Wednesday, March 29, 2006

'Shania Twain' defence works in drunk driver's favour

CBC News: 'Shania Twain' defence works in drunk driver's favour: "One of the most notorious drunk drivers in the Ottawa area has been found not criminally responsible on his latest impaired driving charges because of a mental disorder that makes him believe female celebrities are controlling his actions."

This is great. Maybe I don't have to hire a bankruptcy attorney after all. Rene Zellwegger made me run up all of those credit card bills. She was controlling my spending from her home in Hollywood. And Sandra Bullock made me go out and buy that SUV. She even told me that the car dealer would pay off my existing loan! But she forgot to tell me that the new SUV dealer would add the existing loan on to the new loan. So what if I still had 4 years left to pay on the old loan? Now I can have a new car and it'll only take me 9 years to pay it off. Gas is almost $3.00 a gallon and the SUV only gets 8 MPG? That's okay, Britney Spears made me get a gas company credit card. She says President Bush told her it's okay. He's the president, after all. So now I'm nice and safe in my new SUV riding high above everybody else. I deserve it. Demi Moore said so.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Adult children living at home longer

CBC News: Adult children living at home longer: "They're called 'boomerang' offspring, meaning they left home once, but have since moved back in. Perhaps surprisingly, most parents say they like living with their grownup children."

Isn't that what basements are for? When your grown children lose their jobs they live in your basement? What if you don't have a basement? Well then it's their childhood room, which you left intact. Besides, converting it into a den or a media room costs too much. Who has money for big screen plasma TVs? Then when you're old and have no health insurance, you can move in with your grown children and their spouses. Oh? They already live with you? You should have bought a duplex.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Radio still uneasy with Dixie Chicks - Radio still uneasy with Dixie Chicks - Mar 27, 2006: "'I think a lot of people are in a wait-and-see mode,' said Wade Jessen, director of Billboard's country charts. 'The next couple of weeks are really going to tell the tale.'"

The fact that there's a de facto boycott against an entertainer simply because of her opinion, smacks of McCarthyism to me. The hardliners are going to say that it's because Natalie Maines made her comment in England. As if it would have made a difference if she said she was ashamed of Bush in the U.S. It's not like they don't have modern technology in England. They would have found discovered her comments anyway. Bush's disapproval ratings are at 66% so the Dixie Chicks are now in good company.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Camels of mass destruction

Via the Telegraph

Saddam Hussein didn't have weapons of mass destruction, but it appears he did have camels of mass destruction.

Read more....

Right to starve state

I've lived in a "right to work starve" state for 25 years. There are certain advantages of living in one of the Southern States. For instance, it's easier to be poor here than in New York or California, because the low wages keep the cost of housing down. Right to work states are great if you have a business that requires a low wage workforce and no union benefits. The problem for wage earners is that there's no incentive for businesses to think twice about firing their employees at the drop of a hat, unless that employee has a separate contract with the company.

I'm still amazed at the amount of people that I work with and run into who believe that all unions are evil and corrupt and who are happy that there are very few unions around. I was only a member of a union once, about 30 years ago. And while it's true that we didn't make more money than the non union shop, we did make more than non union places outside of our area. Plus the other non-union shop in town did benefit from our union since every time we received a raise or benefit, the non-union shop got a similar one, just to keep their employees from trying to organize a union. And certainly, unions are all good and perfect. I remember when I was a kid, going with my father to the meatcutters union hall every week. He'd pay his $10 dues and get a little stamp for his book. I don't think he ever collected a ton in benefits and I don't believed they helped him that much when he was out of work, but it did prevent his employers from firing him for frivolous reasons. So in that respect, his union did act as a sort of safety valve against managers who wanted to fire people because they had a crony or relative they wanted to help. No question, that if an employer wants to fire an employee, for whatever reason, they can do so, but having a union in place makes them think twice and puts a check on impetuous managers.

One more you think for one second that without a union, GM would be offering their employees $144,000 to leave? I didn't think so. The company that I've worked for for 15 years has been bought by another company. I'd consider myself lucky if they offered me 1/10th that amount to leave, because they're under no obligation or pressure to do that. Other than "doing what's right."

Friday, March 24, 2006

With us or with the terrorists

President Bush says he doesn't pay attention to polls, but with his popularity at around 37%, he's on a week long public relations tour to try to re-sell the war in Iraq. Most people, even his diehard Republican supporters are disillusioned with the the war and the administration knows it. After ignoring veteran UPI reporter Helen Thomas for three years, Bush finally called on her this week. He must have known she was going to ask real questions, but Rove probably knew that there was nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling on a real reporter. Thomas didn't disappoint and went right to the question of the reason for the war in Iraq. After that press conference, they made sure that further Bush appearances were before pre-selected supporters, with the propaganda-like theme banners in the background. This "town hall" concept was used very effectively during the presidential campaign to carefully screen out any unpleasant questions. And they continue to link 911 to Iraq, when there's no truth to that assertion. As a matter of fact, since the invasion of Iraq, more terrorists have made Iraq their home than when Saddam Hussein was in control.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Bill Beutel, longtime ABC news anchor, dies at 75

He was a great reporter and anchor in the old school mode. Bill Beutel was about getting the story right and presenting the facts in a concise manner. He didn't take the easy way out by re-digesting a company or politican talking points. When historians study the golden age of journalism, they'll learn from Bill Beutel. - Bill Beutel, longtime ABC news anchor, dies at 75 - Mar 19, 2006 NEW YORK (AP) -- Bill Beutel, the longtime television news anchor and host of the show that became ABC's 'Good Morning America,' has died, the network announced. He was 75.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

CBC News: U.S. deserter back at home in B.C.

Via CBC News

This is a followup to the story of a week ago, in which 56 year old Allen Abney, who was born in the United States but became a Canadian citizen in 1977, was arrested at a border crossing while trying to enter Idaho from southeastern British Columbia. He was heading for a vacation to Reno, Nevada with his wife when he was taken into custody and sent to Camp Pendleton, where he spent a few days in the brig. Abney deserted the Marines in 1968 after refusing to go to Vietnam. It's been unusual for the military to prosecute desterters from Vietnam, expecially since they were all offered pardons by President Ford in 1974. They may be wanting to send a message to today's young marines. But the Marines did the right and compassionate thing by granting an elderly ex-Marine a Conditional Discharge and buying him a plane ticked to Spokane, where he was picked up by his family.

It's not an entirely happy ending, because while Abney was in custody, his brother died in the hospital, but the Marines hurried his paperwork through.

Read more....

Friday, March 17, 2006

Russ Feingold is a Traitor

The old standby that Republicans have been using is that if you criticize this administration's policies, then you hate America. You can't disagree with the president, afterall this is wartime and he's the wartime president. What happens if a Democrat is elected in '08? Will the Repubicans not criticize him because according to them, this war is going to last for a generation? The least patriotic thing a person can do is to not speak out or criticize an administration's policies if it's called for. Are we no longer allowed to have an opinion because George Bush is the "wartime presnit?

Here are Howard Dean's comments on the latest attempt to claim Democrats side with the terrorists.


That's what Republicans want you to think.

They are so scared of having a legitimate debate about Iraq or national security that they have only one reaction to news of their failures or calls for accountability.

On Monday, Democratic Senator Russ Feingold introduced legislation to censure the President for breaking the law by creating a secret domestic spying program. Agree or disagree with his proposal, as a Senator -- and as an American -- he has the right to speak his mind and express his views without Republican Senators questioning his patriotism.

But that's exactly what happened. This week Republican Senator Wayne Allard of Colorado, in an interview with Fox News radio, said in response to Feingold's action that he has "time and time again [sided] with the terrorists".

Send a message to Senator Allard: shame on him for questioning the patriotism of another Senator. Sign this petition and it will be delivered to Allard:

Agree or disagree with Russ Feingold's censure resolution, it is completely out of bounds to suggest that anyone demanding accountability is siding with terrorists. It is simply un-American to question the patriotism and loyalty of a Senator who wants the Congress to live up to its responsibility.

We've heard this cowardly nonsense from Republican leaders before. They attacked decorated Veteran and Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha for getting real on Iraq. They attacked Democratic Leader Harry Reid for shutting down the Senate to demand answers about manipulated pre-war intelligence.

They have ended the careers of generals who questioned Bush Administration talking points, and they even attack their own when respectable Republicans speak out on the disaster this administration has created in Iraq and its failure to close the gaps in our security here at home.

And time and again, the Republican controlled congress has consistently failed to conduct real oversight of the Administration, choosing instead to protect the Administration.

But polls show that nearly 70% of Americans reject this president and the Republican Congress that has failed to hold him accountable. And together we will hold Republicans accountable at the ballot box this year.

That's why the Democratic Party is putting the infrastructure on the ground now to fight in all 50 states. People everywhere are saying "enough is enough" -- and we will be ready to organize and fight everywhere with your help.

Please contribute whatever you can to make it happen:

The sick behavior of desperate Republicans will only stop when we fight back, and 2006 is the time to do it.

Thank you,

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Edward R. Murrow isms

When the movie "Good Night and Good Luck" came out a few months ago, I knew I'd better go see it soon. I expected it to last about a week in this area. For a movie that didn't have things blowing up, wasn't about football or mules, it lasted about three weeks. I was amazed at the similarites of the McCarthy era to today. It was a time when people were afraid to speak out about the abuse of power for fear that their patriotism would be called into question. If you questioned the Wisconson Senator's views you were a commie ACLU lover who hated America. The difference was that back then, reporters were reporters, not repeaters-printing and parrotting talking points. Most of the real reporters are gone and what we're left with is repeaters and pretend reporters. These are the windbags who claim that they're entertainers, but who are invited to be guests on "Meet The Press." Here are a few Murrow quotes. Pick your favorite.

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.
- Edward R. Murrow

When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained.
- Edward R. Murrow

If we were to do the Second Coming of Christ in color for a full hour, there would be a considerable number of stations which would decline to carry it on the grounds that a Western or a quiz show would be more profitable.
- Edward R. Murrow

Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar.
- Edward R. Murrow

Radio feels heat from iPod generation

Via the Globe & Mail


Conventional radio stations are losing their grip on the iPod generation as younger listeners shift to new technology, such as MP3 players, satellite radio and the emerging world of music-playing cellphones, the industry is warning Ottawa.

In a lengthy document submitted to the federal broadcast regulator yesterday, the industry paints a bleak picture for itself as new technology permeates its market, eroding audiences and eating away at advertising revenue.

Falling listenership among teenagers has become a particular concern for the industry, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) said in its submission to a sweeping review of the sector being conducted in Ottawa.

"It is generally agreed that teens have abandoned conventional radio in favour of other audio platforms including peer-to-peer file sharing, music downloading and iPods," says the CAB, which represents Canada's radio companies.

"The key question this raises is whether today's teens can ever be repatriated to conventional radio."

The CAB wants rules governing the industry rewritten to make conventional radio more competitive.

It has asked the CRTC to scrap plans to boost the amount of Canadian content broadcasters are required to play, while loosening restrictions on the number of stations companies can own in a single market. Those, along with a host of other changes, would allow companies to be more profitable in an era of tightening margins, the CAB argues.

The report is one of several sent to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in advance of yesterday's deadline for submissions. A draft copy of the report was obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Industry data on declining radio audiences are among the most surprising figures contained in the document. Under the group's worst-case scenario, listenership could fall 16.1 per cent over the next 10 years, causing a 14.5-per-cent drop in advertising revenue.

The sector's most optimistic view predicts a 9.6-per-cent drop in listeners during that time, resulting in a 4.8-per-cent decline in revenue.

If the industry saw a decline of that proportion last year, it would have cost $188.5-million in advertising revenue, the CAB said.

Individual broadcasters have also made their own submissions to the CRTC as it reviews the regulations governing the radio industry for the first time in nine years.

David Goldstein, head of government affairs at CHUM Ltd., one of the country's largest radio operators, said the conventional industry is in strong shape, but that it will have serious challenges in the coming years.

"We are facing an unprecedented level of competition." Mr. Goldstein said in an interview, adding that CHUM is very conscious of the industry's technological changes.

He said achieving "regulatory certainty" from the CRTC is more important. Several broadcasters are concerned that rivals, such as satellite radio, are not bound by the same regulations as conventional radio.

The CAB says the fastest erosion of conventional radio listenership is coming in the 12-17 age demographic.

"Private radio -- faced with more competition and fewer listeners -- will be unable to override the decline in overall tuning through [advertising] price increases," the report said.

Pierre Pontbriand, a spokesman for the association, wouldn't comment on the submission, which will not be made public until today at the earliest.

Corus Entertainment Inc., another major radio broadcaster in Canada, has also flagged the emergence of new technology as a concern in its submission to the CRTC.

"The regulated broadcasting system can no longer consider itself immune from the larger changes occurring in our media environment," the Corus documents said. "We are already seeing the impact of this with the introduction of video on MP3 player devices and in satellite radio services."

The CRTC will hold public hearings on the radio industry review starting May 15, with the proceedings expected to last five days. Denis Carmel, a spokesman for the CRTC, said the commission will make its ruling on any changes later in the year.

The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, a lobby group that supports private broadcasting and Canadian content, warned the commission to beware of broadcasters seeking weaker concentration of ownership rules or reduced obligations to produce local content.

"As Canada's economic relationship with the U.S. draws clear, it becomes more important than ever to strengthen Canadian cultural sovereignty," the lobby group said. "If any changes are desirable, they should move in the direction of strengthening these obligations."

Corus and CHUM have both recommended the CRTC maintain - not increase -- its Canadian content requirements at 35 per cent, with a system that rewards broadcasters that provide air time for emerging Canadian artists.

© The Globe and Mail

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Christian radio website to maximize hosts’ heft

A former Bush campaign official will be helping Salem Communications become the official radio propaganda voice of the Republicans. I have to give them credit for finding a way to use a radio network to get free advertising. I suppose Fox News is the official Republican TV voice, so Salem will be a nice radio fit for them. Plus they'll have the added benefit of gawd and jay-sus.

All of this would actually be amusing, except for the fact that radio and TV licenses are regulated by the government. There are a fixed number of frequencies available, so it's not the kind of business where you or I could just start a radio station, like we would open a McDonald's. Long ago, the FCC realized the importance of broadcasters in shaping public opinion. They had regulations that prevented sinister broadcasters from manipulating, and even brainwashing the public. There were, and probably still are, rules preventing non U.S. citizens from owning broadcasting properties, which is the reason Rupert Murdoch had to become an American citizen before he could own Fox.

As an aside, I guess the FCC felt that foreign ownership of the media was a bigger issue than foreign ownership of U.S. ports. The concern of unscrupulous broadcasters exerting undue influence on viewers and listeners is why they had clear rules separating commercials from opinions, or regular programming. That's why you used to hear disclaimers like "This is a paid announcement" before commercials that were designed to look like news or informational programming. But in today's world, it's okay to try to manipulate the public by "working with" broadcast operations. And why not? This is an administration who paid commentators to say favorable things about them. They sent out canned news reports featuring their own paid reporters, disguised as "features" or items that were newsworthy. So it only makes sense that they would use Salem Broadcasting for their own political gain.

Christian radio website to maximize hosts'’ heft: "Chuck DeFeo, who was Bush-Cheney 2004 e-campaign manager and served in a similar role at the Republican National Committee in 2002, is helping Salem promote activism among listeners.

Next week, Salem is expected to launch a website featuring the hosts of five major radio talk shows: “Morning in America with Bill Bennett, “The Mike Gallagher Show,” The Dennis Prager Show, “The Michael Medved Show” and “The Hugh Hewitt show. These are estimated to attract more than ten million listeners, DeFeo said in an interview.

His new website,, is intended to give the hosts “"an online platform to move from radio to Internet to get active".”

The purpose is to build a powerful online activist community from the large nationwide audience of conservative radio listeners. Political observers say Democrats have thus far been more effective then Republicans at using the Internet to raise money and mobilize supporters.


Organizers of the effort regard talk radio as a ‚“one-way street‚” where a host urges listeners to do something but receives little feedback from the audience. The website would combine the established power of talk radio with the emerging phenomenon of blogging to create a two-way street that would allow radio personalities and fans to interact more.

How the ports deal came about

Via The Onion

President Bush explains how he came to the decision to allow the United Arab Emirates to run our major East Coast ports.

Monday, March 13, 2006

In today's world, it's rare that you can find a company that actually does more than you expect them to. If you're looking for a good web hosting service with excellent customer service, try It has an easy to use interface and you just pay for the bandwidth that you use. It's not for everybody since you have to have a basic idea of how to use FTP and how to put a basic website together, since they don't have the resources to tell you how to do that. But if you want a great price on hosting your sites, you should give them a try.

Cholesterol Drug Reverses Heart Disease

Cholesterol Drug Reverses Heart Disease - Yahoo! News: "ATLANTA - People in a new study got their 'bad cholesterol' to the lowest levels ever seen and saw blockages in their blood vessels shrink by taking a high dose of cholesterol drug, researchers reported Monday."

Does this mean I can eat all the red meat, cheese and pasta I want, or will my arteries still be like The Grand Central Parkway at 5 o' clock?

Dixie Chicking of Faith and Tim

This might be the beginning of "Dixie Chicking" Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. The two appeared at a news conference over the weekend to romote their tour, but they used the opportunity to blast the Bush adminstration over the lack of progress in cleaning up the Gulf area. I wonder if radio stations will boycott their records as they did the Dixie Chicks when Natalie Maines expressed her opinion of President Bush at a London concert I guess maybe it's okay to criticize the president at home but not in London. As if they don't have TVs in England so if the Dixie Chicks expressed their opinions over here, they wouldn't find out over there. Maybe it's like the Bush foreign policy: fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here.

First Draft - When you've lost country music....: "From the Times Picayune

You know it's bad when country music stars turn on the President. But that's exactly what happened yesterday when Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, both natives of the Gulf Coast, met with reporters to talk about their upcoming tour, but ended up venting their frustration with the cleanup efforts along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The above paragraph links to this story.....

When asked by reporters during Wednesday's round table about the government's slow progress, Hill, 38, said, 'It's wrong. It's embarrassing. It really gets us fired up. That's our homeland.'

McGraw blamed state and federal politics for hampering efforts to get adequate shelter, food and supplies to victims.

The 38-year-old country singer also criticized President Bush, who visited the devastated Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans on Wednesday.

'There's no reason why someone can't go down there — who's supposed to be the leader of the free world — and say, `I'm giving you a job to do and I'm not leaving here until it's done. And you're held accountable,'' he said.

Later in the news conference, McGraw let out a stream of frustration, growling, 'I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore.'

The couple were married in 1996.

When asked what their fans could do to help, McGraw said: 'Vote.'"

Tim McGraw couldn't be more correct. And he doesn't mean "vote for American Idol" or "Survivor."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

CBC News: Canadian held for deserting U.S. marines in 1968

A message for any 20 year old today who might be thinking about not returning to nation building. Here's your warning.

"Canadian held for deserting U.S. marines in 1968
Last Updated Sun, 12 Mar 2006 13:49:04 EST
CBC News

A B.C. man has spent the weekend detained at a military base in California after being arrested for deserting the U.S. Marine Corps four decades ago during the Vietnam War.

Allen Abney, who was born in the United States but became a Canadian citizen in 1977, was arrested at a border crossing on Thursday while trying to enter Idaho from southeastern British Columbia.

Abney, 56, lives in Kingsgate in British Columbia's East Kootenay region, in a house about 100 metres from the Canada-U.S. border.

He and his wife were on their way for a holiday in Reno, Nev., when U.S. officials accused him of desertion and took him into custody.

In 1968, Abney was a 19-year-old marine when he fled to Canada because he didn't want to fight in Vietnam."

Read more....

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Just A Dog

Here in Texas, people think nothing of treating dogs like cheap security systems. Of course, not everybody feels that way, but too many of them do. These are the same people who take their dog into the backyard and put a bullet it it's head, rather than spend money on a vet. Plus a bullet is cheaper than the $100 cost of euthanasia. They leave their dogs outside in 105 degree heat with little water, and in 20 degree sleet. They may thow him a bale of hay when it's cold. These living noisemakers are nothing more than "protection" for the homeowner against the bad people who are lurking outside waiting to take over their house. You'd think a couple of shotguns in the hallway closet would be enough, but why wait till they get inside to blast them away, when the dog will work security for free? And what happens after the dog gets old or sick, mostly from being chained up outside or at least confined outside for years? A bullet in the dog's head in the backyard takes care of things. No need to waste money on vets or euthanasia. I've witnessed an irate dog owner at the vet, who was upset that the charge for euthanizing the animal didn't include cremation. That was going to be another $50, so after yelling at the staff, he asked for the dog's body in a cardboard box. I guess he wanted to take him to the pet cemetery to give him a nice burial, along with a fitting memorial. He complained about the extra charge for crmation and got into a late model monster truck that probably cost close to $30K.

There is no law that says a dog has to be treated like a member of the family. As a matter of fact, in many areas, the law says they're personal property, so if a neighbor shoots your dog, he's just responsible for paying you for your dog's value. That amount would be about $50 for a mixed breed.

I've read notes on the bulletin board in my office offering a dog or cat to a good home because the current owner is moving, got new carpets, has developed allergies, her boyfriend has developed allergies, they're having a baby, taking a vacation, or the dog has "separation anxiety." That condition isn't too surprising when a person leaves a dog outside all the time, or puts one in a crate and then goes to work and doesn't return all day.

Again, not everybody treats their pets like a budget security system or an object. There are people like Carlos and Ruby Chitty in Scott City Missouri. Carlos is 93 and Ruby is 88. They never had any kids and as their health deterorated, they moved into a nursing home, where they companion dog, Rocky wasn't allowed. So they wrote Rocky into the contract before they sold the house. Rocky had to stay with any prospective new owners, chain link fence and all.

Here's the story from CNN:

House contract carries long-term leash

New home purchase has catch for young Missouri couple

SCOTT CITY, Missouri (AP) -- Housing contracts can get complicated in a hurry. Just consider the clause that Jared and Whittnie Essner agreed to when they bought their first home last week:

"Rocky will be allowed to remain in home (with lots of love, care and attention) and negotiated visitation rights from current master. Chain link fence stays for him."

"In every offer, there's always something to be negotiated," said their real estate agent, Greg Lincoln. In this case, that something happened to be a beagle-mix dog named Rocky.

Jared, 20, and Whittnie, 19, were married last spring. They looked at more than 30 houses before settling on the quaint home at the corner of State and Mildred in this southeast Missouri town, about 100 miles south of St. Louis. The place made an instant impression on them when they toured it. So did the home's sole inhabitant: Rocky.

"We thought, there honestly can't be a dog here if there's no one present," Jared said. Then, Rocky came bounding toward him.

One thing about Rocky -- he's not shy. He is not much bigger than a football, but covers the distance from his doghouse to the gate in a matter of seconds. He nuzzles guests and stares up at people with big round eyes. Rocky seems to smile in the way certain dogs can, with his pink tongue hanging over his lip.

"He's the most lovable dog I've ever seen," Jared said.

The story of how Rocky came to occupy a 2-bedroom house by himself began three years ago. That's when a retiree named Carlos Chitty decided to get a dog.

Carlos, 93, and his wife Ruby, 88, lived at the house for years. They never had kids, and life got pretty quiet after Carlos Chitty retired as owner of Carlos Grocery in downtown Scott City.

"My wife said, 'Why don't we ever have any company?'" Chitty recalled. "I said, 'Didn't you notice that all our friends have passed away and we're still hanging around? That's why.'"

Chitty saw an ad in the paper for free dogs. He said he drove to a home at the edge of town, where more than a dozen dogs were up for adoption.

Again: Rocky's not shy.

"Man, that little dog came running across the yard. He about licked my face off," Chitty recalled.

Twelve years ago, Ruby Chitty was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Carlos watched her personality slowly slip away. By the time Rocky came around, Ruby didn't remember Carlos, or really remember herself, Carlos said. But Rocky was always there.

"I could talk to him. He would ride in my car. We were really buddies," Chitty said.

Earlier this year, it became clear Carlos couldn't take care of his wife any longer. "We'd just gone as far as we could go," he said. They moved into a nursing home. Rocky wasn't allowed.

Friends and family took care of Rocky for a couple of months before the Essners saw the house. The couple didn't want Rocky to be evicted, so they wrote him into the contract.

The couple seems to be living up to their end of the deal. Rocky spends fewer nights outside and sleeps inside the house's entryway on a big pillow. Jared Essner installed a night light by the pillow recently because he thought it was too dark at night.

Carlos Chitty visited Rocky last weekend. At the retirement center, his dresser includes four pictures: Two portraits of Carlos and his wife, and two portraits of Rocky.

Chitty said he wouldn't have given up the dog if he didn't have to. But it meant a lot to him when Whittnie Essner told him Rocky was still his. The couple were just dog-sitting.

"I thought, well, if anybody has the dog, I'd want you to have him," Chitty said he told her.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

And one other item:

Tribute To The Dog

The following speech was made by the late Senator Vest of Missouri in the trial of a man at Warrensburg, who had wantonly shot a dog belonging to a neighbor. Mr. Vest represented the plaintiff, who had demanded $200 in damages. As a result of this speech, the jury, after two minutes of deliberation, awarded the plaintiff $500. "Gentlemen of the jury: The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. "Gentlemen of the jury, a man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens. If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight against his enemies, and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by his grave side will be the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death!" Courtesy of The Daily Star-Journal Warrensburg, MO 1970

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Foreclosures increase on high-risk mortgages

If you've been waiting to buy rental income property, your time may be coming. Foreclosures on high risk mortgages are on the rise. Some experts say that once the interest rate hits 7.25%, investors will be able to move in and buy buy buy! The high risk mortgages are the ones that are advertised as allowing you to buy a $300,000 home for as little as $600 a month. The problem is, your payment are going to the interest only, which is variable and once the interest rates go up and the time comes when you have to start paying on the interest and principal, then the financial squeeze begins. Maybe there's a market for buying the high risk mortgage houses, and leasing the house back to the people who can't afford the payments. This would save them from bankruptcy and at least they wouldn't have to pack up, put their belongings in storage and go live with relatives. However, I don't think they'd be too thrilled to continue to pay the same monthly amount, with the money going to an investor. Well, the money was going to the bank with their interest only loan, so maybe it wouldn't matter.

Via the Boston Globe

Foreclosures increase on high-risk mortgages - "Foreclosures increase on high-risk mortgages

March 5, 2006

PROVIDENCE, R.I. --More Rhode Islanders losing their homes as the number of foreclosures on high-risk mortgages increases.

Mortgage companies give people with less-than-perfect credit subprime loans that carry higher-than-average interest rates.

Rhode Island has the largest portion of subprime loans in the nation. More than one in four mortgages issued to Rhode Islanders in 2003 carried terms that are considered subprime.

Now, more of those mortgages are ending in foreclosure, according to LoanPerformance, a San Francisco firm that analyzes mortgage data. The foreclosure rate on subprime loans jumped 0.41 percent in the third-quarter last year -- the largest increase in the nation.

Economists and housing experts say the increase is partly due to a slow down in the housing market. When home prices were rising fast, people could take out home equity loans or sell their houses at a profit when they had trouble paying their bills.

They are less able to do so now.

John and Nicole Pilozzi of Cranston know this from firsthand experience. John Pilozzi is a produce manager at Stop & Shop, while Nicole Pilozzi wraps meat at her father's deli. Together, they earn about $69,000 a year.

They bought their three-bedroom home in Cranston in April 2000 for $131,000. Their $104,800 mortgage carried a 9.35 percent adjustable interest rate -- nearly 3 percent higher than average.

About 18 months later, interest rates fell, and the couple refinanced, taking out a $123,000 loan at an adjustable rate of 8.57 percent.

By the following summer, they had accumulated car loans and mounting credit card bills. In June 2002, the Pilozzis took out a home equity loan of $25,000.

They were not alone. About one in four dollars that home owners took out in home equity loans at that time went to pay off other debts, according to the Federal Reserve.

The Pilozzis refinanced for a third time in February 2004. They rolled their home equity loan into a new $187,000 mortgage with an initial interest rate of 7.08 percent.

The $1,600 to $1,700 per month mortgage and insurance payments were crushing.

They began missing payments when John was transferred to a store in Massachusetts. Gas cost more than $120 a week, he said.

In January, the Pilozzis' home was sold at a foreclosure auction.

'I make decent money,' John Pilozzi said. But, 'I just couldn't do it.'"

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Radio Station & Podcaster in one

Now for less than $3K, you can be the next Barry Gray, Howard Stern, Dan Ingram or Big Wilson. Some traditional radio stations are getting worried about their disappearing audience so they're turning to podcasting. The problem is their podcasting the same thing that's responsible for driving listeners away to begin with. Now they're going to have to deal with 7-11 clerks who might use this device to parlay their audience into a national talk show. What are the chances of that happening? There used to be a time when an aspiring radio talent would have to hone his skills and pay his dues being a one man band in a small radio station. If he made enough money to be able to rent an apartment without having to share it with the evening disk jockey, he was doing well. But now, all of that inconvenience can be bypassed for the cost of a cheap broadcasting course.

WorldVibrations Radio Station & Podcaster : March 2006 : THE Journal: "WORLDVIBRATIONS has introduced a device that integrates, in a single appliance, Internet and/or conventional broadcasting with podcasting. The WorldVibrations Radio Station & Podcaster combines the functions of a fully automated radio station with streaming media encoding and the ability to create and upload podcasts without interrupting “on air” programming. Users with no previous radio experience can produce, schedule, broadcast, and podcast programming of all kinds. The system allows any school to create an educational radio network that can be used to offer courses and lectures, provide cultural programming, and give students an opportunity to receive valuable media training. Connect to a PA system, satellite uplink, or, with a license, a transmitter. Price: $2,850

Hunting with Dick Cheney is good for business

Getting shot in the face by Dick Cheney is good for business. Texas lawyer Harry Whittington is back in his office. He's getting lots of offers from from people who want him to be their lawyer. I'm not sure he would be the right guy for the job. He might stand up in court and apologize to the other lawyer. One collector has even offered to buy the birdshot that doctors removed from his face. I guess the projectiles in his heart aren't for sale yet. I imagine that some die hard Republican collectors might even be interested in Rush Limbaugh's drug tests or Ann Coulter's colonoscopy results. I don't wish bad health on Whittington, but since Conservatives don't believe in assisted suicide, if Harry Whittington ever feels he needs to depart this mortal realm, then they should put him in a cage, like the caged birds his hunting party went after and then release him in front of Dick Cheney and the two women from the hunting expedition. They need to be sure to bring lots of beer in case Dick's aim hasn't improved. Harry Whittington -- Mar. 13, 2006 -- Page 1: "Three weeks after Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot him, Texas lawyer Harry Whittington is back to his routine, working all day at his office in Austin, Texas, his friends say. Whittington, who turned 79 last week, won't comment, but the facial wounds from the bird shot are 'almost unnoticeable,' says restaurateur Bob Woody. 'He's back, full force.' Whittington's card-playing buddy Joe Greenhill, a retired Texas Supreme Court justice, says, 'He's been besieged with people who want him to be their lawyer.' And here's an odd sign of Whittington's fame: a collector asked if Whittington would sell some of the bird shot plucked out by doctors.
From the Mar. 13, 2006 issue of TIME magazine

Sunday, March 05, 2006

We'll keep you abreast of this

Pamela Anderson to Host 2006 JUNO Awards

Internationally renowned Canadian superstar Pamela Anderson has been named host of The 2006 JUNO Awards, Canada's Music Awards, it was announced today by broadcaster CTV and the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS). CTV and CARAS also confirmed today that The 2006 JUNO Awards will be broadcast on Sunday, April 2 from 7 - 9 p.m. ET on CTV

Named as "The Most Powerful Canadian in Hollywood" in 2005 by Canadian Business magazine, Anderson is one of the world's most recognized stars, thanks to her multi-platform career as an actor, model, author, producer and designer. Anderson joins an esteemed list of homegrown, international stars who have hosted The JUNO Awards since CTV began airing the awards telecast in 2002, including Barenaked Ladies, Shania Twain and Alanis Morissette.

"Canadian music rocks," said Anderson. "No matter where I am in the world I can listen to Canadian music and feel like I'm at home. This is going to be one kick-ass awards show."

Anderson will host a two-hour awards broadcast that features performances by Bedouin Soundclash, Broken Social Scene, 2006 Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Bryan Adams, Coldplay, Michael Bublé and Nickelback.

"She's famous around the world, but Pamela will feel right at home in Halifax," said Susanne Boyce, CTV's President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group. "She can expect a hearty east coast welcome for what promises to be a spectacular awards broadcast."

"We are thrilled to have Pamela Anderson host The 2006 JUNO Awards," said Melanie Berry, President of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and executive producer of the broadcast. "With her unabashed wit and spontaneity, she is sure to make April 2nd a night to remember."

Saturday, March 04, 2006

You've been outsourced to a computer

At least they waited until after Christmas to lay people off. The radio division's right wing talk show hosts will probably blame Liberals for redistributing their wealth.

283 jobs to go

The Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff corporate office cuts are linked to the recent sale.

The York Daily Record - News Full: "Nearly 300 white-collar workers and support staff at the corporate offices of Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Co., its Susquehanna Media division and its communications subsidiaries will be laid off from the company as early as April 24.

The job terminations come four months after Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff first said Phila- delphia-based Comcast Corp. would buy Susquehanna Communications and Internet service provider BlazeNet for $775 million, while a group of private investors led by Atlanta-based Cumulus Media would buy Sus- quehanna Radio for $1.2 billion.

In a letter dated Feb. 23 to the state Department of Labor and Industry, Mayor John Brenner and City Council President Cameron Texter, Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff wrote that its York corporate offices, as well as those of Susquehanna Media Co., Susquehanna Cable Co. and Susquehanna Radio Corp., would close.

It added that the employment of the people working in those offices would be terminated.

The 283 terminated jobs include a Susquehanna Radio human resources vice president; an attorney, accountants and assistants at Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff; an information technology vice president at Susquehanna Media; and customer service personnel at Susquehanna Cable."

White House Responds

People have said that President Bush didn't lie about invading Iraq on the pretext of finding weapons of mass destruction. He just skewed the intelligence reports to mislead the American people. Okay. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt about that. But when he told a reporter four days after Hurricane Katrina hit that "nobody could foresee the breach of the levees," when if fact that's exactly what he was told, then it's more than misleading people, it's a lie. And if he lied about that, what else did he lie about?


The White House responded quickly to the bombshell AP report that President Bush was fully briefed on the potential of the levees breaking and lied to the American people four days later during an interview with ABC News when he uttered the infamous words, "I don't think anyone could have anticipated the breach of the levees." Associated Press:

I hope people don't draw conclusions from the president getting a single briefing," Bush spokesman Trent Duffy said, citing a variety of orders and disaster declarations Bush signed before the storm made landfall. "He received multiple briefings from multiple officials, and he was completely engaged at all times.

He's right ... who knows how much more incompetence would be uncovered were the White House completely forthcoming with the information requested by the Katrina Commission in Congress. Here is what the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs had to say about the cooperation level of the executive branch:

The problems begin at the White House, where there has been a near total lack of cooperation that has made it impossible, in my opinion, for us to do the thorough investigation we have a responsibility to do.

And completely engaged? Hogwash. Unlike the Associated Press video, we didn't need to wait six months to know the president refused to cut short his vaction and return to Washington, D.C. to deal with the crisis from the White House. In fact, none of us will ever forget the photo of President Bush playing country rock star as New Orleans drowned.

This adminstration failed the American people before the storm hit, as it made landfall, through the investigation, and continues to this day. Mistakes are made, to be sure, the storm was unprecedented in its scope. However, lying to the American people in an attempt to shirk responsiblity for what ended up completely transcending minor blunders, and then refusing to cooperate with the U.S. Senate during an investigation tasked at learning the lessons necessary to prevent a sequel is completely unforgivable.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bush, Chertoff Warned Before Katrina

It looks like the "we didn't know the levees would be breeched" excuse has gone the way of "You're doing a heckuva job, Brownie."

Democratic Underground - AP - Tape: Bush, Chertoff Warned Before Katrina: "By MARGARET EBRAHIM and JOHN SOLOMON, Associated Press Writers

WASHINGTON - In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, risk lives in New Orleans' Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage of the briefings.

Bush didn't ask a single question during the final government-wide briefing the day before Katrina struck on Aug. 29 but assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: 'We are fully prepared.'

Six days of footage and transcripts obtained by The Associated Press show in excruciating detail that while federal officials anticipated the tragedy that unfolded in New Orleans and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, they were fatally slow to realize they had not mustered enough resources to deal with the unprecedented disaster."

Read more....