“Torture and Rats Not Necessary…”

A few years back we purchased a vacuum cleaner from a door to door salesman. That is a very long and funny story in its own right, and I suspect before we were through the vacuum cleaner salesman was wishing he’d offered us money not to buy a vacuum cleaner from him.
But that story isn’t what this post is about. On small part of the story is that we bought the appliance on credit- interest free credit, meaning that we were able to make small, easy payments to the company, and if we paid it off in six months, we paid zero interest. However, we refused to give the company our Social Security number. They couldn’t figure out why. Two different salesmen called to argue about it. One of them told me, and I quote, “But this is what a Social Security number is *for.* That’s why the government issues them.”

I was flummoxed. “You think the government issued Social SEcurity numbers for the benefit of credit companies to identify and track financial information on its potential customers? That is not what it’s for and it has never been appropriate to use a Social SEcurity number as identification, and it is not for your benefit.”

He told me I was just wrong, it was specifically for the benefit of credit companies. I still don’t know if he really believed that or if he just thought I was an idiot. Well, he did think I was an idiot, but I don’t know if he also actually believed the smoke he was blowing in my direction.

Now that you know that story, you’ll be able to identify what I find so interesting about this article.

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A Very Mooooving Piece of Art

Here (not all links from this site are, er, edifying)

A cow is living on top of a ten storey building in Santiago in a work of performance art.

It was kidnapped on its way to a slaughter house by a group of artists who won’t reveal their names.

The cow was lifted by crane on to the top of the building in the Chilean capital, reports Las Ultimas Noticias.

It will live on the 1,500sq ft rooftop, which has been remodelled as a farm, for a week.

The cow will be cared for and milked daily during the week and afterwards the artists plan to release it on a nature reserve.

A spokesperson for the group said: “We want to question the limits of the art creation. People think art is only what is in the galleries but that is not true.”

I am mooooved, aren’t you? You can see a picture of the cow at the above website. Methinks that Pipsqueak should post a picture of our manure pile as a commentary on the above piece of art. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words…

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Bolton Nomination

Spot on WSJ article here.

Eric at Classical Values has an extensive background information on Melody Townsel, the woman who seems to have derailed the Bolton nomination by her accusation (made for the first time to the commission in the last week or so) that several years ago Bolton chased her down and pounded on her door at a hotel room. She says she never mentioned it before because she left politics to raise her children. Eric looks into what she was doing during the time she ‘left politics’ to raise her ‘children.’

And saving the best for last- Excellent summing up and suggested solution for dealing with failed Republican leadership on this issue- from Captain Ed.


Now we have Frist losing another nomination battle with the Democrats when the Republicans on the Foreign Relations Committee failed to do any timely research on the one witness to come forward to claim that John Bolton was mean to her in public. That allegation caused George Voinovich to lose his nerve, even though a small bit of research would have made clear that Melody Townsel has a big axe to grind against the GOP:

The latest accusations of abuse aimed at the president’s nominee to be America’s ambassador to the United Nations come from a self-described “liberal Democrat” who in 2004 helped organize the Dallas chapter of “Mothers Opposing Bush.”
The woman, Melody Townsel, alleged that John Bolton chased her through the halls of a Moscow hotel throwing objects and screaming threats at her in August 1994, according to a letter circulated Saturday by the spokesman for the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Biden of Delaware.

The New York Sun published this on April 18th, the day before Voinovich lost his nerve. Why didn’t the GOP leadership distribute this information to FRC members? Frist and the Republicans instead allowed Voinovich to back away from Bolton and postpone for several weeks any reconsideration of his nomination, once again snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

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U.N. Oil for Food Scandal

“Two senior investigators with the committee probing corruption in
the U.N. oil-for-food program have resigned in protest, saying they
believe a report that cleared Kofi Annan of meddling in the $64
billion operation was too soft on the secretary-general, a panel
member confirmed Wednesday. The investigators felt the Independent
Inquiry Committee, led by former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul
Volcker, played down findings critical of Annan when it released an
interim report in late March related to his son, said Mark Pieth, one
of three leaders of the committee.”

Full article here.

Another article here.

And Roger Simon is all over this one.

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Bloggers as light at the end of the tunnel?

Well, I think so. After years of having to put up with unbalanced, sometimes dishonest, and just untrustworthy sources for news, I’ve found some of the best political blogs to be as refreshing as opening up all the windows in a smoke-filled room.

But Phil Boas says blogs are the light at the end of the tunnel for the media. I think he’s got a point. He says:

If you listen closely, tuning in to the conversation beyond the oft-expressed contempt for mainstream media, you’ll find the blogosphere actually needs mainstream media. We provide most of the coverage that starts the conversation. And by carrying the conversation further than we do, the blogosphere makes mass media vital.

This is a point every one of my favorite Poli Blogs has made- they don’t wish to, and indeed cannot, replace MSM- they just want to be able to rely on it to at least care about getting its facts straight. An untrustworthy MSM is harmful to all of us in the long run, and bloggers really do understand that and want to see improvement.

Boas goes on to say,

The bloggers are demanding better standards and less bias-not unreasonable demands given journalism’s current track record. But they’re also creating stimulating and often irresistible discussion around the news we produce.

Journalism tomorrow, thanks to forces like the blogosphere, will grow more competitive. The best journalists will flourish. The mediocre will be exposed and washed out.

That’s not something to lament. That’s progress. We are living in the Information Age, when government and business are increasingly dependent on knowledge. It was inevitable that a knowledge-based culture would demand better, faster, more reliable information.

Good article. Read it all. Go on, you know you want to.

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