If you need me on May 1st-

Don’t call my office.

Pro-immigration activists say a national boycott and marches planned for May 1 will flood U.S. streets with millions of Latinos to demand amnesty for illegal immigrants and shake the ground under Congress as it debates reform.

Such a massive turnout could make for the largest protests since the civil rights era of the 1960s, though not all Latinos — nor their leaders — were comfortable with such militancy, fearing a backlash in Middle America.

“There will be 2 to 3 million people hitting the streets in Los Angeles alone. We’re going to close down Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Tucson, Phoenix, Fresno,” said Jorge Rodriguez, a union official who helped organize earlier rallies credited with rattling Congress as it debates the issue.

It’s not just ‘Day Without a Mexican’ Day, it’s a Solidarity Day, too. You’re either for working people or you’re against us, even if you are a working person.

Who’s with me?

I am going to go and dig up the garden…

Because, clearly I have planted way too early.

It’s starting to look A LOT like Christmas:

This just in:

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former Republican Party chairman, arranged the startup financing for a GOP telemarketing company implicated in two criminal cases involving election dirty tricks.
. . . Barbour’s investment company arranged a quarter-million dollar loan to GOP Marketplace in 2000 and also gave a promotional plug to the telemarketer several months later.

. . . According to [an] operating agreement, the loan gave the investors a stake in the company.

Does that mean Barbour profited off the dirty tricks campaigns?

Also interesting: The company’s founder, Allen Raymond, once worked for Barbour at the Republican National Committee, according to the AP article. Raymond’s now serving a three-month prison term for jamming phones in New Hampshire on election day 2002.

And, y’know, there’s still Patrick Fitzgerald hanging around DC, taking testimony from Karl Rove…. Billmon thinks Karl is appearing before the Grand Jury to (ahem) clear a few things up, or, in less ambiguous terms, rat out everyone else in the Veep’s Office…

But embarrassing the vice president isn’t in Fitzgerald’s brief and a battle over the executive branch’s constitutional power to declassify secrets in whatever way it sees fit probably isn’t one he would care to fight. If Fitz wants to go after Cheney, he needs something a little more down to earth — like obstruction of justice, conspiracy to obstruct justice, etc.

Whether Karl can give him these things is another story, one that has yet to be told. Like I said, this may all still be about getting Scooter (although Libby could also just be a rest stop on the road to Cheneyville). But if Fitz decides to let Rove off, or taps him lightly on the wrist, in order to get what he thinks he needs to prosecute the foulest son of a bitch to inhabit the vice president’s office since Spiro Agnew copped a plea, then all I can say is more power to him.

Update 11:00 PM ET:

Karl Rove has described his three and a half hour meeting with a grand jury as grueling, and is more worried about being prosecuted than ever, MSNBC is reporting.

The movie is The French Connection, and the scene is the one in which Popeye Doyle and his partner bust into a junkie bar, looking for a lead on the big shipment that’s supposed to be hitting town. They rough up the regulars a bit, then Doyle picks one out and takes him back to the men’s room — for what we assume will be a private skull cracking session. But, when the door closes, we learn that the junkie is actually a snitch. Doyle finds out what the guy knows, and then, as he’s getting ready to leave, asks him: “OK, where do you want it?” The junkie points to his eye and Doyle slugs him — hard enough to draw blood. So the others won’t get suspicious, you see.

It looks to me like Karl is showing off his bruises.

Well, if the last 24 hours aren’t enough to snap a guy out of his blogging funk, then NOTHING is.

From your lips to god’s ears….

Oh, my my my my my….

Digby …. oh, my… I don’t even know what to say….

Ken Silverstein at Harper’s blog describes the parties:

As to the festivities themselves, I hear that party nights began early with poker games and degenerated into what the source described as a “frat party” scene—real bacchanals. Apparently photographs were taken, and investigators are anxiously procuring copies.

My, my, my.

But there’s more to it than that. Remember what we have all heard about old Duke:

What you won’t read about in these mainstream press accounts is the other double life led by the closet case, Duke, the anti-gay conservative.

Cunningham, who is married with grown children, has admitted to romantic, loving relationships with men, both during his Vietnam military service and as a civilian. That was the remarkable story that this publication reported two years ago, when Elizabeth Birch, the former Human Rights Campaign leader, inadvertently outed Cunningham at a gay rights forum.

Birch never mentioned Cunningham’s name, but she talked about a rabidly anti-gay congressman who asked to meet privately with her in the midst of a controversy over his use in a speech on the floor of the House the term “homos” to describe gays who have served in the military.

Alone with Birch and an HRC staffer, the unnamed congressman shared that he had loved men during his life. In telling the story, Birch offered up a few too many details about the closeted congressman.

A few Google searches later, the Blade reported that it had to be Cunningham, whose career was pockmarked with bizarre gay pronouncements, including a reference to the rectal treatment he received for prostate cancer, something he told an audience “was just not natural, unless maybe you’re Barney Frank.”

There’s every reason to believe Birch’s inadvertent outing, even as Cunningham denied it through a spokesperson.

This is, after all, a man without principles, who could “love men” in private, all the while condemning gays in speeches and in congressional votes. Little surprise that he could live a second double life, in which he sold those unprincipled votes to the highest bidder

The Dukestir and Porter Goss can hire Jimmy Jeff Gannon and perform a country version of “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair” in the House gym for all I care. But the massive fraud and corruption involved are unacceptable. If the Dukestir takes Goss down it would be a beautiful bit of poetic justice. I have a feeling that there are plenty of people at the CIA who will be happy to help the FBI with anything they might need to prove that case.

as the Poor Man sez:

Oh Great and All-Powerful Divinity(s), Whose with the merest Breath of His Word created All That Is, Was, and Ever Shall Be – please, please, please let the name of one of these contractor-supplied hookers be “Jeff Gannon“.

Spectacular. What a colossal and HIGHLY entertaining mess this is turning into. Thank you, Jebus. Really. THANK YOU…

SPLAT!

Oh, this is gonna blow up real good….

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether two contractors implicated in the bribery of former Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham supplied him with prostitutes and free use of a limousine and hotel suites, pursuing evidence that could broaden their long-running inquiry.

Besides scrutinizing the prostitution scheme for evidence that might implicate contractor Brent Wilkes, investigators are focusing on whether any other members of Congress, or their staffs, may also have used the same free services, though it isn’t clear whether investigators have turned up anything to implicate others.

In recent weeks, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have fanned out across Washington, interviewing women from escort services, potential witnesses and others who may have been involved in the arrangement. In an interview, the assistant general manager of the Watergate Hotel confirmed that federal investigators had requested, and been given, records relating to the investigation and rooms in the hotel.

Hookers, hotels, limousines and crooked politicians.

SWEET.

(via TPM.)

Billmon the sharpshooter…

in response to the fairly ridiculous “Five-Point Plan” from the President’s new Chief of Staff that was featured in Time Magazine last week:

It looks to me like the only “five point” plan that could possibly revive Shrub’s political fortunes is the star on the end of Tinkerbell’s little wand.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzing, POW!

The double triple life

Yesterday I worked a full day, went home and did as much work for the fruit trees and the garden as the rain would allow, and then went to Music Hates You practice, where I played drums so hard that I put the bass drum beater through the bass drum head. Bass drum heads are made of mylar- a petroleum-based plastic (aren’t most plastics petroleum based?) film similar to kevlar, the stuff they make bullet proof vests out of. It’s unusual to break one. What’s really remarkable is that this is the third or fourth time it’s happened in my twenty years of drumming.

Then I went to Casa eponymous, where he and I tried to figure out how to take over the world(‘s media).

Sleep? I jammed a couple hours of it in there somewhere.

I’m not a workaholic. I can quit any time I want.

Bored with everything but the garden

Sorry, everyone, but I am really channeling all of my energy into growing stuff. The President seems to have found himself a bobsled team to Hell without any help from me, so I am out in the yard getting sunburned.

Yesterday I spent an inordinate about of time cleaning and reassembling the carburetor on my Husqvarna weed-wacker thing. I got it second-hand last year, ran it for a couple of days, then threw it into the garage for the winter. I know I should have put some fuel stabilizer in it, but I didn’t because I thought I would use it again, for sure. I didn’t, and when I disassembled it yesterday, I discovered that I should have checked for an air filter before I ran it last summer, since the previous owner apparently didn’t think having an air filter on his weed wacker was a priority.

I drained the bad gas out, disassembled the carb and doused the thing in carb cleaner, only getting some in my eye twice. (Good thing the watering hose was nearby.)

After an hour of tinkering, I got the thing to fire, albeit reluctantly. Once it was running, it sputtered, I tinkered with the choke and the throttle until I found a happy medium and I managed to cut the grass away from the grape arbor, the blueberries and the baby basil.

That’s how I am spending my time.

As luck would have it, I ran into the previous owner when I was out last night, and told him about my struggle with the tool he sold me, and he told me “Well, it’s bound to be crabby, it’s 18 years old.”

Shit, if I had known it was almost old enough to buy its own beer, I might have given up on it!

I never got carb cleaner in my eye whilst blogging, but I also never felt a need to punch Jeff Goldstein whilst shoveling manure. Which is not to say that a truckload of shit didn’t make me think of the guy…. but it passed.

Are people really this stupid?

Someone put a freakin’ TV in the breakroom here at work. Since I don’t spend much time in there except to buy Nekots or peanuts from the vending machine, then it hasn’t really affected my life all that much. I don’t have a TV at home, so I am hardly EVER exposed to commercials.

Today, I was buying peanuts, and there was a commercial blaring in my right ear. It was for some SUV or another, and the tagline was “I’d rather be…”

There were voiceovers of people saying “I’d rather be hiking,” and “I’d rather be kayaking,” and “I’d rather be camping…” and then loving shots of this big, shiny SUV tearing down some US Forest Service road alternating with shots of some guy flying off a waterfall in his kayak.

People are smart enough to know that buying a new SUV means that they aren’t going to be spending their time in the woods, right? They know that it means more time spent at work making enough money to pay for the thing, right?

I mean, I used to work in outdoor retail. I know that folks buy outdoor gear to make themselves feel better about spending so much time at work. Go to REI any Saturday and notice that the people who are in REI are there…. ON A SATURDAY.

REI!=woods.

Most of the people who I know that actually fish, camp, hike and kayak drive vehicles that look like this.

Someone help me out here. Are people really stupid enough to think that buying a new SUV will help them camp more?

doing battle with your health insurance provider

We have the best healthcare in the world here in the United States… if you’re training to be a ninja and need to practice your ultimate fighting techinique.

Angry Old Broad is doing battle with the goons at her insurance company. She mentioned it on the Alternate Brain today:

I hate insurance companies.While I’m dealing with a traumatized kid(it took me almost an hour yesterday to get him to stop crying hysterically before I could even take him home from school.And even then,there were several more times yesterday where the poor little guy just fell all to pieces)I should NOT have to contend with all this insurance bullshit.WTF are we paying all these premiums for if the insurance company makes thngs more difficult than they should ever be?This is yet another example as to why we need a national,SIMPLE healthcare plan.Seems to me that it really shouldn’t matter what doctor or dentist one goes to,just that you go to someone who is qualified and does a good job.

I responded in the comments:

you have my deepest sympathy. The missus and I have been battling the insurance company (who get about $14k a year from me and my employer) to get my torn rotator cuff fixed. Still not sleeping very well at night because of the pain.

Here are some things we have learned when dealing with insurance companies:

1. Document EVERY call. Date, time, who you’re speaking with, EVERYTHING that you discuss.

2. Make an org chart if you can. When someone says “I am going to transfer you to my boss,” then draw a little box around their name on the chart, draw a line up, and write their boss’ name down in a new box. It took Mrs. Dog about a week to figure out who worked for whom and what their hours were(!) at our insurance company. Now when someone says “Well, I don’t know if you’re covered for that,” Mrs. Dog shoots back, “Well, your boss, Janet Smith, said we were last week at 9:25 am on Tuesday April 18th.” You’d be amazed what happens when you do this.

3. Every state has an insurance commission, I think. Here is a link to the various state insurance commissions. These are the people whose job it is to provide oversight of the insurance companies operating in your state. If you have a complaint, you can go to them and get a case manager. It’s nice to be able to say “I wonder how [your insurance commissioner]’s office would rate the service you’re giving me” to someone at your insurance company.

4. Finally, hang in there. They make plenty of money. Your new job is to make sure they cover you and pay you some of it back. It’s a war, but it’s winnable.

Anyone who has more tips, please email me since at some point, everyone gets sick. We need to make a bible for battling the insurance companies. Oh… maybe a Wiki….