Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Ducks are to Blame!

So the other day, I came home from the office and was confronted by a curious, yet troubled Mrs. Tuff. No sooner had my winter coat, which had protected me from the ravages of global warming, but put to rest for the evening when I was grilled about the day's events. Apparently our 2 year old had a minor gas attack during the day, at which point he exclaimed "Oh! I stepped on a duck!"

For the record, I will neither confirm nor deny any knowledge of where he obtained this phrase.

Speaking of greenhouse gases, it looks as though Al Gore has won an Oscar for "Best Politically Correct Documentary Based on Hype," during the Academy Awards. (Not that I watched this exercise in Madonna-like self gratification.) You know I'll bet that bronze award is nestled snugly on top of one of his many fireplaces - and I have a feeling he can put it on a different fireplace each day of the week:

Gore’s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES).

In his documentary, the former Vice President calls on Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home.

The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh—more than 20 times the national average.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh—guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.

Since the release of An Inconvenient Truth, Gore’s energy consumption has increased from an average of 16,200 kWh per month in 2005, to 18,400 kWh per month in 2006.

Gore’s extravagant energy use does not stop at his electric bill. Natural gas bills for Gore’s mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 per month last year.


Oh well - do as I say, right?

And in more salacious entertainment news, one of the female contestants on American Idol has had some rather, um, compromising photographs of her appear on the internet. Some of them are so bad I won't link them - but if you do a google search on Antonella Barba, I'm sure you will find them. It will be interesting to see if her next (musical) performance will suffer any ill effects as a result of this.

My prediction? She'll suck.

In more entertainment news, director James Cameron claims to have made a discovery which has put the world of Christianity into complete turmoil:

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The burial site of Jesus has been found and suggests he had a wife and son, according to highly sensitive claims in a documentary by "Titanic" director James Cameron and Israel-born Simcha Jacobovici.


World wide, outraged Christians are rioting, demanding the beheading of director Cameron, and burning the regional offices of American movie studios around the globe. To date, over 150 deaths are directly linked to the mayhem caused the perceived insult to Christianity. ...Oh, what's that? Oh, my mistake. I guess only Buddhists do this kind of rioting when their religion is in any way challenged.

Lastly, is there any shock that the former head of an ACLU chapter is a disgusting, pedophilesque, creep? (Allegedly I mean). Well, it would be if you worked for MSNBC, CBS News or CNN. I did a search on these websites for "Charles Tierney" and saw no reference to this story from ABC:

Feb. 23, 2007— Federal agents arrested Charles Rust-Tierney, the former president of the Virginia chapter of the ACLU, Friday in Arlington for allegedly possessing child pornography.

According to a criminal complaint obtained by ABC News, Rust-Tierney allegedly used his e-mail address and credit card to subscribe to and access a child pornography website.

The complaint states that federal investigations into child pornography websites revealed that "Charles Rust-Tierney has subscribed to multiple child pornography website over a period of years."

As recently as last October, the complaint alleges, "Rust-Tierney purchased access to a group of hardcore commercial child pornography websites."


Kudos to ABC News for actually having sprouted a pair and reported this story and not leaving it as a Fox News exclusive - again.

I suspect CBS, MSNBC and CNN were busy covering a story about someone stepping on a duck.

Friday, February 02, 2007

It's Quiz Time!!

So, I know nobody like quizzes, but today I am compelled.

Question 1. When does a senior member of the US Senate get to use their position of power to influence tax payer funded military contracts to the benefit of their spouse?

Question 2. When do the major news organizations (print and network) completely ignore facts available in public records which indicate a tremendous conflict of interest with a member of the US Senate?

Question 3: How can an elected official continually defy the wishes of their constituency with little regard as to if they will be re-elected?

These are tough questions. Are you ready?

Answer 1: When the Senator is a liberal Democrat.
Answer 2: When the Senator is a liberal Democrat.
Answer 3: When the Senator is a liberal Democrat.

As you look over the story below, keep in mind one question. Why is this not reported in the SF Chronicle, LA Times, NY Times or the Boston Inquirer (sorry, I meant Boston Globe)?

And so, the newly appointed chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is now duly in charge of regulating the ethical behavior of her colleagues. But for many years, Feinstein has been beset by her own ethical conflict of interest, say congressional ethics experts.

As chairperson and ranking member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee (MILCON) from 2001 through the end of 2005, Feinstein supervised the appropriation of billions of dollars a year for specific military construction projects. Two defense contractors whose interests were largely controlled by her husband, financier Richard C. Blum, benefited from decisions made by Feinstein as leader of this powerful subcommittee.


Yep! Now I know this must be old news to you since I'm sure EVERYBODY reads metroactive.com - right? Those of you who know my previous rants on Senator Fineswine, remember that she has been a staunch proponent of virtually limitless gun control - but just for peons like you and me. She carries, but what's a little hypocrasy between friends?

From 1997 through the end of 2005, with Feinstein's knowledge, Blum was a majority owner of both URS Corp. and Perini Corp.

Hmm... What do you suppose they talked about at the dinner table? Here's one clue:

She lobbied Pentagon officials in public hearings to support defense projects that she favored, some of which already were or subsequently became URS or Perini contracts. From 2001 to 2005, URS earned $792 million from military construction and environmental cleanup projects approved by MILCON; Perini earned $759 million from such MILCON projects.

And here's another:

The tale thickens with the appearance of Michael R. Klein, a top legal adviser to Feinstein and a long-time business partner of Blum's. The vice-chairman of Perini's board of directors, Klein was a partner in Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, a powerful law firm with close ties to the Democratic Party, for nearly 30 years. Klein and Blum co-own ASTAR Air Cargo, which has military contracts in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Klein also sits on the board of SRA International, a large defense contractor.
In an interview with this reporter in September, Klein stated that, beginning in 1997, he routinely informed Feinstein about specific federal projects coming before her in which Perini had a stake. The insider information, Klein said, was intended to help the senator avoid conflicts of interest. Although Klein's startling admission was intended to defuse the issue of Feinstein's conflict of interest, it had the effect of exacerbating it.
In theory, Feinstein would not know the identity of any of the companies that stood to contractually benefit from her approval of specific items in the military construction budget--until Klein told her.
Klein explained, "They would get from me a notice that Perini was bidding on a contract that would be affected as we understood it by potential legislation that would come before either the full congress or any committee that she was a member of. And she would as a result of that not act, abstain from dealing with those pieces of legislation."
However, the public record shows that contrary to Klein's belief, Feinstein did act on legislation that affected Perini and URS.

Yes sports fans, there will be ethics reform in Congress. Corruption is about to get ALOT worse. Why? Not because one party is more corrupt than another. Because the major media outlets are going to let the Donks skate. The article in Metroactive is long, but worth the read. Here's one more tidbit for you, just in case you aren't convinced already:

Here are a few examples from the Congressional Record of questionable intersections between Feinstein's legislative duties and her financial interests:

- At a MILCON hearing in 2001, Feinstein interrogated defense officials about the details of constructing specific missile defense systems, which included upgrading the early warning radar system at Cobra Dane radar on Shemya Island, Alaska. In 2003, Perini reported that it had completed a contract to upgrade the Cobra Dane radar system. It has done similar work at Beale Air Force Base in California and in the United Kingdom. URS also bids on missile defense work.

- In the 2002 MILCON hearings, Feinstein questioned an official about details of the U.S. Army's chemical demilitarization program. URS is extensively involved in performing chemical demilitarization work at key disposal sites in the United States.

- At that same hearing, Feinstein asked about the possibility of increasing funding for anti-terrorism-force protection at Army bases. The following year, on March 4, 2003, Feinstein asked why the antiterrorism-force protection funds she had advocated for the year before had not yet been spent. On April 21, 2003, URS announced the award of a $600 million contract to provide, among other services, anti-terrorism-force protection for U.S. Army installations.

- Beginning in 2003, both Perini and URS were awarded a series of open-ended contracts for military construction work around the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under Feinstein's leadership, MILCON regularly approved specific project "task orders" that were issued to Perini and URS under these contracts.

- At a March 30, 2004, MILCON hearing, Feinstein grilled Maj. Gen. Dean Fox about whether or not the Pentagon intended to prioritize funding the construction of "beddown" maintenance facilities for its new airlifter, the C-17 Globemaster. After being reassured by Fox that these funds would soon be flowing, Feinstein said, "Good, that's what I really wanted to hear. Thank you very much. Appreciate it very much, General." Two years later, URS announced a $42 million award to build a beddown maintenance facility for the C-17 at Hickam Air Base in Hawaii as part of a multibillion dollar contract with the Air Force. Under Feinstein's leadership, MILCON approved the Hickam project.

- In mid-2005, MILCON approved a Pentagon proposal to fund "overhead coverage force protection" in Iraq that would reinforce the roofs of U.S. Army barracks to better withstand mortar rounds. On Oct. 13, 2005, Perini announced the award of a $185 million contract to provide overhead coverage force protection to the Army in Iraq.

Ahh well, at least it's not "blood for oil!"

A Bad Hair Day for the Press

For those of you not in the New England area, you may have missed the fact that Boston, the city of 600,000 people and home of some of the worlds most presitious universities and medical centers was held hostage by 38 'Lite-Brites.' Cable news channels on Wednesday shot their entire afternoon programming on video of Boston police directing snarled traffic and metro bomb-squads detonating what ended up being part of a cheesey marketing campaign for the Cartoon Network. It stuns me that the illuminated cartoon characters have been present in 10 other major cities, yet this stunt turns Boston ass over tea kettle.

The perps? Two adolescents in their late twenties, performance artists by trade. Apparently they are quasi-permanent liberal art students who hope to be the next Penn and Teller. Unlike some of the local talk radio dweebs, I consider these guys harmless - in addition to useless.

Now normally I would hold guys (ahem) like Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens in a bit of disdain. However, they recently did something I truely admire. They made the swarming local press with their cheesey stock questions like "how do you feel?" look like the idiots they truely are. A very prudent expenditure of their 15 minutes of fame, in my humble opinion. Good job boys - now get a job!

If you haven't seen this pair in action, check it out on YouTube: