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

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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!

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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!

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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."

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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."

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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.

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