This one is just for comedic relief. One of the websites that I regularly read is the Korean Central News Agency, the "news" site of Communist North Korea. This site is hilarious. If you haven't seen it, check it out. You will get some terrific laughs from the utter nonsense spewed forth by the world's most isolated and bizarre Communist nation and it's crazy leader, Kim Jong-Il.
Anyway, as a life-long anti-Communist, I decided to have a little fun, and use their own rediculousness to ridicule them. So, I have set up the "official" blog of the (fictional) Peoples' Free Democratic Republic of Koskovia, the last Communist state left in Europe following the revolutions of 1989.
Koskovia is headed by President of the Republic and Chairman of the Executive Council of the Central Committee of the Congress of Peoples' Deputies, Mladik Vladik. [You may have noticed that Communist leaders past and present LOVE to give themselves as many titles as possible.] Vladik is, therefore, both the head of government (chairman) and head of state (president).
The confusing titles, language, and grammar on the site are intentional, in an effort to make all issues somewhat hard to follow, as is the aim of any Communist "news" agency. [Some grammatic errors are, however, unintentional, but I won't tell you which ones!]
Like some of you, I am a devotè (sp?) of British Comedy, so I have tried to funny in a subtle way. I do not claim to have done a great job at this, as comedy is fairly hard to write. But I will confess that I made myself laugh once or twice, and I hope to do the same for you if you happen to check it out.
I would suggest that, if you decide to check it, you read the "National Profile" section on the right side of the screen first, and then read the entries from the bottom (the earliest) to the top (latest) go get the proper flow.
If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, whatever, please do let me know. Because I have not attempted comedic writing before, I am learning as I go.
Anyway, enjoy! :)
[UPDATE: I have set up a separate blog: Save Radar!]
From The New York Post Online Edition:
December 16, 2005 -- DID Radar magazine's financial backers Mort Zuckerman and Jeffrey Epstein pull the plug on the scrappy mag because of pressure from their ultra-wealthy friends? Media insiders claim the glossy was canned after Radar ignored repeated warnings not to write about their patrons' powerful pals.
Over the last year, our sources claim, both Zuckerman and Epstein were besieged by calls from power players distressed over Radar's snarky coverage of them, including Hollywood's Mike Ovitz, American Media honcho David Pecker and secretive supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle. All three personally lobbied Zuckerman and Epstein to quash salacious stories, insiders claim.
One media source tells us: "Ron Burkle's lawyer, Marty Singer, threatened to sue them. And Burkle, who is a major investor in Barnes & Noble, had one of the biggest magazine distributors in the country call to tell them it wouldn't be in their best interest to write about Burkle after they reported a story about him hosting Michael Jackson at his house. Bill Clinton [a friend of Burkle and also Epstein] also called [Epstein] and demanded they not write about him and Jackson. They still did." Singer confirmed the legal threats against Radar to PAGE SIX and suggested there may be more litigation in the works.
One Radar staffer offered an outrageous conspiracy scenario: "The theory going around is that the Scientologists put the fear of Xenu [an evil space alien in the Scientology creed] into [Zuckerman and Epstein]. Scientologists have been digging into Epstein's and Zuckerman's private lives, and have thick files on both of them. Who knows what's in them?" Earlier this year, Radar published a scathing cover story about Tom Cruise and Scientology. A rep for the Church of Scientology dismissed the account as "a complete fabrication."
One power player who was left off the hook by Radar's shutdown was ICM boss Jeff Berg, who, insiders say, began calling [Zuckerman] after hearing he'd been pegged as the "most ineffective agent in Hollywood" in an upcoming cover story. The story was slated for the upcoming issue, which has been nixed.
A rep for Pecker tells us: "[Radar editor] Maer Roshan's a very talented guy and we wish him luck, but [Pecker] never made any calls about Radar." Ovitz's reps called the allegations "preposterous." Berg denies calling Zuckerman. Reps for Epstein, Zuckerman, Clinton and Burkle didn't return calls.
I am incredibly angry, especially as this comes on the heels of the almost-cancellation of Arrested Development. It seems that America has no use for original voices.
I honestly beleive that the CoS was behind this -- I believe the theory. Fuck you, "Church" of Scientology! You are a bunch of thieves and liars with some good lawyers. I can't wait for you to be publically exposed for hte bunch of fuckheads you are.
I will NEVER go to another Tom Cruise movie, ever.
[You can read about Cruise and Scientology here.]
And Bill Clinton is still a total asshole, but that should be news to no one.
I am sorry to be so emotional. As you know, my Ph.D. dissertation is on Free Speech in Massachusetts, 1920-1960, so for years I have been reading and writing about the myriad violations of free speech during the Cold War. I had hoped that we had moved beyond such times, but I did not take into account the power and influence of the wealthy and the corporations that back them. They are so scared of losing profit, they back down at the slightest hint of trouble. Unique voices are being squashed left and right in this country, especially after 9/11, but not only because of it. Our nation has become an oligarchy of wealth, and — worst of all — most Americans have swallowed their propaganda that we, too, can be one of the rich and famous! We forget, of course, that for there to be a wealthy class, there MUST be a poor class (or a finacially squeezed middle-class).
The corporations, those who run them, and so-called "media moguls" have no interest in free speech, in quality publications, or in anything beyond a bland retelling of the propaganda they spoon-feed us every day -- the tyranny of the "sound bite" and meaningless celebrity gossip. There's nothing wrong with gossip, but publications like RADAR routinely gave the story-behind-the-story, the hidden connections and meanings that gave real depth to an otherwise fluffy story meant to keep us all distracted from the realities of life under an oligarchy that is now bordering on fascism.
I'm so sorry to see you go, RADAR. You WILL be missed, by me and many like me. All the best to your writers and editors – you truly made a difference, however brief.
I am going to continue to update this post, and perhaps make new ones, as I calm down and consider this entire issue. It is an important one to me.
What a dick! I actually liked him, and thought he should win, but for him to turn his back on Rebecca like he did was just awful. What an absolutely jack-ass. He ruined all the goodwill that people had for him. Every interview he gives from now on will ask him how he could be such a dick.
What an asshole. I hope Rebecca gets a better job than having to suck off Donald Trump for a year. I hope Randal is ready for his knee-pad fitting. Remember, Dick: Up, down, repeat, rinse!
No, not "Extra" ... The BBC's "Extras," starring Ricky Gervais of the BBC's "The Office." It was shown on HBO.
I watched all six episodes of "Extras" this weekend (I won't say how!) and it is hands down one of the two funniest shows I have ever watched, bar none. I laughed so hard at the episode in which Kate Winslet guest-starred that I almost passed out. I'm not joking. I literally got light-headed and blurry vision. Kate Winslet describing phone sex to Ricky's moron friend is just killer.
And, before I ever saw the show, I actually won a poster of "Extras" autographed by Ricky Gervais himself, from RaderOnline.com! Isn't that funny?
[The co-champion for comedy in my book is, of course ... yes, you guessed it! Arrested Development.]
I am also confused as to why websites that I visit post videos with the WMP. This is the worst peice of shit I have ever seen. It's slow, the quality is terrible, it freezes. Why bother with it, when anyone in the world can download Apple's QuickTime for a far superior video experience?
Try this: if you use OS X 10.4, or have access to it, run a QuickTime video, and then activate Exposé. The video continues to run flawlessly! I'm sure that WMP doesn't do that!!
And "Windows Media Player"? Can you think of a more bland and uninteresting name than that? Those guys at Micro$oft sure can think up innovative names, can't they! "It's called what it does! Good job!"
I'll be the first to admit that some of Apple's hardware has problems. I had a flawed iBook. But the OS is damn near perfect. Once they release it for use on PCs, Windows will be finished. Hallelujah!
Professor beaten; attackers cite KU creationism class
LAWRENCE - A professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he sent e-mails deriding Christian conservatives was hospitalized Monday after what appeared to be a roadside beating.
University of Kansas religious studies professor Paul Mirecki said that the two men who beat him made references to the class that was to be offered for the first time this spring.
Originally called "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies," the course was canceled last week at Mirecki's request.
The class was added after the Kansas State Board of Education decided to include more criticism of evolution in science standards for elementary and secondary students.
"I didn't know them," Mirecki said of his assailants, "but I'm sure they knew me."
One recent e-mail from Mirecki to members of a student organization referred to religious conservatives as "fundies," and said a course describing intelligent design as mythology would be a "nice slap in their big fat face." Mirecki has apologized for those comments.
Lt. Kari Wempe, a spokeswoman for the Douglas County Sheriff's Department, said a deputy was dispatched to Lawrence Memorial Hospital after receiving a call around 7 a.m. regarding a battery.
She said Mirecki reported he was attacked around 6:40 a.m. in rural Douglas County south of Lawrence. Mirecki told the Lawrence Journal-World that he was driving to breakfast when he noticed the men tailgating him in a pickup truck.
"I just pulled over hoping they would pass, and then they pulled up real close behind," he said. "They got out, and I made the mistake of getting out."
He said the men beat him on the head, shoulders and back with their fists, and possibly a metal object.
Wempe said Mirecki drove himself to the hospital after the attack.
Mirecki told the student newspaper, the University Daily Kansan, that he spent between three and four hours at the hospital. He said his injuries included a broken tooth.
"I'm mostly shaken up, and I got some bruises and sore spots," he told the Lawrence Journal-World.
Wempe said Mirecki described the suspects as two white men between 30 and 40 years of age. One of the men was described as wearing a red, visorlike ball cap and wool gloves. Mirecki said the men left in a large pickup.
Wempe said the department would investigate "every aspect," but couldn't discuss specifics.
Andrew Stangl, president of the Society for Open Minded Atheists and Agnostics at the university, described the attack as "bizarre and terrifying." He said Mirecki, who is the group's faculty adviser, was adamant that the beating was related to the recently canceled course.
"That absolutely shocked me," he said, "because people don't do that in a civilized society."
State Sen. Kay O'Connor, a Mirecki critic, said there is no excuse for someone physically assaulting the professor -- regardless of their politics.
"I have zero tolerance for thugs," she said. "There is never an excuse to behave in such a manner. This was just thugs. They used a flimsy excuse, if they had one, to behave as thugs. They can talk about the ID (intelligent design) course if they want to, but that's not an excuse."
1 English Muffin
Apple Cider Vinegar
Toast the muffin, and put both oil and vinegar on each slice. Add capers to both. Enjoy!
The first bite is a little odd, but you love it! I sure did!
Commentary > The Monitor's View
from the December 02, 2005 editionA culture of bribery in CongressThe Monitor's View
Almost every US lawmaker takes big money aimed at helping private interests win favorable government action. If they stash the cash for themselves, it's illegal. If they use it to get reelected, keep their job, and help the private interests, it's generally legal.
Either way, money still talks in Washington and the legal/illegal distinction gets easily blurred in all the backroom dealings with private interests until, that is, a brazen case of bribery pops up. Then Washington, if it had any sense, might ask if the laws and rules that regulate campaign donations and lobbyist gifts are tough enough or prosecutors are vigilant enough.
Obviously the laws and prosecutors weren't good enough in the case of Randy "Duke" Cunningham. The California Republican congressmen resigned on Monday after admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes - yes, $2.4 million - to help steer Pentagon business toward select defense contractors. (Newspapers, not prosecutors, first exposed Mr. Cunningham's unexplained wealth.)
Strangely, his official crimes were committed openly in Congress as he worked like many lawmakers in pushing through specific benefits for private interests or calling government departments to coerce a decision in favor of a well-funded, private interest. The plea agreement stated he steered spending "to the benefit" of defense contractors who bribed him, and those contracts were not "in the best interests of the country."
Cunningham, who wisely and contritely admitted the wrongdoing, will probably serve years in jail. But the question lingers: How many other members of Congress (or presidents) have collected big money from private interests - either as campaign-related donations or as bribes - and then conducted the people's business in shady ways that also weren't "in the best interests of the country"?
And let's not stop there with the obvious rhetorical questions: Why should large amounts of money, either as bribes or as big campaign funds from businesses and unions, be permitted at all, since in too many cases such hefty chunks of change can easily distort a lawmaker's ability to represent the highest interests of the most people?
The Washington Post reported that Rep. Virgil Goode (R) received more than $80,000 in campaign donations from the employees of MZM - a defense firm that's an alleged co-conspirator in Cunningham's case - and then was the principal sponsor of a measure helping MZM get a contract in his district. He's since offered to refund the money.
Other recent ethics scandals in Washington, almost all involving Republicans, point to weaknesses in current laws and a need for some sort of public campaign financing. They also highlight Congress's inaction toward further campaign-finance reform and ethics watchdogging - an inaction that seems purposeful: "Members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, have used ethics allegations as a political weapon for years," Common Cause stated after Cunningham's guilty plea.
No wonder dictators laugh at US demands for representative democracy. They can easily point to American democracy's big failing: allowing the well-monied to corrupt lawmakers by dictating government actions - either legally or illegally.•