Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy 2008!

I wanted to wish each and everyone a blessed and prosperous New Year!!

And may 2008 bring some peace and stability to the world.. at least one can hope and pray.

Happy 2008!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Violence Begets Violence- The Aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's Assassination

Pakistan is a mess. It's been a mess for a long, long time, but with Benazir Bhutto's recent assassination, the country has been plunged into even greater depths of chaos and darkness, which is not a very comforting thought given Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

Since Bhutto's death, violence has erupted across the nation, with riots and the usual riot-inspired activities taking center stage- like robbing banks and setting train stations ablaze. And the customary angry finger-pointing and blaming- mostly President Pervez Musharaf, of course, for what people claim was lax security. Even Bhutto (from the other side) has come back to blame Musharraf. CNN's Wolf Blitzer revealed an email he received that Bhutto had asked to be sent to the media were anything to happen to her. In that email she states that if she were to be harmed "I wld (would) hold Musharaf (sic) responsible."

Then you have the contradictions and the bickering over the exact manner of death - the official version: she died from a head fracture not bullet wounds. The other side disagrees. But, frankly, what does it matter whether she died from a skull fracture or bullet wounds- the point being is she died- from wounds she sustained after a suicide bomber tried to gun her down and then blew himself , and others, to bits. And, whether Musharaf was remiss in not providing enough security or not, is irrelevant. Shouldn't the Pakistani people be channelling all that anger, and placing blame where it rightfully belongs- those responsible for all the suicide bombings- the radicals and extremists that seem intent on taking over nuclear-equipped Pakistan (and the rest of that region)?

Al Qaida, the Taliban and all the rest of their ilk are doing their best to ensure that the seeds of democracy fail to take root in fragile, fledgling democratic nations, like Pakistan and Iraq. They seem to be succeeding, and will continue to do do so if the people of those nations fail to take action and root out those who want to send them back to the dark ages. Unless, of course, that's where they'd prefer to be.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays To All!

Wishing you all, very Happy Holidays!!

"May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp and peace in your heart."

Eskimo Proverb

Saturday, December 22, 2007

HO HO Holiday (And Every Other Day) Shopping Safety Tips

With just 2 more shopping days until Christmas to buy that special gift for Aunt Mary or cousin Jimmy, shopping malls, strip malls (and anywhere else that happens to sell anything of interest) will be packed full of last-minute shoppers. Some full of holiday cheer, others testy from all the aggravation trying to find a parking space at the mall, or having someone steal the last space that was rightfully theirs. But it's not just the bah humbugness of certain scroogy types that can ruin the holiday spirit. Certain other individuals, full of malicious intent, found lurking amongst the joyful and harried shoppers can cause tremendous amounts of grief. I'm talking about those miscreants that want what's yours and will do whatever it takes to get it. They take advantage of the holidays when people are distracted and out in larger numbers- more targets to choose from.

On December 12, at an upscale mall in Boca Raton, Florida, one of those evildoers killed a mother and her 7 year-old daughter. They were found by a security guard, a little after midnight, in their idling SUV. They had been bound and shot in the head, and goggles had been placed over the mother's eyes. Apparently, at some point during the robbery, they had been forced to take out money from an ATM. There was a similar occurrence, at the same mall, this past August. A young mother and her toddler were also abducted and forced to withdraw money from an ATM. When they were returned to the parking lot at the mall, the mother too was bound and goggled, although they were fortunate enough to have their lives spared. Authorities believe the similarities point to the same perp, and he's still at large.

Not that one should live in fear, but one should definitely be vigilant when shopping, and not just during the holiday season. There is more crime that occurs at shopping centers than mall owners are willing to admit. However, there are some things one can do to make one's shopping experience safer. Besides leaving all your expensive jewelry at home:

1. Lock the doors when you leave your car to go shopping.

2. Park in well-lit areas and close to busy entrances. Note: most abductions, rapes etc. (even during daylight hours) usually occur in covered parking areas.

3. Leave all packages and valuables in the trunk of your car. Visible packages can tempt thieves.

4. Be aware of your surroundings. Walk confidently, and briskly. If you notice someone suspicious-looking, take note of what they look like and what they are wearing. They will less likely harm you if they know you noticed them.

5. Avoid distractions, like talking on a cell phone or trying to calm down your children.

6. Hang on tightly to your purse. If it has a strap, place it over your head and position it so the strap is on one shoulder and the purse on the other side of your body.

7. Keep prying eyes from your credit card number, and place the receipt in your purse.

8. If it's late and you feel unsafe, ask mall security to accompany you to your car.

9. Keep your car keys in your hand and ready to open the door. Check around and under the car before you enter, to make sure no-one is lurking. If there is, run don't walk back to the mall. When inside your car, immediately lock the doors.

Not all crimes occur at the place of purchase. Many times, criminals will follow you back to your house and rob you there, so make sure you're vigilant when driving home.

10. If you think someone is following you, drive to the nearest police station, or stop somewhere there's a crowd, like a gas station or convenience store, where you can get help.

With just a few precautions you can make your shopping outings safe.

Happy holidays to all.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Palestinian Authority Rebroadcasts "Virgins of Paradise" Music Video

According to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), PA TV (the official TV station) has started re-airing the following video after approximately a year's absence from the airwaves. Why now, is a very interesting question, given the recent Annapolis Summit.

This abbreviated version of a charming little - let's glorify death 'cos you'll get your virgins now- music video, shows a beautiful, young woman waving at her boyfriend from behind a barbed wire fence. As she wriggles through and runs towards him, she is suddenly shot by the evil Israelis (or martyred as they like to call it), and is immediately transported to heaven where we see her joyously cavorting with all the other beautiful, dark-eyed virgins. (I guess they don't like blue-eyed.) The video then cuts to the grief-stricken man visiting the grave of his lover, and as he runs away, he too is 'martyred' by the Israelis. Then, like a Hallmark card advert of old, we see our beautiful young maiden opening her arms to greet her young, handsome stud-of-a-shahid (martyr). And all's well that ends well, in Muslim heaven. The Shahada (Death for Allah) propaganda video has been around since 2000, when it was constantly broadcast during the terror war years between 2000 and 2005, and then in September 2006. During those times it was used to inspire the young to martyr themselves, so if they are truly looking towards peace, why re-air this video? Their actions always seem to contradict their words, which just continues to prove them untrustworthy.

But I have some questions that I've been wondering about regarding all this virgin business:

1. If a married man martyrs himself does he also get the 72 virgins?
2. And if each man gets 72 virgins, where do all those virgins come from? Are they recycled? Do they get to share the same ones?
3. If a female martyrs herself, does she get 72 female virgins as well, or does she become one of those virgins?
4. And lastly, if female martyrs become one of the 72 virgins, what happens to the married martyrs, do they automatically revert to virgin-hood by the power of Allah?

Hmmmm. Just wondering.

For the slightly longer version (with all the emoting) click here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hillary Sprouting Leaves With All Her Planting

Madame Hillary is trying her damnedest to change perceptions about her character- harsh, shrill, cold. Can't be easy, considering she's spent a lifetime perfecting that persona. So her handlers are trying to soften up her image- make her warm and fuzzy, which just makes her look like the big old fake that she really is.

To help her seem more palatable to a larger number of people, she's apparently taken to arranging for "plants" to show up on her campaign trail. No, not the garden-type variety, but rather the "people" kind. At least so claims Andrew Malcolm on his blog at the L.A. Times.

She's done it in the past, but this time it gets darn right icky. Apparently, she's solicited a gaggle of friends, family, her doting hubby and Magic Johnson to canvas Iowa, sharing stories with potential voters, in an effort to humanize her.

So here's the warm and fuzzy:

On December 18, when asked about her faith at a campaign stop at a fire station in Donnellson, Iowa, Madame Hillary judicially responded- practicing Methodist. And miracle upon miracle, it turns out her Sunday School teacher just so happened to be in the audience. When Hillary was made aware of this fact, she immediately rushed over to Rosalie Bentzinger to give her a big ol' fat hug. And Rosalie, just so happened to be carrying a picture of Mrs. Clinton's confirmation class. Hillary gushed: "She has a picture of my confirmation class -- March 27, 1959."

Clinton aides claim they were totally unaware that Bentzinger was there with a one of Hillary's friends. Uhuh!

Okay, so it could be a total coincidence, but in light of all her other shenanigans, it seems very coincidental that she would be asked about her faith, and suddenly Sunday school teacher is there, picture in hand ready to be embraced by Hillary-warmth. I don't buy it. It's a great staged photo op. Although, given some of the comments on Andrew's blog, there are some people gullible enough to fall for it!

And for a little more Hillary Humour on the same theme:

The old priest lay dying in the hospital. For years, he had faithfully served the people of the nation's capital in Washington D.C. He motioned for his nurse to come near.

"Yes, Father?" said the nurse.
"I would really like to see former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton before I die," whispered the priest.
"I'll see what I can do, Father" replied the nurse.

The nurse sent the request to the Senate and waited for a response. Soon the word arrived; the Clintons would be delighted to visit the priest. On their way to the hospital, Hillary commented to Bill, "I don't know why the old priest wants to see us, but it certainly will help our images and might even get me elected President. After all, I'm IN IT TO WIN IT! " Bill agreed---it would be a very good thing for her campaign once they put out a press release about their visit to honor the old priest's last request. When they arrived at the priest's room, the old priest took Bill's hand in his right hand and Hillary's hand in his left. There was a dead silence and a look of serenity on the old priest's face.

Finally, Bill Clinton spoke. "Father, of all the people you could have chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?"
The old priest slowly replied, "I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
"Amen" said Bill.
"Amen" said Hillary.

The old priest continued..."He died between two lying thieves. I would like to do the same."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Argentine-Venezuela Campaign Scandal Coverup: 4 arrested in Miami

In light of all the vicious name-calling and accusations heaped upon the U.S. by Hugo "Commie" Chavez and his Chavista cronies, I find the following absolutely hilarious;

Get this, on August 4th a Venezuelan-American, Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson, flies from Venezuela to Argentina in a private jet. On that same chartered Cessna are 7 other passengers, including one Claudio Uberti, who just so happens to be a senior Argentine government official. When they arrive in Buenos Aires, customs officials find a bag full 'o money, (about 800,000 U.S. dollars worth, no less) belonging to Antonini! The money is duly confiscated and Antonini, luckily, is allowed to fly back to South Florida, where he resides.

So, why was Antonini in possession of such a large sum of cold, hard U.S. cash? Drug money? Nope. How about attempting to influence an upcoming presidential election in Argentina! A donation courtesy of the Chavez government to the campaign coffers of Argentine candidate Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who happened to win the election on October 28, 2007. In other words, a gift from one lefty to another.

What transpires, thereafter, is straight out of some John Le Carré spy novel:

Soon after the seizure of monies in Buenos Aires, 4 Venezuelans and 1 Uruguayan national set out to convince Antonini to keep his mouth shut regarding the source (and destination) of said cash. Incidentally, 2 of those- Franklin Duran and Carlos Kauffmann- were friends and business partners of Antonini. The pressure to cover up the potential scandal, including threats to both Antonini and his children, continued up until December 11th. Those threats ended that same evening with the arrest of Duran, 40, Kauffmann, 35, Moises Maionica, 37, and Rodolfo Edgardo Wanseele Paciello, 40. Antonio Jose Canchica Gomez, 37, remains at large. According to the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ), on December 12th they were formally charged with being illegal agents of a foreign government.

Three Venezuelans and an Uruguayan national were arrested last night and appeared in federal court in Miami today on charges of acting and conspiring to act as agents of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela within the United States, without prior notification to the Attorney General of the United States, as required by law, announced Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for Justice Department’s National Security Division, R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office.

All the information leading up to their arrests was gathered by the feds. Federal prosecutors had taped various conversations between Antonini (who was wired) and Duran and Kauffmann, including one session at a Fort Lauderdale eatery.

The last meeting took place on Dec. 11, 2007, when defendants Maionica, Duran, and another individual met with Antonini to discuss
the creation of false documents in furtherance of the cover-up.

Of course, Venezuelan officials are denying any culpability, and claiming this is some nefarious U.S. plot to discredit Venezuela and all the other left-leaning countries in Latin America:

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro, speaking live on Dando y Dando, a national television program, accused the U.S. government of engaging in a ``political, psychological and media war against the progressive governments of the hemisphere.''

Madame Fernández de Kirchner concurs. Well sure, who wants to get caught with their pants around their ankles. Kirchner did win by a landslide, but that's not the point. The point is Chavez, once again, was attempting to interfere in the internal affairs of another country.

Interesting Side Notes:

1. Duran and Kauffman are very wealthy Venezuelans who own houses in Key Biscayne and Coconut Grove (exclusive areas of Miami). Duran owns a private jet. Nice socialists.

2. For all of Hugo's complaints about the U.S. dollar, what currency did he use? 800,000.00 greenbacks.

"Soon we will not talk about dollars because the dollar is falling in value and the empire of the dollar is crashing," Chavez said in comments translated into Farsi from Spanish. "Naturally, by the crash of the dollar, America's empire will crash," Chavez said at a joint news conference with Ahmadinejad.

3. Chavez is forever accusing others of interfering with his country: just prior to the recent defeat on constitutional changes , when he noticed public support was waning,
Mr. Chavez raised the possibility last week that the United States could interfere with the election. Officials in Washington repudiated his comments, but Mr. Chavez followed up by threatening to cut off oil shipments to the United States if he saw evidence of any interference.

And yet, he himself is guilty of doing just that: During the Peruvian elections in 2006, Chavez threatened to break ties with Peru if Alan Garcia won. He was backing Ollanta Humala. Garcia won, but not by a huge margin. 52.6% to 47.4% of the votes.

Chavez is the personification of hypocrisy.

Further Reading:

USDOJ Press Release
Miami Herald Article
Criminal Complaint

Hat Tip: Citizen Feathers

Monday, December 17, 2007

Joke Of The Day: The Joker and The King

Apparently popular in Spain. I will be posting something about Chavez later, which made me laugh. Until then, for your enjoyment!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Askari and Adler- A Muslim Aids Jews on NYC Subway

It started on the Q train in N.Y. with a shout of "Merry Christmas"! Walter Adler responded with a "Happy Chanukah"! Why not? He was Jewish, it was Chanukah, it's a free world. Why can't we share the cheer? However, that was obviously the wrong response for a group of 10, Jew-hating young punks (including some females) who immediately proceeded to shout anti-semitic epithets at Adler's 3 companions, telling them they had killed Jesus on Chanukah and calling them "dirty Jews" and "Jew bitches". Adler stepping in to intercede, was physically attacked by one of the male punks. And this is where the story gets good: Assan Askari, a Bangladeshi fellow passenger on the subway, who also happens to be a Muslim American, jumped in to help Adler. The group then turned on him. While Askari was being beaten up, Adler was able to pull the emergency brake and the police arrested the 10 at the next stop.

What amazed Adler the most was that in spite of all the blood, and the ensuing attack on Askari no-one else did a thing to help. They both have black eyes, cuts and bruises but they have forged a bond as a result of this experience. They broke bread together the night after the attack. Askari is Adler's hero:
"A random Muslim guy jumped in and helped a Jewish guy on Hanukkah - that's a miracle," [snip] "He's basically a hero. Hassan jumped in to help us."

Askari, begs to differ,
"I just did what I had to do." "My parents raised me that way."

Every once in a while something happens that warms the cockles of one's heart- that affirms, for the most part, man is essentially good, and that in a civilized world he/she will do the right thing. And although no-one else bothered to help out, and it took a Muslim to come to the aid of Jews, that in itself is truly heartening.

This gives me hope.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"14 Questions I'd Ask Hillary After I Hooked Her Up to a Lie Detector"

Heard about this article on a local radio talk show, and thought I would share. Written by John Hawkins and posted at Townhall, it's entitled:

14 Questions I'd Ask Hillary After I Hooked Her Up to a Lie Detector

I'll post the 1st 4 questions, but I would highly recommend reading them all.

Few politicians in America have as much scandal, sleaze, and controversy surrounding them as Hillary Clinton and perhaps none of them, with the exception of her husband, has been given a bigger free pass.

As Peggy Noonan once said, "People have pointed out (Hillary's) ethical lapses for so long that they seem boring, or impossible to believe. ‘That couldn't be true or she wouldn't be running for president.’ This thought collides with ‘And we already know all this anyway.’ Her campaign uses the latter to squash the latest: ‘old news,’ ‘cash or rehash.’

That is indeed how it works with Hillary Clinton's campaign, but nobody who is running for the presidency in the era of the blogosphere and YouTube should be allowed to skate on the controversial issues.

With that in mind, here are 14 yes or no questions I'd like to ask Hillary after I hooked her up to a polygraph machine, assuming that she hasn't gotten so good at lying that she could beat the machine.

A Culture Of Corruption

1) Your former friend and business partner, James McDougal, claimed that "he and a longtime businessman at McDougal's S&L, Henry Hamilton, 'developed a system to pass money to Clinton.' Did you or your husband ever take payoffs from your friend James McDougal?

2) While you were with the Rose Law Firm, you personally worked on a document that was used to "obfuscate and hide the fraudulent nature" of a piece of the Whitewater land swindle. Did you know that the document you were working on was going to be used for illegal purposes?

3) Your Rose Law Firm billing records were removed from Vince Foster's office after his death. Those records were "(m)issing and under subpoena for two years (and) they turned up in January 1996 in the Clintons' private quarters at the White House." Whoever took those records committed a crime by obstructing justice. Despite the fact that your records were taken and eventually turned up in your private quarters, you have denied taking the records or having anyone take them for you. Is that true?

4) Clinton supporter David Hale claimed that your husband pressured him into making a "fraudulent $300,000 federally backed loan to Susan McDougal, some of which went into Whitewater Development Corp." Did your husband pressure David Hale into making that fraudulent loan?

I'd like to hear a plain "yes" or "no" out of Madame Clinton's mouth, but that will never happen!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Serial Killing In The Name Of Religion- 40 women mutilated in Basra

Women are being killed in Iraq for the way they dress. More than 40 women have been found murdered this past year in Basra, their bodies badly mutilated- decapitated, shot and then dumped in the garbage with notes attached saying:
"She was killed for violating Islamic teachings." "She was killed for adultery."

A woman and her 6-year-old son were discovered, back in September, with their heads chopped off.

In the western world, this would be considered the work of serial killers- targeting a certain sector of the population, notes attached to the bodies; but here, in the Middle East, it's being blamed on religious fanatics, and those serial killers are being called religious "vigilantes".

Although only 40 women have officially been reported as murdered, police chief Maj. Gen. Jalil Khalaf says
"We believe the number of murdered women is much higher, as cases go unreported by their families who fear reprisal from extremists."

Although westernized males have also been attacked for how they dress, there is no mention of whether they've ended up with their heads separated from the bodies. I would assume not, considering men have a far greater worth than women in that religious culture.

Of course, everyone is pointing fingers- the police chief is blaming it on sectarian violence:
"Those who are behind these atrocities are organized gangs who work under cover of religion, pretending to spread the instructions of Islam, but they are far from this religion,"

And one of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's henchmen blamed
"gangs with foreign support to destabilize the city."

In denial, as usual, no-one seems to want to acknowledge that whether the perpetrators are foreign or home-grown the root of the problem is the religion itself.

In some areas of Basra red graffiti splatters the walls with warnings to women who choose to wear makeup and dare to show their locks :
"Your makeup and your decision to forgo the headscarf will bring you death."

No make-up and hair or death. How civilized.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Death To The Convert: Daughter of Brit Imam Threatened With Death

Imagine being on the run for more than ten long years. Being forced to move 45 times because you feared for your life; not from strangers, but from your very own family. And simply for choosing to convert to a different religion. That is exactly what happened, a decade ago, to a young British-born Pakistani woman after her father showed up at her doorstep accompanied by her uncle and 40 other men in tow, all "clutching axes, hammers, knives and bits of wood", threatening to kill her because she chose to convert from Islam to Christianity.

"My dad was shouting through the letter box, "I'm going to kill you", while the others smashed on the window and beat the door. "They were shouting, 'We're going to kill you' and 'Traitor'

Calling herself "Hannah" now, for her own protection, the 31-year-old says that she ran away at the age of 16 to avoid an arranged marriage. She was
taken in by a religious education teacher and decided to convert to the Christian faith.
Her parents seemed to tolerate her decision, assuming she would grow out of it eventually. However, the death threats started after they discovered that Hannah, while a student at Manchester University, had been baptized. She's been on the run ever since.

Although she has managed to keep her head intact for that amount of time, she recently asked for police protection after her brother sent a text message to her indicating that
he would not be held responsible for his actions if she failed to return to Islam.
Hmm. It seems that Muslim men have an extremely challenging time taking responsibility for their actions.

Now, I could understand if they were recent immigrants from some Sharia-run country like Iran. They might be ignorant of local laws. But if Hannah was born in Lancashire, that means they've been living in the U.K. for at least 31 years, and there is absolutely no excuse for that kind of barbaric behaviour. If you refuse to adhere to the laws of your host country, then move.

That's what Hannah seems to believe:
"If you make the choice to come to this country, as my parents did from Pakistan, you have to abide by the laws of this country and that means respecting the freedoms of other people."

She goes on to say that

"I know the Koran says anyone who goes away from Islam should be killed as an apostate, so in some ways my family are following the Koran. They are following Islam to the word. But I do not think every Muslim would act on that."
Maybe not all, but even one is one too many. It's ironic that a religion that purports to be a religion of peace obsesses so much on death.

And one would expect a parent to love and care for their children regardless of the choices they make in life, obviously not if you're Muslim.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

ACTION ALERT: S.771 Support School Nutrition

Although I have no children, I think we can all agree that good, nutritious food is an integral part in helping our kids grow into healthy young adults. We all know that childhood obesity is a major problem in this country, and the unhealthy food served in schools these days simply exacerbates that problem. We also know that for most poor families school breakfasts and lunches are sometimes the only balanced meals those children get, so making those meals as healthful as possible would seem a no-brainer. Children need wholesome food for brain power, doesn't it make sense to ensure that they get all they need to grow up to be productive members of society?

So, step in S.771, the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act, a bi-partisan bill which would change the definition of "food of minimal nutritional value", and update nutritional standards in U.S. Schools. The last time it was updated was in 1979! Almost 30 years ago, when we were far less aware of the importance of good nutrition on health.
The Natural Products Association has sent out the following information regarding the bill:

Child Nutrition Act Added to 2007 Farm Bill

The Natural Products Association has been a strong supporter of S. 771, the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act. Introduced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), this act would update
out-of-date nutritional standards in U.S. schools, and re-define "food of minimal nutritional value." The definition was last updated in 1979. Since then, Americans' food options and knowledge about nutrition has changed dramatically. It's time that change was reflected in the definition.

Recently, Senator Harkin and Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska) worked
together to add an amendment similar in language to S.771 to the 2007 Farm Bill under a series of provisions aimed at improving nutrition in the United States. Unfortunately, the Farm Bill is currently stalled in the Senate under the threat of filibuster. While Senators Harkin and Murkowski are doing everything they can to get this legislation off the ground, they need the support of their fellow senators to get this important amendment back on track.

If a senator has already sponsored S. 771, that is an indication that they would be supportive of the amendment in the Farm Bill. If they are not sponsors, that is all the more reason to ask for their support for this important amendment.

The association is asking its members (and others) to help by taking Action! The link has much information on how to contact your senators and whether they have signed on or not.

Remember the youth of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.

Crossposted at Mind Bodyand Spirit.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More Hillary Humour

I've laid off for a while, so thought it was time for some more Hillary Humour. Below the video is a joke:

Hillary Clinton and her driver were cruising along a country road one evening when an ancient cow loomed in front of the car. The driver tried to avoid it but couldn't. The aged cow was struck and killed. Hillary told her driver to go up to the farm house and explain to the owners what had happened. She stayed in the car making phone calls. About an hour later the driver staggered back to the car with his clothes in disarray. He was holding a half-empty bottle of expensive wine in one hand, a rare, huge Cuban cigar in the other, and was smiling happily, smeared with lipstick."What happened to you," asked Hillary? "Well," the driver replied, "the Farmer gave me the cigar, his wife gave me the wine, and their beautiful twin daughters made passionate love to me." "My God, what did you tell them?" asked Hillary. The driver replied, "I just stepped inside the door and said, "I'm Hillary Clinton's driver and I've just killed the old cow. The rest happened so fast I couldn't stop it."

Joke H/T Georgia Girl

Monday, December 03, 2007

Putin and Chavez: Election Fraud and Election Defeat

We had 2 elections on opposite ends of the world this past Sunday. Similar in kind. 2 countries with leaders who engage in anti-democratic activities. Both imperialists at heart. Each, in his own inimitable and infamous fashion, trying to bully his way to the top of the global hierarchy of power. Both countries with elections which would have allowed them to remain in power indefinitely.

Putin and Chavez, comrades of sorts, one a winner, the other a loser.

Not surprisingly, there have been widespread allegations of voter fraud, intimidation and coercion in the Russian elections. Elections which will effectively allow ex-KGB Vladimir (old habits die hard) Putin to remain as "national leader" even after his term limit as President ends next spring. Gary Gasparov, former chess champion and opposition leader, claimed the election was
“the most unfair and dirtiest in the whole history of modern Russia.”

Russia’s opposition groups and European observers criticized the vote as unfair, citing reports of pressure exerted by election authorities and workplace managers for Russians to vote for Putin’s party.

Little wonder his party won in a landslide victory. Ironically, even the Communist Party called it
“the most irresponsible and dirty” in the post-Soviet era and party officials vowed to challenge the results,
after they only won about 50 seats in the 450 seat Russian State Duma. Putin's United Russia party landed a whopping 315 seats.

On December 17 the presidential candidate is due to be named, although everyone knows whoever Congress happens to choose will merely serve as a puppet figure, with Putin handily pulling the strings. Which is why there was such a concerted effort to forcibly get out the vote, illegal or not.

Then we have Hugo (look at me) Chavez who lost, by a very slim margin, the constitutional vote which would have granted him, among other things, the power to be re-elected in perpetuity. I thought there would have been rampant voter fraud in that election, but Chavez was surprisingly level-headed and gracious when he conceded that the Venezuelan people are obviously not ready for a full blown socialist state, and that he learned from these elections that
"Venezuelan democracy is maturing."
He also called for no more violence:
"From this moment on, let's be calm,"
[snip] "There is no dictatorship here."

No dictatorship? Perhaps not in the near future, but we shall see what transpires over the next few years. Frankly, I don't trust him. The man is far too devious to suddenly change his way of being. I'm convinced there were ulterior motives for this concession, and that it's not some miraculous, sudden change of heart.

First and foremost, he (or his advisors) probably realized his recent, bizarre demeanour on the global front has been alienating rather endearing him to other leaders. He's been shunned and told to shut up by leaders of Spain, Colombia, Saudi Arabia. I'm sure he's aware that he needs allies other than his pal Ahmadinejad, so showing a little good sense might might curry favour amongst those who have lost their patience with his bluster and bully tactics. He shows some tolerance, a little good will - world opinion favours him once again- and he's back to being King Chavez, loved by all.

Furthermore, this sudden acceptance of defeat doesn't necessarily mean that things won't change down the line. As far as Chavez is concerned, anything could happen come 2012. And probably will.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Paypal Phishing Scams

With the holidays rapidly approaching, the scammers, phishers and other scrooge-types are stepping up their cons in the hopes that with all the holiday hubub people won't be so vigilant when it comes to emails. I already posted about the Zapchast trojan hidden in Hallmark (and other) E-Cards, now Paypal phishers are stepping up their efforts to steal your info and, in turn, your hard earned cash.

For those of you who use Paypal to shop on-line, be aware that the scammers are sending out the following types of email:

Dear PayPal Member

This email confirms that you have sent an eBay payment of $47.75 USD to

mailto: johnsput81@ xoxo
for an eBay item.
Payment Details
Amount: $47.75 USD
Transaction ID: 2LC956713J776333Y
Subject: Digimax 138
If you haven't authorized this charge ,click the link below to dispute transaction
and get full refund
Dispute transaction (Encrypted Link )
*SSL connection:
PayPal automatically encrypts your confidential information
in transit from your computer to ours using the Secure
Sockets Layer protocol (SSL) with an encryption key length
of 128-bits (the highest level commercially available)
Item Information
eBay User ID: scrchandgnaw22

Edward Harrell's UNCONFIRMED Address
Edward Harrell
211 David St.
Springtown, TX 76082
United States
Important Note: Edward Harrell has provided an Unconfirmed Address. If
you are planning on shipping items to Edward Harrell, please check the
Transaction Details page of this payment to find out whether you will
be covered by the PayPal Seller Protection Policy.
This payment was sent using your bank account.
By using your bank account to send money, you just:
- Paid easily and securely
- Sent money faster than writing and mailing paper checks
- Paid instantly -- your purchase won't show up on bills at the end of
the month.
Thanks for using your bank account!
Thank you for using PayPal!
The PayPal Team
PayPal Email ID PP118

I have received quite a few over the past few weeks, and if I happened to use Paypal frequently this might go unnoticed, particularly during this busy time of year. It certainly looks legit, however Paypal will never ask for any personal information like:

full name
social security number
driver's license number
credit or debit card numbers
pin or bank account numbers

They will also always address the email in your name.

They will never send an attachment or update software.

Never click on the link in an email, it might look legit, but it will take you to a fraudulent website.

Check out Paypal's Security site for more info and take their Anti-Phishing challenge.

If you receive one of these emails, help bring them down by reporting them to Paypal. Forward the emails to:

They keep perpetrating this kind of fraud, so someone is falling for it!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

1,000s In Sudan Call For Death To Brit "Blasphemer"

The verdict is in: Gillian Gibbons was sentenced to 15 days in prison, and expulsion from Sudan for the preposterous claim she insulted Islam by allowing her students to name a Teddy Bear "Muhammad". And, as if 15 days in prison wasn't enough to mollify the usual masses of Muslim overreactors, 1,000s of Sudanese took to the streets (weapons in hand) to protest the sentence and demand that Gibbons be executed... by firing squad. Yes indeed, they emerged from their Mosques this morning, those dens of peace and tolerance, gathered en masse outside the presidential palace shouting

"No tolerance: Execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad."

Others marched to the school (which understandably has been closed since the incident) and then headed towards the British Embassy, before they were stopped several blocks from the facility. Although another Muslim cleric at the main Martyrs Mosque in Khartoum fell short of calling for Gibbon's execution, he did accuse her of intentionally insulting Islam, enough to incite these ordinary Muslims to action. Abdul- Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri told his flock that
"Imprisoning this lady does not satisfy the thirst of Muslims in Sudan. But we welcome imprisonment and expulsion" "This an arrogant woman who came to our country, cashing her salary in dollars, teaching our children hatred of our Prophet Muhammad."
As if any westerner would be moronic enough to intentionally criticize Islam in a predominately Muslim country knowing full well what little it takes to inspire violence and the ensuing fatwas. At least Muslims in Britain have copped to the ludicrous nature of the verdict, doled out by their brethren in Sudan, but that does little to ameliorate the current situation, and the fact that she was even arrested to begin with. I also find the use of the words "satisfy the thirst" to be very telling.

Rather than having to walk on egg shells in Islamic countries that show no tolerance of others, I suggest we pull out all western interests, including ngo aid programmes and see how quickly they might change their tune.

An anonymous commenter on my original post about Gillian recommended a link to cafepress which has some interesting information on the left sidebar. You can find the address to the Embassy of Sudan in D.C., some information regarding the Q'ran and Hadith's takes on graven images..looks like the Sudanese have misinterpreted their teachings... and links to items that you can buy to show your support.

Some interesting stuff on Hot Air and Michelle Malkin. And GrandWeepers asks an interesting question in his latest, "Are those countries most in need driving away those who want to help?"
I say, yes!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Annapolis Peace Summit: Can The Pal./Israelis Give Peace A Chance?

For decades the U.S, in tandem with other world leaders, has tried to broker a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, to no avail. Each new administration has inherited the mantle of "peacemaker", tried its dang best to forge some kind of progress in that arena, and all have failed-- miserably.

A never-ending series of summits, conferences and accords have taken place over the past several decades, with few positive outcomes.

Starring Israel and Palestine as the major players, we've had the following:

Madrid Peace Conference (1991) under the aegis of the Bush Sr. Administration and others

Oslo Accords (1993) Clinton and others

Hebron Agreement (1997) under the guidance of U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher

Wye River Conference (1998) Clinton

Camp David Summit (2000) Clinton

Sharm el-Sheik (2000) Hosted by Egypt's Mubarak , with Clinton in tow

Taba Summit (2001) based on the Clinton plan

Beirut Summit (2002) Arab League

Road Map For Peace (2002) U.S., E.U. U.N. and Russia established a "Road Map" for peace.

Red Sea Summit (2003) Bush Jr's attempt to implement his "Road Map"

Sharm el-Sheikh (2005) Hosted by Egypt's Mubarak and Jordan's Abdullah II

Aside from indirectly leading to peace between Israel and a few of its Arab neighbours - Egypt and Jordan - no significant accomplishments have ever resulted from the main focus of these talks: the Pal/Israeli conflict. There are other independent projects working towards establishing peace in that region, but obviously none have had much impact, either.

So, we jump ahead to November 2007 and add yet another attempt to give peace a chance. This time, at the Annapolis Peace Summit, most of the members of the Arab League were present, save Hamas and Iran (for obvious reasons). Iraq, Kuwait and Libya were invited to attend, but chose not to send any delegates.

The results of the 1 day mini summit? Israel and Palestine have agreed to restart the peace process, and negotiations are set to begin on December 12th.

Sounds like a good start, but you have to wonder what, if anything, will it achieve? For peace among warring nations to truly work, you need much more than the express desire of the leaders of those nations to work things out. You need the support of the people. They need to be equally committed- to be as fervently hungry for peace as their heads of state, if not more. Without their support you have nothing. And as far as I can tell, there's not much hope on that front. Both Palestinians and right wing Israelis have already taken to the streets in protest. Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas denounced the summit, calling Abbas a traitor and stated that the Palestinian people would never recognize any agreements resulting from the Annapolis talks. Benjamin Netanyahu (of Israel's Likud Party) has also denounced the summit as being

"a fantasy, not a vision."
He believes that it will be nothing more than giving in to one-sided concessions, and that Olmert's government is

"making peace with a virtual partner, in a virtual reality." " We have a partner for words, but not for deeds, certainly not for fighting terrorism, and, to my regret, no partner for a real peace."

There are also many others, including Christian evangelicals, who believe this to be a very dangerous move. Michael D. Evans in an article on calls the conference
"..not a peace conference, but an “appeasement conference” to coalition-build Arab nations in preparation for an attack on Iran."

He goes on to say that

"The Islamofascists who deny Israel's right to exist while they send suicide bombers around the world to murder anyone else who disagrees with them don't consider Annapolis as mere theater. They attend conferences such as the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit in October 2003, where Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad made a comment typical throughout the Muslim world:

“If we are to recover our dignity and that of Islam, our religion, it is we who must decide, it is we who must act … We [Muslims] are actually very strong: 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.”
Evans is not alone. There are others who also believe the summit was/is a way of unifying Arab Nations against Iran and its allies in an effort to isolate Ahmadinejad as he continues to grandstand.

In fact, Ahmadinejad is already spewing his hate-filled, 'Israel will die' rhetoric by proclaiming Annapolis a failure and that

"It is impossible that the Zionist regime will survive. Collapse is in the nature of this regime because it has been created on aggression, lying, oppression and crime."

Though there is blanket global support for re-establishing peace talks, I'm not sure there are many who feel very positive about the actual prospects of peace, including me. According to polls, although approximately 70% of both Israelis and Palestinians actually support the summit, a large percentage of those polled hold no hope for peace.

And can one even trust the Palestinians and the Arab world, at large, to stick to their side of the deal? Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has a Palestinian Authority TV informational video clip on their website which aired a day after the summit. It shows a map of Israel sans Israel (see photo above). The P.A. TV is run by Abbas' Fatah, by the way.

Even if Olmert and Abbas, by some miracle, were able to cobble together a mutually agreeable peace deal, they would still have to get Hamas and Likud (and others) on board. And that's not very likely. Hamas, like Ahmadinejad, is committed to the destruction of Israel, and I would venture to say that most of the Arab world would probably not shed many tears if this were to occur. But say, by some other miracle, they did all come together, both factions would still have to persuade their people to comply. It would be easier for the Israelis to end the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank (major Palestinian concern), but reigning in the Palestinian militants (one of Israels major concerns) seems an impossibility. They're so enmeshed in a culture of violence and hate, that it would take generations to extricate themselves from that mindset. And the Israelis are unwilling, understandably so, to make too many concessions that could result in the eventual death of Israel as we know it.

George W. Bush said it best in a speech at the conference:

"The battle is underway for the future of the Middle East, and we must not cede victory to extremists. With their violent actions and contempt for human life, the extremists are seeking to impose a dark vision on the people. If this vision prevails, the future of the region will be endless terror, endless war and endless suffering."

Monday, November 26, 2007

"Muhammad" Bear Lands Brit Teacher In Jail

"Hello, my name is Muhammad!"

Imagine being jailed simply for calling a stuffed animal "Jesus" or "Buddha". It would never occur in the west, but change locales and switch the name to "Muhammad" and that's exactly what happened to a British schoolteacher in the mess of a country called Sudan.

Gillian Gibbons, a teacher at the private British International, Unity High School in Khartoum (where both Christians and Muslims are taught an English curriculum) was arrested on Sunday for insulting Islam. Her crime: allowing her pupils to name a fuzzy little teddy bear Muhammad.

For a school project about bears, children were asked to choose a name for a teddy bear that one 7-year-old girl brought in to share with the others. They would each be allowed to take home this adopted stuffed animal on weekends, and were asked to write a diary about what they did with it. The 6 and 7-year-olds chose 8 commonly used names including Hassan, Abdullah and, yes, the infamous Muhammad. 20 of the 23 students fancied the latter, so the bear was duly named Muhammad. A compilation of the diary entries were bound together, and a picture of the bear with "My name is Muhammad" graced the cover of the book.

This was back in September, and according to a British Embassy spokesman the parents had no problems with the bear being named Muhammad at that time. And there is no indication as to why, months later, several parents decided to complain to the authorities, which then led to Gibbon's wholly, unwarranted arrest.

Rabie Atti (a Sudanese government spokesman) has said:
"If she is innocent, she will be set free."
"I hope she didn't mean what the people thought."

In other words, that she willfully, and consciously chose to insult Islam. As though someone would be stupid enough to offend "the Prophet" in a predominately Muslim country. I think not. He does concede that she might not have meant to offend Islam, but that if she did, she will be punished.

For this innocent infraction of an absurd Islamic law, she could receive a 6 month jail term, a fine or 40 lashes!

Don't you just love a civilized, modern justice system!

UPDATE 11/27:

There is now talk that a fellow teacher (from a conservative family in Khartoum) filed the complaint. Was someone jealous of this new teacher? Gibbons just started the 1st of a 2 year stint in Sudan, and was apparently well liked by all.

UPDATE 11/29:

Gillian Gibbons has been charged with inciting hatred towards Islam! Ironically when the Muslim world does these kinds of things, they do exactly that! She faces 4o lashes.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Children's Film "The Golden Compass" not so golden!

Jumping on the global PC bandwagon, and its tireless effort to appease all those who might happen to get offended by nothing and everything, the film and television industry has had no compunctions, whatsoever, about censoring the word "God" from programming. Last year, I wrote about NBC editing out all references to "God" in the animated children's show "Veggie's Tales". According to Rebecca Marks (NBC spokeswoman) the references had been edited out
"... to reach as broad an audience as possible with these positive messages while being careful not to advocate any one religious point of view."
As if Christianity had the exclusive rights to God! In the original format two of the characters, Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato, ended each episode with, "Remember kids, God made you special and he loves you very much." Nothing more, nothing less, but it was obviously deemed potentially offensive to someone, so "God"-- gone.

This year it's Disney's turn. This past October, the Disney Company ordered the word "God" to be removed from some radio ads promoting the animated film "The Ten Commandments". Disney claims the words "chosen by God" were purged
"...because its policies require mention of the studio in its commercials and it decided to replace the "chosen by God" phrase with "from Promenade Pictures" because the original script made it sound as though the actors were chosen by God, not Moses, as was the intended meaning."

If you listen to the ad, it actually could be misconstrued, however, the script could easily have been rewritten in order to make the intention clearer. They obviously chose not to.

Sadly, "God" has become, in many ways, persona non grata, in today's world. From banning prayer in schools to calls for removal of "In God We Trust" from the U.S. currency, we are slowly being forced to eliminate God from our lives by a vocal minority of God-haters. And many are acquiescing to the PC way of dealing with those easily-offended types, by catering to their whims because it's simpler than fighting back. But the more you submit, the more they demand- and the more you lose. It's not a good precedent to set, by any means. And what is so odious and offensive about the word "God", anyway? Even if you do find it so, what harm is there in its use by others who don't? There are many things I find offensive, but I don't demand they be removed or banned. If you can't bear to use the word "God" in our Pledge of Allegiance, then simply omit it, like a fellow actor at a recent SAG meeting!

There seems to be an on-going tug of war between those atheists who want a world devoid of God, and those who believe a God-less world will be the downfall of humanity. And atheists seem to be gaining ground in that battle- including in the realm of Hollywood. On December 7th, 2007 a children's film entitled "The Golden Compass", starring Nicole Kidman and other major players, is being released. It's based on the first novel "Northern Lights" in Philip Pullman's trilogy "His Dark Materials". Seemingly innocuous, it's actually atheism's answer to the Narnia Trilogy. And although all religious (or rather anti-religious references) have been removed, Christian groups are still calling for a boycott. Their main concern is that children will be inspired to read the trilogy after viewing the film (in its watered-down version), and that unsuspecting parents will then purchase the books, which have a decidedly anti-Church, anti-religious theme. In fact, God is portrayed as a drooling, senile old man, and is killed off at the end, by the young protagonists. Pullman, an avowed atheist makes no apologies for his writings, and has openly admitted:
"My books are about killing God."
"I don't profess any religion; I don't think it's possible that there is a God; I have the greatest difficulty in understanding what is meant by the words 'spiritual' or 'spirituality."

Here is a reference from "His Dark Materials", that you won't find in the film:
"The Authority, god, the Creator, the Lord, Yahweh, El, Adonai, the King, the Father the Almighty – those were all names he gave himself. He was never the creator. He was an angel like ourselves – the first angel, true, the most powerful, but he was formed of Dust as we are, and Dust is only a name for what happens when matter begins to understand itself….The first angels condensed out of Dust, and the Authority was the first of all. He told those who came after him that he had created them, but it was a lie."

There are those who believe that the anti-religious references should not have been removed, and I tend to agree. In this way, parents would at least know, upfront, what they are dealing with, rather than being bamboozled into seeing a film which is actually based on books with a rabid anti-God agenda. They should be allowed to make an educated choice, particularly before buying the books for their kids.

I'm not calling for a boycott, however I won't be lining their coffers by viewing the film, nor will I be recommending it to anyone, either. And, just as I would challenge all Atheists to simply ignore any God references that they might find offensive, rather than jumping to sue to have them removed, I am challenging all Christians and others of faith to just not view films like "The Golden Compass", or buy Pullman's books, rather than calling for a boycott. Boycotts rarely achieve their intended goals.

However, I definitely think parents should be made aware and act accordingly. If I had kids, I know I would not allow them to see this film!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thought I would re-post (with a few tweeks) last Thanksgiving's missive, because not much has changed in terms of my gratitude for all we have:

Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks! A day to reflect upon all our blessings. And, as Americans, we are extremely blessed to be living in one of the greatest countries in the world. So we're not perfect. Which country is?! We have our many problems, no-one denies that, but in spite of all our shortcomings, and as often as foreigners vehemently claim to hate and despise us, the U.S. is the country most people dream of coming to. That's why this country is overflowing with legal and illegal immigrants, because this is the "land of opportunity"

where, with a little effort and sometimes no effort at all, anyone can be anything they choose to be,

where education is encouraged for both men and women.

Where a woman can do a man's job and vice versa.

Where a woman can drive a car, a bus, a truck, a plane or even fly into outerspace.

Where women can wear what they want without being beaten and stoned for showing their ankles, arms or a tuft of hair.

Where we can criticise our government and politicians without being thrown into jail and tortured or killed.

Where our politicians are (usually) held accountable and we can vote, in or out, for whomever we choose, and we do and have.

Where we can demonstrate, if we choose to, against or about pretty much anything we choose to.

Where we have access to the internet and news that is not censored.

Where we can worship in a temple, church, synagogue, mosque or wherever we choose to commune with God, or not worship at all.

Where we have access to alternative medicine, and our supplements and herbs are not rigorously and overly regulated.

Where we can travel, without restriction, throughout this country and abroad.

Where life is what you make of it, and you can make anything of your life.

Where we don't live in fear of daily suicide bombings, or being killed because we happen to be a different religion than our neighbour.

This is what freedom and democracy are all about. The freedom to choose what we want for our lives. Not to have those choices dictated by militant religious or political dogma. This is the "land of the free" and "the home of the brave."

God Bless these United States of America and those brave men and women who serve in our armed forces who fight to maintain the freedoms that we have!

We have much to be thankful for!

Cross posted at my other blog Mind, Body, Spirit

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Email Virus alert: Zapchast Trojan Virus in Hallmark E-Cards

With the holiday season fast approaching spammer reprobates are at it again. As I was perusing tonight, I noticed the following alert regarding the latest attempt to infect your computer with the Zapchast Trojan Virus via Hallmark E-Cards. Hallmark recommends the following:

E-Card Fraud Alert

A fraudulent e-mail flooding the Internet claims to have a link to an E-Card from a family member, friend or neighbor and uses major greeting card company names such as Hallmark. Clicking on the link downloads a virus onto your computer that compromises personal data.

What you can do:

1. Report suspicious e-mail to your e-mail service provider so they can take action.

2. File a complaint at

3. Forward the suspicious e-mails to (Due to the large amount of e-mail we receive at that address we will not be able to reply to your e-mail, but we will investigate.)

Then you should delete the e-mail.

If you are unsure if you've received a legitimate Hallmark E-Card, don't click on a link in the e-mail. Instead use our E-Card pickup.

If you do click on the link in the bogus e-mail, you will launch a variant of the Zapchast Trojan virus. Zapchast installs an Internet Relay (IRC) chat client and causes the infected computer to connect to an IRC channel. Attackers then use that connection to remotely command your machine.

What Hallmark is doing:

1. Contacting the Internet providers identified as the source of the spam requesting that they shut down the imposters.

2. Working with Microsoft to include the virus code in their phishing filter to protect consumers who use their web browser and e-mail client software.

3. Working with anti-virus software corporations to get the virus code added to virus definition updates.

4. Reviewing Hallmark's E-Card notification and pickup procedures.

5. Educating consumers about how to avoid E-Card abuse.

How to tell if a Hallmark E-Card notification is real:

1. The subject line of legitimate E-Card notifications from Hallmark will say, "A Hallmark E-Card from (name of the sender)" not a generic term like "friend," "neighbor" or "family member.

2. The e-mail notification will come from the sender's e-mail address, not

3. The notification will include a link to the E-Card on as well as a URL that can be pasted into a browser.

4. The URL will begin with followed by characters that identify the individual E-Card. Hover your mouse over the words "click here" in your e-mail. If you do not see the URL above, it is not a legitimate Hallmark E-Card.

5. Hallmark E-Cards are not downloaded and they are not .exe files.

6. In addition, will never require an E-Card recipient to enter a user name or password nor any other personal information to retrieve an E-Card.

E-mail Safety Tips:

1. Do not open e-mails from unknown senders.

2. Don't open an e-mail you know to be spam. A code embedded in spam advertises that you opened the e-mail and confirms your address is valid, which in turn can generate more spam.

3. If you receive an attachment that you are not expecting, don't open it, even if it's from someone you know. First read the e-mail, and make sure the attachment is most likely legitimate. If you're still not sure, call or e-mail the sender to confirm, but do not reply to the original e-mail.

4. Some fraudulent e-mails that appear to be from financial companies (PayPal, banks, credit card companies, etc.) direct the reader to click on a link to verify or confirm account details. Never click these links. Instead, call the company if you are concerned about your account.

Hallmark gives some very good advice, that we all should follow. I've received (recently) a spate of emails from PayPal, Ebay and even the IRS, none of which were legit.

So the miscreants are on the hunt, once more, and during a time we might all be a little less vigilant than we should.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Meme-ing, Plus Photo of Frasypoo and Incog!

Okay... I was just tagged for 2 different meme's, so I thought I'd kill 2 birds, as they say, and post them at the same time. Still not sure what it means exactly, other than having done one of these before (thank you Angel).

1st Meme:

Jon (a fabulous photographer, poet, writer, musician, and all round great person) over at Chimeric Day Dreams tagged me for a "Photo Meme". As I love photography I wasn't too miffed about being meme'd for that.
The object of the meme is to post four or more photos of things you see within 100 meters of your home. For those of us still using standard units, that would be about 328 feet and 1 inch. The PhotoShow - 100 meters meme was started by Andy Bailey with the assistance of Vegan Momma and Lalla-Mira.
I was excited, at first, until I walked out my front door and realized that, in these here parts, this time of year is pretty dang boring. No autumn colours, just the same greens we see pretty much year round. Most of the flowers are dead, too, so there were slim pickens. But I managed to rustle up a few:

We have your generic, boring red hibiscus flower. A star fruit tree with one dangling fruit. You have to look carefully, in the centre of the pic, as it blends in perfectly. Then we have a photograph of some kind of ferny tree, with the moon and a generic blue sky background. And, finally, your generic fern. Sorry, Jon, but there just wasn't much of interest to photograph this weekend.

2nd Meme:

The witty and clever, illustrious Angel, over at Woman Honor Thyself tagged me for the "8 Random Things Meme". Last one I posted was the "7 Random Things Meme". Guess they added one since I last participated. So, hmmmm. Let's see. What 8 new boring things can I reveal about myself.
1. I love ethnic food, particularly Indian and Japanese.
2. My first car was a VW bug. A major lemon, like it's colour.
3. I love small animals like cats and chihuahuas, though I don't currently have any.
4. I suffered terribly with depression, from childhood through my 30s.
5. I don't sleep well.
6. I used to smoke over 3 packs of cigarettes a day.
7. I wear contact lenses.
8. I love jazz

So that's it folks. Now you know 15 random things about me.

And, as an added bonus, for those of you who have been dying to know what I look like- I'm posting a photo of Frasypoo from This and That and me! Yes, I had the great pleasure of meeting my first blogging buddy (and her hubby), recently, and she's just as charming and funny in person. We spent a lovely afternoon over a cup of tea and coffee. And... ta da... here we are in her hubby's shop:

What? Did you really think I'd post my face? Sorry. Maybe some day.

I'm not going to tag anyone for the memes, because most have probably done the random thingy one, and I'm not sure who has a camera or is even interested... .but, if you are, let me know and I'll be very happy to add you as a tagee to this post. You are welcome to do both or one or post it in the comments.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Voting Trends of the Hollywood Elite: Or Who is voting for Whom in the 2008 elections

As we all know, in politics at least, the majority of donations generated from Hollywood types is typically funneled into the Democratic Party, and Election 2008 is proving no different.

Democratic candidates are often treated to high-profile, fundraising parties, attended by the glitterati, with thousands of dollars raised for the candidate of choice. Barack has Oprah. La Hillary has Rob Reiner (director). Pretty boy Edwards has Brett Ratner (director/producer). But, unlike their Democratic counterparts, you won't find any Republican actors, directors or producers hosting high-dollar, fundraising bashes for their favoured candidate. Nope. You never hear of those. Not because there aren't any Republicans in the entertainment industry, but because:

a. you couldn't find one willing to openly host an event and

b. even if you did, you couldn't find enough of them to attend that event.

Although many people scoff at the idea of blacklisting in Hollywood, it does exist, at least the fear of it does. Particularly for the rank and file actor. All you have to do is look at who gives to whom (forgive the Huffpo link) and you'll notice a major disparity between what the Democratic candidates receive and the paltry amount the Republicans receive. No-one in the entertainment industry (save for a fearless few) wants to openly admit they are Republican. A recent article by Joseph Curl, in the Washington Times, illustrates exactly how reluctant they are; of those he contacted for the article none were willing to comment, even those who have donated in the past to the GOP and those who appear to be conservative, like 'Desperate Housewives', Terri Hatcher. According to the article, although Ms. Hatcher lunched with Bush Sr., this past February, and has repeatedly refused to be interviewed on the ultra liberal 'Real Time With Bill Maher', her lawyer Barry Tyerman emailed the following to Curl:

"Please be advised that Ms. Hatcher is not a Republican, but more importantly does not choose to have her political affiliation or viewpoints on any particular candidate or issue in the current presidential campaign included in your proposed article."

Calling yourself a Republican is akin to admitting you're, say, a serial killer in the minds of those who aren't, so most keep their politics a private matter, to avoid any potential discrimination. And sadly, discrimination against conservatives isn't confined to the entertainment biz. People in other industries are subject to the same type of prejudice, at least in those industries dominated by liberals. One would think that the self-proclaimed heralds of tolerance and inclusiveness would be a little more tolerant and inclusive, but not so. Far from it. As I have mentioned before, I have been privy to some incredibly nasty conservative-bashing sessions, proving that liberals aren't so liberal with their compassion and understanding, either.

So, understandably, donations from conservative Hollywood are lagging far behind those from liberal Hollywood-ites, in a time when donations from all sectors has substantially increased. According to the Center For Responsive Politics (CRP)

"Top industries and interest groups have increased their giving over 2004 by 46 percent, Center finds. As money shifts to Democrats, giving from Republican strongholds is mostly flat."

CRP's executive director, Sheila Krumholz claims that:

"A power shift in Congress and a wide-open race for the White House add up to record-breaking contributions from the nation's biggest givers." "There is an intensity to the fundraising for 2008 that we've
never seen before, which means the candidates and parties will be all the more beholden to their biggest donors."

A CRP article goes on to explain that:

"As interest groups and industries contribute substantially more money, they are also shifting their giving to Democrats, both to members of Congress now that the party is in control and to Democratic presidential candidates. The typical big-giving industry is now giving 57 percent of its contributions to Democrats, a shift of 14 percentage points from both 2006 and 2004, when the party and its candidates collected only 43 percent of the money."

Well, isn't that heartening?!

In light of the above facts, I don't think we can afford to sit on our duffs and expect our candidate to win in 2008 if we don't give him our full support, both in time and/or money. We need to rally around whoever is chosen as the Republican nominee, regardless of our differences or personal preferences. This is not a time to thumb our noses at GOP because a particular candidate does not fully represent our voice.

There is a slight glimmer of hope, though. The recent spate of anti-war films 'bombing', no pun intended, is hopefully an indication that the times they are a changing. As quoted in the Washington Times article, Andrew Breitbart (of said in reference to conservative Hollywood: "A lot of these people really believe that we're at crossroads, whether or not we're going to be aggressively taking on ascendant radical Islam." "At that point, you'll see a lot of people come out of the closet."

I hope he's right!

Some interesting side-notes:

Robert Duvall has publicly endorsed Giuliani. Adam Sandler has donated and is expected to endorse Giuliani. Kelsey Grammar and Ben Stein have both donated to Giuliani. Chuck Norris has donated to Huckabee.

For a list of the top 25 most conservative actors click here. It also lists others, but some of them are questionable as conservatives. Morgan Freeman is listed but he has endorsed Barack Obama, so I wouldn't put much credence into it.

And here's a list of corporate donors, and the political parties they donate to. I know which companies I'm going to support.

Here's a post by an emmy Award winning Hollywood screenwriter who talks about the perils of being openly Republican. He also links to a great FrontPage article he wrote.

H/T Kate via email