Friday, April 25, 2003

News Item from Thursday:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Illegal immigrants could be held indefinitely without bond if their cases present national security concerns, under a decision by Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Well, as we all know, these sorts of rules are always applied fairly to everyone and are never abused by overzealous law-enforcement officials. God bless Ashcroft and his refusal to tell Congress or the press why the DOJ currently has still dozens, if not hundreds in the cooler who have not seen a judge since Fall of 2001. What, exactly, is the DOJ doing with them? And why has it taken two years? For a gov't that takes pot shots at other countriies for making off with people in the dead of night for them never to return, we're starting to do some odd things.

link here and here and here and for a timeline, click here

Just last week here at ASU. we had our own excitement.

From the Arizona Republic: Agents from a federal task force raided the homes of Muslim student leaders at Arizona State University early this week, searching for weapons and seizing computers and disks.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Oh.... shit.

Deputy Director General Li Gun, Pyongyang's representative to the talks, made a "blatant and bold" announcement that his country had nuclear weapons, and asked U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs James Kelly, "What are you going to do about it?" a source told CNN.

read the article here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

this is worth checking out.
He came to drop bombs.
Last night I came home to a powerful stink. Mel had dropped the P-Bomb in my office. The stench was unbearable, and I now I need to clean the carpets in a way they've never been cleaned before. Ahhhh... pet ownership. I will say, 3 years of partying down and this is the first serious accident.

The Mad Bomber himself.

Because of the location of the poo, I kind of believe that this was an act of revenge. I was gone all weekend, I left him with strange people, and then I didn't even have the courtesy to stay home with him for a day or two. We have many rooms in our home, and many less conspicuous places. I mean, how else is he going to voice his displeasure? I just hope this is an isolated incident.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Modern Angst:

The ATM machine ate my card. I have only $31.00 to last me from now until I can figure out how to deal with this debacle. I feel adrift.
How drunk was this guy?

and, oh yeah...

Go Spurs!

and sometimes you wish your birthday were just around the corner again...
There's an 80's nostalgia craze going on in the comic book world right now. Browsing Comics Infinity, I came across this little number. He-Man, Thundercats, GI Joe and Transformers have all seen life breathed back into long dormant franchises. But all of these things already had a certain appeal to comicfandom, lame as they all kind of are. Well, Transformers aren't lame. But He-Man, that idea only ever appealed to the skinny kids who thought D&D was too complicated.
And I remember playing with My Little Pony as a kid. Actually, I don't, because My Little Pony went beyond feminine and cutesy and all the things that make little boys wretch, and surely my brother would have kicked my ass if he's seen me even eyeing these little atrocities.
My Little Pony looked like food and wasn't, which was always the greatest crime of all (not that I ever choked on a My Little Pony trying to see if it had a creamy inside...). These things were maybe $0.15 worth of plasticized rubber and some leftover Barbie Hair, and had amazing adventures that included eating grass and pooping with impunity in a wild array of rainbow colors. I guess when you're all pastel and have names like Applesunshine and Flowernose, it's hard to reenact the classic struggle of good vs. evil (let this be a lesson to the UN Security Council). Maybe I lacked imagination, but between my eternal lust for the GI Joe Aircraft carrier and my unfulfilled desire to own my own Megatron, the appeal was lost on me.
Anyway, I guess I see what they're going for with the nostalgia thing, but. I mean, really... even assuming that comic fans have girlfriends who they might buy this for is a bit of a stretch...

Monday, April 21, 2003

Watched a good chunk of the Ten Commandments on ABC tonight. Think of what his politics what you will, I love me some Cheston.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Jesus H. Christ.

Not able to avoid certain disaster, I had tickets to fly on American Airlines to Lawton, Oklahoma over the weekend. As the big airlines suffer and continue to point to peoples fears over terrorism and war, etc... as anxieties leading to their financial ruin, I suggest this is only partially true. The truth is that the economy slowed for reasons having more to do with a sudden realization that the internet is just a computerized catalog. So people have lost their jobs, and those who did work really couldn't afford to go off and travel as much anymore. And jobless people tend not to WANT to travel as much. At least not by plane. Hence, a lighter lode on the air-o-planes.
But all that aside, I try not to fly because the airline industry is a monopolistic behemoth which charges you hundreds for worse service than one gets for a buck on public transportation.

On my way to Lawton, America on Thursday, upon my arrival in Dallas (my connecting city) that I was being bumped and could either take a voucher and travel on the morning or get bumped and take no voucher and travel in the morning if I did not volunteer to give up my seat. Keep in mind, I bought my tickets around December 12th for this weekend's voyage.
"Why am I bumped?" "The plane is too heavy." "Are you saying I can't fly because I'm fat?" "No sir. The plane is too heavy." "You mean you overbooked." "No, we don't do that. The plane is too heavy." "But isn't the plane engineered to hold as much weight as there are seats?" "I wouldn't know." "So it's overbooked." "No sir, we don't do that."

When I asked why I was bumped over others, I was told that I had bought "restricted tickets." "I don't remember buying restricted tickets," I replied. "What is a restricted ticket?" "It's restricted." "But what are the restrictions?" "It's a restricted ticket. It means you get bumped." "But how did these people choose NOT to travel with restricted tickets?" "They didn't buy restricted tickets." "Neither did I." "You did, sir." And so it went.

So I went to my wife and told her our situation, and immediately she lost her mind. "But," I said, "we can stay in a free hotel, and fly out first thing tomorrow." "No," I was told.

So I went back to the desk. "No," I said. I had already been marked as a volunteer for even CONSIDERING this course of action. We were bumped already.
Anyway, we told them "we're renting a car and driving." "We will not pay for a car." "How about a refund on the ticket we can't use?" "We can't do that. We can put you in a hotel." "That makes no sense." "You can talk to our agent at the ticket sales" (which, if you've gone through DFW, one would know, was literally miles away from the A Terminal Annex). "I want a refund." "You can't. You bought a restricted ticket." "I don't understand." "You're making money. This voucher is worth more than your ticket." "Yes," I did not say, "But i will never fly your fucking ludicrous airline again even if it's with the promise of a floorshow and free booze."

So we drove some insane miles to Lawton from Dallas. We had a nice weekend and returned to Phoenix. Of course I now have no idea where my checked bag is.

"Was it on the plane?" "I don't know." "Did it get on the plane in lawton." "I don't know that, sir." "Nobody scans the luggage before it gets on the plane or when it gets off?" "No sir." "So you have no idea where it is?" "No, sir."

I have heard economists on the radio talk about how American and the other failing airlines cannot compete with the likes of SOuthwest, but that there is an inherent goodness to American because of the class of service one provides. To this I say: horseshit. The airlines have always bilked those of us relegated to the cattle car cabins, and we've always taken it, so enamored with the rapidity of transport. Do these economists actually ever ride in coach? Do they not see the thin line between this and a cross-town bus?

And at all this, their management, whose idea of an improvement is forcing the captive audience to watch Everybody Loves Raymond, has now cut deals where flight attendants, baggage handlers, mechanics and pilots will all be losing huge portions of their pay. Well done, American Airlines. And I want my damn bag back, and it better have everything in it, or I'm claiming the world's craziest insurance bonanza you've ever seen.