Friday, February 27, 2009

Wall-Mart employee not laid off, kills self

Wal-Mart worker burns self to death in parking lot

(Chicago Tribune) - A 58-year-old Wal-Mart employee who said he "couldn't take it anymore" lit himself on fire outside the Bloomingdale store where he worked late Thursday night and was later pronounced dead at a hospital, authorities said this morning. The Carol Stream man, who worked the overnight shift, was in a parking lot of an adjacent sporting goods store in the west suburban strip mall when he set himself on fire with lighter fluid around 10 p.m., said Randy Sater, a watch commander with the Bloomingdale Police Department. [...] A store manager, who identified himself only as Erwin, had no explanation for the suicide. he said the man had not been laid off. [More...]

You can't put a price on love

But I'll sell you these two kids for $2000.

Woman answers ad for bird by offering kids as payment

(CNN) -- Trading two children for a bird landed three people in jail in Louisiana, authorities say. [...] Greenwell proposed selling two of the couple's children to the Romeros for $2,000, saying that her job as a truck driver made it hard to take care of the children, said Capt. Keith Dupre of the Evangeline Parrish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana. The parties allegedly negotiated a trade involving the two kids, the bird and $175. [More...]

Friday, February 20, 2009

Celsi Dinner 2009

Carl Wolfson waits in the wings

The "Celsi Dinner" is an annual benefit in support for the Multnomah County Democrats which recognizes citizen activist and very active Democrat Dick Celsi as well this year's award recipient in his honor, John Vandermosten.

3rd District Congressman, Earl Blumenauer took the stage of the Melody Ballroom to welcome the roomful of who's whos and who's thats. Reveling in recent Democratic victories, he also spoke of the challenges to come.

Progressive activist/writer Karol Collymore gave a rousing call for Democrats to complete decades of unfinished business.

Former US Senate candidate Steve Novick demonstrated his wonkish wit as he played auctioneer. Offsetting high carbon footprint auction items with large contributions seemed like a good idea. Just what is an endangered species worth to you?

Aside from the live auction, a silent auction was held which included loads of political memorabilia.

Oregon's US Sentors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley addressed the gathering.

State senator Jackie Dingfelder was also recognized with the McCoy Award.

The keynote speech was delivered by KPOJ's Carl Wolfson. On the radio he combines his comedy shtick with his political acumen giving the audience (which reaches far beyond Portland) some of the best progressive talk radio currently on the dial. Tonight though, apart from his mirthful warm-up with but a few familial anecdotes, we saw Carl's serious side and i began to understand the political journey of this comedian. One of the high points of the evening for me was the tale of Rep. Carl Elliott (D-AL), the father of the bookmobile. Unlike so many Dems in the Old South, Elliott was at home in a Democratic party which promoted racial justice.

He was defeated in a 1964 special election required to reduce the size of Alabama's Congressional delegation. He would later cash in his Congressional pension to run for Governor, losing to the wife of George C. Wallace who himself was term-limited. After his defeat, he resumed practicing law and writing and was vindicated only later in life when he became the first recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 1990.

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger was also a featured speaker. For giggles, I'm giving the silver to Steve Novick. But when it comes to comedy gold, the Oscar goes to John Kroger. Who knew the AG could be so funny? But soon enough Kroger got to the serious topic of supporting the Party. It's not only boots on the ground which keeps Oregon blue, it's hands on the wallet.

The Celsi dinner is the most significant fundraiser for the Multnomah County Democrats. Thanks to all who gave their support.

John Vandermosten, House District 50 leader, and one of the founding members of East Suburban Democrats was honored by the Multnomah County Democratic Central Committee with the Dick Celsi award.

"MC" (Carla) Hanson
I got to sit at the "cool kids' table" (at least for local political wonkery) thanks to my friend Stephanie (seated across from me). She's about the sweetest Greek-American (who doesn't eat eggplant) you'll ever want to meet, and one of the most generous folks i know. Efcharisto!

Her hubby Mike shares a passion for political buttons with our keynote speaker. Although seated elsewhere (or perhaps standing?), the Wolf man eventually made his way to ours. I suspect he was trying to trace down the high bidder of some button collections he had his eye on. (ok, i scored one of those myself, but i did give the first bid on it!) I was actually seated next to AG Kroger. I had met him first at the 2008 Rebooting Democracy conference. Except for a few pleasantries, i let him eat. When he wasn't on the stage, he was for the most part on the floor and was one of the more sought out personalities of the evening. He was also pretty successful getting several donors for a new HQ for the MultCo D's. Good work, John! (But the next time i see you, i'd like to bend your ear about these pesky phone solicitations i keep getting. I think it's a credit scam...)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kamberg discovers his Jew-Tile

Question: Would it surprise you to learn that I am 1/8 mighty Choctaw?


I guess Preemptive's Kevin had to come up with some explanation why he intermittently claims to be Jewish presumably in an attempt to lend authority to his auspicious comments when he waxes on Israel or Palestine

Willamette Week
I am an American Jew and I am a long-time harsh critic of Likud and the IDF's strategy with all of Israel's neighbors. I've been called an anti-semite by more Jews than I cared to keep track of for daring to point out the self-evident fact that BOTH sides have very bloody hands.

Blue Oregon
1. Josh Marshall is spot on - the ongoing expansion of Jewish settlements is a core issue that's not going to go away no matter how many Palestinians the IDF kills.
2. Not that it should matter but... I am Jewish.

Oregonian, Mapes Blog
I'm a liberal Jewish American who also gave more financial support to Merkley than to any other candidate (ever, in fact). I have also written copiously and very critically of Israel's recent micro-war against Gaza and against it's race-based policies towards Palestinians in general, both inside and outside of Israel, on my blog.

I just thought it odd since he didn't grow up Jewish and describes himself as "Christian" on his blog Preemptive Karma and "Theist" on Facebook. When i inquired, Kevin got all nasty (probably since he misses posting as navvoter).

But now, woven into an artful narrative is Kevin's story of being an "American Jew."

The Gentile, the Jew and the Astronomer
I've mentioned before that I am Jewish. But it wasn't always so. Which is to say that I didn't know about my Jewish heritage when I was growing up. And since 2009 is also the International Year of Astronomy I thought I'd address my connection to both issues in one post.

I don't remember the exact year but I think it was either 1998 or 1999 when I received a phone call from my mother informing me that she'd just been informed by my maternal grandmother that her mother (my maternal great-grandmother) was a Jew. [Ed. Major snippage of how Great-gramma met Great-grampa...]

So, I am a Jew who once thought he was a Gentile. And as you can see I have the all-important maternal line which is how Jews recon these things.
Posted by Kevin at February 18, 2009 11:10 AM

It was a touching story, especially Gramma Jessie's "psychic breakdown." I cried. I laughed.

Kevin, please don't describe yourself as a "Jewish American" in order to boost your credibility. It's Meshugana.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why media sucks

I like to keep my pulse on what passes for "news" for the masses who even follow the news, so i have bookmarked on my computer and frequently follow the inner links (and often link to its stories from this forum). Sometimes i swear reporters don't watch or read the news.

In the aftermath of the Connecticut chimpanzee attack, this headline on CNN's front page caught my eye:

It was a bit of a bait and switch. This was the actual headline on the target page:

Why the Stamford Chimp Attacked
By Bryan Walsh

I thought we already knew what made the chimp go ape, but i read on for any late breaking details.

"The ferocious attack by a chimpanzee of a woman in Stamford, Conn., on Feb. 16 wasn't a question of if, but when," begins the article.

The 200-lb. chimp named Travis, whose owner, Sandra Herold, 70, raised as part of her own family, had no history of violence — aside from one incident in 2003 when he escaped and stopped traffic in Stamford for hours. But when Charla Nash, 55, a friend of Herold's, came to visit on Monday afternoon, Travis suddenly lashed out at her. The 14-year-old chimpanzee latched onto Nash's face and tore it apart.

Maybe i'm picking nits, but Ms. Nash wasn't dropping in to visit. She was called by the pet's owner because "Travis" had escaped and she was unable to control him by herself. (We also learned later that Travis had been given Xanax, the side effects of which can include "decreased inhibitions, no fear of danger (increased risk taking behavior), rage and hostility.")

Herold had called Nash over to her house to help get Travis back inside after he used a key to free himself from the house. [CNN: Feb. 16]

After delving into the gruesome details, the Time/CNN article by Bryan Walsh gets back to its premise as to why this particular attack occurred.

But even as investigators try to figure out exactly what triggered Travis's attack (he had been suffering from Lyme disease, which in rare cases is linked to psychotic behavior), the reality is that a chimpanzee living among people is simply a ticking time bomb. No matter how many years it has lived peacefully as a pet, a chimpanzee is not a domesticated animal and can snap without warning.

Walsh may in fact be correct in his assertion that every chimpanzee is a "ticking time bomb" but he chose a poor example. Travis didn't "snap" because of his inherently aggressive ape nature. He was schizo and on drugs. I wouldn't be surprised to see the same situation in the greatest of apes given similar circumstances.

I also thought the article's embedded links rather odd and perhaps computer generated:

  • The 14-year-old chimpanzee latched onto Nash's face and tore it apart. (See pictures of animals facing extinction.)
  • "They are not pets. This is tragic, but it's not surprising." (See pictures of animals in space.)
  • "An adult male chimpanzee is a formidable animal. I would not want to be standing next to one." (See pictures of animals with prosthetic limbs.)
  • The former NASCAR driver St. James Davis, who raised a chimpanzee as a pet, was attacked by escaped chimps at an animal sanctuary in 2005; he was left with injuries and disfigurement so severe that doctors kept him in a medically induced coma for three months. (See pictures of the 50th running of the Daytona 500.)
  • In Travis's case, his owner was forced to call 911, then attack and repeatedly stab him — a cherished pet she had reared for years — with a butcher knife in a desperate attempt to save her friend.
See TIME's Pictures of the Week.
See the Cartoons of the Week.

Now this was an example the so-called main stream media simple being sloppy.

When the cartoon below appeared in the New York Post today, we witnessed the Fourth Estate being racist, bordering on sedition.
The Post is owned by Australian born, media oligarch billionaire, Rupert Murdoch.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jobs created and "saved"

Jeff Mapes of the Oregonian zeroes in on some interesting wiggle room in the language being used to measure to success anticipated with the passage of the President's stimulus package.

This just out from the White House: a state-by-state listing of the jobs the Obama administration expects to "create or save" as a result of the $787 billion economic stimulus package. [...] Of course, "created or saved" is kind of a nebulous term. How do you define a "saved" job?

Mapes identifies one reason the debate will never end as to whether the stimulus "worked" or not, as if it existed in a vacuum, and as if the answer were a simple binary "yes" or "no."

Part of the argument is so obvious as to be academic. If Project X doesn't get funded but for the stimulus package and it requires Y number of positions over the course of a year and costs Z dollars, one can rightfully add Y to the total number of jobs created.

Where it gets more abstract is to calculate how many jobs were created (or might well have been cut) on account of the tax cuts. This, if you believe in the trickle down theory that if you give rich people more money, they hire more people, (presumably even more than would be hired spending the money on some infrastructure project).

Slightly less intangible is the real trickle down effect present when the people [Y above] sink their wages back into the economy. How does one calculate the number of jobs created or saved in other sectors (eateries and other merchants) because these road builders, educators, etc have disposable income as opposed to being unemployed.

Fun math. Speaking of which. I am curious how they arrived at the number 44,000 jobs for Oregon, other than simply using a calculator. Which is what I did. 3.5 million total jobs X 1.25%* (Oregon population relative to US proper)

= 43,982 jobs for Oregon

So we know from the get go that depending on what the stimulus is being spent on, Project X costing Z will yield Y jobs (see above). But not every outlay in the stimulus package will be equally effective.

I know that Mapes was asking about a definition, and I swerved into mathematics. But once we get a real breakdown of how much money is going for what in Oregon, we won't even begin to be able to speculate on how many jobs will be created (or saved!)

*I used 2008 population estimates from Wikipedia.

: US + territories

3,954,037 : Puerto Rico

173,456 : Guam

108,448 : US Virgin Islands

84,546 : Northern Marian Is.
Oregon pop.
57,291 : American Samoa
3,790,060 301,608,597
: TOTAL US proper

% Oregon

Monday, February 16, 2009

Phelps walks (swims?) for lack of evidence

I'm assuming said evidence has long since gone up in smoke. Move along! Nothing to see, smell or smoke here...

CNN - Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps will not face criminal charges in connection with a party at which he was photographed using a bong, a South Carolina sheriff said today. "We do not believe we have enough evidence to prosecute anyone" who was at the party, Sheriff Leon Lott said, adding that authorities are ending their investigation into Phelps. full story

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Oregon

Oregon's top pols surround a wax figure of state senate President Peter Courtney and a 400 pound, 7-tier birthday cake in celebration of Oregon's sesquicentennial.

(Photo h/t Jeff Mapes blog)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Judd Gregg Dropss

Praise god and pass the stimulus... the President's Right Wing nominee for Commerce Secretary, Judd Gregg (who once supported abolishing the Department of Commerce) prefers being an obstructionist Senator to serving in the Obama administration. And i couldn't be more pleased.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republican Sen. Judd Gregg withdrew his nomination as President Barack Obama's commerce secretary Thursday, citing "irresolvable conflicts" over the administration's stimulus bill and the upcoming 2010 census.[More...]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'll have what he's having

I think this is hysterical. Whether or not it is ethical is another question, but leave it to the Christian Science Monitor to harsh the buzz.

‘David After Dentist’ is viral video gold, but at what price?
By Andrew Heining, Christian Science Monitor

Could that stack of camcorder videos contain the next YouTube hit waiting to happen?
A few recent clips have raised the question – and eyebrows. Take “David After Dentist.” The video of a 7 year-old reacting to the effects of a dental procedure has been viewed just under 6.5 million times since it was posted a little over a week ago. [More...]

Reincarnation of Bat Boy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Is it "Assassination" if they're out of office?

Call it the first trial of George the II, South Africa temporarily declared war criminal George W. Bush dead. 'Twas not the case though.

BBC - For three seconds ETV News ran a moving banner headline across the screen saying "George Bush is dead".[More...]

Just a case of turn about and fair play and what not...

From the time capsule:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bush kills Mandela

Just when you thought Bush had done everything possible to demonstrate the depths of his stupidity, the Decider held a press conference today and declared that anti-apartheid activist and former South African President Nelson Mandela (who currently lives in Johannesburg) was dead! [More...]

Intimidation is bad karma

When i started this blog it wasn't with the intent on manufacturing a persona or for that matter, being anyone. It simply was to be a forum representing the nexus between my former occupation and my main avocation, language. I have always liked to write. I just hated having to write.

This began as and remains a hobby. A hobby for which i have all too much time since leaving my last paying job. Thom's Word is a pleasant diversion from the battles of the day. (I've been "working" as an activist, ya know.)

There's a difference between being anonymous and writing a pseudonymical blog. That said, the identities behind pseudonyms are can be common knowledge. Some M.bots (e.g. lestatdelc / "Mitch Gore") routinely connect their real name to his nom de keypad.

There was the curious case of Bradley Dunn who in the same cluster of forums morphed his nickname from bradley dunn to bradley to bradleydiscofeet to bdunn (and then complained when people would refer to him as "Brad" or "Bradley"... goofy).

I recall Taoiseach who intended to keep his real ID on the QT but loose lips sank that shit when it turned out that this goto blog for anti-Novick hackery was run by a legislative aide to one of Novick's vocal accusers. Given the paid relationships involved between Tom Powers and Rep. Mitch Greenlick and Kari Chisholm and then Rep. Jeff Merkley (Novick's primary challenger) it was both righteous and newsworthy to expose the troll behind the throne.

Others seem to have interchangeable, known semi-pseudos such as Kevin Kamberg of Preemptive Karma who goes by kevin kamberg, preemptive karma, kevin, karmaman (and some say, when he's sockpuppeting, navvoter).

So when it comes to the "outing" bloggers or commenters or otherwise naming names online, the ethics of the act really depend on who and why. When i connected the dolts between karmaman and navvoter, i found that he was using dual handles to tag team comment, classic sockpuppetry.

Kamberg doesn't use pseudonyms to protect his privacy. Rather, his multiple noms de plume serve to perpetrate a sort of intelectual fraud. Whether he's freeping the results on reddit or klaiming kweer kred, Kamberg is a consumate suck up. Like his patron, Senator Merkley, Kevin betrayed his shallow peace roots with his Blue0 exclusive, A Marching We Will Go..., the heartwarming tale of his first peace demonstration.

He's like a modern day Saint Paul. This self described SDA-raised Christian, is a gentile to Gentiles and jew-ish to Jews. He is also a loathsome putz. No, not because he down-rates and deletes my comments. Not because he (like several other M.bots) refers to me by my real name as opposed to my blogging nic. But what's the point of dragging my family into thier flame wars?

Posted by karmaman on 02/06/09 at 2:01PM
[...] I'm a liberal Jewish American who also gave more financial support to Merkley than to any other candidate (ever, in fact). I have also written copiously and very critically of Israel's recent micro-war against Gaza and against it's race-based policies towards Palestinians in general, both inside and outside of Israel, on my blog.
Posted by EastBankThom on 02/06/09 at 3:30PM
K-man, I thought you were raised Christian? No matter... Have we seen the last of "Navvoter"? His reddit karma just tanked.
Posted by karmaman on 02/08/09 at 12:09PM
I dunno, Hans. Maybe you should ask Rob...

Face it Kev. You're busted (again). I suppose you and yours think it's intimidating. And to a certain degree it is. I'll take what lumps come to me, but Rob's got nothing to do with this.

That is all.

See also: Carla breaks out the claws!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Obama Presser

Merkley: "We're gonna have a dificult couple years" ... "maybe a difficult decade"

Teen terrorist?

CNN asks the bold question:
Teenage terrorist or confused kid?
-- Gitmo's youngest prisoner [More at]

Several facts seem to be in dispute. Here is what is known.

  • Omar Khadr is a Canadian.
  • He had nothing to to do with 9/11.
  • In the Spring of 2002 after having fled the UN invasion to take down the Taliban government, then 15 year old Omar returned to Afghanistan with his father's blessing to work as a translator.
  • In July of 2002, Omar was severely wounded and an American soldier was mortally wounded after a firefight broke out between Omar's employers and US troops.
  • Omar is being held as a war criminal.
  • A month after his 16th birthday, Omar was transferred to Guantanamo where he remains 6 and a half years later.

Turning the corner, an American soldier shot the lone surviving gunman and then spied the young Canadian teenager with his back to the noise, kneeling in pain against a shrub. Raising his rifle, he fired two shots into Omar's back. [More...]

It is quite possible that Omar was a terrorist in training. It's even more probable he was just a pawn. It's certain that the United States looks more like the old Soviet Union with its present gulag in Guantanamo.

A teenage Omar Khadr sobs uncontrollably as Canadian spy agents question him at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in a brief video excerpt released via the internet

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Star Trek

One of the best... episodes... evar!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Going Bale-istic!

Listen to this rant from the former titleholder of Hollywood's "Hottest men under 30."

British born Christian Charles Philip Bale seems a little limited in his English.

I'm beginning to think that his portrayal in American Psycho wasn't so much an exercise in acting as it was selectively edited outtakes. What a f***ing a**hole.