.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} <$BlogRSDUrl$>

Ontario Empoblog

Ontario Emperor Blog
("yup, its random!")
This blog has been superseded by the mrontemp blog


October 2003   November 2003   December 2003   January 2004   February 2004   March 2004   April 2004   May 2004   June 2004   July 2004   August 2004   September 2004   October 2004   November 2004   December 2004   January 2005   February 2005   March 2005   April 2005   May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   October 2005   November 2005   December 2005   January 2006   February 2006   March 2006   April 2006   May 2006   June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007  

The Breast Cancer Site
Fund free mammograms at no cost to yourself by clicking on the link, then on the pink button.

Hall of Shame (NoteUnworthy Blog Posts)
Other Blogs (sorted regionally)
Ontario Emperor Selected del.icio.us Tags

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Listed on BlogShares



Who Links Here

Click for Ontario, California Forecast

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On the left, right, and middle, Orson Bean 

When I was growing up, I didn't know a lot about Orson Bean. I knew that he was a panelist on "To Tell the Truth" (along with Bill Cullen, Peggy Cass, and Kitty Carlisle, plus host Garry Moore), and that he went to Australia.

I was a bit surprised when he popped up in an audiobook by Bob Edwards about Edward R. Murrow. And therein lies a story:

CrankyCritic: We can joke about not being seen on the coasts, but you did get whacked by the infamous Hollywood Black List, too.

Orson Bean: I was never bitter. I was horny for a Communist girl and she dragged me to some meetings and that's why I got blacklisted. Everybody in those days wanted to end the black list. I ran on a slate of AFTRA and was elected first VP of the New York Local. For my pains, they dug up this stuff about me and, I went from being the hot comic on the Ed Sullivan Show to not working for a year. However, I got a Broadway show. At the end of that year Ed Sullivan called me up, as he promised he would, and said "I think things have softened up enough that I can book you again" and he did. That kind of broke it.

CrankyCritic: Is there any kind of satisfaction seeing, in the last couple of years, [Joseph] McCarthy and [Roy] Cohn being totally exposed for what they were?

Orson Bean: It's always scary in a Democracy to see that stuff. I think Pat Buchanan is truly frightening. The man is a fascist and an anti-Semite. If he's willing to say as much in public as he says, imagine what he says in a room full of his friends whom he trusts. I really admire John McCain for saying that [Buchanan] shouldn't be in the Republican party while George W. is saying "well, we need all the votes we can get..." You've got to watch out for stuff like that. It's an easy target. I made a movie with old Joe Welch, who was the wonderful lawyer who said "at long last Senator McCarthy, have you no sense of decency?" Otto Preminger had the brilliant idea of casting him as the judge in Anatomy of a Murder. I had a part in that. At night we would sit in a bar up in Michigan. Welch told us that he was brought in to represent the Army by Tom Dewey, who was the head of the Republican party, who said "This son of a bitch McCarthy is crazy and he's going to drag the party down with him." So it's interesting to see that when things go far enough there are moderates, even moderate conservatives like McCain, who start seeing how dangerous Buchanan is. I trust America. I've lived long enough to see the pendulum swing back and forth, to see that Democracy really wins out in the end.

Going back to the AFTRA incident (which Bob Edwards recounts in his book), you need to introduce a character named John Henry Faulk. Here's how the Daily Kos does it:

John Henry Faulk was a popular radio personality in NY in the 1950s. He was a Texas boy who was both a scholar and storyteller. In 1956, shortly after he was elected to the board of his union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, he was accused of being a Communist sympathizer by Aware Inc.

Faulk didn't work on radio of television for the next 6 1/2 years. Unlike most who were blacklisted, he sued.

Daily Kos continues by quoting from Faulk's autobiography:

AFTRA had been founded in New York in 1938, and although it became a national union with strong locals in Chicago and Hollywood, the New York local was the largest and strongest in the union. The governing body of the New York local was a thirty-five man board of directors, whose members were elected from the membership every December, to serve throughout the following year. From the early 1950s, this board of directors had been controlled entirely by one faction of the union. The same group was elected year after year, and they made anti-Communism a big issue. A number of them, including Vinton Hayworth, the president of the New York local in 1955, were officers of AWARE,Inc....

[Faulk, Bean, and Charles Collingwood] managed, however, to get thirty-three people in all. We called ourselves the Middle-of-the-Road slate and put out a statement setting forth what we hoped to do for the union. We called it "A Declaration of Independents." Among other things, we declared that while we were opposed to Communism we were also opposed to the blacklisting and intended to do something to put a stop to it....

At election time, in December of 1955, we swept into office with a flourish. The Middle-of-the-Road slate won twenty-seven of the thirty-five seats on the board....A couple of weeks later Collingwood was elected president, Bean first vice-president, and I was elected second vice-president of the local.

Now, in the simplistic version of the story, the evil fascist forces attacked our heroes Faulk, Bean, and Collingwood. But, according to Accuracy in Media, the simplistic version of the story may be too simple:

Faulk, Orson Bean, and Charles Coilingwood headed a slate running for office in the television and radio performers' union, AFTRA, with the objective of fighting the blacklisting of performers accused of leftwing connections.

Orson Bean has written that when the slate was formed it was deemed essential that the candidates be completely free of any leftwing taint. The potential candidates were urged to reveal if they had anything in their past of this nature. If they did, they were urged to drop out. Bean himself, confessed to having been involved in a relatively minor incident, but Faulk assured him that it was not serious and urged him to stay on the slate. Faulk himself said nothing about any possible taint in his own background.

The Faulk-Bean-Collingwood slate won the election. Aware came out with an article, which asked, rhetorically, just how anti-communist this slate actually was. It started with Faulk. Bean wrote: "I read with wonder as it went on and on: Johnny at 'Headline Cabaret' sponsored by Stage for Action, officially designated as a Communist front. Johnny appearing with Paul Robeson at the Communist Jefferson School. Johnny sending greetings to "People's Songs", a Red publication. Johnny as U.S. sponsor of the American Continental Congress for Peace in Mexico City. Johnny at "Showtime for Wallace," staged by Progressive Citizens of America, a Communist front."

Bean said that the publication then went on to Bean and Coilingwood, but what they had against them alone would not have been worth printing. But lumped with the list they had on Faulk, he said, "it added up to a grim picture."

Bean said he was dumfounded. He wondered how they could have made up all that stuff about Faulk. He said: "I was sure it couldn't be true or he wouldn't have jeopardized us all by running with us. I ran over to Johnny's office at CBS. 'It isn't true, is it. Johnny? You didn't appear at those places, did you?"

"'Oh honey.' he said. 'What does it matter'? Don't you see those people are fascists? If they didn't have something on us, they'd have made it up.

Faulk, by not revealing his leftwing associations to his fellow candidates in advance, had, according to Bean, placed them all in jeopardy. Faulk elected to sue Aware for libel. Bean tells of speaking to Faulk while the trial was in progress. Faulk told him how his attorney, Lou Nizer, had demolished the defendants. Bean asked: "Was the other side right?" He says Faulk replied: "The point is they didn't prove it. They were sloppy and they were bad detectives, and we're gonna kill 'em."

Now there are several ways you can carve this turkey. On the one hand, in a free society it shouldn't matter whether you're a Republican or a Communist or the head of your local Al Qaeda cell. On the other hand, one can claim that it's dishonest to cover up past associations...in fact, cover-ups are Nixonian, aren't they? On the other other hand, one can claim that it's OK to mislead when threatened. Or is it?

This is why any analysis of the McCarthy years can't be reduced to a simple good guys-bad guys scenario. Failure to examine the complexities of the situation leads one with an incomplete view.

And what happened to John Henry Faulk? For those who followed the history of CBS' replacement show for the Smothers Brothers, this little tidbit is somewhat ironic - Faulk joined the cast of Hee Haw.

John Henry Faulk, who works on a farm in Madisonville, Texas, tells stories on “Hee Haw” about “the folks back home,” as well as comments on the political scene, much as he did years ago as a CBS radio personality.

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

Labels: , , , , , , ,

(0) comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

While we're on the real estate kick 

Amerivision Mortgage Corporation (see here and here) has published some "Buyer Don'ts" for people who are close to closing on a home. Excerpts:

It may be tempting to order that new sofa for your soon-to-be living room, but its best to avoid making major purchases like furniture, cars, appliances, electronic equipment, jewelry, or vacations until after the closing. Financing that furniture with a store credit card or even one of your own credit cards could jeopardize your credit worthiness during the time it means the most....

Generally, changing jobs will not affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage loan - especially if you are going to be making more money. But for some people, getting a new job during the loan approval process could raise some concern and affect your application....

[from] Amerivision Mortgage Corp 2990 Inland Empire Blvd Ste 120 Ontario, CA 91764 Phone: 909-481-2833 Fax: 909-481-0442

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

Labels: , , , ,

(0) comments links to this post

Joyce Powell could have had some REAL issues 

Now that my Google account provides me access to my blogs, rather than someone else's blog (Go Bears!), I can continue the discussion that I started here.

And, for the record, there are notification requirements for a Notice of Default, which you can find right in the good ol' U.S. Code.

TITLE 12 > CHAPTER 38 > § 3708

§ 3708. Service of notice of default and foreclosure sale


(1) The notice of default and foreclosure sale, together with the designation required by section 3704 of this title, shall be sent by certified or registered mail, postage prepaid and return receipt requested...

So I'm forced to conclude that Joyce Powell got a certified or registered Notice of Default, then got a certified or registered Notice of Sale, and still didn't realize the significance of the documents.

In my Yahoo post, I done said:

[T]he wonderful wonderful mortgage company that held the mortgage (presumably the same Amerivision Mortgage Corporation) sent a Notice of Default, and then sent a Notice of Sale, but never tried to make personal contact with the mortgage holder.

While this may be true, Joyce Powell is probably lucky, since there are some people that specifically contact mortgage holders who are in Notice of Default.

I'll start by quoting the side of these people - the foreclosure specialists. First off, what is a foreclosure specialist?

I have bought and sold real estate for 7 years, often dealing with people in foreclosure who wanted nothing more than some cash to move on with and for me to keep the foreclosure off of their credit report.

(We'll get to a differing view of foreclosure specialists a little later.)

Now this particular foreclosure specialist feels victimized:

I’m so tired of hearing about the big bad investors. Do you people realize that if we weren’t here to stop the foreclosures that your property values would suffer. When the bank takes the property at foreclosure, they usally only bid what is owed on the property, and if that is considerably less than the value, you now have a low comp in your neighborhood.... let that happen a few times and see what happens to your property values.

As an investor who does preforeclosure homes, I have always lived by a mantra that “good things happen to bad people,” however I also know that denial is more than a river in Egypt and that people in foreclosure will deny that they asked for help once thier problem is solved.

For example, I once got a phone call from a woman in foreclosure. When I went to see the house, I found some very obvious sinkhole damage. I told her that I could not buy the house outright because the problem was going to have to be addressed by her insurance company first. I told her that I would pay to reinstate her loan, get her some money, make her payments until her insurance company addressed the problem, and through a power of attorney would see her claim through for her.

I gave the woman $2,500, paid $8,000 to her lender to reinstate her loan, and made the payments on her house for a year, when suddenly her payment increased due to an increase in taxes and insurance, and her lender never notified me and put the house back into foreclosure. The woman called me screaming at me and told me that she spoke to a lawyer and that it was still her house. I explained to her that I was making the payments, and she would hear none of it. She broke into the house, and stole the appliances. While filing a police report, a neighbor came over and told us that it was in fact the former owner who did it. When the police went to her house and explained that she did not own the house, and that she did commit a crime, she called me and was apologetic and told me that she understood that I owned the house and that she was sorry. When the claim finally settled, I sent in a check to her mortgage company to pay off the loan entirely and after 4 months, they still have refused to do it, costing me more money to hire an attorney to fight them. And this “poor” homeowner is nowhere to be found.

Well, while Vanessa Blais may be honest, some foreclosure specialists don't provide their clients with all the facts. In a court case, a plaintiff alleged the following:

On or about December 13, 1978, plaintiff defaulted on a note in the amount of $3,500 secured by a third deed of trust to the subject property. Plaintiff's house was also encumbered by a note dated October 30, 1967, to Farmers Home Insurance secured by a first deed of trust and a note dated June 12, 1969, to Farmers Administration secured by a second deed of trust. The value of the property in June 1982 was approximately $50,000, and plaintiff's equity therein was approximately $45,000.

On or about August 1, 1979, a trust deed sale was scheduled for plaintiff's residence. Immediately thereafter, plaintiff was contacted orally by telephone by defendant Craft. Craft represented to plaintiff that he was a foreclosure specialist, that plaintiff would lose her house in foreclosure without his assistance, that he wanted to help plaintiff keep her house, that he would bring the payments on the notes secured by the third deed of trust current provided plaintiff kept all payments current on the notes secured by the first and second deeds of trust and repaid defendant Craft all sums advanced by him together with interest.

On or about August 17, 1979, defendant Craft arranged at his own expense to have plaintiff flown to the Oakland Airport where plaintiff met Craft and defendant Barton. While at the Oakland Airport, Craft and Barton presented certain written documents to plaintiff for signature. At the time the documents were presented to plaintiff, plaintiff was advised by defendants Craft and Barton that the papers presented to her were a loan agreement under which Craft and Barton agreed to pay off the note secured by a third deed of trust, thereby avoiding a trust deed sale of plaintiff's residence. Defendants further advised plaintiff that she would be able to retain title to {Page 164 Cal.App.3d 802} and possession of her house, that she would be obligated to pay defendants together with interest at such time as she became financially able to do so, that she would continue to make all payments on the note secured by the first and second deeds of trust to the residence, that it was absolutely essential that the loan transaction be consummated immediately, and that there was no time for plaintiff to either read the documents or seek advice of counsel. Plaintiff then signed the documents.

In fact, the documents presented to plaintiff consisted of a grant deed conveying plaintiff's property to defendant Barton, escrow instructions to Founder's Title Company for said conveyance, and a release for Founder's Title Company of Alameda which purported to absolve that company of any liability for that party's failure to notify the Farmers Home Administration of said conveyance. The legal effect of said instruments was to transfer title to the subject premises and all of plaintiff's equity to defendant Craft for a total consideration of approximately $100.

So we have two views of foreclosure specialists. What does the California Department of Real Estate say?

"Foreclosure consultants" or "foreclosure specialists" often contact homeowners who have received a notice of default. They may claim they can prevent the foreclosure, and may even suggest that you transfer title to your home to them. Persons who contact you and claim they can prevent a foreclosure should be questioned carefully to determine how they believe that this can be accomplished.

And the Sheriff of Volusia County, Florida isn't any more complimentary:

Residents facing the threat of losing a home quite often are flooded with overtures from individuals or companies offering to help. Now, there's absolutely nothing wrong with spending money in exchange for a worthwhile service. But in many cases, the services offered to people in foreclosure are nothing more than worthless scams looking to exploit your hardship. Instead of helping, they will only compound your financial problems....

They may promise to take care of your problems by offering to negotiate with your mortgage lender in exchange for a fee. They may offer to obtain refinancing for you. Sometimes they ask you to make your mortgage payments directly to the scam operator. They may even ask you to hand over your property deed and then offer to lease the residence back to you so you can stay in your home.

Any of these pitches should send up warning flags! And here's the reason why: Instead of contacting your lender or refinancing your loan, scam operators will pocket all of the money that you pay to them. They may file a bankruptcy case in your name to give the elusion that they are taking action to clear up your problems. But this is only a temporary device, since bankruptcy doesn't stop foreclosure, but merely puts it on hold. When the scam artist walks away after the filing, the bankruptcy petition will be dismissed and the foreclosure proceeding will continue. If this happens, you could end up losing your home as well as any money paid to the scam operator.

Many companies, some reputable and some not, will offer to negotiate or consolidate your debt to help you out of a mortgage jam. The catch is that you will be asked to pre-pay for these services. The truth is that in many cases, the services don't offer anything that you can't do on your own. And there are many non-profit debt counseling agencies that will provide the same services free of charge.

If you can't pay your mortgage, the best advice is to contact the mortgage lender or a lawyer for help.


Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

(0) comments links to this post

Monday, January 29, 2007

Kiira Korpi search surge 

And it's understandable - she placed third in the 2007 European Figure Skating Championships. But you already knew that.

YouTube video here.

Favorite U.S. president - Third favorite Finnish figure skater

Labels: , ,

(0) comments links to this post

The Caliphate, or why Adam Smith and Karl Marx were wrong 

Followup. A bit more on the political theory of the Caliphate:

Hizb ut-Tahrir says that Muslims should abolish national boundaries within the Islamic world and return to a single Islamic state, known as "the Caliphate," that would stretch from Indonesia to Morocco and contain more than 1.5 billion people.

It's a simple and seductive idea that analysts believe may someday allow the group to rival existing Islamic movements, topple the rulers of Middle Eastern nations, and undermine those seeking to reconcile democracy and Islam and build bridges between East and West....

"The Caliphate is a rallying point between the radicals and the more moderate Islamists," says Stephen Ulph, a senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation. "The idea of a government based on the Caliphate has a historical pedigree and Islamic legitimacy that Western systems of government by their very nature do not have."

But unlike Al Qaeda, Hizb ut-Tahrir believes it can recreate the Caliphate peacefully. Its activists aim to pursuade Muslim political and military leaders that reestablishing the Caliphate is their Islamic duty....

The Caliphate was created after the death of Islam's founder Muhammad in 632 AD. During the following centuries the Caliphate expanded Islam's territories by conquest and treaty to cover most of the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa. As the Ottoman Turks lost ground to the West, they increasingly donned the cloak of the Caliphate. In the 1920s, Muslims throughout the British empire, particularly in India, used the restoration of the Caliphate as an anti-colonial rallying point....

Hizb ut-Tahrir promises that a revived Caliphate will end corruption and bring prosperity...

Here is a description of the Caliphate's solution to poverty:

Lining up patiently together with old ladies, foul mouthed youths and people reeking of alcohol, a highly qualified engineer waits his turn in the queue to collect his 'dole' otherwise known as 'job seekers allowance'. This scene is not uncommon in the Western world where graduates and professionals from all manner of fields find themselves without work and struggling to make ends meet. For some professionals the handout from the dole office every Wednesday morning is what barely keeps them afloat until the next week....

A particular view towards the economic problem has dominated Western economies since the time of the founding father of capitalist economics, previously a Professor at Glasgow University, Adam Smith.

In 1776 (CE) Smith published what became the bible of capitalist economics, 'An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations', it articulated his laissez faire view towards the economic problem.

In essence capitalist economists believe that the economic problem is caused by the unlimited needs of people and the scarcity of resources, this leads to the dilemma of how to bridge the gap between the two - how do people get their needs satisfied? In answer to this question, Smith developed the 'invisible hand theory'. It denotes that if the economy is left to run in a free manner the resources will be distributed fulfilling the needs of society almost in an automatic way.

The basis of the theory is that by focussing on production the gap between the unlimited needs and limited resources is lessened, it is assumed that people will work to achieve their own interests. By working and earning a wage they can in turn purchase the goods and services they require. This has also come be known as 'trickle down economics' where the focus is on increasing the size of the cake, believing that it will somehow trickle down into the bellies of the hungry.

However the theory is not that simplistic, in order to explain the 'invisible hand' the price mechanism is seen as key. It is seen as the incentive for production, the regulator of distribution, and the link between the producer and the consumer i.e. it is the means which achieves a balance between production and consumption.

The price mechanism is cited as the incentive for production because the principal motive for people to undertake any productive effort or sacrifice in view of the capitalist economists is material reward. The Capitalist economists exclude the possibility that man expends effort for a moral or spiritual motive. They consider that man expends his efforts to satisfy his materialistic needs and wishes only....

Western societies have high levels of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) yet still have high levels of poverty as was established earlier. This fact itself disproves the 'invisible hand theory' and the free market as the solution to the economic problem....

An increase in the level of production leads to a rise in the level of the wealth of the country and does not necessarily lead to the complete satisfaction of all the basic needs of each and every individual. A country could be rich in its natural resources, as in the case of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, but the basic needs of most of their citizens are not satisfied completely....

Due to an attitude previously seen in the pre-renaissance bigotry of the Church in repressing the philosophers who questioned the unquestionable, this new clergy of economists today do not question their bible written by Adam Smith. This religious adherence blinds them from admitting the failures of their fundamental philosophy. It is this fact that has led to their failure in dealing with poverty on the streets of Britain and in the West....

[W]elfare legislation and the concept of the welfare state itself were 'ad-ons' to the capitalist economy spurned by a pragmatic approach to stem the tide of Socialism....

Although the cause for poverty in the west is the capitalist economic philosophy, Western economists fail to look at any other alternative apart from Socialism. They only see two paradigms for the economy, Capitalism or Communism. I recall a discussion with my previous economic lecturer where I put forward the ills of Capitalism, after debating the points exhaustively he said, 'Capitalism is the best of the worst'. I then went on to explain the Islamic economic system as an alternative, it became obvious that he had never considered Islam as having any alternative nor had studied it.

Leftist movements, thinkers and writers are increasingly voicing their opinion against the inequalities created by Capitalism. However they too like my economics lecturer cannot see any other alternative and therefore call for the reformation of Capitalism. We need to articulate the Islamic economic system as an alternative to the mass of economic problems that face the world today....

Islam views the economic problem in a radically different way than Capitalism and Socialism. Islam focuses on the distribution of wealth not just the production....

Islam looks at every individual by himself rather than the total of individuals who live in the country. It looks at him as a human being first, who needs to satisfy all of his basic needs completely. Then it looks to him in his capacity as a particular individual, to enable him to satisfy his luxuries as much as possible. The purpose of the economic policy in Islam is not to raise the standard of living in the country without looking to secure the rights of life for every individual completely. Nor is it just to provide the means of satisfaction in the society, leaving people free to take from such means as much as they can, without securing the livelihood right for each individual. Rather, it addresses the basic problems of everyone as human beings, then enabling each individual to raise his standard of living and achieve comfort for himself.

More here.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

(0) comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Faith, or how del.icio.us spreads a story 

One of my co-workers is on MySpace, and while checking out the pages of my co-worker's friends, I ran across this post and tagged it.

Then, someone in my del.icio.us network tagged it also.

Both Ragnell and I quoted from Alicat's quote on this article:

This article helps me be thankful for what I have and reminds me to have faith :)

Faith enough to survive in the ocean for nine months and nine days? Increase my faith! (Luke 17:5)

Here are excerpts from Alicat's post, which she quoted from an article in Variety:

Three Mexican fishermen saw their first land in nearly 10 months today (Tuesday) after drifting across the Pacific Ocean since last October 28. After 13 days aboard a Marshall Islands fishing vessel since their rescue, the Mexican fishermen looked healthy, smiled often and talked about their ordeal in an on-board interview with AFP shortly before they arrived in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands....

Salvador Ordonez, 37, the oldest of the three Mexicans, said they were sleeping on the floor of their boat the afternoon of their rescue. Ordonez said he woke to the sound of a boat engine nearby and tried to wake the others. But after so many days drifting at sea, Lucio Rendon, 27, and Jesus Vidana Lopez, 27, weren't impressed.

"It's just the noise of the wind," they told Ordonez. But a few seconds later they sat up to find Koo's 102, a 72 meter, 1,100 gross ton purse seiner sitting just a few hundred meters away.

The Mexican trio said through an interpreter that they divided their time between reading the Bible and fishing on their epic trip across the Pacific in which two others died earlier this year.

"Two months after we started drifting, the two died," said Ordonez....

"We were lost for nine months and nine days," said Lucio Rendon, 27. Pointing to his Casio wristwatch, Rendon said: "This watch was an incredible thing to have."

At first they thought they would be rescued when they were still only days away from the west coast of Mexico. But they ran out of gas and none of the vessels that they saw in the distance saw them....

The only equipment on board was shark fishing gear, according to Orodonez. But the hooks were too big to catch little fish, so they used wire on the boat to construct smaller hooks to catch fish during the voyage, he said. But it was hardly gourmet eating on the nine month drift.

"We spent most of the time reading the Bible," said Lopez.

"Fishing and praying mostly. God really helped us because we were at sea for so long."

But what really kept them eating was Ordonez, whom the others referred to as "El Gato" (the cat). He would creep along the bottom of the boat and catch birds that landed on the small boat. They would then eat the raw meat.

Also see pictopia.

And, just when you're feeling good about yourself, the world brings you down:

The trio have become instant folk heroes back home but in television and press interviews to mark their arrival in the Marshalls they had to deny that they had in fact been engaged in cocaine trafficking — a common activity along the Mexican coast — and had eaten their two dead colleagues.

As far as I can tell, the allegations were unfounded.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

(0) comments links to this post

Friday, January 19, 2007

Further evidence that we enjoyed more freedom under Gerald Ford than we have before or since 

I never really cared for Norman Lear.

I thought that the characters on his shows were, for the most part, one-dimensional stereotypes representing various positions, rather than living breathing human beings.

But as we get further and further into the twenty-first century, I'm appreciating him more and more.

I've already talked talked (sorry, listening to a new CD) about modern-day attempts to ban the use of the word "nigger." Well, as Evelyn Erives and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Bill Handel reported this morning, there is a concerted effort to ban the use of another word. Let's have Harvey Levin get out of the water and tell us what's going on:

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is demanding an apology from "Grey's Anatomy" star Isaiah Washington for continually making homophobic remarks. In the past four months, Washington has used the offensive term "faggot" twice in reference to co-star T.R. Knight....

In an interview at Monday's Golden Globes, Washington denied using the offensive term by ... using the offensive term. "No, I did not call T.R. a faggot."

And it's not just GLAAD that's complaining:

Katherine Heigl has had more than enough of the F-word (the gay slur), and thinks her co-star Isaiah Washington should quit using it, forever....

Heigl is "not cool" with Washington's hurtful comments.

Well, someone didn't get the message from the political correctness brigade. To wit:

Once upon a time, I worked with a super-liberal group of people, where we regularly debated issues of racial, gender and sexual orientation equality. My first week on staff, I attended a weekend retreat to discuss race as it related to HIV prevention and care.

I was young and naive, but the facilitator opened my eyes to some interesting definitions of racism.

Blacks, Latinos, Asians -- any racial minority living in America -- can't be racist. They can have prejudices, for sure. They can hate other races and discriminate all they want. But they can't be racist, because racism is a construct of power. Those who have power -- white people -- can discriminate in ways minorities cannot. And that makes it racism, which is not simple prejudice.

I also learned that everyone has prejudice. And every white person is racist. Living in our society makes it so. No matter how liberal your thinking is, how open to learning you are, how many black friends you may have -- something deep inside you makes you racist, even if just a little bit.

So, not everyone is racist. But every white person is.

It goes on:

There was another event at that little lefty agency that defines who I am, right now, even more.

One morning I came to work infuriated. The night before, I had watched some 20/20/Primetime Live/Dateline/60 Minutes program. One of the reporters made a statement about gender that perhaps showed some minor insensitivity to sex or sexual orientation issues.

I was 26 and fired up. I marched into my boss's office upon arriving. "You will not believe what I saw last night!" I exclaimed, and told her about the show.

"You know, Brian," she sighed, "I never want to watch TV with you."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because, long ago, I came to the conclusion that if I wanted some peace in my life, if I didn't want to be angry at the world all the time, I just had to let some things go," she said. "When I watch TV or a movie, I concentrate on the moment. I try to be entertained because so much in the rest of our lives is so difficult."

In retrospect, I find that a tremendously valuable lesson.

So true. Look at some of the things that have been lumped under the term Christian persecution:

Recently, a woman in Houston, Texas was ordered by local police to stop handing out gospel tracts to children who knocked on her door during Halloween. Officers informed her that such activity is illegal (not true), and that she would be arrested if she continued. In Madison, Wisconsin, the Freedom from Religion Foundation distributes anti-Christian pamphlets to public school children entitled, "We Can Be Good Without God." The entertainment industry and syndicated media increasingly vilify Christians as sewer rats, vultures, and simple-minded social ingrates. The FBI and the Clinton White House brand fundamentalist Christian groups as hate mongers and potential terrorists. The Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago warns that plans by Southern Baptists to hold a convention in the Windy City next year might foment "hate crimes" against minorities, causing some Christians to fear that speaking openly about their religious beliefs will soon be considered a crime.

Sorry, but this is not persecution. Perhaps these events may be precursors to persecution, but these events in and of themselves are not persecution. Slacktivist put it this way, citing Matthew 5:10-12:

scarcely a day goes by, regardless of whether or not it is "Justice Sunday," in which some group of American Christians does not claim that they are facing "persecution."

They dare to use that word.

This is delusional, pathological. These people are insane. They are my brothers and sisters in Christ -- and the brothers and sisters of those Christians facing actual persecution in the world's forgotten corners -- but they are insane.

When protected, privileged and pampered American Christians claim to be facing persecution they spit on the wounds of their brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world and in history who have known firsthand what religious persecution really is. They mock not only their fellow Christians in this great cloud of witnesses, but also those of other faiths who have suffered or are, now, today, suffering genuine persecution.

Apply this lesson, and extend as necessary.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

(3) comments links to this post

Thursday, January 18, 2007

You say syncretic, I say sincretic, let's call the whole thing off 

From a post dated October 14, 2005, but timely as ever as David Beckham and Victoria Beckham prepare to arrive in El-Lay:

I asserted that pop-Kabbalah is the new Scientology: a pseudo-religion scam designed to suck money out of people, especially famous ones. Gwen argued that pop-Kabbalah wasn’t as bad because it was at least rooted in a legitimate religious tradition. “Oh yeah?” I countered, “then what about Jews for Jesus? That’s rooted in two legitimate religious traditions!”

In other news, one of the evidences that the LDS church is the true church (see 3 Nephi 27:8, [3 Nephi tags] noting that the Mormons aren't the only ones who buttress claims with their own authority) has been added as a comment to my MySpace blog.

But if you REALLY want to see a religious war, look at what happened when Mitch Wagner claimed that the iPhone was NOT the most wonderful device in the universe.

Keep your Treo you wouldn't understand... an I phone is just too easy for you
You're not excited that all the different things (camera, phone, ipod) come in ONE small device now. I guess you're one of those who'll be more excited about news like Britney Spears walking aroudn (sic) without panties. Please quit writing such articles.
I didn't expect a Media 1.0 magazine like InformationWeek to understand the allure of the iPhone, and this article proved my point.
Sounds like you don't have Cingular and can't get out of your contract. Boo Hoo. Go home and watch your B&W 13 inch tv.

The people quoted above are now tearing out their Cisco routers and refusing to stay in Teledex-serviced hotels.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

(0) comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

More on Teledex 

Followup. Here are some other posts about the Teledex iPhone products. This one is from November 2005:

iPhone IP is an SIP-based phone released by Teledex. The company has also released iPhone Hybrid, which is an analog phone that can be converted to IP by means of an upgrade. The phones are meant for the hospitality industry and are similar in looks. Both models have an interactive color touch screen. The phones are expected to hit the market in the second quarter of 2006.

And here's where The Trademark Blog quotes another article and annotates it (annotations in ALL CAPS):

Apple could also claim that Cisco has failed to defend its iPhone trademark....Cisco acquired the iPhone trademark when it bought Infogear in 2000. Since then, other companies, such as Teledex and Orate Telecommunications Services, have shipped products--products that directly compete with the Cisco/Infogear line of phones--bearing the iPhone moniker.


From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

(0) comments links to this post

Monday, January 15, 2007

Glennis Yeager and the Pakistani Condoms 

I searched for this story on the Net before, but couldn't find it, so I guess I'll have to post it myself. These are excerpts from Glennis Yeager, appearing in Chuck Yeager's autobiography. Glennis died a few years after this was written. The following occurred around 1971 in Pakistan.

At a party one night...I was talking to Bob Grant, the head of the population section of our Agency for International Development....I started working four hours a day and ended up working eight to ten hours a day and enjoying every minute of it.

Our job was to help the Pakistanis cut back on their enormous population growth. Birth control was not popular and seldom practiced....As for the condoms Chuck was always laughing about, most of the Pakistani men wanted nothing to do with them....[O]ne of the male secretaries said to me, "The color makes it too embarrasing." I asked what he meant. "To a Moslem," he said, "white is the color of purity." I asked him, "What if they were orange or red or purple? Would that make a difference?" He thought it would. So, we ordered those darn things in every color of the rainbow.

I remember Chuck stopping by one evening when a bunch of us were packing them up for distribution. He said, "What the hell are you guys doin'? Is there a party or something?" He thought they were colored balloons. We distributed orange, green, blue, red, and yellow rubbers by the thousands, and they became popular throughout Pakistan. Orange was the favorite color. We couldn't keep any orange condoms in stock.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

(2) comments links to this post

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ocean Telecom Services - Think different 

Followup to my post on the Ontario Technoblog. I figured that Cisco had a clear case, but I just read a post that caused me to think different (heh):

In order to keep a trademark alive, you have to file a “Declaration of Use” with the US Patent and Trademark office every six years or forfeit the trademark. On 11/16/2005 Cisco missed that deadline, but was granted a six month grace period, which it just barely squeezed through. Unfortunately for Cisco, a “Declaration of Use” requires demonstration of active use, under penalty of perjury. Cisco merely slapped an iPhone sticker onto an existing VoIP handset it was producing , but at the time hadn’t put an actual iPhone product on shelves for a good long while. This jeopardizes the legitimacy of the trademark, and with Ocean Telecom Services LLC — which is thought by most to be a front company for Apple — next in line for the name, it’s looking like anyone’s game at this point.

Also see something in over 1,000 news reports here.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

(0) comments links to this post

I am not trendy, but I learn quickly 

So I'm taking our family's In N Out order this evening, and my Swiss daughter asks for animal fries.

Turns out that animal fries are on In N Out's so-called "secret menu."

But I bet that my Swiss daughter doesn't know about In N Out's secret secret menu. Excerpts:

Vegan Style - 4 leafs of lettuce between 2 leafs of lettuce.

John 3:16 style fries - Fries, no salt.

Mt. Rushmore - 4 fresh whole potatoes, peeled and hand carved to the likenesses of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln, deep-fried to golden brown perfection.

More here.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

(3) comments links to this post

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Tried to write a comment in MySpace, and got an internal server error.

Tried to post something in Blogger, and got an internal server error.

Let's see if third time's a non-charm.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

(0) comments links to this post

Sunday, January 07, 2007

If someone has a solution to this problem, I'm all ears 

A quick overview (thanks to Randy Morin):

Some Dallas-area cheerleaders caused big trouble at their school when risque pictures of them turned up on MySpace.com.

The group of cheerleaders at McKinney North High School was known as the "Fab Five." The girls were "uber cool," according to attorney Harry Jones, who was hired by the school district to launch an investigation.

They were "telling teachers to shut up, using a cell phone in class even after being told not to, cheating on tests, skipping school," Jones said.

The pictures turned up on MySpace.com in September. The girls were drinking in some of them, NBC News' Michelle Kosinski reported. In another picture, girls posed in the cheerleading uniforms in a condom shop....

Jones said they felt they could intimidate and threaten anyone at the school in part because the principal, Linda Theret, was the mother of the squad's co-captain.

In the wake of the investigation, Theret agreed to resign and the Fab Five are now off the cheerleading team.

But it took some time, and a cheerleading coach resignation, to get to that point:

The varsity cheerleading coach and teaching intern at McKinney North High School said she quit because the school would not back her up on discipline she said a small number of team members needed.

Michaela Ward said her cheerleaders had some behavorial problems such as skipping classes, being late to practice and even smarting off to teachers. However, the girls' biggest offense was when they posed for a sexually suggestive photograph while wearing their school uniform inside a Condoms To Go store....

Ward said the girls were suspended for 30 days but that the suspension was overturned, in part, because one of the cheerleaders is the daughter of the McKinney North High School principal.

The girls' suspensions were rolled back to 15 days plus probation....

"Young kids are going to live up to expectations that we set and if our expectations are that low that's how they are going to perform, and that's sad," said Ward.

Despite the outcome of this situation, Ward said the squad is an incredibly talented group with a few members who made stupid choices....

Nearly two dozen parents drafted a letter supporing Ward and said there has been a three-year history of cheerleading sponsors being run-over by the school along with a perpetual cycle of bad behavior by the squad.

So how did the high school district initially respond to Ward's resignation? Blame the messenger:

McKinney Independent School District officials stand by the policies and procedures in place to address discipline issues within the District. The McKinney ISD Board of Trustees, administrators, faculty, and staff take both the disciplinary and appeals process extremely serious, as is evidenced on a daily basis in McKinney schools. In accordance with State law, Board policies FNG (LEGAL) and FNG (LOCAL) require the District provide parents the right to appeal decisions regarding discipline. The fact that discipline may be modified in certain cases is evidence of the fact that the system works and that the District takes the time to consider all of the facts. “Allegations by the former McKinney North High School cheerleading sponsor, Michaela Ward, regarding a lack of administrative support are simply untrue,” said Cody Cunningham, McKinney ISD Assistant to the Superintendent for Communications.

Well, guess what? Eventually the principal and another administrator did resign, the "fab five" are no longer cheerleaders, and McKinney North High School is featured in Newsweek.


More here. And if you're hooked on blog titles, the relevant text from the 1992 presidential debate is here, and a Wikipedia article on "No Pass No Play" (which presumably also affects cheerleaders) is here (not that the fab five were failing - after all, they were cheating, so presumably their grades were good).

From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

(3) comments links to this post

A common misperception 

Reporting on the whole Club Paris thingie, BlogoWogo said the following:

We wish the Club Paris team the best in its obviously doomed hunt for The Replacement, but we're sure they'll quickly discover that no matter how many luxury apartments or exotic sportscars they lavish upon their faux-Hilton, they'll never be able to adequately simulate the lazy-eyed, vacant stare of carefree privilege that only a lifetime as a genuine hotel heiress can provide.

But does this "genuine hotel heiress" actually enjoy "carefree privilege"? Not exactly, as this 2005 article attests:

One reason Kathy Hilton is just thrilled about her daughter Paris’s engagement to Greek billionaire shipping heir Paris Latsis is that she’s hoping the union will solve her husband’s financial woes, sources say. While the tabs typically gush about the elder Hiltons’ “$1 billion fortune,” Kathy and her husband Rick have long scraped by on freebies and a modest trust fund. “The truth is, there are so many Hiltons out there that each one is due only a few million,” a source close to the family says.

As a matter of fact, Paris comes out looking like the class act in the family. At least she earns money:

“Paris is the only one who is actually making her own money”—an estimated $10 million last year, from commercials, her perfume, appearance fees, and share of the earnings from One Night In Paris. While that’s certainly not chump change, in the circle of the absurdly rich it barely registers. “Kathy and Rick are hoping that with Latsis’s money behind them they’ll finally be able to claim their rightful place among the jet set,” says the source. “A few years ago [filmmaker] Jamie Johnson didn’t even consider the daughters rich enough to use in his documentary Born Rich.”

From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

(0) comments links to this post

The Classless Society 

Once upon a time there was a businessman named Fred Khalilian. Unfortunately, his business got into a little bit of trouble.

From the Federal Trade Commission:


Case No. 6:00 -Civ-1057-ORL-19B



LEISURE TIME MARKETING, INC., a Florida Corporation;
DISCOVERY RENTAL, INC., d/b/a Discovery Rentals, Inc., a Florida Corporation;


IT IS...ORDERED that Defendant Fereidoun "Fred" Khalilian, and his officers, agents, directors, employees, salespersons, independent contractors, attorneys, corporations, subsidiaries, affiliates, successors, assigns, and all other persons in active concert or participation with him who receive actual notice of this Final Order by personal service or otherwise, whether acting directly or through any trust, corporation, subsidiary, division or other device, is hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from making expressly or by implication, any false or misleading representation or omission of any material fact in connection with the advertising, marketing, offering for sale or sale of any goods or services, including, but not limited to:

A. Making any misrepresentation that consumers will receive free goods or services;

B. Making any misrepresentation that the price quoted to a consumer in the sales solicitation is the total cost to purchase, receive or use the goods or services; and

C. Failing to disclose in a clear and conspicuous manner the conditions and restrictions to purchase, receive or use the goods or services.

And the Federal Communications Commission also had some words:

Dear Mr. Khalilian:

This is an official CITATION issued pursuant to section
503(b)(5) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the
Communications Act).

It has come to our attention that your company recently sent
an unsolicited advertisement to a telephone facsimile machine
(see attachment). Pursuant to the Telephone Consumer Protection
Act of 1991 (TCPA), and the Commission's rules, it is unlawful to
use a ``telephone facsimile machine, computer, or other device to
send an unsolicited advertisement to a telephone facsimile
machine.'' 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(C); 47 C.F.R. § 64.1200(a)(3).

In addition to the violation identified above, it appears
that your company has also violated the provisions of the TCPA
and the Commission's rules that require any person or entity who
sends a message via a telephone facsimile machine to clearly mark
``in a margin at the top or bottom of each transmitted page of
the message or on the first page of the transmission, the date
and time it is sent and an identification of the business, other
entity, or individual sending the message and the telephone
number of the sending machine or of such business, other entity,
or individual.'' 47 U.S.C. § 227(d)(1)(B); 47 C.F.R. §

Please be advised that subsequent violations of the
Communications Act or of the Commission's rules may result in the
imposition of monetary forfeitures not to exceed $11,000 for each
such violation or each day of a continuing violation. See 47
C.F.R. § 1.80(b)(3).

So, when you're mired in the muck of telemarketing scams and want to get into a more reputable business, what do you do?

Go into business with Paris Hilton and open Club Paris.

Khalilian basically got the right to use Paris' name, then planned a big grand opening at the Orlando club. Unfortunately, Hilton was late to her own club's opening:

The pink carpet was rolled out, the pink spotlights danced through the crisp night air of downtown Orlando, and everything seemed in place for the opening of Paris Hilton's first nightclub. Notably missing: One pink-loving hotel heiress.

Hilton arrived six hours behind schedule — after many guests had left. At least she had an heiress-appropriate excuse handy.

"I was in the Swiss Alps skiing and I got caught at the airport with all the holiday travel so I've been trying to travel for the past 24 hours," a smiling Hilton said after stepping out of a stretch SUV in front of the club shortly after 1 a.m. Friday.

After her friends, shouting "WOOOO," ran out of the nightclub to hug and kiss her in greeting, she apologized for her tardiness. "I'm so sorry I'm late."

A little blip, right? Well, when Club Paris opened a branch in Jacksonville, she didn't even show up at all.

[S]he was a no-show - often - for promised appearances (including opening night in Jacksonville on July 1).

"I was basically sick of hearing 'Where is Paris? Where is Paris?' " Khalilian said Thursday.

So Khalilian ended up trumping Hilton.

January 5, 2007 -- PARIS Hilton no longer has anything to do with the nightclubs named after her in Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla. - but they're still called "Club Paris" after that little city in France. The clubs dropped the ditzy heiress because she ducked out of scheduled promotional appearances, or showed up hours late. "It's all about: How has she screwed up now?" fumed owner Fred Khalilian. Hilton's flack, Elliot Mintz, said, "I'm certainly disappointed to learn of Fred's unfortunate comments."

But Khalilian, realizing that he couldn't do telemarketing to raise money to print new business cards, kept the "Club Paris" name. And he's searching for a new bimbo:

A Nationwide search will soon take place for the next Miss Club Paris USA! Audition dates, times and network to be announced.
After the initial audition, 300 of the most gorgeous, intelligent, and talented women in the nation will then be narrowed down to 36. From those 36 women, the top 18 will be guaranteed a deal for the Miss Club Paris USA calendar.

Out of those fabulous 18, the top 3 will advance as finalists, in hopes of winning the crown of Miss Club Paris USA!

The winner will receive a choice of a Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren or a Ferrari to drive for 12 months as well as a 12 month paid luxury apartment near Club Paris' corporate office, reasonable salary, and all expenses paid including travel and entertainment.

To audition, you must be female, 18-25, and a U.S. resident. Dancing, singing, or other performance talent is not required but is a huge plus! To submit your photo and resume, please visit a Club Paris location on any open night. Please, no phone calls or emails.

For audition information please check the website at www.clubparis.net

The winner will be required to attend all appearances, hosting, promotions, and anything related to marketing, print, etc. Club Paris will become the exclusive manager of Miss Club Paris USA, and anything further will be negotiated between both parties.

We wish you the best of luck, and like Fred says, "That's What's Up!"

Incidentally, I want to thank Jeff Pope for bringing the Club Paris story to my attention on his KGGI broadcast last week. He was riffing on the amount of stuff that Miss Club Paris USA will have to do to replicate Paris Hilton...

From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

(0) comments links to this post

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ceremony (Old Order) 

It was a little after 6:00 in the morning in the Pacific time zone, and the sun had not yet risen as the ceremony commenced. Sure, Brit Hume and his buddies were covering Gerald Ford's flag-draped casket over 2,000 miles away, but Ford is best understood via a ceremony that was not covered by the networks - a ceremony in which I was proud to have participated.

First, I had to clothe myself in the appropriate attire. This particular ceremony did not call for a tuxedo, which would not have been appropriate at all. I specifically donned a San Francisco sweater, symbolizing the western half of our great country, and then I covered that with a leather jacket that was purchased from Target, representing the eastern half of our great country. (Yes, I realize that Minneapolis is on the west bank of the Mississippi. I hope you'll pardon me.)

Then, through a processional that involved many door openings, door closings, and use of a garage door key (not to be confused with the Office of the Keys), I transported the three cans out of my back yard, through the garage, and into my front yard.

One of these cans contained trash. In this ceremony, the trash represented the debris of the sordid portions of the Richard M. Nixon Administration (not to be confused with the non-sordid portions), which was being removed from my premises. Truly, our long household nightmare was over.

The other two cans represented a new beginning that emerged during the Ford Administration. Remember Johnny Horizon? I sure do. In fact, in my younger years, I put a sticker on my bedroom door from Johnny Horizon - "Let's clean up America for our 200th birthday." OK, maybe we didn't complete the task, but the fact that I was carting out recycling cans this morning indicated that we are still trying.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Information on the greatest 20th century U.S. president here)

(0) comments links to this post