Miz Shoes

This That and Another Thing

Allie asked, why not go to another pharmacy?

Because, Allie, this is America. In America, we don't have socialized medicine because the brainwashed, the brain dead and the pharmaceutical companies have decided that would be one step away from communism and that would be bad. One of the few worthwhile benefits of working at this hospital is that, although the pharmacy doesn't take insurance, employees can purchase meds at 10% above cost, or $1.85, which ever is cheaper. I can't use my insurance to buy my parents drugs: that would be fraud. It would also be about $10. a prescription. If they buy them themselves (and at 85, they have Medicare, which does NOT cover drugs...) some of my mother's meds would cost over $300 a month. By suffering the insufferable Mr. Pimple, I can save about two hundred dollars a month for them.
On another front, my office is about to move again. We will be sharing space with another team, unrelated to the work my team does. They have a manager who is one of the most toxic individuals it has ever been my misfortune to meet. In this, he is typical of the average employee at this institution.

Six months ago, when the move was announced, my manager took us to look at the office space, and we all picked out our rooms, ordered furniture and waited for the painting, carpeting and furniture. I was going to get a private office for the first time in about seven years.

A month ago, it was announced that this other group would be sharing space. Fine. Two weeks ago, we went down and reorganized ourselves. The furniture that had been ordered was for certain rooms and configurations, but we were able to sort it out and make it work. The Toxic Manager complained that if my manager had one of the two rooms with a window, then he had to have the other one. Although, when asked, he insisted that it had nothing to do with square footage, or a case of "if he has it, I need it too." There was no other reason offered, except that it was his wish. Period.

My two co-workers who had been assigned that windowed room were switched to my office, and I was sent down the hall to a small, but still private, office.

Toxic Manager had a shit fit. If my manager had people in private rooms, then HE had to have people in private rooms. I was thrown out of my office, and my other co-worker, the Boy Wonder, was moved from his private office to another private office. I was told I'd have to share space with one of the Toxic Manager's people. I said that I didn't care to do that, I as rely quite heavily on my team, and need to work with them. Toxic Manager told me that what I wanted was irrelevant. HIS person was going to get the single.

I offered still another floor plan. I said what if the two huge manager's offices get configured to each hold two employees (the way we had it originally) and the other two big offices get two employees, and the two smaller singles become the managers' offices and the little bitty, odd-shaped room becomes the conference room? That way both managers get a single, and none of their employees do. Each manager has four employees in two large offices. Everybody has the same square footage.

Toxic Manager refused to give up his window. The director refused to listen to this crap and said: here's the deal. Each manager has a window. One manager can have two private offices and the stupid crap room that is going to seat two people, even though the space is so small that you can't push the chair away from the desk, you have to slide in from the side. The other manager will have the two two-person spaces. Toxic Manager, you liked that decision, so the other manager gets first choice.

My team. Except Boy Wonder insists on having his own space. Big Man insists that he's too big to share any space with anybody, and he already lost his window, so therefore, if Boy Wonder gets a private office, he gets the other. That means I will be sitting in a space so small that I won't be able to turn around at my desk: literally.

Boy Wonder and Big Man are no longer speaking. I have lost any hope of a private office. In one afternoon, the Toxic Manager has managed to take a well-oiled team, one which truly had an esprit de corps, and turned it into a feuding, toxic pile of crap, just like his own "team."

And we will all have to share space. Toxic Manager is known to snipe, and make snide comments and belittle and badger. And we, having stood up to his bullying, will now be the focus of his bile. Toxic Manager is a bully. He is loud and he is abusive. And so, he gets his way. Because even the directors above him don't want to stop him or even confront him.

One afternoon. That was all it took to make my work place go from a respite from the back-stabbing snakepit that is this institution, to more of the same. One afternoon and one toxic bully.
Miz Shoes

FTAA Redux

There's a story in the paper this morning about the various groups that are planning to sue the Miami police over civil rights violations during the FTAA.

I'd like to refresh everyone's memories, if I might, about what a true violation of civil rights by military or civilian forces looks like.

Kent State victim, 1971

or maybe


That, my friends, is silencing dissent.

When you take to the streets to protest, you must understand the covenant that you are undertaking. Yes, it is your right to go in the streets, but it is the right of the government to keep you from rioting. In Kent State, the National Guard fired live rounds. In Miami, there was bruising from rubber bullets.

According to the protesters themselves, they were wearing black masks. You cannot wear a mask in a mob protest rally and expect there to be no repercussions. Think for a minute, son. If the police were in riot gear (which they were), masked and anonymous (which they were) would you feel safe, or like this was a confrontation doomed to end badly? Well, those guys behind the shields felt exactly the same about you. Masked, anonymous, and clearly up to mischief.

While I'm on the subject of rights, I'd like to revisit the Constitution of the United States. I've been reading it, and reading it, and I have yet to find the right to not be offended. In fact, as best as I can tell, that whole first amendment thing is pretty much the right TO BE offended. As in, I don't like what you say, I don't like what you stand for, but under the laws of this country, you can say and think pretty damn near anything you want, and it is everyone else's obligation to ignore you or agree as they see fit.

This is how that works, for those of you new to the whole concept: I say, for example that I think George W. Bush has the intellect of a shoe. You are free to agree, or to disagree. If you agree, you keep reading my blog. If you disagree, you send me e-mail calling me names. Or if you are the FBI, you open my dissident folder and start keeping track of all the times I say Dubya is a self-serving moron. Either way, though, I have the right to my opinion.

You do not have the right to silence my opinion because it offends you. I'm offended by plenty of stuff, as readers of my blog are well aware. Occasionally, I let the offender know that I am offended. But usually, I just bitch about it here, to my own amusement, and presumably, yours.

That's the bottom line of the first amendment, you see: Everyone has the right to their opinion, and the right to express that opinion. Nobody has the right to prevent you from expressing your opinion.

In theory, at any rate. I can ban your comments, because this is my private, personal press, and I don't have to let you blither if I don't want to. The Miami Herald can choose not to print some lunatic's single-brain-celled screed about making English the exclusive and mandatory language for all visitors to this community. Not because they wish to silence a dissenting opinion (that multi culturalism is bad), but because such letters are usually written in crayon and with no sense of grammar or literary elan. You can find me such a bleeding heart liberal pinko retard that you develop a tic every time you read me, and so choose not to read this blog, or even block it from your personal computer.

The one thing an individual in this republic cannot do, is prevent another individual's voice from being heard. Otherwise, believe me, I would prevent Rush Limbaugh from ever being heard on the radio again. It is not my job, nor my right, to silence him.

The only way offensive viewpoints can be made to disappear is to not listen to them. If everyone would quit buying Madonna's albums, eventually she would have to stop making them. Look at how well that worked in the case of her remake of "Swept Away." It stunk. Nobody went to the movies to see it. It never even made it to video. Now she's having a hard time getting roles.

Censorship doesn't work. Ignoring what offends you works better.
Miz Shoes

Anarchy is Stupid

Damn, I hate these idiots running around my city. Carpet baggers. They claim to be anarchists, and yet they rely on the electronic media to advertise their protests and demands. Here's a little something to chew on: true anarchy would destroy the electric grid, bring down all media, stop running water and sewers, and leave us little better than cave dwellers (not that there's anything wrong with that).

True anarchy would allow the police you taunt to shoot you and damn the consequences, of which there would be none. Well, you may argue, they wouldn't be policemen. And you'd be right. They'd just be pissed off people with automatic weapons and riot gear. Sort of like the knights of old, in their armor, smacking the crap out of the little people wearing rags.

Here's another something to chew on, other than your grainy tofu from your community kitchens: if the average household income in a third-world nation is about five bucks a year, and a 10-year old, who has no chance of going to a non-existant school anyway, is making about 50 cents a week sewing Nike sneakers rather than being a child sex worker, what's the problem? You don't want to support sweat shops in Asia? Fine. Don't buy the products.

You need more? Here's more: You cannot have it both ways. You cannot pay $30 an hour to an American laborer who belongs to a union, and expect to pay bottom dollar for the product he makes. If you pay minimum wage, you can sell for minimum dollar. If you pay through the nose for your workers, their health care, their education benefits, their retirement benefits, and their union organization, then profit must be made somewhere along the line.

Finally, if you want to make changes in the world, don't go out in the streets with banners and jollies that look like a day at Fantasy Fest. Take a lesson from the French students of the 60s, and look like a fucking angry mob of serious people. Or, and here's a real hard thing to swallow: grow up and create change from within.

Vote in every election from Dog Catcher to President. Do volunteer work in your own back yards. Get jobs, and make policies that benefit everyone. You want to live on a commune? Move to Israel and live on a kibbutz. That'll let you get your fill of both politics and socialism.

But, please, take your idealized views of anarchy and get the fuck out of Miami. Thanks. Have a nice day.
Clark blasts the poseur in chief

Wesley Clark says Bush "pranced around in a flight suit" with no long-term strategy for Iraq -- and as U.S. soldiers die daily, there's still no plan.

Nov. 4, 2003 | Since the end of major combat operations, more than 2,000 U.S. soldiers have been injured or wounded in that conflict [in Iraq]. I've been through Walter Reed. I've seen missing limbs; I've looked into mothers' eyes. I've seen it all before. This is where I came in on the picture, in Vietnam. In the case of Iraq, it's a long record of tragedy, deception, miscalculation, misdirection by an administration that had in its heart an intent to go after Saddam Hussein before they ever came to office.

It's an administration that was warned that the greatest threat to American security was not Saddam Hussein, or North Korea, or Iran, but was instead Osama bin Laden. An administration that's ducked its responsibility for the events of 9/11.

Harry Truman said: When you're commander in chief, the buck stops here. What we have today is an administration that likes to take credit, but it won't take responsibility. We all saw our president when he landed on the deck of that aircraft carrier.

Now wait a minute. Now wait a minute. That was a pretty good-looking flight suit, you got to admit. But the thing is, a lot of brave Americans have worn and fought and some of them died in that flight suit. And he landed on the deck of that carrier, and now we found out this week that the banner behind him that said "Mission Accomplished" -- he didn't have anything to do with it: It was just his White House advance team that prepared it, while it was the sailors that really wanted it there. Next thing you know, we're gonna hear him say the sailors told him to prance around in a flight suit.

The serious issue, though, is this: When you're the commander in chief, your most important responsibility next to upholding the Constitution is safeguarding America. When you're the commander in chief, or a commander in any military operation, and it goes right or wrong, you have an obligation to do an after-action review. We did it as captains, lieutenant colonels, colonels, and generals. You do it with the commander and his staff. You ask: What happened? Why did it happen? And how can we do better next time? That's your responsibility as a commander. I don't know why our president can't do it for the tragic events of 9/11.

Instead he's ducking and bobbing and weaving, and denying the commission that's requesting those documents -- the very documents that are essential to conduct the review -- that he apparently won't conduct and lead himself.

Mr. President, the American people are asking: Turn over those documents! Explain to us how it is that 3,000 Americans and citizens of 80 other countries were attacked in our land on 9/11. What did your administration know? When did you know it? And what were your actions to protect us and to preclude it from happening? And don't be leaking documents blaming it on junior FBI and intelligence officers. Harry Truman said, "The buck stops here." He meant on the president's desk, the president's desk.

And we went from 9/11 to Iraq. We went to Iraq in secret. We, the American people, weren't told that a decision was being made in the days right after 9/11 to attack Iraq -- it took Bob Woodward to tell us that in his book. He was given access to 18 pages of top-secret classified National Security Council documents, I guess, and Iraq figured prominently.

An American journalist heard Don Rumsfield talking on 9/11, that very day, saying: I wonder if we can use this to attack Saddam Hussein? And my military friends told me within 10 or 12 days after 9/11, they said: Sir, we're going after Saddam Hussein whether he did 9/11 or not. Because this administration, they don't know how to fight the war on terrorism -- they just want to take down states.

We were treated to bait-and-switch. The American people were told that we would get Osama bin Laden, dead or alive. We attacked Afghanistan, all right, and in the middle of it Gen. Tommy Franks was busy preparing war plans in secret to go after Iraq -- which had no connection -- at least none that's been established so far.

We didn't finish the job in Afghanistan. Instead, we plotted, planned, maneuvered, implied somehow, that Saddam had nuclear weapons, or was about to have them, remember? Vice President Cheney was certain. Condoleezza Rice said, "You can't ask for the smoking gun. It might be a mushroom cloud." Remember?

And there was always that implication that it was Osama bin Laden there with Saddam, and that by attacking Saddam we were going to get Osama bin Laden. I would say it was a case of, at best, misleading. I mean, if I were an American consumer and bought something on grounds like that, I'd be calling the Better Business Bureau and seeking a good lawyer.

And they took us to war without an adequate plan, without adequate forces. The troops did a great job. They forced their way into Baghdad, they took down the statue of Saddam Hussein. The resistance has continued, it's intensified, it's gotten worse. Jerry Bremer was appointed over there, admitted he didn't have an idea, nobody else did, what they were doing. And today, on a day in which 15 more Americans were killed, in a tragic escalation of the war, there's still no success strategy, there's no plan, there's no leadership to assure our soldiers, and their families, of the rightness of our cause, or of the fact that what we're doing makes strategic sense in terms of American interests.

Where's the leadership? Where's the accountability? And when courageous Americans come forward and try to speak up, to challenge the administration and hold them accountable for the mess, what happens? They're told that to ask questions -- well, that might mean giving aid and comfort to the enemy! Since when, in a democracy, is it unpatriotic to ask questions about your country's policy? That's what I served 34 years in uniform to protect!

Well, there are places in America where people did stand up and did speak out, and one of those is in San Francisco. And it wasn't unpatriotic. And I commend you for it, and I thank you for it.

But you know, this administration's failure of leadership -- it isn't just limited to Iraq. It's here at home, as well. For three years in America, incomes have dropped; the number of uninsured has risen; and we've accumulated the worst budget deficit in American history. Three million private-sector jobs lost, the worst job-creation record in 70 years. Unemployment is up from 4 percent to 6 percent. An additional 1.7 million Americans sinking into poverty last year, 700,000 of them children.

This administration wants to take credit because last quarter the GDP rose at an annual rate of 7 percent, as Americans cashed in their savings, through refinancing, to buy school clothes for their children, and spent the few meager dollars that middle Americans, ordinary people, got off the tax cut? Come on. To this administration: Stop taking credit and start taking responsibility, that's what I'm looking for!

I'm running because I've watched for three years as this administration has undermined the values that have made our nation great. And all the while they've wrapped themselves in patriotism and the American flag! Or at least, that's what they've tried to do. I've seen them taking pictures at every opportunity with our soldiers in the background. But you know what they've really wrapped themselves in is nothing more than radical, right-wing ideology. And they've tried to wrap our country in it as well, but we're not going to let them!

This is an administration that's put ideology above all -- and especially in its agenda for our courts and the Constitution. The consequences for our rights and freedoms are profound, and I need your help to bring change to the leadership and direction for our country.

I started at the beginning ... about the foreign policy. The domestic record is about the same. If you remember, in 2000, Mr. Bush didn't run as a right-wing ideologue, he was the opposite. He talked about the "soft bigotry of low expectations." He promised to "leave no child behind." To a lot of Americans, he must have sounded moderate, reasonable and fair. They voted for him. Of course, as you know, he lost. But that's a matter for another speech.

And after the election, Mr. Bush began to show his colors. First he nominated John Ashcroft to be attorney general. OK, you're the lawyers, I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think John Ashcroft is much of an attorney and I know he's not a general! And he's certainly not a moderate.

And Mr. Bush chipped away at reproductive rights, rolled back environmental laws, started rolling back workers' safety laws. But I don't think it was until the PATRIOT Act came out that we realized just how far from the mainstream Mr. Bush and his administration were attempting to stray. Because it wasn't until we saw the PATRIOT Act and how it was implemented that we realized how little respect they have for our civil rights and civil liberties.

Of course, the act was jammed through Congress in a matter of weeks; it wasn't carefully drafted; it wasn't debated fully; it was passed in the heat of the moment, in the dark of the night. And there are a lot of provisions in it that should deeply concern Americans.

More fundamentally, last month a Justice Department report was released that indicated that the attorney general not only has used the PATRIOT Act, but he hasn't exactly explained to us how he's used the PATRIOT Act yet. But he has admitted that he's expanded the reach, using it to prosecute crimes that have nothing to do with terrorism themselves: drug crimes, blackmail, child pornography, white-collar crimes, and more.

It's become, instead of an act to remedy and prevent 9/11, it seems to have become an act of convenience, not an act of patriotism. In two years, the act has grown tentacles. And they have a long, long reach. But John Ashcroft is not through there, he wants to expand it and have PATRIOT Act II.

I think it's time to say: Stop, stop, Mr. Ashcroft! Lay it on the table! Let's see what you did with the PATRIOT Act! Take it to the Congress, let us see every single incident in which you invoked the PATRIOT Act. What did you use it for? Why did you use it? Why couldn't you have used another provision? Why couldn't you have gone to a judge to get a warrant for wiretapping instead of going on in secret? Why do you need access to those library records -- have you ever gotten access to them?

We should lay it all out! If there are pieces that can be justified, OK, we'll consider it. But let's lay it out, and let's have it fully accountable, and in the meantime let's suspend the provisions that allow the searches and seizures without subpoenas and warrants, let's suspend them right now, and go back to real justice.

I believe law enforcement needs all the tools necessary to deal with the problems of terrorism. But I don't believe you can win a war on terror if you give up the essence of who we are as Americans. So let's lay it out. Let's lay it out through Congress, full legislative review, show us the pluses and minuses.

When I was a kid growing up in Arkansas ... we had something we called the bookmobile. Maybe you remember it -- they used to drive it around to schools. It had important documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. And they'd say: OK, kids, you're going to get 10 minutes off ? the bookmobile is outside. No test in math today. Go out and walk through the bookmobile and look at the replica of the Constitution of the United States.

And you'd goof off for a few minutes. It was more fun than a fire drill, after all.

We need to take the results of the review of the PATRIOT Act to the American people in a bookmobile -- around to a hundred thousand towns and cities and communities across America. We need to ask Americans to think again, what is it that this country stands for? How much is it right to give up in order to secure the protection that we need to thwart terrorism? Because this is a matter for the people to decide. It's our Constitution, not John Ashcroft's.

Now we're hearing about this PROTECT Act. It's another in a long list of ironically named acts from this administration. I love these labels. According to a memo released this month, the last one by John Ashcroft: What the PROTECT Act does is forbids prosecutors from agreeing to downward departures for federal sentencing guidelines except in rare circumstances. And when a judge orders a downward departure after a prosecutor objects, then the prosecutor reports the judge to the Department of Justice.

Now, what exactly does this mean in practice? For prosecutors it means the prospect of a growing backlog of cases as plea-bargains are more rare before judges. It means the possibility, as Sen. Kennedy put it, of winding up on a DOJ blacklist.

And what does it mean for Americans? That's what we need to be asking -- because it's a real blow at separation of powers. It's a real blow at what America stands for.

I don't want you to think I'm too partisan on this. Let me quote what Chief Justice Rehnquist said about Ashcroft's attempts to collect information on judges who downwardly depart. He said, "It could amount to an unwarranted and ill-considered effort to intimidate the individual judges in the performance of their judicial duties."

I concur. And I don't agree that often with Republican judges.

And I don't want this Bush administration trying to tell judges how to do their jobs. He's appointing, or trying to appoint people, to positions on the bench who aren't qualified to be there. I believe in having people on the bench who are fair and impartial. That's a sound expectation of the American people. It's the foundation of our legal system. But apparently Mr. Bush has a different vision of our courts. And he's pursued a campaign to appoint a series of right-wing ideologues in the same way he's pursued an ideological and unilateral foreign policy.

One of his first acts was to terminate the role of the American Bar Association in evaluating his nominees. That's a practice that's been used since President Eisenhower, and every single Republican and Democratic president, until this one, has continued that tradition.

Mr. Bush has repeatedly refused to confer with Democratic senators on judicial nominees for federal vacancies. So much for that claim of bipartisan tone and bringing people together.

I mean he doesn't focus on qualifications; he focuses on ideology. And the amazing thing is, he seems to make no secret of it. He said that Justice Thomas and Justice Scalia were his mold for picking judges. But in this country our rights and liberties are protected in the United States Constitution.

Frankly, I think it's outrageous that Mr. Bush appoints people based not only on their allegiance to the document, but on their willingness to impose a personal ideology. A personal ideology designed to roll back established constitutional rights. And it amazes me that some in that other party had the audacity to criticize Democrats for appointing judges that are "judicial activists" while they pat themselves on the back for appointing "strict constructionists." I think all of us know that while Mr. Bush's nominees are guilty of a lot of things, strict construction is not one of them.

The problem is, it's not just that his nominees are conservative. It's that they're ready and willing to overlook the law, in order to achieve an ideologically driven result of the law.

Just look at Justice Brown, his recent nominee for the 9th Circuit. The California State Bar evaluation committee actually rated her "not qualified." The State Supreme Court noted that she was prone to insert her personal conservative views into her appellate opinions and was insensitive to established precedent.

She's taken strong stances against reproductive rights, affirmative action, worker protection -- contrary to precedent. She's spoken favorably about the Lochner decision. She's called the Supreme Court's decisions in the 1930s to uphold the New Deal legislation, "the triumph of our socialist revolution." I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb to say that in America I think we can do better.

I think we need justices who respect the law. Who are fair and impartial. Who look at the case. Weigh the evidence. Consider the precedents. And work through the established legal method of discovering the law in the solution to the immediate problems at hand.

But I don't think that's quite what's going on. Instead what I see is more of an effort to transform the court systems starting at the ground floor. Bringing in people of particular viewpoints at the trial and appellate courts. Three years into his administration [unintelligible] by judges who dominate a particular point of view. And if he has an opportunity to fill all the vacancies, then every single circuit, including the 2nd and 9th, will be dominated by Republican judges. He's appointed a total of 167, including 29 circuit judges, in just three years.

I spent my time in the United States Army nonpartisan. I believed you work with the commander in chief for the good of the American people and you followed the law. I don't support partisan agendas over what's good for this country. And I'm speaking here on these matters today because I'm concerned about what's good for the country. We need judges with a judicial temperament, not representing a hard-line ideology.

While it's true that Democrats did filibuster Judge Pickering this week, there's a lot of [unintelligible] in Washington, but that's part of this democratic process. When I taught political philosophy at West Point, I went back and talked about the Federalist Papers, the basis for the Constitution, and I remember teaching Federalist 51 -- you remember it too. They said it this way, "If men were angels there would be no need for government. But as they are not, let interest counteract interest, and ambition counteract ambition."

So, it's the best form of government yet developed by the mind of man, and sometimes it does look difficult. Well, when we hear about the four filibuster cases, just remember, that during the Clinton administration, 20 percent of the judicial nominees during those eight years never even received a confirmation vote. They often languished for years beforehand as Republicans used every procedural trick in the book to hold up their appointments. I remember what happened [to] Judge Richard Paez and to Marsha Berzon, now serving on the 9th Circuit: Judge Paez more than two years, Judge Berzon more than three years, in waiting.

And I don't have to tell you how high the stakes are, because if you look at all these Supreme Court decisions, as you must, look at how many of them have been decided by a 5-to-4 vote. And if you think that doesn't matter so much, talk to my friend Al Gore.

So I'm very concerned about this election in 2004. I'm concerned not only because we have an administration that seeks credit but won't take responsibility in its foreign policy. It doesn't really have domestic policy, just domestic politics. But also an administration that, if it is returned to office, is likely to profoundly change the substance of American law. The issues are profound: separation of church and state, the right of privacy, reproductive rights, all those will be at issue during the next four years.

That's what's at stake in this election. It's clear, because you can look at what Mr. Bush has already been attempting to do to the legal system. That's why I'm asking for your support here today.

I've got a different view of the Constitution and our courts than George W. Bush. I've lived under it in the United States Armed Forces. I studied it, supported it, was judged by it, and believe in it. I believe in giving our prosecutors the discretion they need to do their jobs; appointing judges with diverse backgrounds who are fair, independent and committed to law over ideology; treating those judges with respect, letting them do their jobs free from surveillance and intimidation. And most importantly, I believe in upholding the Constitution of the United States all the time, not just when it's convenient.

I've traveled around the United States for the past six weeks talking about jobs, and healthcare, and foreign policy, especially Iraq. And I'm concerned. I'm concerned because this country is in difficulties that it hasn't been in for a long, long time. I'm concerned because in a democracy, if you want to keep it, you have to fight to preserve it. It's a gift, but it's a gift that has to be renewed by the commitment, the interest, the courage of every member of the elected. If it's neglected, it will transform itself into something else. We've seen it. It's the record of history. We're the greatest democracy, but we're not the first.

So I'm concerned. That's why I'm asking for your vote.

Justice Kennedy wrote in the Supreme Court's long-awaited opinion in Lawrence v. Texas that as the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for a greater freedom.

What I want to do as president is provide the leadership to help this country move forward to find our greater freedom. And if you feel the same way, and if you share this vision, I hope you'll join with me so we can get this country off the right-wing path it's on and on to the right path for all Americans.
Miz Shoes

Code Orange

Last night's episode of "Whoopi" just cracked me up. I'm probably the only person in America watching and laughing (except for my darling husband, who laughs at some of the same things I do). But laughing I am. Last night skewered our nation's new color coded warning system for terrorist dangers. They had a code orange, which meant that unattended packages in the lobby required blowing up by the NYC bomb squad. On yellow days, unattended packages are safe.

Maybe I wouldn't have found it quite so humorous if Miami wasn't under an Orange Alert this week. You might think that the front page of our local rag newspaper would feature this notice. You might also think the world is flat. You would be wrong on both counts.

Yesterday, the story was buried somewhere in the newly graphically destroyed redesigned paper in a sidebar on an inner page in the local section under a headline that read (and I am NOT making this up) Miami Under False Code Orange Alert. The story went on to say that the Feds thought we should be under an Orange Alert due to super secret de-coded messages that threatened a terrorist attack on the city. The local FBI thought that the messages were bogus. So they split the difference by issuing the alert and telling everyone "Never mind" like some kind of spy network Emily Litella.

Today, the story made it to an actual body copy story. Same thing. National says that the threats were very specific: day, date and city, but they refuse to actually name names. Or date dates, as the case may be. Just a generic sort of "some time this week" in Miami. Or not.

It's not like I work in a tall building in the county hospital (the designated treatment center in case of a mass casualty event) in the direct flight path of the air port, or anything. I'm not nervous. I'm barely cautious. But every time one of the choppers comes in to the Trauma Center, or a plane comes in for a landing, or even when the MetroRail glides into the station at the foot of this building, my stomach clenches.

This is just great. I have a light in my car that doesn't designate any particular problem, it just lights up when you need to take the car to the mechanic. I call it the random anxiety generator light.

I feel like the FBI has put a random anxiety generator light on the entire city of Miami. Or maybe the FBI is being run by Jewish grandmothers. "I don't want you should worry, but..."

To quote the ever eloquent Jodi, "feh."
Miz Shoes

Political One-Liners

Back in the day, in my other life, when I was married to a criminal defense attorney (aka: The Anti-Christ) there was a great one-liner that went like this:

Want to hear a lawyer joke?

Ed Meese (Ronald Reagan's Attorney General, for those of you who slept through American History)

So in that same spirit, I present this little collection for you today. Especially today.

"Finally, a candidate who can explain the Bush administration's positions on civil liberties in the original German." -- Bill Maher, on Schwarzenegger running for Governor.

"President Bush is supporting Arnold but a lot of Republicans are not, because he is actually quite liberal. Karl Rove said if his father wasn't a Nazi, he wouldn't have any credibility with conservatives at all." Bill Maher

"They're saying Arnold will get 95% of the vote. At least according to his brother, Jeb Schwarzenegger." Craig Kilborn

"President Bush has been silent on Schwarzenegger. Of course, he can't pronounce Schwarzenegger." David Letterman

"Here's how bad California looks to the rest of the country. People in Florida are laughing at us." Jay Leno

"Well, we're all excited because President Bush has started his 35-day vacation. He's down there in Crawford, Texas and on the first day of his vacation he went fishing. He didn't find any fish but he believes they're there and that his intelligence is accurate." David Letterman

"The United States is putting together a Constitution now for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It's served us well for 200 years, and we don't appear to be using it anymore, so what the hell?" Jay Leno

"President Bush held his first full press conference in over five months this week. He announced that the war on terrorism is continuing, much, much more work needs to be done on the economy, and Saddam Hussein has not yet been captured. And then he said, 'I'm going on vacation for a month.'" Jay Leno

"President Bush is leaving to go to Crawford, Texas, for a 35-day working vacation. This should go over big with all the people taking a can't-get-work vacation." David Letterman

"The White House says that the vacation in Texas will give President Bush the chance to unwind. My question is, when does the guy wind?" David Letterman

"President Bush's economic team is now on their jobs and growth bus tour all across America. I think the only job they created so far is for the guy driving the bus." Jay Leno

"President Bush has refused to declassify portions of the congressional 9/11 reports about the Saudis, because he says it will help the enemy. Not Al Qaeda, the Democrats." Jay Leno

Miz Shoes

Skewing the Data

I am probably one of the only people you'll ever meet who loves to be surveyed. I'm always screaming when I see poll results: "Who ARE these people? Why didn't anyone ask ME what I think?" Well, darlings, last night was a dream come true for me. The phone rang while I was prepping for dinner. (No, not dressing, chopping and dicing and prepping to cook) It was a survey about my bank.

The voice on the other end sounded plump, cute and all of eighteen. I envisioned a college student working for her tuition, as opposed to just putting up a webcam and taking money from perverts. Not that there's anything wrong with that. And, let's be honest here, something I would have entertained as a viable means of income during my college days. It would have come under Fields' First Law: It is immoral to allow a sucker to keep his money. But I digress. The truth is more likely she was some 89 year old grandmother in a cheap mobile home doing this to keep from eating cat food. But to me, she sounded like a sweet young thing (hereinafter referred to as SYT) and I immediately decided to help her earn her keep for the night.

The survey was all about my new MINI credit card: the kind you're supposed to snap on your keychain and use for everything. I did snap it on my keychain. And I am using it. The SYT asked me if I was using it. I said yes. She asked why. I told her because it's cute.

She asked if I found it convenient. I told her yes, especially when going to concerts, because post 9-11, regular purses are frowned upon, if not downright disallowed in concert venues. I have taken to carrying one of these (except in a lovely green wool plaid, not logo. NEVER logo). And I asked the SYT if she was familiar with the product. Then I launched into a whole detailed explanation of the purselet, the contents of it when I go to a concert and why it is just the best thing in the world. I could hear the SYT's fingers just flying on her keyboard. That made me so happy.

Then the SYT asked me if I wanted to be entered in a drawing to maybe possibly win money. Well, who says no to money? Not me. I said sure. She asked me for an e-mail address. I gave her my webmistress address and encouraged her to visit Girlyshoes. "You can even sign my guestmap!" I was just as cute and chirpy as she was.

But then, the phone visit was over, and she had to go back to cold calling and getting hung up on and I had to finish my chicken stew.
Miz Shoes

Panhandling for Fun and Profit

This should probably go to the rants section of my site, and not linger here in the blog world, but you know, it's on my mind now.

What happened to car washes and bake sales and even those horrible candy sales and wrapping paper sales as a means of teaching children to work for their money?

Back in my day, which was, granted, somewhere along the year God invented dirt, if the school band needed money to go to a marching band competition (and lord knows, THAT wasn't very likely in my high school), all the band members got together with the sponsor/teacher and went to a gas station and held a car wash. The cute girls stood on the side of the road in their bikinis, holding hand made signs offering to wash your car for a buck or five.

There were plenty of dusty cars, and much more splashing and bonding and general horsing around and everyone had a great time and money was made. Earned.

Maybe the band mothers baked brownies and cookies and you held a bake sale on the school grounds or out side of the local grocery store.

In any event, the students did something to earn the money they were asking for. But no more. If I see one more group of kids standing in the middle of traffic, under the watchful eye of their personal Fagen, holding out a cup asking for spare change, I am going to just lose it.

I've already started offending little Boy Scouts when they hold their little mitts out at the grocery store and ask for change. (Not even the decency to sell yummy cookies like the Girl Scouts.) I'll squat down to get eye to eye with them, and then I'll tell them, that , no, they won't be getting change from me because the Boy Scouts of America don't allow little gay Boy Scouts and that kind of prejudice is unacceptable to me and my money. And the adult in charge just looks daggers at me and has to explain.

But this begging thing has gone too far. It was one thing when it was a bunch of hunky firemen holding out a big rubber boot. Gimmicky, clever and infrequent. But the weekly barrage of begging children, asking for money for new soccer balls, or uniforms, or what ever is just too much. And half of these aren't even school sponsored, they are community-based leagues.

Well correct my crabby ass if I'm wrong, but if Mommy and Daddy are putting their kids into an after school sports league, isn't it their responsiblity to buy the freaking soccer balls?

And what about standing in the middle of US-1? What responsible adult thinks sticking teenagers and even younger kids in a busy 6-lane intersection is a good idea? With their hands out, asking for spare change.

I say no. Even the bums under the bridges offer to wipe a filthy rag across my windshield in exchange for a quarter. You want to teach kids the value of money? Make them work for it, not beg for it.
Miz Shoes

National Security Precludes Photos

So there I am, Friday afternoon. I'm leaving the office and I think I look pretty sharp: wearing a silk dress, matte gold sandals and carrying my briefcase. I walk up to the turnstile at the train station and I see that one of the three 'stiles is wrapped in yellow and black police tape. It is clearly out of order. But the spider web of yellow tape is interesting to me, so I slip my pass into the slot, enter the station through another turnstile and then turn my trusty Nikon to the yellow web.

HOLD IT! You can't take pictures here. Put the camera away.

You gotta be kidding me. I look up to see the elite Wackenhut guard looking at me. He repeats his orders. There is no photography allowed on the trains, the Metromovers, the platforms or the stations.

I ask since when? And he gives me a look of pity, as though I am the simplest of the simple and smirks, "Since (and then there is a long pause, as he cannot recall the exact date of what he is about to cite) since 2001, when they had the September Nine One One terrorism."

And taking a photo of a broken turnstile is a security risk? I'M a security risk? Is this a new law, part of the Patriot Act? I ask him.

And he says, that no, it isn't a LAW, it's a POLICY.

Well, fair enough, I say. Where is it posted? Or printed? Or publicly noticed?

And that's when he threatened to call the Metro Dade Police to "explain it" to me better.

Gentle readers, you know me. A challenge like that? To call in the police to do what, arrest me? For violating a policy? I checked my watch. Too late, the husband is already on his way to pick me up from the station and I really don't want to get into it with him: No, honey, don't pick me up at the train, come and spring me from the slammer, I was taking photos of broken turnstiles and it turned into a dangerous breach of national security.

So I let the snaggle toothed Good Ole Boy win that round. But I'm still steamed.
Miz Shoes

Received via E-Mail

I received this joke today, and it isn't funny, it is sad. So sad, that I thought about putting it up on my political blog. Then I decided that this is not political in nature, merely a take on corporate stupidity. That fits here. So without further ado, I present to you The Joke:

An American automobile company and a Japanese auto company decided to have a competitive boat race on the Detroit River. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance. On the big day, they were as ready as they could be.

The Japanese team won by a mile.

Afterwards, the American team became discouraged by the loss and their morale sagged. Corporate management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A Continuous Measurable Improvement Team of "Executives" was set up to investigate the problem and to recommend appropriate corrective action.

Their conclusion: The problem was that the Japanese team had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, whereas the American team had 1 person rowing and 8 people steering. The American Corporate Steering Committee immediately hired a consulting firm to do a study on the management structure.

After some time and billions of dollars, the consulting firm concluded that "too many people were steering and not enough rowing." To prevent losing to the Japanese again next year, the management structure was changed to "4 Steering Managers, 3 Area Steering Managers, and 1 Staff Steering Manager" and a new performance system for the person rowing the boat to give more incentive to work harder and become a six sigma performer. "We must give him empowerment and enrichment." That ought to do it.

The next year the Japanese team won by two miles.

The American Corporation laid off the rower for poor performance, sold all of the paddles, cancelled all capital investments for new equipment, halted development of a new canoe, awarded high performance awards to the consulting firm, and distributed the money saved as bonuses to the senior executives.
Miz Shoes

Hypocrisy At Its Finest

Last week I received 189 e-mails from concerned citizens. They were concerned about a story that was in the national news, and my hospital's web address and e-mail were aired on national right-wing, conservative and Christian radio stations. There was a young woman about to receive a court-sanctioned abortion at this institution and these people were most concerned with the fetus's right to life.

It was a form letter they sent (and many more were sent to other administrators and departments, I just received the 189 sent to the webmaster) so every e-mail was the same. This is a child that could be adopted. This is a life which is sacred. For the love of God, do not destroy this life.

One hundred and eighty-nine people said that SOMEONE would want to adopt this child. Not one offered to be that someone. Not one offered to pay the money to attempt to save a non-viable fetus in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for as long as it took. Not one person offered to pay to support this life, if, by chance, we were able to use our most expensive medical means to get this life out of the NICU.

And not one of those 189 people offered up a single opinion about the value of the life of the mother in question. She is a severely mentally disabled, physically disabled young woman who was raped while in a group home for people with those sorts of disabilities. Probably by one of her caregivers. The pregnancy caused her to have multiple, painful brain seizures. Her doctors all testified as to the danger of her carrying the child to term. She was able to understand that and make her wishes about this known. "My baby no more," were her exact words.

So if life begins at conception, and is valuable enough to protect prior to birth, at what point does life become expendable? When it starts to breathe on its own, outside the womb? (In my religion, we are taught that that's when life begins: when one takes one's first breath... because Adam wasn't alive until God gave him breath.) When it turns out to be a female life? If it turns out to be a less-than-perfect person? Because what those 189 people were saying was that the mother's life wasn't worth saving, only the potential life she held within her.
Miz Shoes

My Idea for a Reality Show

Based on yesterday's shenanigans here in Miami, I have an idea for a new reality show. See, the "wet foot, dry foot" immigration policy for Cubans makes it very, very important to NOT let the Coast Guard pick you up and bring you to shore. Therefore we get days like yesterday, where a bunch of people jump off a leaky boat a couple of miles from shore and the Coast Guard has to watch them swim/walk/float to shore, where they are declared "dry foot' and get to stay in America.

So here's my idea: "Who Wants to Be an American Citizen?" and there could be teams of refugees who have to do things like build rafts and swim to shore through shark-infested waters, only to find out that they now have to fill out paperwork. There could be the sponsorship derby to see who can get a citizen sponsor first, and there could be, like an "Are You Hot" segment to see if any of the contestants have what it takes to be a nanny, yard man or maid. The cool part of the show is that it would be open to all immigrants, not just Cubans. This would give the Haitians a fair shake, since currently, even if they DO get to shore, they are still held at Krome Detention Center until we get enough to fill a charter flight back to Port Au Prince, and then they get to go home to poverty, disease and political persecution. And a very weak lobby in the US, which is why the Haitians have no "wet foot, dry foot" equivalent.

What do you think, would Fox pick this up or should I try to sell it to Univision?
Miz Shoes

In Like Flint

Great movie. High camp. High concept: women are being brain washed into women's lib by the hidden tape recorded messages in their hair dryers. Happy Face cosmetics or something like that. Of course, Flint's women (they are always in multiples) are immune to the messages because he's such a hottie.

Here's my theory based upon observation: the world is being brain washed by the secret, hidden taped messages inside our cell phones. I don't know what the message is, maybe "George Bush is good. George Bush is right. George Bush was elected president. Iraqis flew the planes into the World Trade Towers." Maybe the reason I don't believe any of that is because I rarely have my cell phone attached to my head. And the reason that Dubya's approval rating has gone up is because everyone else on this freaking planet DOES have a cell phone attached to their head and they NEVER SHUT UP.

Is there no place left where there can be peace and quiet? I don't want to listen to your insipid conversations, in any language. I understand enough Spanish to know that those conversations are no more interesting than the ones I'm unwillingly privy to in English. I don't want to hear the music you are playing on your personal music system, be it i-pod, rio, mp3 player or old-fashioned walkman. Turn it down, not up so loud everyone else can hear through your earphones.

I don't want to listen to your car stereos, either. I don't want to hear you, and I probably don't want to know you. And you know what? You probably wouldn't like me either. I have way too refined a sense of propriety.

Bite me.
I'll make an exception. Here is yesterday's release from WhiteHouse.org (not to be confused with the official government site)

Statement by the President

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today, virtually anyone and everyone who ever dared question the heft of my hairy war balls is standing in humiliated shock and humble awe now that I've effortlessly run roughshod over the ridiculous concept of Arab sovereignty. And while Shiite -


Hey, man, I'm just pronouncing it the way it looks. As I was saying, while Shiite Muslims make their loony pilgrimage to Karbala this week to ritualistically beat their chests bloody like a pack of orangutans that escaped from a CIA experiment to see what happens when you substitute methamphetamine for water over a two year period, our administration is engaging in our own mirror-like ritual of frantically running around in public patting ourselves on the back. Yes, it is an amazing feat to actually win a war when you only spend thirty billion dollars to defeat a country whose army has less fire-power than Jennifer Lopez's personal security detail.

But as I basked in the glow of press adulation this morning, I was slightly annoyed to find that I still have an adversary or two. Indeed, while I thought I had successfully squashed every last dissenting anti-death cockroach there was, it seems I missed a Beatle in the process - namely, Paul "the cute one" McCartney.

Yes, earlier today ? "Sir Paul," as those wig-wearing limeys still like to call their men who've been "honored" by being told to get down on their knees like a velvet-mouthed New Haven streetwalker while my totally relevant cousin Lizard the Queeny-Pops pretends to hack off their arms in slow motion with a jewel-encrusted girl-sword ? voiced his worthless opposition to the continued military use of cluster bombs. That's right, it seems Mr. McCartney, who became a minor cultural figure in the free-love, disease-swapping 60's by strumming backup guitar on a few forgettable elevator songs written by his long-haired commie partner who knocked up that screeching chinkazoid art freak Yuku-Duo, is all worried that a few thousand Arabiac children will benefit from free cosmetic amputations provided by one of the most benevolent implements of liberation in America's arsenal of mass freedom: the cluster bomb.

Now, don't get me wrong ? I haven't forgotten about the Walrus' patronizingly tedious, yet lyrically BRILLIANT post-Sept. 11 grandpa rock ballad "Freedom." No one appreciates opportunistic tragedy profiteering ? be it political or be it little bags with dollar signs on them ? more than yours truly. Mr. Eleanor Rigby did a smashing good job of milking America's bed-wetting terror and hard-wired affection for cheap, emotional crack rock from billionaire jingle writers from Liverpool. But then he had to go and get all high on his kidney pie farts ? he forgot that it's all about the money? well, it's all about the kids. Then the money. Talking trash about harmless mommy bombs that bloom mid-air and release their pink bonnet of little baby bombs that go POW and hurt the bad men is not in his financial interest. If Paul was smart, he'd write a song called "Happiness Is A Freedom-Protecting Cluster Bomb."

But no, clearly Mr. McCartney knows about as much about dispensing blissful freedom as my spirited twin daughters know about making a convincing fake I.D. card. And if he values the 1% of whatever's left of his career in the United States, he'd do well to just shut up. If he's still pissed off about his music catalog being stolen by someone transgender, just wait until he has to deal with having his balls lopped off by someone transatlantic.

You know, you'd think that by now, British pseudo-royalty would know better than to start flapping their snaggle-toothed mouths about small munitions that make their pansy-talking asses queasy just because they're still blowing the limbs off little sand negro babies decades after we drop them. I mean, first it was old ex-Princess Die, who the CIA was going to have live up to her name after she started moaning about land mines, but was spared the trouble when some zillionaire greaseball French Arabiac terrorist named "Mohammed" killed her for smearing those taut, pink Christian ta-ta's of hers all the scruffy face of his sexaholic, Viagra-mainlining Muslamian son "Doo-Doo." And now we have Sir Paul bellyaching about a few tens of thousands of unexploded cluster bombs around Iraqi and Afghani-Rican kindergartens! I mean, HELLO PAUL! Fate doesn't like to be tempted - especially by some Jurassic-era Rockasaurus whose accent makes him sound like Ronald Reagan mumbling about which unicorn he's gonna ride to the Depends? wholesaler today.

I'm not going to pretend to give a shit about Paul McCartney's notoriety just because a bunch of fat, still-idealistic baby boomers think that noise of his is music. Now sure, back when I was at Yale, there were tons of kids who were playing their Dung Beatles LP's in the dorms morning, noon, and night. And yeah, I heard it all: the "Magical Mushroom Trip Tour" and the "Sergeant Crouton's Lusty Tax Man's Polka." The Yalies said it was "groovy," "hip," and even "with it." Well, speaking as a life-long Lawrence Welk man myself, all I can say is that I rightly opted for buying the kind of records that weren't bound to leave me shampooing my crotch afro with pesticidal Breck.

In the end though, even though Mr. McCartney is proving himself to be nothing more than just another in a long string of detestably populist, pseudo-intellectual celebrities who are determined to chip away at my political armor, I will not begrudge him his foreigner false right to be utterly wrong about everything. Nor will I will surrender to the temptation to pray to Jesus that someone had had the sense to buy Mark David Chapman a trans-Atlantic plane ticket so he could have finished the job of permanently retiring the Fag Four back in the early 80's. No, I will not do any of these things, because I know that Sir Paul has been rendered effectively retarded by the same vegetarianoid diet that gave his tambourine-playing ex-wife cancer and killed her.

And on that note, I bid Sir Paul's pathetic self, and the rest of the world, a very magnanimous good day.

Thank you, and God Bless America.
Miz Shoes

Everybody Sing!

It's the end of the world as we know it, it's the end of the world.....

Or not. Just because America is going to do the unthinkable and start World War III. Or maybe just the Millennial Crusades. You know what? This is just too depressing for me to find any humor, no matter how sick, dark or twisted I let myself get.

I'm going over to my other blog, the PeaceBlog Project, and do some ranting, instead.

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