Seven Degrees from Normal

Two people, eighteen years of marriage, seven college degrees.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

TRMPAC loses in court

This is big news:

TRMPAC violated state law, judge rules
Ceverha forced to pay damages to defeated candidates. By Laylan Copelin
Thursday, May 26, 2005

The treasurer for Texans for a Republican Majority violated state election laws when he did not disclose more than $600,000 in corporate money the committee spent during the 2002 legislative campaigns, state District Judge Joe Hart ruled this morning.

Hart ruled there was overwhelming evidence that the political committee created by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, raised and spent the corporate money to help elect Republican legislators. He rejected arguments that the money was used to administer the political committee and that the money wasn't used to "expressly advocate" the election or to defeat candidates.

It'll be appealed of course, but this bodes well for the ongoing criminal trials as well.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Just got the following email from SBC:
Greetings Susan,

Thank you for your recent email.

We would be happy to send you copies of your bills from June 2001 to present. However, before we do so, we must advise you there is a $5.00 fee per bill copy. Your next months bill will include a charge of $220.00 if we send all bills from June 2001.

We have removed the late payment fee due to the trouble that you have had with your statement. We apologize for any inconvience that you were caused.

Thank you for choosing the SBC family of companies. We value your business and continued loyalty.
As Master Funakoshi says in Fist of Legend, "We are draw."

(p.s. What the hell they mean by "loyalty"?)


Woah, I totally forgot to blog about how fantastic George Galloway was in kicking Norm Coleman's ass this week.

As penance, allow me to steer you to this excellent response, which further won my heart by introducing me to the phrase "corn pone Nazi."

Oh, the places I wish he'd go

The College where I work, and from which I have received three degrees, holds its graduation ceremony at noon today. The featured speaker is Scott McClellan.

This is the man who recently told the press they should be ashamed for printing unverified stories that have cost people their lives. A recent sample of his brilliance from a White House press briefing:

Q I take it that it's not the Secret Service's duty to inform the President of national security circumstances, that that would come from somebody here at the White House. Even on a personal level, did nobody here at the White House think that calling the President to say, by the way, your wife has been evacuated from the White House, we just want to let you know everything is okay.

MR. McCLELLAN: Actually, all the protocols were followed and people were -- officials that you point out were taken to secure locations or evacuated, in some cases. I think, again, you have to look at the circumstances surrounding the situation, and it depends on the situation and the circumstance. But the Secret Service detail that was with the President was being kept apprised throughout while the situation was developing. There is always a military aide that is right with the President. That military aide was in close contact with the Situation Room here at the White House, which is overseen by the National Security Council. And --

Q Nobody thought to say, by the way, this is going on, but it's all under control?

MR. McCLELLAN: And I think it depends on each situation and the circumstances surrounding the situation when you're making those decisions.

And just let me point out again that Scotty got beat up by the sister of a friend of my husband in junior high. I keep bringing this up not because I think it's funny for girls to beat people up, but because I think it says something significant about a person's character that he would 1) pick on a girl; and 2) provoke her to the point that she actually phsyically retaliates. I teach women's and girls' self-defense, and I can attest that it's much harder to get girls to fight than it is with boys. Girls are so drastically socialized to accept abuse. So I have to take a good hard look at anyone who gets beat up by a girl. In this case, it confirms my opinion that McClellan is a punk. What a sad day for all the Liberal Arts grads who will have to remember him as part of their convocation ceremony.

People who wish they were invisible

I nominate the guy I saw at the grocery store last week, mumbling into his cell phone, in front of the tampon display.

I am pretty sure this makes me a jerk.

But I don't care. Last month I called our phone "provider," SBC, to cancel two services we never use: Call Return and the "In-Line Service Plan," which supposedly covers repair in the event that the phone lines inside your house are damaged. For these two services we were paying ten dollars a month, or $120 per year. How much does it cost to replace a phone wire, I wonder?

Anyway. I got this month's phone bill and it was for about $20 more than usual, instead of the $10 less I was expecting. Turns out they charged me a $5 late fee (I had put the bill aside for a few days before I got around to calling about the service change). They also charged me a $16.60 "Service Connection Fee." Huh?

So I called, talked to the lady ("How can I make you a very satisfied customer?"). The $16.60 (plus tax) charge was a mistake. She took it off. My payment had reached them three days late, thus the late fee. OK. So I go about my business.

But then I started thinking . . . They overcharged me by $18, with tax. I had to notice that overcharge and call to get it removed. If I'd paid it, they never would have said anything to me. And then they're going to charge me $5 for paying them three days late. I know, I know, the two things aren't really connected . . . but why is it that my mistake cost me five bucks and theirs cost them nothing? And in business terms, wouldn't it make sense to drop a small, basic fee in order to preserve the goodwill of a customer who just caught you trying to rip her off?

So I went to the SBC web site and sent them an email asking, basically, if they held their customers to a higher standard of accountability than they held their own employees. Short answer: Yes, they do. They "sincerely apologized" for the "human error" that led to the overcharge, but they could not refund my late fee. Even though my late payment, as I had explained to them, was also a "human error." My human errors are evidently of a different caliber than SBC's.

Thus, the jerk part: I replied with another email asking for instructions on how to access my account records for the last five years, so I can check EVERY BILL THEY'VE SENT ME for overcharges (because, I said, it's clear that they expect me to be more conscientious than they are). I'm sure there will be at least a couple of dozen charges in the last five years that I can write polite inquiries about, all of which will have to be answered by someone. You may have guessed that my goal now is simply to cost SBC five bucks one way or another. Assuming the person who answers my emails makes at least minimum wage, I think I'm well on my way.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Uh-oh . . . Misty's angry

Pastor Accused of Running Out Dems Quits
By TIM WHITMIRE, Associated Press Writer
Wed May 11, 4:21 PM ET

Beyond politics, the dispute that engulfed East Waynesville Baptist Church in recent months would have sounded familiar to many an American congregation: An aging congregation brings in dynamic young preacher to turn things around. The new pastor attracts young members who push for change in traditional ways of doing things, leading to a battle.

As Chandler and his wife drove out of the church's parking lot followed by a police escort, about 40 of his supporters walked out as well, with many saying they were resigning their memberships.

"I'm not going to serve with the ungodly," an angry Misty Turner declared.

But Maxine Osborne, 70, and among those who stayed behind, had a different view of what had transpired.

"A lot of these young people had not been in the church more than a year," she said. The Chandlers "brought in a lot of young people, but they also brainwashed them."

Thursday, May 05, 2005

RIP, Hack

David Hackworth has died.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

$5 million to de-bug the House

It's official--Nick Lampson will run against Tom DeLay next November. Hop over to his Web site and throw him a few bucks. He estimates he'll need 5m, and the sooner he starts getting it, the less likely there will be any serious primary battles.