Thursday, July 31, 2003


This story is sick. Read for yourself how the world is progressing culturally.

AN ANIMAL LOVER has tied himself to his pet sheep in protest after landlords refused to let him share a flat with her.

I don't really see why I shouldn't be allowed to live with my sheep.[He said.]

I wonder how the Supreme Court would rule on this case.
 Hip-Hop Impedes Black Progress

John H. McWhorter presents a well-reasoned and well-founded essay on the serious subject of the impact of hip-hop music on the young black generation. Appearing in the City Journal of New York, the essay examines how there is a direct correlation between the incorrigible behavior of young blacks and hip-hop music. An example is:

". . . I was having lunch in a KFC in Harlem, sitting near eight African-American boys, aged about 14 . . . extremely loud and unruly, tossing food at one another and leaving it on the floor."

"Black people ran the restaurant and made up the bulk of the customers, but it was hard to see much healthy "black community" here. After repeatedly warning the boys to stop throwing food and keep quiet, the manager finally told them to leave. The kids ignored her. Only after she called a male security guard did they start slowly making their way out, tauntingly circling the restaurant before ambling off. These teens clearly weren't monsters, but they seemed to consider themselves exempt from public norms of behavior--as if they had begun to check out of mainstream society."

"What struck me most, though, was how fully the boys' music--hard-edged rap, preaching bone-deep dislike of authority--provided them with a continuing soundtrack to their antisocial behavior. So completely was rap ingrained in their consciousness that every so often, one or another of them would break into cocky, expletive-laden rap lyrics, accompanied by the angular, bellicose gestures typical of rap performance. A couple of his buddies would then join him. Rap was a running decoration in their conversation."[Bolded by ed.]

Mr. McWhorter continues by examining the lyrics these kids are exposed to, from the malicious to the threatening. And he compares the attitudes and actions of the black community in the 1960s to those of current times.

The stipulations and conclusions of the piece seem apparent, yet there is no strong black leader voicing them. Black kids are growing up learning the wrong things and black leadership can be held partially responsible.

You can read it all here.

Thanks to Susanna over at Cut On A Bias for pointing me to this article. She also discusses a few of her first-hand experiences with the hip-hop attitudes of young blacks. You can find it here.
 Electric Bra

New Scientist Magazine has announced the invention of an electric bra with two coziness settings. Michael Pottenger created the item to harness the natural breast motion and use it to produce electricity for heating.

It could be that I'm just dense, but can someone tell me how one would measure 'coziness?' For example, what would 'high coziness' or 'low coziness' consist of? Since the bra puts out heat, one could be led to believe that 'high coziness' would be hotter than 'low coziness.' If this is true, then the burning fires of hell would be the coziest place imaginable. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Maybe one of these bras could be used to warm the cold, cold, hearts of ex-wives and mothers-in-law. Probably not. What is for sure, though, is that each will know the coziest final resting place.
 Stupid, Human Fun

This seems to be clean fun, but I'm sure it will be construed to be a violation of something. That is, if they get caught.
"In the latest craze to sweep the US, no one gets hurt, property remains intact and the atmosphere remains upbeat. Only unsuspecting shop workers are left bewildered.

"So-called 'flash mobs' are being mobilised by e-mail all over the city . . . ."

It's called the Mob Project of New York and entails hundreds of people swarming into a location, then leaving after a few minutes.
[One member said] . . . "It's just stupid, human fun."

[Another said] . . . "I had nothing else to do. I'm unemployed."

Seems like there might be a market for something of this sort.
 Forensic French Smelling

According to this story by Kim Wilsher in the UK Telegraph, the French police are "bottling" smells at the scenes of crimes to identify suspects by the odor they have left behind.

After conducting a two-year-long programme of tests on a method of detection known as "odourology," they have concluded that smell can be as effective as using fingerprints or DNA samples to link a criminal with a crime.

Amazingly, the technique seems to have significant merit and other law agencies are starting to adopt it. Probably not so amazing is that the French came up with the idea. Since they have an international reputation for scoring high on the Poor Hygiene Scale, their country is a target-rich environment for smells. In fact, I've heard of instances where they've been able to locate a criminal by his smell without using a tracker dog.

Read the whole article for considerable detail.
 Koreans Love Their Dog Meat

This story out of the UK tells of the Korean love of dog meat with an estimated 6,000 restaurants nation-wide. About 3 million of South Korea's 47 million people are believed to eat dog meat.

Even so, international animal rights groups have condemned the practice as barbarous, and South Korea has no law governing the sale of dog meat. Many Koreans consider criticism of the practice a slight to their national pride.

My question is, why aren't the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) over in Korea raising hell? If they are really concerned about animals, they'd concentrate on getting people not to eat pets instead of going after fried chicken and hamburgers. Even if they are successful in pricing chicken, beef and pork out of the marketplace, there still will be millions of people eating dogs.

Of course, since Koreans are proud that they eat dog, PETA may have a hard time recruiting liberal boo-hooers and do-gooders on the peninsula. It sure would be fun watching them try.

Read the whole article.
 Another Kucinich Gem

House Majority Leader Tom Delay gave a speech to about a thousand Republican college students in Washington, discussing the Democratic Party candidates and philosophy for the 2004 election and the need for Republicans not to be complacent.

"Their single organizing philosophy is an irrational, all-encompassing broiling hatred of George W. Bush," DeLay said. "Most of all, Democrats hate the president because on every political issue of significance since he came to office, he has beaten them like rented mules."

Mr. DeLay addresses the hatred and other items which you can read at this Fox News article. However, as an Ohioan, what caught my eye was the latest bizarre actions of Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich.

"Dennis Kucinich, a long-time member of Congress, now calls for legislation -- I love this -- to ban 'mind control' weapons in outer space," DeLay said. "It makes you wonder if at their next presidential debate, the Democrats are all going to show up wearing aluminum foil helmets to protect their brain waves from the mother ship."

I've got to once again remind all the voters in Cleveland, this is the nutcase you decided was the best man to represent you.

[Thanks to the Country Store.]
 Death by Environmentalism

[via Dissecting Leftism.] This article from the Mises Institute presents the case that the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters were the result of design changes made in accordance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regulations. It's written by William L. Anderson, who contends that:

. . . the roots of both disasters were planted in the government's environmental policies. Environmentalism not only killed 14 U.S. astronauts, but it killed them in a most horrible and public way.

With respect to the shuttle Challenger, the cause of the catastrophe has been attributed to the failure of a set of O-rings on a booster rocket allowing fuel to leak and ignite. This is well known. What is not well known is that,

. . . the material used to make the O-rings was a substitute to replace a product that the Environmental Protection Agency had banned because it contained asbestos.

The original O-rings used between the rocket joints came from an over-the-counter putty that had been used safely and effectively for a long time. However, in its war against the use of asbestos anywhere, anytime, the EPA forbade NASA from using that product at all after the space agency had sought an exemption. The EPA, not surprisingly, refused that request . . . .

In the case of the breakup of the Shuttle Columbia, the most recent understanding is that the cause:

. . . was almost certainly due to a chunk of insulating foam coming loose and hitting some heat-protecting tiles, scattering them and leaving the spacecraft vulnerable to the intense heat it would experience upon re-entry into the earth's atmosphere.

That's the story being told by NASA and the media, but what hasn't been told is that:

. . . the particular foam that was in use at the time was an environmental substitute replacing a material that had worked well. However, the previous foam used to insulate the Columbia's external fuel tanks contained Freon, which is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) that the EPA banned because of the ozone depletion scare.

Mr. Anderson points out that these two disasters are examples of the high costs and low benefits of environmental laws and regulations which have been ignored by the mainstream media. He also states:

Environmentalism has become a sacrosanct religion of which no questions can even be asked.

It's worth your while to read the whole article.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

 Too Many Warning Labels

I got a kick out of this story by Zay N. Smith of the Chicago Sun-Times which describes some of the silliness that results from product liability lawsuits. In particular, an abundance of ridiculous warning labels are mandated by court decisions. Some examples are:

*On a baby stroller: "Remove child before folding."
*On a bottle of chocolate milk: "After opening, keep upright."
*On a Swedish chain saw: "Do not try to stop chain with hands."
*On a pudding packet: "Product will be hot after heating."
*On a steam iron: "Never iron clothes that are being worn."
*On a camera: "This camera works only when there is film inside."

We can all laugh but the reality is not so funny. Each time a label is mandated, the cost of a product increases. Liability lawsuits are killing businesses.

Thanks to Common Sense & Wonder.
 Cause of Global Warming Disputed

The Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee is currently debating issues concerning pending legislation on carbon emissions and, according to this story in the Washington Times, there is no common agreement on the cause of global warming.

"This research begs an obvious question: If the Earth was warmer during the Middle Ages than the age of coal-fired power plants and SUVs, what role do man-made emissions play in influencing climate?" asked Chairman James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma.

"I think any person with a modicum of common sense would say, 'Not much,' " Mr. Inhofe said.

The contention of Senator Inhofe is that the proposed legislation is "politically driven" citing the fact that some of the sponsors are running for president and seeking support of environmental groups.

The Democrats stated that evidence for global warming is overwhelming:

"One would have to be madder than a March hare to fail to see the need to act," said Sen. James M. Jeffords, Vermont independent, who Democrats have tapped to be the ranking opposition member on the committee.

Both sides presented their experts who espoused polar opposite opinions. Mr. Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics stated that there is no evidence,

". . . to suggest that either the rate of increase or the duration of warming during the 20th century were greater than in the Medieval Warm Period."

Michael E. Mann, a professor at the University of Virginia, countered by stating that Mr. Soon's study was "unsound" and that global warming "cannot be explained by natural factors but, instead, requires significant ... human influences during the 20th century."

As Chairman and having the most significant individual influence on how the final legislation will look, Senator Inhofe said he is convinced by Mr. Soon's evidence. Therefore, curbs on carbon emissions will probably not be included in the final bill.

My take is twofold. One is that there continues to be a vigorous disagreement among the scientific community as to whether global warming is a natural or man-made phenomenon. Consider this for a moment, there is no scientific consensus. Then consider how many laws, taxes, and restrictions have been imposed when it's not clear that there is a problem that's correctable.

Now consider what these same Democrats have been saying about the President's decision to go to war with Iraq. Although the administration has repeatedly outlined the specific reasons the decision was made, the Democrats continually harp that there was insufficient justification, even implying that reasons were invented.

If one compares these two cases, they are similar in that both the global warming issue and the Iraq war issue require decisions to be made by the leadership. In each case, the decision is simple. Do we do something about it or do we not?

In the case of global warming, we collect all available information and expert opinion and use it to decide because, if we don't, we'll see dramatic negative effects within 50 to 100 years. Based upon no common agreement on publicly available information, the Democrats say we must act now.

In the case of the Iraq war, we collect all available information and expert opinion and use it to decide because, if we don't, we'll see dramatic negative effects within the next week, the next month, or the next year. Based upon public information and secret intelligence data, the Bush administration decided to go to war. The war is over now. The Democrats criticize the administration for acting imprudently and through malfeasance.

Other than politics, it doesn't make much sense to me why the Democrats want a decision to be made now based upon disputed projections of what will happen a hundred years from now, and they criticize President Bush for making a decision that provides immediate benefit to the security of the nation.

Throw in the fact that the environmentally based decisions that have been made have cost real jobs, caused real businesses to fold, and taken real freedoms away from Americans.

Of course, I could be wrong in my thinking and I'd appreciate feedback in that regard.

[Thanks to Curmudgeonly & Skeptical for pointing me to this piece.]

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

 Another Kucinich Whopper

Wince and Nod pointed me to this story showing how the liberals are trying to out-liberal each other. This latest pronouncement by the Ohio Elf, Dennis Kucinich, is an example, seeming more Marxist than just liberal. According to the Ottumwa Courier, Kucinich now wants to nationalize the nation's day care and pre-school education. To pay for it, he wants to cut the defense budget. Big surprise, huh?

The people of Cleveland voted this guy into office and they should be ashamed. I've seen no evidence that he should ever be given a position of responsibility.

Rachel Lucas also weighs in with commentary worth a look. Read the whole story.
 Lower Taxes Means Greater Productivity

Allister Heath, writing for Scotland on Sunday, discusses the current tax trends in various countries and concludes that,

From Ukraine to Australia, from Germany to the US, governments across the world are cutting taxes in a remarkable revival of economic liberalism. With the glaring exception of Britain, where chancellor Gordon Brown is busily hiking taxes, marginal taxes are tumbling at a speed which would have made the most ardent supporter of 1980s-style Reaganomics proud.

The article emphasizes that most countries have lowered or are lowering their marginal tax rates to boost economic growth by improving incentives to work, invest and start new businesses, making leisure less attractive in relation to work and removing distortions in the economy.

Russia is used as an example,

. . . of a successful supply-side fiscal policy, in 2001, the first year following the introduction of the flat tax in Russia, revenues from personal income tax jumped 28% in real terms. Despite much lower tax rates, income tax receipts increased as a share of consolidated budget tax revenues to 12.7% from 12.1% in 2000. Income tax receipts surged again, increasing by 20.7% in real terms in 2002, taking their share of overall revenue to 15.3%. [Bold by ed.]

Encapsulated, lower taxes mean greater productivity and greater revenue collected by the government. And, the countries Mr. Heath cites are implementing the philosophy with success.
 Jailed for Porn Writings

This legal case has a history. It's about a man named Brian Dalton, 24, who is imprisoned for violation of the Ohio obscenity laws. His actions, however, do not meet the letter of the law, in that, the obscenity law prohibits making or possessing of photos or images. His violation concerned his writings about his dreams of molesting and torturing children. When the writings were found by his parents, they turned them in to his probation officer and he was arrested. He previously was convicted of pandering child pornography and placed on probation at the age of 19.

Now, the question the Ohio Supreme Court will be asked is whether writings can be construed to be in violation of the obscenity law when the law doesn't address written material, only photos and images.

The state's highest court would be the third court to take up the case of Brian Dalton, who First Amendment lawyers believe is the first person in the United States successfully prosecuted for child pornography that involved writings, not images.

In addition to defense counsel, a team of American Civil Liberties Union lawyers will be arguing the case.

It appears to me that Mr. Dalton has satisfied all the prerequisite requirements for admission to the John Wayne Gacy Graduate School of Child Molestation and the prosecutors, his probation officer and his parents are trying to take preventive measures to keep him off the street. All the signals of impending trouble are apparent.

Unfortunately, I don't think they'll win in the end. The court will most likely elect to preserve First Amendment freedoms.

In closing, I have to mention that John Wayne Gacy molested, tortured and murdered over thirty young men and boys. In that light, the actions of the prosecution are understandable and probably (and regrettably) prescient.
 AMA Censures Animal Rights Front Group

Mike Burita of the Center for Consumer Freedom reports that the American Medical Association has censured an animal rights front organization masquerading as a 'physicians group.' The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM),

. . . claiming to be a medical charity, launched a media campaign this week featuring reckless charges about health risks supposedly connected with eating meat.

"This misnamed 'physicians committee' represents a tiny fraction of America's doctors who place animal-rights ideology above their patients' health," said Center for Consumer Freedom research director David Martosko. "PCRM has asserted itself as a home for anti-meat, pro-vegan nutritionists who are committed to removing beef, dairy, poultry, and other animal products from the American diet for good."

The AMA has additionally written that the PCRM recommendations are "irresponsible and potentially dangerous to the health and welfare of Americans."

Closely allied with and funded by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), PCRM is considered a fringe organization of questionable repute that is force-feeding animal rights propaganda on the public. They continually "hoodwink the media with a series of questionable research that fails to enhance public health."

The major media is failing miserably with regard to the animal rights and vegetarian cultists. Without adequate oversight, PETA, PCRM, and the vegan crowd will continue acting to negatively impact the American economy. The results of their success are decreased availability and increased cost of products in the marketplace.

Thanks to Random Nuclear Strikes.

Monday, July 28, 2003

 Toilet Conference in Singapore

The country of Singapore sure likes to have nice toilets. Their Restroom Association has stated:

Clean public lavatories are crucial for the country "to maintain its reputation as a magnet for human talent and a top location for investment."

Singapore's Environment Minister Lim Swee Say launched the "Happy Toilet" campaign to rate restrooms and awarded the country's first five-star rating on Tuesday, starting a nationwide drive to flush out dirty lavatories.

"I am looking very forward to experiencing this toilet myself so I can walk out of the toilet feeling happy," Lim said at a news conference, before placing the award plaque outside a restroom at a suburban shopping mall in the wealthy Southeast Asian city-state.

Understandably, Singapore is hosting the three-day global toilet conference to study latest designs and make recommendations. Unfortunately, there will probably be new laws resulting sometime in the future.

I don't have to guess what kind of paper will come out of the toilet conference.
 A New Gas Tax?

This story found at details the latest in government intrusion into private matters. A teenager passes gas and gets fined $100. I assume someone heard something, otherwise, how could they have caught him.

His mother admitted the boy passed wind but said that he didn't deliberately aim it at police.

I didn't know that aiming flatulence was possible, at least not from a distance.
 African-American History vs. American History

John Hawkins of Right Wing News discusses an article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer which describes a controversy over a white person being assigned to teach an African-American Studies course. Apparently, some parents are outraged.

It would be a problem for A.G. Miller, an associate professor of American and African religious history at Oberlin College. In Oberlin's case, he said, placing a white teacher in the African-American history course would send the wrong message to black high school students.

"The message is that we are not concerned about the importance of your historical background . . . that that is less important than a schedule conflict," said Miller, whose three children graduated from Oberlin High School.

The entire argument becomes moot if the suggestion provided by Hawkins is implemented.

Maybe this may sound like a crazy suggestion to some people, but why don't we just teach these kids American history? Not black history, not white history, but American history. The race of the professor teaching the class doesn't matter, the racial make-up of the class doesn't matter, let's just be color blind and treat all the kids like what they are, Americans. Wouldn't our country be a better place to live if we did that?

Sure makes a lot of sense to me. Read the rest of the story here.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

 Happy Birthday

I'd like to wish my friend Joe-Bob a Happy Birthday and I hope he comes out of the shadows and uses his real name. Listen, though you've chalked up quite a few in your lifetime, don't let it get you down. What's important is that they just keep coming, year after year.
 Has Anyone Eaten an Unhappy Chicken?

The demands of the animal rights advocates are beyond reason to me. Consequently, I have an extremely difficult time trying to figure just what benefit is derived by caving to their demands. And, caving to those demands is occurring more and more often.

Per this Associated Press story, the animal rights people just recently got McDonald Corp. to commit to direct its meat suppliers to use less antibiotics when raising chickens, beef and pork. There is dispute within the scientific community as to whether this action is beneficial. Prior to this decision, McDonald Corp. had already caved to demands to set minimum standards concerning the raising of chickens.

Through some clever, and some say nefarious, political maneuverings, the population of the State of Florida caved to the animal rights crowd. For some ill-defined reason and providing no defined benefit, they voted to amend their constitution to protect pigs. [As an aside, this is the same state that can't locate hundreds of children they have placed in foster care. Children are missing, but pigs have constitutional rights. Does that make sense to anyone?]

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has recently been able to get celebrities to spearhead their efforts to get KFC to cave to their demands regarding how their chickens are raised. Jason Alexander has stated, "I am your ally," to PETA and that he would put pressure on KFC. Just recently, Paul McCartney has joined the PETA effort by publishing an open letter to the president of the company calling for reduced cruelty to chickens. He wants KFC to implement an eight-point PETA plan which dictates to KFC management how they should run their business. The PETA plan, in my estimation, is ludicrous and, you'd think that Jason Alexander and Paul McCartney combined would comprise one rational adult. But, I guess not.

First, I must digress and discuss the bases for the demands by the animal rights people. Everything they do is prompted by their subjective definition of what is cruel and inhumane. It is entirely subjective. For example, as a youngster I used an ax to chop the heads off many chickens. They would then be allowed to run around until they bled out, at which time, I'd dunk them in scalding water, pluck the feathers, gut them, and wash them. To me, that's nothing more than preparing food for dinner. To the animal rights crowd, it's cruel and inhumane.

Based upon their subjective views, the PETA plan for KFC stipulates that killing chickens by slicing their throats is "extremely problematic for the birds� welfare." Therefore, they want all chickens gassed to death. It's seems to me that killing the chicken in any manner would be "extremely problematic" to its welfare. Nevertheless, if I was in the business, my goal would be to do what was necessary to satisfy my customers and make as much profit as the market would allow. If slitting the chickens' throats was the best way, I'd do it. If somebody thought it was "extremely problematic," too bad.

Another point in the PETA plan is the requirement to have KFC install surveillance cameras to:

. . .make the job of auditing easier and more precise. They should be installed at key points for animal handling, including unloading areas, shackling areas, the points of entry into the �stun� bath and scalding tank for chickens, the stunning and hanging areas for pigs and cattle and places where chickens have their throats slit.

This appears to me that PETA wants to take over management of every aspect of the business of processing chickens. Think for a moment. What kind of response would there be if the government came in with demands of this nature, based solely on the subjective definition of cruel and inhumane. No ordinance, no regulation, no law, just someone's definition mandating how a privately owned company conducts business. If the government did this, there would be outrage and there should be outrage from KFC.

From a cost-benefit standpoint, it seems that there is no benefit to be derived by caving to any of the demands of the animal rights crowd. There is, however, a substantial cost. Everything they demand makes the businesses less efficient and their product costs increase. Some believe that their goal has nothing to do with animals at all. They are using animals to put companies in noncompetitive positions or drive them entirely out of business.

David Martosko, director of research for the Center for Consumer Freedom claims the real agenda of these groups is "total animal liberation," in the words of activists.

"'Total animal liberation' means no beef, no pork, no leather, no fur ... " Martosko [said]. . . you drive up the production cost for hog farmers, he argues, they're forced to pass the added expense to consumers, who will be inclined to consume less pork until production is ultimately driven out of the country.

In conclusion, a couple other things need mentioning. First, these folks won't stop their unreasonable demands. Appeasement doesn't work. They'll continue until it is no longer profitable for a company to continue in business. Any company caving to them should get the Neville Chamberlain award.

Last thing, this nonsense will stop when one of two things occurs.

A high profile company, upon receipt of the animal rights demands, says, "No! This is a privately-owned company and we will manage it as we desire." [or]

The animal rights crowd is allowed victory and all animals are liberated and given defined legal rights as members of society. Everyone would be forced by a massive police state into vegetarianism and there would be a sea change in the food industry. Citizens would probably be living in trees, riding bicycles, and existing on granola trail mix diets. But all would not be lost since, at the state-enforced vegetarian stage, citizens would see that many animals weren't vegetarian and could petition the lawmakers for equal rights.

KFC and others need to stand up to these radicals and put a stop to this nonsense. Nobody has tried so far. I think they would fold if someone did. I bet Ronald Reagan would tell them what to do with their demands.

Of course, I could be wrong in my thinking.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

 High Wire Hard Hats

Typically, when the government gets involved in peoples' lives to the extent that laws dictate acceptable clothing, some silliness is bound to result. The Sidney Morning Herald reports on just such an occurrence.

Trapeze artists with one of the world's most famous circuses have been told to start wearing hard hats to comply with new EU safety rules.

Jugglers, tightrope walkers and other acrobats with the Moscow State Circus, which is currently touring Britain, have also been instructed to don safety head wear because of European regulations covering workers employed at heights greater than the average stepladder.

Insurance companies are apparently incorporating the requirements in their liability coverage. The performers are flummoxed. They feel the hard hats sometimes make their acts more dangerous as opposed to providing protection.

I wonder if the guy who sticks his head in the lion's mouth will be required to wear a hard hat. Probably not, that is, as long as he doesn't do it on a stepladder.
 Infections Due To Long Fingernails

Effective September 1st, hospitals in Cincinnati have banned nurses from having long fingernails due to infections from bacteria according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Also,

A national hygiene task force found that artificial nails pose a higher infection risk than natural fingernails. In rare cases, the risk can be fatal.

In response, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

. . . issued new guidelines to improve hand hygiene in health care settings. The CDC estimates that up to 2 million infections occur each year in hospital patients, and that about 90,000 of these patients die as a result of their infections. The CDC reports that fully half of those infections could be prevented by proper hand hygiene.

OK, let's do the math. 90,000 divided by 365 equals about 246 people per day are dying due to bacterial infections. That's astonishing and, it is more than twice the rate of death due to traffic accidents which, last I checked, is around 40,000 individuals per year.

It sure seems like the 90,000 deaths may be indicative of some kind of problem other than failure to follow hand washing guidelines. Also, I can now confess that I strongly dislike hospitals. I read somewhere that, other than catastrophic events, more people get sick and die because they went to a hospital. Therefore, your chances of a long and healthy life are significantly enhanced by avoiding hospitals at all cost.
 Woman Dies During Toughman Competition

Associated Press Writer Vicki Chachere wrote this report of a death during a boxing match. The death of Stacy Young, 30-years-old and mother of two, has been ruled accidental.

Young died in a St. Petersburg hospital of blunt force trauma to the head after being repeatedly hit during a three-minute bout with another woman in Sarasota on June 14.

It should be noted that, according to her sister, Stacy Young may not have been adequately informed of the dangers involved. Nonetheless, as a responsible adult, she should have. She is:

. . . the 10th person to die in the 24-year history of the Toughman competition, which has come under increased scrutiny after a series of deaths in the last year, including one in Michigan that was ruled a homicide.[Italics by ed.]

Sadly, this is a case of an adult making a decision with a statistical risk that she could die. She bet that she wouldn't. She lost.
 Eagle Scouts Help Screeners at Airport

This is a good news story from the Associated Press about Eagle Scouts inventing a device to screen passengers' shoes at the airport.

Fifteen-year-old Josh Pfluger and his pals went into his garage and hammered out a shoe-scanning device with the goal of polishing off his Eagle Scout requirements.

Looks like the project passes muster. Pfluger's good deed is in daily use at the world's busiest airport, helping passengers at O'Hare International move through security checkpoints with a minimum of fuss.

The device is appealing to the passengers because they don't have to remove their shoes to have them scanned.

Thanks to Random Nuclear Strikes.
 Hide and Seek

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has announced that it can't locate approximately 3,000 ex-inmates who have been paroled. The Houston Chronicle reports that the missing parolees include burglars, armed robbers, and murderers.

They may be living in the area, officials acknowledge. Unless arrested in a different case or stopped for a traffic violation, they stand a good chance of eluding capture.

State parole officials issued arrest warrants, and the information was passed on to local law enforcement officers.

Unfortunately, parole violations usually result in a mere slap on the hand, although some officials feel the cases should be handled similar to jail breaks or prison escapes.

This is another example of the government pissing away money and still not doing the job and more support for my contention that bureaucracies, in general, and government bureaucracies, in particular, are bastions of ineptitude.

Thanks to WorldNetDaily.
 The Zeus Bug

According to a Reuters story, scientists at the University of Melborne in Australia have identified and studied the ultimate male chauvinist. It's called the Zeus bug.

The tiny water bugs that are common along Australia's east coast have an easy life. Their female partners provide free food, transport and unlimited sex whenever they want it.

"All the advantages in this relationship seem to fall to the male with no obvious advantage for the female, yet the female Zeus bug seems a willing partner in this one-sided affair," Dr. Mark Elgar [said]."

"The male can ride the female, feeding and mating for up to a week," said Elgar, who reported his findings in the science journal Nature.

I don't necessarily agree with the scientists. Seems to me that the male is being kept in slavery, to be used as a piece of meat, forced to do unspeakable things for the female.

Friday, July 25, 2003

 All-American Soap Box Derby

This weekend's running of the All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron will probably not be affected by a small controversy regarding the publication of a book about the event that was written by Melanie Payne. According to an Associated Press article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer,

Payne, a former Akron Beacon Journal reporter who [now] works for a newspaper in California, spent three years writing "Champions, Cheaters and Childhood Dreams: Memories of the All-American Soap Box Derby."

Until December, Payne had cooperation from derby officials.

But she said that friendly relationship ended abruptly when officials learned the book would reference cheating at the race. They refused to allow her to use their photos and prevented her from having a booth at the event.

It appears that the race officials do not like the title of the book stating that cheating is involved and the publisher and author have refused to revise it. Payne states that only one chapter addresses cheating and the rest of the book describes all the wonderful aspects of the event.

Picky, picky, picky! I say, let the readers decide.
 Smoking on School Grounds

I thought that smoking had long ago been outlawed on public school property, but I'm wrong. According to a report by Jane Schmucker in the Toledo Blade, the NW Ohio community of Swanton does allow smoking on school grounds.

The district�s smoking policy, which allows smoking underneath the football stands and just outside of the gymnasium, is expected to come up for a vote this summer.

"We�re telling our kids smoking is not good and to be healthy you should not smoke � and yet we allow smoking outside the gymnasium," Superintendent McQuade said.

One could almost make a connection between participation in athletics and craving for nicotine.
 Matricula Consular Identification Cards

Americans should be outraged! The recent trend by local communities to recognize identification cards, called matricula consulares, presumably issued by foreign governments is beyond nonsensical. The cards are "used for purposes ranging from opening bank accounts and obtaining driver's licenses to accessing public services." Per,

Mexican consulates across the United States are estimated to have issued more than 740,000 matriculas consulares in 2001 and more than 1 million in 2003. This year Guatemala plans to make Tarjetas de Identificacion Consular available to 327,000 Guatemalans living in the U.S.

Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Utah and New Mexico accept the identification card for the issuance of driver�s licenses.

To show how exceedingly dumb it is to give any credence whatsoever to these cards, E.J. Tamara, reporting for the website, writes:

Los Angeles, U.S., July 23, 2003 (EFE) - A burgeoning black market here frequented by illegal immigrants has a new product: the forged "matricula consular," an official Mexican document some states accept for opening a bank account or getting a driver's license.

The fake registration cards are sold in broad daylight just two blocks from the Mexican Consulate at MacArthur Park, where interested parties can also buy phony Social Security cards, driver licenses, work permits and green cards.

So, it doesn't matter whether you are a migrant worker, fugitive, convicted murderer, rapist, or terrorist, one way or another you can obtain one of these sham identification cards. The only real requirement you have to satisfy is that you have to be an illegal alien.

I'm having real difficulty comprehending the idiocy of ever considering these cards as valid identification.

Thanks to WorldNetDaily.
 Prison Works

I cannot agree more with this article by Alasdair Palmer writing in the UK Telegraph. It discusses the relationship between crime statistics and prison populations.

"Prison works" may be the only example in history of a memorable political slogan which has the merit of being true. Over the last decade, America has been building prisons on an unprecedented scale. The US courts now imprison more than twice as many of those convicted of crime than it did 10 years ago. The result is that America has experienced a dramatic fall in the proportion of its citizens who fall victim to crime. In 1994, out of every 1,000 Americans aged 12 or older, 52 were victims of crime. Last year, that figure had been cut in half: just 25 out of every 1,000 Americans were victims.

The points Mr. Palmer makes are clear and well reasoned, providing a strong argument for building as many prisons as necessary. Read the whole article.

Thanks to Conservative Commentary.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

 Cell Phones Allowed in Schools

Jackie Tilton of the News-Herald writes that the Mentor (OH) School District will amend the student code of conduct so students can carry cell phones and pagers.

This is a really dumb move and I predict it will result in many unintended consequences. There is no rational justification provided in the article for making the change in policy.
 College Binge Drinking

According to the Journal of Studies on Alcohol, binge drinking is defined as follows:

. . . the Journal has now adopted a policy that requires the term "binge" to be used in a specific way in accepted manuscripts. According to the policy, the term "binge" should only be used to describe an extended period of time (usually two or more days) during which a person repeatedly administers alcohol or another substance to the point of intoxication, and gives up his/her usual activities and obligations in order to use the substance. It is the combination of prolonged use and the giving up of usual activities that forms the core of the definition of a "binge."

Alternative terms for the word "binge" include "heavy drinking"/"heavy use" or "heavy episodic drinking"/"heavy episodic use."

For many years, binge drinking by college students has been recognized as a problem and programs have been implemented to reduce and prevent the occurrence. Ryan E. Smith, writing in the Toledo Blade, reports that:

The idea behind the programs is that most students think their peers drink more than they actually do, and they will drink less when this misimpression is corrected through posters and other efforts.

Digressing slightly, let me see if I got this. Student A thinks Student B drinks more than he actually does. Student A sees a poster that says Student B doesn't drink that much. Therefore, Student A decreases his consumption of alcohol. Everybody up to speed? I don't know if I buy the logic.

Nevertheless, based upon a recently released report by the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study, the so-called social norms programs don't work. Over a period of several years of implementation of the taxpayer-funded programs, no decrease in college binge drinking was identified. Your tax dollars at work.

BTW, I always thought that an 'extended period of time during which a person repeatedly administers alcohol and gives up his/her usual activities' was the definition of a fishing trip.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

 Medical First - Tongue Transplant

Vanessa Gera, reporting for the Associated Press, tells of a tongue transplant performed by doctors in Vienna, Austria, considered to be the first such operation to be carried out on a human. I'm sure that this story has sufficient human interest value that it will be reported by just about everybody. It's included here because I think it has some entertainment value also. Give it some thought and you too will come up with such pearls as:

Should the operation be considered "putting words in his mouth?"

What if the donor had a lisp? Would it be transplanted also?

What would it mean if he came out of recovery with the taste of soap in his mouth.

So he wakes up speaking Chinese!

OK, I apologize.
 Keystroke Logger Used to Steal Passwords From Public

Juju Jiang secretly installed software on public Internet terminals in at least 14 Kinko's stores to record user names and passwords. According to Anick Jesdanun, reporting for the Associated Press, Jiang had been stealing the information for over a year in Kinko's stores in the New York area.

He captured more than 450 user names and passwords, using them to access and even open bank accounts online.

The case, which led to a guilty plea earlier this month after Jiang was caught, highlights the risks and dangers of using public Internet terminals at cybercafes, libraries, airports and other establishments.

Everybody should be aware of this type of criminal enterprise when using public terminals. Since the software used to collect the information only records keystrokes, one recommendation provided is to cut and paste a portion or all of your user name and password. Cut and paste operations are not logged (no keys depressed).

Read the whole story for more useful information.
 Man 'Represents' Himself In Trial

This story from Panama City, FL, is a perfect example of what it means to have a fool for a client. Cornell Jackson, 29, had been charged in two assault cases and,

. . . concluded his insanity defense by loudly hooting "cuckoo-cuckoo," then dropping his pants and mooning the jury.

Jurors took 30 minutes to find him guilty.

Little wonder, huh?
 Students From Wealthy Families to Pay Higher Tuition

According to a story by Steve Sexton reporting for The Washington Times,

The Board of Regents of the University of California examined a proposal for a surcharge on wealthy students at a meeting Thursday. The university would be the first in the country to target wealthy students with a surcharge.

The proposed fee would force undergraduate students with family incomes exceeding $90,000 to pay as much as $3,000 more to attend one of the university's nine campuses. It is expected to affect 58,194 of the university's 160,000 undergraduate students.

Boy, this is right out of Marx's Communist Manifesto. My question is, how would they know what a person's wealth is? Also, if they are able to implement this ludicrous idea, what prevents the imposition of a $100,000 surcharge?
 Are Liberals Functionally Treasonable?

In an interview with WorldNetDaily Editor Joseph Farrah, Ann Coulter describes her new book, Treason, as follows:

"My indictment is of the entire Democratic Party, all of liberalism. This is a party that has become functionally treasonable."

I don't know exactly how one would define "functionally treasonable," but Robert Koehler over at The Marmot's Hole has discussed the result of the New York Times' recognized liberalism as he sees it playing out on the Korean peninsula.

"If a North Korea free of nuclear weapons is your goal, then you have to make the North Koreans believe that their possession of nuclear weapons constitutes a clear and present danger to their regime survival. Right now, they do not believe that. Why? Because they read the New York Times just like eveyone else, and therefore have naturally come to the conclusion that the Americans will pay them before things get too hairy. Trust me, if the New York Times came out tomorrow with an editorial that read "BOMB THE FUCKERS," you can rest assured that the North Koreans would significantly lower their demands. Yet their (accurate) reading of the history of US-DPRK relations and their (also correct) understanding of the American press encourages them to be as obstinate as humanly possible. They need to be broken of this habit, and the best way to do that is to ignore them.

Being an expatriate American living in Korea, Robert extensively analyzes and reports on the tactics and underlying strategies of North Korea so his conclusions are well founded. Here he states that North Korean obstinacy is generally the result of them taking their cues from the liberal press, in particular, the NYT. Since this obstinacy is impeding diplomatic progress being achieved between the US and North Korea, could an argument be made that the NYT is aiding North Korea in sabotaging diplomacy?

If the answer to that question is yes, then can the reporting and opinions in the NYT be considered "functionally treasonable" and consistent with Ann Coulter's contention? I'll let the readers decide.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

 Jenny Jones Show Not Liable in Murder

According to an Associated Press story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Michigan Supreme Court has decided not to hear the appeal of a lower court ruling that overturned a jury award of $29.3 million against the Jenny Jones Show due to the murder of a guest.

Most people have probably heard the story of Jonathan Schmitz murdering Scott Amedure only days after Amedure revealed an attraction for Schmitz during a taping for the show. Amedure's family sued the show's owner and distributor and won the case before a jury.

But the state Court of Appeals disagreed and reversed the jury decision. In the ruling, the court said:

The show "may be regarded as the epitome of bad taste and sensationalism" . . . but that wasn't enough to hold it liable for Amedure's death. It said the show had no way of predicting Schmitz's actions.[boldface by ed.]

And the Michigan Supreme Court has concurred.

It's of interest to me that the highest levels of the judiciary of the State of Michigan have ruled that some television programming is the epitome of bad taste and sensationalism. A valid legal opinion with no consequence. Since this is the United States, no laws were broken.
 Breaking News

It's all over the media and the web. Uday and Qusay Hussein may have been caught or have gone to join their post-martyrdom reward of virgins.

Break out the bubbly!

[Update - 1700hrs, 7/22/03]

7115 South Boundary Boulevard
MacDill AFB, Fla. 33621-5101
Phone: (813) 827-5894; FAX: (813) 827-2211; DSN 651-5894 July 22, 2003
Release Number: 03-07-68



Statement from US Central Command:

On Tuesday, July 22, forces associated with the 101st Airborne Division and Special Operations Forces conducted an operation against suspected regime figures at a residence in Mosul, Iraq. The site is currently being exploited. Four Iraqis were killed in the operation. We have confirmed that two of the dead were Saddam's sons Uday and Qusay.

Thanks to the Drudge Report

Monday, July 21, 2003

 Parole Denied-He May Shoot a Burglar

This story out of the UK is astonishingly stupid and an example of what happens when liberalism is allowed to permeate our institutions. A man, Tony Martin, shoots a burglar breaking into his house and kills him. He's sent to prison for the killing and is denied early parole because he may shoot another burglar breaking into his house.

That's it, thumbnail version. Do yourself a favor and visit Rachel Lucas for the whole story.

[Thanks to Curmudgeonly & Skeptical.]
 Anti-War Groups in Baghdad

This story written by Tom Curry of MSNBC News delineates the activities of those wacky anti-war cultists in Baghdad. They've formed a coalition and:

. . . opened an �Occupation Watch Center� in Baghdad to monitor alleged human rights violations by U.S. troops and the actions of corporations such as Halliburton in rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure. The coalition is also exploring the idea of advising U.S. soldiers in Iraq on how they can claim conscientious objector status so that they could be discharged and shipped home.

So they are going to look for "human rights violations by US troops," monitor rebuilding of Iraqi infrastructure, and try to convince American soldiers to become conscientious objectors.

Somehow I've got the feeling they're going to create everything they want to find. They should maybe call their effort the "Impede The Occupation Watch Center." Every time I think these folks can't get any weirder, they prove my thinking wrong. Read the whole article.
 Ethics Has Been Redefined, Apparently

I've been sitting on this story for a week or so, trying to figure out what to do with it. Gleaned from, it's about Peter Singer, professor of bioethics at Princeton University, who is the winner of the 2003 World Technology Award for Ethics.

About Peter Singer, he is:

A controversial professor who advocates killing the disabled up to 28 days after birth . . . .[and]

. . . is known for launching the modern animal rights movement with his 1975 book "Animal Liberation," which argues against "speciesism."

He also says:

. . . animals should be accorded the same value as humans and should not be discriminated against because they belong to a non-human species.

The preceding paragraph is a ripe target for extended comment. "Accorded the same value as humans" is a bewildering statement. What on earth does it mean? Same value in the job market? Pay the same airline fare?

The second part is even more bizarre. Singer says that animals should not be discriminated against. Does this mean equal pay, equal housing, equal opportunity to be admitted to the University of Michigan Law School? What, pray tell, is "animal discrimination" and how do we prevent it?

I could continue on about the ridiculousness of Singer's Animal Liberation philosophy, but that's not why I write this post. The point I want to emphasize is that there seems to be a dramatic redefining of the word 'ethics.'

So update your glossary. The revised definition is:

Ethics - the set of moral values which A) advocates killing disabled babies within 28 days after birth and B) is recognized by the World Technology Network.

I hope a timely revision is incorporated into the curricula for educating all future professors of bioethics. Click the link for the complete report.
 The Great Lobster Caper

Thanks to Wince and Nod for pointing me to this Vin Suprynowicz column from the Las Vegas Review Journal. The story delineates how a 59-year-old rancher, Bob Eddy, got fed up with the federal and state regulations imposed upon cattle ranching and decided to farm Australian freshwater lobster. Finding he could sell the lobsters for $14 a pound, the Desert Lobster Farm was born,

. . . marked with those prominent 'Lobster Crossing' signs along U.S. 95 -- where the Eddys now raise half a million blue and red Australian freshwater lobsters, in tubs full of 80-degree water pumped from nearby hot springs.

Eddy sells his entire crop -- fresh and ready to boil -- to travelers driving by on the road from Las Vegas to Reno (4,700 cars a day) ... though he has plans to eventually open a lobster restaurant in Mina, a town of about 100 that's been moribund since the mine shut down. "With the beef," he says, "you might get $1 a pound versus $14 for the lobster. That's the economics. ... I got rid of the cows."

Everything was fine until, you guessed it, the regulators came in.

The Nevada Division of Wildlife boys roared in Thursday -- 10 armed game wardens, two of the plainclothes guys in black shoes and black sunglasses from the "Nevada Division of Investigation," assigned to take care of any troublesome neighbors, and two state biologists assigned to seize and destroy all of Bob Eddy's crawfish.

Yes, Bob Eddy had violated his lobster farming permit requirements and they shut him down. It appears he won't be compensated for his loss. Click on the link for the rest of the story, a fine example of how the government not only inhibits, but also prevents, free enterprise.
 Evangelism Through Chewing

I don't recall how I came to this story from Ship of Fools magazine and it may be a hoax. Nonetheless, I'm passing it along for amusement value.

"And ye shall find the mint, wrapped in a Bible text, and lying in a Testamints Easter Edition Collector's Tin (four for $19.95)..."

Yes, Testamints are here. Each sweet (spearmint, peppermint and wintergreen) is individually wrapped in one of 40 different verses from the Old and New Testaments. Their mission: "to be the best at providing daily encouragement to all people and enabling Christians to share their faith with others..."

So the next time you're on a train, or killing time in a bus queue, think: Testamint. Pass them round and "do the work of an evangelist." You'll be helping to share the Good Chews.

Click on the link for a picture of the package.
 Speed Trap Locations

Kelly Lecker wrote this story for The Toledo Blade discussing the Speed Trap Exchange website. Whether on regularly traveled routes or unfamiliar streets and highways, a person can now refer to the site and become knowledgeable about the locations where speed traps frequently are.

It's been around about four years and is run by the National Motorist Association, a group formed in Waunakee, Wisc. to fight for drivers' rights.

"Not only do we allow people to list speed traps, we also allow people to make comments on those listings," said association spokesman Eric Skrum. "The reason we did that is to open the debate over speed traps to everybody."

Mr. Skrum said most of the complaints about speed traps seem to come from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and California.

Anyone can contribute a speed trap listing, and many people do. There are just two rules: no naming specific officers, and no profanity.

This posting is for all those drivers that want to be forewarned. The website also gives information on the different state laws and how to fight speeding tickets.
 Teacher Has Sex in Classroom, Gets Elected to NEA Board

No, that's not the reason he was elected. The story, reported in The Rutland Herald by David Mace, is about a teacher, Wayne Nadeau, at Lamoille Union High School in Hyde Park, Vermont, who was discovered having sex with a colleague in his classroom.

According to the Jan. 29 agreement between Nadeau and the Vermont Department of Education, Nadeau admitted that during the 2001-02 school year he had consensual sex with a female paraprofessional in his classroom.

As written, the intimate tutelage does not appear to be an isolated incident. And it seems he had sex with a subordinate.

"Although the door to Mr. Nadeau's classroom was closed, the aforementioned sexual activity occurred at times when students were, and might have been, present in the building," the agreement said.

His license was suspended for 20 working days between Feb. 10 and March 18, and the suspension was reported to national authorities.

The Vermont Department of Education was apparently satisfied with the agreed resolution to the case. That was last winter.

However, in July, Mr. Nadeau attended the National Convention of the National Education Association and was elected to the executive board of the 2.7-million member union and it appears that the people who elected him were not aware of his steamy sexual soiree and subsequent suspension.

There's been some complaining, but it looks like the issue will die. It follows logically that the liberal NEA would not be concerned with a man having sex with a subordinate female in the workplace. After all, they endorsed Bill Clinton, who set the standard for this type of behavior.

Within the last two days Interested-Participant has been experiencing some problems. Some ghost-like problems. You know the kind. They show up, cause difficulty, then disappear.

I lost my comments for about a day and had no idea where they went. After receiving no response from the system administrator, I was ready to re-email them, when, all of a sudden, my comments are back.

For about 2 or 3 days, readers were complaining of the site loading time being way too long. I fiddled with the code and it seemed to correct the problem, but I'm not convinced that I actually fixed it. In any event, the problem seems to be no more. There's been some discussion concerning Blogger being the cause of the problems but I've no reason to think that.

Presumably, Interested-Participant is back at 100%. Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

 The British Invented Lasagna?

Yes, it's a true assertion in a story from Sue Leeman reporting for the Associated Press. British researchers:

. . . claim to have found a British recipe for lasagna dating from the 14th century - long before Italian chefs came up with the delicious concoction of layers of pasta topped with cheese.

I happened to mention the story to Antonio, who came from the old country, over at the local pizza place and his comment was:

"Ba fungu! You getta outa here! Dass a bullshit, a much a bullshit!"

You can steal the recipe from the article if you understand a little of the English language in medieval times.
 National Foreplay Day

The British are often considered to be stuffy and overly obsessed with formality, but that perception may not be entirely accurate. This Ananova story indicates that a certain amount of permissiveness is part of the British culture. The first annual National Foreplay Day has been announced and scheduled. Mark your calendars.

It takes place on July 30 - the day before National Orgasm Day, which was set up two years ago to help women enjoy better sex.

There are so many things to say about this. First, are there going to be activities scheduled? Will there be any type competitions with award ceremonies? I can think of at least one contest where the person crossing the finish line last would be the winner. Will there be a parade with floats and marching bands?

And there is mention, but no information about National Orgasm Day. Inquiring minds need to know. The premise is great. "Help women enjoy better sex" should be the motto for a public service organization. I'd probably join.

One other thing is that no information is provided as to where the celebrations are to be held. This must be an oversight and it must be corrected. Many people are civic minded and they want to be involved. Somebody needs to announce the location of the festivities.

The Gweilo Diaries pointed me to this story.
 Having Problems Accessing Interested-Participant?

I received an email from a friend stating that he has had difficulty getting to this site. He stated that "it's not there." Has anyone else had any problems whatsoever? If so, please email me.
 New Weblog Showcase

My votes for the New Weblog Showcase are as follows:

American Digest

Wince and Nod

.:/One Little Victory\:.

In Sheeps Clothing

Howard Lovy's Nanobot

Sarcastic Southerner
 Inmate Wants Sex Change & Transfer to Women's Prison

Any thinking adult will have a furrowed forehead after reading this story reported on the website.

Mark Brooks, 34, was convicted of a murder committed 14 years ago and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. Three years ago, he sued the State of New York to get treatment for his Gender Identity Disorder. He calls himself Jessica and claims to be "a girl inside."

The treatment would entail the state paying $500,000 for a sex change operation and associated therapy, plus transfer to a women's prison. The case is currently being litigated.

OK, I'll give my take and somebody please tell me where my thinking is awry. First, this guy is 34 years old and committed the murder 14 years ago. That means he walked into a maximum security prison at the tender age of 20, maybe 21. He arrives with a life sentence hanging over his head. The prison he goes to is already at capacity with other murderers serving life sentences.

Now, follow my logic. He claims, after approximately 10 years in prison (he filed suit 3 years ago), that he is "a girl inside" and somewhere along the way he has pumped enough smoke at the prison psychologists to convince them that he has a medical disorder.

I don't think so, for two reasons. First, prison psychologists are constantly trying to attach medical reasoning and terminology to aberrant or bizarre behavior by the convicts when the basis should be low intellect or abject ignorance. The result is the proliferation of new syndromes and disorders. There are no provisions (nor psychologist bold enough) to write down a diagnosis of "behavior due to patient being a dumb/ignorant criminal."

As an aside, if I sat on my ass on a hard surface for a long time, my butt would get sore. If I did this for a number of years and complained to a doctor often enough, he would classify it as a chronic condition. If he was pressed for a diagnosis (from an insurance company maybe?) for the chronic condition, he'd probably name it something like "nonspecific muscle discomfort." Now, all you need is one more person with a sore ass nonspecific muscle discomfort and you've got yourself a syndrome or disorder.

Getting back to our convicted murderer, Mark Brooks, who is "a girl inside." It's apparent that he spent the better part of 10 years complaining about his particular "discomfort" and was rewarded by somebody deciding to call it a disorder. Based upon the determination that an actual medical condition exists (disorder), by law the state is obligated to provide treatment. And that's where the case is now, with large checks being cashed by teams of lawyers trying to agree on how the state can comply with the law to treat this bogus disorder.

I strongly maintain that this "disorder" is not a medical condition requiring treatment. When sweet young and tender 21-year-old Mark Brooks walked into that prison, his gender identity was immediately established by the resident population of murderers, rapists, and kidnappers. He became the most feminine girl-next-door on the cell block. And for 10 years, he was a beauty queen and someone's girlfriend. His "disorder" is the natural result of life in prison for a young guy. No treatment necessary. Life in prison changes people dramatically and justifiably so. It shouldn't be easy or fun. Mark Brooks is an ignorant/dumb criminal serving life. He shouldn't get special treatment because the prison environment makes him say and do stupid things.

Of course, I could be wrong in my thinking. Let me know.

Friday, July 18, 2003

 Kucinich Campaign Promise

Jay Nordlinger wrote this for the National Review.

My boy Dennis Kucinich - go, Dennis! - made what might be the remark of the campaign. Discussing possible Supreme Court picks in a Kucinich presidency, he said he "absolutely would appoint a homosexual judge," including "any lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person - just as long as they'd be willing to uphold Roe v. Wade." That is simply the perfect Democratic statement, blowing away all others. Even the ungrammatical "they," instead of "he," is sublime.

You've got to admit, there are absolutely no surprises in Commissar Kucinich's liberal saddlebag. Rumor has it he's considering promoting congressional investigations into UFOs and crop circles if they can come up with enough cash.

[Thanks to Silent Running.]
 Suggested Tax Increases

Alan Bromley provides advice to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomfield on how to generate revenue with suggestions for brand new taxes. The tongue-in-cheek piece appears in the WSJ Opinion Journal and recommends taxes be imposed on walking, talking, thinking, and reading. But the wit of the article doesn't negate the grim truth that politicians are constantly searching for new ways to pick people's pockets. Of interest to me is this sentence:

Rumor has it he's [Mayor Bloomfield] caught the scent of a new tax wafting its way up from New Zealand, they tax flatulent sheep, supposedly a contributor to "global warming."

The sad reality is that there are many US politicians drooling for the opportunity to implement a similar tax.

[Thanks to VodkaPundit.]
 Rating Charitable Organizations

Alison Overholt reports in Fast Company Magazine an overview of a two-year-old company that analyzes and reports on the performance of 2500 charitable organizations.

The company, Charity Navigator, is headed by Executive Director Trent Stamp who is of the opinion that "financial inefficiency and mismanagement are more prevalent among nonprofits than anyone knows," and he wants to let the whole world in on the secret.

Says Mr. Stamp: "We're trying to answer the critical question: Which charities are the most responsible and efficient -- and which aren't?"

Using public tax records, the company "ranks nonprofits on the efficacy of their getting and spending, measuring them against seven benchmarks and assigning each one a rating on a scale of zero to four stars." And it's needed since "charities haven't been giving the public a clear understanding of their financial well-being, and without some independent evaluation, a public that is weary of accounting scandals and management cover-ups just might give up on their charitable giving."

Although good for contributors, the rating system does not make some organizations very happy. Examples are:

[T]he Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, which last year landed in the zero-star category. "They spend more on fund-raising than they do battling MS," chides Mr. Stamp.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) was evaluated and received an unflattering two-star rating. When compared with other animal-rights groups, Mr. Stamp reports, a smaller percentage of PETA's dollars goes to protecting animals.

As a consequence, there is criticism, but Mr. Stamp doesn't shy away. If scrutiny breeds greater efficiency -- even if it drives some charities out of business -- well, that's fine with him.

Bravo! And I think it's about time that some reasonable oversight of the charity industry takes place. It's kind of a pet peeve with me in that I'm fairly sure that a TV commercial I continue to see showing a poverty-stricken neighborhood in Central America is the same commercial I saw 25 years ago. You'd imagine that they would have used a fresher commercial or the neighborhood would have improved through twenty-five years of contributions. Anyway, I've always thought that a number of these charities are scams and the ratings by Charity Navigator confirm as much.

[Thanks to Instapundit.]

Thursday, July 17, 2003

 Farmers Protest Flatulence Tax

This is a follow-up on a previous post (see Livestock Flatulence Tax) concerning the country of New Zealand imposing a tax on farmers who own animals that pass gas. The law was passed to comply with the provisions of the Kyoto Treaty with regards to greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Ray Lilley in a report for the Associated Press, New Zealand farmers are protesting the tax by mailing packages of sheep and cow manure to lawmakers. The New Zealand postal service said:

. . . about 20 reeking packages and envelopes had been sent to the nation's Parliament and that the protest - dubbed the "Raise a Stink" campaign - was endangering the health of postal workers.

New Zealand Post spokesman Ian Long said sending manure by the mail was a crime.

Even so, according to Adam Fricker, a newspaper editor, the farmers felt that "radical action" was needed.

"Farmers feel marginalized. They don't have the voice in Parliament they once had ... to really get traction on an issue when a ridiculous tax like this is being foisted on them," he said.

It's not clear whether the "Raise A Stink" campaign will ultimately produce results. Time will tell.

One thing that seems sure is the government's resolve to fleece the agricultural industry in order to fund research that produces results that justify the imposition of the flatulence tax. In other words, somebody dreamed there's a problem so let's impose a tax to study and verify there is a problem that's been dreamed. Perfect liberal wacko logic.

In support of the tax:

Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said climate change from greenhouse gases "is the world's biggest environmental problem. We have to do something about it."

I disagree. The world's biggest environmental problem is having people like the Agriculture Minister walking around with the authority to raise taxes. And it's a sliding slope. It won't be long before another problem "materializes" and a tax will be imposed on human flatulence to fund the research necessary to prove the problem exists. And let us not forget the pet population. People and pets, add it up and we're talking a lot of gas. Somebody has to pay! Then there's the zoos and, hey, wild animals. Somebody must pick up the tab!


One other thing that I've a problem with is the statement that sending manure in the mail is a crime. If that is true, the lawmakers have too much time for minutiae. It could, however, explain why they've got the time to figure new and creative ways to screw the public. If there are laws prohibiting the mailing of manure, they aren't enforced at all. All anybody has to do is open their mailbox two weeks before an election and guess what's there.

OK, it may not exactly be manure, but there's a bunch of it and the term normally applied is a synonym.
 Nuke North Korea Scenario

John Hawkins over at Right Wing News analyzes the quite real possibility that the North Korean belligerence may produce results that they will find unwanted.

-- Here's an interesting theoretical question that we may have to actually consider in the next few months. Let's say that for whatever reason, we believe there's a better than high probability that North Korea is on the verge of launching a nuclear strike and starting up another Korean war. The North Koreans are certainly capable of blowing Seoul to pieces with all the artillery they already have in place and although we're not sure of exactly what their nuclear capabilities are, it's possible that they may be capable of launching a nuke that can hit Japan or POSSIBLY even the Western United States. If we believed that there was a high chance of war and we believed the only way to keep them from destroying Seoul & launching nukes would be to preemptively nuke them first, would you support it or would you risk the consequences of not acting? That may sound like a fantastic scenario, but it's not as farfetched as you think. Personally, if I thought there war was likely and I thought nuking them first would make it highly unlikely that they would be unable to respond with nukes, I wouldn't hesitate to hit 'em and I guarantee you that there are more than a few people in the Bush administration who think the same way. It's the old, "Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6" philosophy taken to a national level. So when the North Koreans go shooting off at the mouth about their nuclear capacity & making threats, they should understand how fatal it could be if the Bush administration starts to take them seriously.

Based upon recent history and current events, it's not clear that the North Korean strategic thinkers have considered this scenario. Hopefully, they'll wise up, but it's probably not likely.
 Kucinich Backs Homosexual Marriage

In his 1996 campaign for Congress, Representative Dennis Kucinich was against any change in the law which would allow homosexual marriage. But times have changed.

Reporting for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Tom Diemer and Sabrina Eaton relate the story of the congressman's appearance yesterday at a forum sponsored by the pro gay-rights group, Human Rights Campaign. Flipping and flopping all the way to the podium,

[Rep. Kucinich] said "there should be a federal law that would allow gay couples to be married," rather than leaving the matter to the states.

Maybe I'm looking at this wrong, but it seems to me that he wants to take jurisdiction over marriage from the states and make it a federal function. If that's true, it sure doesn't sound constitutional. Nonetheless, Kucinich sure has lit some sparklers with his revised position. Some consider him to have 'evolved' politically:

Patrick Shepherd, president of Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, said it was not unusual for a politician's views to evolve over a period as long as six years. "From a congressional-record point of view, Dennis Kucinich has been a superstar on our issues," said the spokesman for the gay political group.

I don't know about other interpretations, but "evolved politically" seems to mean "will sell grandmother for right price."

The article also delineates some of the recent contributors to the Kucinich for President Campaign. They include:

Singer Bonnie Raitt, movie star Edward Norton, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream founder Ben Cohen and controversial television host Jerry Springer - now a U.S. Senate candidate in Ohio - all gave Kucinich the $2,000 maximum donation allowed by law, according to a report Kucinich filed with the Federal Elections Commission.

Folk singer Peter Yarrow and film stars Ben Affleck, Jeff Bridges and James Cromwell each gave $1,000.

Larry Hagman, television star of "Dallas" and "I Dream of Jeannie," gave him $500. "Dharma and Greg" star Mimi Kennedy gave him $450, and actor Eric Roberts, $375.

These celebrity okey-dokeys are in addition to those listed in a previous posting, More Endorsements for Kucinich.

In summary, Kucinich flip-flopped on same sex marriage and the liberal celebrity weasels are coming out of their holes to support him. Pretty much predictable, don't you think?
 The Angry, Angry Left

Many Democrats are really, really mad, being unable to forget the 2000 Election. They feel they were cheated and there was no election, rather a selection. President Bush is their devil and they hate the devil. James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal analyzes this anger problem. One section in his article is spooky.

"Here's an e-mail we received today from an Angry Leftist, who mass-mailed it to more than 40 addresses:

While I abhor violence in any form, what I think needs to happen within this country is for riots to occur against this regime. Similar to the riots that took place back in the 1960s. Also, when the RNC invades NYC next year for their convention, what needs to happen is riots similar to the one at the 1968 DNC convention in Chicago. There literally needs to be an explosion by the American people to wake the rest of the citizenry up."

Let us all hope this represents just one person's thoughts and that there are not any others.

[Hat tip to Between the Coasts.]

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

 Internet Censorship Proposed to UN

I got this story from The Country Store which discusses a Miami Herald report on the latest crap Iran and Cuba are trying to pull off. They are proposing new U.N.-backed rules on the worldwide use (censorship) of the Internet, as well as growing state controls of TV and radio stations.

More Americans need to become informed about the dangerous stuff that goes on at the UN. Unfortunately, there are way too many people that think the UN is the end-all, be-all. Click the link and read the whole story. Then, tell your friends.
 Democrat Lab Experiments

The fact that there are currently almost a dozen declared, or soon to be declared, Democratic Party presidential candidates is an indication that the party has multiple fractures. There is no spearhead to promote an agreed upon platform. And the Democratic king makers know it. To turn the trend, the Democrats are searching for any possible solution.

According to an article in The New York Observer, they are willing to try just about anything.

"There�s no question that at this point in the Presidential campaign, people are looking for a perfect candidate, and everyone who�s out there seems like a midget," said Dan Carol, a former opposition researcher for the Democratic National Committee who recently abandoned an effort to draft actor John Cusack to run for President. "I think there are a lot of different lab experiments going on right now."

So who are the subjects of the "lab experiments?"

There's broadcaster Tom Brokaw who has stated he's not interested, but is being pressured to change his mind.

Retired General Wesley Clark is being pushed by a couple of websites to get in the fray. He has stated that he, hem-haw, I know the country needs, hem-haw, there's got to be something to this, hem-haw, but we need to consider, hem-haw, the American people deserve better, hem-haw, change needs to be made, hem-haw, hem-haw, . . . . Frankly, I haven't been able to understand anything he tries to say.

An effort to draft actor John Cusack has sputtered but doesn't appear to be a failed experiment yet. John Cusack wasn't even on my radar screen.

Al Gore is still being mentioned and being promoted as a write-in candidate via an Internet campaign by Aldo Vidali, a film director.

"And one other prospective addition to the field doesn�t have a draft movement at all, but is being closely watched by Democrats nonetheless: Senator Joseph Biden, who ran in 1988, is said by associates to be considering a late entry into the current contest." Personally, I'd like to have Senator Biden in the race. It would make things more soap opera-ish.

Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa has also been mentioned, but it's not in the article.

I know this shopping list in likely incomplete since there's six months of experimentation time remaining before the primaries begin.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

 Young, Idealistic, Hungry and in Jail

According to a story in the New York Daily News, three young (17 to 24-years-old) Jewish inmates at Rikers Island Jail have been denied their request to be served vegetarian meals while incarcerated. They consider themselves to be vegans, who:

". . . avoid all animal-based foods, including seafood and dairy items. The inmates have said they believe non-vegan diets conflict with Jewish mandates to preserve the welfare of animals."

A US District Court Judge made the ruling, stating that "the jail had not caused the inmates 'irreparable harm'" and pointing out that "they had let months pass before suing the city."

As is typical, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) threw their two cents into the fray, stating:

�They should be providing these vegan meals for these people,� said the lawyer, Jeff Kerr of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. �Freedom of religion doesn�t mean you should have to worship at the altar of dead animals.�

Two of the inmates have been in jail since November 2002 and one since June 2002, serving sentences for rioting, criminal mischief and resisting arrest stemming from animal-welfare protests.

Let's analyze this story. First of all, if I eat a burger, I don't think it's accurate to state that I'm "worshipping at the altar of dead animals." This PETA crowd take themselves much too seriously.

Secondly, this story is about three young (17 to 24) idealistic promoters of a radical social/cultural agenda who have committed criminal acts and are in jail as punishment. So, as these young folks are taking their first baby steps into responsible adulthood, they have jumped on the bandwagon of a extreme fringe group which has given them a felony record and time in a cell to cool their heels.

Lastly, this story is about the PETA opportunists who, once again, are haranguing about what people should eat.

So the young idiots are serving their time and PETA continues to sound stupid. Everything's just fine.
 Should 16-Year-Olds Vote?

The answer to that question is currently being pursued by the British and it appears that it will be determined by public opinion. Alfred Lee filed a report in The Straits Times which describes the process.

The Electoral Commission, set up by Parliament in November 2000 to find ways to encourage more people to take part in democratic processes, yesterday launched a three-month consultation process to see if the public wants the voting age reduced from 18 to 16.

Public opinion will also be sought on whether the minimum age for candidates for Members of Parliament should be reduced from the current 21.

The commission will make its proposals for modernising the electoral system based on the results of the consultation, during which opinions will be sought from all corners including youth bodies and political parties.

If public opinion warrants, in the near future it is possible that 16-year-olds will be voting for 18-year-olds to be Members of Parliament. And, it is theoretically possible for the government to be headed by an 18-year-old Prime Minister.

This notion of lowering the age for voting was prompted by low turnout in recent elections and is seen as a way to increase citizen involvement in the political process.

My comment concerning this story is "What the hell are these people thinking? Hasn't anyone picked up a copy of Lord of the Flies and seen what happens when kids are in charge? Granted, it was fiction, but I speculate not far from reality. 16 and 18-year-olds are at best very young adults taking baby steps into maturity and making mistakes due to lack of knowledge and experience. At worst, they are irresponsible teenagers who act like irresponsible teenagers.

Thank God the framers of the Constitution of the United States made it a requirement that anyone elected to Congress had to be a minimum of 25 years of age, 30 for a Senator, and 35 for the President. They recognized the absolute necessity of having some maturity in the country's leadership. The boneheads in Briton need to acquire some common sense.

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