Right Thinking From The Left Coast
You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life - Albert Camus

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Fun At Airports
by Lee

And the glaring incompetence of our airline security staff becomes even more evident.

Federal officials are trying to learn how box cutters made it on board two U.S. Airways planes.

The flight crew of a U.S. Airways Express plane in Boston found one of the box cutters after a flight arrived from Rockland, Maine. There were no passengers aboard.

In Philadelphia, a plane was evacuated after a passenger discovered a box cutter. It was tucked inside a seat-back pouch on a jet that had arrived from Houston and was about 20 minutes away from a scheduled departure for Phoenix. About 80 passengers made a second pass through the airport’s security screening system before boarding another flight

Seriously, is this turning into a fraternity prank now or something?  Our airline security is an utter joke.  The people doing the screening are morons, and there’s not a damn thing anyone is going to do about it.  Because these “security” personnel are now federal employees we can expect them to work with the same efficiency and professionalism that we’ve come to expect from the US Post Office.

Posted by Lee on 10/29/03 at 11:23 AM in War on Terror/Axis of Evil  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Best of Hollywood
by Lee

When I was a senior in high school they made this piece of shit movie.  The other day I saw a trailer for this upcoming piece of shit movie, which is a remake virtually identical to the first except it’s been ghettoized. 

And the doubters say that Hollywood can’t come up with an original idea.

Posted by Lee on 10/29/03 at 03:09 AM in Life & Culture  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Trouble in Gangsta Paradise
by Lee

All is not well for rap asshat and clothing mogul Sean “P Diddy” Combs.

Hip-hop mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs built his fortune with swagger and business savvy. But Tuesday he walked into the Hilton Hotel to answer accusations that his latest venture, the clothing line known as Sean John, relied on Honduran women paid pennies to stitch T-shirts that retail for $40 in SoHo boutiques.

The impeccably attired Combs—wearing a bone-colored suit and open-neck white shirt—says he first heard of the charges while walking the red carpet at the Radio Music Awards in Las Vegas on Monday evening. He hopped a jet to New York and insisted that he would investigate the allegations thoroughly.

“I grew up in a family of working people,” Combs, 33, told a ravening crowd of paparazzi and reporters. “I know what it’s like to struggle day after day in a job to put food on the table.

“I want to make sure that any merchandise that has my name on it is made by workers who are treated well.”

Here’s a little economic fact that most people don’t seem to grasp.  Allow me to provide a little anecdote that can put things into perspective.

Last year I was living in Shanghai, China.  I was being paid $400 a day.  I had people working for me, Chinese employees, who were making $100 a week.  And that was a fucking FORTUNE to them.  Want an example?  One of the people working for me, doing a job that would pay maybe $35,000 here in California, was a doctor.  An actual MD doctor.  She came to work for us because she could make significantly more money doing our shit work for $100 a week than she could being an actual, practicing doctor in China.  (She eventually left us and went back to medicine.  Her parents were ashamed that she had left her prestigious job as a doctor to go and do menial work for a group of lao wei.  She enjoyed the work and the huge pay increase she was receiving, but she left to honor her parents nonetheless.)

So, knowing that, exactly what the hell is wrong with paying someone $5 or $10 a week for making shoes when a doctor is THRILLED to make $100 a week?  If you’re dealing with the range of skills the doctor is exponentially more skilled and educated than the shoemaker.  So, assume a doctor in America is making $150,000 annually, using the Chinese scale we would be paying American shoemakers $15,000 a year or so.  That doesn’t seem all that out of proportion to me, all things considered.

Activists said workers receive $33.15 to $50.18 for a 51-hour workweek, or 65 to 98 cents an hour, higher than Honduras’s prevailing minimum wage of 55 cents an hour but less than what families need to survive.

So, they’re making more than the minimum wage?  I’d be curious to see what a Honduran doctor pulls down in a year.  Perhaps Honduras should raise its minimum wage?  Then they can watch all that sweat shop labor go to Malaysia or China or somewhere else where the workers aren’t paid the princely sun of $50 for a week making shoes.

Posted by Lee on 10/29/03 at 02:43 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Toxic Politics
by Lee

And Howard Dean is right about this issue and how it can affect Bush.

Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean called for a more extensive review of the plan to locate the nation’s nuclear waste dump in Nevada, but stopped short of opposing the Yucca Mountain repository Tuesday.

“We still need some kind of central repository,” Dean said as he arrived in the Las Vegas area for two private fund-raisers.

Dean said the scientific studies that led President Bush to adopt Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham’s recommendation to store nuclear waste in Nevada require scrutiny.

“There has been some suggestion that the science at Yucca may be faulty,” he said. “Before we put it at Yucca it better be reviewed very carefully.”

Dean suggested the process that would have 77,000 tons of nuclear waste stored in tunnels 90 miles from Las Vegas would hurt Bush in next year’s presidential election.

“Nevada will vote Democratic this time simply because George Bush tried to make you into a nuclear waste state,” Dean said.

I’m totally in favor of the Yucca Mountain facility.  We need a central repository for our nuclear waste, because it is significantly unsafe where it is stored now.  It needs to be brought somewhere, and the government has determined that Yucca is the best spot for this material.  Now, there are legitimate areas of concern and debate, but when it all boils down, this shit has to go somewhere.  This isn’t popular in the area, of course, and the Democrats can turn this into a serious election issue for Bush in Nevada. 

It’s crafty for Dean to not come out totally against the site.  If he gets elected he’ll probably end up implementing the plan, so not completely disowning it during the election will leave him some subsequent wiggle room while wooing Nevada voters during the campaign season.

Posted by Lee on 10/29/03 at 02:11 AM in Election 2004  • (3) TrackbacksPermalink

Al On Dean
by Lee

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, which is usually twice a day more than Al Sharpton.  But he’s right about this.

Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton launched a blistering attack on Howard Dean yesterday, accusing his rival of promoting an “anti-black agenda.”

“Howard Dean’s opposition to affirmative action, his current support for the death penalty and historic support of the NRA’s [National Rifle Association’s] agenda amounts to an anti-black agenda that will not sell in communities of color in this country,” Sharpton said in a statement.

He said his comments were in response to a news report yesterday that Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) plans to endorse Dean, the former Vermont governor and presumed front-runner for the 2004 Democratic nomination. Sharpton has had a long-standing rivalry with the congressman’s father, Jesse L. Jackson, who twice ran for president.

“Any so-called African American leader that would endorse Dean despite his anti-black record is mortgaging the future of our struggle for civil rights and social justice,” Sharpton said.

Dean is the darling of the anti-Bush white liberal left.  (Well, Kucinich is more their speed, but he doesn’t have a chance in hell of getting the nomination.) These are issues that will not play well with black voters, who are a huge part of the Democrat voting bloc.  Don’t get me wrong, these blacks aren’t going to vote Republican, but they’re not going to be gung-ho to race out to the polls to vote for Dean.  There’s a reason that Rove wants to face Dean in 2004.  If Dean’s momentum continues he very well may end up the nominee.  Bring it on.

Posted by Lee on 10/29/03 at 02:02 AM in Election 2004  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Surreal McCoy
by Lee

Roy “Limey Fruit” McCoy has decided to respond to this post.  He’s done it on his blog, which has screwed up permalinks, but you can click here and scroll down.

That babe anti-magnet Lee over at mindless-thinking seems to think I am a fascist & xenophobe because I don’t think we should allow East-European & other foreign criminals into our country.

No, stupid.  I call you a fascist and a xenophobe because you are, in fact, a fascist and a xenophobe.

My reference was to his fact spinning blog re gun crime is up in the UK even though we have gun control laws.

Which is an indisputable fact.  Spin it how you like, Roy, but gun crime is up, and it is because of, not despite, your gun control laws.

As some people on his cesspit site pointed out the murder rates are still well down on the US pro rata.

Crime rates in this country have been declining for years, due to increased use of firearms by private citizens and increased rates of incarceration.  Your crimes rates are going up.  Again, spin it how you like, Roy, but facts are facts.

My point is that the gun crime rates are up mainly because of the gang wars conducted by the criminal immigrants.

And my point, you simp, is that our crime statistics also include crime by illegal immigrants and by violent street gangs.  That doesn’t preclude you and the rest of your left-wing, hand-wringing, pacifist ilk from denouncing us as a cesspool of violent crime.  If you’re going to count our gang crime then we get to count yours.

What on earth does the dim tosser find xenophobic about wanting to stop gun toting foreigners from entering your country?

Because you’re dividing your population into an us-versus-them situation, drawn along ethnic lines.  You and your ilk continually accuse the right in this country of doing exactly that with Middle Eastern people, but the difference is that the right in this country has gone (and still goes to) great pains to distinguish between rank and file Arabs and Islamofascist extremists.

And if that’s fascist then I guess we must be a fascist nation ...

No, the UK isn’t a fascist nation, but you are a fascist, xenophobic individual.  The UK, however, is indeed a police state.

… but then it isn’t and that asshole isn’t qualified to make sensible comments on our situation even if he did spend some time over here when he was a kid.

I’ve also spent quite a lot of time there as an adult, not to mention 15 or so other countries around the world.  The fact that your experience in this country has been slim to none doesn’t seem to preclude you from spewing your bile over it every opportunity you get.

Oh, Roy?  Just curious, how many people read your blog these days?  Are you up to double-digits yet?  I’m willing to bet that you’ve gotten more hits from my site today than you have in the past month of regular traffic.

Posted by Lee on 10/29/03 at 12:51 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Pictures of the Baby Elephant
by Lee

As promised, here are pictures of reader Deb and her new baby, Emma.

Posted by Lee on 10/28/03 at 11:45 PM in Etcetera  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Finish That Sentence
by Lee

It’s time for the first installment of a new feature here at Right-Thinking called “Finish That Sentence.” In this initial outing we find a quote from current lame-duck governor Gray Davis, remarking on the southern California wildfires.

“This may be the worst disaster the state has ever faced and is likely to be the costliest...” disaster since my election as governor.

In more relevant news, the incoming governor has visited the scene.

Posted by Lee on 10/28/03 at 04:47 PM in Cullyforneah  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Real McCoy
by Lee

Hey everyone!  It’s been a while. but my favorite limey fruit is back with another insightful critique of yours truly.  Check out the latest ramblings from Roy McCoy, who is responding to this post.  (You’ll have to scroll, he doesn’t have permalinks.)

Michael Moore, American Hero?

Well, not exactly but he is the sand in the underpants of the Bush administration and long may he continue to be so. His latest book, ‘Dude Where’s My Country?’ is one I must read.

That bucket of lard, Lee, over at Wrong-Thinking, explodes (better if he just exploded) into orbit at the mere mention of his name but then he would wouldn’t he, because Moore tells some unpalatable truths about the President he mindlessly reveres. Consider this:

How telling that Roy refers to me as a “fat tub of lard” in a post where he reveres Michael Moore.  I am a former fat tub of lard, whereas Moore is currently an unkempt, slovenly, fat tub of lard.

What kind of democracy allows the monitoring of public library records as part of a crack down on terrorism, but not gun purchase records, lest law-abiding, gun toting Americans feel their liberties have been compromised?

Well gee whiz, Roy.  Let’s take a look at just how wrong you are about this.

Another provision allows access to library records with a judge’s permission to snoop into Americans’ reading habits at libraries. Some senators on the Judiciary Committee say concerns over this have been overblown. The Justice Department has said it has never used its Patriot Act powers to obtain library records, reports the AP. [Emphasis added]

So, not only does the Justice Department need a warrant to look at someone’s library records, it to date has never done so.  Some fascist regime we’ve got here, huh?  And I find this odd coming from someone living in the UK, the modern personification of a democratic police state.  Not only do you not have the right to defend yourself in Britain, but their answer to their skyrocketing crime problem is to place cameras everywhere and film everything everyone does.  (See here and here.)

So, Roy, in answer to your question, it’s a democracy that values liberty, personal privacy, and self defense a hell of a lot more than yours does.

One of the things the dickheads over at Wrong-Thinking keep bringing up is that gun crime is on the increase here in the UK. Yes, it is but who’s causing the crime and who are the victims? Eastern European gangs, criminals from the Balkans and the Caribbean are fighting each other for control of territory and rights to any lucrative crime that’s going. They are killing each other, not normally others outside of their fraternity.

Ah, so the UK’s statistics shouldn’t include these crimes?  By that logic we shouldn’t include in our statistics crimes committed by illegal immigrants or violent street gangs.  By doing so you’d see that average American life is no move violent (or maybe even less so) than average life in the UK.

If the foreigners and others that cause this increase in crime were rooted out and disposed of then our gun crime rate would plummet. That’s another reason to stop them entering our country in the first place AND to ship them out if they transgress. The danger is that we will/have become a magnet for the scum of the earth to come in for easy pickings. If that means hardening up the laws on ‘asylum seekers’ then so be it. On this issue I am NOT a bleeding heart liberal but a realist. It’s got to stop.

Wow, Roy.  Xenophobia and racism.  How very fascist of you.

Posted by Lee on 10/28/03 at 03:48 PM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

The Spark of Fear
by Lee

As you are all undoubtedly aware, Southern California is currently ablaze in a deluge of forest fires.  I don’t believe a cause has been officially determined yet, but it is worth remembering that al Qaeda has threatened in the past to use fires as a method of terrorizing the United States.

The FBI alerted law enforcement agencies last month that an al-Qaeda terrorist now in detention had talked of masterminding a plot to set a series of devastating forest fires around the western United States.

Rose Davis, a spokeswoman for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, told The Associated Press that officials there took note of the warning but didn’t see a need to act further on it.

The contents of the June 25 memo from the FBI’s Denver office were reported Friday by The Arizona Republic. Davis declined to share a copy of the memo and an FBI spokeswoman in Denver didn’t immediately return a telephone call.

The Republic reported that the detainee, who was not identified, said the plan involved three or four people setting wildfires using timed devices in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming that would detonate in forests and grasslands after the operatives had left the country.

Now, do I think that this is definitely terrorism?  No.  It will probably turn out to be set by the type of disaffected loser pyromaniac who usually ends up being responsible for these types of things.  But it cannot be denied that setting fires in this manner is a relatively easy thing to do, and can cause a massive amount of destruction with very little risk.

Why do I bring this up?  Michael Moore was recently on the show The View plugging his new book.  One of the things he mentioned as being part of the outrageous attempts by the Bush administration to keep us all locked in fear of terrorism was an alert put out asking people to keep an eye out for suspicious activities along hiking trails in our national parks.  Now, given the fact that there was a report of a threat of setting fires, and we now see a massive fire, is it really that out of the question to ask people to be a little vigilant while they go hiking?

Posted by Lee on 10/28/03 at 01:08 PM in Michael Mooron  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Selling Our Jobs
by Lee

Orrin Hatch is India’s best friend.

Proposals to allow more high-technology foreign workers into the US are gaining ground in Congress despite assertions by labour and anti-immigrant lobbies that plenty of Americans are available to fill the jobs.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Republican Senator Orin Hatch is pushing a plan to circumvent the 65,000 cap on H-1B temporary worker visas, under which large numbers of Indian and other foreign high-tech workers are employed in the US, by expanding exemptions, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday quoting Senate aides familiar with the talks.

The talks mark for the first time that influential Senators are pressing for a temporary increase in the limit. While it is unclear if the move would succeed, Hatch’s effort paves the way for a full airing of visa-overhaul legislation that has already been introduced and will likely be considered after January, the paper said.

The last-minute effort to modify the visa rules as the Congressional session winds down has been prompted by a growing concern among US multinationals and high-tech companies that the current cap will prevent thousands of expert foreign workers (needed by US business and industry) from entering the US next year.

Okay, let’s recap.  We currently have countless numbers of companies either moving manufacturing operations or outsourcing their support call centers to places like India.  I don’t have a problem with this, it’s inevitable.  But now Hatch wants to permit American companies to fill all our available domestic high-tech jobs with workers from—you guessed it—places like India.  This is insanity. 

If bringing in these foreign workers was going to be a temporary stopgap measur until there were enough domestic workers to meet the demand I really wouldn’t have a problem with it, but you know damn well it isn’t.  If there is a shortage of high-tech workers the companies will be forced to offer more competitive wages to the existing work force.  If the salaries for a given field rise it will provide an incentive for people to go and work in that field.  So, if there is a shortage of high-tech workers, salaries will rise, and students entering college right now will have a strong incentive to study and enter that particular field.  “Well, I was going to major in biology, but salaries for computer programmers have risen 75% in the past three years, so I think I’ll major in computer science.”

I don’t have any problem with immigration or H-1B visa labor.  The tech boom simply never would have happened without the input of Indian and Pakistani programmers and designers.  They’re some of the most brilliant people on the planet, and any company would be better off having them.  That being said, we need to look after our own.  We can’t constantly be turning to the third world to allow companies to get highly skilled workers at cut-rate prices. 

Because that’s what this is all about, my friends.  An Indian computer programmer will come to this country and work for less money than an equally-skilled American programmer, and Hatch is not benefitting anyone by extending the H-1B ceiling.  There is no shortage of high-tech workers, only a shortage of high-tech workers who are willing to work for peanuts.  Hatch should be ashamed for letting this happen.

Posted by Lee on 10/28/03 at 12:34 PM in Politics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Fun With Technology
by Lee

Sorry for the light posting.  For the past two days I’ve been diagnosing why I couldn’t get a PPPoE connection, and I’ve come to the conclusion, after much trial and error, that the ethernet port on my DSL modem is burned out.  I’m getting a new one shipped out to me free of charge, but it won’t be here until Friday.  So, for the next few days, I’m back to Stone Age dial-up technology.

Ugh.  I live in hell.

Posted by Lee on 10/28/03 at 12:51 AM in Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Monday, October 27, 2003

Celebrity Idiots In Action
by Lee

Showing that there are truly no limits to what celebrities think they are able to accomplish, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are going to bring peace to the Middle East.

Bill Clinton failed, Tony Blair drew a blank and Kofi Annan made little progress. But now a team of Hollywood film stars is about to visit the Middle East on a private peace mission, in the belief that their charms will work magic on the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Brad Pitt, his wife, Jennifer Aniston, and Danny DeVito are among the stars who aim to succeed where world statesmen have stumbled.

“The past few years of conflict mean that yet another generation of Israelis and Palestinians will grow up in hatred,” reads a statement from Pitt and Aniston. “We cannot allow that to happen.”

Quite how they intend to stop it is not entirely clear. The logic behind their mission, planned to take place before the end of the year, is not especially sophisticated.

Pitt and Aniston believe that most people in the region want a negotiated settlement with an end to violence, and imagine that by appealing directly to “ordinary folk”, they can bring the warring parties together.

Ordinary folk?  I suppose by ordinary folk they mean the terrorist vermin who raise their children to believe that there is no greater glory than to strap explosives on their bodies and blow themselves in in an Israeli restaurant.  By ordinary folk they must mean the PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and all the other organizations whose collective goal is to drive the Jews into the sea. 

I suppose that with her background as a high-school graduate and sit com star Aniston is confident ignoring the fact that the Palestinians freely admit that they do not want peace.

Fifty-nine percent of Palestinians believe that Hamas and Islamic Jihad should continue their armed struggle against Israel even if Israel leaves all of the West Bank and Gaza, including east Jerusalem, and a Palestinian state is created, a new survey shows.

Similarly, 80% of Palestinians say under those circumstances, the Palestinians should not give up the “right of return.”

Sorry, celebrity dunces, but there never will be peace in the Middle East until one side destroys the other.  Even the awesome power of Danny DeVito will not be able to overcome the hatred of the Palestinians.

Posted by Lee on 10/27/03 at 07:41 PM in Celebrity Idiots  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Flying With Fatties
by Lee

Weird, this was the subject of one of the cases on last night’s episode of The Practice.  A woman has been kicked off an airplane because she was too fat.

An EgyptAir pilot refused to take off because he said one of the plane’s passengers was too fat.

The pilot feared the flight to Dubai would trigger medical problems in the female passenger, whose identity and weight were not disclosed.

The woman’s daughter, who was with her on the plane, demanded a doctor be called in, an airport source said Friday, adding that an airport physician confirmed the woman was in good health and could fly without risk.

The pilot continued to protest, to the rage of many passengers, five of whom canceled their flights.

He was eventually obliged to take off after a three hour delay, the hapless woman still on board.

Now, this is a pretty stupid reason to kick someone off a plane, and this has more to do with the pilot’s personal biases than anything to do with a legitimate medical concern.  But I’m blogging on this because we’re starting to see a lot of complaints because airlines are charging fat people two fares if they can’t fit into a single seat. As a formerly hugely obese person, I fully, totally support the airlines for doing this.  If you are taking up two seats, you need to pay for two seats.  Admittedly the seats are small, and being as big and tall as I am I still have problems sitting in a coach seat.  But the fact remains that if you choose to avail yourself of the services provided by an airline, that does not make the airline liable to account for your obesity.  if you want to be a huge fat person that is your right, but the world does not have to change to accommodate your decision.

Posted by Lee on 10/27/03 at 03:55 PM in Life & Culture  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Profiting from Tragedy
by Lee

Smelling blood in the water, the subhuman trial lawyers decide to take a page out of Michael Moore’s book and capitalize off the misery of a tragic accident.

A Staten Island woman says she was traumatized by the deadly Staten Island Ferry accident - and wants the city to pay $200 million to make it better.

Lawyers for Ivette Jones, 42, said they will file a federal lawsuit against the city today, saying she was “thrown about . . . and trapped” inside the ferry when it slammed into a Staten Island pier Oct. 15.

The lawsuit also names Richard Smith, the assistant captain who was at the controls when the boat went off course, and Michael Gansas, the ferry’s captain, who has refused to speak with probers.

Jones said she has a sore back and is emotionally distraught after the accident. The massive damages she is asking dwarf those sought by other victims, including a woman who lost both legs in the tragedy, in which 10 people died.

That victim, Debra Castro, 39, filed a notice of claim saying she intended to seek $120 million in damages.

Jones’ legal papers, which her lawyers provided to The Post, claim she suffered “severe and permanent personal injuries,” including “emotional distress.”

“I don’t sleep. I don’t sleep at all,” Jones said.

Take some Tylenol PM, you disgusting, pathetic waste of human life.  If the tragedy had to happen, it’s a shame this woman didn’t die in it.

Reason #24,620,172 why we need tort reform in this country.  Now.

Posted by Lee on 10/27/03 at 03:47 PM in Decline of Western Civilization  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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