Friday, April 30, 2004

Sterilization of Astronauts Proposed

According to this report, a British Interplanetary Society symposium addressed the problem of sexual urges of astronauts traveling on long journeys such as a three-year trip to Mars, where the six-person crew would probably include two females.

During a discussion, Dr. Rachel Armstrong stated, "NASA is talking about the chemical sterilisation of astronauts on longer journeys." However, there may be some mixed signals since a spokesman at NASA's Johnson Space Center responded yesterday "I haven't heard anything about that."

Dr. Joanna Wood, of NASA's National Space Biomedical Research Institute, noted that "Interpersonal relations is a big issue, but we leave sexual stuff to the discretion of the individuals."
Interestingly, there is no NASA ban on sex between crew members. "We depend and rely on the professionalism and good judgement of our astronauts," said a NASA spokesman in 2000. "There is nothing specifically or formally written down."
Over the years, there have been rumors and unconfirmed reports of astronauts having sex in space, called joining the 200-mile-high club. French author Pierre Kohler wrote about a "confidential NASA report" that claimed the agency required two astronauts to have sex as part of tests to see how long humans could survive in space. It's also been reported that the Soviet Union claimed a milestone in 1982 when Svetlana Savitskaya shared the Salyut 7 space station with two males and conducted experiments to try to conceive in outer space. Although tantalizing, there's no evidence to support either of these stories. Nonetheless, the delicate issue of sex in space continues to trouble the scientists. According to Douglas Powell, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University,
"Like anywhere, these are normal healthy people in their prime and they are sexually active so they are going to get involved with each other. So what's going to happen in space? It's a serious question and it needs to be confronted."
And, there are the tears, the broken hearts, and the euphoria of love.
. . . scientists such as Professor Powell are concerned that the emotional fallout from having a crew where some are happier than others, or where relationships are made and then fall apart, could be disastrous. He noted the comments of one Russian cosmonaut about time spent cooped up in the Mir space station that "when you have two people locked up in a very small environment for months at a time, all the conditions for murder are met." Mix in sex, and you almost have the script of Othello in space.

Other scientists have suggested that the best way to ensure there is no interplanetary interplay is to crew the mission with astronauts over the age of 50. "The idea is that they won't be worried about having families and concerned about getting exposed to radiation, because they're getting towards the end of their useful working lives," explained Peter Bond, a British expert on space matters.
If I read this correctly, Peter Bond is saying that people over 50 can't have "happy" times. Obviously, the spirit of Agent 007 is not with Peter Bond and continuing to make statements like that will probably meet one of the "conditions for murder" that's been mentioned.

In summary, expect the applicant pool for astronauts to be whittled down to people over 50 who don't object to sterilization before being rocketed into nothingness for a three year voyage of great danger. Apply within.
Stars & Stripes in Classrooms

(Tallahassee, Florida) State Sen. Mike Fasano discovered that classrooms in the state did not have American flags so he initiated legislation to correct the condition.
"I was quite shocked that there were schools funded by public dollars that did not have a United States flag in their classrooms," said Fasano, a Republican and a bill sponsor.

The bill, which must be signed by the governor to become law, requires schools to solicit donations from businesses or nonprofit groups before asking for state money to buy the flags.

The bill (HB 1757) passed the Senate Thursday, and the House earlier in the week. Both chambers voted unanimously.
The legislation, called the Carey Baker Freedom Flag Act, targets August 2005 for placement of all flags.

I think this is great! The bill weathered the legislative process swimmingly and, with Gov. Bush's signature, flags will be in every classroom. It would be even better if the Ten Commandments could also be placed in the classroom.
Teresa Heinz Kerry and the Tides Foundation

In a previous post, I attempted to address an issue concerning the philanthropy of Teresa Heinz Kerry. Specifically, she was quoted during an interview as stating that she possesses a poignant hatred for socialism and communism, however, I stated that this seems to be contrary to her giving of millions of dollars to socialist and communist front organizations through the Tides Foundation. I asked my readers to decide whether she was telling the truth about her hatred or was she being negligent in watching where her money goes.

Due to the complexities of the world of political writing, it can be expected that mistakes will be made and I made a critical one. I erroneously assumed that it was common knowledge that a majority of all money distributed by the Tides Foundation goes to radical leftist groups and socialist and communist front organizations. Rightfully, an astute reader noticed the error and wrote a rebuttal piece. With a title that purports to defend Teresa Heinz Kerry, the rebuttal piece actually defends the Tides Organization and a group called Adbusters which I had stated described themselves as a communist organization.

In all fairness to me, I think it's important to mention that many others have written extensively about the Tides Foundation's funding of radical leftist and socialist and communist fronts. A simple Internet search finds dozens of pieces in a diverse array of newspapers, magazines, and weblogs which describe the money trail from Tides to individual recipients. I've read a few, but none were involved with the formation of my opinion about Tides. My introduction came about a year ago when I was doing research on an organization called Pastors for Peace. I found that Pastors for Peace were nothing more than a communist front group doing shill services for Fidel Castro in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. When I looked at their funding, the money trail came straight from the Tides Foundation via the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), International A.N.S.W.E.R., and the International Action Center. By the way, my conclusions were derived from information published by the organizations themselves. And, subsequently, it seemed that any time the Tides Foundation came up in my research, I noticed that it was always tied to radical leftists and groups that advocate socialist and communist principles. It was on this basis that I erroneously assumed that the Tides Foundation's radical political agenda was common knowledge. I apologize for the error and thank the astute reader for making note of it.

Although not common knowledge, the widespread publicity tying Tides to a radical political agenda has been troubling enough that the foundation recently issued a news release to tell its side of the story. The Tides side is basically that all the allegations are without merit, consisting entirely of errors and innuendo. A supporting discussion paints Tides as predominantly an all-American, vanilla-brand accounting and bookkeeping firm that also helps environmental and education projects. Smiley faces would not have been out of place in their write-up.

In a nutshell, I don't buy it. Tides issues a news release stating that all allegations are wrong. That's it. Done deal. There is no attempt to present information to dispute any of the numerous allegations against them. For example, it's been contended that Tides provides funding for International A.N.S.W.E.R., an organization considered by many to be communist. Tides doesn't dispute that contention. Tides just states that everyone is wrong.

The Tides Foundation is not your run-of-the-mill financial services company and it is too easy to see. Tides has a radical leftist political agenda and all it takes is a few Google searches to realize it. The failure to acknowledge the leftist agenda in their news release indicates a certain level of disingenuousness on the part of Tides. Their reluctance to defend themselves against specific charges lends credence to the allegations. Also, without a significant amount of supporting data, I don't buy the contention that individual donations are specifically earmarked for and expended toward individual neighborhood projects. It would require considerable convincing to get me to believe that the money Tides receives is not fungible.

Moving on, in my original post, I made the statement that "Adbusters describes itself as a communist organization" to which my astute reader took exception, stating that they didn't call themselves communist. This is true, however, I didn't say they called themselves communist. I stated that their description of themselves indicated they were a communist organization. The Adbusters description is as follows:
We are a loose global network of artists, writers, environmentalists, ecological economists, media-literacy teachers, reborn Lefties, ecofeminists, downshifters, high school shit-disturbers, campus rabble-rousers, incorrigibles, malcontents and green entrepreneurs. We are idealists, anarchists, guerrilla tacticians, pranksters, neo-Luddites, poets, philosophers and punks. Our aim is to topple existing power structures and forge a major rethinking of the way we will live in the 21st century. We want to change the way information flows, the way institutions wield power, the way the world keeps the peace, the way the food, fashion, automobile, sports, music and culture industries set their agendas. Above all, we want to change the way we interact with the mass media and the way in which meaning is produced in our society.
The last portion I underlined to emphasize what this group wants to accomplish. First, they want to overthrow the government and the free market system and then control every aspect of life. I know of no secular political ideology other than communism that embraces those goals. Until I'm convinced otherwise, I'll stand by my contention that "Adbusters describes itself as a communist organization." And, for the sake of comparison, if a man walks into a bank for a loan and explains that he owns 400 acres of bottom land where he grows soybeans and corn, that he has a chicken house for eggs and a dozen dairy cattle, would it be incorrect to say that he described himself as a farmer? I don't think so. By the way, whether the man was liked by another person or not wouldn't make him more or less a farmer.

In summary, it is my contention that the Tides Foundation funds the radical left and socialist and communist front groups and they receive large donations from Teresa Heinz Kerry who has stated that she hates socialists and communists. The question remains on how to explain the apparent disparity between what she says and what she does.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Microwave Ovens Health Warning

According to this report, microwave ovens need warning labels because a 9-year-old girl had an egg explode and damage her eye.

Update your home procedures accordingly.
Senate Bans Internet Access Taxes

(Washington) By a vote of 93 to 3, the US Senate voted to restore a ban on state and local taxation of Internet connection services. A provision was included to allow some states already collecting the levies to continue, but these must be phased out within two years. Excluded from the ban was taxation of Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, which allows consumers to make telephone calls over the Internet.
Voting against the bill were Democratic Sens. Jeff Bingaman, N.M.; Bob Graham, Fla.; and Frank Lautenberg, N.J. Four senators missed the vote: Bob Bennett, R-Utah; John Breaux, D-La.; Jim Bunning, R-Ky.; and John Kerry, D-Mass.

A Kerry spokeswoman said he would have voted for the bill.
No response was received to the question of whether Sen. Kerry would have voted for the bill before or after he voted against the bill.
Internet Stalking Now Illegal in 30 States

There's a little good news and a little bad news in this report. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford signed into law a bill making it illegal to stalk, lure or otherwise entice a minor for the purposes of abduction or sexual assault. The good news is that this action means 30 states now have laws against sexual predation on the Internet.

The bad news is that only 30 states have laws against sexual predation on the Internet.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004


I found the following over at Grim's Hall and I think it's worth passing on.
Tip for Bloggers:

A contact of mine suggests that the correct word for referring to Islamist terrorists is "mufsidoon." This is the Arabic for "evildoer," and can be prefixed by "Saddam's" or "Osama's" as appropriate.

The idea is that Mujahedeen and Mahdi Army (Army of the Messiah) cast the enemy as soldiers of God. That makes Coalition forces the opponents of God, soldiers of the devil. Mufsidoon more correctly identifies them, and therefore, our forces likewise.
I'm encouraged to use the term "mufsidoon."
More Jobs Outsourced

(Sao Paulo, Brazil) Presumptive Democratic nominee for president John Kerry has made outsourcing of US businesses to foreign countries a campaign issue because the practice is taking jobs away from hardworking Americans and, rightly or wrongly, he blames President Bush. Despite who is responsible for the outsourcing. this story indicates that it continues unabated.
American X-rated film directors are heading to Brazil in search of uninhibited women, exotic locations and cheap production costs. The going rate for a Brazilian X-rated actress is about $175 per sex scene -- a fraction of what talent in the Los Angeles area costs.
So, more Americans are losing their high-paying jobs to cheap foreign labor. I should note that, if Brazilian talent costs of $175 reflect a significant savings over the cost of Los Angeles talent, the LA talent must charge astronomical rates. What's befuddling is why the adult industry doesn't recruit in Cleveland. I've heard that talent is available 24/7 in the $20 to $50 range.
Thieves Try to Rob Suicide Bomber - Bad Idea

(Gaza Strip) A Hamas suicide bomber was on his way to infiltrate into Israel when he was stopped by two armed Palestinian thieves.
Rather than give up his explosives, the bomber detonated them, killing himself and the two robbers near the border fence between Gaza and Israel.

Palestinian security officials said the gunmen were criminals who were involved in a car theft ring that brought stolen vehicles from Israel to Gaza.
Despite the facts, a Hamas official said the two Palestinian thieves were agents of Israel because they tried "to stop a fighter from doing his work."

Absolute lunacy!
Almost not worth mentioning, Interested-Participant started one year ago today. Congratulations to the staff and thanks to the regular visitors.
Child Support Agency Cover-up

(Dayton, OH) This report from the Dayton Daily News (free reg.) is troubling. It appears that the Montgomery County Child Support Enforcement Agency mistakenly collected and distributed $17,000 in child support payments. The overpayment occurred due to an unauthorized garnishment order in November 1997 and it wasn't detected until this month. Typically, when administrative errors are made, they are corrected. However, in this case,
[The agency] ordered the creation of a false document dating to Dec. 1, 1997, that eradicated the overpayment, agency officials confirmed. The figures in the computer system were then altered on April 16 to reflect the false order.

Instead of an overpayment, the altered figures showed the man owed $5,000 in back payments.

[ ... ]

When the error was finally discovered this month, agency employees created a phony adjustment order, on a form that was not available until 1999, and backdated it to Nov. 3, 1997. It was signed by an agency employee who would have been a teenager at the time.
Let's analyze this case. The child support agency showed a certain level of incompetence by allowing the problem to go unnoticed for over six years. Then, instead of correcting the problem, the agency decided to make everything worse with a cover-up, a cover-up that displayed absolute ineptitude.

Doug Thompson, Director of the Child Support Enforcement Agency, has responded to the situation with an apparent desire to continue the buffoonery.
"I wouldn't call it a cover up. There are technical and legal issues with that case where it went from an overpayment to an arrearage."
Okay, Mr. Thompson, it wasn't a cover-up. It was a conspiracy by government officials to intentionally falsify documents for the purpose of hiding gross organizational incompetence that was allowed to continue for over six years. Does that sound better?
Relocation of Nuclear Carrier Strike Group

In order for the United States Navy to rapidly respond to a crisis in North Korea or elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, it is considering moving the home port for a nuclear aircraft carrier strike group from the West Coast to either Hawaii or Guam. Already underway is a $1.8 million study to assess the feasibility of Pearl Harbor as a home port. At the same time, efforts are ongoing to consider Guam for the relocation. There are advantages and disadvantages to both locations, however, the decision may turn out to be primarily political.

Spearheading the contention of Hawaii as the best choice is Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye, a powerful member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. On the other side and with somewhat less political clout is Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo.

From a strategic perspective, Guam is clearly advantageous due to its proximity to the Asia-Pacific Rim. It also has Andersen Air Force Base and is preparing to base three nuclear attack submarines in Apra Harbor. However, there are concerns about whether Guam has pier space, maintenance facilities, housing, schools, stores and medical facilities sufficient to support a carrier strike group.

Alternatively, Hawaii has all necessary support services and facilities for the carrier and crew, but lacks Guam's capabilities in accommodating military flight and live-fire training.

My take is that the prudent choice has to be Guam due to its strategic location. It would require a long-term presence and the commitment should be made to protect American interests in East Asia.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Praise the Lord and Hit Me Again

(Nashville, Tennessee) According to this story, there is a developing phenomenon of holding religious services in bars and restaurants. Loosely called "the emergent church movement," it consists of congregations of believers who don't feel comfortable in traditional churches. Robert Matheson, owner of the Lady Godiva Pub in Lebanon, TN, stated that, in England, where he's from, these types of gatherings are common, so he doesn't feel it's out of character for such a thing to take place at a pub. From a personal perspective, I think this idea is appealing. I have recollections from my younger years of numerous spiritual experiences when I traveled from bar to bar searching for the divine.

The movement has planned a convention next month in Nashville which is expected to draw more then 800 attendees. Amen and don't forget to tip the bartender.
The Obesity Myth

In his book, The Obesity Myth, author Paul Campos debunks the contention of the major media health alarmists that there is a crisis of obesity in the United States. Here's an excerpt:
Annual Deaths Attributable To Obesity In The United States, which appeared in the Journal Of The American Medical Association (Jama) in 1999, is the source for the endlessly repeated statistic that overweight causes around 300,000 extra deaths in the US every year. (This "fact" has been cited in the major media more than 1,700 times in the past two years alone.) Look at these figures more closely. As Glenn Gaesser, a professor at the University of Virginia points out, studies have consistently failed to find any correlation between increasing BMI and higher mortality in people 65 and over, and 78% of the approximately 2.3 million annual deaths in the US occur among people who are at least 65. Thus, 78% of all deaths lack even the beginning of a statistical link with BMI. "That leaves 500,000 annual deaths in persons under 65 that might be related to BMI," Gaesser told me. "These include deaths from every possible cause: motor vehicle and other accidents, homicides, suicides, cigarettes, alcohol, microbial agents, toxic agents, drug abuse, etc, etc. To think that 60% [ie, 300,000] of these deaths are due to body fat is absolutely preposterous."
It seems a day is not allowed to go by without some sort of health alarm or emergency being reported. They are continuous and ubiquitous and, sometimes, contradictory. I'm sure that anyone who regularly follows the news has become jaded towards health alarms. They are no longer to be believed at face value.

Based upon Campos' book, the health alarms about fat are seemingly more the result of ignorance and politics than solid scientific data. The Obesity Myth is set to be published in the United States next month by Gotham Books.
Free Scoop Night

Wednesday, April 28th, from 6 to 10pm, Baskin-Robbins will be giving away free scoops of ice cream as part of the First Book literacy campaign for young readers.
MPAA Teaches Copyright Law to Middle School Students

The Boston Globe reports that the entertainment industry is now providing funding to teach copyright law in middle schools to encourage youngsters not to illegally download movies and music from the Internet. About $200,000 has been spent by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in their school program to combat digital piracy. Entertainment companies contend that billions of dollars are lost due to piracy, but no reliable evidence supports their claim. Nevertheless, to minimize the losses they do incur, the industry has opted to teach the intricacies of copyright law to middle schoolers.

I have a couple questions. Isn't the MPAA a member of that grand group of secular leftists that protest the loudest to have the Ten Commandments removed from schools? And, isn't "Thou shall not steal" a Commandment?

If the Ten Commandments were an integral part of a child's education, whereby they were taught not to steal, maybe the entertainment industry wouldn't have the impossible challenge of trying to teach the complexities of intellectual property ownership to 12-year-olds.

Monday, April 26, 2004

More Cougar Sightings

(Lake County, Illinois) About a week or so ago, there were several reports of cougars in northwest suburban Chicago. Since then, there's this story.
Sheriff's department Lieutenant Tom Braze says a Lindenhurst resident on Thursday snapped a photo of what appears to be two cougars in the McDonald Woods Forest Preserve.

Braze says the photo showed the outline of two large animals that could have been cougars amid a tree line. But he also says he wouldn't call it "definitive proof."
I assume everybody realizes that the existence of two cougars may mean that Lake County soon could be announcing the birth of more cougars.
Nader Petitions Indiana, Michigan Voters

(Dearborn, MI) Having decided to run for the presidency, Ralph Nader has begun the prerequisite efforts necessary to be listed on state ballots in November. This past weekend, Nader met with supporters to organize and kick off petition drives to collect sufficient signatures from voters in Indiana and Michigan. More than 100 volunteers gathered at the Al-Ameer Restaurant on Warren in Dearborn to hear Nader and start the drive.
Michigan law requires Nader to collect 31,000 signatures in Michigan by June 15 to make the November ballot. His team wants 40,000 -- a safeguard in case some are tossed out during the validation process.

"Michigan is one of the toughest states to get on the ballot," Nader said.
Nader discussed why he is running for president again and summed it up by stating, "I don't trust the Democrats to be able to win." In 2000, he garnered less than three percent of the vote. Surprisingly, national polls currently rate his popularity among voters between four and six percent, but Nader expresses no confidence that the numbers will hold up until the election. He may be undecided about whether the Democrats will win, but he seems pretty sure he won't.

And, the one thing that remains somewhat constant is his general political platform.
Nader takes no money from corporations. He favors taxing the richest Americans, raising the minimum wage and providing a public program to increase jobs. His central theme, though, is that voters are being misled into supporting an unconstitutional war in Iraq founded on deceit and fabrications.
Since Nader is presenting the same, tired leftist option to the voters that has been consistently defeated in national elections, and since Nader doesn't think he has a chance of winning, it's hard to assess exactly what he's trying to accomplish.
Teresa Heinz Kerry

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette comes this story which presents a brief profile of John Kerry's wife. Born in Mozambique, schooled in South Africa and Europe, she is described as having an intense hatred for communism.
. . . Teresa Heinz had come to despise communism with a particular poignancy. The home on which she was raised in Mozambique, an idyllic, rambling place where she climbed trees and watched the Indian Ocean, was taken from the Simoes-Ferreira family by the Marxist regime that seized power after the Portuguese pulled out. Her father and mother, like thousands of others, simply fled.

"They lost everything," Heinz Kerry says. "I know how communists work. And you don't want to be there. I know how socialists think: they mean very well, but generally speaking, they squelch a lot of good competitive principles as well as market forces."
OK, if this is true and she hates communism and socialism, then why does she consistently give millions of dollars to communist and socialist front organizations through the Tides Foundation? A blatant example is Adbusters. Funded by the Tides Foundation (see here), Adbusters describes itself as a communist organization (see here).

The whole excerpt from the profile is either a lie or Teresa Heinz Kerry is not paying attention to where her contributions are actually going. You make the call.
Getting High on Stings

Gary Cruse pointed me to this story from India which is worth passing on. It seems the latest mind altering craze in the country is to experience the effects of scorpion venom coursing through the blood system. The enzymes and toxins produce a feeling of euphoria for up to eight hours.
Although most scorpions are poisonous, their venom is not life-threatening for humans. Only about 20 out of more than 1,000 known species of scorpions are dangerous for human beings.

After the arachnid is set free on a hand or foot of the client - who pays 75 to 125 rupees [about $2.50] for a single 'shot' - the dealer hits the scorpion's back gently with a metal stick to irritate or frighten it, causing it to use its sting.[$ est. by ed.]
So, if you do the math, each dose costs no more than $2.50 and there's a low probability that a person will actually die from it, . . . uh, that's according to the article.

Interestingly, the primary consumers of recreational scorpion venom are said to be young urbanites and truck drivers. How often are those two segments of society in the same demographic group? To my knowledge, never.

Without some serious scientific research data, I'm more than skeptical about the reported danger. Nonetheless, given the propensity for certain members of society to experiment with any mind altering substance, I expect that we'll soon see a scorpion venom fad in the US. If the users follow the example of India, we can also probably expect a young urbanite truckdriver political advocacy group promoting scorpion venom. I guess they would be called the "YUTs."

I'll stick to cold beer, thank you.
Linkfests - Week of April 26

Carnival of the Capitalists is posted at Venturpreneur.

The Best of Me Symphony #21 is posted at The Owner's Manual.

Bonfire of the Vanities is posted at On the Fritz.

Carnival of the Vanities #84 is posted at WOLves.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Police Swimming Requirement Dropped So Blacks Can Apply

(North Miami, Florida) The local police department has eliminated the requirement that officers must be able to swim in order to allow blacks to apply for jobs on the force. Experts say that blacks in general are less likely than whites to be proficient swimmers and, therefore, they are discouraged from joining the police.

Mayor Joe Celestin, who is Haitian-American, stated that the force should reflect the population of the community which is 60% black. The swimming requirement prevented this from happening.

My take is that this action seems reasonable and warranted. Only if a policeman has a job responsibility which involves swimming should there be a prerequisite requirement. It has to be noted, however, that people can be taught how to swim. So, if it's important, teach them to swim.
Teen Thief Sentenced to Humiliation

(Painesville, OH) Jeremy T. Sherwood, 18, of Chatham Drive, was caught stealing smut videos from the Popular and Adult Video store and charged with first degree misdemeanor theft. During sentencing, Judge Michael A. Cicconetti of Painesville Municipal Court offered Sherwood the option of 30 days in jail with 12 months' probation OR four hours wearing a blindfold and holding a sign reading "See No Evil" mere feet from a busy Route 20 and across the street from the store from which he was convicted of stealing. Sherwood chose the latter.
His eyes covered by a folded Rebel flag do-rag, Sherwood sat in a camp chair, wore a baseball cap and listened to Third Eye Blind and rap on his headphones.

[ ... ]

"This is a lot better than sitting in jail," Sherwood said. "You've got a nice comfortable chair, beautiful weather, music ... you just chill back."
In the past, Judge Cicconetti has garnered considerable publicity from his innovative alternative sentencing, so this episode is not unusual. However, it does appear to be quite lenient. Sherwood is an 18-year-old high school dropout and, now, a convicted thief who seems to enjoy his punishment.

I have the nagging feeling that a stint in a cold concrete cell would have been much less enjoyable and more likely to deter future criminal acts than humiliation. Humiliation tends to make a person angry, not law-abiding.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Golf Ball Surgery on Dog

(Manchester, England) Mike Wardrop thought it was cute the way his German Shepherd, Libby, would retrieve golf balls and place them at his feet. He wasn't happy when Libby started coughing up blood from the golf balls she had been eating while retrieving. A veterinarian surgically removed 28 golf balls from Libby's stomach and needed 30 stitches to close the incision.

Libby is said to be considerably more bouncy now.
Student Thrown Out Classroom Window

(Covington, GA) Named Teacher of the Year last year, Carrie Ann Peoples, 63, has resigned her teaching position at Sharp Learning Center as a result of allegations of having a 14-year-old girl thrown out the window of her classroom.
Peoples allegedly took a picture of the three 14-year-old students without their permission. When the victim questioned why she had taken her picture, Peoples allegedly responded by saying, "So I can show the world your ugly a----."

The victim allegedly became angry and started to use profanity toward Peoples. When the victim tried to push the office assist button on the classroom wall, Peoples allegedly ordered the two male students to pick her up and throw her out the window.
The girl suffered neck pains and cuts to her body.

I've heard of students being suspended and expelled, but this is the first time I've heard of a student being defenestrated.

Hat tip: Grey Biker
Teens Practicing Homelessness

No link available right now, but local Cleveland broadcast television station, WKYC - Channel 3, just announced that a group of teens are practicing to be homeless behind a church in suburban Strongsville. They are spending the night in cardboard boxes.

There was no mention as to whether the teens would be supplied with cheap wine.
Bias in Hiring

(Dayton, OH) As explained in this story, the Dayton Power and Light Co. has historically had a policy of not hiring people who do not pay nor make efforts to pay their own electric bills. The policy was implemented by performing a "customer inquiry credit status check" on job applicants and by screening out those that were not current on their utility payments. Interestingly, nobody complained about the policy. The company's position was that if a person were not responsible enough to pay his or her bills, then the person probably wouldn't be responsible in dealing with Dayton Power and Light customers.

It needs to be repeated that nobody complained, so it can be assumed that any person involved with the hiring policy thought it was reasonable. However, according to the US Department of Labor, the policy is not only NOT reasonable, it is racially discriminatory. It seems that Dayton Power and Light was on the Labor Department's list to have a soup-to-nuts administrative colonoscopy and, while doing a year-long review, they found that the people who didn't pay their bills were predominantly African-American. Therefore, by not hiring people who owed them money, DP & L was discriminating against black people.
"This administration is determined to provide equal access to good jobs for all workers," Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao said in a press release Tuesday. "Employers need to take proactive steps to prevent this kind of workplace discrimination."
Because of the Labor Department findings, DP & L changed their hiring policy and committed to hiring a bunch of people who don't pay their bills and to distribute a cash settlement of $150,000 in back pay to 123 blacks who applied for part-time meter reader jobs in 2000 and 2001. [As an aside, it's unclear why someone who wasn't hired is entitled to "back pay."]

In summary, DP & L succumbed to federal pressure even though they feel that the policy was reasonable. According to DP & L Human Resources Director Bill Mercer,
DP & L wants responsible people because meter readers have contact with customers and sometimes enter their homes as part of their jobs. "We want the best employees we can get."
Frankly, I think the resolution to this problem created by the Labor Department is wrong. If racial discrimination is an overt bias in actions based on race, then DP & L did no such thing. They screened out applicants based on their credit history, despite what race they were.

Look at this from another perspective. What if the demographics of the job applicant pool were predominantly white and the same policy of not hiring poor bill payers was implemented, would that be racial discrimination? I don't think so.

One other thing, does anyone think that Donald Trump would hire somebody who refused to pay him what is owed? I don't think so.

Lastly, why is the Labor Department going out to create problems? Remember, there were NO COMPLAINTS. In my mind, it is not the function of government to go out and hunt for people to harass. That's what was done to DP & L.
Do Americans Know Squat About Australia?

Ozguru at G'Day Mate! suggested that I write a piece for his site and I accepted. It's been published and an interesting comment thread is developing. At the urging of a couple folks, I've decided to reproduce the post here on Interested-Participant.
Do Americans Know Squat About Australia?
I've been a little under the weather for the past week and haven't had much energy. Consequently, I experienced a general lull in creativity. My brain was coming up with no ideas for a post to your site that I felt would be interesting to your readers. I expressed my frustration to the gang at the local coffee shop who offered no help. In fact, one guy threw up his hands and said "Hell, Americans don't know squat about Australia!"

Well, when I heard that, I figured I should conduct my own unscientific survey. I came up with three simple questions to ask the folks.
1) Name three things about the continent of Australia?
2) Name three things about the country of Australia?
3) Name three famous Australians?

Of note is that the coffee shop where I was asking the questions is just a local blue-collar place with an everyday middle class clientele. It isn't a ritzy and pretentious shoppe that serves double foamy cinnamon organic Guatemalan cappuccino latte yadda-dadda ... for $7.50. So, it's safe to assume that the people I queried are not sophisticated world travelers.

In conducting the survey, I questioned a total of 14 people. A compilation of the results is as follows:

1) Name three things about the continent of Australia?
a - Other side of the world
b - As large as the US
c - Has many weird animals

2) Name three things about the country of Australia?
a - People speak English
b - Used to be prison colony
c - Has aborigines

These first two questions produced skimpy results. Even with coaxing, I got little response. The last question, however, produced a rather interesting variety of answers.

3) Name three famous Australians?
a - Crocodile Hunter
b - Sir Edmund Hillary
c - Crocodile Dundee
d - Nicole Kidman
e - Wayne Newton
f - Andre Agassi
g - Olivia Newton-John
h - Bruce Willis
i - Mel Gibson
j - Norah Jones

And there were others, including somebody named Alan Bergland. One truck driver said he invented something but he couldn't remember what it was.

To summarize, my survey was intended to provide evidence to conclude whether Americans DO or DON'T know squat about Australia. Considering that the survey was conducted in a small town in Ohio on an unscientific random sample of normal working Americans, it's probably prudent to ignore it. However, I won't and thus conclude that Americans DO know squat about Australia.
Agreed, this was a frivolous exercise and should be viewed as such. It is, however, my contention that, as far as foreign countries are concerned, Americans probably know more about Australia than most other countries on that side of the world. Even so, based on the silly survey, Americans still don't know a lot about Australia.

It's been widely recognized that there is a general disregard for the teaching of geography in American schools. The natural result is a lack of knowledge. The survey results are just hints of supporting evidence.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Deanna Laney Gets 90 More Days

(Tyler, Texas) Last Mother's Day, Deanna Laney, 39, murdered her sons, Joshua, 8, and Luke, 6, by stoning them to death. She was tried for the killings and acquitted by reason of insanity. Laney also was found innocent by reason of insanity in the wounding of another son, Aaron, who was 14 months old when she fractured his skull. After the trial, she was sent to a state hospital.

It now appears that Laney is much better, however, State District Judge Cynthia Stevens Kent thinks she ought to stay at the hospital for at least the next 90 days. At the end of 90 days, she may be required to stay a little longer or be released, free to go unpunished.

It should be obvious that the "by reason of insanity" acquittal is a license to murder. The laws should be changed to specify "guilty and insane."
Ronald Reagan Highway

(Baton Rouge, LA) Louisiana State Representative Michael Strain, R-Covington, sponsored House Bill 7 which names US Highway 190 from the Mississippi River to the Mississippi state line after Ronald Reagan. The bill passed the House 79-20 after vigorous opposition by Rep. Avon Honey, D-Baton Rouge. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Democrat Avon Honey must not like Ronald Reagan. U.S. 190 does not run through Honey's district.
Paint the Berg Red

From the Siku Circumpolar News Service comes this story (scroll to bottom of page) and I really have no idea how it should be classified. Danish artist Marco Evaristt, known for a preoccupation with blood and death, painted an iceberg red. That's right. A big freaking red iceberg! There's a picture. Take a look.

The article states:
According to the art critics, Evaristti wants to show evil that results in death.
What that has to do with a red iceberg is beyond me. Of course, this is my first attempt at interpreting iceberg art.
Boy Sells Dope at School

(Fairborn, Ohio) Police and school officials said Thursday that a 13-year-old Baker Junior High School student has admitted to selling marijuana near the school's entrance. The boy said he also smoked marijuana in the girl's bathroom with three girls. He faces possible expulsion and criminal charges.

Just think, if marijuana were legal, the boy would only face expulsion and not criminal charges. Unfortunately, if marijuana were legal, there's the likelihood that dozens of students would be selling and smoking it at school.
Canada Health Act

There are concerns regarding patient waiting times for health care under the Canada Health Act (CHA) and this story discusses that the government has decided not to do anything about the subject. Additionally, although the Canadian federal government provides funding for health care, an official stated that
[T]here is no requirement in the CHA for the same standards of care across the country.

"A national system doesn't mean it's identical. No one ever said it was identical from one province to another.

"You can't say a service that's provided a few months later in one province than another is a contravention of the CHA. We all agree that we should reduce wait times and that's part of the talk but that doesn't mean we impose an actual standard."
Maybe I'm looking at this wrong, but it seems that the establishment of minimum standards of health care would be a guiding principle for a national health care system.

Am I missing something?
The Church of the Eternally Challenged

(Jonesville, Virginia) During Easter service at the local Pentecostal church, Rev. Dwayne Long performed ritual serpent-handling to demonstrate obedience to the Almighty. Unfortunately, during the ritual, the rattlesnake he was holding sunk its fangs into his finger. According to Sheriff Gary Parsons, Rev. Long refused medical help and died.
"We don't anticipate any charges," he said. "That's their belief."

No one attending the service at the Pentecostal church sought medical help, Parsons said. Members believe when people die from a snakebite during a service, it is a sign that it was their time to go.
Amen to that.
PETA Campaign Sparks Backlash

(Toronto) Due to outrage expressed by the public in Toronto, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), "a militant animal-rights group," has decided not to expand its current anti-meat campaign to other Canadian cities. The offensive advertising exploits a series of grisly murders of women in British Columbia by comparing the victims to pigs for market.
"The one unexpected aspect was hearing from the family members, who were and are not the target of the campaign," Bruce Friedrich, PETA's director of vegan campaigns, said from Washington, D.C."
Apparently, if people worry most about what is on a neighbor's dinner plate, they don't have room in their brains to consider what is in their neighbor's hearts and minds.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

National ID Card in Britain

According to this story, British Home Secretary David Blunkett will soon propose a bill to require all citizens to obtain and carry Government ID Cards. It is believed that the cards will help reduce illegal immigration, identity theft and benefit fraud. This action follows a recent poll which indicates that 83% of the population "would be happy to carry the card at all times." For those that wouldn't be happy carrying the ID cards, it's been rumored that a plan is being considered to tattoo the ID card number on their forearms.
Weekly Linkfests

The April 19th edition of Carnival of the Capitalists is posted at Knowledge Problem.

Speakeasy's Joint presents this week's Best Of Me Symphony.

The Bonfire of the Vanities is up at

Southern Musings has the 83rd edition of the Carnival of the Vanities.
Air America Radio Sputtering

An earlier post described some of the troubles Air America Radio was having with Multicultural News Radio, owner of the Los Angeles and Chicago radio stations from which the liberal network was broadcasting. Well, according to this story, the troubles continue.
Air America Radio, the recently launched liberal talk-radio network that became embroiled last week in a financial dispute with the owner of its Chicago and Los Angeles stations, will cease broadcasting over WNTD-950 AM in Chicago April 30, the network announced Tuesday.

The network also said it will remain off the air for the time being in Los Angeles, where it was yanked from KBLA-1580 AM last week by station owner Multicultural News Radio.
So, unless other arrangements are made, Air America will be broadcasting in neither Los Angeles nor Chicago.

It should be noted that the on-off-on-off format they network has adopted might be just the vehicle to portray John Kerry with a consistent message on the campaign issues. If they can just synchronize their on-air times when Kerry speaks on only one side of an issue and then go off-the-air when he waffles and espouses a contrary position, the network would be reporting consistent policies from their candidate. This may help alleviate confusion in some voters minds.

Companion post at eTALKINGHEAD.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Remembering Ernie Pyle

(Ie Shima, Okinawa, Japan) From the Stars and Stripes comes this story by David Allen.
About a hundred people gathered on this tiny island off the northwest coast of Okinawa on Sunday to remember a newsman who brought war home in the most personal terms.

Ernie Pyle, a reporter who eschewed the safety of command posts and made a niche for himself in the foxholes of the frontline troops during World War II, died 59 years ago on his way to another battle.

As he rode in a jeep to what passed as the front in a ferocious battle for the island's airstrip during the Battle of Okinawa, a Japanese machine gunner sprayed the vehicle. The jeep jammed to a stop and Pyle and the other passengers scrambled out, diving for ditches on either side of the dirt road.

When the shooting stopped, Pyle raised his head to ask a friend on the other side of the road if he was all right. A sniper's bullet caught him in the head.
Read by millions, Ernie Pyle reported on WWII from the front lines and was so beloved by the GIs that the soldiers in the unit he covered erected a monument at the place he was killed.
It says, simply: "On this spot the 77th Infantry Division lost a Buddy. Ernie Pyle, 18 April 1945."
According to Marine Brig. Gen. Frank A. Panter, commanding general of the 3rd Force Service Support Group, "Ernie Pyle was the gold standard for the other combat correspondents." Attributed to Gen. Omar Bradley is the statement that 'My men always fight better when Ernie's around.' And today's soldiers have benefited from Pyle's work also. It was largely due to his front line columns that Congress passed a bill granting them combat pay.

John Steinbeck once said that there are really two wars, one with armies and campaigns and
"Then there is the war of the homesick, weary, funny, violent, common men who wash their socks in their helmets, complain about the food, whistle at the Arab girls, or any girls for that matter, and bring themselves through as dirty a business as the world has ever seen and do it with humor and dignity and courage - and that is Ernie Pyle's war."
It's important to remember Ernie Pyle for his service to freedom, democracy, and America. And, it's important to remember the warmth he placed in the hearts of American families while their sons and daughters were fighting and dying. There were other fine American war correspondents during WWII, but Ernie Pyle set the standard.

Where are the American war correspondents in Iraq?
John Kerry Skirts Tax for the Rich

It's difficult to figure out where John Kerry stands on many issues because of his tendency to argue for both sides. There's relative certainty, however, on how he feels about taxes. A constant drumbeat of his campaign is his plan to raise taxes on all Americans making more than $200,000 a year. Kerry's opinion is that the rich are not paying their "fair share." Except for himself.

The State of Massachusetts tax forms provide an option of paying a previously-mandated tax rate of 5.85%, rather than the currently-imposed 5.3%. This allows the rich to pay their "fair share." Well, guess what?
For two years now, John Kerry has had the opportunity to pay his "fair share." But like some Benedict Arnold CEO, the Democratic Party candidate for president has taken the money and ran.
So, it's necessary for rich Americans to pay more taxes with one exception, John Kerry. Also,
Of 2,104,326 Massachusetts state returns filed by April 15, exactly 624 taxpayers had opted to pay at the higher rate, a very small number indeed, considering that in a statewide referendum, 1,055,181 good liberals voted against cutting the income tax rate.
Think about those numbers.

Over a million Massachusetts voters said they wanted the tax rate to be maintained at 5.85% but, when it came time to pay, they opted for the lower 5.3% rate. This suggests that liberals in Massachusetts are in favor of higher taxes, but not for themselves. It's therefore reasonable for me to be leery of liberals in general. I firmly believe that their goal is to raise my taxes and they're not happy if they don't. Liberals have no interest in raising their own taxes.

Of course, there's also the possibility that liberals generally possess conflicted personalities. Testimony to that would be John "I-voted-for-it-before-I-voted-against-it" Kerry. If honesty were part of political campaigns, the Democrat slogan would be something like "Be Confused - Vote Democrat."

The Cracker Barrel Philosopher has more. Go visit.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Growing Coyote Problem in Cincinnati

(Cincinnati, OH) Here's another report of sightings of coyotes in residential backyards of Greater Cincinnati. This story couples nicely with the report of mountain lion or cougar sightings north of Chicago.

There doesn't seem to be much current public interest in stories about carnivores prowling neighborhoods. I predict the interest level will skyrocket after a child is taken and ravenously devoured.
Speed Ditch Invented

(Lawrence TWP., Ohio) To deter speeders and enhance public safety, Scott W. VanDenberg, 42, used a machine to cut 6 to 8-inch ditch across a two-lane farm road which connects Manchester and Alabama Avenues. VanDenberg invented the speed ditch because someone driving along the road hit one of his dogs during the evening of March 28.

Unfortunately, instead of being praised for his creativity, he was arrested for criminal damaging. VanDenberg faces a possible six months jail sentence and a $5,000 fine.

No good deed goes unpunished.

With the controversial issue of homosexual marriage getting tremendous attention and a smattering of acceptance, notably in San Francisco and Massachusetts, it's perfectly understandable that other cultural fringe groups would speak up. According to this story, the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness are endeavoring to gain acceptance for cluster marriages, which they believe are at least as ethical as other marriages.
"Polyamory is never having to say you've broken up,'' said Sally Amsbury of Oakland, whose sex and love life openly includes her husband and two "other significant others," known in polyamory parlance as "OSOs."

Amsbury serves on the national board of directors of the Unitarian Universalist organization, which defines polyamory as "the philosophy and practice of loving or relating intimately to more than one other person at a time with honesty and integrity.''

"Polyamory is not an alternative to monogamy. It's an alternative to cheating,'' said Jasmine Walston, who lives in Louisville, Ky., and is president of the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness.
This is straight out of the free-love-let's-all-live-together-in-communes philosophy of the 1960s which has been proven not to work very well. Except now, there's a difference. They want societal approval for unrestrained promiscuity.

Amsbury stated "she favors expanding the legal definition of marriage to include three or more people" which seems open ended. I wonder if there's an upper limit. Ten, 50, 500? It's probably a choice made by each intercourse cluster.

In the current cultural experimentation environment, the next proposed redefinitions of marriage will probably include children, pets, and farm animals.
Goose Droppings in Lake Tahoe

(Reno, Nevada) Many property owners are convinced that the reason Lake Tahoe is losing its clarity is due to goose droppings. I believe it. I've seen what they can do to a golf course.
Officials Want Condoms in Adult Films

After news last week of two porn industry actors with HIV, it's probably to be expected that the government would want to get its hands into the business.
State and Los Angeles County health officials said Monday they believed existing regulations gave them the authority to require adult-film actors to use condoms, and the state Division of Occupational Health and Safety plans to begin inspections this week, marking the first time Cal/OSHA has investigated the adult-film industry.
Officials have stated that condom use is a health and workplace concern and it's important that standards be set for the industry.
"You couldn't imagine a construction company sending a person to a work site without a hard hat, and nor should we think of someone in an adult-film industry production company working without a condom," said Peter Kerndt, director of the sexually transmitted disease program for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. "I look at this strictly as an employer-employee issue."
It's presently unclear as to precisely how the "hard hats" are to be inspected, but there apparently won't be a need to hire additional investigators. It's been reported that the department secretary has already compiled a long list of employees who have volunteered for inspection assignments.

It may be reasonable to assume that the city of Los Angeles and the State of California will see the porn industry move their production companies to a less regulated location.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Key West - A New Image

Due to the mild climate and decisions by the city fathers, Key West broke into the top 5 of the Best Cities for the Homeless List. The plan to give generous benefits and facilities to the homeless was predicted to prompt an influx of new people wanting something for nothing. Well, the homeless communications network seems to have quickly passed the word and the city is seeing a stampede of vagrants.
The encampments at the Bridle Path along Key West's South Roosevelt Boulevard have enlarged almost to the point of creating a small city.

Homeless people laying out � or sitting out � at Smathers and Higgs beaches are keeping locals and tourists from comfortably relaxing and catching some rays.

Along U.S.1, next to the Key West Golf Club, on the sidewalks of Duval Street and its adjacent tributaries, homeless have homesteaded, claiming their spots for rest.

Meanwhile, the city of Key West goes into a bureaucracy mode, fiddling away while the homeless take over the island.
So, in a mere five weeks since the city announced their giveaway program, Key West has seen an explosion in the vagrant population which threatens to take over the island. Incidentally, it's quite understandable. Look at what's being offered.
The tent city will have air-conditioned tents, which already are in place, but construction of showers and sewers are still in the future. Residents, short-term but without other choices, also will be fed.

Once completed, city officials should be able to roust the homeless from other parts of the city.

The project, next to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office and county jail, will cost $130,000 as a joint city-county venture, with the city also paying $188,000 in annual maintenance and operation costs. Security alone will cost $118,000.
Air conditioning, showers, regular meals, and security provided by the Sheriff's Department. Throw in the sunshine and the beaches and you've got paradise. What's not to like?

It is fully expected that Key West's ranking on the Best Cities for the Homeless List will improve upon next publication. If the local government can be a little more progressive and start paying the homeless, it's certain that Key West will take the top position away from San Francisco.

In addition to attracting vagrants from across the nation, a story about Big Ruby's from last week indicates that Key West is trending toward being a predominantly homosexual-only city. And, in another story, L.J. Cicero, general manager of Alexander's guesthouse, stated that visitors are screened for heterosexuality and told they aren't welcome. Cicero says "her primary focus is to ensure quality for the [homosexual] guests and limit any threats to their security or comfort."

For some odd reason, the vagrancy and homosexual issues are being reported concurrent with news of the establishment of the Key West Resident/Visitor Planning Committee charged with promoting business and tourism. It's probably safe to assume that the committee's effectiveness may be hindered by Key West being saturated with vagrants and being generally unfriendly toward heterosexuals.

On the issue of discriminating against heterosexuals, The Country Pundit has an analysis. Go visit.
Educational Maintenance Allowances

From the UK comes this story about how the British have decided to encourage 16 to 19-year-old students from dropping out of school. They will pay them. Or, more correctly, they'll pay some of them based upon a means test of family income.

The Educational Maintenance Allowances (EMA) scheme will be implemented as follows:
Any student aged from 16 to 19 who lives in a household with a combined income of less than [about $53,000] will be eligible for a means-tested weekly grant - those in a household with less than [about $36,000] income will get the full amount.

Those students who see their courses out will get a "bonus" of up to [about $180]. The payments will go directly imto (sic) students' bank accounts.
The "full amount" will be [about $53] per week, although there is continuing debate on the reasonableness of that figure. Recent successful pilot programs offered more. Interestingly, the success rate improves with increased amounts given out.

Paying students to go to class gets results but it leaves open the possibility of the teachers and students colluding. History provides many examples of teachers accepting bribes. In addition, it would probably be naive not to expect some friction from the practice of paying some students and not others.
Illegals Won't Drive in Florida Soon

Not too long ago, Sen. Rudy Garcia, R-Hialeah, proposed a bill (SB 1630) in the Florida Legislature which would allow the state to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Although it was supported by Gov. Jeb Bush, law enforcement agencies expressed concern about being able to rely on criminal background checks conducted by foreign countries. As a result, Sen. Garcia has withdrawn support for the bill he proposed and asked the Senate Transportation Committee to put the bill on hold. There continues to be interest in the idea, however, no action is anticipated until next year at the earliest.

The status of SB 1630 should now be listed as "On Hold" on the legislative agenda, although "Oops!" might be more appropriate.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Homosexuals Eject Heterosexuals From Hotel

(Key West, FL) Check out this story.
Three heterosexual couples said they were turned away from a hotel in this gay-friendly tourist destination because of their sexual orientation, which would violate city law.

The six were vacationing with a gay couple and had reservations at Big Ruby's in downtown Key West when the three straight couples were turned away.

"The manager literally said, 'We don't want you here,'" said Jim Pirih, who had vacationed at Big Ruby's last year with his partner, Jason Williams.

The group, most of whom are from San Diego, was already settled in their rooms Wednesday when the manager told the straight couples they would have to leave, citing a policy of not allowing heterosexuals on the property, Pirih said.
I guess they just want to protect themselves from bad influences.
Riot at Iowa State University

(Ames, Iowa) There was a drunken riot in the streets of Campustown last night in Ames. The riot coincided with the annual Iowa State University student-run Veishea celebration. Around midnight, police responded to a call of several hundred or more than 1,000 rioters (Pick your favorite report).
"People from the crowd began throwing bottles and cans at the responding officers and at their vehicles," according to a police department press release. "People in the area began yelling and chanting 'riot riot."'

Police said crowds scattered from the area around the party, gathering closer to Campustown. People in the crowd began to commit acts of vandalism, including tearing down street lights and road signs, setting Trash bins on fire, rolling parked cars, breaking storefront windows and attacking cars that were driving by.

The crowd began throwing objects at officers on the scene, police said. Officers let off tear gas, but the crowd didn't fully disperse until around 5:30 a.m.
I spent some time living in Ames back in the 1970s and the Veishea celebrations during that period were boring flops. Boy, things must have livened up a bit. Nonetheless, I think the reporting on the extent of the riot is probably somewhat exaggerated. Ames is not a very big town.

By the way, the word Veishea is derived from the first letters of all the different schools that comprise the university.
Constitutional Amendment to Hunt and Fish

(Baton Rouge, Louisiana) This story will probably get some media attention in the campaigns leading up to the November elections.
Louisiana residents should be guaranteed the right to hunt, fish and trap in the state's Constitution, a panel of lawmakers decided Thursday.

"This is to protect the rights of sportsmen in this state," Sen. Joe McPherson said of his constitutional amendment, which was approved unanimously by the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
In all likelihood, the proposed amendment will be approved by the legislature and, subsequently, placed on the November ballot for a vote by the people of Louisiana.

I cannot imagine that the anti-gun and animal rights extremists will allow the amendment to be passed without a vigorous battle. The idea that a person would have the constitutional right to use a high-powered rifle to blow a hole into the skull of cute, harmless Bambi has to be unfathomable.

The amendment would also set a precedent concerning limits on animal rights. It wouldn't matter what rights the activists imagine animals have if the citizens can trump all those imagined rights with a firearm.
Bishop Sentenced for Criminal Sexual Conduct

(Traverse City, Michigan) Eastern Orthodox Bishop Demetri Khoury, 55, was sentenced by 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers Jr. to 28 days in jail for attempted fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. The sentence resulted from charges of being drunk and groping a woman's breast at a slot machine at the Turtle Creek Casino last July.

Holy man, drunk, slot machines, casino, and groping a woman. What's not wrong with this picture.


Saturday, April 17, 2004

Mountain Lion Sighted North of Chicago

In Lake County near Antioch, Illinois, there have been several sightings of a cougar or mountain lion.

Just great! They'll be in Ohio before too long. And, these animals don't frighten easily. Just great!
Toronto Buying Storage Space in Michigan

Every day throughout the year, 125 trucks, each laden with more than 40,000 lbs. of garbage, travel more than 200 miles along Canadian Routes 401 and 402 to Michigan from Toronto. After dumping their load in a landfill, the trucks return to Toronto. So, a citizen in any of the multitude of municipalities along the route could sit by the highway and see a stinking truck go by about every six minutes, all day and all night long. If one assumes that the truck drivers slept at night, the stinking truck frequency would drop to one every three minutes. This project costs the taxpayers in Toronto $55,000,000 per year.

It should be mentioned that the numbers cited are best estimates by people who are criticized because of the numbers so there's an inclination to have them as small as possible. It also needs to be mentioned that, to date, there has been no comprehensive statistical assessment performed and reported concerning the garbage issue. Bits and pieces of the problem have been looked at, but the results usually conflict. For example, just concerning the number of truckloads daily, I've seen estimates as low as 100 and some, more than 200.

In one respect, the $55 million figure quoted is misleading since it only addresses landfill fees which are paid to the Michigan property owners. What's not included are the costs associated with buying and maintaining a fleet of trucks, fuel, oil, insurance, registration, tolls, driver's salaries, and wear and tear on the highways of Ontario. Including these expenses would undoubtedly add to the total cost of shipping garbage to Michigan. By the way, unquantifiable is the cost of having a continuous caravan of stinking garbage trucks marring the aesthetic beauty of the Ontario countryside. Call it an unfriendly to tourists feature.

Dealing strictly with the international trade aspect of the issue, the citizens of Ontario are paying the citizens of Michigan $55 million in exchange for a permanent storage space for their garbage. With such a large expenditure, it would be reasonable to assume that Canadian taxpayers must buy space in Michigan because they don't have enough space in Ontario. And, it would be a wrong assumption. Ontario is seven times the size of Michigan so there is more than enough space for Toronto's garbage right in the home province. That fact alone indicates there is some other reason for paying the $55 million and there is. It's the loud environmental activist groups.

Money is being paid to Michigan because, any time an effort is proposed to create a new landfill in Ontario, the environmental groups mobilize their supporters to protest. They protest long, loud, and forcefully. The politicians cower obsequiously. Mere mention of the Toronto Environmental Alliance and the Citizens for a Safe Environment, among others, and the city and provincial officials genuflect. The greenies squeal, the politicians kneel. That's a fact of life in Ontario.

In a nutshell, since it would be considerably cheaper to put the garbage in an Ontario landfill and it's not occurring, the reason the taxpayers of Toronto pay $55 million yearly to Michigan property owners is to avoid, at all costs, having to listen to the environmentalists.

More on the Canadian garbage issue can be found here.

Hat tip: Debbye S.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Felt Something Strange

I got this story from Doc at Far From Perfect. It's about a man whose penis exploded while he was making love to his girlfriend.
Ilarie Coroiu was taken to hospital in the Transylvanian town of Cluj after his girlfriend, Magdalena, 18, "felt something strange" and noticed that the bed was covered in blood.

Dr. Angela Domocos, head of the accident and emergency department at Cluj General Hospital, said: "It is very rare for this to happen. We call it an exploded penis because it happens when the blood cavities in the penis burst."
Bed covered with blood ... Transylvania ... Coincidence? You make the call.

In all seriousness, I've heard of this from a friend who works in the medical field. Granted, it's rare, but it does happen and I was told it's usually referred to as a broken penis. I understand it's also extremely painful.

The Topeka Shiner

Another environmentalist land grab is underway in six states to protect the Topeka shiner, a minnow. The Sierra Club has targeted private property in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, and Missouri for designation as critical habitat which would impose federal regulations on the use and sale of the private land.

I'll reiterate my previous recommendation. Let the public decide which species to protect and not protect via the ballot box. Small special interest groups are making the determination (many times based on incomplete or disputed science) and it greatly impacts many property owners and businesses negatively. With respect to the Topeka shiner, I'd vote no protection and allow the citizens in the six states to do what they desire with their property. The minnow can fend for itself.
Teacher Assaults Female Student in Class

Here's a story (linked to a video) from Korea that's disturbing on several levels. It's about a high school teacher punching a 1st-year female student in class with the whole episode being captured on a video phone. When they appeared on the Internet, the images produced thousands of complaints, causing the teacher to be fired.

Jeff at Ruminations in Korea reports on the incident and has a comment thread where some readers state that Korean culture considers punching students to be acceptable. In fact, some people seem to think it's ethnocentric bigotry to criticize the Korean practice of violently pounding on students. Jeff and others disagree and rightly consider it as abuse. Nonetheless, the fact that some people are trying to justify and defend the practice indicates that, at least in one regard, Korean culture is warped and less ethical than cultures that don't abuse children. And, even if there is only a minority of Koreans who approve of teachers beating students, it still exists as a significant cultural difference between Korea and societies that believe child abuse is a crime. It should also be noted that this cultural disparity provides support for the contention that total multiculturalism is unachievable.

For some reason, a couple other important aspects of this story seem to be ignored. Not addressed is what prompted the beating. It would surely make a difference if the girl was chewing gum as opposed to having kicked the teacher in the groin. It's probably somewhere in between, but, whatever it is, it's not explained. Nor is it explained whether beating students is widespread and common or isolated and infrequent.

In summary, subjecting children to violence is criminal and no debate about ethnicity, culture, or geographic location is going to make it acceptable.

Hat tip: Marmot's Hole
Ventura Floats Idea of Presidential Run

(Boston, MA) During an interview with the Associated Press, former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura hinted that he's toying with the idea of running as an Independent for the presidency in 2008.
"No party, no nothing," he told the news service, adding that his campaign message would be, "Elect someone who truly is not controlled by special-interest money. With me, you would get a true check and balance."
Opinion is divided on whether Ventura is serious. He's well known for audacious self-promotion and has floated the idea in the past, then nixing it. However, a recent stint as a visiting professor at Harvard University may have changed his mind. Although some insiders laugh at the idea of a President Jesse, former congressman Tim Penny thinks Ventura is serious.
"From what I can gather, I think he's serious. I don't think it's an idle thought," Penny said. "I don't discount the governor's ability to create a significant national following. Arnold Schwarzenegger is governor of California. That shows there's a lot of voters open to supporting a person who isn't a career politician."
At this time, Ventura's comments have to be considered nothing more than fodder for discussion in political circles. The 2008 elections are not going to be seriously contemplated until after this year. In the meantime, Ventura has given pundits and political junkies something light to talk about during lulls in the conversation. Coincidentally, the waters will be tested for potential supporters. After he's had time to gauge his backing, Ventura will decide and he'll be serious. Until then, his statements are just a titillating exercise in self-promotion.

Companion post at eTALKINGHEAD.
Owl Attacks, Carries Away Dog

(McCook, Nebraska) Mary Graves put her dogs into the back yard and watched as an owl swooped out of a tree and grabbed her little Snoopy dog.
"Snoopy put up a fight," Mary said, and the owl dropped him. Snoopy has spent many days at the veterinarian's, and although the 30-35 talon holes and a beak bite are draining, they're healing now and beginning to itch.
What! Nobody owns a shotgun in McCook?
Patrolman Wins Doughnut Contest

(Rolling Meadows, Illinois) Wednesday's Dunkin' Donuts World Cop Donut Eating Championship was won by Officer Terry O'Brien of the Town of Geneva Police Department in Lake Geneva, Wis. O'Brien made 9 and 1/2 doughnuts disappear in three minutes. The contest was held as part of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) annual conference.

I think it's interesting that a group with the acronym ILEETA has a doughnut eating contest. ILEETA Doughnut Contest?

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Smut Halted for HIV

(Los Angeles, CA) Adult movie producers shut down their operations after two performers tested positive for HIV.
At least 45 men and women were under voluntary quarantine because they had sex with the HIV-positive performers or their sex partners, said Sharon Mitchell of the nonprofit Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation.
It goes without saying that this is not the first time the smut industry has been troubled with HIV infections. What's surprising is that there's not a catalog of reports of infections. The smut business has got to be ground zero for sexually transmitted diseases.
Today's Health Alert - Beer Causes Gout

From the AP is breaking news of a study to be published this week in The Lancet medical journal that found: was the worst choice for gout, followed by spirits. It concluded that moderate wine drinking did not appear to be a problem, but experts said there were too few men in the study who drank a lot of wine to be sure that wine is a safer alternative.

In the study, conducted by scientists at Massachusetts General, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard's medical and public health schools in Boston, researchers followed 47,150 men with no history of gout for 12 years.

When the study ended in 1998, 730 men, or nearly 2 percent, had developed gout.
Update your health alert response procedures accordingly.
Herman Kopke - Rest in Peace

The story of Herman Kopke caught my eye and seemed worthy of passing on. Prior to his death last week, Kopke was believed to be Nebraska's oldest living man. Born in 1895, he was 108 years old. In addition to hard work, good genes and an active mind, Kopke's longevity was also influenced by a lifetime of smoking tobacco and eating pork. According to his son-in-law, LaVerne Lamprecht of Fremont, Neb., "he'd eat pork chops and cut off the fat around them, and he'd smear (the fat) on the bread and eat it."

It's expected that the data associated with Mr. Kopke's longevity will be excluded from the annoying lifestyle studies performed to frighten the public into smoking and eating grass.

Services for Herman Kopke were held last Saturday in Elkhorn, Nebraska.
Stetson Hat Plant Closing

(St. Joseph, MO) According to this story, the Stetson hat manufacturing plant in St. Joseph is closing in June with a loss of 110 jobs. Officials for Hatco Inc. made the announcement. The reason for the closure is poor sales. People are just not wearing hats like they used to.

Since the loss of jobs cannot be attributed to outsourcing, the news was met without the usual glee by Democratic party operatives and labor union activists.
Liberal Talk Radio Silenced in LA & Chicago

From a report in the Chicago Tribune:
After just two weeks of broadcasting, Air America Radio, the fledgling liberal talk-radio network featuring Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo, was pulled off the air Wednesday morning in Chicago and Los Angeles in a payment dispute that shows no sign of quick resolution.

Arthur Liu, owner of Multicultural Radio Broadcasting Inc., which owns Air America affiliates WNTD-950 AM in Chicago and KBLA-1580 AM in Los Angeles, said Air America bounced a check and owes him more than $1 million. Air America and Multicultural had entered into an agreement in which the network essentially was renting Multicultural's airtime, Liu said.

"They bounced a check today," Liu said. "It's a default. They have paid only a very small portion of what they owe us."
It appears that the dispute between Multicultural and Air America includes some contractual considerations that may have to be resolved by the courts. If so, there could be a significant delay prior to final resolution, and, in the interim, the second and third largest radio markets in the nation will be without Air America.

I suspect that the problems Air America is having are the result of inadequate planning and preparation on the part of the backers and producers. In a cliche, "The hurrier we go, the behinder we get."
Puppy Killer Gets Prison

(Santa Cruz, CA) Steven David Jackson, 39, was convicted of animal cruelty for killing a puppy with a golf club. As a result, Judge Art Danner sentenced him to one year in prison, three years probation, $2,000 restitution, mandatory anger management counseling, and 500 hours community service.

In his defense, Jackson contended that he didn't mean to harm the puppy, stating that he was only preventing the dog from biting his son. Prosecutor Gordon Isen disagreed, indicating that there was clear intent to kill.
"Not only is Mr. Jackson a continuing threat to our community, people across the world are watching what happens today," said Isen, who received hundreds of letters urging full prosecution of Jackson. "We need to tell others that Santa Cruz County won't accept this type of behavior."
Sheesh! "People across the world are watching what happens today" might be exaggerating the importance of the decision. I wasn't watching. In fact, I only found it when I was looking for something totally unrelated. Nonetheless, the County Prosecutor thinks the case is important world news and, as such, Steven Jackson is being punished harshly.

My take is in the form of advice. If you kick your dog or blend puppies, don't spend a lot of time in Santa Cruz. The "world is watching."
Child Molester Free on Technicality

(Santa Ana, CA) Serial child molester Edward Harvey Stokes has been released from jail in California and is reported to have left the state.
Stokes was first arrested in 1974 and had been convicted at least five times in Washington and Oregon on rape, sodomy and kidnapping charges. In July 1995, he completed a three-year sentence in Oregon for sex abuse and sodomy.

According to police and court records, Stokes targeted runaways and other troubled youth because they typically did not tell authorities. He often gave his victims alcohol and drugs, with some victims waking up in handcuffs and leg shackles.
The 4th District Court of Appeals ruled that Stokes should be released from his life prison sentence because he never had a chance to confront his accuser, a teenager who committed suicide.

This makes me sick. Somewhere in the US, Edward Harvey Stokes, who has admitted to molesting over 200 children, is right now working on another victim, ruining another child's life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Chicago Hires Felon, Grants Leave to Serve Prison Term

According to this story, William Schneider, 34, was hired by the Public Building Commission of Chicago while under federal indictment for stealing more than $100,000 from his previous employer. Two months later, Schneider was convicted and sentenced to federal prison. To serve his time, he requested and was granted a leave of absence from his job in finance. Fortunately, he wasn't paid by the city while he was in prison.

Officials have pleaded ignorance and are trying to figure out how he was hired for key accounting positions despite a felony conviction for financial fraud. Oddly, some records seem to have been lost.

Does this episode surprise anyone?

Hat tip: The Chicago Report
Weekly Linkfests

The April 12th Edition of the Carnival of the Capitalists is up at The Chicago Report.

The Carnival of the Vanities is posted at BoiFromTroy along with a guided tour of West Hollywood, California.

Reverend Pixy is warming cockles with the Bonfire of the Vanities at Ambient Irony.

The BEST OF ME SYMPHONY is at Blogo Slovo by Dave.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Illegals Being Arrested

(Montgomery, Alabama) Alabama State Troopers have been empowered by the Department of Homeland Security to arrest and detain illegal aliens. Using the "Immigration Law Handbook," troopers "have arrested 106 illegal immigrants, including a Mexican man driving 90 miles per hour and a Mexican mother of two who presented invalid documents while applying for a driver's license."
Alabama is the epicenter of a widening effort by the Department of Homeland Security to encourage states and localities to help enforce immigration laws in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Colorado, Idaho and Virginia are considering following the examples of Alabama, which began its partnership with the Department of Homeland Security in September, and Florida, which signed an agreement with federal officials in 2002. In Los Angeles County, the sheriff's office is close to an agreement to allow booking officers to identify illegal immigrants in county jails for deportation.
I happen to be in full support of arresting and prosecuting lawbreakers and illegal aliens are lawbreakers. Unfortunately, this action may be too little, too late and it won't have any substantive impact whatsoever as long as the borders remain porous. Nonetheless, when the leftists hear what's happening, I think we can expect a political firestorm.

Having said all that, I still applaud the action. It may be a baby step, but it's in the right direction.

Companion post at eTALKINGHEAD.

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