22 March 2003

Oil War Journal Shut Down

Kevin Stiles has been asked by his employers at the Conservative Neocon Network [Heil Bush!] to cease his blogging activities. At least, as far as I can tell by reading between the lines of what he has to say in his entries.

I hadn’t really gotten the chance to look at his slant on the war, and whether he was just doing some counter psy-ops or whatever term this junta uses to refer to this latest blatant propaganda assault on the populace. But judging from what I did see, I think he was trying to show us an alternative to the ‘half the news, all the time’ warmongering of his employers. So there’s that reason – if you are a screaming ditto monkey – to get him out of public consumption. Besides that, in the executroids' (yes, I am talking about you, Aaron Brown!) minds (which, yes, I know, is an oxymoron), they’re already paying somebody to put a website for them. This guy is not advancing their cause while they’re footing the bill! This has got to be stopped...

A few people have already commented on this. Maybe you would like to as well.

Shrub-bo48 Hours
The junta makes the pie higher

21 March 2003

The End of a Journey begins

(Author’s note: you may have seen the words frell and dren here at the Funny Farm from time to time. While we don’t like to swear, and especially tend to avoid it as much as possible while trying to resemble a serious student of journalism here at this blog, it happens from time to time in the course of human existence. These two words are slang for f*@k and $h!t in the show Farscape, which aired its final episode tonight.)

I just saw the last episode of Farscape. What a powerful show we have been fortunate to have in the ether lo these last four years. The series ending cliffhanger was a huge ‘Frell YOU! to those who cancelled a series having a fabulous run and a solid fan base. With middling special effects for today, but well-placed and superbly utilized in just the right places to propel the sense of wonder necessary to get into a good fantasy situational drama-comedy, this show was just starting to get out of cult status and hit the big time. Of course, science fiction / fantasy has been in the media for a long time. But, the mass media has been strewn with them for the last thirty years. All of the ‘Star’ named and themed series (Star Trek of course being the grandaddy, but also including BadlyScarred Galaxians and Spaced: With a Low Budget - 1999), the Back to the Future movies, Blade Runner, the Terminator movies, the Robocop movies – just to name a few off of the top of my head.

I feel like I have just witnessed the culmination of that genre – for the nonce, as always – with the ending of this series. I am going to have to see this episode again, and real soon, to catch all of the fine details. The broad brushstrokes of this type of TV show are all there in gaudy display, almost overboard here in their last show – family and honor, marital bliss as the most perfect union in the entire realm of space time, boy finally gets girl, and then both get frelled by fate. But all of the finer points will take a long time to ponder. There are layers upon layers of sub-plots that can be exploited should someone attempt to help the creator, O’Bannon, put together the sequel in some future space-time.

Well, that’s about it for the Funny Farm today. I should be collecting web sites from my fellow ‘scribers to link to along with the Rush Limbaugh transcripts pages, and the boycott information soon, with the intent of putting together another little zone over on the LHS of the page. Along with another five minutes of Pigsqueal to scribe. Before they come in their little white coats...

Thanks, Farscape, for four wonderful years. I will miss you.

Irony Overload Alert

United they fall

Richard Perle bids farewell to the United Nations and its history of anarchy and abject failure

You may have also noticed that I finally managed to find enough time to get the lyrics to the theme song here at the Funny Farm. What a coinky-dink!

Have a good weekend, all. Possible random guerilla blogging from undisclosed locations in midwest North America for the next few days...

Why Does Everyone Slag Carter About the Hostages?

Drinky McDumbAss and the God Squad haven't been able to find this Osama guy for 550 days now.

Yet another promise broken by a Repugnicant. And, why did we impeach the last guy again? Something about misleading somebody?

It's getting harder and harder to remember the before time. Before the religiously insane took over the mechanism of the United States government. Before tax cuts for the rich was the only officially recognized form of economic stimulus. Before the Bill of Rights became a meaningless piece of paper that the junta wipes their collective ass with.

Let’s hope we get the chance to get rid of these vermin in a couple of years...

20 March 2003

Squad! Tell the.... Joke! (all homage to Monty Python)

Go visit Ann Slanders right now.

Make sure you're not drinking anything you wouldn't want to be expelling through your nasal cavities...

Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax and Cabbages and Kings

Ladies and germs, we have been thrust down that rabbit hole. But not all is yet lost...

Michael Moore mentions a few things to do, and points you to others of like mind. There seems to be activities planned for this weekend. The Conservative Neocon Network, with the rest of the Media Whores in tow, has some interesting things to mention to us lately about the invasion now that we can’t do anything about it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then go look at all the websites over in the Funny Farm Links ZoneTM.

Rush Limbaugh transcripts are available at our two sites, Pigsqueal (sorry, I couldn’t resist!), and Rushtranscript. We’re ten minutes away from transcribing Monday’s show, and about to start in on Wednesday’s show. We only have enough scribers (by stretching them [us!] mighty thin) to do 3 shows a week, but, hey, it’s not bad for being under a month in operation. I haven’t been able to do much other than put up an annotated clone of the Funny Farm for the website design. I haven’t decided what to put up in the way of counters as of yet. Maybe next month...

I also sent an email to the Shiny Blue Grasshopper's about the No War initiative he is supporting online. Some of the links have comfortably ensconced themselves in the Funny Farm Links ZoneTM. Won’t you click through to them while you’re here?

And, in the meantime, I wrote a note to tbogg :

Hi Tom!

I am writing to you for a plethora of reasons:

- I once had a boss named Tom Boggs(? - it could be Bogg, but I'm pretty sure it was Boggs). So that similarity is reason number one.

- I have been reading your blog of late, and it is a wondrous thing to behold. You wield the hammer of truth most awesomely.

- your knowledge and choice of point of attack leads me to believe you are a fellow Michigander.

- You have reported on most of the stories I have been monitoring this week, and I was glad to see your reporting of Levin and Stabenow's stand.

- I have seen your comments at Atrios and Hesiod's site for sure, and probably at Kos' as well. I hope you are up to the task of helping the rest of us get through this mess. You have already helped considerably...

- many as yet unexplained (even to me) and mysterious reasons which may be divulged at a future time.

I enjoyed the review of Kane and the reporting of the Media Whores trying to spin Smirky McWarhardon as the Lone Gunman. Gary Cooper probably could have been a better president than the Repugnicant Triumvirate of Ray-Gun and Bush Squared without even breaking a sweat.

Anyways,... I am hoping that this email could begin to express my sincere thanks - for making my travails a little brighter, by shining the light of truth into some of those (currently) dark corners in the Lily-White House. Keep on doing that voodoo that you do...


Fun With Pictures

From the amazingly logical people over at uggabugga:

Flavors of Terrorism

19 March 2003

It’s Been a While...

...since I have been able to think about saying anything. The frelling BFEE is trying to weasel everything they can while they beat the war drums. There is more spin coming from the infotainment services than there is in the sandstorm the troops are fighting. The war seems to be on.

And now the United States of AmeriKKKa can truly be compared to the Nazis. I don’t think they were very much in favor of the whole World Court idea, either. Tin plated dictators with delusions of Godhood so seldom are...

17 March 2003

St. Patrick’s Day Massacre

I have a couple of days off, so I can’t hear the locals reaction to this MOAB dropped in the hallways in Troy, Michigan today:
Bankruptcy blues: Kmart workers face job loss, tough search


The timing couldn't be worse.
Within the next two to four weeks, 316 Kmart stores nationwide, including 11 in Michigan, will close as part of the Troy retailer's bankruptcy restructuring.
The cost-cutting move will send about 32,000 workers -- 1,900 in Michigan -- out to find new work at a time when jobs are growing more scarce.
With worries about a looming war in Iraq, the economy slumping and unemployment rising, help wanted signs in store windows are uncommon.
In 2002, there were 19,000 fewer retail jobs in Michigan than in the year before. The 2.3-percent decline from 839,100 retail jobs in 2001 to 819,800 in 2002 marked the biggest drop of any industry segment in the state last year, said Bruce Weaver, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Career Development.
And overall unemployment in Michigan doesn't look much better. In 2002, the annual average unemployment rate was 6.2 percent versus 5.3 percent in 2001 and 3.5 percent in 2000.

The clock is ticking
None of this bodes well for shell-shocked Kmart store employees finishing their last days of work in the liquidating stores. Exact store closing dates haven't been disclosed. Kmart officials say most will shut their doors for good by mid-April.
"It's going to be rough," said Comerica Bank chief economist David Littmann. "We're in a very difficult period for employers."
The big factor hampering hiring plans is the threat of war in Iraq, Littmann said.
"No employer is going to be hiring in advance of knowing the outcome of this uncertainty," he said. But he said it should take only about two weeks after the start of a war for the hiring climate to improve.
So what are soon-to-be-unemployed Kmart associates to do in the meantime?
"Prepare a resume and get some prospects in order," Littmann said. "Don't despair. You've got benefits and a cushion. Intensify your search to find a better competitor" to work for.
Littmann suggests workers look to growing companies like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. or alternative retailers who sell by phone, catalog or e-mail.
Aside from unemployment benefits and extended medical and dental coverage under COBRA -- a federal law that allows laid-off workers to pay for continued health care coverage -- Kmart workers with the company at least one year will be paid for their unused vacation and sick time on a prorated basis, said Kmart spokesman Stephen Pagnani.
Each store also has a human resources representative available to help workers with resumes and job-searching tips. Some Kmart stores have welcomed hiring representatives from other retailers such as CVS Corp. or Home Depot into stores to help place workers.

Job-hunting plans
The Free Press set out to talk to Kmart store employees about their job-hunting plans. Here's what three have in mind:

Sticking with it: Ingrid Friedman of Novi can hardly talk about losing her job at the Big Kmart on Telegraph Road in Southfield without filling up with tears.
"I've been here 28 years," said the pharmacy technician shaking her head as she folded T-shirts on a recent Wednesday. "It was a good company."
For Friedman, finding new work is a necessity.
"My husband just retired. I had the medical and I've lost all of that. Now we're both looking for work," she said.
So after visiting a number of local pharmacies only to hear few are hiring, Friedman is planning to apply for work at another Kmart store.
"Things are tight out there. It hasn't been easy. I've decided I want to go to another Kmart store," Friedman said, acknowledging there is uncertainty surrounding the bankrupt company.
But by switching stores, Friedman can transfer her seniority and benefits.
Now she just waits for her Kmart application to be approved.
"I'm very flexible," she said, adding that aside from her pharmacy experience, she has skills dealing with paperwork, ordering and customer service.

The optimist: Tina Williams hears it all the time.
"My husband keeps telling me the jobs are not out there like they used to be. But I just don't believe it," said Williams, who will lose her job at the Detroit Super K on 7 Mile Road in a matter of weeks. She has been with the retailer for five years.
"I've been working since I was 14 so it's hard for me to believe I won't find a job. I'm very determined."
The Detroiter plans to collect unemployment for a month or two and then begin a serious search.
"I've worked in cash offices and I have accounting skills," said the mother of two. "Maybe I'll look into medical billing."
Williams says she feels fortunate that her husband has a stable job with an auto supplier.
However, she'd still like to find full- or part-time work to help pay for the little extras around the house.
"I've got a teenage daughter and her clothes are more expensive. That comes from my check," she said.

Without wheels: Mike Schwartz had hoped to work at the Sterling Heights Super K on Van Dyke Road for a number of years.
Because his 1995 Ford Mustang isn't running, having a job within walking distance from his Warren home was crucial.
But after just four months on the job, he got the bad news the store was shutting its doors.
"I could have left before the closing, but I've learned a lot here," said the 19-year-old. New skills include operating a high-low, learning about different departments including sporting goods and garden and observing firsthand how a liquidation sale is conducted.
Schwartz isn't sure what he'll do next. Maybe a job waiting tables or working retail elsewhere, he said.
The aspiring artist hopes to find a job and save enough money to enroll in Macomb Community College in the fall to build his grade point average and maybe later apply at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. But first things first.
"I have to get my car fixed," Schwartz said.

Contact JENNIFER BOTT at 248-591-5626 or bott@freepress.com.

Here’s the chart that accompanied the article online. The numbers for 2003 are current. That’s right, Kmart shoppers - those numbers have already happened in 2003. About 2 dozen of those jobs, including the cushy executroid and bored-weasel positions, account for almost $50 million of that ‘expected cost’, and probably half of that in the ‘expected savings’ for the rest of the year. Can you say, ‘double-dipping’? I knew you could...

Kmart numbers In 2003
316 Store closings
44 Number of states
32,000 Jobs cut
11 Stores closing in Michigan
1,900 Jobs cut in Michigan
259 Discount stores closing
57 Supercenters closing
$1.7 billion Expected cost of closings
$500 million Expected savings in 2003
1,513 Stores remaining
92 Stores remaining in Michigan
168,000 Jobs remaining
9,600 Jobs remaining in Michigan
Last round (2002)
283 Stores closed in
40 Number of states and Puerto Rico
22,000 Approximate number of jobs cut
18 Stores closed in Michigan
1,470 jobs cut in Michigan
271 Discount stores closed
12 Supercenters closed

Much, much more of this to be discussed in the future here at the Funny Farm. Stay tuned to this website for further details…