WMOB is a site for anyone who thought the mob was a cut above the rest of us.
"In the course of a federal racketeering investigation, FBI agents and prosecutors received court authorization to wiretap the home telephone of Federico "Fritzy" Giovanelli, a Genovese crime family soldier. The feds hoped to hear Fritzy discussing mob business with fellow New York wiseguys, conversations that would then form the basis for a RICO prosecution against Giovanelli and Co.
... while the tapes do not contain the sort of reckless chatter that sent John Gotti away for life, they're remarkable for the funny, profane, and whimsical conversations Fritzy had with his Mafia cohorts, namely Frank "Frankie California" Condo, a fellow Genovese soldier. Like two old hens, Frank and Fritzy would gab daily about life's rich pageant, their conversations a stream-of-consciousness potpourri.
... Listening to them talk, the pair's mutual love and camaraderie is clearly evident. A conversation doesn't pass without one telling the other, "I love ya" or "I miss you." One could almost forget that Frank and Fritzy are career criminals, racketeers who belong to an organization that uses murder as an enforcement tool."
These telephone conversations are truly entertaining, and eerily humanizing. The intimate interaction between Franky and Fritzy strikes a chord, and quite frankly reminds me more of the average working joe than some rich elites. I highly recommend this site as a glimpse of levity in the personal lives of some of the most cold blooded people around. Perfect for a psych dissertation idea.
Which is the Party of Tolerance?
Conventional wisdom claims that the Democrats are the purveyors of all that is kind, gentle, and caring in the world. So why is it that when blatantly anti-homosexual things are said by Democrats, it receives neither coverage nor censure. Case in point, the press coverage of the contentious House meeting today.
Notice that in both these articles (1 and 2), the headline deals with the idea of a turbulent meeting, completely glossing over the exceedingly homophobic comments of one Democrat.
Only one line in the Washington Post article mentions it, "one Democratic member of the panel called a Republican colleague "you little fruitcake" in the midst of the standoff." It's coverage in the Reuters version doesn't even identify the speaker in any way, most likely leaving one to assume Republican authorship. This isn't the first time in the past year that Democrats have played the Homophobia card.
During the 2002 election in Montana, the Democratic candidate ran an attack ad against his Republican opponent insinuating that he was a gay hairdresser back in the 70's and 80's.
In South Carolina, the same tactic was used by another Democrat:
... Attacking him for his closeness to former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a fellow Republican.
"We all admire what (Giuliani) did after 9/11," Sanders said during a television debate. "But Giuliani is an ultraliberal. He supports gay rights. He supports banning all handguns. He supports abortion. His wife kicked him out, and he moved in with two gay men and a Shih Tzu. Is that South Carolina values? I don't think so."
Say some (stupid, but) meaningless pleasantries to an old (really old) man on his birthday and you're a bigoted rascist who deserves to be stripped of all political power. Call an opponent a "fruitcake," and you just got a little carried away while fighting the good fight against the evil, repressive, heavy-handed Republican regime.
Does this Sound like an Occupying Force?
Somehow, I just keep forgetting that we are an Imperialist power thirsty for blood and oil - eager to oppress any minorities we come across. Then I walk across campus at UCLA and see all the chalk and spraypaint decrying "this rascist war." Here's an article from the San Francisco Chronicle, talking about the feelings of our "oppressors" on the ground in Iraq.
Pfc. Jason Ring stood next to his Humvee. "We liberated Iraq. Now the people here don't want us here, and guess what? We don't want to be here either," he said. "So why are we still here? Why don't they bring us home?"
That pretty much sums it up. We don't like being in countries far from home being shot at. We'd much rather take out a threat quickly and be home by the next major holiday. When we say that we don't want to be occupiers, and that we'll leave as soon as possible, we mean it. Somehow, our critics seem to think they know our motivations better than we do.
What we don't hear from these troops is "yeah, I shot me an Iraqi today, woo-hoo! Lemme see if I can't rob, pillage, and rape this country into the ground." Nor is that message conveyed in the actions of our troops. All things considered, I'd rather not pay a billion dollars a month and lose a soldier a day to build infrastructure in another country, but it's necessary. If we want to have an ally in the region, and provide a decent life for 25 million Iraqis, we have to stick it out.
Populism Marks its Return
I've got to hand it to him, Jerry Springer is good. On his webpage he has three little video clips that sum up his "I'm for the little guy against the big wigs in Washington" campaign philosophy. Being a conservative, I'm obviously sympathtic to the "F*** the Federal Government" argument, but the problem here is that Jerry can't possibly mean it. He's a democrat, he wants the government to be invasive in our lives, especially economically. That's not too far off from classical populism - fiscally liberal, but conservative on social issues - but he doesn't fit the social part. Even though he's trying to sell it differently, Springer is nothing more than a traditional democrat.
I am afraid, however, that his campaign speeches will touch a cord will average people, they do with me. It's easy to say "we ought to help the poor," it's harder to understand how to do it. We all want to have the best society possible. Seeing as how I live on about $10,000 a year, I'm not exactly rich, but I do support fiscal conservatism because its the only thing that produces wealth for all to share. Liberal economic policies amount to nothing more than steal from the rich, give some to some of the poor, and pocket the rest for yourself and your cronies. Conservative economic policies say "keep what's yours and do with it what you will." That's such a radical concept that it is still not widely accepted to this day by many.
I think we'd do wrong to dismiss Jerry Springer. He's got the built in name recognition, and cult status. He's very well-spoken, and has a good story behind him. He also has taken a strategy that's been proven to work, employed most recently by Bush. The message of "little people vs. Washington," is one that could draw moderates away from the Republicans over to Springer. I'm anxious to see what Voinovich will counter with. Personally, I'd like to see him out-populist Springer. Republicans have more ideological overlap with populism at its core.
Fun with Google
Try this soon, I don't know how long these two sites will stay number one.
1) Go to Google.com;
2) type in (but don't hit return): "weapons of mass destruction";
3) Hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button, instead of the normal "Google search" button;
4) Read what appears to be a normal error message carefully.
Now...after you finish, type in "French military victories" (without the quotation marks) and hit i'm feeling lucky....
Also, check out the Star Wars Kid.