Spam gets ugly

Spam in recent months has taken an uglier turn. Instead of all those “dearly beloved” Nigerian emails I used to get, which made me sound like the most trustworthy guy on the planet, spam more often these days takes a hectoring tone: my electronic payment has been rejected; a complaint has been filed against my business; the IRS wants to collect back taxes, and so on. It’s enough to make a fellow lose faith in the scammers of the world.

But one that arrived about a dozen times last week had a certain charm. Here’s one version:

The Better Business Bureau has been recorded the above said reclamation from one of your users with reference to their business relations with you. The detailed description of the consumer’s anxiety are available at the link below. Please give attention to this matter and notify us about your opinion as soon as possible.

We graciously ask you to open the APPEAL REPORT to respond on this appeal.

We awaits to your prompt rebound.

Faithfully yours
Alexis Butler
Dispute Councilor
Better Business Bureau

The others are all slight variations, with the same basic wording but odd word changes. In one version, the customer’s “anxiety” becomes “disturbance.” In others, it becomes “trouble” or “concern” or “worry.” Instead of being “graciously” asked, in some emails I am asked “politely” or “pleasantly” or “kindly” or “amiably.” It must have Amateur Translators Week.

But I must be off. They awaits to my prompt rebound.

Talk radio update

In addition to the insanely busy schedule I had this fall,  I just haven’t felt much incentive to do talk radio blogging lately. There’s just nothing there.

Mike Huckabee is the biggest disappointment. Before he got a radio show, my take on him was pretty simple: a nice guy who has shown nothing to make me think he would be a good president. Now it’s this: not all that nice a guy who has shown nothing to make me think he would be a good radio host.

Really, has the man ever in his life had even one thought that didn’t absolutely conform with conventional Republican thinking? At least Limbaugh will say crazy stuff at times, which makes his show a tad unpredictable. Hannity never has an unconventional (perhaps the adjective is superfluous?) thought, but at least he likes to argue with liberals on occasion.

Huckabee has nothing. He’s boring, predictable and saccharine. On the rare occasions when he accidentally books an interesting guest, he is so determined to hold everything to a single segment that he never gets even six inches below the surface.

He is no better when he veers away from politics. He interviewed a band member of Chicago recently, and the entire interview consisted solely of variations on a single question: Did you know that I think you guys are great?

So it’s a grim world in talk radio land. Glenn Beck is just too far out there to listen to anymore. Michael Smerconish is still a model of fairness, but I can’t warm to the guy. The intolerable Michael Savage has finally been replaced by Jerry Doyle, a move that had to be an improvement. Doyle, to his credit, will take on Republicans as willingly as he takes on Democrats, but his standard libertarian rhetoric wears thin fast. Yesterday, he did a whole segment whose sole point seemed to be that people with food allergies are whiners, fakers and losers. And that was a “Best of Jerry Doyle” segment.

NPR’s three hours of Thursday afternoon jazz is sounding better all of the time.

Liars and racists

Over at Rockin’ on the Right Side, Tom Balek is a liar and a racist.

Pretty harsh, wouldn’t you say, without offering at least a shred of evidence? Yep, but Balek himself is perfectly happy to toss around those sorts of charges without any evidence at all.

In one recent post, Balek accused the Obama administration of lying repeatedly about Benghazi. I asked for evidence, and he provided a lame link to a Fox News story that, as far as I could tell, established no lies at all. He then asked me to drop the subject. I responded with this post:

I have still seen no evidence that the “attack was carefully planned and executed.” Everything I have seen indicates that Susan Rice was accurate in everything but one respect: She said that the attack apparently was in response to demonstrations going on in Cairo and elsewhere. That still appears to be true. Her only error was in suggesting the possibility that a demonstration also was going on in Benghazi at the time of the attack. That apparently was not true. But she made it very clear from the outset that the demonstration, if there was one, was hijacked by well armed militant groups that may have been affiliated with Al Qaeda or may have been Al Qaeda itself. The only information she withheld, understandably, was classified information about actual suspects.

Now, that’s how I understand it. If I’m wrong, please show me where. That Fox News story doesn’t make your case. And yes, I will go away now. Truth obviously is not a desired quality on this blog.

I’ve been a busy boy and haven’t followed this story perhaps as closely as I should. If my understanding is wrong, then I would welcome anybody who can set me straight.

Balek is far less open to evidence. He scrubbed my post, plus another one responding to his absurd claim that the New York Times is racist. The New York Freakin’ Times? And he scrubbed one responding to his implication that Hillary Clinton was lying about her medical condition. Balek not only isn’t interested in actual facts, he openly resists them.

His condition, unfortunately, is increasingly common in today’s bifurcated politics, particularly among those who traffic in the closed illusions of right-wing media. Any lie is forgiven, if it comes from our team; any slur is OK, if it targets the other.

So Balek is a liar and a racist, until he proves otherwise.

Christmas update

Yes, I’m still alive and will try to post more often than just on major holidays now that an arduous semester is finally to an end. My wife flew to Texas for Christmas, and my daughter was at her in-laws, so it was a mighty quiet Christmas around my house, and I took advantage of my first day off since Thanksgiving by doing not much of anything except drinking and cooking up a batch of enchiladas. Plenty to eat, not quite enough sleep.