Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CreateNeedlessProblems




CreateSpace
4900 LaCross Road
North Charleston, SC 29406

To whom this may concern:

            My name is Robert Crawford. My member ID is 679626 and this pertains to my project, Tatterdemalion, ID# 4633360.
I've been publishing with CS for at least four to five years and occasionally I’ve had problems manufactured for me, usually by your onsite review team. I say "manufactured" because I've had them reject my galley proofs for the most ridiculous of reasons. Now, when I proof a novel, I do it both on disk and physically in the galley proof I get from South Carolina as a backup. Over the last week, they've rejected the latest version of my novel because they're claiming there's a copyright restriction of a free font I'd downloaded from a website that specifically says it's fine for free commercial use and that it's Freeware.
Last night, I'd copied a screengrab from the site from which I'd downloaded it (for context's sake, I’ll pause to say they'd printed my 2nd galley this summer, with the font in question) and sent Customer Service the file attachment. Today I found yet another generic email telling me they rejected my galley for the 3rd time in a row because of a nonexistent copyright restriction. So, obviously, CS didn’t do its job and provide your Onsite Review Team with this information that could’ve cleared my third and final galley proof. In their defense I have to add in all fairness that one of your CS reps offered to give me gratis five copies of my old galley with expedited shipping. But why would I want five copies of the old galley printed up? What good does that do me?
Here's the problem: If you wish to complain about this, you can't just contact the Onsite Review Team but Customer Service. And the problem with THAT is Customer Service, incredibly, is forbidden from contacting the Onsite Review Team. Their only go-between is the Technical Services Department, which, unlike the 24/7/365 CS and ORT, works 9-5, M-F. In other words, CS is placed in the absurd position of having to speak for a department from whom they're forbidden to contact. The executive assclown who thought of that little piece of innovation on the org chart needs to get their ass fired on the spot.
Here's where it gets really interesting: When she began asking questions this morning, the CS rep told me the Review Team's actual reason for rejecting my manuscript was not because of a copyright issue but because the Buffied font that's at the center of this wasn't embedded… which is pure bullshit because #1, they'd printed that font in the 2nd galley and #2, the font shows up fine on the Digital Viewer. So the Onsite Review Team's reasons for refusing to print my galley are shifting and both without merit. Here's the actual notation they put on my book's file review page: "The interior contains the font Buffied cannot be embedded that we are unable to embed. Please embed all fonts in your PDF." Not only is that blatantly wrong, it's not even literate. I feel as if I'm dealing with Latka Gravas from TAXI. (Note: You can't embed fonts in a .pdf file. It has to be done in the native Word file, which I'd done.)
And this isn’t just me: Even your own people in South Carolina hate working there (See this).
Now, it ought to be mentioned here this is coming from someone who hasn’t been able to find a job in close to six years. Since the spring of 2009, I’ve been passed over many times for jobs for which I was vastly overqualified. So when I see incompetence at this level, it’s only inevitable and justifiable that I ask myself and others, “Why are these morons employed by Create Space and why can’t I get even a minimum wage job?”
I've demanded to speak to an executive twice within the last few days and have waited by the phone for nothing. And it seems every time I write to a CS rep, I get a response back from a completely different person who can't take the time to review the history of the correspondence or doesn’t seem to have a First Language grasp of English. It's, as one person described it years ago, "like deaf people talking to each other."
Let me make this clear: Through advance publicity and sending out proposals, I have many people waiting for my book. Among them is a top-shelf literary agent named Philip Spitzer who told me to trim the book and resubmit it. But I don’t know how long these people will wait before they forget about my book. Your Onsite Review Team is needlessly holding up the galley, preventing me from finishing, publishing, marketing and selling my book. In other words, they’re detrimentally affecting your bottom line. If you’re an executive, you’re probably a sociopathic asshole who doesn’t give a shit about my plight but you should give a shit about your corporation’s bottom line and who’s subtracting from it.
Your publishing and marketing platform is wonderful. It's a seamless entry into the biggest online book market on earth and the rates and royalties are pretty OK. But it's your setup and execution that sucks big time. Your authors (or “members”) often hate you, your own employees hate you (On Glassdoor.com your average rating is two and a half stars out of five) and bookstores hate your books and refuse to carry them because of the shoddy product and your blatant refusal to buy shelf space, offer refunds and selling them wholesale on consignment (which all books are sold as).
This arrogance and out of touch incompetence inevitably comes with being so firmly attached like a loaded colostomy bag to one of the biggest corporations on earth. With gigantic market share comes gigantic hubris, arrogance and sociopathic disregard for the needs of your authors and their readers. Your managers and executives are called out time and again for their pettiness, vindictiveness, cluelessness, incompetence and sheer laziness. You spend all your time, according to your staff, sitting on your fat asses at meetings and those who work under you have to psych themselves up before showing up for work because you have unapologetically set up a merciless sweat shop that employs almost no one but low-paid, badly-trained temps.
As a professional novelist who has to do scrupulous research on his subjects, it should come as no surprise to you that with a few mouse clicks I have been able to find out how horrible a place Create Space is to both work in and do business with.
Sometimes I wonder if Jeff Bezos knows or even cares about the idiots, sociopaths and untrained foreigners he has working for one of his biggest offshoot companies. On the offchance he’d like to know and to take some proactive steps, it’s only a matter of time before my researching skills find a way to reach him and let him know just how dysfunctionally this company’s being run from executive management on down. And as a blogger and someone with a significant marketing platform that includes a largely-inclusive online and social networking presence, I will let everyone I can possibly reach know just how horrible it often it is to deal with CS.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Why Kevin D. Williamson is Too Dumb to Write

     Let me make some disclosures, ones that may upset some of my liberal readers (all five of them). But I make them because I'm no longer young enough to care what people think about my positions. I am what I am and you can take me or leave me. I was never so obsessed with the zeitgeist to give a shit one way or the other about fashion or political correctness and to fall into the perennial trap of trying to please everyone at once..
     One of the things about me is that I am very conservative in certain areas. I do not believe in flag burning. I think defining that as free speech was as egregious a mistake as the latter day SCOTUS defining corporate cash as free speech. Men and women died to protect the ideal that flag represents, which are the ideals of a nation, never that of a government.
     Another one of my conservative beliefs is my staunch opposition to abortion. My technically Roman Catholic nuclear family was never that wild about religion, not much had rubbed off on me, a person who's been an atheist for a half a century. That is, except for the sanctity of life. I never could even begin to embrace the fact that an innocent fetus has to die because its mother made a poor judgment call or was brought into being because its father was a rapist. In most cases, adoption is a preferable alternative.
     Having said that, I also acknowledge that a woman has the right to do with her body as she sees fit and there seems to be no common ground between the child's right to live and a woman's sovereign right to her own body. If I were King of the World, would I ban abortion? Absolutely not. And there are scenarios in which termination of a pregnancy is not only wise, it's sometimes necessary.
     Abortion seems to be the focus of Kevin Williamson's latest opus in the pages of the National Review, a right wing rag that, even in its so-called intellectual heyday was, at best, a bastion of leather chair-bound, pipe-sucking right wing clubber elitists snuffling their pseudo-intellectual credos in a neverending quest to justify selfishness. It was essentially Playboy without the funny cartoons or nude women.
     However, in the last couple of decades the magazine has undergone a noticeable decline not only in quality but in sanity. And the very fact that the NR insists on employing an unreadable, fascist hack like Kevin Williamson should be enough to make William F. Buckley pinch the bridge of his nose and compel his semi-recumbent ghost to chase the miscreants who work there to the very gates of Hell and beyond.
     Now, allow me one more brief digression by way of illustrating that I am not the hide-bound liberal some may think I am and that this screed is not the product of kneejerk reactionism or liberal bias (which wouldn't make me any less right). As stated above, I've always been contemptuous of the diktats of fashion, political correctness and the herd mentality and that includes the real focus of Williamson's bitter screed, "Five Reasons Why You're Too Dumb To Vote": Lena Dunham.
     As stated before in the pages of this forum, I do not see any reason for Lena Dunham's existence on the planet earth. As with the fly and dandelions, I do not know why is she is here. She is a little air-headed twit who, as I'd said, "Put $3.6 million of pennies on the eyes of Western culture" for a solipsistic book. She used her show business connections and mommy's influence to break every submissions protocol in the publishing business by disseminating a 60 page book proposal, accessing people in the business from whom the rest of us unwashed beggars are ordinarily barred.
     Having said that, Williamson seems unhealthily obsessed with Lena Dunham in much the same way that Rush Limbaugh is obsessed with Michelle Obama. To paraphrase Charles Krauthammer, let's call it, "Dunham Derangement Syndrome."
     While I haven't the slightest amount of respect for her, if she wants to take to the internet and remind her readership to go out and vote this November, I haven't a problem with that. She's right. You should go out and vote on November 4th.
     But Kevin Williamson has a problem with that because, darn it, those 20-something Millennials have a habit of voting Democrats and liberal and we can't have that. Therefore, concludes Williamson, if you vote Democrat, you're too dumb to vote. In fact, as he says at the end of his screed,
If you get your politics from actors and your news from television comedians — you should not vote. There’s no shame in it, your vote is statistically unlikely to affect the outcome of an election...    
     Let's just set aside for a moment the inherent stupidity and ignorance of such a statement and focus on the bigger picture painted in fecal matter upon Williamson's wall: If you read Lena Dunham, you exist solely to serve as a cash cow for "a gang of abortion profiteers." But it gets a lot worse. When challenged in the comment section by a reader on his extreme views, he said that, while he opposes capital punishment, women who get abortions ought to be hanged. Yes he actually said that and on Twitter before he deleted it.
     No word, yet, on whether his leniency regarding capital crimes and capital punishment would be extended to men who rape little girls and woman who are then forced to have an abortion because they may have a problem with having their lives dramatically altered by being the only mother in their Middle School.
     After a few barely coherent paragraphs of "Dunham Derangement Syndrome" posing as ersatz intellectual puffery, our wouldbe David fucking Brooks then takes hypocrisy to new, unimagined heights when he writes,
there are many much more meaningful ways to serve your country and your fellow man: Volunteer at a homeless shelter; join the Marine Corps; become a nun; start a business.

     All of which being, we can reasonably conjecture, things never once attempted by Kevin "D for Douchebag" Williamson.
     It ought to be mentioned that Williamson, believe it or not, is not some fringe lunatic chewing off his hindleg from behind a shitty little byline at NR or the Moonie Times or Breitbart's online convection ovens. Williamson is a frequent contributor at Fox "News" (see lead picture) and seems to represent the mainstream conservatism.
     So the next time some right wing gas bag screams in your face that there's no war on women, just remember this asswipe who called for the hanging of woman who get abortions, which is part and parcel to extreme radical right wing eliminationist rhetoric designed to scare and intimidate rather than debate and educate.

Friday, September 19, 2014

In the Interests of Fair Play...

...a little pre-Election Day warning to the Republican Party.

Uh, Yeah. We Got Nothing.

 
      The midterms in this day and age are, as the Republican Party capably proves every other year, a mere dress rehearsal for the real lunacy to come in the general elections. Every election cycle, we see the GOP trying to rebrand itself as something that it is not because the cynical Republican bean counters have some reptilian glimmer of recognition that this is what a large section of the electorate wants.
     So we hear the same ridiculous denunciations that there's a War on Women or a War on Teh Gays or on Brown People. We see the same tired, half-hearted minority outreach programs such as the one at the last clown convention at the Gaylord Hotel (aka CPAC). But a man missing an eye with an inch-thick cataract in the other can see this is the Red Riding Hood Syndrome.
     The crimson red Republican Party tries to fool the red state voters into thinking they're not the wolf but just kind old Granny who's actually moldering in the woodshed out back, with lupine bites taken out of her withered corpse. Sure, just hand over that basket filled with campaign contributions and ballots and try not to pay attention to the fact that my eyes and teeth are bigger than usual. See, I'm wearing my granny bonnet.
     Except, unlike little Red Riding Hood, these poor hapless, dumb bastards never catch on despite the fact the wolf keeps revealing its true nature time and again. To use a more modern analogy, they're like Bart Simpson who keeps getting shocked by his sister Lisa's psychology experiment because that electrified cupcake is soooo seductive.
     And like the scorpion and the frog, the GOP just can't help themselves any more than any of us can change our genetic code. And the apologies, denunciations, counter charges of partisan bias, excuses, et al sound so alike they're predictable.
     But still, the pathetic attempts at rebranding, the donning of granny's bonnet, continue while they forlornly look back on the last election and wonder where they went wrong. You don't have to be Nate Silver to know the only reason the GOP held on to the House in 2012 was because of their merciless, ridiculous gerrymandering. They lost seats in both chambers in the last General Election in which the President carried all but one battleground state. Trickery that's being disallowed in one court after another is the only reason, and I mean the only reason the GOP still holds the House.
     And now we're hearing pollsters saying that the Republicans have a great chance at not only retaining the House but also taking the Senate. These would be the same folks who told us until Election Night 2012 that Obama and Romney were running neck and neck and the same folks who told us on Election Night 2008 that Senator McCain had the edge over Senator Obama.
     The American people, by and large, are simply the stupidest, most willfully ignorant and intellectually laziest vermin that ever slithered across the face of the earth. But like the dog repeatedly fed cauliflower instead of the piece of meat tantalizingly quivered over its nose, eventually even the sheep who vote Republican are going to dimly realize that voting Republican every two, four and six years hasn't really done shit for them, that blaming liberals for everything going wrong in their lives doesn't really wash since they don't have any liberal elected officials. Eventually, they're just going to walk away from the cupcake.
     And knowing they got nothing, they keep trotting out the same old losers. Now they're trying to get Romney to run for a third time since it's guaranteed the black guy won't kick his ass again. Despite an alarmingly consistent track record of simply not catching on with the voters, we hear every four years the same old names: Romney, Santorum, Palin. Can Pawlenty and Newt be far behind?
     And the GOP establishment knows they can't do better than them and they keep gnoshing on those tired, flaccid Republican penises like an 80 year-old toothless Albanian woman gamely working on a giant marshmallow. If it wasn't for this manufactured hatred of liberals and Democrats, not a single Republican would be on Capitol Hill and they know it. People don't vote for Republicans as much as they vote against liberals and Democrats.
     A recent survey states that there are 20,000,000 or more registered Democratic voters than there are Republicans. Add to the mix the Independent voters who haven't completely lost their fucking minds and that just pumps up the wattage with which we can fry the GOP for good this election cycle. Because you can count on these psychopaths to alienate the few women, gays and minorities they have in their ranks with the occasional Twitter or Facebook post or campaign speech or TV or radio interview.
     And the bottom line is they want to drag us back to not even the 19th century but the 18th, back to when nobody but rich white men had the vote and slavery was considered necessary and children worked in sweat shops and stuffed in peoples' chimneys. But one thing they forget as they try to drag us back into the 18th century:
     The 18th century was also the age of revolution and the guillotine. And, however complacent and lazy a people may get, eventually they will wake up and realize the status quo simply isn't working for them.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Open Thread: ISIS Worship edition

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Good Times at Pottersville, 9/13/14

Friday, September 12, 2014

Good Times at Pottersville, 9/12/14

Thursday, September 11, 2014

WTF Happened on 9/11?

     It's a perfectly legitimate question, even if it's somewhat rhetorical. Of course, we know what happened 13 years ago today. Three towers in the World Trade Center complex were pulled, a projectile struck the Pentagon and as for Shanksville, Pennsylvania... well, we know something landed in Shanksville but it damned sure wasn't Flight 93.
     So, it's been well-established that the financial and military nerve centers of our nation were successfully attacked by extremists. So the questions we should continue asking ourselves, and each other, is, "Which extremists pulled it off?"
     We're fast losing sight in the mists of history of the basic facts that simply do not jibe with the narrative, so many, in fact, you could literally write a book about it. Among them is the power down in the South Tower on September 8-9, 2001 that essentially crippled security there from the 50th floor on up. This included the electronically locked doors to security areas, cameras, and so forth. Who were the "engineers" in overalls who were swarming the south tower during this time?
     And why was Marvin Bush's business meeting on 9/11 abruptly moved from the World Trade Center to the Millennium Hotel across the street? That would be the same Marvin Bush, brother of George W. Bush, whose company had a security contract for the World Trade Center up until the day before the "terrorist" attacks. Why did the Bulgarians working in the WTC get a phone call the night before and told not to show up for work?
     And why, according to Susan Lindauer's high-ranking State Department official, were unmarked vans pulling in and out of the WTC complex at all odd hours of the night just a week and a half to two weeks before the event and what happened to the security footage that would've shown them? Why were the bomb-sniffing dogs pulled during this time?
     Why were the doors leading to the roofs locked and why, in a scene reminiscent of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, did security guards tell people WTC2 was secure and to "Go back to your desks?" Since when does building security have the right to tell people in the private sector to get back to work?
     And why was there clear evidence of thermate, essentially thermite with a sulfur kicker, to create an unimaginably hot exothermic reaction that can vaporize galvanized steel (which is what happened)? Thermate, by the way, is patented with the Department of Defense, meaning it's extremely unlikely that a bunch of Islamic militants in a cave 6000 miles away would've been able to get their hands on materiel used exclusively by the Pentagon.
     The execution of the attack was flawless. It was the coverup afterwards that left much to be desired.
     By now, we've all heard of the Bush administration trying not once but twice to block the formation of a 9/11 Commission and when they'd finally relented, Bush tried to pull a fast one and have installed as its chairman Nixon-era war criminal Henry Kissinger. And it would've happened, too, if it wasn't for the Jersey Girls turning up his company's connections to the bin Laden family.
     Then, when Bush was finally called before the Commission, he refused to do so unless he was joined at the hip by Dick Cheney, with the press barred from attending a taxpayer funded proceeding and the Commission forbidden from asking Bush or Cheney questions of any substance.
     Much information that should've been registered with the Commission and the NY Port Authority never was (including the power down on 9/8-9, which the Port Authority still denies to this day). Many witnesses with valuable information to impart were never called to testify. No mention was ever made of Israel's and Mossad's part, the dancing Israelis who were briefly detained by the NYPD on 9/11. No explanation given as to why Mayor Rudy was in such a huge hurry to cart off the rubble from the Twin Towers before it could be forensically examined.
     Despite there being no possibility of witnesses on either aircraft that flew into both towers, the FBI already had a poster of all 19 hijackers with their photographs and a pristine passport for one of them found a few blocks away. Who cared that a full half of them were still alive and had no connection to terrorist activity?
     All we know is the aftermath. Many already obscenely rich people like Larry Silverstein, the WTC's owner, and Dick Cheney became much more obscenely wealthy in the wake of 9/11. Widows, widowers, children, siblings and other loved ones were left in the dark and told not to ask too many questions. Many first responders, using inadequate or outdated equipment, gave their health and, in some cases, their lives. Then Republicans blocked medical coverage for these people, saying we could afford trillions to war profiteers after we'd invaded two nations that had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11 but we can't afford your inhalers that you can get in Cuba for a $1 each.
     So, yeah, the United States government is great at pulling off crimes against humanity but totally suck at the coverup part. They leave too many loose ends and I've given you just a handful of them.
     Far be it for me to indulge in conspiracy theories. But when you add up all the facts and scratch them against the squishy official narrative, a thinking person can't help but come to the conclusion that the setting up of the towers, diverting of air traffic and the staging of crash sites (Shanksville) was carried out by people at the government level.
     And that just doesn't include a few bearded terrorists in the caves of Afghanistan 6000 miles away.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Fuller Brush Off

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan. on loan from Ari.)
"I reached this difficult decision after consulting with my family, and deciding that it was in everyone's best interests to put this incident behind us." - Judge Mark Fuller, through his lawyer on his "difficult decision" to evade justice for beating his wife.

     On the same day Michael Brown was getting shot six times for Holding Up His Hands While Black, a white man was savagely beating and kicking his wife in a hotel room at the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta. According to the police report,
“Immediately upon entering the room, there was a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the room,” the officer noted. He found Fuller lying in bed. There was broken glass next to the night stand and strands of hair on the floor next to the bed. Fuller’s wife told police officers that the assault followed an argument about “issues in their marriage.” The wife explained that she accused Fuller of having an affair with his law clerk. She said Fuller pulled her hair, threw her to the ground and kicked her. She told police that Fuller dragged her around the room and struck her in the mouth several times with his hands. When police asked Fuller how his wife got her injuries, he told them that his wife attacked him after their argument about marital infidelity. He told officers he was in bed watching CNN and she came into the room making accusations. Fuller said his wife threw a glass at him. Fuller said he grabbed his wife’s hair “to defend himself.” “When asked about the lacerations on her mouth, Mr. Fuller stated that he just threw her to the ground and that was it,” the report says. Police later discovered blood in the bathroom on the tub. Fuller did not have any marks or bruises, the officer noted. After medical personnel arrived, they noted additional bruises on his wife’s legs.
     There's a lot to take away from that largely paraphrased police report. The place reeked of booze, there was broken glass everywhere. There was blood in the bathroom. And loose hair.
     Yes, I said loose hair.
     And it was all the victim's fault, according to her own assailant who was resting comfortably on the bed when police arrived.
     What makes this particular domestic violence incident noteworthy was not merely that it involved a white man but a powerful white man named Mark Fuller, a federal judge installed by George W. Bush and eight years ago was the right wing judge who'd presided over the Don Siegelman/Richard Scrushy trial that sent those two men to prison.
     Well, four days ago, Judge Fuller reached the difficult decision to opt out of being fully prosecuted for domestic violence so he could have his cases diverted while attending once a week counseling sessions for domestic violence for 24 weeks. In other words, His Honor courageously confronted his addiction to beating women during this glorified intervention by taking the Affluenza way out.
     By the way, far from being the one time offense that Fuller and his shyster are making this out to be, less than two and a half years ago, on May 10, 2012, Fuller's first wife filed for divorce, citing the following crimes:
(D)omestic abuse, extramarital affairs, driving under the influence, abuse of prescription medications, and more.
     Fuller's lawyers requested the records be sealed. The judge actually agreed, even though divorce records are generally open to the public.
     Because, you know, white.

"I'm the Victim in all this!"
     Nowhere in the countless articles I've read about the Fuller arrest that's only making national headlines one month to the day after the original incident have I heard even the slightest mention of justice for his wife, the other victim in all this. The overwhelming impression one takes away on reading these accounts is of a privileged white man in a powerful position on the federal judiciary who feels he can get away with whatever he pleases while accepting no accountability and lying to law enforcement about his crimes.
     This is a picture of a serial wife beater and philanderer, a one man crime wave who was called on infidelity by his first wife (probably involving the later second wife) and got beaten for confronting him. The second wife got beaten a month ago for calling him on his infidelity with his law clerk (wife #3?). Yet, what did Fuller's shyster Barry Ragsdale have the gall to say in court?
     "He doesn't have a drug or alcohol problem and never has."
     Note that the judge fell for it because in the pre-trial diversion, Fuller was sentenced to 24 weeks in a program for spousal abusers by a private counseling service (That's right. Not even one in the public sector but the private sector), not a treatment program for what's an established history of alcohol and drug abuse.
     It goes without saying that Fuller's a Republican since he was appointed by W to the federal judiciary. But one doesn't even need to know that to unerringly come to the conclusion that Fuller's a right wing nut job of the first magnitude for his statements to the police, to the court, to the media and his entire attitude. He attempted to minimize his crimes, blamed his wife for assaulting him and then had the chutzpah to act as if it was a supreme sacrifice and act of courage to duck the law by going into 6 months of private counseling sessions while he enjoys a paid vacation.
     No doubt, he'll be allowed to sleaze his way back on the bench after his six month paid vacation so he can dispense to others the same justice he himself has evaded time and again for the same heinous crimes and without his substance abuse problems even being seriously addressed, much less treated.

"You're all out of order!"
     One of America's, and the far right's, greatest failings is in not recognizing disturbing patterns. We tend to treat domestic violence, spousal abuse, white privilege, racial profiling and police brutality as mere isolated incidents, unconnected dots that draw no picture although the resolution of these pictures is getting clearer and clearer with each day. It's one thing to connect the dots. It's another thing when there are so many of them, they can draw a picture without conscious attempts at connectivity.
     Time and again, we hear of white people marching through stores with machine guns, even threatening people at Little League games, without even being asked to leave. Yet time and again, we hear of police gunning down unarmed black men and justifications from our most racist elements that somehow, in some vague way, they had it coming to them.
     Time and again, we hear of black men with diminished mental capacity getting put on Death Row for crimes they didn't commit while wealthy white people evade justice by agreeing to go to private counseling sessions even after murdering four people or savagely beating their wives under the influence.
     Do you think for a minute that if Fuller was a black man from the inner city in Birmingham charged with the same exact crimes he would've been given the option of going into a lazy series of private counseling sessions? I think we all know the answer to that.
     And then there are the victims who still stick by their men and blast the media on the rare occasion it does its job. When people like Janay Palmer and the wife of David Vitter (R-Huggies) insist on remaining victims and sniping at the press, such people do a disservice to other victims of domestic violence and marital infidelity. When the system insists on keeping guys like Vitter and Fuller in power and teenaged murderers out of prison for crimes for which nonwhites often pay dearly whether they commit them or not, they do a disservice and an injustice to these victims. Just because real victims refuse to justifiably embrace their victimhood doesn't and shouldn't absolve their victimizers from legal and social comeuppance.
     But, in the words of the great Al Pacino:

 

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Puppy is Just to Get Your Attention

     Oh, don't look at me like that. I never almost never use puppies for such cynical means.
     But to get serious for a moment, this is about my Indiegogo campaign. Right now it's deader than Newt Gingrich's political career.
     Now, I've made mention of late of the ridiculous and downright cruel campaigns that have amassed anywhere from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars ranging from anti porn campaigns to one idiot that got over 50 grand for a potato salad to the two highly successful Go Fund Me campaigns set up for Darren Wilson, the racist pig who shot Michael Brown on August 9th. Turns out that wasn't the only Go Fund Me campaign set up for an asshole cop: Just yesterday, I found out Go Fund Me had, until recently, allowed a page to be set up for Daniel Holtzclaw, a former Oklahoma City cop who's been charged with raping eight African American women (I'm sure GFM still took their 5% cut from the $7,000+ that had been raised).
     Undeterred, his deluded sister set up a Facebook page for his defense fund, since Facebook hasn't discovered a way to monetize that and, as with Darren Wilson's racist friends, they too are selling tee shirts.

     The point I'm making is that hundreds of thousands have been raised this past year alone for racists, killers, rapists and con artists who lied about getting stiffed on a tip and fabricated evidence for that claim to women lying about their kids having cancer to get sympathy bucks. (Yeah, there's been more than one in the last couple of years, believe it or not.)
     So, yeah, I guess I'm as bad as them for using a puppy but at least I didn't say he has cancer.
     All told, these killers and con artists had raked in countless hundreds of thousands of dollars and these people are the dregs of society, to put it charitably because they were able to make their lies and crimes tap into deep, rich veins of stupidity, ignorance and racism. In other words, the one thing they had on me was they knew how to go viral. My campaign, by contrast, has netted exactly $5. You don't believe me? Click on the link and check it out for yourself.
     The difference between the aforementioned scum and yours truly is that my book actually exists and I'm working on it even as you read this. I have a beta reader who's doing a line edit, over 130 literary agencies have seen it and an agent even invited me to resubmit it after I trimmed it down. I've contacted a voice over artist to narrate the trailer. Unlike the fictional cancer of those miscreants, Tatterdemalion exists. And I've offered some interesting incentives.
     But I guess incentives aren't good enough.
     A friend of mine emailed me last night to ask why I was still working on my novel since my Indiegogo campaign fell flatter than John Boehner on a weekend bender. Well, the campaign isn't the book any more than the wedding is the marriage. I told him that if the campaign dies an ignominious death in 43 days with just the $5, I'm going to go ahead with a scaled-down version of my marketing platform. I'm still hiring the voice over artist and I'm still going to hire publicists and take out ads when the book's ready to go to market (that is, considering it'll continue getting rejected and I'll have to go the self-publishing route).
     As with any business, the publishing biz is filled with morons and self-interested sociopaths looking for the next JK Rowling and EL James. But giving up is the only true failure and I will not die a failure. I realize, at this point, I'm tilting at windmills but so did a hapless bastard in La Mancha. I'm not going to bury my face in my hands and bitterly weep at how cruel and unjust the world is, although you and I both know it is, and give up when I'm so close to finishing this book.
     So, if I have to spend my dwindling funds that are currently earmarked for rent and our other bills, then so be it. That's how much I believe in Tatterdemalion. But I could really use some more help. And it drives me crazy that racist killers and con artists get exponentially more money than me when all I'm trying to do is bring something positive to the world and make myself more self-sufficient. Doesn't it drive you nuts, too?
     Ergo, if you've already contributed to Pottersville within the last month or so, don't worry about it. But if you're a regular reader who hasn't or one of my erstwhile readers from NBC Universal or the various financial groups, law firms and Ivy League colleges and universities that surf in here on a fairly regular basis, you may want to consider unprying a few shekels and taking advantage of my incentives.

Friday, September 5, 2014

The (Better) Half Has Never Been Told: A book review by Cyril Blubberpuss, Esq

     Since the golf ball cleaner on the links was busted and I was waiting for my caddy to suck my Titleists clean, I was thinking about a book I'd read recently by some liberal named Edward Baptist. It's called, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Now, as if that wasn't a provocative enough title with its call for class warfare, it seems as if the limp-wristed Economist, which published a review of the book, has pulled it under some politically correct liberal faux outrage.
     The libs, most of them coming from Crooks and Liars (including a couple of comments from the left wing loon who runs this dump), are outraged that the Economist's anonymous reviewer rightly asked for both sides to be heard. No doubt, if any of the white slave owners who employed these sons of the soil were still around, they'd give a different perspective of the entire issue of so-called "slavery".
     For instance, they'd be quick to add that they were not the ones who'd gone to the Dark Continent and earnestly persuaded the blacks to leave their ancestral homeland for the honor of toiling on our cotton fields to prop up what would soon become the most powerful economy on earth. In fact, the plantation owners who'd graciously employed them paid dearly out of their own pockets to give these people steady jobs and help them achieve the American Dream. And I'm sure tearing their families apart on the auction block cost their masters dearly in man hours as the ungrateful new immigrants screamed and gnashed their white teeth when they should've shown some damned professionalism by starting their new jobs.
     I'm sure, if they were still around to defend themselves, some of the overseers would tell us of how difficult their jobs were and how they were forced to "motivate" the slower, lazier people, including women who had given birth in the cotton fields just minutes before, with their bullwhips. They would say what a moral sacrifice they'd made by having sex with these women so their children would be whiter and given faster access to the aforementioned American Dream.
     I haven't a doubt, if we could interview them, that these Southern Captains of Industry would give a more fair and balanced account of how they'd fed and housed these people for four centuries and even went to war and sacrificed over 300,000 of their dearest blood for the right to continue giving work to people who otherwise would've been frittering away their time in Africa dancing the Watusi and piercing their noses. If it wasn't for so-called slavery, there would be no Black History Month, no NAACP and no Aunt Jemima pancake mix.
     So, in the interests of fairness, it is vitally important the Economist reinstate the review with its author's call for some parity. No doubt, if Mr. Baptist chooses to write a book about the Holocaust, he'll "conveniently" leave out the perspective of the prison guards and Commandants who also gave the Jews steady work for the glory of the Free Market.

Blame Jack

     (Editor's note: Blame Jack the Ripper. Blame literary agent Philip Spitzer for being arrogant enough to think he can inform me through his flunky that I need to trim 100,000 words from my novel just to please him. Or you can blame me for my verbosity in drafting a quarter of a million word monstrosity last year. Either way, I'm fast running out of pages and I still have 20,000+ words to delete from my novel, and that's a compromise of 50,000 words. So please enjoy the most notorious examples of my alleged wit and wisdom from my last couple of weeks on Twitter.)


















Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rosemary's Baby

     About four weeks ago in his byline here, Mike Flannigan opined that we've become so wearied by and used to corruption, we can no longer be trusted to identify it and respond appropriately to it. I will add here and now that not only is that true, we're outraged by the most ridiculous things and are led astray as easily as a pod of whales inexplicably beaching themselves. No one knows why it happens. It just does.
     Even the so-called "liberal media", that Goldstein of American journalism that doesn't exist any more than unicorns and ethical Republicans, doesn't think there's anything to the Rick Perry indictment. And most of the people we're listening to, including that punchline of jurisprudence, Fox's Judge Pirro, haven't even read the two page indictment neatly summing up the two counts against Rick Perry.
     Even David Axelrod, a vicious partisan prick and psychodelic bozo on the best of days, blew off the indictment on his Twitter account, which was enough to make headlines and start the echo chamber. The Perry indictment has already been tried in the court of public opinion and dismissed as partisan hackery and Texas politics as usual. Despite the usual paranoid screaming about the so-called "liberal media" by those on the far right lunatic fringe, the consensus has been one quiet yawn. Compare that to the media frenzy surrounding the Clinton blow job and Don Siegelman (more on that later).
     And as usual, these well-monied and well-heeled pundits we keep trotting out onto TV sound stages like so many precious Jon Benet Ramseys are stupid, lazy, ignorant and deliberately uninformed or misinformed about the basic facts of this indictment.
     To start, Rick Perry's veto withholding $7.5 million in funding wasn't the issue at stake and a cursory read through the slender indictment itself will disabuse anyone who cares about the truth of that falsehood. Unlike the President of the United States, the Governor of Texas has line item veto powers and it was entirely within Perry's legal purview to withhold funds from the Travis County DA's office. What was illegal, however, was Perry's avowed reason for doing this: Trying to force the resignation of Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg.
     Lehmberg, as we all know, was arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced to prison for drunk driving. Perry, every bit the reformed, God-fearing drunk as his predecessor, got on his high horse and made the colossal mistake of making those $7.5 million of state funding contingent on her resignation. If he'd simply denied the Travis County DA's office the funds, he would've been out of this clean and simple. It would've been the same as a hiring manager refusing to hire someone in his 50's but just not saying why.
     Lehmberg is just one of over 300 local prosecutors in Texas. In other words, she's a local elected official, ergo a local problem. Perry's withholding of funds from Lehmberg's office being contingent on her resignation is the basis of one of the indictments. This kind of bullying at the state level is a big no no even in a fabulously corrupt and dysfunctional state such as Texas.
     There's nothing really special about the Travis County DA's office except for one little thing: It's the one that houses and controls the Public Integrity Unit, the investigatory body that polices the state government of corruption. Had Lehmberg resigned, Perry would've had the latitude to name her successor and one can only imagine how dysfunctional the PIU would've gotten after that. Think of what happened after Cameron Todd Willingham was executed for a crime he didn't commit and Perry's conduct toward the Texas Forensic Science Commission. Perry 86'd the Chairman and two others who were pushing for a new investigation. In other words, the sleazy, tried-and-true Republican tactic of installing cronies and yes men onto commissions and courts in the interests of altering reality, evading justice and serious inquiries and shaping public perception.
     Now, compare the collective yawn of the Perry indictment to the media shark attack during and after the Siegelman case over a decade ago. The Bush-era Justice Department, acting on orders from piano wire artist Karl Rove, went after Siegelman year after year until they finally removed the Democratic Alabama Governor from office. We all now know specious circumstantial evidence was brought against Siegelman and Richard Scrushy that eventually sent them to prison, They were convicted by a viciously partisan right wing judge.
     The (Republican) judge in Bexar County appointed Michael McCrum, a former HW Bush prosecutor, to be the special prosecutor. McCrum, you might remember, had been handpicked by both John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison to take over the US Attorney's Office in the Western District of Texas. So much for the hysterical bloviating from the human convection ovens on the Far Right about this being a partisan witch hunt.
     Far from this indictment being a tempest in a teapot, this could lead to much bigger things when one considers Perry's hamfisted attempt to gain control of the Public Integrity Unit by forcing Lehmberg's resignation. Compared to his other crimes for which he has not been convicted, such as the execution of an innocent man, the Perry indictment indeed pales in comparison to the legal trouble he ought to be in. Because Rick Perry executed an innocent man, called him "a wife beater", packed his own Forensics Commission with political hacks and ignored exculpatory evidence that would've saved Cameron Todd Willingham's life.
     Rick Perry should be tried, sentenced and executed for murder instead of being allowed to turn his booking and mug shot into a circus of a photo op and staggering down the Presidential campaign trail to the yawns of the "liberal media."

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Good Times at Pottersville, #22

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Good Times at Pottersville, 8/30/14


Friday, August 29, 2014

Good Times at Pottersville, 8/29/14


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Perspective

     When I got up this morning, I thought I was going to have a shitty day. Yeah, me.
     It was one of those Twilight Zone types of days, with me as Burgess Meredith sitting on the steps of a ruined library, the last man on earth, and my glasses break just as I'm about to sit down and read all the classics I never had the chance to read during my busy life. Like Mr. Bemis, it seemed as if I was the last man on earth. Except for the usual spammers, I hadn't gotten a single email either unsolicited or in response to one I'd written. I'd lost followers on Twitter, including one I was still following. No interaction to anything I'd said there, no donations yet on my Indiegogo account, no hits here, my tooth began acting up and the only thing, it seems, that didn't happen to me today was getting hit by lightning in today's storm and that was only probably because I was cowering indoors... Basically, it was the world's way of saying, "Shut the fuck up and die already."
     Fine, I said, giving the finger back to the world, with English, realizing shit like this comes in fives or tens (Shakespeare said "they come in battalions") and never stops until the sun goes down. "I fucking hate you, too, you ungrateful asshole."
     Then Mrs. JP and I are sitting at the kitchen table a half hour ago and she tells me, "Holy shit, Cousin Deirdre's dead!" Her husband found her on the floor, a sight no spouse should have to come home to see.
     I won't reveal her surname until her husband says it's OK but she was a friend of Pottersville, a friend to Barb and a friend to me. We'd go on these texting jags that would drain both our cell phones' minutes. Like Barb's big sister Susan. she'd often send three or four at a time and she'd have me in stitches. She hated Chris Christie, Mitt Romney and was a good liberal. We'd gotten into the habit of exchanging Christmas cards over the last couple of years. We'd find ones with great lead images and write our own anti-conservative captions and crack each other up again. We'd text each other after getting them and wish each other a happy holiday just to piss off Bill O'Reilly.
     We called her "Cousin Deirdre" for several reasons.
     Her untimely death (she was in her 50's, about our age) immediately shamed me. Here, I thought I was having a bad day. You make new followers on Twitter, your blog has good days as well as bad and bad teeth fall or get pulled out. No big deal.
     I've lost good friends before. The mother of my kids died 20 years ago at 30 from cancer. My friend Jerry suddenly died after plastic surgery. My friend Jackie died months after she had cerebral surgery. And it could be some of my readers and blogger friends over the past 9 years shuffled off this mortal coil without so much as a goodbye. Last June, my former future father in law, one of the finest men I ever met, passed away after a long, productive life.
     But this one feels different and it feels so fucking... wrong.
     Perhaps it's because this comes at a time in our lives when Barb and I are the most vulnerable. The closest things we have to friends right now are my two sons, whose absence far outweighs their presence (which serves me right) and the former Pinochet henchman downstairs with the karaoke machine (Deirdre would've loved hearing about him). This comes at a time when Barb and I can't afford to lose even long distance friends, especially the exceedingly few who "get" me and my style.
     Of course, this isn't about me or Barb. It's about the husband and daughter she left behind. She was the only wife and mother they had. But I can only speak for myself. And, speaking solely for myself, I give a big middle finger to the Grim Reaper and say, "You suck. Do you have to do this all the time and often without warning? Every time I lose a friend, it's always sudden like a sap to the back to the head while you're cutting through an alley shortcut or lighting a cigarette waiting for a bus or..."
     Oh and one more thing, World:
     Yeah, what I said before? That goes double: Fuck you twice as much.
     And to Deirdre: You'd better keep St. Peter honest, you hear? Don't let him get bribed at the Pearly Gates by any more Republicans.

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