Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I Think That Just About Covers It

Yup, me too.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Never Give a Serial Killer an Even Break

My letter to:

" David is not allowed computer access. If you have questions or comments you may send them here: ."

Who are you? Why are you propping up this human piece of sludge? This dirtbag has committed a mortal sin, over and over again. Mortal Sin = Unforgivable. That's Christian doctrine. Are you also deranged? Oh yeah, you believe in this mythology, or else you exploit it shamelessly, so you are either deranged or a huckster.

How can anyone possibly be forgiven, except by the very people he/she has wronged? The entire concept of 3rd party forgiveness is perverted, even if the 3rd party is the imaginary God you worship. Official site of David Berkowitz A.K.A. Son of Sam

If they don't reply to my hate mail, then I am sure that they're only in it for the money.

The web site resolves to:
Record Type:

IP Address
Qwest Communications Corporation QWEST-INET-10 (NET-65-112-0-0-1) -
RESPONSEMONSTERS, LTD, LLP Q0728-65-118-55-0 (NET-65-118-55-0-1) -

Please join me in writing Quest Communications and reporting this web site as obscene. I do not see anything particularly wrong with naked humans, but this shameless attempt to exploit infamy to sell some piece of shit "I've come to Jesus" novel disgusts me.

I wrote to Investor Communications. That ususally gets the best response.

Here is my letter. Feel free to cut and paste if you feel the same way I do.

To Whom it may Concern:

I would like to formally complain about your customer at: Record Type: IP Address
Qwest Communications Corporation QWEST-INET-10 (NET-65-112-0-0-1) -, LTD, LLP Q0728-65-118-55-0 (NET-65-118-55-0-1) -

This is the "official" web site of David Berkowitz, Son of Sam, and notorious mass murderer. The site is selling a book, highlighting the idea that David has "found Jesus". I find this obscene. I am hoping that, since corporations such as yours pay heed to those that have a problem with the naked human form and human sexuality, you will pay equal attention to this complaint. Anyone who seeks to make a profit by using the notoriety of a serial killer is, in my opinion, perpetrating an obscenity. David is barred from the Internet, as the site admits. He is also barred from making a profit from his crimes. This site is then either illegal, or an exploitative scam.

Thank you for your attention. Please forward this to the appropriate department within your organization.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Skipping School

New post soon. I'm currently dealing with an incredible rash load of shit. I have underestimated stupid people in a small group, and failed to accurately sound the depths of their stupidity. Fool me once....

Meanwhile, anyone care to comment on this?

I don't normally dwell on this kind of "confusion", but the possible directions I could go... just like that old glass onion....

Friday, May 19, 2006

Jesus Christ! Not Again!

I suppose I should have seen this coming when they remade the "Cramityville Hogwash". Somebody just produced (if that's the right word; I would have used "extruded") a remake of (pregnant pause) "The Omen"

"Oh Damian! You're such a little monster! How come you won't just DIE?"

Just another segment in the Neverending Superstitious Godfomercial (r)

The web site actually makes a distinction between US English, and English on the rest of the planet. I guess we deserve it. "Git 'er done!"

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Exam Break

If you have not seen this, enjoy.

SNL: If Al Gore Were President

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies. " - Groucho Marx

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Find the Money! Part 2.

Mary, Mary, Beneficiary, how does your money flow?

I warn the reader that this one is going to be harder to follow than most of my posts. It started with The Far East Broadcasting Company asking me to buy a radio for someone in China so that lucky person could receive FEBC’s Christian godfomercial. This got me to wondering if the principals of FEBC were connected to the for-profit business of making and selling radios. I don’t think I got any takers for my game of “Find the Money”, and I can’t say I blame anyone for not getting involved in this one. My adventure quickly hit some dead ends, and began to resemble a cross between a game of Six Degrees of Separation and Alice Through The Looking Glass.

The first dead-end I struck requires some explanation. Say you own ABC Corporation and you want to outsource your manufacturing to China. You don’t get to construct an ABC Corporation factory in China, instead, you must partner with a Chinese company that will make your stuff and brand it for you. Hopefully, your plans and patents don’t wind up across the street in another factory making knock-offs. In any case, one of your business partners is the People’s Republic of China, and they get a piece. There is nothing particularly wrong with this; in the US, it’s called taxes. It does however make it nearly impossible to know where the financing is coming from. Add to that the notion that private investors like their privacy, and it’s hard to find out anything one way or another.

I kept digging, and I discovered a veritable morass of charitable institutions, not-for-profit organizations, consulting firms, and corporations with all manner of incestuous ties and affiliations. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing particularly wrong with networking, and any system you name will create opportunities for corruption and greed, or at least general inefficiencies. My problem arises from the fact that there is an awful lot of money moving about that is earmarked for developing underdeveloped nations. Some of those entrusted with these development operations have been developing some of these countries for a very long time without a lot of results to show for their efforts. There are many players, and some of them are pouring a token amount of money down a rathole, ensuring a continued supply, while collecting a fine salary for themselves. This removes available funds from those organizations that are supplying real humanitarian aid.

What follows is just one of the threads of my wanderings through the morass. I am not making any judgments about the intentions of these organizations. I am merely illustrating the kind of path this investigation takes amid so many dots that one cannot be sure whether they are connected or merely tangential.

The starting point on the journey was Tecsun, the maker of the hand-cranked radio. I quickly discovered that the same model radios were being rebranded and marketed by Eton Corporation. Excerpt from one of their press releases:

“PALO ALTO, Calif., May 9 /PRNewswire/ -- As a new hurricane season looms, the Eton Corporation today announced it will distribute 2,000 new, self- powered radios to American Red Cross chapters throughout the country.”

Quoting Eton Corporation's Financial Statement and their CEO Esmail Hozour:

In 2005, the Eton Corporation distributed 10,000 self-powered radios in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, providing a free, first-class communications link to thousands without electrical power.

Eton will be distributing 2,000 more American Red Cross branded radios to chapter representatives at their national convention in Washington, DC. These radios will help each local chapter better prepare for emergencies.

"We're delighted to help celebrate this milestone in such a meaningful way," said Hozour. "Every American should take the steps recommended by the Red Cross to get ready now, should disaster strike."

And what are those steps?

The American Red Cross recommendations include:

* Learning about emergency plans in your community, workplace and schools;
* Familiarizing yourself with nearby shelters and evacuation routes;
* Establishing a family meeting place and communication plan; and,
* Assembling an accessible supplies kit containing non-perishable food and water, a flashlight and a hand-crank radio.

Aha! And what brand of hand-crank radio is the Red Cross likely to recommend if not the one that they are using themselves? Now that’s marketing! The next tidbit took me to Helen Keller International.

etón Corporation Donates Radios for use in Rural Mali

Bamako-April 12, 2004: In rural Africa, the sense of hearing can sometimes save the senspe of sight. As international development organizations have learned in recent year, rural radio stations are a highly effective method of raising public health awareness among disadvantaged and often illiterate populations. This March, the etón Corporation reached out to rural citizens of Mali by donating forty radios to be used by women's and students' listening groups. The United Nations consistently ranks Mali as one of the least developed countries in the world, with a literacy rate of only 26%. The government has opened airwaves to community radio stations in recent years, and there are now over a hundred stations working towards increasing Malians' access to quality information.

I then searched HKI’s list of affiliates without finding Eton Corporation. One of the companies that HKI partners with was Chemonics. I selected this company for a look-see for having an obviously ambiguous name. Excerpts from press releases:

In his first official address on March 31 as president and CEO of Chemonics, Richard Dreiman praised the work the company was doing and presented his vision for the future.

... previous CEOs, Ashraf Rizk and Tony Teele,” he said. Teele, who founded Chemonics in 1975, was succeeded by Rizk in 2002.

You'll see why you need this roster in a minute. I then checked out a daughter company to Chemonics, Massar

Established in 1994, Massar is a private consulting firm working to promote sustainable economic development in Palestine.

And, their subsidiary:

AL-AYYAM PRESS AND PUBLISHING COMPANY Incubated by Massar in 1994, Al-Ayyam is now one of two leading Palestinian daily newspapers, providing comprehensive commentary of Palestinian

Between radio stations and newspapers, it surprised me how many organizations were getting into the information business.

The center for Public Integrity had this to say about Chemonics:

“Since it was founded, Chemonics has completed at least 600 projects in 130 countries for USAID.
Ashraf Rizk, who had previously served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Chemonics, replaced Teele as the company's president. Rizk joined Chemonics in 1982 after working as a senior auditor at an Egyptian accounting firm and overseeing CARE programs in Egypt. CARE is one of the world's largest private international humanitarian organizations.

Teele replaced Scott Spangler as chairman of the Board of Directors. Before becoming Chemonics' principal owner in March 1999, Spangler held various leadership positions at USAID. In 1990, the first President Bush appointed Spangler to deputy administrator for USAID operations. In December 1992, he became administrator of USAID, replacing former University of Nebraska President Ronald Roskens. Spangler also used to be an economic advisor to the governments of Ghana and Uganda.

In February 2003, Chemonics awarded Washington D.C.-based lobbying firm U.S. Global Leadership Campaign a $100,000 matching grant. In a press release, Teele, who is on the campaign's Board of Directors, said the grant is to help the Campaign promote public support for U.S. foreign aid. The Campaign has hundreds of members, including Lockheed Martin, Creative Associates International and Halliburton Company.

As of March 31, 2004: After publication, the Center for Public Integrity received and has posted a copy of a task order awarded by USAID to Chemonics International for economic, as well as food security, assessment. The total value of this order is $1,197,524; it is part of a larger indefinite quantity contract Chemonics has with USAID for work in Afghanistan.”

Chemonics International is also a member of The Development Executive Group, that shares business intelligence on development opportunities. If you’re looking to make money on a contract developing somebody else’s Third World country, check it out here.

It seems pretty clear to me that, for a fee, they’re out to help those that are in it for the money.

Small Business Member Benefits Include:

Weekly email listing new projects and procurements (WB, EuropeAid, USAID, DFID, AfDB, ADB, IDB, EBRD, other untied bilaterals)
Reports on each project and procurement including shortlist and contract award information with contacts
Contact information for agency and government officials tied to specific projects
Post online job advertisements for $275 per ad (a savings of $100 per ad)

All this talk about USAID brought me to their web site, and specifically back to Mali. There, on page 5 of the April edition of BAM!, their Mission newsletter, we get back to the subject of hand-cranked radios! This time, the model is from a competitor. It’s the Freeplay Ranger, from Freeplay Energy, Plc. This would explain the healthy self-interest behind Eton’s donation to HKI. They are distributing complimentary product in a competitive market for the purpose of market penetration.

According to Freeplay Energy’s 2004 Financial Statement:

“The restructuring exercise, which began in 2001was completed in 2003 and has delivered satisfying results in this reporting period. The exercise included the closure of our manufacturing operations and the outsourcing of product manufacture to China.”

And that brings us back to The People’s Republic of China as the vendor of wholesale hand-cranked radios. This seems like a lucrative business to be in right now.

I have only these final observations to make about radio as a tool for socio-economic development. Radio is easily controlled and censored by the political powers in a given geographical area. Radio is linear in time, meaning that one can only listen to one broadcast at a time, and only if one is listening at the proper time. A radio of this kind is a one-way communication device. A better use for some of the money might be the distribution of hand-cranked laptops. These could be used in conjunction with the Internet and USB memory sticks to distribute more permanent and of course less controlled information. Too bad that wouldn't sit well with some of the pisspot dictatorships that these humanitarian organizations have to pander to and indirectly bribe to get into these countries in the first place.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Holy Cow! A Freebie!

Once in a while, a confusion of ideas comes along that is so basic and so obvious that the post practically writes itself. According to this NPR story, a Frenchman named Franklin Lufrani is in a battle with Wal-Mart over who owns the rights to the yellow smiley face. Franklin did not invent the smiley, he’s just the first person to think to register it as a trade mark. Here’s where the confusion of ideas comes into play. Quoting the NPR story:

“Wal-Mart will tell you that it has become so common and it is so ubiquitous as to not be protectable. That was one of Wal-Mart’s contentions”


Wal-Mart wants to patent its version.

Here is probably more than you ever wanted to know about that saccharine symbol.

Here are a few working examples of gooooogle ads, should you happen to be a collector.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Have You Seen Any Lupines?

I know, sounds like a set-up for a Monty Python gag, but I'm serious. I am hunting the Wild Blue Lupine in the State of New Hampshire. Last week end, I didn't find any. I did find three Labrador Retrievers and their owners, some fiddlehead ferns, several Dandelions and Violets, and some other tiny wildflowers and two interesting birds that I have yet to look up. I had a great time and got a good bit of exercise. I have a theory as to why I didn't see any Lupines. According to the Connecticut Botanical Society, they like dry, open woods, and clearings, so that was where I was looking. The Department of Natural Resources in Wisconsin shows them growing in full-sun prairie, and a local florist that has lived in NH for seventy-something years says they used to grow by the side of the road. Next week end, I am seeking cleared land that has gone fallow.

Why am I doing this? Because, the Wild Blue Lupine is the only food for the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly that also happens to be the State Butterfly of New Hampshire. They are bright blue, the size of a postage stamp, and only fly about 200 meters from where they hatch out. I want to see one.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

This just in!

This is just too funny not to share. Thanks Lisa, for sending me the link.

If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History