Thursday, May 11, 2006

Krebs Cast #34: Mr. Krebs Goes To Washington

Krebs Cast #34

Krebs Cast Page

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Save the Net Now

  • I blabber on about something in the beginning of this shit.

  • Check out American Apparel.

  • On trying to live a completely moral lifestyle.

  • I call the White House and try and leave a message for the prez, telling him to stop spying on Americans.

  • Pixelize by Chris Harvey can be found on Magnatune.

    Chin Up Chin Up

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    Chin Up Chin Up
    Flameshovel Records


    Blogger Darin said...

    I'm a Cow - and I've had a good life. I've been able to chit the chat with my donkey friends and I've had a nice relaxing life. NOW EAT ME, BITCH!

    You crack me up.

    1:07 AM  
    Blogger Psyton said...


    Pus in the milk (which, if true, would be taken care of in pasteurization, along with making sure what the cows eat and other bacterial/viral problems are handled. I bet there are still a lot fewer germs than if they were hand-milked...)

    NSA General head = immediate totalitarian state (in an administration that will only be around two more years and everyone is already pissed-at.)

    And then that rant is interrupted by complaints that your internet sucks.

    You're being all problems and no solutions here... Think bigger-picture.. vote for better representatives and senators (half of why the pres is allowed to get away with so much shady shit is because he's got a bunch of yes-men in congress), switch from comcast (if you have power that is 100% wind, then you must be able to get some Bellsouth ADSL or somethin')... and if you want to get organic milk, get organic milk, don't hunt down tales from the crypt-farm to try and convince us to do it too.

    In otherwords, qwitcherbitchin', or at least don't think that bitchin' to random switchboard ladies is gonna do anything more than piss of random switchboard ladies.

    I think Bill Mahar put it best: in this new rule: Americans don't want privacy. They want attention! They'll put a camera in their shower and show it on the Internet! To get on television, they'll marry strangers and eat a cow's rectum, and ice dance with Todd Bridges. They're trying to get on a show called "Big Brother"!

    We are a nation of exhibitionists from "me" to shining "me." And what we really fear isn't that someone's listening; it's that no one's listening. This whole country is one big desperate cry for somebody to listen to "listen to me, photograph me, Google me, read my blog!" "Read my diary; read my memoir. It's not interesting enough? I'll make shit up!"

    7:06 AM  
    Blogger Seeker Onos said...

    Ah yes, Psyton.... That (Maher's) would be the typical, sheep-like reaction that most folks in this country are encouraged to have.


    Just like the Germans who were ridiculed for questioning thier leaders as to why some Jews were being spirited away in the middle of night... and gradually, said nothing as thier Jewish countrymen were herded to thier destruction in broad daylight.

    Arrogance leads to Complacency.

    Complacency leads to Bad Judgment.

    Bad Judgment leads to False Leaders with Lying Promises.

    False Leaders with Lying Promises leads to Tyranny, Slavery and finally... Destruction.

    Adam, keep doing what you do. This country needs people to wake her up.

    As a counterpoint though... I do find it fascinating that those switchboard folks won't even make a note of what you said. Most likely, they will only deal with you if you are some sort of VIP or member of the (leashed) press.

    As for shitizens like us... they apparently won't even give us the time of day.

    7:49 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Just to separate the two strands that create a rope to hang ourselves, I'll chime in with this:

    If we crave attention, we can show off what we choose to show off. Barring anything illegal, of course, it's always our choice what to reveal.

    If I invite cameras into my life (yikes, how can people really do that?), fine - I gave up certain rights to privacy. Until I tell the cameras to please get out.

    Bottom line, just because someone chooses certain things to talk about or show in public, doesn't mean everybody or anybody wants everybody and the government to know everything about them.

    In America, it should always be our choice, and has been (for the most part, I'm not that naieve) until very recently.

    Just my 2cents

    8:00 AM  
    Blogger Psyton said...


    Congratulations ladies and gentlemen

    In one round, Godwyn's law has been invoked.

    I don't really care that my conversations may have been monitored, so I must obviously be a sheepey citizen of a neophyte nazi regime [/sarcasm]

    As a counterpoint though... I do find it fascinating that those switchboard folks won't even make a note of what you said. Most likely, they will only deal with you if you are some sort of VIP or member of the (leashed) press.

    Or, maybe, like most people, they don't warm up to bitchy men calling up and demanding to speak to the president when by their tone, they just want to give him a hard time.

    Hell, I want to call that lady and say "Hey, there was some news-crazed man trying to make a point yesterday... I hope you weren't too upset, and I just wanted to remind you that you are a wonderful person and not just some impediment to a direct conversation with the president. Have a nice day..."

    8:02 AM  
    Blogger Psyton said...

    Bottom line, just because someone chooses certain things to talk about or show in public, doesn't mean everybody or anybody wants everybody and the government to know everything about them.

    In America, it should always be our choice, and has been (for the most part, I'm not that naive) until very recently.

    But it's not everyone knowing everything. It's a computer looking for words like "bomb" and "attack" and "kill"... then some federal agent listens to the flagged convos and decides whether they need to investigate it being a potential terrorist. While I'll agree it would be nice to have some more transparency in the process... I don't think they're gonna publish details of your sex life around the office...

    There will probably be some screw-ups... and it will probably be used to some nasty ends until the system gets locked down... but I'd like to see better ideas for how to handle or otherwise neuter the potential nastiness and increase the accountability of the said systems rather than being mean to switchboard ladies.

    Which brings me to my next point. There are humans on the other ends of these administrations and policies... so why is there this new idea cropping up that you have to be massively impolite and borderline nasty to get what you want? Haven't you ever worked in retail? Who do you want to help find the peas? The nice grandmotherly who asked politely, or "that evil bitch who just gave me the devil eye and asked me to find her some goddamn peas like it was my only job here or somethin' "?

    Our heros and the ones who fostered change tended to be soft-spoken, polite, erudite, and otherwise pleasant people in public... while the only one we'd report to "love" while showing their ass all-the-time are celebrities.

    8:16 AM  
    Blogger vuboq said...

    Thanks for the American Apparel link. There's one opening up around the corner from my office, and there's a little mini-controversy regarding the signage in the windows (young looking models in suggestive poses). I kept meaning to check out their clothes online.

    Anyway, I feel a little shallow since that's all I'm going to comment on. *smooches*

    8:43 AM  
    Blogger Jason said...

    You go boy- calling the prez!
    Adam, I love your persistence.

    After hearing the comments made on hormone injections with cows, I think I will be switching to soy :)

    10:07 AM  
    Blogger Seeker Onos said...

    Golly, I'm terribly afraid I will need to read up on my vague breaches of internet debating rules, me so sorry.

    Please find in your heart to forgive me for invoking some silly analogy to a certain totalitarian government in our past, Mr. Psyton.

    According to that Google link ye provided, it seems that a condition for invoking this "Godwin's Law" would involve a comparison to Nazis or Hitler.

    If I may pick a few nits, I was actually comparing the majority of Americans to the atitudes of the Germans who did not care to serious question what thier government was doing, if not even helping grease the skids of the government engine right along into tyranny.

    I suppose I would have done better with a Palpatine/Evil Galactic Empire comparison. I guess one can learn something new everyday.

    And now, I'll to the point: I will concede that there is a trade off of civil liberties for security... but where do we draw the line at checking people for box-cutter and fingernail clippers at the airport, to unchecked roving wiretaps of John and Jane Random Citizen?

    What's next, internal passports and checkpoints on the interstate, or curfews? Perhaps carrying national ID cards with our political party affiliation and voting history encoded on an integrated chip?

    Sounds too far fetched? Well, so was gathering information on our telephone calling and internet search habits about 10-15 years ago.

    "Yeah but, yeah but... we got to have a secure state, and a little bit of tyranny,... erm, invasions of privacy goes a long way to preventing 9-11s and Al-Qaida from doing its things, and people from stealing my sweaty socks at the gym!"

    Oh, really.

    Perhaps if we did not "need" to molest other countries over their oil supplies (because that is what the Gulf War 2/future WW 3 is really about anyway, and not "spreading our righteous democracy" to the unwashed masses", if they would so kindly hand over thier oil fields, thanks!)

    Perhaps they are quite content to have thier peculiar forms of theocratic government.

    Perhaps we can maintain and even upgrade our own nuclear deterrent to counter what *WILL* be thiers (we are fooling ourselves if we think that we can prevent the rest of the world from eventually gaining access to nuclear technology and the weaponry that goes with it).

    And perhaps we can imitate the example of Brazil and aggressively develop and market an ethanol and hydrogen and wind and solar powered economy...

    ...if we could do these things - and I think it would cost less than the $500 Bn/year it is costing us to invade the Islamic world... just maybe, we would not need to have a paranoid police state to oversee us poor dumb sheeps after all.

    1:35 PM  
    Blogger Bruce said...

    I agree psyton that those operators were just doing there jobs, but like you said, "Have you ever been in retail"...the customer is always right. Even if their job was not to take notes and pass them on to the president, why could they not humor this "customer" and say, "okay sir if you can keep it short I'll write down what I can and pass it on" and they could either pretend to take the note or if they do take the note, just toss it after they hang up...Adam would never know...and neither would a customer who would come up to you and say, "I want you to tell your manager...blah blah blah". Sure the clerk would say sure I'll let them know, but all in all it's just lip service to get the customer out of their face.

    Come on Adam called at 10 something at night...what dignitary, reporter, or congressman will be calling the switchboard that late at night that taking or pretending to take a note, would be taking them from there real job? I mean even the State House is closed at that time of night.

    And as far as the spying thing goes...the main part is that IT'S's not even a legal form of evidence in court rooms! And just like someone else said, just because we blog, introduce cameras into our lives or podcast, WE the PEOPLE choose what we want to share with people...and do you really think the government who is spying on us really is going to stop at the words, BOMB, Terrorists, Jihadist, etc? Gimme a break if they can ILLEGALLY spy on our phone calls what's to stop them from checking on anything else??

    Adam, it seems you really insighted something here and you got people to talk that's the main point. We are free people (supposedly) and we have a leader that wants to take that from us.

    Down with Bush. Down with the Bush Regime!

    Let's see if they are computer spying maybe I will get arrested for that comment ;)

    1:40 PM  
    Blogger Adam said...

    Everyone, Bruce wins!! He GETS IT!

    2:13 PM  
    Blogger GayProf said...

    I think it’s great that you work so hard at being a conscious consumer! Too many people, I think, believe that one has to march in rallies or create picket lines to make a difference. Our day-to-day decisions, though, I think are even more important. Even if it is hard to see, I think we can make a major impact by trying to spend our dollars in the most ethical ways possible.
    Obviously it’s impossible to be perfect, but even if we try most times to buy from companies that have fair labor practices, I think corporations will notice.

    I also loved the section when you called the White House. Good for you!

    3:49 PM  
    Blogger Bruce said...

    woo-hoo...go me!

    4:59 PM  
    Blogger John said...

    Well, I think that the phone call to the White House was super entertaining. I mean, that woman must get all kinds of crazies calling. I bet she goes home with tons of funny stories. She should write a blog! But I can't BELIEVE that she said, "What part of 'I cannot' do you not understand?" OMG! Blows my mind.

    When I lived in the US (yes, I moved away - for love not from frustration..and I HIGHLY recommend that you STAY in the land of milk and honey and work it out, btw.) I would write letters to "my" senator - Elizabeth Dole. I'd get some crazy form letter back that stated HER opinion and basically didn't address MY issue. When these people get elected they have an obligation to reflect "us" - all of us - not just their personal beliefs...or what they're paid to believe. Grrrr!

    12:39 AM  
    Blogger Kalvin said...

    I loved your comment about walking around town. I like to think of it as a sort of Zelda (first one original 8-bit) that I'm filling in as I walk around my neighborhood. It does suck when you can't do it by walking.

    I'll avoid all the controversy above.

    9:48 AM  
    Blogger Psyton said...

    Seeker Onos

    All your semantics aside... Godwin's law basically says: The person who devolves to making a Nazi analogy first... Loses: Dredging up anything having to do with Hitler, Nazi's, the complacent Germans who let Hitler rise to power... is to be viewed as a last-ditch effort to use Ad Baculam (appeal to threats... IE: "Oh noes... if we don't get all pissed, the goverment is going to steamroller us all"), Ad Personum ("I don't know you and I've never met you, but allow me to compare you to sheepish pre-totalitarian citizens to undermine your credibility"), and Emotional Appeal ("can't you see we might end up like the NAZIS!!") to sway people to your side no matter how subtle you try to be about it. Godwin marked bringing up nazi-stuff as the conversation effectively jumping the couch... as no-one will ever be able to discuss anything with you other than how inappropriate it was to make Nazi analogies.

    And no, trading the real horrific regime for the imagined one that George Lucas created wouldn't be any better. Next time try attacking my arguments and not framing them as "coming from a person not unlike those ridiculing Germans"


    While I agree the operators could have humored Krebs by pretending to take the note for him... they were under no obligation to. Consequently, lying to Adam and saying "oh, sure, I'll pass this note on, no problem" is probably not the best thing to do in the white house telephone office. That lady probably could have gotten fired, or worse arrested. There is a difference between "yes, I'll tell the manager (what a bitch you were)" and "Hey, I'll sure we can knock 50% off this beef because it smells funny".

    In the meantime, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and I'm not sure what the point of calling up and being belligerant is. If anything this idea that you whine for something (as opposed to come in with a logical argument and are open to their interpretation of things) to the right person to get what you want is a nasty trend that needs to be stopped. Just like people yanking lines from their favorite reactionist's blog as justifications for anything needs to be stopped. Yes, so the call monitoring is illegal, but at the same time Bush's approval rating is in the toilet because people are starting to see him as a douchey drunk pushed around by a bunch of neo-cons and theo-cons that came up with this icky agenda ages ago that is starting to fall apart. So why aren't we formulating plans for how to get better representatives in congress? Why are we spending so much time bemoaning the sad state of America (which, for all it's moral ambiguity, does have a peachy-keen economy) rather than coming up with solutions. Where do I go to see which representatives I like... where can I ask representatives hard questions? Which lobbyists are in it for me? Where can I make sure that a bunch of business-lobby-fueled, Yes-men don't end up in congress the next time around?

    And even if we choose smaller actions like calling the white house to allevieate our frustration... what does losing-cool and being rude to an operator get you? Couldn't you just punch a pillow or had feisty sex or somethin'? Yes, the basis of all my arguments is still "I fail to see why you felt being mean to [X random person] was a good idea..." Much like I often feel after I ever walk into a comment page ;).

    7:59 AM  
    Blogger VJnet said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    9:16 PM  
    Blogger VJnet said...

    That's pretty cool that we can download the songs on your site legally!

    As for the phone calls. Adam could have handles it more calmly, but he was polite about it. I don't think he was that mean to switchboard operator. It sounded more like they were both frustrated. I think the conversation have may sound worse than it really was because when Adam called her a bitch they were not on the phone together. When they were on the phone together he did not yell and scream at the switchboard operator.

    When Adam realized that she could not take any messages he asked her if she could "Pass that info on to your friends" LOL. Everything that was said was about the President. I don't think she took that much offence. Other than that someone could not understand that it was not her job to take messages. Her responsibility is to switch your call to another extension when you reach that extension that is where you can leave your message. She's a switchboard operator, she doesn't get paid to be a secretary.

    It was entertaining and at least, we learned the following:

    White House Switchboard: 202-456-1414
    Direct line: 202-456-1111
    Hours of 9am - 5pm ET

    The State Department: 202-647-4000

    You can write, Fax and e-mail the President if you want to contact him or her.

    As for this illegal wire taping crap, I think the Civil Liberties Act Of 1988 covers most of that. Most specifically, # "5) To make more credible and sincere any declaration of concern by the United States over violations of human rights committed by other nations." If the president is saying that Terrorist could be from any anywhere and using that fear as a reason he thinks he can bypass the law and any of our civil liberties for the security of the nation. Then he is just plain wrong. Have we not learned from our own nations history and why the Civil Liberties Act was declared along with an apology. How many times must our nation apologize in hind site.

    Link to the Civil Liberties Act Of 1988

    Link to the Presidental Letter of Apology

    It is an apology for the Internment of Japanesse American citizens during World War II after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.

    If the President's reasoning is to capture terrorists even if that breaks our right to privacy. What will he do with these so called terrorist when found by spying on it's citizens. Where will they all go. Will they loose the right to be innocent until proven guilty?
    I don't see it as complaining. It is stating the issues and the potential of it becoming a tragedy. It doesn't make sense to state a bunch of solutions if most people aren't even aware of what we as Americans can loose. Discussing this is part of the solution, too. And the more people who hear about it the more votes we have for change.

    As for sources of energy. I think it should be based on the location and the natural resources available. Not every state has the same resources. It may not be sunny enough in Alaska to use solar energy or windy enough in another state. If we all had different sources of energy based on what recourses are available in that location. Then even if a state had a lot of coal as a source of energy that would be okay because it would not be like that is what all the other states are doing. And if your state can use a variety of echo friendly energy sources, great. I think it is limiting for the whole nation to rely on a single energy source. It would be better to use a little bit of the bad stuff than to have it be your primary source. We need more variety. Variety is the spice of life :-)

    9:24 PM  
    Blogger Seeker Onos said...


    I reckon that if we must be slavishly devoted to some fellow's opinion that "we can't have anyone making Hitler/Nazis/any other 'evil empires', and etc." analogies on the internet... then it would be a very difficult burden for anyone to try and warn of encroachments by governments run mostly evil, greedy, powermongering men against the liberties of the simple, common man.

    Again, I felt it was a necessary comparison; and while I might regret playing the "Hitler Card", my question (to Psyton) stands:

    What regime remains that could be an adequate comparison to what happens when people willingly give up thier freedoms on the altar of "security"?

    I slept during the class on rhetoric, methinks. Perhaps I should refrain from relying upon a (mostly) emotional/"pathos" appeal to grab people's attention to a particularly important problem (well.. at least to me, and a possibly a handful of other would-be doomsday wingnuts).

    In theory, not too many people should willingly line up to be a part or subject to a totalitarian government ...aside from a few extremely wealthy and well-connected individuals like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Karl Rove who have aspirations to being a dictator or a messianic figure... (yes, conspiracy theory fodder, that is!) or just some thugs who feel that they would look rather dashing in a pair of jackboots. It would be much easier to implement something as nefarious as this over a very gradual, slow accretion of evil men into the workings of (our) government than to spring it on the Republic as a trap.

    Yet, it has happened before - with grave (pun intended) results.

    But perhaps I shall try harder next time; I shall endeavor to learn from the lumps dealt to me by the unflinching, iron-gauntled hands of Godwin's Law.

    As for the points thus far, I see these:

    (Adam) got a bit cranky at what he is seeing as a very grave injustice (the NSA recordkeeping of who is calling who). Some switchboard ladies were "verbally adjusted" during the making of this podcast.

    At least the one sassy gal attempted to "verbally adjust" him right on back.

    Yet, Adam was not deterred from driving home his point: the government needs to STOP spying on its citizens.

    And that's exactly what I enjoy about Adam: He will not mince words to let you know what he thinks about a situation.

    (Psyton) is not at all impressed either my tacky invocations of Godwin's Law (and my attempts to justify it), nor with Adam's vilifications of these Perfectly Nice Switchboard Ladies, who after slaving away for 8 hours a day answering phones and putting up with guff from the 68% of the populace that believes a cucumber could lead the free world better than the Chimperor (erm, Dubya)... they would probably much rather see the next 2 years fly by as quick as possible, just like the rest of us... his point seems to be that rather than baiting switchboard ladies, why not explore how to correct this trend of eroding citizen rights (privacy, to wit).

    (Bruce) takes something of a middle road here, and proposes that the Unpleasant Switchboard Ladies (TM) could have placated Adam by offering to take his note, and thence properly depositing the note into File-13. That is, the Government Approved Trash Can.

    And then promptly adding Adam's name to the list of "People to be put in the Gulag after the Balloon goes up". Erm. No... I meant, "people to be joked about at the water cooler as taking themselves a bit too seriously, and possibly flagged for further NSA monitoring".

    Nobody commenting here can be exactly sure of what the Switchboard ladies did after Adam's call, or of the ramifications of taking a note (against The Policy) or even telling a white lie about taking a note.

    In all likelihood, there was probably a nice, government approved chuckle that ensued after some settling of ruffled feathers. With a few NSA drones smiling approvingly.

    Nonetheless, Bruce is concerned that our rights are being eroded. And he is right: they are being eroded.

    (Evil Switchboard Ladies) Well, they probably aren't really evil, nor are they mindless drones overflowing with bile and acid tongues poised to tear people new orifices for daring to question the Official Policy of "We Ain't Telling The Boss Nothin', so Bugger Off!".

    All told, they are probably cranky at being paid sub-par wages (assuming they are federal workers, that is... I'd expect quite a bit more from contracted employees) for putting up with the public, much less angry Podcasters.

    While I must admit that I found the witty invective (on both sides of the call) to be quite amusing, I also admit that Psyton is also right in this: annoying the switchboard ladies probably won't accomplish a thing.

    Yet, the ladies' reaction wasn't very appropriate either: the first rule of customer service is "the customer is always right". Had it been ME on the other end of the phone (whilest secretly agreeing with Adam) - I would have said "I'm sorry sir, but I cannot pass your message on, it is against our policy. Please hold while I transfer you to our automated attendant... you can talk up a blue streak there."

    (Seekeronos) Oh, and my point?

    My point is this: Let us not be content to drive our SUVs around and play all night on our PlayStations, or go consume excessively or whatever it is we like to do to dissipate ourselves with our diversions.

    Let us not "just live", and hope that our checks won't bounce, and that things will get better: they probably won't, unless the Johnny Commons of this country start taking back an interest in exactly where our ship of state is being driven.

    Because if we do not do so, we may very well wake up one gray morning to find that said ship is in a most unpleasant place, or worse, shipwrecked on the shoals of tyranny, ignorance, and selfishness.

    10:33 PM  
    Blogger Seeker Onos said...

    Oh, looks like my post went up close to when VJNet's did.

    Touching on something you mentioned:
    "If the President's reasoning is to capture terrorists even if that breaks our right to privacy. What will he do with these so called terrorist when found by spying on it's citizens. Where will they all go. Will they loose the right to be innocent until proven guilty?"

    Go google up (cue the Stormtrooper marching music) this string:

    "Military Order Number One"

    Currently, that search should trun up a few links to a suspected British hacker who is likely to be extradited to the US to be held under this order, but go down a few pages... it holds some pretty scary ramifications.

    This order essentially enables the President to imprison anyone he decides to label as an "Enemy Combatant" for as long as he likes, anywhere he likes... to include lovely places like Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. No lawyers, no chance of bail or bond or parole, or anything but nice folks from the CIA to keep the prisoner company.

    I wish I were making that up, but such was the case with (no defense to his alledged scumbaggery) Jose Padilla, among others who have been "officially disappeared" from the criminal justice system.

    10:49 PM  
    Blogger Psyton said...

    What regime remains that could be an adequate comparison to what happens when people willingly give up thier freedoms on the altar of "security"?

    Howsabout our OWN government. There were many wartime atrocities, many local government abuses of power, heck, Japanese internment camps during World War II... All within US borders.

    It would be that much more relevant to your "oh noes, the government is inherently evil and unjust" sentiments, would require thoughtful comparison, and it wouldn't carry all of the stigma of the base example of ickyness that everyone knows about. IE, it wouldn't be easily written off as a lazy attempt to counter-argue with a pithy nazi reference... that makes all your subsequent statements seem reactionary.

    Otherwise, Your summaries of everything else was spot on. Not sure about the platitudes at the end tho... I always felt government was there so I didn't have to care every waking moment about dealing with the abuses of certain evil people and I could occasionally throw in my bit to fix things by voting every couple of years with people who seemed less creepy than the incumbents.

    10:10 AM  

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