First you pressure your family to buy, then your friends and your friends’ friends, and so on from there


Harri Kallio Finnish artist photography and sculpture projects. A little surreal, but some people like that kind of thing.

Youthful indiscretions. When I was a kid even though I lived in a medium sized city, there were still quite a few farms around. Even though they weren’t grown as a source of income, more for personal canning, most farmers had a few apple trees and a few even had an acre put aside for a strawberry patch. Even though we (me and a couple of friends) could have gotten them for the asking ( farmers in general were notoriously friendly), on a couple of occasions after night fall we’d sneak a few apples. They seemed to taste better. We would pretend that we were secret agents and the apples were being grown by SPECTRE and it was our duty to see if they were fit to be distributed to the general population. A tenuious connection to this link, but it will have to do, All About Apples.

$25,000 to Lobby Group Is Tied to Access to Bush

The chief of an Indian tribe represented by the lobbyist Jack Abramoff was admitted to a meeting with President Bush in 2001 days after the tribe paid a prominent conservative lobbying group $25,000 at Mr. Abramoff’s direction, according to documents and interviews.

Raul Garza, the Kickapoo chief, left, with Isidro Garza on Tuesday. They figure in the Abramoff investigation.
Jack Abramoff’s Car: How a Big Wheel Outfitted Four of Them (March 10, 2006)
Abramoff Says Top Republicans Were Allies (March 9, 2006)
Complete Coverage: Jack Abramoff

The payment was made to Americans for Tax Reform, a group run by Grover G. Norquist, one of the Republican Party’s most influential policy strategists. Mr. Norquist was a friend and longtime associate of Mr. Abramoff.

[ ]…The transaction could also focus further attention on Mr. Norquist’s group, which is already under scrutiny by the Justice Department and Congressional investigators over its ties to Mr. Abramoff. On being presented with a copy of a letter dated May 10, 2001, in which one of its officials acknowledged receipt of the $25,000 donation, Americans for Tax Reform responded that it did not seek money for White House access.

And this part was especially absurd, Mr. Kartch said the anti-tax group “did not want liberals unfairly smearing tribes that supported the president’s agenda.” Native Americans have always voted heavily Democrat and directed most of their political donations to same. The native tribe ‘s association with Abramoff and Norquist was about pro Indian casino legislation that Abramoff and friends promised they could deliver. If anything Kartch and pals used the tribes because they had money not because of the issues facing native Americans.

Budgets Imperil Environmental Satellites

Budget cuts and poor management may be jeopardizing the future of our eyes in orbit America’s fleet of environmental satellites, vital tools for forecasting hurricanes, protecting water supplies and predicting global warming.

“The system of environmental satellites is at risk of collapse,” said Richard A. Anthes, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. “Every year that goes by without the system being addressed is a problem.”

This is what happens when all three branches of government base their decisions on what they think are divine insights beamed down from the heavens. We don’t need satellites anymore. All that science stuff is just a drag on the budget, especially now that Halliburton may be over billing us for bungling around in Iraq and taking over some our port management. Fear not America, the administration has another cracker-jack expert on the case, Inexperienced 28-Year-Old Bush Staffer Appointed to Critical Homeland Security Post

Incredibly sad, Stealing Babies for Adoption

Last year, the United States issued nearly 8,000 visas to Chinese-born children adopted by American parents. More than 50,000 children have left China for the United States since 1992. And more than 10,000 children have landed in other countries, according to Chinese reports.

The foreign adoption program has matched Chinese babies with foreign families eager for them, while delivering crucial funding to orphanages in this country. But it has also spawned a tragic irony, transforming once-unwanted Chinese girls into valuable commodities worth stealing.

Skylish is a senior in high school and her mother is out of town for the annual Herbs4Life convention. She’s in Atlanta or Dallas or Vegas, one of those convention cities where, each year, thousands of stay-at-home moms and drop-out dads meet up for a weekend of inspirational speakers and selling workshops designed to help them be the very best work-from-home vitamin sales people that they can possibly be. Reverse aging, fight obesity, a cure for cancer. It’s all there. The little pills, the gel caps, the powered drinks, the essential oils. First you pressure your family to buy, then your friends and your friends’ friends, and so on from there. Once people start buying, then they can start selling too. And for every pill that’s sold in her network, Skylish’s mother gets a share of the profits. According to the start-up kit manual, the network can grow infinitely. There is no limit to the amount of money you can make, the lives you can save. Her mother calls it genius, but Skylish calls it pyramid panhandling.

excerpt from the short story That’s How She Says Goodbye by Lucas Rockwood