Ride the Yellow Light!

Qwest pisses
in the face of
employee dignity

The AP reports that union officials in Denver, CO said a Qwest supervisor handed out urine bags and told workmen to cutdown on lengthy bathroom breaks.

The manager distributed the bags to 25 male field technicians, telling them not to waste time searching for a public bathroom. “We deal with a lot of silliness in corporate America, but you’ve got to admit, it takes the freakin’ cake,” Reed Roberts, an administrative director at the Communications Workers of America District 7, told the Rocky Mountain News. Qwest spokeswoman Jennifer Barton said, “There’s no policy whatsoever” requiring field technicians to use the bags. “They are there for convenience, and they are there because employees asked for them,” she said.

The union has not filed a grievance, Barton said, and she could not discuss the details of the allegations from the communications company's workers.

Remember your former tagline, Qwest: “Ride the Light?”
Qwest, I always thought you were shit. You take my cake.

Richland schools not going green

A 9th-Grade mentor who works at Lower Richland High School was sent home Monday morning, March 17, 2008, because he says the school didn’t like the color he dyed his hair. Michael Rice says Lower Richland High School’s principal called the mentor into his office shortly after the first block of the day ended. Rice says Principal Marvin Byers told him his green hair color was “over the top.” The mentor says he wore his hair colored with the Luck of the Irish in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Rice says he just wanted to give fellow staff members and students a good-natured laugh.

“I had a lot of people saying, ‘Wow, I can’t believe you’re getting sent home,’” Rice say, “But no one had anything negative to say.”

Karen York, Director of Communications for Richland School District One, says that the decision to ask Rice to change his clothes was that of the principal’s. She says if Byers felt Rice was not dressed professionally, that he was fully in his right to ask Rice to leave. She said no one else at the school wore costumes or dyed their hair. However, Rice says he heard a lot of support from both students and co-workers.

“You know, I think it was in good taste,” Rice says, “I don’t see where it was worthy of me getting sent home. With all the things going on in the world today, I get sent home for hair coloring. I want to keep my job,” Rice said.

Rice worked for more than a year teaching English in Charlotte. A staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, Rice also travelled overseas to Kuwait to teach English. He is the assistant coach for the Hopkins Middle School Girls’ Basketball Team. He has been working with the Army for more than 14 years.

Karen York, you take my cake.

Bury your head in the hot, burning sand

AP reports that on March 13, 2008 the founder of the Weather Channel wants to sue Al Gore for fraud, hoping a legal debate will settle the global-warming debate once and for all. John Coleman, who founded the cable network in 1982, suggests suing for fraud proponents of global warming, including Al Gore, and companies that sell carbon credits. “Is he committing financial fraud? That is the question,” Coleman said.

“Since we can’t get a debate, I thought perhaps if we had a legal challenge and went into a court of law, where it was our scientists and their scientists, and all the legal proceedings with the discovery and all their documents from both sides and scientific testimony from both sides, we could finally get a good solid debate on the issue,” Coleman said. “I’m confident that the advocates of ‘no significant effect from carbon dioxide’ would win the case.” Coleman says his side of the global-warming debate is being buried in mainstream media circles. “As you look at the atmosphere over the last 25 years, there’s been perhaps a degree of warming, perhaps probably a whole lot less than that, and the last year has been so cold that that’s been erased,” he said. “I think if we continue the cooling trend a couple of more years, the general public will at last begin to realize that they've been scammed on this global-warming thing.”

Coleman spoke to FOXNews.com after his appearance last week at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change in New York, where he called global warming a scam and lambasted the cable network he helped create. “You want to tune to the Weather Channel and have them tell you how to live your life?” Coleman said. “Come on. It’s very clear that they don’t realize that weather is the most significant impact in every human being’s daily life, and good, solid, up-to-the-minute weather information and meaningful forecasts presented in such a way that people find them understandable and enjoyable can have a significant impact. The more you cloud that up with other baloney, the weaker the product,” he said.

Coleman has long been a skeptic of global warming, and carbon dioxide is the linchpin to his argument. “Does carbon dioxide cause a warming of the atmosphere? The proponents of global warming pin their whole piece on that,” he said. The compound carbon dioxide makes up only 38 out of every 100,000 particles in the atmosphere, he said. “That’s about twice as what there were in the atmosphere in the time we started burning fossil fuels, so it’s gone up, but it’s still a tiny compound,” Coleman said. “So how can that tiny trace compound have such a significant effect on temperature? “My position is it can’t,” he continued. “It doesn’t, and the whole case for global warming is based on a fallacy.”

Coleman, you take my cake!

A lotta noise about Illinois

It seems that a couple of sisters in Virginia found an Illinois- shaped corn flake in their morning cereal bowls. OK, no big deal. But they had the bright idea to place the state-special on eBay to be perused and googled by corn-flake admirers (emphasis on flake). It sold for $1,350. That will buy a lot of boxes of corn flakes.

“We were biting our nails all the way up to the finish, seeing what would happen,” said Melissa McIntire, 23.

The winner of the auction, which lasted more than a week, is the owner of a trivia Web site who wants to add the corn flake to a traveling museum. “We’re starting a collection of pop culture and Americana items,” said Monty Kerr of Austin, Texas. “We thought this was a fantastic one.” I don't think that Monty had seen a map of the United States recently.

Well, I always said that Rorschachs look like ink blots and I rarely see teddy bears or kittens in cumulus clouds. And in this corn-flake world, I must admit that all I see is a corn flake (and even the most optimistic would have to agree that it isn't the best representation of the state). But, next time I purchase a Kit-Kat bar, I’ll say to myself, “Wow, this looks like the state of Colorado! I should auction it on eBay!” Now if the cornflake also had the Virgin Mary on it, well then, who knows how much I’d have paid to own it!

Monty, you take my cake.

Gentlemen, check your insurance!

A New York businessman claims in a lawsuit that he was injured when a stripper giving him a lap dance swiveled and smacked him in the face with the heel of her shoe. Stephen Chang, a securities trader, said in court papers that he was at the Hot Lap Dance Club near Madison Square Garden and was getting a paid lap dance when the accident occurred early Nov. 2, 2007.

According to the lawsuit, as the dancer swung around, the heel of her shoe hit him in the eye, causing him “serious injuries.” A man who identified himself as the manager of the Hot Lap Dance Club said he was unaware of the accident or the state Supreme Court lawsuit. The club’s lawyer, Stephen Ateshoglou, did not return a calls to NY reporters.

On its Web site, the club describes itself as the “Playboy Mansion of Manhattan party lofts.” The site says admission is $50 plus a one-time club membership fee of $10 for newcomers. Lap dances cost around $40, plus admission, according to the Web site.

Gentlemen, if you choose to run with the wolves, you have to face an occasional nip in the flank.

Oh, Stephen, you take my cake.

Japan’s Konaka menswear maker has announced “the world’s first clean shower swill (sic), non-iron can also wear from the beginning of February” suit. Wow! If you’re not as fond of poor translations as I am, their Web site, through intuition and perseverance, can reveal the true nature of these remarkable garments. Apparently the press-free men’s and women’s suits can be cleaned by hanging them under a warm shower. A considerable feat indeed and one that is most requested—for in Japan, washers and dryers are not the norm in most households.

The suit is “trend sheen sense of feeling stressed the unique fabric of the suit.
It so far no stretch of wear and easy to achieve.” And even better, Konaka presented the new line at its 2008 Fair “Conducted in Adult Cheer!”

OK, Konaka, good idea, but you take my cake.

Sin tetas, seré un waif pobre, triste

Josef Adalian reported Thursday in Variety that Ben Silverman’s first move as a programmer for NBC is to tell a tale of “tits.” The network has purchased the rights to the successful Columbian telenovela “Sin tetas no hay paraiso” (“Without Breasts There is No Paradise”) to develop as a primetime project.

Sin tetas,” a drama based on the novel of the same title by Gustavo Bolivar, is about a young woman determined to get bigger breasts in order to escape poverty. She works as a prostitute, becomes involved with a drug dealer, and other “primetime” hijinks ensue. Silverman’s last scripted hit as producer was ABC’s “Ugly Betty,” which is based on another successful Colombian telenovela. But Betty, unfortunately, doesn’t show her breasts which meant the show had to leave NBC (so I would guess).

As reported in Variety, Silverman said, “These synergistic productions represent a giant leap forward for the networks of NBC Universal. I scour the world for the best ideas and for the game-changing hit shows and ‘Sin Tetas’ is one of those shows. We have a tremendous opportunity to achieve cross-promotional efforts on behalf of both of these telenovelas as we reach out to diversify our audiences.”

Sin tetas,” sparked controversy when aired in Columbia because of the terrible depiction on television of women. I would have hoped that Silverman might have been a little more, shall we say, “upscale” in his choice of all the show ideas in the world? Come on. Seriously. If this is the best you could do, what where the choices that slipped down the list?

There is at least one other substantive thing from Columbia that is very popular in Hollywood and the networks; it also has something to do with soft mounds as white as snow, but that’s another story.

Ben Silverman, you take my cake.

‘How to avoid hiring Americans’

Caught on camera addressing a conference on immigration law last month, attorneys for Cohen & Grigsby (C&G) were caught green-handed by the Programers Guild when they offered detailed instructions on how their firm helps business clients make sure that Americans are not hired for job openings—while all the way “legally” skirting the law that states such positions must first be offered to U.S. citizens.

The video shows Lawrence M. Lebowitz, vice president of marketing at C&G, repeatedly stressing that the goal of helping businesses comply with the Department of Labor’s PERM process was to make sure Americans were not hired for job openings while conforming to the “letter of the law.”

Lebowitz blatantly states: “Our goal is clearly not to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker. And in a sense that sounds funny. But it’s, uh, what we’re trying to do here.”

In a news release, Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) Mark Cromer wrote, “The footage delivers hard proof of what working Americans have known all along: businesses—and not just big corporations— are gaming immigration and employment laws in order to hire foreign workers that drive wages down and boost profits up.

“But it also reveals something far darker, far more insidious that has been eating away at the American people like a cancer that slowly spreads. Lebowitz and his colleagues discussed banishing the American worker in such casually arrogant tones that it’s clear they didn’t feel they were at any risk whatsoever.”

The video shows legal practice that, at its simplest, tugs at disciplinary action or disbarment. At its most complex, it shows the callous disregard for the success of our nation to that of big-business capitalism. These attorneys should be investigated by the Attorney Grievance Commissions in all of the states in which the firm has practices. The firm is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has offices in Bonita Springs, Florida and Naples, Florida.

I highly suggest that you send Lawrence M. Lebowitz, or Cohen & Grigsby President, CEO, and Director Jack W. Eliot an email of disgust!

The Programmers Guild, who shot the video, advocates for the interests of software professionals, including opposing displacement by H-1b workers and off-shoring of U.S. jobs and technologies to countries that have unfair wage and labor standards.

Cohen and Grigsby, you take my cake.

Thank you Britney, that makes me feel better.

A letter from Britney Spears to all of us.

Dear Fans,
I just wanted to reach out to all of you and explain some of the things that I have been faced with recently.
It's so funny how many stories are put out there about people. It’s like we all want our side of the story out there as well, but at the end of the day only a few people care to hear what is really going on since the bad is always so much more interesting than the truth. I don’t know why, but this is so weird to me. I used to be angry at the tabloids for printing horrible things about me, but now I try to just be numb to what I see. I saw Tyra Banks once get really upset and cry on her show because they made her look fat. We all want a certain image of ourselves out there, and at some point we all do really care what other people think or we wouldn’t be here.

Recently, I was sent to a very humbling place called rehab. I truly hit rock bottom. Till this day I don’t think that it was alcohol or depression. I was like a bad kid running around with ADD. I had a manager from a long time ago come in and try to direct me and my life after I got my divorce. I was so overwhelmed I think that I was in a little shock too. I didn’t know who to go to. I realized how much energy and love I had put into my past relationship when it was gone because I genuinely did not know what to do with myself, and it made me so sad. I confess, I was so lost.

This letter is to not place blame on anyone, although I do see the world with a completely different set of eyes now. Being in that vulnerable state and taken to dinners and parties with friends and finding out later you paid for everything was a huge learning lesson for me. I think the whole problem was letting too many people into my life. You never know another persons intentions or what another person wants. I feel I was too open and looking for answers when I had it all to begin with. I have had to cut so many people out of my life. It is so sad, because if anyone is a family person...it is me.

When I was little I remember every night watching movies with my family and feeling so at peace. Dancing and singing all the time just like a little girl should. Now recently I find with my children that I want them to have that feeling all of the time. I am having to face a lot of things right now since I have children of my own. A lot of insecurities from when I was little are coming up again. It is like we are never good enough.

I know everyone thinks that I am playing the victim, but I am not and I hate what is going on right now so much. Maybe this is the reason for this letter...to maybe allow people to look at me differently. It is like when you are a real woman and say what you feel and how you think things are supposed to be, that people just say you are a “bitch.”

I feel like some of the people in my life made more of some issues than was necessary. I also feel like they knew I was beginning to use my brain for a change and cut some ties, so they wanted to be in more control of my life than me. I think it is actually normal for a young girl to go out after a huge divorce. I think it was a bigger issue because I had not gone out in such a long time. I am 25 and I do still have a lot to learn, and I am going to make mistakes everyday, and I am sure every mistake I make will probably be on CNN or Good Morning America. I am only human people and I love you for still loving me.

I am sitting here at home and it is 6:25 and both of my sons are asleep. I am truly blessed to have them in my life. Everyday is so surreal. Life in general is so surreal and crazy. I just hope this letter made some of you think a little bit more of me and where I am coming from. I just want the same things in life that you want...and that is to be happy. It is just so weird because everyone has their own perception of me and how they think I really am. It is so weird how stories are told. There is your side, my side, and the truth. Somebody has to figure it out. I guess we will never really understand or figure out life completely. That’s God’s job. I can't wait to meet him...or her.

Love, Britney

Thanks Britney. Though I couldn’t pick you out of a crowd or wouldn’t know a song of yours if I heard it, I feel comfortable at night knowing that you are making adult decisions now. Thanks for sharing.

Britney, you take my cake.

Residents near ground zero once more get f-f-f-brushed over

According to the New York Times, federal environmental officials misled residents of Lower Manhattan about the extent of contamination in their apartments and condominiums after the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001. The preliminary report by the Government Accountability Office was made public during a Senate subcommittee hearing in Washington on Thursday, June 21.

The report concludes that the Environmental Protection Agency did not accurately report the results of a residential cleanup in 2002 and 2003 when more than 4,000 apartments in Lower Manhattan were professionally decontaminated. The agency reported that only a “very small” number of air samples showed unsafe levels of asbestos and other contaminates. However, they failed to explain that 80 percent of the samples were taken from residences that had been decontaminated.

The Times reported that John B. Stephenson, director of the Natural Resources and Environment Division of the Government Accountability Office said, “That was misleading.”

The report also concluded that residents were left with the erroneous impression that their homes were safe. Only 295 residents and apartment building owners have asked to participate in a new cleanup program, for which enrollment ended in March, 2007. With more than 20,000 residences eligible to participate in the program to cleanup ground zero dust and contaminates, many may believe they are safe, when in fact the erroneous statements by the E.P.A. may prove to put them in danger.

Once more the wheels of responsibility have become too big to drive.

E.P.A. you take my cake.
Photo by: Rachel Johnson, Image #194, The September 11 Digital Archive, 28 March 2002

Cheney takes shot in the face of the constitution

Over the objections of the National Archives, Vice President Dick Cheney has exempted his office from a presidential order that required safeguarding classified national security information.

According to documents released on Friday, June 22 by Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat from California and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Cheney has resisted routine oversight of the handling of classified information by his office since 2004. When the oversight office, a unit of the National Archives that oversees classification in the executive branch, objected to the rebuff, the vice president’s office suggested that the oversight office be shut down.

The Democratic Party reported on line that Cheney asserted that his office is not an “entity within the executive branch.”

Vermont Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean responded that “Once again, Dick Cheney and the Bush White House think the rules don’t apply to them. There seems to be no limit to the lengths the Bush Administration will go to hide from public scrutiny. Whether it’s keeping the names of his energy task force secret or refusing to disclose the names of people he meets with in his residence, Vice President Cheney’s antics are just more of the same culture of lawlessness that we’ve seen from the Bush Administration over the past six years. It’s no wonder that the American people are looking for new leadership.”

Other agencies voluntarily and/or officially comply with the order to keep secrets safe. It seems that the Office of the Vice President would wish to comply unless it also kept secrets safe that were detrimental to its office or the Office of the President.

Vice presidents historically have held the view that they were more a part of the legislative branch since they are presidents of the senate. Perhaps, technically, Cheney may be correct. On the other hand, he’s not really a part of the legislative branch, either. This is one area of the constitution that our Founding Fathers left a little vague. No doubt there will be much debate about the office and its responsibilities. One more debate that will waste valuable time and require countless hearings and committee reports.

Remember the good ol’ days when no one heard much about the vice president for months at a time? Why is it that Bush and Cheney cloud themselves with so much skeevy politics? (Only six more months.)

Dick Cheney, you take my cake.

Another dwarf clown hippopotomised

Yikes! One little bounce and it’s all over. Or is it? It seems this little story (no pun intended) has bounced around before. If it happened at all, it didn’t happen to Od last week in Bangkok.

It just might have happened to an Austrian circus dwarf named Franz Dasch, who supposedly died when he bounced sideways from a trampoline and was swallowed by a hippopotamus in 1994. But more likely, it is just an urban legend— making the rounds again—meant to dwarf our powers of reason.

“One of the most salient features of our culture,” writes philosopher Harry Frankfurt, “is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share.”

This is not merely true, it is a central irony of our age. Despite faster, easier, more universal access to information than at any previous time in history, we are plagued more than ever by its evil twin, misinfor- mation. Fallacies, half-truths, and outright falsehoods invade our consciousness from all sides—in the form of hyperbolic advertising, as political punditry or “spin,” in erroneous reportage by the media, in “rumors on the Internet.” We live in a world, observes science historian and recognized “hoaxpert” Alex Boese, “that’s fake and growing faker every day.”

Museum of Hoaxes curator Alex Boese’s new
book, Hippo Eats Dwarf: A Field Guide to Hoaxes and Other B.S., isn’t likely to stem the tide of misinformation (as if that were even possible), but it does enlighten and entertain from beginning to end as the author guides us on a panoramic tour of contemporary hokum, deftly dissecting and debunking all manner of urban legends, hoaxes, pranks, and popular misconceptions.

Od, you take my cake.

This is not about Paris Hilton

Update: June 23, 2007
NBC has been ousted. Instead, Mr. Larry King will interview Ms. Hilton. A spokeswoman for his program, Bridget Leininger, said Saturday that no money had been paid for the interview. “Larry King never pays for interviews,” she said. However, Leininger said she was unsure whether the program was going to use any photos or any fee would be paid to Getty Images that had previously made a deal to the rights to the first pictures of Ms. Hilton at home.

How much do you want to hear Barbara Walters discussing life with Paris Hilton? That’s the question. The New York Times reported on Friday, June 22, that ABC News lost out to NBC in a six-figure deal to interview Paris Hilton after her release from jail next week.

It turns out that Meredith Vieira, co-host of NBC’s “Today” program, will conduct the interview. Walters, you lost.

ABC purportedly offered $100,000 (not for the interview, which is not their style, but for “access to collateral material, such as photos” and junk). According to the Times, Ms. Walters told ABC executives that Ms. Hilton’s father, Rick Hilton, after getting the ABC offer last Sunday, called back Wednesday to say that the interview would go to a competitor, because at $100,000 ABC was “not even in the same galaxy” in terms of what was being offered.

Though the amount that NBC has offered was not released, Ms. Walters told ABC that based on her previous conversations with the Hilton representatives, she believed that the offer from NBC surpassed $750,000.

So I put it to you this way. How much would you pay to listen to Paris Hilton describing how her life has changed within a 45-day period, how dreadful a place it is without bikini waxes and Cosmo, how she’s found Jesus and will turn her life around, and how she wishes now to feed the children of the world and help old people? Or any like-minded (or like-no-minded) girl of her own “brand” (as she puts it)?

Oh my god. I can’t write another word about this. This is why I have 200 channels and never watch the “networks of my youth.”

ABC and NBC, you take my cake.