local, state and federal employment laws," he said in a statement.

At least 120 illegal immigrants, most of them from Mexico, were detained, Schuylkill County Sheriff Frank McAndrew said. He said he began investigating the site and contacted federal officials after getting complaints from local tradespeople.

"You've got a situation here where illegal immigrants are coming into Schuylkill County and taking (local union workers') jobs for eight bucks an hour. They are working for poverty wages, and creating unemployment because our skilled tradesmen are out of work," McAndrew said.

In 2003, a raid of 60 Wal-Mart stores in 21 states led to the arrests of 245 illegal workers. An affidavit claimed a pair of senior Wal-Mart executives knew cleaning contractors were hiring illegal immigrants. The retailer agreed to pay $11 million in March to settle the case but denied senior executives knew of the hirings.

Dick Mac Recommends:
Wal-Mart - The High Cost of Low Prices
Robert Greenwald