Monthly Archive for June, 2009

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Announcement from COBA: Advice Columnists Are Our Heroes

We at the Central Ombudsman’s Board of Accession (COBA) would like to announce a special partnership with the Educated Advice-Monger’s Union (EAMU), another little-known organization that represents and certifies advice columnists everywhere. We feel that ombudsmen have much to learn from EAMU members, given that our roles are so similar. Just as ombudsmen deliver advice to publications in need, advice columnists perform the same function to individuals.

While the ombudsman’s trade is more ancient, the art of advice-giving in the modern era has ascended to daring heights from which we can all learn. The level of deep inner honesty required to be an advice-columnist is astounding. Take, for instance, this enlightening anecdote from Salon’s chief advice-giver, Cary Tennis:

Let me tell you something strange and startling before we finish up here. Shortly after my mother died I was stretching on the exercise mat at the gym, and I saw in my mind’s eye the vivid image of a giant vaginal hole. I swear, as I sat there, I experienced the memory of violent expulsion, as though I’d been shot out of a cannon. This was, I assume, a memory of birth trauma, and with it I felt my anger and disappointment at having been rejected by my mother, literally and for all time, rejected from her place of safety and warmth and forced to live in this world.

The COBA has resolved to look into ways of making our own membership’s day-to-day advice to publications as enlightening as the work of Cary Tennis. Comments and suggestions are solicited.

(In related matters, we have just been informed that WordPress 2.8 is available! We are exhorted to notify the site administrator.)

Marq bar dictator! (Down with the dictator!)

Down With The Dictator!

Down With The Dictator!

Iranian women confront government thugs beating a protester

Iranian women confront government thugs beating a protester

Protesters helped evacuate (and, I heard, get medical help for) an injured policeman in riot gear

Protesters helped evacuate (and, I heard, get medical help for) an injured policeman in riot gear

Larger versions of these photos (plus many more)

According to Pajamas Media, the following manifesto is being passed around today (translated for PM by an Iranian activist):

  1. Stripping Ayatollah Khamanei of his Supreme Leadership position because of his unfairness. Fairness is a requirement of a Supreme Leader.
  2. Stripping Ahmadinejad of the presidency, due to his unlawful act of maintaining the position illegally.
  3. Transferring temporary Supreme Leadership position to Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazery until the formation of a committee to reevaluate and adjust Iran’s constitution.
  4. Recognizing Mir Hossein Mousavi as the rightfully elected president of the people.
  5. Formation of a new government by President Mousavi and preparation for the implementation of new constitutional amendments.
  6. Unconditional release of all political prisoners regardless of ideaology or party platform.
  7. Dissolution of all organizations – both secret and public – designed for the oppression of the Iranian people, such as the Gasht Ershad (Iranian morality police).

A message from Iranian Artists In Exile:

Green Revolution Twitter feed
Several messages asserted the peacefulness of today’s rally with Mousavi and warned against fighting with the Basij (Baseej-e Mostaz’afin, [literally “Mobilization of the Oppressed] — volunteer militia thugs under the command of the Revolutionary Guards, often used for ideological enforcement). One can also find messages from Ahmadinejad supporters like: “Recount will confirm results in #iranelection Ahmadinejad has strong support ouside of Teheran.” Plus disinformational propaganda (from “VoiceOfIran”): “Today gathering is being canceled as a hasty govermental gathering is happening right where we planned to go today! shame on you.” And, of course, warnings to ignore the disinformation. Andrew Sullivan has a huge post of tweets (also a largely decent post on how uncertain the situation is):

security in Jamaran is unbelieveble – hundreds of Baseej guarding Khamenei

Police the reason of insecurity; Dead students buried by profs

anyone with camera or laptop is attacked in street

Confirmed info: hezbollah mobilized & lebanese coming in. this is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better pass it down

Today is a day of strikes throughout Iran, will it be successful?

Dispatches from an Iranian student at The Washington Note: Part 1, Part 2

UK Guardian live blog

WordPress Iran feed

Reports on DailyKos from electronicmaji

A cyberwar guide for helping Iranian protesters. Most generally useful bit: “Help cover the bloggers: change your twitter settings so that your location is TEHRAN and your time zone is GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches. If we all become ‘Iranians’ it becomes much harder to find them.”

Peace and Freedom to the People of Iran!

Mousavi at June 15 rally

Mousavi at June 15 rally

digby, nailing


Troll of the Day

Top this, internet!

California universities masively consume budget while producing little graduated value. They are money laundering schemes and social engineering fiascos. Intelligence does exist, it can be measured, it does make a difference. 40 years of coddling the Officially Sad by crushing the able and productive have caught up with California and the US as a whole. They paid an exhorbitantly terrible price to purchase a defective future, and now that future has arrived to specification. Why are they complaining?

09 Jun, 2009Posted by: “Uncle Al” Schwartz

Found here.

Another Taser Death

These people are the scum of the Earth.

Please read so you can barf in your Dig ‘Em Smacks.

I expect digby or Pam will soon have more on this as they really push awareness on the issues of Taser brutality and death (Pam’s Taser files). I await the C/D from our wise overlords at Taser. *ssholes.

Daily Digest

A) It appears that we have an infiltration of Ombuds. Since I have not been good about vaccinating the web log, I think we are in for endless committee meetings and recrimination. As such, I announce a quorum call and put it to the ombuds how exactly should we describe their flock? As with all wild beasts, they must have a unique descriptor for their grouping.

I suggest “A Blue-Ribbon Panel of Ombudspants” or a “Walk-in closet of Ombudspersons”

B) Not a single Ombuds dealt with the reappearance of jexter(!!!!!!)

No, Seriously

does anybody know who’s pants these are?

Re-Rebuttal Butt Butte (half)

Based on recent events, I believe a formal response would be salutary.  Helpful, even.

After the recent kerfuffle over an introductory Ombudsglooob post that was deemed non-ombudshelpfullike, the OARB came down on me like a ton of soggy chicken feathers.  Also, the CCA sent several large stones hurtling through my front door.  I believe I even pissed off the AFL-CIO and NAMBLA.

Item the First: I have discovered that I was in grievous error in describing Certain Various Citrus Monsters as Imaginary.  Indeed, I was visited not only by the Grapefruit Chupacabra three nights ago, but the following night by Tucker the Orange and last night tag teamed by a Frankenlemon and what can only be described as a Key Lime Zombie.  we had long discussions; while edifying, it must be said that Citrus Monsters are not sparkling conversationalists.

Seriously, it was like A Christmas Carol as written by Anita Bryant.  A Citrus Carol.  I fully expect to be visited tonight by an overgrown Mutant Kumquat to infect me with Citrus Canker, unless I bribe a street urchin to go buy me the biggest Pork Snorkel in the shop window.

So, in short, it must be conceded that Citrus Monsters do, in fact, exist, and are willing to disrupt your sleep patterns with long, Ben Stein like monologues if necessary.

Item the Second: The COBA has decried the lack of professionaism, helpfulness, and generally undignified state of 3Bulls.  Now, in my defense, I must state that my OmbudsContract did not include the words “Dignity”  “Professional”  or “Helpful”; indeed, it only contained one “whereas”  and three “ats”.  However, there was mention of “shenanigans”, “cobagitation”, “half-assedness” and several times, “Zardoz”.  Also, a whole section was entitled “When All Hell Breaks Loose”.  And even though I felt there was not enough mention of “Salary”, “Vacation”, “Cuba Libre Lunches” or “Legal Defence”, the agreement was generally satisfactory on both sides.

It must needs be pointed out, however, that failure of execution is not only part of the day to day operation of this dark-blue bloggo, but that it is in fact, a time honored Tradition.  I submit as evidence this Words of Wisdom, seen recently in the sidebar:


I maintain that as Ombudsglooob, I was merely conforming to the 3Bulls Mission Statement.

Item the Thrid:  In the spirit of Ombuddsing, a visitor plaintively asked “Where’s My Pudding?”.  The dessertly nature of this request makes our tempombudsheart fairly burst.  Following on a clue left in a subsequent comment, we discovered that fish’s pudding, was, in fact, taken by Blue Girl.  Furthermore, she ATE IT INCORRECTLY!!  This is, of course, the prerogative of a Cookie Queen, if no less heinous for that.  Without the support of my new Citrus Monster friends, though, I am not equipped to confront this person.  Fortunately she spends all her time these days on Facebook and honking at old people. Maybe the CCA can send a Sternly Worded Letter.  Maybe Minnesota Law Firm can send a Støørnly Worded Letter.   I am going to stay the hell out of it from now on.

Item the Fourth: Phil Collins may be a talented drummer, but he is no longer Cute.  Also, he has been married AS MANY TIMES AS NEWT GINGRICH!!  Something Coming In The Air Tonight, Indeed.  Think about it, won’t you?

Fear not, friendly 3Bulls visitor and/or Reader!  An epochal Ombudspost is in the works!  It will answer half your questions.  Or maybe None.  But full-assedness is RIGHT OUT!!

[EDIT]  I believe I am offended at the Ombudsnick I was assigned.  doesn’t matter which definition you go with.


Thus a case of semigrammaticalness of a different sort is to be regarded as a stipulation to place the constructions into these various categories.Clearly, any associated supporting element does not affect the structure of the strong generative capacity of the theory.Clearly, an important property of these three types of EC raises serious doubts about a corpus of utterance tokens upon which conformity has been defined by the paired utterance test.For one thing, the theory of syntactic features developed earlier is not subject to the strong generative capacity of the theory.Note that a case of semigrammaticalness of a different sort raises serious doubts about the levels of acceptability from fairly high (e.g. (99a)) to virtual gibberish (e.g. (98d)).

Ombudsman Activity Review Board: Excerpt from the Introduction to the Report from the Preliminary Hearing for the Three Bulls Weblog

The Central Ombudsmans’ Board of Accession (COBA) is a global agency for ombudsman certification and review. We review the activity of ombudsmen and their standards of fairness and impartiality in dispute resolution with media organizations, so that no sour taste is left in the mouths of those who appeal to them. Most readers of media organizations are not aware of this activity, because our services are very discreet; due to our efforts, most current media are extremely balanced, to the point of being puckered. Recently we have noticed that there is an increase of publication-related activity on so-called “new media” over a large electronic network we are told is called the “Internet”.

We recognize the need for ombudsman review on the Internet, and we are committed to providing this service. Normally there would be a reasonable mandatory fee for our services, but as part of our pilot program with the Three Bulls “web log” (or “blog”, as some call it), we have agreed to ascorb the cost. Over the upcoming weeks, we will be holding hearings into the activities of the current basket of ombudsmen providing their services on this “blog.” This document is an excerpt from the report and transcript of the preliminary COBA hearings into Three Bulls ombudsmanship.

While time and further hearings will tell, we will take the opportunity to make some preliminary observations into recent ombudsman activity at Three Bulls. One initial criticism we must raise against all of them is that they do not choose titles that respect the dignity and professionalism of the ombudsman’s trade. If male, they should refer to themselves as “ombudsmen” at all times, and if female, “ombudswomen”, though some influential voices in COBA believe that the natural and traditional rules of English dictate that “ombudsman” should really apply to both genders. While officially COBA remains neutral on gender issues as befits ombudsmen, for the remainder of this and future reports we will refer to the generic practitioner of the ombudsman’s trade as “ombudsman”.


This regular ombudsman has violated blogger ethics by remaining pseudononymous, as opposed to identifying his real-life organizational affiliation, at least (such as COBA). This stymies the efforts of others to stem the ill effects of their comments, especially if they are false. But worse, pseudonymity calls into question the credibility of his judgement with complainants—does he take his role seriously? This attitude risks juicy speculation. According to the COBA Code of Conduct (COBACC)
only high COBA officeholders and review board members are permitted to be ombudsmen and use pseudonyms by dint of the credibility that they can squeeze from their positions.

However, we will also be examining his temporary replacements, all of whom suffer from the same flaw. However, as they are new, we will point out some of their other unique strengths and weaknesses they bring to the ombudsman’s trade.


One initial criticism we have of “Ombudsgloob” is that he chooses to refer to “Citrus Monsters” as “Imaginary.” This is pejorative of what appears to be a lively discussion on Three Bulls, and we would like to point out that as a matter of fact, there is no scientific evidence one way or another of the existence of any “Citrus Monsters”. They may or may not exist, and it’s not for an ombudsman to decide, at least according to the COBACC. An analogy can be made to the ongoing controversy about vaccinations and autism, where one side, claiming that scientific evidence vindicates their point of view, suppresses the perspective of the other side.


While “Ombudsgloob” may have reacted strongly to complaints from other members, it is not within the ambit of COBACC
for one ombudsman to criticize the activities of another, unless he be a duly appointed officer of a COBA review board.


We would like to praise this particular ombudsman for his sensitivity to the importance of his position at least on the matter of impartiality. However, he does not appear to realize the full seriousness of his position when he claims that the job of an ombudsman is to render a claim “senseless.” Clearly, a complaint, as an abstract expression, cannot be rendered “senseless” in any sensible meaning of the term.


This ombudsman posted, but did not address any concerns or say anything at all.

As mentioned above, over the next days and weeks we will be monitoring their activity and making interim reports. COBA, however is not a disciplinary bureau, and it is neutral on the matter of consequences for violations of the COBACC. COBA merely consists of ombudsmanly mandarins working to ensure civil discourse across all current affairs publications, both “web log” and otherwise.