Conceived above a saloon, delivered into this world by a masked man identified by his heavily sedated mother as Captain Video, raised by a kindly West Virginian woman, a mild-mannered former reporter with modest delusions of grandeur and no tolerance of idiots and the intellectually dishonest.
network solutions made me a child pornographer!
The sordid details...
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The Carbolic Smoke Ball
Superb satire, and based in Pittsburgh!
"No religious Test shall ever be required as a
Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the
Article VI, U.S. Constitution
Geek of the Week, 7/16/2000
Cruel Site of the Day, 7/15/2000
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Our riveting and morally compelling...
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Saturday, June 03, 2006
Bumper sticker of the day
T-shirts of the day
Careful, or you'll end up in my novel.
I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.
Another day in freaking paradise.
Deja vu all over again
June 1, 2006 -- UPDATED -- Rocky shoals for Bush marriage? Informed sources Inside the Beltway report that First Lady Laura Bush has established temporary residence in the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC as a result of a tiff with President Bush over an extramarital relationship involving her husband. Mr. Bush's tryst is said to involve Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It is not known how long Mrs. Bush plans to remain at the Mayflower, however, her security detail has been present at the hotel during hours when the First Lady would normally be residing in the White House. While she was National Security Adviser, Rice, who has never been married, referred to George W. Bush as "my husband" before she corrected herself and said, "President. Bush" Rice was speaking at a dinner hosted by New York Times bureau chief Philip Taubman when she made her "husband" remarks. WMR is tracking the Laura Bush story."-Wayne Madsen Report
Thank you for calling the White House switchboard...
Our new voice activated system will help direct you to the proper office.
Please listen carefully. Like the talking points on our issues, the selections never change, but you should listen to them anyway.
If you are calling to complain about the mishandling of the war in Iraq, press one.
If you are calling to complain about the abuse of prisoners and the White House's endorsement of torture, press two, and then say the name of the torture site that you wish to complain about (and please note for the sake of the voice mail system that it is pronounced Abu GRABE, not Abu grahb).
If you are calling to complain about illegal spying on American citizens and the abuse of FISA laws, press 3 and wait for the clicking noise that indicates the NSA is recording your comments. There will be a slight pause as your telephone number is stored in our database and we do a quick check to see if you have any outstanding warrants, unpaid traffic tickets, or overdue library books.
If you are calling to complain about the disastrous mismanagement of the Hurricane Katrina recovery, please press 4, and your call will be directed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If no one answers within 48 hours, hang up and send a letter. All letters are processed immediately and routed to the correct destination by the same system that sent truckloads of ice to Maine instead of Mississippi.
If you are calling regarding the administration's unwillingness to enforce immigration law, press cinco, por favor, or direct any thanks to your local Chamber of Commerce office, which can explain why we like cheap labor that can't vote and where you may be able to find willing illegal day laborers in your local area.
If you are Jack Abramoff or any Saudi prince, please call the private line. It is staffed by a real human 24/7.
If you are calling about the Medicare prescription debacle, please press 6. If you are having a medical emergency, you should proceed directly to your local emergency room. Please note, however, that your health coverage may not completely pay for the visit; assuming, of course, you have health coverage; that you bear full responsibility for the bill and that you can no longer obtain relief by filing for bankruptcy.
If you are calling about the ballooning federal deficit or the recent hike in the debt ceiling to $3 trillion, please press 7, unless you are Bill Clinton calling to brag about the surpluses under your administration, in which case we don't want to hear about it.
If you are calling to complain about the White House's efforts to block stem cell research, please press 8, and then say the disease that you are most concerned about that may ultimately be cured through scientific research. If you are a scientist calling with new research findings or important clinical data, please hang up, we don't want to hear from you.
If you are calling to express concern about global warming and our efforts to roll back environmental laws, please press 9, unless you are a government scientist, in which case you are forbidden to talk to anyone without first clearing your findings with the oil lobbyist we hired to screen and edit your research. He can be reached at EXxon4-2611.
If you are calling to complain about the President's efforts to privatize Social Security retirement coverage, please press the pound key, and your call will be redirected to representatives at Merrill Lynch, who will explain the virtues of putting all your savings in the stock market.
If you are calling about the need for more prayer in public schools or any other faith-based initiatives, please press the star key and Reverend Falwell will be with you shortly.
If you are calling about all the tax breaks for the wealthy, press *1 if you have ideas for more loopholes and are making more than a million dollars per year; if you are earning less than a million per year but have ideas for how you may help the wealthy, press *2; if you are earning less than a million per year and just want to complain that all the burden is now falling on you, please call back after the mid-term elections.
Press zero at any time if you would like to hear these options again. Thank you for calling the White House. It is our pleasure to serve you.
(slightly edited by KGB, via Severe Personal October, aka Saturn Girl.)
Friday, June 02, 2006
Family values, figuratively and literally
(photo via Dave Anderson)
Now here's a family that probably has interesting backyard barbecues.
Speaking of valuing one's family, I finally realized that if the dog and I didn't want to be eating ramen noodles at every meal for those few days preceding my semi-monthly payroll deposit, I needed to adjust my federal tax withholding to acommodate my future ex's alimony pendente lite. That's pronounced pen-DEN-tay LEE-tay, if I recall my three years of secondary school Latin correctly. As Robin Williams noted, it roughly translates as "to rip out a man's genitals through his wallet."
I went to the Internal Revenue Service's online Withholding Calculator, plugged in the values, and was stunned to discover that my withholding adjustment should be increased from 1 to 9.
This means, at least for IRS purposes, that having one ex-wife is the equivalent of having eight children. Only without the sex and Father's Day cards. It's like paying the motel bill but being forced to sit in the car and listen to Dr. Laura.
I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you.
Was the 2004 Election Stolen? Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted - enough to have put John Kerry in the White House. By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
In the next Presidential election, let's send the National Guard to the polling stations. That's where it appears democracy is really under attack.
Quote of the day
The punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Timeless observation of the day
Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.
Who needs airplay? You go, Girls...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Dixie Chicks appear to be more popular than the president these days. President Bush's approval rating has plummeted, but the Chicks are on top of the pop and country charts with their first album since publicly criticizing Bush three years ago.
They did it without the support of country radio, which largely ignored the Dixie Chicks after lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience in 2003 that the group was ashamed Bush was from their home state of Texas.
The new album, "Taking the Long Way," took the No. 1 spot Wednesday on the country albums chart and the Billboard 200 overall chart- which are based on sales rather than radio airplay- with 526,000 units sold in its first week.
For the year, the Chicks' first-week showing is behind only Rascal Flatts' "Me and My Gang" (722,000 units), according to Wade Jessen, director of Billboard's country charts.
Jessen said the strong sales figures may show that hard-core country fans are not as bothered by the controversy as many in the industry thought, or that the group is attracting a broader audience.
"There also might be a certain amount of support that may have been thrown their way by folks who are a little more liberal and that maybe never bought a country album in their lives but want to show their support.
First-week sales on "Taking the Long Way" were better than Chicks nemesis Toby Keith, whose "White Trash With Money" sold 330,000 units.
Defend America on your knees in snazzy prayerwear?
The Presidential Prayer Team in affiliation with Fabric of Faith is pleased to offer you a distinctive line of men's and women's apparel handsomely embroidered with your choice of several PPT Signature logos or Fabric of Faith Biblical Icons.
Each patriotic symbol is faith inspired, developed from a scriptural foundation, and designed to remind you to pray for our President, our national leaders and our Armed Forces. Wearing these fine quality shirts also shows your support of America and your commitment to pray daily for God to protect and bless our nation.
Your purchase also provides financial support for The Presidential Prayer Team, while encouraging others to join 'The Team'. The PPT garments and Biblically patriotic logos symbolize your commitment to regularly seek God's favor as you faithfully defend America... on your knees... through prayer.
Select your favorite logo and place your order today. Together we can continue to make America 'One Nation Under God'!
(You might also consider praying for unemployed American textile workers, since these generously cut, Peruvian Pima cotton PPT garments and Biblically patriotic logos are all foreign imports. Better yet, send the 40 bucks to a food bank.)
Quote of the day
Don't try to talk to me about Desperate Housewives. If I had the slightest interest in other people's sex lives, I'd be a Republican.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
T-Shirt of the Day
Just wait until the goo becomes unstuck in time...
(This is fascinating to me and probably two other people. You know who you are. Apologies to the rest of you.)
In his novel Cat's Cradle, science fiction writer Kurt Vonnegut postulated "Ice-9." Ice-9 was a form of water that was frozen at room temperature and catalyzed any normal water it came in contact with into more crystals of Ice-9. Once released into the environment, it froze all water, including us. Eric Drexler in the 1980s raised the specter of nano-robots that made copies of themselves and ate everything in their path: "gray goo." A wide variety of similar hypothetical disasters have since been given referred to as some sort of "goo."
Self-replicating chemicals are not merely hypothetical: since Cat's Cradle, scientists have discovered some real-world example of crystals that seed the environment, converting other forms (polymorphs) of the crystal into their own. The population of the original polymorph diminishes as it is converted into the new form: it is a "disappearing polymorph." In 1996 Abbott Labs began manufacturing the new anti-AIDS drug ritonavir. In 1998 a more stable polymorph appeared in the American manufacturing plant. It converted the old form of the drug into a new polymorph, Form 2, that did not fight AIDS nearly as well. Abbott's plant was contaminated, and it could no longer manufacture effective rintonavir. Abbott continued to successfully manufacture the drug in its Italian plant. Then American scientists visited, and that plant too was contaminated and could henceforth only produce the ineffective Form 2. Apparently the scientists had carried some Form 2 crystals into the plant on their clothing.
Another instance of the "disappearing polymorph" may be the anti-depressant, Paxil (U.S. brand name for the chemical paroxetine hydrochloride). No, self-replicating Paxil doesn't naturally spread into our brains and make people happy for free. It's not "happy goo." On the contrary, self-replicating Paxil converted, according to one of the parties in the ensuing lawsuit, an old, and now off-patent, form of Paxil into a new, patented form of Paxil. Once the new form, the hemihydrate form of Paxil, was created, its crystals started floating about, converting small fractions of the old form, anhydrous Paxil, into hemihydrate. Both forms of the drug work equally well as an anti-depressant, but it became impossible to manufacture the off-patent anhydrate without some of it being converted into the patented form. Call it "patent goo."
Apotex, a generic drug manufacturer, was all set up to manufacture the off-patent anhydrous generic Paxil when it discovered small fractions of it were being converted into the hemihydrate. They couldn't remove the contamination. Smithkline, owner of the patent on the hemihydrate, sued them for patent infringement. Apotex argued that the hemihydrate form occurred naturally, so that Smithkline's patent was invalid. Smithkline argued that it was a disappearing polymorph, that the hemihydrate form had not existed before they had created it in their labs, and that it was up to Apotex to remove the hemihydrate from its product or pay it a royalty. Apotex was unable to remove the hemihydrate and unwilling to pay a royalty.
Judge Richard Posner heard this case in the trial court and wrote an opinion that contains a good explanation of the self-replicating Paxil controversy. The Federal Circuit heard the appeal and decided that Smithkline's patent on the hemihydrate was invalid as "inherently anticipated" because anhydrate naturally converts into hemihydrate. Normally, anticipation would require an actual reference describing the claimed chemical structure (in patent lingo that the hemihydrate was "taught in the prior art"). But Judge Rader held that inherent anticipation occurs when, more likely than not, an operation that is taught in the prior art would result in the claimed chemical. The anhydrate which was taught in the prior art would more than likely result in natural creation of some hemihydrate. Judge Gajarsa in concurrence argued that the drug was discovered, not invented, making it unpatentable subject matter. Gajarsa's opinion may have inspired the United States Supreme Court to raise the subject matter issue on its own (i.e., it had not been argued by the parties to the case) in Metabolite. The Supreme Court is considering whether to take the appeal on the self-replicating Paxil case as well.
(From Nick Szabo's blog, Unenumerated.)
Ah. This explains it.
All government originates in families, and if neglected there, it will hardly exist in society... The foundation of all free government and of all social order must be laid in families and in the discipline of youth.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
So I'm finishing up the potato chips and dip from yesterday's gathering with the kids and grandkid, and notice that the container of Giant Eagle french onion chip dip boasts, "Improved Taste! Now Made With Sour Cream!" What the hell were they using before? Spackle?
Knee Deep in the Hoopla
We built this city on Rolling Rock.
-Barship, Latrobe PA
(Letters Section, The National Lampoon, circa 1985.)
Someone's always playing
Who cares? They're always changing
"We Built This City"
(Bernie Taupin, Martin Page, Dennis Lambert, Peter Wolf)
Monday, May 29, 2006
It's official: summer's here
Five consecutive National Temperature Index readings above 800°F means it's now summer. It's somewhat ominous, though; this is the earliest in the season that the NTI's had five +800 degree days. If you've been putting off that trip to Glacier National Park, now might be a good time to reconsider your vacation itinerary.
Quote of the day
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Quote(s) of the day
From the KGB's friend in the CIA, The Covert Comic:
I really am a fun guy. It's just that in my case it's one word, and it's spelled a little differently.
There's a saying: "If 99% was good enough, gravity wouldn't work for 14 minutes every day." I did the calculation, and it's actually 14 minutes and 24 seconds. Which can only mean that, for the person who wrote that saying, 97.2% was good enough.
I know why the stuffed bird doesn't sing.
Copyright © 1987-2014 by Kevin G. Barkes
All rights reserved.
Violators will be prosecuted.
The email@example.com e-mail address is now something other than firstname.lastname@example.org saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used email@example.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that firstname.lastname@example.org was no longer email@example.com but rather firstname.lastname@example.org which is longer than email@example.com and more letters to type than firstname.lastname@example.org and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than email@example.com but actually just as functional as firstname.lastname@example.org? I sent e-mails from the email@example.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used firstname.lastname@example.org in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the email@example.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which firstname.lastname@example.org was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for email@example.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that firstname.lastname@example.org no longer is the email@example.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. firstname.lastname@example.org. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...
440 pages, over 11,000 quotations!
get kgb krap!