Sunday, August 31, 2003


I recently offered my opinion on the fact that the University of Michigan has included in their curricula a course that celebrates homosexuality. My take is that the course offering is inappropriate because it is taxpayer supported and promotes a lifestyle that evidence indicates is dismally shortened.

My post elicited the following comment from Alan Sullivan:
I linked here from John Ray's blog. I've commented on his observations and yours in the following post on my own site.
To summarize in brief: you don't know what you're talking about.
As clarification, John Ray's blog is Dissecting Leftism. And, as an aside, John Ray is a no nonsense source of information and visitors to his site are given candy.

I visited Alan's site and learned that he was able to discern that, in addition to the fact that I didn't know what I was talking about, he also didn't know what I was talking about. So, if I understand him, neither one of us know what I'm talking about and there's no point of contention. I've always been a fan of happy endings.

Unfortunately, I happen to think I know what I'm talking about. And, also unfortunately, Alan did not address the points I was making. Specifically, evidence indicates that homosexuals live shorter lives and celebrating the homosexual lifestyle should not be done at taxpayer expense.

The radio is playing oldies and just finished with "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets. It made me think of a question I've had for years.

Would somebody please tell me why the first inductee to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was Aretha Franklin as opposed to Bill Haley, Hank Ballard, Buddy Holly, Alan Freed, or many others? Nothing against Aretha, but in my mind she wasn't part of the beginning of the genre. When I think of "classic" rock and roll, her name doesn't come to mind.

My choice would have been Alan Freed. After all, he coined the term.

Feeling cocky today? Somebody complimented you on your speech, your car, your outfit or, maybe, your hair? You played golf and somebody shouted "you da' man" and pointed at you? Your chest is broadcasting confidence that you are the man.

Never fear. Interested-Participant has contracted with the Intelligent and Cheap Resources Institute (ICRI) to develop a program to provide temporary relief from excessive pride.

Here it is:
STEP ONE - On your blog, click on "SiteMeter"

STEP TWO - After page loads, click on "Who's On?"

STEP THREE - Count the number of visitors, if any. [I-P notes that: It usually displays "There have been no visitors to your site in the last 20 minutes."]

STEP FOUR - Access Hobo Killing Puppy Blender and click on "SiteMeter"

STEP FIVE - After page loads, click on "Who's On?"



Immediately avert your eyes and listen to the telepathic hum. Imagine millions of roaches in the kitchen when the lights are out. Imagine the weird while standing beneath a 500,000 volt transmission line. Imagine a babbling brook or anything, but DO NOT COUNT. We have a society that has emergency psychological response teams waiting to identify a new disorder or syndrome. DON'T COUNT, just listen.

STEP SEVEN - Repeat steps 1 through 6 as often as necessary.
Extensive clinical trials are in progress so the effectiveness of the program is yet to be determined for a large population. Preliminary results indicate it works for me.

I'm insulted by the television commercial where George Steinbrenner doesn't understand how Derek Jeter can honky-tonk every night and all night long. The contention is that he needs the Capital One credit card in order to spend money every night. For Christ's sake, the guy makes more in one baseball game than most people will make in a lifetime. No rational adult will be influenced by the commercial. So, who's it aimed at?

My heart goes out to anyone who has loved or befriended a sailor who has been lost at sea. Even more so when it's a submariner lost at sea.

I have experience from years ago, but I think my comments are valid today. The loss of life was the result of inattention to procedural detail during normal evolutions which produced a series of uncontrolled perturbations. Mumbo-jumbo, but true.

But realistically, it wasn't the pontoon rig they had attached to the hull, nor was it the weather that caused a crew to lose their lives. It also wasn't because somebody left a hatch wide open, nor was it because the people responsible were inadequately trained.

No, it is because the Russian nuclear navy is an afterthought. To maintain a nuclear submarine fleet is a major national commitment. Since Ronald Reagan forced the Asian continent to restructure its priorities down to the level of divvying up the now defunct Soviet navy, the dedicated sailors of a once proud Atlantic Fleet are decimated. What remains are rarely regularly paid.

So, somebody, please tell me why else would a 9000 ton vessel with only a slightly positive buoyancy and a 100 megawatt end-of-life nuclear reactor core have a crew of only ten, only ten sailors while on the surface in foul weather?
SCIENTISTS IN SWITZERLAND have finally confirmed that flies can actually fly. Researchers in Zurich showed that instead of swimming on air, flies actively use their wings in a series of steering and countersteering movements.

Don't forget your toothbrush, published in the British Dental Journal, relates that a 69-year-old man who tried to relieve a painful bout of hemorrhoids with a toothbrush was forced to have the offending item surgically removed after it was lost "where the sun does not shine."

Singapore's Chinese community has opposed a proposal to include eyes in the national organ donor program, saying they will need them in the afterlife. Many in the predominantly Chinese country are Buddhists and Taoists, who believe that if their eyes are removed, they will be blind in their next life.

Saturday, August 30, 2003


This story came as a complete surprise to me:
Once thought virtually eradicated in the United States, the bedbug is back.

"An insect is living beside you while you sleep, it withdraws three times its body weight in your blood; it's a psychological concern," said Frank Meek, national pest control technical manager for Orkin.

Kansas State University entomologist Ludek Zurek said that by the end of 2002, the little bloodsuckers had been reported in at least 28 states.
The bugs are flat, wingless, smaller than a ladybug and can hide in bedding, mattresses, and crevices in walls and floors. Fortunately, they're not known to carry disease.

International travel is considered to be part of the cause of resurgence with people bringing the bugs home from foreign countries. Although management is not talking about it, the greatest percentage of new infestations is in hotels and motels. Mike Lawton, a staff entomologist with Western Exterminator Company in Irvine, CA, said:
"They've (bedbugs) had an incredible impact on high-end hotels," he said. "You've got to keep it hush-hush. If the word 'bedbug' gets out, it scares a lot of people away."
Sheesh! Just in the past year or so, we've had SARS and monkey pox and, now, this. What's next?

Follow the link for additional information.

Consistent with many of the fish stories I've heard in my life about "that special place where the fish are so plentiful, they jump in your boat" is this story from the Jefferson City News Tribune.
This is no fish tale: A state fisheries biologist motoring on the Missouri River near Columbia had a filling knocked out of his tooth by a high-jumping fish that hit him on the side of the head. Another state biologist in the St. Charles area was seriously hurt when he was struck by a giant carp.
The fish are nonnative species of carp imported from Asia by the aqua culture industry and were intended to be used to eat excess algae and waste in aqua culture ponds. Unfortunately, periodic flooding has allowed the fish to escape into the Missouri River and its tributaries.

They are large fish that spook easily upon hearing the sound of a boat motor at which time they jump out of the water, sometimes into a boat. The fish are considered such a hazard that state conservation personnel now wear protective headgear when motoring in fast boats and some are placing protective netting across the bow.

In 1990, voters in Alaska approved a law making possession of any amount of marijuana illegal in any location. Yesterday, however, the Alaska Court of Appeals overturned the law because it was unconstitutional. Specifically, the court found that the state's strong constitutional right to privacy superseded the legislation banning marijuana.

Attorney General Gregg Renkes has said he will petition the state Supreme Court for a review. Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski called the court's ruling "regrettable."

My take is that the court is being activist in their ruling. If the citizens of Alaska support certain legislation and it is not blatantly unconstitutional, the court should follow suit. The court in this case seems to be using a disputable interpretation of the constitution as their basis. I think the will of the people should have precedence over disputable interpretations of the court.

Friday, August 29, 2003


Jeff Bennett of the Detroit Free Press reports on a speech by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates before 1,500 guests at the Detroit Economic Club meeting at Cobo Hall. With computer users worldwide still finishing the cleanup of mischief caused by the Blaster and Sobig worms, Gates announced:
". . . it's time to build better software . . .[and]

It's up to companies like Microsoft to build software that will secure information and stop viruses . . ."
Well, DUH! I hope they didn't have to pay him for those pearls of wisdom. As reported, he didn't say much else.

The Animal Liberation Front, a domestic terrorist group, released 10,000 minks from a fur farm in southern Snohomish County, WA. The minks subsequently attacked other farms in the area, causing considerable damage. At least 25 exotic birds, along with chickens, ducks, and geese were killed and eaten.
Animal activists argue that while the farm animals' deaths are unfortunate, it proves minks raised in captivity can survive in the wild.

"The amount of suffering that has been prevented by releasing them from cramped cages and freeing them from an extremely cruel death more than justifies a temporary disruption to the ecosystem," said veterinarian Andrew Knight, director of research at the Seattle-based Northwest Animal Rights Network.
The Fur Commission USA is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the criminal perpetrators. The FBI is investigating.

[Followup] Thorough analysis of the actions of the ALF indicates how really nonsensical they are. They are committing major crimes to achieve goals of complete animal freedom and extreme vegetarianism which are irrational and unattainable. Animals will never have rights as defined by the constitution and meat will always be considered food. The ALF attempts to achieve the unachievable while risking long prison sentences and significant restitution verdicts. Maybe a few years in 6' X 9' cells with seething idealism as a roommate will add reason and clarity to their thinking. Or, maybe not.

My take is that these folks have entirely too much time on their hands. Sitting around and plotting how to destroy society is not the best use of their time. I concur with Puggs' take over at Random Nuclear Strikes. He has a personal no nonsense message for the ALF. Follow the link.

According to the Associated Press, folk singer Janis Ian, Grammy Award winner in 1976 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "At Seventeen," married her companion of 14 years in a civil ceremony in Toronto. The bride groom other person in the wedding was Patricia Snyder, Ian's partner.
The couple planned to honeymoon at "Torcon 3," the Worldcon science fiction convention being held in Toronto, said Ian's Web site.

"I think the idea of spending my wedding week with a group of geeks masquerading as giant lobsters and `Star Trek' characters is perfectly in character with my life with Janis," Snyder was quoted on the Web site.
Interested-Participant wishes them the best.

Recently, many computer users have asked why viruses and worms are affecting Microsoft Windows machines but not Macintoshes. Well, the answers are many and varied.

Rob Pegoraro of the Washington Post starts the discussion with the statement that:
Between the Blaster worm and the Sobig virus, it's been a long two weeks for Windows users. But nobody with a Mac or a Linux PC has had to lose a moment of sleep over these outbreaks . . . [and] . . .This is not a coincidence.
Over at the Aussie blog, GDay Mate, Jon Wright provides a detailed analysis of the differences between the Windows and Mac operating systems in conjunction with a discussion of the Pegoraro article.

Anyone with even a passing interest in the subject should take the time to follow the links. It's useful information.
City Hall Rally Protests Policy of Firing Uncertified Teachers



There is only one story, but two headlines and two different spins.

One spin focuses on the rally at city hall attended by an estimated 40 protesters who claimed the tests were racially and culturally biased.

The other spin focuses on the fact that 3,000 teachers this year (10,000 in the past five years) failed the mandatory certification exam with some teachers failing it more than a dozen times.

One headline is from the New York Post and the other is from the New York Times. Readers can assess if there exists a political bias in either story.

Thanks to Jerry Scharf at Common Sense & Wonder for pointing me to this story.

Thursday, August 28, 2003


According to the Stars and Stripes:
Students of the military�s educational system continue to outpace the U.S. national average on a standardized test that measures their basic skill levels in reading, math, science, social studies and languages.

Defense department students, both overseas and in the States, scored better than their public school counterparts in all areas, at all grade levels, test results indicate.
The article provides the detailed results of testing which indicates that Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DODDS) students consistently scored 10 to 25 percent better than the national average. A logical question to ask would be; what is the Department of Defense doing differently from the rest of the United States? My guess would be that the schools concentrate on subjects other than tolerance, diversity, and global warming and the kids mostly come from intact two-parent families

Of course, I could be wrong.

[Update at 6:30pm, 9/2/03] I became aware of a good analysis by Kimberly over at Number 2 Pencil which is worth a look.

(Painesville, OH) This story is occurring right in my neighborhood, but even stories from small town America sometimes get legs and this may be one of those. Michael Padula, 50, who lists his residence as a downtown city park, has filed a petition with the Lake County Elections Board to be certified as a candidate for the Painesville City Council Ward 2 seat in the upcoming November election. The incumbent Ward 2 Councilman, William J. Horvath, has asked the board to invalidate Padula's petition because he doesn't meet the minimum one-year residency requirement established by the city charter.

The elections board will hold a hearing on September 9th to determine if Padula meets the residency requirement and it could result in setting a state precedent. The Elections Board Director, Janet F. Clair, stated that:
"I talked with the secretary of state's office, and they said this has never happened before."
The thought of a "homeless" person running for political office probably never even dawned on anybody before.

My contention that this story may spark wide interest is based upon the speed in which it was reported locally. A couple months ago, a local story concerning the arrest of a woman for breast feeding her infant while driving was picked up by the media and ultimately produced wide sensational appeal, including an appearance on the Bill O'Reilly cable news program. That story took the better part of a week before it was reported whereas the "homeless candidate's eligibility challenged" has hit all the local media by storm in less than a day.

Even as I write, Cleveland radio personality Mike Trivisano of WTAM is leading off his afternoon three-hour program with the story and stating that "this is the kind of guy I could support." Trivisano also promised to donate $250 to Padula's election campaign.

My take is that if a person lives out of his vehicle (as has been contended), he could claim residency anywhere. One other thing is that Padula has claimed in writing to the Election Board that he resides in a location different from where he claimed in writing to the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Newspaper stories are in The Cleveland Plain Dealer and The News Herald.

[Update at 1:55pm, 8/29/03] Reader Gordie offered the following comments related to a homeless person running for public office.
When I lived in Austin TX in the late 80s - early 90s, a homeless man, Max Nofziger, ran for city council for the southside of town where I lived. He won, and won re-election while I lived there (though his job allowed him to cease being homeless). He'd run for years as a novelty candidate, but finally won when folks were really upset with existing councilmen buying land east of Austin (in the Manor area) in anticipation of a new international airport which never came to be.
Based upon these comments, it's clear that a precedent (in Texas) has been set for a homeless person to run and get elected to public office. It's still unclear, however, as to how specific residency requirements would be met by a person without a defined residence.

[Update at 2230, 8/31/03] I went looking for Mr. Padula in the park and was informed by other folks that they see him around all the time but he wasn't there at the time. A Painesville city policeman stated that he knew him and had arrested Mr. Padula for public urination. He added that the case went to court before Judge Michael Cicconetti who dismissed the case because no one other than the policeman was there to see Mr. Padula urinate in public.

I looked hard to try to find evidence of his arrest with no luck. Maybe the policeman I talked to was mistaken. Curiously, his attitude towards Mr. Padula was unmistakably unapproving. I'd give it merit.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003


It's being reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that dark chocolate can lower blood pressure.
Dark chocolate contains plant substances called polyphenols - ingredients that scientists think are responsible for the heart-healthy attributes of red wine. Polyphenols also have been shown to lower blood pressure in animals.

Blood pressure remained pretty much unchanged in the group that ate white chocolate, which does not contain polyphenols. But after two weeks, systolic blood pressure - the top number - had dropped an average of five points in the dark-chocolate group. The lower, or diastolic, reading fell an average of almost two points.

The participants had an average blood pressure reading of about 153 over 84.

While their blood pressure did not fall enough to be considered in the desirable range - below 120 over 80 - the results show dark chocolate "might serve as a promising approach to reduce systolic blood pressure," said lead author Dr. Dirk Taubert of the University of Cologne.
A while back, I reported about a research study that determined eating pizza reduces the risk of cancer. Now we hear that chocolate reduces blood pressure. What's a person to think? I know, eat chocolate pizza.

Local news is reporting that the Blaster and Sobig viruses have infected 30,000 computers at 130 different locations within the Cleveland School System. Technicians are in process checking each of the computers. The infection apparently has the greatest impact on scheduling of classes for 21,000 students, which remains to been completed.

My knowledge of their system is essentially none, but, even so, the computer to student ratio seems somewhat on the high side.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


The anti-gun folks are trying to take away Ohioans' guns. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Americans for Gun Safety call Ohio an "iron pipeline" of guns to other states and is, therefore, a "gun-runners" paradise.

The Country Store has today's hands-down best chuckle, provided by the Cracker Barrel Philosopher. See it here.

I picked this story up from the Spoons Experience and my reaction was similar: a spontaneous, involuntary, does-your-heart-good, old-fashioned belly-laugh. The Associated Press reports more somberly:
In a boost to her flagging campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Carol Moseley Braun is expected to pick up her first major endorsements next week from the National Organization for Women and the National Women's Political Caucus.

The endorsements, first reported in Friday's editions of the Chicago Sun-Times, will be announced Tuesday in Washington by leaders of the groups, according to a source with Braun's campaign.
It's curious that the radical feminist groups are selecting a candidate that recently polled 0 percent support in New Hampshire, the state holding the first primary. With the NOW endorsement, Moseley-Braun can count on the lesbians and abortion advocates for support, but that probably won't significantly increase her poll ratings in New Hampshire and Iowa.

Monday, August 25, 2003


Why is it that Americans are being forced to recycle? Well, the usual answer is that we are running out of landfill space. Okay, would someone tell me why we are importing Canadian garbage to Michigan landfills?
. . . a powerful bloc of Michigan politicians hasn�t come up with the right formula to curb the amount of trash that Canada sends to their state - now roughly 200 truckloads a day, the most since the border was opened to garbage haulers in 1992.

The bulk of the Michigan-bound trash comes from Toronto, which closed its last remaining municipal solid waste landfill on Jan. 1. Much of Ontario�s trash ends up in the Carleton Farms Landfill in southwestern Wayne County, 30 miles north of Toledo.

So that's why the Canadians are so ecologically high-minded. They figured how to make their country more green by closing their landfills and sending all their garbage to Michigan.

Am I the only person bothered by this?

Business owners and customers have been fuming as of 12:01am yesterday. Smoking is illegal in Toledo, Ohio.
Anyone caught illegally smoking is subject to a $100 fine, but the penalty is stiffer for owners of establishments who don�t enforce the smoking ban.

The penalties begin with mandatory workplace education for the shift supervisor and the table server for the first verified violation and progress to mandatory education for the entire roster of employees after a third violation.

A fourth violation results in a minor misdemeanor for the establishment and referral to the Ohio Department of Liquor Control.

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department announced that more than 700 police officers, 500 firefighters, and inspectors in the divisions of environmental services, nuisance abatement, building inspection, and the health department, are empowered to enforce the law.
The smoking lamp is out.

The school bus has been renovated with flowers and peace signs painted on the side. I bet inside somewhere is a guitar and some weed. The 60s ended over three decades ago, but these folks didn't get the message. They call themselves the blockade breakers.

I think weed makes folks stupid.

For two and a half years


Age - 58

Five-star hotel suite



Nine prostitutes.

[Via the Cracker Barrel Philosopher.]

Tim Blair pointed me to this ridiculous and, in my opinion, not very believable, story about a small electric car going down the highway with a running electric generator in tow. I'm very skeptical. Maybe a reader can shed some light on this.

Note: make sure you read through the comment thread attached to the link. Also, it's worth your while to check out Tim Blair's site.

An Iraqi girl calling herself Riverbend is blogging from Iraq. Here's an excerpt:
Over 65% of the Iraqi population is unemployed. The reason for this is because Bremer made some horrible decisions. The first major decision he made was to dissolve the Iraqi army. That may make sense in Washington, but here, we were left speechless. Now there are over 400,000 trained, armed men with families that need to be fed. Where are they supposed to go? What are they supposed to do for a living? I don�t know. They certainly don�t know.

For detailed, day-to-day news about the rebuilding of the country, and to give her much needed moral support, go visit at Baghdad Burning.

The following is from a paper called Unskilled and Unaware of It:
In 1995, McArthur Wheeler walked into two Pittsburgh banks and robbed them in broad daylight, with no visible attempt at disguise. He was arrested later that night, less than an hour after videotapes of him taken from surveillance cameras were broadcast on the 11 o'clock news. When police later showed him the surveillance tapes, Mr. Wheeler stared in incredulity. "But I wore the juice," he mumbled. Apparently, Mr. Wheeler was under the impression that rubbing one's face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to videotape cameras.

This story came from the documented research on human competency conducted by Justin Kruger and David Dunning of Cornell University. Published by the American Psychological Association, the paper also states:
We bring up the unfortunate affairs of Mr. Wheeler to make three points. The first two are noncontroversial. First, in many domains in life, success and satisfaction depend on knowledge, wisdom, or savvy in knowing which rules to follow and which strategies to pursue. This is true not only for committing crimes, but also for many tasks in the social and intellectual domains, such as promoting effective leadership, raising children, constructing a solid logical argument, or designing a rigorous psychological study.

Second, people differ widely in the knowledge and strategies they apply in these domains, with varying levels of success. Some of the knowledge and theories that people apply to their actions are sound and meet with favorable results. Others, like the lemon juice hypothesis of McArthur Wheeler, are imperfect at best and wrong-headed, incompetent, or dysfunctional at worst.

Perhaps more controversial is the third point, the one that is the focus of this article. We argue that when people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it. Instead, like Mr. Wheeler, they are left with the mistaken impression that they are doing just fine.
Well, there! What I've known all the time is formally confirmed by reputable scientific research. The study also confirmed another observation I'm sure most people have had. And that is that people who are exceedingly incompetent somehow always seem to think highly of themselves. Research confirms that incompetent people don't have the intellectual skills necessary to accurately evaluate their own or somebody else's performance. I've had bosses that fit this description precisely.

The article is interesting, detailed and convincing. Worth reading.

Holiday Inn, the most recognized hotel brand in the world, has declared August 28th, 2003, as National Towel Amnesty Day. The trademark towels have been taken from hotels for a long time and, if you've got one, Holiday Inn is forgiving you. For details, click the link.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Utility Workers Saw Line Burning Before Blackout

FirstEnergy Corp. announced that, just before the recent blackout, its tree trimmers saw a transmission line smoke and burn in the Cleveland suburb of Walton Hills. The line apparently sagged into and contacted a tree.

The 345 kilovolt line is the latest culprit in the search for the triggering event of the worst blackout in American History. Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an energy consulting firm, said the line failure started a cascade of events leading to the blackout.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has the whole story. Go visit.

Found the following while surfing. It's from an ad in the Atlanta Journal.
SINGLE BLACK FEMALE seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant.

I'm a very good looking girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping, and fishing trips, cozy winter nights relaxing by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. Rub me the right way, and watch me respond.

I'll be at your front door when you come home from work, wearing only what nature gave me. Kiss me, and I'm all yours. Call 591-1234 and ask for Daisy.

Over 15,000 men found themselves talking to the local Humane Society about an 8-week-old Labrador Retriever.

Thanks to The Brazos de Dios Cantina.

Saturday, August 23, 2003


Jerry Scharf at Common Sense & Wonder posted a letter describing the thoughts of a woman named Juanita Rodriguez regarding her travels to Cuba. She accompanied a group called Pastors for Peace which is an operational division, along with the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), of International A.N.S.W.E.R. Here's some of what she wrote of her trip.
Cuba a thriving, happy haven, 50 years on


The United States government has been threatened by the success of the Cuban revolution from its very beginning in 1959. That a small island might launch a revolution and empower the masses was - and remains - unthinkable to the Powers That Be in Washington, D.C. The U.S. has a long history of retaliation; of assaults, assassination attempts and devious disruption of the social, economic, agricultural, cultural and political fabric that is Cuba. Still, Cuba not only survives; in many ways, it is thriving.

[ . . . ]

As I see it, the world should be paying very close attention to Cuban society, acknowledging the errors, but learning from its successes. Against great odds, it has achieved what other nations have been unable to achieve. I saw a healthy, active, intelligent, proud and unified people, celebrating 50 years of a Revolution that have changed the world.
Obviously, Juanita Rodriguez is an anti-American cultist and cheerleader for Fidel Castro and communism. Her letter makes that much clear and I'll not dwell on it.

Worth examining, though, are the groups she's chosen to join. International A.N.S.W.E.R. is a coalition of every imaginable group that advocates extreme political action and, sometimes, violence. For example:
Pastors for Peace - This group's website states they are a ministry created to deliver humanitarian aid to Latin America and the Carribean. However, the leader of the group, Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., stated:

"I received the inspiration to intensify IFCO's work for international justice by directly challenging and seeking the (sic) change the unjust and meanspirited foreign policies of the United States. This led to the creation of a special department of IFCO known as Pastors for Peace."

"We must dispel the myth that all is well in the United States, and you encourage us in this commitment. Our promise to you is to be faithful to the vision not only of a better world, but a better United States. We return to the US to continue our struggle until all have universal health care, all have universal free education, until there is an end to capital punishment, until all political prisoners in the United States are free, until police brutality is a thing of the past, until racism, sexism and homophobia are vestiges of the past and until our country is committed to cease using food and medicine as tools of war, until all sanctions are ended . . . ."
It's fairly easy to see that Pastors for Peace portrays themselves as a ministry providing humanitarian aid but, it's also easy to see that their real agenda, clearly stated by the founder, is dramatic social and political upheaval within the United States.

Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA) - This group's website has as their motto:

"While the world is looking elsewhere, the Israeli military kills and provokes"

and, under Educational Focus, wants to teach Americans of the:

US taxpayers' role in the occupation of Iraq and Palestine and the consequences suffered domestically as a result of the dangerously flawed US foreign policy in Iraq and Palestine/Israel.

The messages from these two groups are clear. Pastors for Peace want to radically alter the American way of life. MECA is anti-Israel and is working to "educate" Americans to become anti-American. Within the Steering Committee of A.N.S.W.E.R., there are listed eight similar groups, all purporting to be for friendly and worthwhile causes, but all working against democracy and capitalism while working for socialism and communism.

Juanita Rodriguez expresses nothing other than anti-American, pro-Communist propaganda and the only differences between her and Fidel Castro are gender and residence.

Just surfing, I found this website that analyzes and discusses the statistics associated with weblogs. It relates that
Roughly 2 percent of the online community has created a blog . . . [and]

Interestingly, the majority (60 percent) of bloggers are dialing up to access their online journals, and more than half (57 percent) have a household income below $60,000 per year. Jupiter also found that blogging is split evenly among the genders, with most (70 percent) bloggers having an online tenure of more than 5 years.
It concludes with data stating that blog readers are demographically different from blog writers. Go visit.

The Drudge Report has developing news that Russia is increasing restrictions on abortion for first time in 50 years. Apparently, Matt is following up on my post of August 17th. The story has been removed from the link so I'll reproduce it here. Thanks to

Health Ministry proposes tighter abortion laws

Abortion, once the country's primary means of birth control, is in steady decline in post-Soviet Russia, but the rate is still staggering. For every 10 births there are about 13 abortions, compared with roughly three in the United States.

In late July the Russian Health Ministry proposed scaling back the liberal policy whereby women can cite a wide range of non-medical reasons - being unmarried, poor, already raising three children - to obtain an abortion well into the second trimester of pregnancy. The new proposal would still guarantee abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to anyone. But after that, most women - including rape victims - would be turned away.

"Abortion should never in any society be the primary method of birth control," said Vladimir Kulakov, a leading gynaecologist and head of the Scientific Centre for Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

During the Soviet era, women had limited options for avoiding pregnancy. Men regarded Soviet-produced condoms as uncomfortable and unreliable. Doctors were rarely able to prescribe oral contraceptives. Abortion was outlawed by Stalin for 19 years as he sought to boost the birth-rate. It was reinstated in 1955, after his death, and became widely available even in small towns. Abortions skyrocketed in the chaos that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, when jobs and the social net evaporated overnight, often hitting women hardest.

Four years of economic growth have taken some of the financial bite out of starting a family. Birth-rates are climbing, albeit slowly. According to government statistics, last year there were 9.8 births for every 1,000 people, compared to 9.1 the year before.

Today, all major birth control methods are easily available at the corner pharmacy, often without prescription. "Young people are more literate and informed about birth control," said Tatyana Lobova, who runs a city-funded family planning clinic in Moscow. "But not everybody and not everywhere."

From Between the Coasts, I read this story which discusses a controversy at the University of Michigan over a course called "How to be Gay: Male Homosexuality and Initiation," scheduled for this fall.
A family-values lobbyist is leading public opposition to the self-proclaimed "uncompromising political militancy" of the professor who teaches "lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender."

The lobbyist, Gary Glenn, says professor David M. Halperin and the university "are guilty of perpetrating a fraud against UM students and the people of Michigan [with] propaganda statements about so-called cultural studies and academic freedom" as they promote "queer studies" at taxpayer expense.

The course description says students "will examine a number of cultural artifacts and activities" including "camp, diva-worship, drag, muscle culture, taste, style and political activism." Mr. Halperin's class explores "the role that initiation plays in the formation of gay male identity."

The emphasis on "initiation" into homosexuality is what appears to be most offensive to conservatives like Mr. Glenn.

"We don't know what [Mr. Halperin] does in the classroom," the state AFA [American Family Association] president says in an interview. "It is outrageous that Michigan taxpayers are forced to pay for a class whose stated purpose is to 'experiment' with the 'initiation' of young men into a self-destructive homosexual lifestyle.
It is truly inappropriate for this course to be taught at a public institution funded with taxpayer dollars. As presented, the course does not address the overriding reason why a homosexual lifestyle should be avoided. And that is the self-destructive and dangerous nature of homosexuality. Specifically, whether male or female, homosexuals are destined for a much shorter life span than heterosexuals.

According to the results of research documented in The Homosexual Lifespan, and presented to the Eastern Psychological Association (4/17/93), the median age at death of male homosexuals is 40 compared to 75 for married men. For female homosexuals, median age at death is 45 compared to 79 for married women. The differences are explained by 1) very high homicide and suicide rates, 2) high death rates from motor vehicle accidents, and 3) high death rates from sexually transmitted diseases (especially AIDS).

The dismally abbreviated life span of homosexuals should be the first aspect discussed in any class on the subject. With that in mind, it appears there is no prudent reason for teaching a course celebrating homosexuality.
UPDATE: Ballooning Radios to North Korea

Robert Koehler, the Marmot, describes the latest news on the attempts to get radios into the hands of North Korean citizens.
A tourist bus carrying German doctor and North Korean refugee activist Norbert Vollertsen (45) and 30 other members of a North Korean refugee support group was intercepted by police at 2:30 on August 22 at the Taema Intersection, about a mile from the group's destination - the old North Korean Labor Party Building in Chorwon-eup, Chorwon County, Kangwon Province [Marmot's Note: that building, which I visited last year, is a pretty freaky place - it changed hands several times during the Korean War, and was left in its current bombed-out state as a reminder of that terrible conflict]. They were stopped because authorities were not previously notified of the assembly.

Vollertsen was planning to release about 200 balloons (each one 90 cm in diameter) carrying about 600 miniature radios (each one 150 g) to North Korea so that North Korean citizens could listen to news from South Korean and the outside world and help open up the country.

Vollertsen showed reporters the plastic bags with the radios and was going to fill the balloons with helium when he and police scrummed [as the police tried to restrain him from filling the balloons], in the process falling and hurting his left leg. He was brought to a hospital afterwards.
Living in South Korea, Robert relates that propaganda flows in both directions over the DMZ all the time, but sending radios is too sensitive for the government to tolerate.

Friday, August 22, 2003


Andres Gentry reports stories in his blog, Water, and works as an English language teacher somewhere in China. Take a look at a side of North Korea and China that is not as well known as it should be: North Korean female refugees bought and sold as wives in the Chinese countryside. Here's an excerpt:
The preference for male babies in rural China has led to a shortage of marriage-age Chinese women. Unable to woo a partner with the usual blandishments, men are often willing to pay $300 -- more if the woman is especially pretty.
Thanks to The Marmot's Hole for pointing me to Andres' engaging blog.
FirstEnergy Eliminates Jobs

(Akron, OH) FirstEnergy Corporation announced that it was cutting 185 to 230 computer-related jobs, but not because of the recent blackout. The job reduction is a result of a merger with General Public Utilities, parent company of Jersey Central Power & Light.
Kucinich Says US Should Get Out of Iraq
"This administration does not have clean hands on anything to do with Iraq. ... They have too many conflicting interests," the Ohio congressman told about 100 supporters during a campaign swing.

"The only way to regain credibility is let the U.N. come in and take over responsibility for oil and rebuilding," he said. "I want to see the U.N. in and the U.S. out."
Kucinich stated the soldiers were sent to Iraq "based on a lie." He also reiterated his intention to nationalize the health care system in the US and promised it would not cost more than is being spent now on piecemeal coverage.
KOFI ANNAN - International Blowhard

The Sydney Morning Herald published this story in which UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan blames the United States for the recent bombing at the UN Headquarters in Baghdad. As I understand, US Forces offered to provide protection and were told it wasn't welcome.

This is a perfect example of the attitude displayed by most Security Counsel members and indicates why so many Americans think the UN is becoming an increasingly irrelevant international body.

Jon Wright of GDay Mate does a fine job of analyzing the article and I'll defer to it. His are my sentiments precisely.

Thursday, August 21, 2003


According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a boy and his mother went to the police station to report that a man approached the teen and offered to pay $10 if he would take off his socks and give them to him.

If that's all there is to this story, I'm not sure any crime was involved, but I'd be happy to sell him my dirty socks for that price.

A federal investigation into allegations that a Michigan dog handler planted human remains at potential crime scenes has resulted in a 10-count indictment against Sandra Anderson, owner of Eagle, nationally known as a sort of Wonder Dog.

Eagle has participated in searches around the world for missing children, murder victims, and disoriented seniors and, also, has searched for mass graves in Central America and for victims after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Yesterday, Ms. Anderson was indicted on 10 charges - five of falsifying and concealing material facts from federal officers, three counts of obstruction of justice, and two counts of lying to law-enforcement officials - according to a statement released by the Justice Department.

If convicted, Ms. Anderson could receive up to 65 years in prison.
The indictment alleges that Ms. Anderson planted human remains and fiber evidence on more than one case.

Tom Henry of the Toledo Blade reports of microcystis, a toxic form of green algae, has started forming a floating layer in Lake Erie from Toledo to Cleveland. The algae has been linked to as many as 75 deaths in Brazil and is expected to be problematic in Lake Erie until late September.
"It's definitely something we don't want out there," said Dr. David Culver of Ohio State University, one of the lake's longtime algae researchers.

The immediate risk to the public is low. To get a lethal dose, someone would have to ingest a chunk of toxic algae about the size of a hockey puck. Less than that could result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other feelings of sickness.
Scientists have no clear answers as to why the algae grows but suspect it may be related to agricultural and urban runoff.

The directive for the Border Patrol to stop arresting illegal aliens as described in a previous post has been rescinded by Robert C. Bonner, commissioner of the new Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
The order, the officials said, was overturned after a closed-door meeting at CBP headquarters attended by Mr. Bonner and Border Patrol Chief Gus de la Vina, whose agency has been moved to the new bureau from the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Seems like the reorganization of the Border Patrol with the Customs Department is a good move if it allows the law enforcement functions to actually be performed.

Thanks to American Patrol Report.

From local news, reports are being made of assaults on homeless people in Cleveland and, now, Chicago. Last week several teens were arrested for using a stun gun on homeless sleeping in downtown Cleveland.

Congressman Kucinich made a public statement calling for action to be taken on the "national crisis" of assaults on the homeless.
A story about the Swedish Beaver Safari may be a welcome, workplace friendly respite from political news and world events. Thanks to Silflay Hraka.

New viruses have appeared today which pose a threat to Windows machines. Per Bigwig - PLEASE UPDATE YOUR VIRUS DEFINITIONS IMMEDIATELY!

Also, it may be too early to discount the possibility that a virus or worm may have contributed to the massive blackout on 8/14. According to this article by Kevin Poulsen, some events associated with the generation and distribution of electricity in the recent past have been attributed to computer systems being affected by viruses /worms. For example, the Slammer worm was determined to be cause of failure of the Safety Parameter Display System of Davis-Besse Nuclear Plant last January. Sometime later, Slammer disabled the Plant Process Computer.

The events described are not critical to plant safety, but their loss makes plant operation extra burdensome for staff. And, the events indicate that a pathway existed for an Internet worm to affect computer systems thought to be isolated. Thanks to Bigwig.

Events on the New York Power Grid and the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) Grid leading up to the blackout last Thursday are analyzed at length and commented on by a number of knowledgeable bloggers over at Sgt. Stryker's Daily Briefing. Anyone with some technical savvy will find the post well-written and engaging.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


About two weeks ago I reported on an organization called Adbusters who are a bunch of self-described Communists advocating the violent overthrow of the US. Well, one of the key players in the movement now has the Cleveland Museum of Art sponsoring a showing of a film which shows the disruptive political theater performer in action.
His disruptions, or "shopping interventions" . . . inside and outside of Starbucks coffee shops and Disney stores often end with the Reverend being arrested; he calls it stepping into somebody's imagined box, the police call it illegal trespassing.

Reverend Billy's anti-American film is scheduled to be shown at the Cleveland Museum of Art on August 27th and 29th.

Isn't it comforting to know that the spirit of diversity and tolerance is alive in Cleveland and that taxpayer dollars and private contributions are keeping the Communist movement alive. If we could just have more Reverend Billys, maybe they could take over and the US could prosper in the image of North Korea or Cuba.


John Hudock at Common Sense & Wonder pointed me to this story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch which describes the life of an everyday panhandler on the streets of Richmond. Holding a sign that reads: "Homeless. Please help. God Bless," Derrick Walker has been a street person for five months and says,
"Why would I go to work and make $300 to $400 a week when I make $750 to $900 a week swinging a sign?"

By my calculations, that equates to an income between $39,000 and $46,000 per year. And I'm sure he's not paying taxes on it. I find this aspect of the story hard to believe. Read more here.

I found the website for Bitch Magazine which trumpets radical feminism. The current issue contains a lengthy lament by Kathryn McGrath that the number of feminist bookstores has declined dramatically in the last few years.
In 1997, there were 175 in North America; now there are 44. [and]

Although some feminist bookstores report steady sales and customer support despite the omnipresent chains, escalating costs are punishing many independents whose profit margins have always been slim. Now that sales can no longer support the community activism, events, programming, and workshops that have historically made feminist bookstores so much more than retail operations, the survivors are facing hard choices.

In a nutshell, not enough people are buying into their world view to support the continuation of business. Those that are able to pay their bills do so by relying on donations and volunteer labor. It seems to me that the general public are not supporting these bookstores because they sell, almost exclusively, books on lesbianism, male homosexuality, transgender issues, AIDS, bisexuality, and global social justice, and only a small percentage of the buying public has an interest in these subjects.

I wonder if, by extension, one could say that radical feminism will soon become a movement that died.

This goes straight into the You-Learn-Something-New-Everyday-File. For unknown reasons, some pharmacies in the Toledo area have been experiencing a wave of laxative thefts. I was taken aback upon reading the article which does provide some possible explanations for this new drug dependency. For example, those suffering from bulimia and anorexia sometimes employ laxatives. Also, certain narcotics cause constipation which is relieved by the laxatives. I'll try to keep up on how this story flushes out.

This story is about this woman who worked for the humane society and euthanized a stray cat. Subsequently, a complaint was filed and she was charged with second-degree animal cruelty. She was sentenced to probation and mandatory attendance at counseling, to include if necessary, animal sensitivity counseling.

What in the world is "animal sensitivity counseling?" Somebody, please give me a clue.

Three sentences from this story caught my attention.
". . . She would talk about how fun it was to swim and play with the seals . . . ."

"The water was full of blood . . . ."

Great white sharks are a protected species in California.

Visit the story.

It seems that Yahoo! doesn't want to be party to the activities of the Boston flash mobsters:
A group of flash mob organizers in Boston reports that Yahoo! Groups suddenly and unexpectedly removed the Bostoncitymob Web site, where Boston flash mobbers were organizing. Along with the site, the organizers lost a list of more than 1,000 people who signed up to receive announcements about the next Boston flash mob. They lost their Yahoo! e-mail account as well.

It seems that the organizers are most concerned about losing their mailing lists. Read the whole story here.

Well, it had to occur. Congreeman Kucinich has been trying for a long time to get individual generating plants shut down and, failing that, he's trying to get the company banned from doing business on Ohio. What a guy.
U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich today will ask a state commission "to revoke FirstEnergy�s right to do business in Ohio," according to a statement issued by the Cleveland Democrat�s office.

If he succeeds, I don't think he has the foggiest idea of the ramifications.

Two anecdotal examples of the current state of education in the US. The first is from the Jay Leno late night program where he asked the following question of a man he met on the streets of Los Angeles.
Question: Who wrote Handel's "Messiah?"

Answer: I don't read books.

The second example is from a segment of the television program "The Weakest Link."
Question: What is the closest whole number to pi?

Answer: Cake!

Both examples indicate an embarrassing lack of knowledge and I'm sure that every reader can think of others. But, there should be no surprise that the education system in the US is mediocre.

Ebony Reed reports in the Cleveland Plain Dealer,
The Ohio Department of Education announced yesterday that 191 schools need improvement. That's up from 161 schools.

Isn't it puzzling that even with all the recent attention and resources devoted to the public school systems, they seem to be getting worse?

Peter Cuthbertson, one of my favorite commentators, writes in Conservative Commentary about how some social and nascent political movements could only exist because of the Internet. He supports the contention that, due to social, geographical, and political divisions, these diverse movements would not recruit enough members to form a viable and ongoing association. I'm certain that Peter is right.

One that he discusses is,
. . . [T]hose who call themselves 'Child Free'. They are people who decide not to have kids and believe that this choice is an important part of their personalities. And the way many such people act is scarcely to be believed. You see them writing in the most extreme and bizarre terms about their loathing of all children, talking all sorts of Malthusian nonsense about population problems. You see people constantly mentioning that they do not have children and about how those who chose to do so have wrecked their whole lives. You also see a psychotic level of nastiness directed at people who are not among them, a friend telling me recently of the attention they gave a friend of hers, a proud father who mentioned his daughter on his blog regularly enough to attract the attention of Child Free forumers, who then began posting about visiting where he lived and all the various ways they could kill and maim his young child. These were grown adults talking about mutilating a toddler.

I did a web search on "child free" and had over 40,000 hits which surprised me, primarily because there is more to the movement than I anticipated and the fact that it was all news to me. My research in the subject was cursory, yet I was left with two salient impressions. One is that it seems most of the people involved just do not want to have children impacting their lives. They feel the cost and bother far exceeds the benefits to be derived from parenthood. Personally, I'm somewhat troubled by these people and their attitude. They seem mostly interested in getting society in general to recognize their child free lifestyle as acceptable, but they're asking for much more. Some complain that workplace rules discriminate against the child free vs. people with kids. They also want airlines to impose stricter rules on people traveling with infants.

On the more troubling side are those people who want all others to be child free by advocating as many abortions as possible and, in some cases, forced sterilization. The website ChildFree Issues disturbed me with these statements:
Changing diapers in public (other than restrooms) needs to be illegal.

No services should be only for people with underage children living with them! Services I'm thinking of are food stamps, health care and homeless/battered women's shelters, but I'm sure there are others.

In my opinion, the institution of diaper changing laws is not a good idea. A society with Diaper Changing Police indicates that maybe the legal system is trying to criminalize every single action that is offensive to somebody.

And changing existing health care and food stamp programs to eliminate special provisions for children I think would engender little support from liberals and conservatives.

In conclusion, for my readers that didn't know this stuff was occurring, the foregoing information is nice to know. The child free movement needs to be recognized by the general public since they are advocating some fairly radical legislation and they are aligned with even more extremist viewpoints.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

[Update on ILLEGAL ALIENS] Stefan at the Shark Blog pointed me to a story which discusses recent campaigning by Governor Davis to gather support for him to keep his job. Besides catering to every flavor of liberalism, he now "supports giving driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants." And so we have another example of the general disregard for laws pertaining to illegal aliens. We can't arrest them, we can't ask them sensitive questions, and we're going to give them all driver's licenses. Sheesh!

Two events happened recently gave me a case of the reds. One was the US Border Patrol being told not to arrest illegal aliens and the other is the city of Seattle telling their police what questions are acceptable during investigations. Both reflect a general lackadaisical attitude toward having foreign nationals roaming around the US illegally.

A rule has been thought up by me. It is, that if someone challenges my viewpoint or responds to a question in the comments section, the disagreement or answer will become a primary blog entry for further comment refutation and discussion.

I want to start with the comments made by Paige on Man on Third Base.
"In fact, until we get more clarity about what the questioner really means, I'm going to bow out of the discussion."

My response is that it seems that Paige is being snippy. It is a classic "I don't know the answer, so kill the messenger" response. Not well reasoned.

Kevin provided his take on my blog entry regarding organic foods. He responded to my statement that "those folks buying organic products are just fools," thusly:
Though I do not generally purchase organic foods, there are many perfectly rational reasons to do so. First, one might not trust the "appropriate higher authorities" to decide whether certain pesticides are harmful. This doesn't require buying into any conspiracy theory. It might merely be that commercial farmers and the pesticide industry have "captured" the relevant regulatory agencies.

Second, the price of conventional food doesn't take into account the externalities that pesticides produce. If pesticides damage ground water supplies, that will not necessarily be reflected in the price of the foods being produced. So, perhaps those who purchase organic foods do so out of altruistic reasons.

Third, the quality of the organic produce at one store is not at all a representative sample of all organic food. It might just be that the store had a different distributor for organic as opposed to conventional produce. In my experience, you can find a variety of good and bad produce provided in conventional and organic forms.

I'm sure there are many other reasons to buy organic. I'm no expert. But there are certainly plausible reasons to do so.

Kevin, you start your contention with "I do not generally purchase organic foods" and end it with "there are certainly plausible reasons to do so" and you present three reasons why you generally don't buy organic foods. But it's plausible to do so. I'm confused by your logic.

The three points of your argument are (and please correct me if I'm wrong):
1) Farmers and pesticide companies are in cahoots with the government and can't be trusted,

2) Non-organic foods are bad for the environment, and

3) Different stores have different quality of products.

Not convincing. I still think that people who buy organic foods are fools. The quality is terrible and the cost is ridiculous.

[Update 2pm, 8/19] A reader, Peter (no address), provided the following:
Some folks are allergic to some of the pesticide residues. Like my ex was. Roundup in the neighborhood put her out of action for a day or 2. For her, buying organic was simply a preventative measure. Unusual? Sure. Inconvenient? Very. Overpriced? In my opinion, yes.

Quality of organic produce varied widely. But then produce varies widely across the USA as well. Why is it that produce purchased in California would last about a week in the fridge, but when we moved to Florida, produce purchased there would last 2-3 days before spoiling?

Well, thank you, Peter. I'm aware of what various allergies can cause and, frankly, I hadn't considered that some folks seek organic foods to avoid triggering an adverse reaction. Touch�! Incorporating your comment into my belief system, I revise my contention to "I think that most people who buy organic foods are fools."

Regarding the reason food spoils faster in Florida than California, hell if I know. I do know that much of the produce sold in Ohio comes from CA and necessarily is subjected to several days in transit. Maybe that has something to do with spoilage. As an aside, about something totally unrelated that I think is interesting. A local Aldi's grocery store lost power the other day along with all of NE Ohio and management decided to unload all of their perishable products onto refrigerator trucks. They lugged and loaded all night and when finished, yep, the power came back. What a kick in the stones, eh?

Monday, August 18, 2003


Interestingly, several blogs have Interested-Participant displayed on their blog listings. Each of the following has sent readers to these pages:
GDay Mate

Incestuous Amplification

The Marmot's Hole

Oscar Jr. Was Here

Random Nuclear Strikes

The Spoons Experience

Wince and Nod

These folks are deserving a visit.
ABDOMINAL SURGERY RECOVERY STATUS My son is frustrated and perplexed because I said he's not going out to play. I explained in detail that it's too soon for any activity and refreshed his memory on the specific instructions given by his doctor. As I write, he's giving me the silent treatment. A fourteen-year-old doesn't realize that silence is what parents typically desire. He uses tactics which please his adversary.

Sunday, August 17, 2003


Something I didn't know until today is that aging affects a person's sense of smell. I'd never thought about it. Through years of my life I've heard of elderly people dying in fires with barely escaping neighbors saying they didn't smell the smoke. I just never thought about it.

After a little research, I now know that aging affects the sense of smell the same way that it does with sight and hearing. Progressing age significantly diminishes a person's ability to sense any odors. It's a generally unknown handicap and it's important to know because older folks sometimes will eat rancid food because they don't smell the putrefaction.

So, why am I bringing this subject to light? A couple of reasons. One is that the inability to smell is a handicap that is invisible. If a person can't hear or speak or see, everyone in their community would know of their challenge. If a person can't smell, no one knows.

The other reason I bring this subject up is because I have noticed for years that certain women use so much perfume that I can smell it from a distance. I have walked down a deserted grocery store aisle bereft with a perfume smell, finding out later, it's some older woman. On a Sunday, pick any Sunday, go to a shopping center after everyone's been to church and you'll see what I mean. Older women, having lost their sense of smell, use way too much perfume.

And now I know why.

The times are changing in Russia as described in this story about abortion.

Here's the link to a freak accident and a sad story.

The eco-alarmists' concerns of global warming resulted in the Kyoto Treaty which prompted the country of New Zealand to institute a tax on farm mammal flatulence. But now it appears that they may have a bigger mammal in their coastal waters contributing to global warming. The whale.

From The Herald Sun comes:
. . . the first photograph of a minke whale letting one go in the icy waters of Antarctica. It was taken from the bow of a research vessel.

"We got away from the bow of the ship very quickly ... it does stink," said Nick Gales, a research scientist from the Australian Antarctic Division.

[Update 9:16pm per question from my recuperating son, "It shouldn't take a research scientist to know that farts stink." I agreed and mentioned that the purpose of their research was more involved. All the while, I remembered my pain after abdominal surgery and the fact that he was at cruising altitude from the morphine derivative racing through his bloodstream. Then he asked,
"How do they do that?"

"What?" I replied.

"Get the turds? You know, how'd they get the whale turds?"

"Well, uh, well, uh," I stammered.

"And why'd they put satellite tracking devices on whale turds? I mean, how'd they get the turds and why'd they put satellite tracking devices on them?" Matthew was interested in the article. While he took his breath, I realized that he was responding to the words of the article as written. And it was poorly written, so much so that an adolescent could be led to believe that researchers 'discover' that flatulence has an unpleasant odor and that whale feces is tracked by satellite. He also mentioned:
[reading from the article] "'Every piece of this research is surprising . . ." is the only thing I understand. It doesn't make sense, but I understand it.


Regarding the statement that whale flatulence "does stink," I don't understand. Most of the environmental scientists who are saving whales and alarming everyone to global warming typically have their heads located where that kind of smell is fairly common. They should be used to it.

And who will pay the flatulence tax? One whale is probably equivalent to a whole flock of sheep and there are thousands of whales.

Saturday, August 16, 2003


[From ParaPundit]

William T. Veal, Chief Border Patrol agent for the greater San Diego area, has issued instructions stating:
"Border Patrol agents are not authorized to conduct any 'interior enforcement' or 'city patrol' operations in or near residential areas or places of employment, including immigration inspections at day labor pick-up locations or on city streets while agents are en route to assignments," Veal said.

The Desert Sun reports that the restrictions are the result of protests made after Border Patrol Agents arrested a family of illegal aliens as they were going to the Mexican Consulate to obtain illegal alien identification cards.
Mexico's consul general in San Diego, Rodulfo Figueroa, filed a complaint with the Border Patrol after the Aug. 1 arrests, calling them "an act of bad faith." He didn't question the legality of the arrests but said enforcement of immigration laws so close to the consulate inhibits his ability to do his job.

Upon analysis, this is very troubling:
The Mexican Consul General is complaining that he can't do his job, because

The Border Patrol is arresting illegal aliens, so

The US government tells the Border Patrol to stop doing their job.

Somebody, please tell me what is going on. This is ludicrous. The Mexican government has apparently become an integral part of the decision making process within the law enforcement community.

The borders of the US have been characterized as porous. Actions like the article reports will make them virtually nonexistent.

Thank God that this isn't Canada or Britain and medical conditions can be addressed with reasonable urgency. The periodic recurrence of my 14-year-old son having his appendix become inflamed is over. I just returned from the hospital where Matthew is recovering nicely after a 30-minute operation that removed his cause of severe pain. He'll be left with a scar of less than two inches. The doctor patched the incision with a 2" x 2" piece of gauze and told him he could probably go home tomorrow or Monday. This episode contrasts sharply with my experience 25 years ago when I was hospitalized for 6 days and still sport an 8-inch reminder of my incision.

Friday, August 15, 2003


Even as I write, my son Matthew is in the hospital in preparation to undergo an appendectomy. The appendicitis came on suddenly and was severe enough for a visit to the emergency room where the doctors determined it was time to remove the finger-length of inflamed tissue. The operation is scheduled for early tomorrow.

Curmudgeonly & Skeptical pointed me to this article about the minimum wage laws in the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ed Tinsley, reporting in the City Journal, explains that Santa Fe:
. . . passed a law imposing an $8.50 minimum wage on all businesses in the city with 25 or more workers. The hike takes effect in 2004, with the wage rising to $10.50�more than double the national minimum�by 2008. Not only is this the highest living wage in the U.S.; it is also unrivaled in its impact on private industry, since most of the 90 or so living-wage laws nationwide apply only to firms that do business with local government.

The article describes the overwhelmingly negative impact the law has on businesses, causing them to move out of town. Astonishingly, the law also provides for criminal penalties in the event of noncompliance.
The owner of a 24-employee firm who hires a one-hour-per-day temp for 30 days without boosting everyone�s pay will now be facing�unbelievably�up to 180 years in prison and $360,000 in fines.

One has to hope that someday the average voter will realize that minimum wage laws produce unemployment and relocation of businesses.

From a search of the web, I found a provocative blog post at Silflay Hraka which delineates in detail a basis for speculating that the computers used to control the electrical grid may be interconnected with Windows desktop machines accessible from the Internet. If true, a path exists for the very active Blaster virus to infect or affect the grid's computers. Since the blackout occurred coincident with several days of infectious Blaster activity, the question is asked whether these two are related.
. . . does it strike anyone else as odd that the Niagara-Mohawk power grid failed during a time of heavy network stress caused by that virus?

Very good question! I personally have experience with networks in power plants and utilities, and the complexity and variety of computer systems within numerous organizations makes absolute security difficult to attain. My experience tells me that an unwanted interconnection is quite possible.

Thursday, August 14, 2003


[From Puggs at Random Nuclear Strikes.]
Congressman "Mothership" Kucinich has launched a new tactic in his campaign for the presidency. This one can be called the "Kucinich Wants Your Tax Credit" campaign tactic. Jeff Cohen, Kucinich's communications director, sent a call for supporters:
"As a father, I am writing you about Dennis Kucinich. Some of us have just received child tax credits from the IRS and others will be receiving their checks in the coming weeks, up to $400 per child," Cohen said.

"I am asking you to donate all or part of that check to the Kucinich for President Campaign ... for your children and all children," Cohen said, terming it a "peace dividend toward our children's future."

Cohen urged supporters to "invest" in the campaign and "pass all or part of (the tax credit) on to Kucinich."

Okay, let me see if I understand this. For months, he fought tooth and nail against the tax credit and it still was approved by Congress. So, he couldn't stop it, therefore, he wants it. Instead of using the money in a sluggish economy to help your children and your family, he wants you to give your money to him. To Kucinich, a man who has the qualifications to be elected to lead the Environmental Liberation Front, a known terrorist organization.

He fought to prevent the taxpayer from receiving his or her money. And now that the taxpayer has their money back, he wants it. Is it me or doesn't it seem that he just doesn't want the taxpayer to have their money. He'll do anything to make the taxpayer have less money. Somebody, please tell me why anyone who doesn't smoke marijuana would support Dennis Kucinich for President of the United States.

[From local broadcast TV and radio stations.] At approximately 4:30pm EDT, an electrical blackout occurred in the greater Cleveland area (my location). An estimated 600,000 people have been affected. Cedar Point Amusement Park has been reported closed. It's reported that the blackout included portions of Canada, including Toronto and Ottawa, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, along with Ohio and Michigan.

Area fire departments, police and hospitals were placed on emergency status to be prepared for all eventualities. No major problems have emerged.

Power returned to my area at 6:00pm EDT. Slowly, other areas around Cleveland saw power return. As of 7:00pm EDT, Parma, Chardon, Geneva, and Madison have power returned.

Broadcasts have repeatedly emphasized that this is not terror related.

[Update at 7:30pm] Mansfield and Oberlin have power. Broadcast TV Cleveland Channel 8 is reporting that the blackout caused by a lightning strike in the Niagara Falls area. It's also being reported that Canadian Prime Minister Chretien has emphasized it was a lightning strike in the United States.

[Update at 8:05pm] Cleveland still without power, streets virtually empty, parking lots empty, Tower City deserted. City described as eerie.

No more flights from Cleveland Hopkins tonight, stranding many passengers. Some flights allowed to land. Due to lack of pumping power, the city has declared water emergency and has instructed residents to conserve.

Mayfield Heights, Hinckley, Leroy, Willoughby, and Wickliffe now have power restored.

Cleveland Mayor Campbell has instituted a curfew for the city for all people under the age of 18. No one that age allowed after 9:30pm until daylight tomorrow.

[Update at 8:23pm] Clarification . . . curfew is for all aged 18 and under. Reporters stating this is the "worst blackout in history." Richmond Heights, Highland Heights, and Oakwood have their power restored.

[Update at 8:35pm] Water emergency has prompted Mayor Campbell to ask the State of Ohio for help. Some locations are reporting they are hours away from totally running out of water.

[Update at 8:45pm] Police are being dispatched to neighborhoods to make sure that fire hydrants are not opened to beat the heat. Mayor warns residents not to use candles due to fire hazard. Hospitals are accepting only critical emergency patients. Corridors and administrative areas are dark. Thompson and Fairlawn have power restored.

[Update at 9:00pm] Air traffic controllers at Hopkins have power but runways will need to use emergency lights to land several incoming flights that must land at Cleveland. Airlines providing cots and sleeping bags for stranded passengers.

Reenergization of the electrical grid is underway slowly to make sure an unwanted surge doesn't cause additional breakers to trip. Few gas stations have working pumps. Power on in Beachwood. The President of the United States is at a press conference right now.

[Update at 9:19pm] It's being explained that the city of Cleveland has four main water supply pumps which are intended to act as backups for each other. Unfortunately, all four pumps are without power and the emergency generating system is not big enough to power the pumps (makes me wonder what the emergency system is supposed to do?).

No injuries at Cedar Point but some folks had to climb out of rides when they lost power. The Cleveland Indians are stranded in Minnesota. Reporter now says planes are grounded at Hopkins and four flights are scheduled to land. Food is being provided to the stranded passengers. People are sprawling all over the terminal.

Local weather reporter says that the radar indicates no storms in the Niagara area and a spokesman for the Niagara Mohawk Power Company is stating that they are unaware of any lightning. Niagara Mohawk has said they will hold a press conference at 9:30pm. The lightning report came from Canadian officials.

[Update at 9:25pm] An estimated 10% of 800,000 (new estimate) people have power restored. Painesville, Sheffield Lake and parts of Lorain now have power. Backup generator at Cleveland City Hall didn't work as expected. There are no street lights and no traffic lights and it's dark.

[Update at 9:45pm] Mayor Campbell just held a press conference and stated that Governor Taft has declared a state of emergency meaning that the National Guard and the Highway Patrol may be employed. She stated the eastern suburbs have already lost water and the western suburbs have 2 to 4 hours remaining in storage tanks.

Price gouging has been reported and the mayor says these instances will be investigated. Call 664-2220 to report.

The county jail is powered as is all of the Justice Center. Prisoners in other jails are being taken to Mansfield prison to ward off the potential for riots due to unrest caused by the loss of power. The city is talking to First Energy and Cleveland Public Power to get temporary power to the water pumping stations. Should know something by 11pm. Home Depot has been delivering fans to hospitals which is helping.

[Update at 9:53pm] New York Governor Pataki says the cause of the blackout was not a lighning strike.

[Update at 10:34pm] Experts say there is no possible way the blackout was caused by a lightning strike. I wonder why the Canadians think otherwise.

[Update at 11:30pm] Mayor Campbell press briefing: First Energy may have some power restored later tonight.

Downtown area of Cleveland will be closed until noon tomorrow.

State has dispatched seventeen National Guard water trucks to Cleveland and locations for distribution are being evaluated. Advisement: If water was lost, boil for three minutes after restoration.

200 additional firemen have been mobilized and 12 Fire Department water tankers have been requested. A general callup of policemen has been done and police are on 12-hour shifts.

[Update at 12:10am, 8/15/03] Niagara Mohawk Power Company has issued a strong statement refuting the Canadian officials' contention that the cause of the blackout was lightning at Niagara Falls generating plant. According to this story, it seems that the Canadians aren't sure what they want us to believe.
Canada's government offered conflicting explanations for the blackout, blaming it first on lightning in Niagara, then a fire at a Niagara plant, and next a fire at a Pennsylvania nuclear power plant.

Local news has just completed and turned back to the networks.

The last surviving member of the US Navy's initial team of officers in the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) has died at the age of 91. May she Rest In Peace.

She was an educated, professional woman whose dedication and service to the United States should be recognized and remembered. Of special note is the following:
Stationed in Honolulu as a transportation officer, Rapaport eliminated racial discrimination in the women's corps before male superiors could start it, insisting that if women of different races wore the same uniform they could share the same jobs and living quarters.

This significant act, which she did years before the rest of the military became integrated, belies her bold and courageous nature. Rapaport wrote of her experiences in "Once a Wave: My Life in the Navy 1942-46," which is listed on, but not currently available.

Having spent some time carrying a Department of the Navy ID Card, I feel obligated to throw in my two cents concerning the WAVE Corps. I dealt with and got to know a number of WAVES and my lasting impression is nothing but positive. As a group or individually, they were always willing to devote extra time and effort to get the job done. The legislation signed by FDR which enabled women to enlist, coupled with the contributions of Laura Rapaport Borsten and thousands of others are reasons to be proud as an American.

On a different note, my personal belief is that under no circumstances should women be assigned to serve on a warship or a combat unit.

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