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Journal Journal: Well, they passed it (FISA)

As we all probably know by now, the US House of Representatives (I know, that is newspeak now) today passed H.R. 6304 by a vote of 293 to 129. Below is the roll call so everybody can know who to vote out of office over the next several years.

The passage of this bill by the House is yet another erosion of the rights of the people of this country, specifically the 4th amendment. There is hope, though... the US Senate. They will be voting on this bill soon, so we can all contact our senators to demand that they vote it down. Just make sure that you contact both senators. From what I understand, they'll pay more attention to a hand-written letter sent via snail-mail than they would an email or a phone call.


Ackerman, Aderholt, Akin, Alexander, Altmire, Arcuri, Baca, Bachmann, Bachus, Baird, Barrett (SC), Barrow, Bartlett (MD), Barton (TX), Bean, Berkley, Berman, Berry, Biggert, Bilbray, Bilirakis, Bishop (GA), Bishop (NY), Bishop (UT), Blackburn, Blunt, Boehner, Bonner, Bono Mack, Boozman, Boren, Boswell, Boucher, Boustany, Boyd (FL), Boyda (KS), Brady (TX), Broun (GA), Brown (SC), Brown, Corrine, Buchanan, Burgess, Burton (IN), Butterfield, Buyer, Calvert, Camp (MI), Campbell (CA), Cantor, Capito, Cardoza, Carney, Carter, Castle, Castor, Cazayoux, Chabot, Chandler, Childers, Cleaver, Clyburn, Coble, Cole (OK), Conaway, Cooper, Costa, Cramer, Crenshaw, Crowley, Cubin, Cuellar, Culberson, Davis (AL), Davis (KY), Davis, David, Davis, Lincoln, Davis, Tom, Deal (GA), Dent, Diaz-Balart, L., Diaz-Balart, M., Dicks, Donnelly, Doolittle, Drake, Dreier, Duncan, Edwards (TX), Ehlers, Ellsworth, Emanuel, Emerson, Engel, English (PA), Etheridge, Everett, Fallin, Feeney, Ferguson, Flake, Forbes, Fortenberry, Fossella, Foxx, Franks (AZ), Frelinghuysen, Gallegly, Garrett (NJ), Gerlach, Giffords, Gillibrand, Gingrey, Goode, Goodlatte, Gordon, Granger, Graves, Green, Al, Green, Gene, Gutierrez, Hall (TX), Harman, Hastings (FL), Hastings (WA), Hayes, Heller, Hensarling, Herger, Herseth, Higgins, Hinojosa, Hobson, Hoekstra, Holden, Hoyer, Hulshof, Hunter, Inglis (SC), Issa, Johnson, Sam, Jordan, Kanjorski, Keller, Kildee, Kind, King (IA), King (NY), Kingston, Kirk, Klein (FL), Kline (MN), Knollenberg, Kuhl (NY), LaHood, Lamborn, Lampson, Langevin, Latham, LaTourette, Latta, Lewis (CA), Lewis (KY), Linder, Lipinski, LoBiondo, Lowey, Lucas, Lungren, Daniel E., Mack, Mahoney (FL), Manzullo, Marchant, Marshall, Matheson, McCarthy (CA), McCarthy (NY), McCaul (TX), McCotter, McCrery, McHenry, McHugh, McIntyre, McKeon, McMorris, McNerney, Meeks (NY), Melancon, Mica, Miller (FL), Miller (MI), Miller, Gary, Mitchell, Moore (KS), Moran (KS), Murphy, Patrick, Murphy, Tim, Murtha, Musgrave, Myrick, Neugebauer, Nunes, Ortiz, Pearce, Pelosi, Pence, Perlmutter, Peterson (MN), Petri, Pickering, Pitts, Platts, Poe, Pomeroy, Porter, Price (GA), Pryce (OH), Putnam, Radanovich, Rahall, Ramstad, Regula, Rehberg, Reichert, Renzi, Reyes, Richardson, Rodgers, Rodriguez, Rogers (AL), Rogers (KY), Rogers (MI), Rohrabacher, Ros-Lehtinen, Roskam, Ross, Royce, Ruppersberger, Ryan (WI), Salazar, Sali, Sandlin, Saxton, Scalise, Schiff, Schmidt, Scott (GA), Sensenbrenner, Sessions, Sestak, Shadegg, Shays, Sherman, Shimkus, Shuler, Shuster, Simpson, Sires, Skelton, Smith (NE), Smith (NJ), Smith (TX), Smith (WA), Snyder, Souder, Space, Spratt, Stearns, Stupak, Sullivan, Tancredo, Tanner, Tauscher, Taylor, Terry, Thompson (MS), Thornberry, Tiberi, Turner, Udall (CO), Upton, Walberg, Walden (OR), Walsh (NY), Wamp, Weldon (FL), Westmoreland, Whitfield (KY), Wilson (NM), Wilson (OH), Wilson (SC), Wittman (VA), Wolf, Yarmuth, Young (AK), Young (FL)


Abercrombie, Allen, Andrews, Baldwin, Becerra, Blumenauer, Brady (PA), Braley (IA), Capps, Capuano, Carnahan, Carson, Clarke, Clay, Cohen, Conyers, Costello, Courtney, Cummings, Davis (CA), Davis (IL), DeFazio, DeGette, Delahunt, DeLauro, Dingell, Doggett, Doyle, Edwards (MD), Ellison, Eshoo, Farr, Fattah, Filner, Foster, Frank (MA), Gonzalez, Grijalva, Hall (NY), Hare, Hill, Hinchey, Hirono, Hodes, Holt, Honda, Hooley, Inslee, Israel, Jackson (IL), Jackson-Lee (TX), Jefferson, Johnson (GA), Johnson (IL), Johnson, E. B., Jones (OH), Kagen, Kaptur, Kennedy, Kilpatrick, Kucinich, Larsen (WA), Larson (CT), Lee, Levin, Lewis (GA), Loebsack, Lofgren, Zoe, Lynch, Maloney (NY), Markey, Matsui, McCollum (MN), McDermott, McGovern, McNulty, Meek (FL), Michaud, Miller (NC), Miller, George, Mollohan, Moore (WI), Moran (VA), Murphy (CT), Nadler, Napolitano, Neal (MA), Oberstar, Obey, Olver, Pallone, Pascrell, Pastor, Payne, Price (NC), Rangel, Rothman, Roybal-Allard, Ryan (OH), Sánchez, Linda T., Sanchez, Loretta, Sarbanes, Schakowsky, Schultz, Schwartz, Scott (VA), Serrano, Shea-Porter, Slaughter, Solis, Speier, Sutton, Thompson (CA), Tierney, Towns, Tsongas, Udall (NM), Van Hollen, Velázquez, Walz (MN), Wasserman, Waters, Watson, Watt, Waxman, Weiner, Welch (VT), Wexler, Woolsey, Wu

DID NOT VOTE (as good as voting YEA IMHO):

Brown-Waite, Ginny, Cannon, Gilchrest, Gohmert, Jones (NC), Paul, Peterson (PA), Reynolds, Rush, Stark, Tiahrt, Visclosky, Weller

United States

Journal Journal: New Pledge of Allegiance

Based on this thread, I thought it time to modernize the US pledge of allegiance:

I pledge allegiance
to the logo
of the United Corporation of America®
and to the Profits
for which it stands
One Company, under Bush
With Gitmo and surveillance for all.

User Journal

Journal Journal: GWB: Googlebombimg --> Linkspamming

As a fun little project, I decided to see what kind of results could be had from doing some googlebombing of our own. I posted the following article on my site:

The googlebombing of our glorious pretender-in-chief is a pretty good thing, but it's not enough. I thought of a small fun, project to take this to the next level: linkspamming. If shady people can do this to try to con one into buying various vanity drugs, why can't we? It would be fun to see how many of these links we can get to rise to the top results in searches for these words (linking to the bio of GWB, of course). This article mostly consists of the linkspam that I could think of in a few minutes. I have also posted the HTML for the links. Please feel free to add it to as many sites, blogs, and journals as you wish; the more the merrier! If you have words to add, please post them in the comments. I will update this article and the links text file with any new words added.

Ok here goes...
Miserable Failure Utter Failure Failure Corrupt Corruption Mafia Mafioso Gangster Tinpot Dictator Dictator
Dictatorship Tyranny Tyrant Tyrannical Ignorant Ignoramus Idiot Idiocy Penis Enlargement Crook
Criminal Felon Treason Treasonous Sell Out Greed Greedy Greedy Bastard Thief Bribery
Fascist Hitler Concentration Camp Oppression Oppressor Fiscal Disaster KKK Ku Klux Klan Rascist War Criminal
War Crimes Illegal War Deserter AWOL Traitor Draft Dodger Pretender Puppet Intolerant Intolerance
Oil Profit Cheater Steal Pillage WMD Terrorist Impeach Convict Cocaine Alcoholic
Lush Criminally Insane Insane Nuts Crazy Looney Halliburton KBR Kellogg, Brown and Root Bechtel
Torture Liar Untruthful Lies Destruction Anti-freedom Anti-choice Poor Judgment Nutcase Recession
Depression Evil Dark Side Dark Side of the Force Dummy Communist Hypocrite Anti-Semitic Retard Tard
Retarded Mentally Deficient Brain dead Fallacy Ungood Doubleplus Ungood Orwellian Repressive Repression Asshat
Asshole Anti-privacy Wingnut Feudalism Unconstitutional Scammer Con Artist Con Man Airhead Dingbat
Wacko Child Labor Brainwash Whitewash RIAA MPAA On The Take Money Laundering Gas Chamber Gallows
Mobster Unlawful White Supremacist Payola Echelon Carnivore Wiretap Primitive Backwards

That's it for now. I look forward to new additions.


Journal Journal: Woohoo! First 419 for me!!!! 1

After several years of reading about the 419 spams and wondering why I never received one, I finally did. Well, it may not technically be a 419, since it actually only mentions South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Swaziland.
Here it is:

FROM: MR.Mr Peter Shabangu TEL:27 83 9915 406

My Dear

You may be surprised to receive this letter from me since you do not know me personally. I am Mr Peter Shabangu , the first son of Mr.GARY Shabangu, who was recently murdered in the land dispute in Zimbabwe. I got your contact through network online hence decided to write you. Before the death of my father, he had taken me to Johannesburg to deposit the sum of US$20 Million (Twenty Million United States Dollars), in one of the private security companies, as if he foresaw the looming danger in Zimbabwe. This money was deposited in a box as germ stones to avoid much demurrage from the Security Company. This amount was meant for the purchase of new machines and chemicals for the farms and establishment of a new farm in Swaziland.

This land problem came when Zimbabwean President Mr. Robert Mugabe introduced a new Land Act reform which wholly affected the rich white farmers and some few black farmers.This resulted to the killing and mob action by Zimbabwean war veterans and some lunatics in the society.

In fact, a lot of people were killed because of this land reformed Actfor which my father was one of the victims. It is against this background that, I and my family who are currently staying in South Africa decided to transfer my fathers money to a foreign country since the law of South Africa prohibits refugees open any bank account or to be involved in any financial transaction througout the teritorial zones of South Africa.

As the eldest son of my father, I am saddled with the responsibility of seeking a genuine foreign account where this money could be transferred into without the knowledge of my government who are bent on taking everything . All i seek for is an honest business man, whom I can entrust my future and that of my family , I must also let you know that this transaction is 100%risk free. If you accept to assist me and my family all I want from you is for you to make arrangements and come to Johannesburg South Africa, so that you can help me open a non-resident account in your name which will aid us in transferring the money into any account you will nominate overseas.

This money I intend to use for investmentand growth in your country. I have two options for you, firstly you can choose to have certain percentage of the money for nominating your account for this transaction, Or you can go into partnership with me for theproperprofitable investment of the money in your country. Whichever the option you want, feel free to notify me. I have also mapped out 5% of this money for all kinds of expenses we might incure in the process of this transaction.

If you do not prefer a partnership I am willing to give you 25% of the money while the remaining 70% will remain for me and my family.If you are realy capable and willing to assist me please contact me immediately with the above Tel,Fax or this e-mail address with which i have sent you this message.

Finally, please treat this matter as urgent as possible, i'm in dire need to leave this country soonest.

Thanks for your mutual co-operation, I expect your soonest response.

Kind Regards,

Mr.Peter Shabangu .
(For the Family)

Ok. There are surprisingly few errors in this email. Even the country code for the listed telephone number is South Africa. It appears to be from a hotmail.co.uk account, but that's not necessarily an error. The errors:

  1. My Dear

    Problems with the translation software? That's a bit personal for a stranger who wants to give [take from] me a lot of money.

  2. germ stones

    Might these germ stones in fact be the kidney stones of the escaped mice in New Jersey?

  3. land reformed Act

    Hmmmm... must only affect land which has been altered in some way

  4. all kinds of expenses we might incure in the process of this transaction.

    I guess some expenses might be incurable.

I'm touched.... really ;)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Marketing, FUD, Spin, and BS 1

Marketing, FUD, Spin, and BS all seem to be overlapping sets that are not mutually exclusive.

After posting this comment, I thought a little deeper about how companies use these tools.

Marketing in the US seems to use the lowest common denominator in an attempt to appeal to the largest subset of the population, as well as create an emotional reaction ("I MUST have that; it will fix all my problems!"). This is fairly common knowledge. There was a very interesting "course" on marketing on a local public tv station a few months ago that went over some of the basics of the topic (I could not find a link, unfortunately).

Some examples:

  • Marketing: "Product A is the best!" - since this is a subjective statement, it is not required to comply with the law regarding truth in advertising.
  • FUD: "On September the 11th, 2001, our nation was confronted by a new kind of war. See, we're at war. This is a war. This isn't a single isolated incident. We are now in the first war of the 21st century. And it's a different kind of war than we're used to. I explained part of the difference is the fact that the battlefield is now here at home. It's also a war where the enemy doesn't show up with airplanes that they own, or tanks or ships. These are suiciders." (GWB) - invoking 9/11 creates images in people's minds (airplanes into buildings, people jumping, etc...). FEAR is a bigger motivator than sex (lowest common denominator again). The fact is that more people die in this country due to illness|old age|car accidents than by terrorism. Fear felt by the American people translates into profits for friends of The Family, through justification for invading and "rebuilding" Iraq, and possibly other countries.
  • Spin: "There's another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply because you do not have evidence that something does exist does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn't exist." (Rummy) - Translates to "prove it!"
  • BS: "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction." (GWB, Rummy, several pundits and "analysts") - 2 1/2 years later, we're still waiting....

There are countless examples of how these tactics are used everyday by politicians, corporations, zealots (of all kinds), and the average person. This appears to have become ingrained in our society.

From the beginning of this country, greed has slowly been overtaking common sense, rationality, morality (not in the "religious" sense of the word), and ethics. Through the fairly recent dumbing-down and reduction of the attention span of the average American, the prevalence of greed has been increasing exponentially.

This needs to stop before it's too late (see? Even I can do "FUD").

User Journal

Journal Journal: Company Size Does Matter (to me) 2

Even though I'm usually not in a rush to get FP on an article (I prefer to actually RTFA - weird that way), it still feels good to have the first entry on my journal. ;)

Now that that's out of the way, I'll get on with it.

I have worked a very small company, medium-sized companies, and a couple really, really, big companies. So far, in my experience, the medium companies seems to have the better balance. The large ones seem to be riddled with excessive politics, backstabbing, and game-playing, and the small ones, imho, are usually not that stable.

The one small company where I worked laid me off after three months because they were going under. Therefore, the only comment I can make about my brief time at a really small company is that I decided to look for a very large company that would stay in business for a long while. So....

At my next job (a very large company), I saw good managers marginalized by the incompetent, and the highest-quality workers laid off time and time again (myself included). 'Twas once a decent place to work, when I first started there, but since then, it had steadily declined. The visionaries at the top were ousted by the "management school fad following" fuddy-duddies. From there, successive layers of management from the top down were "adjusted," until the whole chain was only following the latest fads. The latest example of this before I left was Six-Sigma. The end result of this "business process streamlining" was massive downsizing, and the replacement of full-timers with overpaid (and usually not very good) contractors. I don't blame this on the contractors themselves; in fact I've even become friends with several of them. Another part of this management strategy was to promise employees things and not deliver. Also, directors - technical, not board - were actively encouraging the lower-level employees to report on other employee's doings. As time went on, the stress levels increased dramatically. Morale all around was at an all-time low. I guess this is what the politicians mean when they refer to the "trickle-down effect." Finally, just as I started looking for something else, they laid me off. What a relief!

Contrast this with where I now work. Mid-sized company where the executives were also the founders of the company. They all take pride in their products and services they provide to customers. And yes, the executives refer to them as customers, not consumers. This philosophy runs through the entire management structure. They actually treat the employees like the people we are, rather than just resources. This makes all the difference in the world. I find it very motivating and refreshing! For the first time in several years, I actually look forward to going to work again.

If the time comes that I decide to look for another job, I will have a difficult time making a decision if I receive any offers from large corporations. Or not.

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