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The whole Immigration Debate August 31, 2008

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Today the Providence Journal had an article about a man from Guatemala who came here to RI, was here for over 25 years and only got caught when the governors goon squad raided the state courthouses and arrested the cleaning crews.

It got me to thinking. The guy has been here for so long, paid taxes, raised a family, in general he’s done what every citizen usually does. He does the jobs that we won’t do, or don’t want to do. And this is our way of thanking him.

I was talking to a guy at the bus stop today and he brought up the immigration subject. I told him that we’re placing the blame on the wrong people. I explained that the prime beneficiaries of immigrant labor are businesses and they pay off the politicians to turn a blind eye to shoddy employment practices. I could tell he was interested, because I related it to the attacks on state employees. Turns out his girlfriend works for the state and I explained that I used to and that I never would again because I don’t like being played as a scapegoat by asshole Republicans like Gobernador Don Carcieri. (Or is that Governatore???)

Not long ago the ProJo ran a series of pictures of Italian and Irish immigrants building out the natural gas distribution system in the late 19th century. I think to the fact that part of my ancestry is Italian, that if my great grandparents hadn’t migrated here back in the early 1900′s where would I be? Talk about an existential crisis. My great grandmother naturalized in 1937, my great grandfather never did.

There’s a whole history of my family that I only discovered when I was older, like the naturalization fact. I knew that both my grandfathers served during WW II, one in Europe the other in the Pacific theater. It’s funny all the stuff you find out later.

I have some memories of Grandma Vincenzina and it’s funny that even today I hear certain Italian phrases and the memory comes flooding back. It’s why watching the Soprano’s was so much fun. I got the inside references in that show for more reasons than just the linguistic stuff.

Never thought I’d find myself agreeing with a Roman Catholic Bishop but Tobin actually gets it. And I get it too, business would prefer to break the back of employees so they exploit immigrants. Nice isn’t it.

MBTA Stuff August 29, 2008

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So for the past few weeks I’ve been riding the Providence to Boston MBTA commuter. And I find myself searching out a car that has WiFi every time I ride.

Apparently MBTA is the first transit company to install WiFi on its commuter rail. I think it serves a dual purpose though since this has also happened at about the same time they rolled out the Charlie Card. I was trying to think how they could use a stored value Charlie Card on a commuter rail and then it hit me, just use a wireless device that the MBCR (Mass Bay Commuter Rail) employees can swipe the card against. The side benefit is we commuting schlubs get WiFi out of the deal.

Then from Boston I take the Red Line down to Braintree. Yes it’s a long commute but well worth it.

Anyhow here’s what I noticed. They tend to treat the older Red Line cars more gently. Those are the ones that are white with the red stripe. The newer cars are stainless steel with a red stripe at the bottom. The newer cars also have the LCD destination signs and for stop announcements there are the red LED signs and the automated voice. Interestingly that picture is taken at the station where I get off, Braintree. Both sides are used for inbound so that lower part that says “Next Train” lights red. When a train is about to leave a loud bell is rung and you’ve got about 30 or 40 seconds to get on the train before it starts for Boston.

As I was saying, the older cars are treated more gently. They’re rattle traps so they tend to keep the speeds under 40MPH, while they push the newer cars up past 50MPH.

I also found out an interesting fact. They only have a three hour window to do track repairs on that line. The service starts off at about 5AM and ends at roughly 1AM. So you’d think they have four hours but they have to make sure all the cars are in the barn and then power off the track, then roll the repair car out and then do their work.

Part of the reason is because the subway system in Boston is the oldest in the nation.

But it makes me wonder, how did Boston end up with such a great transit system and Providence got the shit end of the stick? Up until about 1950 we had trolleys that ran on power supplied by overhead catenary and the train station in Providence was a hopping place right up until then. Here’s a photo of one of the tracked trolleys and then one of the trackless trolleys in 1946. By 1950 they were all gone.

But then that’s when the highway projects started, and GM and Standard Oil started National City Lines to get transit companies to use buses that burned diesel and went through tires like crazy. And of course it’s why RI’s transit authority RIPTA is in such dire straits today.

I’d like to see the MBTA absorb RIPTA, along with GATRA and SEPTA. Make it one humongous regional system. The MBTA commuter already runs into Providence and soon it will run to TF Green airport in Warwick. Plans are also on the board for stations in Wickford and Westerly. That will be nice.

But it’s going to take a while for that to happen.

WTF National Grid! August 27, 2008

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This is unreal, read this and tell me if National Grid isn’t just out to rape the hell out of the citizens of Rhode Island:

National Grid asks for marketing funds

01:00 AM EDT on Thursday, August 28, 2008

By Timothy C. Barmann

Journal Staff Writer

WARWICK –– Should natural gas customers of National Grid be required to pay for a $1.4-million marketing program designed to encourage more households to switch from heating oil to natural gas?

That is one of several issues before the state Public Utilities Commission, which is now considering several proposals from the state’s dominant gas and electricity utility, some of which would result in higher distribution rates for its gas customers.

And there’s more:

The state Public Utilities Commission today will begin considering a major restructuring of National Grid’s natural-gas distribution rates in Rhode Island, including a company proposal that would increase a typical customer’s bill by about 4.6 percent.

National Grid, the dominant gas and electricity utility in the state, said the rate increase would allow the company to speed up replacement of aging gas lines and create a discount for low-income customers. It would also increase the company’s “return on equity” –– a way of measuring profitability –– from 4.5 percent to 9.23 percent.

National Grid also wants the PUC to restructure distribution rates in a way that would protect the company from revenue losses that result from the conservation efforts of its customers.

Protect them from revenue losses due to conservation? What, what? what? I read about a Niagra falls electric utility that did the exact same thing and I knew the day would come that we here in RI would have to put up with such bovine effluvia.

Hell fucking no! It’s said by allowing National Grid to do this our gas bills will rise about 5%. Add this to the 21% increase in electrical rates and you can see why I’m pissed off. I’m seriously considering moving to Massachusetts. At the very least their PUC seems to have brass cojones when compared with the roll over toothless PUC we have here in Rhode Island.

Actually I should be more generous, the PUC here in Rhode Island has had some teeth when dealing with the telecom providers. But they have no pull when it comes to energy utilities.

BTW, deregulating our energy market didn’t save us a god damned dime. It did however make what was once Narragansett Electric and Blackstone Valley Electric very good takeover targets and National Grid, being it’s usual predatory self, snapped it up.

They knew they could fuck us over. I say let the regulatory pendulum swing back!

Troppe informazioni Martedì numero di Cento e quarantanove – Quando si desidera su di una stella (TMI #149) August 26, 2008

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You find a fairy. With a wave of their wand they can change anything for you.

The fairies I’ve run across can barely change their clothes, let alone change anything significant.

What is the one thing you would change about your body?

Probably get my mid-section tightened up and ripped.

What is the one personality trait you would change?

I’m too tolerant of bullshit sometimes. I need to speak up more.

What is the one thing about your job you would change?

The commute. But it will change in about three months once I have enough save up to buy a decent car that gets good mileage.

What is the one thing about your home you would change?

Drapery on all the windows, heavy drapery. Keep the heat in this winter.

What is the one thing about your Significant Other you would change?

I don’t think there’s anything I would change about him. He’s perfect just the way he is.

Who is the one person you would poof out of your life and why?

Now that is a tough one. I’d have to chose from the half dozen people on my better off dead list. I think prime among them is one David A. Resnik. I know what you did David, and it wasn’t very nice and I’m so glad that karma came around and bit you in the ass. I’m only sorry I missed the public auction.

Who is the one person you would poof back in and why?

My mother. I think it’d be so nice to have her back with me and Keyron. My mom was a very cool person, she’s the one I get my social justice crusader characteristics from.

You may note my blog postings are becoming less frequent. It’s because I’m spending 20 hours a week in a commute, not generally getting home until after 7PM. And I’m dealing with databases on a computer so that when I get home I barely want to look at a computer.

The Bush Apologist of the Day August 24, 2008

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I have to break this one apart in order to address each of the fallacies in it. This guy definitely can’t see the forest for the trees.

Edward Catallozzi: Bush keeps us safe

01:00 AM EDT on Sunday, August 24, 2008

To those who suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome, I offer a quick defense of President Bush and then a suggestion for more likely candidates for your vituperation.

It isn’t a derangement, it is an acute sensitivity to bullshit and the Bush administration has mastered the art of slinging bullshit.

First of all, you hate George Bush for getting us involved in a war with Iraq under the pretext that there were weapons of mass destruction. But Saddam Hussein did have WMDs. He killed tens of thousands of Iranians and Iraqis with them. President Bush believed what foreign and U.S. intelligence told him: that Saddam still had WMDs in his possession. Saddam overtly said he did not have WMDs but covertly intimidated his enemies with WMD threats.

Yes I do hate him for lying about the reasons we went to war. And SCUD missiles didn’t have the range to hit the U.S. They did have the range to hit Israel but that’s why there are Patriot missile batteries in Israel. Or did you forget Gulf War 1 under George H.W. Bush? And Hussein wasn’t using those missiles against Iraqis, he was using them against the Kurds. Everyone forgets about the Kurds because if we were to remember them we’d realize that Turkey has a large Kurdish population too that is pushing for their own home state. This is the same Turkey that has a rather lackadaisical attitude about its role in the Armenian genocide.

George Bush had the responsibility to protect America (even you liberals). If President Bush had not taken this action and we were hit with WMDs, would you not have called for his head on a platter for failing to protect you and your family? But President Bush has protected America for seven years.

In the last paragraph Catallozzi says that Husseins WMD were used on ‘Iraqi’ and Iranian targets. It has long been proven that the SCUD missile did not have the range to hit the United States. As I mentioned earlier they could hit Israel but don’t doubt Israel. She is armed to the teeth and if Hussein had decided to lob a bunch of SCUD’s at them Baghdad may very well have turned into a green glass bowl at Israels hand.

But they never, ever represented a threat to the United States.

Not bad for the bungling idiot you think he is.

I don’t necessarily consider him a bungling idiot. I do consider him a fratboy type which is more dangerous.

Most of all, you hate President Bush for the 4,000 lives that have been lost in Iraq. But you might want to spread some of your hatred around for other American presidents such as Woodrow Wilson. Under Wilson’s direction, we lost over 116,000 in World War I. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in World War II, we suffered more than 400,000 battle deaths. In the Korean War, under President Harry Truman, we lost nearly 37,000 servicemen. All three of these presidents were liberal Democrats. So, next time you think about hating President Bush, you might want to consider hating some of these other American presidents.

I don’t hate Bush alone, I hate his Repug cronies who got us into this debacle in Iraq AND Afghanistan. Remember Afghanistan? The one that kicked the ass of the Russians back in the day? Sure they did it with the help and training of the U.S. but they did it.

Catallozzi’s comparison of Bush to presidents Wilson, Roosevelt and Truman is a nice try but it doesn’t follow. In the cases of those three presidents, we had a solid target, we had a clear reason to enter the warfare. Of the three I’d say that Wilson is the only one who is even mildly like Bush from the perspective of the fact that we didn’t have to enter World War I, it was Wilson that pushed us into it.

And few people realize that one of the key results of the Treaty of Versailles is that it crippled the German economy which helped to propel Germany into World War II. Read Manchester’s “The Arms of Krupp 1587-1968″. It is an eye opener, it was the German military-industrial complex that pushed Hitler into warfare. And what do we have today in the U.S., but the military-industrial complex motivating Herr Bush.

Or, better yet, you might want to consider the notion that freedom isn’t free.

I’m well aware of that. But like it or not the U.S. is two things that I bet Catallozzi abhors, it’s an empire and it’s a socialist haven. Ha!

George Bush helped establish two new democracies in the Mideast, in Iraq and Afghanistan. That was no small accomplishment. Democracies stabilize the world. Contrary to liberal media and Democratic propaganda, George Bush stabilized the Mideast. In the history of the world, there has never been a case where one democracy has attacked or declared war upon another democracy.

The middle east is in no way, shape or form under any illusions of Democracy. Might I remind Catallozzi that:

a) The majority of the 9/11/2001 hijackers were of Saudi Arabian citizenship. Not Iranian nor Iraqi, but Saudi. If you like, watch the movie “The Kingdom”. It kind of explains what it is like under the House of Saud.

b) The events of 09/11/2001 unfolded under the watch of the Bush administration. People conveniently forget that fact because it is one that happened under the watch of Repug Bush. And we now know that a National Intelligence Estimate had told Bush over a month before that Bin Laden was “determined to strike the U.S. … using aircraft.” yet the administration did NOTHING to stop it. The fact that our air defense forces were on stand down that day is also suspicious. But I’m not going to go off of my 9/11/2001 conspiracy tangent, it’s just that far too many questions remain unanswered than were answered.

c) The best way to prevent warfare between nations is to link them economically, not by democracy. Democracy is the red herring argument used by those Bush supporters who don’t have the cognitive abilities to make the connections I’ve made in this post. Perhaps they do have them yet choose not to exercise their right to think. I don’t know what it is, but approving of George W. Bush when almost all the evidence says otherwise is the worst kind of delusion.

One last thought on President Bush. His approval rating is only 32 percent, but the Democrat-controlled Congress has an approval rating of only 9 percent. Maybe you should spread your hatred to Congress.

Better yet: You might want to learn to love and respect America and our president.

EDWARD CATALLOZZI

Providence

George W. Bush is one man, while congress is a body comprised of over 500 people. That 9 percent score is misleading because if you rated the congress people individually I’m sure they’d score higher than George W. Bush.

I do love and respect the United States of America, but a president is a man like me and to get my respect he has to earn my respect. I hold no reverence for priests or politicians. They are no better than me.

And blind servitude is the worst of sins. To support Bush’s failed international policy because you respect him smacks of insincerity.

Catallozi owns Worldwide Ferry Services and hides behind a post office box and a cell phone number. There is no detectable web presence and the company is not registered with the RI Secretary of State’s office. I wonder how beneficial the Bush war has been to Catallozzi?

Met someone who won’t vote for McCain or Obama August 23, 2008

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Last night Keyron and I met up with friends, one of which I hadn’t seen in a while. Kerry is a 39 year old white woman.

Know why she won’t vote for Obama? Because she wanted Clinton to get it. So instead she’ll waste her vote because things didn’t go her way. She says she’s going to do a write in so maybe it’s not a complete waste, but it just gives advantage to McCain in my view.

But it gets better. Neither David or Jon are registered to vote but David has a firm belief that Obama would be assassinated and that because of that people would vote in McCain. I told them that 8 years of George W. Bush was enough of the neo-con agenda. I also mentioned if you really wanted to cover the racists the misogynists and the homophones you should run a black lesbian for president, that way we could easily spot the bigots out there.

But the thing about not voting for Obama because Hillary Clinton didn’t get the nomination irks me. David and Kerry were both making noises about how Clinton had the experience. I looked at both incredulously and asked how being first lady made one more experienced. Instead I see Hillary Clinton as a conniving bitch who’ll stop at nothing to be first. Of course in this latest episode I’m reasonably certain that the party elders told Clinton to step aside this time around.

Kerry made the comment that Obama’s campaign was about change, but she claimed she didn’t know what changes he had in mind. I told her that Obama’s campaign had much more substantive ideas about energy, the economy and civil rights. It’s interesting to see McCain parroting some of Obama’s policies. I hope that Biden assumes the attack dog role and slams McCain over that.

I have to admit I am suffering from a bit of fatigue in all this since my decision was made long ago to support Barack Obama. I just can’t wait for election day to be here. If John McCain wins I’m definitely moving forward with obtaining Italian citizenship as I plan to be the hell out of the U.S. if we’re going to be subjected to four more years of Bush/McSame rule.

AFA is now upset with Honda August 22, 2008

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And interestingly enough I’m considering a Honda Civic Hybrid as my primary vehicle. I think I’ve said before that my criteria were initially a cost 40MPG highway. The Civic Hybrid meets both those criteria.

Initially I’m going to pickup a Smart fourtwo Cabriolet. It’s way less than $30K and gets 33 city, 40 highway. It’s a two seat vehicle and comes completely loaded for under $18K. We’re talking power everything including heated leather seats. Here in New England that’ll be a nice feature in the dead of winter.

What I find more interesting about the fourtwo is that it has an “automated” manual 5 speed transmission. You can switch it out of automatic to manual but there’s no clutch. It does have a feature where if you’re on a hill it’ll hold the brake a second or two to allow you time to move your foot from brake to gas.

And the whole car is drive by wire.

But anyhow, on to the AFA’s latest tirade:

Dear Friend,

The California Supreme Court, which recently legalized same-sex marriage, has ruled by a 7-0 vote that homosexual rights trump religious freedom. The ruling barred doctors, because of their Christian beliefs, from withholding unnecessary medical care to gays and lesbians. The ruling says that under state law sexual orientation rights trump religious freedom.

Justice Joyce Kennard wrote in the ruling that two Christian fertility doctors who refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian have neither a free speech right nor a religious exemption from the state’s law, which “imposes on business establishments certain antidiscrimination obligations.”

Doctors at the Christian clinic referred the lesbian to another clinic, but the lesbian refused their referral – demanding that the Christian clinic perform the procedure. When the Christian doctors refused to violate their religious convictions, the lesbian sued and the Supreme Court gave her the victory.

This ruling will affect every business in California. If a similar victory in a federal court is won, every business in America will be affected.

For example: Alabama Fertility Specialists (AFS) has begun a campaign to bring Honda of Alabama to its knees because Honda will not cover artificial insemination for a lesbian in it’s insurance.

Honda advised their insurance carrier to “exclude domestic partners (same-sex partners) from ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) benefits including diagnostic services related to fertility/infertility…” If this doesn’t work, then count on AFS to sue.

Alabama Fertility Specialists alerted the media, their supporters and gay groups about Honda’s actions and called on supporters and gays to bombard Honda with phone calls and letters.
Thank you for caring enough to get involved. If you feel our efforts are worthy of support, would you consider making a small tax-deductible contribution to help us continue?

Sincerely,

Don

Donald E. Wildmon,
Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

Honda should cover it and I suspect they will. But I can see the reasoning behind them not covering it since IVF is EXPENSIVE and not 100% accurate even today. It spans nothing at all to multiple births at the same time when it is successful.

But the AFA’s lead off in this story is what irritates me the most. Yes, my civil rights do trump your religious rights. The framers of the Constitution wanted us to have freedom of and freedom from religion.

In the case of the doctors perhaps they should consider another career. But then the doctors I’ve run across have been for the most part Jesus freaks with those who check their religious beliefs at the door. The Jesus freaks should maybe consider a career in faith healing because they obviously missed the lesson in medical school.

The commute to work. August 21, 2008

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Generally speaking the commute to work isn’t too bad but I found out this week it does have its moments.

Two days ago the train was stopped at the Rte. 128 station for a medical emergency. That delayed us by about 20 minutes.

Then this evening it was delayed because of track congestion. But this time I was only about a ten minute delay before we got back to Providence.

The MBTA Red Line runs like a clock though. Those subway cars can hit 50MPH which is quite fast for a small train. But because it stops so often it takes 20 minutes to cover 12 miles.

Been paying cash for everything since it didn’t make sense to drop $250 on a pass midway through the month. Of course I’ll probably spend $250 for two weeks but hey, the job pays enough to cover that.

Got a Charlie Card but I can only use that on the subways or buses. The commuter rail isn’t yet setup for it but they will be shortly. They’re rolling out WiFi on the commuter trains little by little so its likely they’ll use the WiFi on the trains to connect devices that can read and write Charlie Cards.

I also have a 3-track reader/writer. I’ll let your imagination run free there but I will tell you that the re loadable Charlie Card has already been hacked and I have in my possession the information necessary to deposit say $653 on my card. Not that I’ve done so, I’ve actually put about $40 on the card.

I do want to swipe through a few of the RIPTA change cards and things of that nature and see what I get. I bet that’s not secure either.

A new job August 20, 2008

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Finally, a regular pay check again only this time it’s much more worthwhile. In essence I’m doing database work for a new company. You’ll hear a lot about this company very soon as it will impact the way we all shop and eat.

The killer of this is the commute but for the money it’s definitely worth it. So don’t be concerned if you see a lack of postings here. It’s just that I leave when it’s dark and get home when it’s dark.

AFA gets their panties in even more of a bunch over Mickey D’s August 13, 2008

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Once again the fucktards at the AFA are raving mad at McDonald’s.

McDonald’s does it again

Dear Truthspew,

McDonald’s has done it again. First, the company paid $20,000 to become a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and to have a seat on the board of directors. Next, McDonald’s refused a request to remain neutral in the culture war by choosing to promote the gay agenda. Then McDonald’s accused those opposing the gay agenda, including same-sex marriage, of being motivated by hate.

Now we learn that McDonald’s sponsors training for homosexuals on how to promote their agenda among corporations from the inside. Out & Equal™ Workplace Advocates is a national organization devoted to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the workplace. One of its primary purposes is to train employees how to aggressively promote homosexuality within the company they work for, all the way to the corporate boardroom. Part of last year’s Out & Equal Summit in Washington, DC, (sponsored by McDonald’s) was an organized march into congressional offices demanding same-sex marriage laws be passed.

At the bottom of McDonald’s half-page ad in the Out & Equal Summit booklet is this statement: “From neighborhood to neighborhood, coast to coast and around the world, McDonald’s is proud to celebrate diversity” (homosexuality).

Good for McDonald’s. From Out & Equal’s main page:

Our mission is to educate and empower organizations, human resource professionals, Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and individual employees through programs and services that result in equal policies, opportunities, practices, and benefits in the workplace regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, or characteristics.

The AFA puts the spin on it by saying we’re aggresively promoting homosexuality. No, we’re simply asking for full equality. But then the AFA has always been guilty of twisting the language to suit the homophobe meme.

This is a classic tactic of the AFA. If you notice I’m running out of steam on this because there are only so many ways I can say it. I’d like to tell the founder of the AFA, Donald Wildmon to go and fuck himself. Actually I’d love to shove a 2×4 driven through with rusty spikes up his ass. And the same treatment for the people who support the AFA. I hereby dub the act a spiking. So Spike the AFA!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The AFA isn’t about family, it’s about bigotry and hatred. And their main target is homosexual people. I’d love to see the AFA in a cat fight with the HRC.

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