Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Your tax dollars paid for Doolittle's phone spam

Update: got a callback from Mr. Pirillo who wished to stress that all members of Congress get funds for outreach, which was how the phone calls were funded. And folks we got ourselves a deal - he assured me that those calls probably cost less than 20 cents each far less than sending a letter.

(normally Congressman Doolittle uses mail service for outreach, but because this was about his recent actions to restrict illegal immigration, an issue of great concern to his constituents, it was felt that outreach via telephone was appropriate.)


Almost a month ago, with no election in sight, the phones of Nevada County began to ring. We left our ladders, our loved ones, our schoolwork and our slumber; picking up the phone, we were subjected to a spiel from an automated John Doolittle, urgently ticking off the tough new measures he's taken to protect our border from the hazards of illegal immigration.

The measures weren't the only ones that got ticked off.

But it was legal; signing up for the Do Not Call list provides no protection from your Representative.

Curious about who paid for the calls, I phoned Doolittle's Roseville office and asked. A polite young woman took my name, question and number, but no one returned my call. Weeks passed. I tried again last week, then this week got a callback and answer from Doolittle's field representative Chris Parillo: we taxpayers are footing the bill.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tuesday tips - finding and keeping your money

(Egads, sorry about the lapse in posting; am almost as bad as The Union's editor and publisher. Excuses: January doldrums, plus I don't think anyone makes a New Years Resolution to waste more time blogging.)

First tip comes courtesy of Floydd from Metafilter - you can find (and claim) your missing money at Calif's Unclaimed Property website. But beware, it's addictive - I found over $3000 belonging to people I know.

Second, you know those online shopping websites with seals of approval plastered all over them, that only a deranged Luddite would be afraid to order from?

Not being a deranged Luddite, I ordered, entering credit card and address info on the secure form provided. But when the order didn't go through, the co. notified me of this by forwarding an email that their shopping cart co. had sent to them, that contained all my credit card info, in plain text.

So - before you give them your credit card info, ask them if they'll be emailing it, behind the scenes. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link...

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Sun. a.m. update - came to senses, defanged post; also added Sierra Sun link
Looks like tomorrow's LA Times (story here; BugMeNot) is a must-see, if this Daily Kos piece is correct.

I suspect that DeLay won't be the only one stepping down.

Some background:

SourceWatch on Doolittle, and on his wife's company

Corruption probe swells in Congress:
Julie Doolittle's attorney, William L. Stauffer Jr., said [her company] was hired ... to provide "event planning, marketing and related services, as requested by Mr. Abramoff" for Abramoff's Capital Athletic Foundation and his Signatures restaurant.
Abramoff frequently used the athletic foundation as a pass-through organization to run lobbying efforts and to pay for expenses, records show.

From ThinkProgress
[Abramoff's] Capital Athletic Foundation didn’t raise money for children, as it was advertised to do. "[T]ax and spending records of the Capital Athletic Foundation obtained by The Washington Post show that less than 1 percent of its revenue has been spent on sports-related programs for youths...."

Doolittle's PAC pays his wife's firm ("While Sierra Dominion's work for Doolittle's PAC is disclosed on FEC reports, Julie Doolittle's ownership of it was not known until the business' records were ...subpoenaed in connection with a grand jury investigation of a Washington lobbyist, Jack Abramoff.")

Very short background on Doolittle's involvement with Fitial/Saipan/Marianas - land of sweatshops ("Made in USA" labels and no tariffs,but without USA regs) and forced abortion.

Insider's view of Saipan, pulling no punches, here, with parallels.

Sierra Sun editor Jamie Bate's Dec 7 opinion piece on Doolittle, making the point that "You're known by the company you keep" - and that Doolittle's "unsavory buddies" don't bode well.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Lessons learned from the recent rains

For the last several weeks we've been getting one 3-inch storm after another, with no real letup ("one day of no rain in the last two weeks", I think someone said today), so the Fri-Sat 6-incher really was overkill.

But it was educational overkill, and to keep others from having to learn these lessons the hard way*, here's the knowledge bank; feel free to contribute.
  • It is good to debug one's drainage system with a few 3-inch storms before trying a 6-inch storm. You will have more land this way.
  • The best and most tangible evidence against Intelligent Design is the arrangement of rocks in a streambed. How perfectly they fit between their fellows; how could such order possibly have arisen by chance?
  • It's not just beetles; the Acts of God also indicate an inordinate fondness for frogs.
  • The junker cars moored on the Squirrel River should probably be moved up the bank a ways.
  • Buy the raingear. Wear it. Umbrellas and ponchos are the equivalent of wading in thigh-deep water. Wet pants get old, fast.
  • In contrast, under sufficiently extreme conditions caulk can regain its lost youth (from months back), at which point it becomes useless.
  • "Medium" means something very different (and smaller) to Kmart than it does to B&C.
  • An ounce of prevention...
  • Big trees look a lot better in summer.
  • The weather moves faster than the forecasts.
  • It is now the law in Calif. that when you turn on your windshield wipers, you must also turn on your headlights. (But can you get ticketed for [not doing] this by a police officer who's a fellow violator?)