Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Will somebody..." ('06)

I received this photo in e-mail in April 2006.

Threatening First Interstate Bank ('94)

When First Interstate Bank (now part of Wells Fargo) removed sexual orientation from their non-discrimination policy, I wrote the letter below. They did rescind the change.

[My best letter (so far) on gay rights]

Bruce Willison, President and CEO
First Interstate Bank
707 Wilshire Blvd., M.S. W25-1
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Dear Mr. Willison,

I am a long-time, generally satisfied First Interstate customer. In fact, as my checks tell the world, you consider me a "time-honored" customer. Hence, it deeply saddens me to hear about the recent changes to your employment non-discrimination policy.

I have read Ken Preston's January 25 letter to George Kronenberger, and I find it completely unacceptable. With regard to sexual orientation discrimination, all you are now saying is, "We obey the law." Well, I should hope so, but you should be ashamed to proclaim this as your only corporate policy on the question. It provides no protection at all for your gay and lesbian employees or applicants in jurisdictions without external governmental protection.

Unless you quickly re-instate protection against sexual orientation discrimination for employees of all units of First Interstate world-wide, I will begin transferring my business elsewhere, I will close my account, and I will encourage others to do the same.

It should not take these kinds of threats to make you act. All you need to do is ask yourself what is the right thing to do for your employees, and make your corporate policies reflect that. It's an easy question with an easy answer. I hope to hear that you have figured it out.

Sincerely yours,

Rodney Hoffman

cc: Edward Carson, First Interstate Bancorp
George Kronenberger, NGLTF

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bill Maher: "George of the Bungle" ('05)

Bill Maher, HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, Sept. 9, 2005:

The video (3:52) is here.

Partial transcript:

Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend -- you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the Army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you. Mission accomplished.

Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy, or space man?

Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.

But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire metropolis to rising water and snakes.

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky.

I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.

So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is "Take a hint."

How a Bill Becomes a Law ('06)

How a Bill Becomes a Law - Revised Version
(click to enlarge)

Where's the fiber optic line to my door? ('06)

(Click the image to enlarge it.)

Still infuriatingly true! The text below is from 2006, but the graphic above is from Feb. 2010.

Link: $200 Billion Broadband Scandal

From the free book Broadband Scandal:

The Bell Companies never delivered symmetrical fiber-optic connectivity to millions of Americans though they were paid more than $200 billion to do it.

During the buildup to the 1996 Telecommunications Reform Act, the major U.S. telcos promised to deliver fiber to 86 million households by 2006 (we’re talking about fiber to the home, here). They asked for, and were given, some $200 billion in tax cuts and other incentives to pay for it. But the Bells didn’t spend that money on fiber upgrades — they spent it on long distance, wireless and inferior DSL services. Some headlines from Kushnick’s work:

  • By 2006, 86 million households should have been rewired with a fiber optic wire, capable of 45 Mbps, in both directions.

  • The public subsidies for infrastructure were pocketed. The phone companies collected over $200 billion in higher phone rates and tax perks, about $2000 per household.

  • The World is Laughing at US. Korea and Japan have 100 Mbps services as standard, and America could have been Number One had the phone companies actually delivered. Instead, we are 16th in broadband and falling in technology dominance.

Bumperstickers ('06)

Some favorite bumperstickers and slogans in early 2006:

(Each is a link to cafepress)

Military records of politicians ('05)

Comparing military records of prominent politicians and pundits.

Some of the Republicans are shown here. The full list, including Democrats (many of whom had distinguished service records), is at the link above.

  • George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for U.S. Senate; failed to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.
  • Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.
  • Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.
  • Dennis Hastert: did not serve.
  • Tom Delay: did not serve.
  • Mitch McConnell: did not serve.
  • Rick Santorum: did not serve.
  • Trent Lott: did not serve.
  • Phil Gramm: did not serve.
  • John McCain: Vietnam POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
  • Sean Hannity: did not serve.
  • Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a 'pilonidal cyst.')
  • Bill O'Reilly: did not serve.