Friday, October 31, 2003


Review of this week's selections in the showcase results in my selecting these two posts:
Everyone's from somewhere

Dow 10000, Psychology, and the ECMH.
They come from Professor Bainbridge and Electronic Countermeasures.

Here's an odd story from the Low Countries. Customs Officers, alerted to a foul odor coming from a suitcase, found approximately 2,000 baboon noses.
"Bags were found inside (the suitcase) containing an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 baboon's noses," the Dutch animal health inspectorate said.

The owner of the suitcase, who has not been identified, had flown from Lagos to Amsterdam, apparently destined for the United States, but seemed to have abandoned the suitcase at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport for fear of being caught with it.

[ . . . ]

"The baboon noses are suspected to have been destined for consumption or for use in the manufacture of traditional medicines," the inspectorate said.
Boy, there's a market for anything.

British film producer Michael Linley was arrested in Perth, Australia, and charged with attempting to smuggle hundreds of frogs and reptiles out of the country in his luggage. In his suitcases were more than 200 live skinks, geckos, and frogs. He also has snakes, reptile eggs, and insects.
Western Australia's Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) said the animals were discovered by X-ray at the airport, following a tip-off from a member of the public.

CALM officers are hoping to release the animals back into the wild later this week. Investigator Rick Dawson said the hundreds of animals were found in two suitcases. Some of the females were laying eggs, he said.
Linley, who has won numerous awards for his films, was released on bail on condition he surrender his passport and report to police three times a week. It's not clear what sentence he will receive if convicted.

Nothing better than a creepy story for Halloween.

Check out a few of the entrants and you'll see the pride a man can have in his facial hair. They are flocking to Carson City, Nevada, for the World Beard and Moustache Championships (WBMC) being held this weekend.
A panel of distinguished judges will determine which beards and moustaches in seventeen separate categories merit their owners the championship trophies and the coveted world champion titles. Special prizes will also be awarded to the youngest contestant, the contestant who traveled the farthest to attend, and the people's favorite.

This will be the first time this truly unique, off-beat public event will take place in America. Previous championships have been held in Norway, Sweden, and Germany. Future world championships will be in Berlin in 2005 and London in 2007.

Over 100 foreign contestants are expected from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England, Italy, Sweden, Norway, the Ukraine, Turkey, and Mexico, including numerous former world, European, and German champions, . . .
Festivities will be Oktoberfest-style, complete with beer, bratwurst, oompah music.

Championship Director Phil Olsen stated that there is no specific category for women but bearded ladies are welcome to compete with the men.

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, proposed a greenhouse gas emissions bill that was voted down by the Senate 55 to 43. The Bush administration opposed the bill because it would be economically devastating.

Proponents of the bill want to limit emissions because some scientists think that the world will end if we don't. Opponents voted against the bill because their scientists think the proponents' scientists are full of greenhouse and other gases. In other words, there is no common agreement on the interpretation of scientific data.

It is ludicrous to make public policy based on disputed interpretations of two groups of experts when each are paid to have a particular defined opinion.

The Russian Constitutional Court has declared unconstitutional the media restrictions banning political journalism that President Vladimir Putin signed into law. With the law in effect, media coverage of the December 7th parliamentary and March 2004 presidential elections would have been impossible. The decision, however, was only a small victory for the press which has seen an erosion of their ability to report events during the three years of Putin's presidency.
. . . several journalists and election law experts said the decision, while welcome, might have little practical effect in reversing the rollbacks of free speech under Putin. They pointed out that the state has already regained control of Russia's national television networks and has many other tools available to prosecute print and radio outlets it deems overly independent.
It's not a good sign when the government fiddles around with freedom of the press.
"The decision is a piece of good news, but only a piece," said Alexei Simonov, head of the Glasnost Defense Foundation, a human rights group. "In general, the whole coverage is already infected by fear. Television is nothing already."

[ . . . ]

Anton Nosik, editor in chief of the Internet news service, said the government retains its ability to control the press or harass those who resist control." Just using the libel laws and the corrupt court system you can bankrupt any publication in this country," he said.
When viewed together, the events occurring in Russia within the past few months are most disturbing. Imprisoning high profile political opponents, freezing private citizens' assets, and placing restrictions and government pressure on press freedoms are police state tactics and precursors to totalitarianism.

But, the major media is not making a big deal of it. Maybe I'm wrong.

Thursday, October 30, 2003


On October 26, masked, black-uniformed Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents stormed aboard oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky's private plane during a pre-dawn Siberian refueling stop and arrested him. Today, Russia froze the controlling assets in oil conglomerate YUKOS owned by Khodorkovsky. These actions, along with the imprisonment or flight to avoid imprisonment of several other influential Russian businessmen, have raised fears and alarm that Russia is reverting to the oppressive police state that existed before the breakup of the Soviet Union more than a decade ago. Freezing Khodorkovsky's stake in YUKOS,
. . . sent financial markets skidding and sparked concerns that investors would pull money out of the country.

The move by state prosecutors stops Khodorkovsky, Russia's richest man, and his allies from selling or transferring their controlling interest in the country's biggest oil company.
Natalya Vishnyakova, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, stated that the shares were not confiscated nor nationalized. President Putin has stated that these actions do not represent a campaign against business. However, market analysts and even Russian officials are worried.
"I do believe the methods are absolutely wrong -- the way they were arrested, put in jail and so on," a senior Russian diplomat told Reuters.

YUKOS has been the target since early July of legal action by the Russian justice authorities in what many see as a move by the Kremlin to curb the political ambitions of Khodorkovsky who is believed to have his long-term sights on the presidency.
Kremlin hard-liners have also been highly critical of Khodorkovsky's support of liberal opponents in upcoming elections.

Like a vise, the FSB over the past few months has been squeezing the Russian business community. The future is a question mark, but the trend is incremental repression of Putin's political opponents.

As an American, I'm dismayed that the major media is not giving this story more attention and emphasis. There is little or no mention of the burgeoning crisis in the Russian political arena. I'm sure the White House is closely watching.

Alexei Kokin at The Russian Dilettante is watching the story from Moscow.

Michael Moore spoke for 90 minutes before a crowded Armington Physical Education Center at The College of Wooster last night. As one would expect, he spent the time generally denouncing America and the American way of life and specifically denouncing the current administration in Washington. He then shilled for the Democrat Party and instructed the attendees to get involved with the party such that President Bush is not reelected.
"You can run for office and get involved in the local Democratic party in this county. You need to educate yourselves; read papers not from America ... that tell about America from an outside perspective. It's all about the stuff that happens on a daily basis."[Emphasis by ed.]

[ . . . ]

"I'm not endorsing anyone right now, but it's important for us to push these Democrats to be better candidates. There's enough running that they can give us 70-80 percent of what we want. This is when they need us more than we need them. We need to get them to take better positions on these issues," Moore said.
Also included in his speech was the obligatory reference to George Bush not winning the Presidential Election. And there was a Q & A period where one student complained about the cost of college.
"I think it's wrong you have to go through that," Moore said. "I think a college education should be free. Maybe a few less aircraft carriers and missiles and a little bit more money to our education system. . . ."
In a nutshell, his speech bashed America, Republicans, the President, Congress, the Supreme Court, and "angry" conservative political pundits. He supported the Democrat Party, dismantling the military, socialized education, and efforts to have blacks and women take over the government.

The workers must unite and overthrow the bourgeoisie.

Haven't we heard this theme before? It's promoted by numerous newspapers not from America.

It's not often that I participate in online games, quizzes, and polls, but Spoons pointed me to the Gender Genie and I tried it. It predicts a person's gender by analyzing a sample of the person's writing. I previously mentioned this capability being developed and now it's available for everyone to use.

My submittal for analysis was RAINBOW FAMILY and the resulting score was:
Female Score: 531
Male Score: 1707
I'm no expert, but the numbers seem to indicate a handsome concentration of testosterone emanates from my writing. Interestingly, the other people that took the test recently had these scores:

Spoons Experience
Female Score: 524
Male Score: 1599
Curmudgingly & Skeptical
Female Score: 882
Male Score: 1174
Female Score: 777
Male Score: 931
Readers can interpret the numbers for themselves. My only comment is that Glenn Reynolds ought to keep an eye on the future and prepare for a possible reversal of polarity.

(Orland Park, Illinois) The anti-gun crowd will surely get a wedgie when they hear this story. The Champaign County Rifle Association advertises its website by posting Burma Shave-style signs along Interstate 80 west of Chicago. For example, going east, motorists will see:
"Dialed 911,

"And I'm on hold,

"Sure wish I had,

"That gun I sold."
Thirty-four sets of signs are posted and estimated to be seen by more than 500,000 people daily.

The anti-gun bigots have so far only demonstrated their displeasure by vandalizing the signs. It's unknown what future actions they will take.

Hat tip to Boots and Sabers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

WE'RE No. 1! WE'RE No. 1! WE'RE No. 1!

Ohioans are as competitive as any other group of people, but sometimes being first is not desired. This story explains.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group�s study, based on 2002 government data, ranked Ohio coal-fired plants first for nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions.

[ . . . ]

Rose Garr, an Ohio spokesman for the Public Interest Research Group, said Ohioans "are being hit hardest by the Bush administration policies."
It's interesting that pollution problems that have been around for decades are considered to be the result of "Bush administration policies" which are yet to be implemented.

Here's another story of child sex slavery (for previous posts, see here). Although it's depressing, I feel obligated to report on the continuing ugliness that is the sex slave trade. Unfortunately, the story is largely ignored by the major media.

The United Nations has issued a report which condemns the ubiquitous sex trade, including child prostitution, along the Czech-German border. It is a marketplace for tens of thousands of German pedophiles to buy children from destitute families.
Children as young as eight have been seen negotiating over sex practices and prices - and some are paid only in sweets, according to the report's author.

The head of UNICEF in Germany, Reinhard Schlagintweit, said the German and Czech governments had failed to combat child exploitation and had turned a blind eye to the problem.

A German police psychologist described the border as the biggest brothel in Europe.

"The Czech Republic is becoming a discount market for sex with children," said Adolf Gallwitz [police psychologist], saying paedophilia in the area was "increasing at an incredible rate."
It's estimated that the German sex tourists number 100,000 annually with half being pedophiles. It's a sad situation with thousands upon thousands of victims.

For those people and businesses that ponder relocation within the United States, a recent study has evaluated and ranked metropolitan cities based upon literacy. Called America's Most Literate Cities, it was prepared by Jack Miller, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
The purpose of this study is to assess a collection of important factors related to literacy and literate behaviors. This study rates the most and least literate cities in the United States.
Sixty-four cities were evaluated in five literacy categories (Education, Publications, Newspapers, Libraries, and Booksellers) and, based on the results, assigned an overall rank. The top five cities are Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver, Atlanta, and San Francisco. Number 60 was San Antonio, followed by Detroit, Long Beach, Corpus Christi, and El Paso.

There are a lot of data presented and subject to interpretation. My quick review only noticed that three of the least literate cities are in Texas.

The Israeli military will use any innovative method available for providing protection for their settlements. This story describes their latest endeavor, using guard pigs. Up until now, the Jewish settlements on the West Bank were patrolled by armed men with guard dogs. An organization called The Hebrew Battalion has received rabbinical approval to train pigs for guard duty. According to Kuti Ben-Yaakov, the leader of the project, pigs have a keener sense of smell and,
"The pigs will also be able to identify weapons from huge distances, and walk in the direction of the terrorist, thereby pointing him out.

"Moreover, this animal is considered to be dangerous by Islam and, according to the Muslim faith, a terrorist who touches a pig is not eligible for the 70 virgins in heaven."
It remains to be seen as to whether pigs will supplant dogs on the front lines, but one thing is certain. A million jokes are begging to be written from the statement that if you touch a pig, you won't get a virgin.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003


Blogger Rabbit does a fine job presenting Edition #58 of the Carnival of the Vanities. Check out the fine entries. Next week the Carnival will be hosted by Wizbang.

This story from the Galveston County Daily News caught my eye because of the published numbers of stray dogs and cats that are euthanized yearly.
More than 8,100 stray animals are put to death each year in Galveston County animal shelters.
Based upon a forty-hour week, somebody has the job of killing more than thirty cats and dogs daily, every day, every gruesome day. That same person then probably has to dispose of the weighty, smelly carcasses.

Just a thought.

(Collingswood, NJ) If you have ever wondered what happens to kids who become wards of the state, for whatever reason, this story may be informative. The State of New Jersey fired nine employees of the Department of Human Services and criminal charges are being considered because of the following.
The four adopted boys - one of them 19 - were found earlier this month at their house in Collingswood, malnourished and weighing less than 50 pounds each.

[ . . . ]

Authorities said the boys - the other three aged 14, 10 and 9 - were locked out of the family's kitchen and fed a diet of uncooked pancake batter, peanut butter and jelly and cereal. The boys, who told investigators they also chewed on wallboard and insulation, were found after a neighbor discovered the oldest boy rummaging through trash for food.

[ . . . ]

"I had staff that were either incompetent, uncaring or who had falsified records," said Department of Human Services Commissioner Gwendolyn Harris. "I have members of this division who have failed children almost to the cost of their very lives."
This type of story has been historically underreported to a massive degree. It's happening all over the US. The breaking up of families by zealous social workers and judges has relegated an entire population of children to abject misery. And the states are currently not capable of doing the job. Look at what happened recently in Florida where they couldn't even find 1000 foster children. It has to shock the sensibilities of any informed and rational citizen. It sickens me.

The terrible national foster care process should be shown the light of day. I'd recommend that John Walsh of America's Most Wanted spearhead an effort to correct the dismal situation. I wrote him a note about the problem.

One other thing is worth mentioning. The people who are the most vocal supporters of the current foster care system are also the most adamant about having a nationalized health care system. That would be great, having a health care system patterned after the foster care system. Liberalism marches on.

[Editorial note: The Associated Press report indicates that Gwendolyn Harris used the word "incompetent." This is incorrect. I viewed the TV news reports and she said "uncompetent." It's not clear whether she knows the difference between the words. It's also not clear why the AP corrected her mistake, if it was a mistake.]

Somehow, in all my reading, I missed the fact that Patricia Ireland was hired to head the YWCA. The ex-NOW president is an admitted bisexual adulterer and a supporter of transgenderism. That alone should have disqualified her from any position with the Young Women's Christian Association. But, it doesn't matter much now that I missed her hiring because she's been fired. The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) spearheaded the effort to get her booted.
The Traditional Values Coalition has been credited by the Feminist Majority Foundation for pressuring the YWCA into getting rid of Patricia Ireland as head of this girl's group. The feminist group issued a press release on October 20, 2003 blaming "right-wing groups" like TVC for urging the YWCA leadership to get rid of Ireland. According to Feminist Majority Foundation leader Eleanor Smeal: "I am very concerned that pressure from right-wing groups resulted in the loss of a strong leader, both for women's rights and for ending racism, at the YWCA."
TVC organized a campaign against Patricia Ireland within days after the YWCA announced her hiring. A petition and letter-writing campaign was started which included a special report on Ireland's radical pro-abortion, and pro-homosexual background. Executive Director Andrea Lafferty noted that Ireland was fired because of pressure from soccer moms who had stopped donating to the YWCA.
"What I found was, time and again, mothers and grandmothers were very concerned that if they dropped their children or grandchildren off at the YWCA, they would be taken care of by lesbians," said Mrs. Lafferty.
The firing is obviously good news. I can't comprehend that there would be any prudent responsible parents who would want Patricia Ireland as a primary influence during the early years of their girl's life. Ireland has dedicated her life to an agenda of immoral and senseless sexual objectives.

I'm left with a couple of nagging questions. Who was/were the vacuous braintrust that hired Patricia Ireland in the first place? One or more individuals decided that Ireland was the best candidate for the job. Those that are responsible for hiring her are certifiable morons who should also be fired.

One last thing I must mention concerns Eleanor Smeal's statement that Ireland's firing results in losing strong leadership for ending racism at the YWCA. My question is, am I the only person that is totally oblivious of a racism problem at the YWCA?

Hat tip to Judicious Asininity for pointing me to this story.

Monday, October 27, 2003


(Powell, OH) To provide self protection from hate-motivated assaults, a group of homosexuals has formed a national organization to promote arming gay communities. Founded three years ago by Bostonian Douglas Krick, the Pink Pistols adopted the slogan "Armed gays don't get bashed" and have grown to 38 chapters in 28 states with several thousand members.
Jonathan Rauch of the Independent Gay Forum coined the term "Pink Pistols" in a column he wrote in 2000 for Salon magazine, urging the gay community to arm and organize gun-training programs for self-protection. "Homosexuals have been too vulnerable for too long. . . . Playing the victim card has won us sympathy, but at the cost of respect. So let's make gay-bashing dangerous," he wrote.

Krick says he deliberately chose Rauch's designation for the group to deflate the limp-wristed stereotype associated with gays and the color.
The Central Ohio Pink Pistols (e-mail: meet at the Powder Room Gun Shop in Powell, a few miles north of Columbus.

However, not everyone in the homosexual community is supportive of the Pink Pistols. Robin Richmond, president of the Cleveland chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, has stated that the risk of gay-bashing doesn't justify an armed response and:
"There are people who are concerned about being ostracized or getting grief [for being gay], but their concern about violence is not at a level where it would make sense to start carrying a gun," he added.

Clarence Patton of the NCAVP said that "as an antiviolence organization, we would never endorse people actually picking up arms under the notion of defense.' "

He believed a more probable outcome of arming gays would be an increase in accidental injury or death from firearms.
Since the Pink Pistols advocate gun ownership and strongly support efforts to establish a law allowing Ohio residents to carry concealed weapons, a rift has resulted in the homosexual ranks. In fact, they receive more negative response from the homosexual leadership for being pro-gun than from pro-gunners for being homosexual.

It will be interesting to see how the controversy plays out.
CARNIVAL of the CAPITALISTS - 3rd Edition

This week's Carnival of the Capitalists is up at The Noble Pundit. Take a look.

Wait for the food and fat police to weigh in on this story.
Sculpted in the shape of a giant kiss and coated with a love message, the gargantuan chocolate took more than 1,000 hours to make, stood more than two metres high and has already found a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Italy's most famous chocolate-maker, la Perugina, prepared the record-breaking sweet along the lines of the popular "baci perugini" nut-centered chocolates for Perugia's annual Eurochocolate Fair.

The central Italian town has been holding its chocolate fair for the last 10 years. The latest has set out to promote 'true' chocolate, without additives other than cocoa butter.

The theme was chosen to take aim at European Union regulations adopted in August, allowing the merchandising, under the name of chocolate, of products with up to five per cent of vegetable fat such as palm oil.
I am positive the food police would have a fear-of-fat infarction if an Americhocolate Celebration was planned. Many people in my circle of acquaintances would enthusiastically support such an event. Food cops or no food cops.

A gruesome mystery is being investigated in Brownwood, Texas.
Homeowners remodeling their house in southwest Brown County discovered the mummified body of an infant in a sack Thursday afternoon, and authorities learned Friday that two other sacks in the home also contained infants' bodies.

"We have a total of three. Right now we do have three infant babies," Brown County Sheriff's investigator Scott Martin said.

Investigators did not know the infants' identities or how they died, but are considering the case a homicide, Martin and Chief Sheriff's Deputy Mike McCoy said Saturday.

McCoy said, however, "We have some suspects. We have a direction we're going to start in."
The remains appear to be of newborns and sex could not be immediately determined due to the state of mummification. A forensic anthropologist has been called in to perform an evaluation. The Texas Rangers are assisting.

This type of story happens way too often. It gives me the creeps, just in time for Halloween.

Sunday, October 26, 2003


Paul and Lisa Allott felt pressure to sell their house. Here's the story from Reuters.
A British couple have been forced to move house because of the shame caused by the name of their street -- Butt Hole Road.

Paul and Lisa Allott sold their $250,000 bungalow in Conisbrough, northern England after living there for just 15 months, fed up with the constant leg-pulling. Taxis and pizza delivery men would fail to turn up, thinking their order was just a prank, and they grew tired with groups of youths posing for photos by the nearby street sign with their buttocks bared.

"I like a laugh, but it was beyond a joke," Allott told the Sun newspaper.
One has to wonder how the road was named.

Hat tip to PsychoSoph.

In 1967, an elite US Army unit called the Tiger Force patrolled the Central Highlands of South Vietnam and committed atrocities. Based upon extensive research, the Toledo Blade published a series of reports within the past week detailing what happened.

Of note is that this story will become much bigger news shortly. Coverage outside of the US has been extensive and, sooner or later, the high profile US newspapers like the NYTimes and WAPO will have to recognize it.

Kudos to the Toledo Blade for breaking an important story.

This story relates how an Air France pilot joked about blowing up a plane while his luggage set off alarms on the security-screening machine.
"During the course of their inspection, the pilot made several comments which included references to the airplane blowing up, him blowing up and the story ending up on the front page of the New York Times," Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Amy von Walter told the New York Post.

"Our screeners followed standard operating procedure and notified Port Authority police," she added.
Cancellation of the flight caused considerable disruption of travel plans for 270 people, some being rerouted and others having to stay overnight. The article also mentions:
The incident mirrored another on Aug. 8, when Air France co-pilot Philippe Riviere was arrested for allegedly telling TSA screeners he had explosives in his shoes. Riviere was charged with filing a false report and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
My comment is that these two incidents perfectly illustrate the attitude displayed by the entire French government and people. Terrorism is a joke to them. Measures taken to combat terrorism are jokes. The French feel morally superior and justified in being cavalier and blase toward terrorism. I might as well throw in anti-semitism which they also think is a joke. They don't even recognize that it exists.

And, they are wrong. Again.

My first impression is that this idea needs some rethinking or, at least, a cost-benefit analysis.
Beginning with bulk or commercial mail, the Postal Service will require "enhanced sender identification" for all discount-rate mailings, according to the notice published in the Oct. 21 Federal Register. The purpose of identifying senders is to provide a more efficient tracking system, but more importantly, to "facilitate investigations into the origin of suspicious mail."
This action by the US Post Office addresses only commercial and bulk mail but it is intended that, in the near future, all mail will require traceability back to the sender via uniquely identified stamps.

It might not be achievable. One thing that comes to mind is mail that originates in other countries which wouldn't have unique stamps. Also, how would traceability be possible when a large amount of stamps are distributed by machine?

After being raided by federal agents for having illegals working for them, Wal-Mart has announced that it would review the legality of the rest of their million-plus workers and fire those that are illegal. Of note is that the workers arrested during the raid came from 18 different countries and included 20 Brazilians, 22 Mongolians, 35 Czechs, and 90 Mexicans.

Besides the raid, Wal-Mart may have been prompted to action by news that an anonymous law enforcement leaker stated they gathered recordings from wiretaps that indicate Wal-Mart executives knew the company's subcontractors used illegal workers. Also,
Though contract cleaning crews were the focus of the sweep, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams said yesterday that about 10 Wal-Mart associates in Arizona and Kentucky were among those arrested.

"These are people who used to be part of the outside cleaning crew, and when we took that in-house, these folks were simply hired on as employees," Miss Williams said. "They got caught up in the immigration sweep."

Wal-Mart began moving toward using its own workers to clean floors at its stores about a year ago.
A comment is merited concerning the breakdown of the illegals arrested. It's fairly easy to understand that Mexicans and Brazilians would be represented since they could just walk North to the porous US Southern imaginary curtain border. What isn't easy to grasp is the presence of Czechs and Mongolians, both having to cross an ocean to get to the US. Having Czechs and Mongolians illegally in the US provides a strong hint that major international smuggling is involved. It's not very comforting to know that people from the middle of Asia can easily sneak into the US.

It's also not comforting to know that the Senate Judiciary Committee is rewarding these illegals by having them only pay in-state tuition rates when attending college. College will probably come after they get their driver's llicense with absolutely no proof of who they are or where they came from.

What a damn mess!

Saturday, October 25, 2003


Following the examples of several cities and the state of California, Norway will impose a nationwide smoking ban next summer. Smoking will be illegal in all restaurants, bars, and cafes. This action will be the first time an entire country outlaws smoking. And it appears that The Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, and Sweden will be doing the same in the near future.
The aim of the Norwegian ban is not only to protect staff that work in these establishments from the harmful effects of passive smoking, but also to "de-normalise" smoking as a social pastime.
What is most interesting about these European countries attempting to "de-normalise" tobacco smoking is that they are the same countries that have or are trying to "normalize" marijuana smoking and other recreational drug use. They also are trying to normalize euthanasia, homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and anti-Americanism.

Somewhat related is this story where Norway is now tracking individual alcohol consumption by community. So, it appears that big brother is well prepared to identify those people in the country that may need government intervention for improper alcohol consumption. Coupled with the recent policy of publishing every citizen's tax records on the Internet, Norway doesn't consider privacy to be an individual right.

In summary, Norway's liberal government enacts laws mandating social behavior and collects and publishes personal data on its citizens. Liberalism continues its insidious march toward socialism.

I just returned from a quick trip to Wal-Mart and learned that the government raid of stores nationwide did not result in any arrests locally. It was explained to me that the cleaning crew is almost exclusively Hispanic and arrives at midnight and that's what occurred two nights ago. However, within ten minutes of their arrival, one of the crew received a phone call. He and the others left the store immediately after hanging up the phone. It seems one doesn't need an MBA to know about networking. Eh, amigo?

On the same day that Federal Agents swarmed on dozens of Wal-Mart stores to arrest hundreds of illegal aliens for deportation, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill which would allow thousands of illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition rates at colleges and universities.

To emphasize:

It doesn't take a rocket professor to see that the message being sent to the illegal aliens, foreign nationals enroute to the US, and the US public is:
If I'm misreading this curious coincidence of events, readers are encouraged to help me with my interpretation.

Also, throwing in a driver's license and free health care really sweetens the invitation for foreign nationals to continue to challenge the essentially nonexistent porous borders of the US, despite the few arrests. The signal being sent to other countries is a no-brainer.

Friday, October 24, 2003


Dr. John Sullivan, a professor at San Francisco University, has put together a piece providing guidance to Human Resources professionals concerning how to retain company employees in light of an anticipated job switching in an exploding economy. It's got to be a welcome indicator when the Human Resources community is focusing on retention of employees.
Most firms have by now long forgotten any of the lessons they learned about retention during the 1990s. Many managers have grown arrogant because the last few years of high unemployment guaranteed that most employees would have to take whatever they dished out. Over 75% of firms have no separate retention department, and most HR retention systems are either rusty or have been dismantled altogether.

The time to act is now - before the job market opens up - because employees see acts of kindness (retention efforts) as more sincere when managers are not being forced to act by the raging job market. Begin today to identify the individuals who are likely to be at risk of leaving and develop action plans to keep them challenged and growing.
See the rest here.

(Westchester County, NY) I just about spilled my coffee with this story. Entergy Nuclear Northeast, owner of the Indian Point Nuclear Station, has been warning low-income, minority communities in Westchester County and NYC that they may build power plants in their neighborhoods if the nuclear facility is forced to close. About a year ago, legislators voted overwhelmingly for shutdown of the plants.
In Westchester, the company is collecting signatures on petitions containing the warnings in the Yonkers, Mount Vernon and Greenburgh neighborhoods represented by the three blacks and one Latino who serve on the county legislature, but it is bypassing the 13 districts represented by white legislators.

The petition drive, orchestrated by Entergy Nuclear Northeast, warns that the low-income neighborhoods where there already is "an over-representation of facilities that produce air pollution ... will be disproportionately affected by the efforts of regional environmental groups seeking to close Indian Point." [Underline by ed.]

A memo attached to the petitions that Entergy sent to the four legislators on Monday is more direct: "In recent years, nearly all proposals for new power plants in New York State have been in or adjacent to areas with high concentration(s) of people of African descent and Latinos," the memo says.
Legislators have expressed shock and considerable displeasure, as have the environmentalists.
Kyle Rabin, the Indian Point analyst for Riverkeeper, an environmental group that has called for the plants to close, criticized the Entergy campaign as "a dirty, underhanded public-relations tactic." [Underline by ed.]
There's a reasonable likelihood that the substance of the Entergy campaign will come about if they are forced to close the Indian Point facility. As such, they're not telling any big, fat lies to the public. I'm not so sure that the environmentalists could pass a similar big, fat lie test. Historically, scare tactics based on disputed science have been their primary method of influencing the public.

My personal take is that the utilities should be more proactive in their ongoing conflict with the greenies. With the media as their dedicated cheerleaders, the environmentalists have had a free ride for much too long a time.

The University of Florida conducted a study to correlate a person's height to their income and concluded that short people don't make as much money as taller people. The researchers, Tim Judge and Daniel Cable, examined case studies of thousands of people in the United States and Britain before drawing a conclusion. Judge stated:
". . . his data show that taller workers earn $789 more per inch of height per year. Judge argues height makes a difference, even when gender, weight or age are considered."
It's noted that the research did not address or consider individual talent, business smarts and traditional hard work in their evaluation of relative heights and incomes. With that in mind, one has to be somewhat skeptical about the conclusion that short people will make less money. It can probably be assumed that if they threw out the data for professional basketball players, the results of the study would show no significant disparity in income between the tall and the short.

An all-time favorite actor who always wore the black hat, Jack Elam died last Monday at his home in Ashland, OR, of heart failure. He was 82. The San Francisco Chronicle had this story:
With a face once described as belonging on a wanted poster, Mr. Elam portrayed some of the screen's meanest, nastiest characters.

He tried to knife [James] Stewart in the back in "The Man From Laramie," and he bashed Stuart Whitman with a rifle butt in "The Comancheros." But one of his most memorable villainous turns was as the sex-crazed killer in Henry Hathaway's "Rawhide," the 1951 movie that established him as a screen tough guy.

"I was pretty bad in that one," he acknowledged in a 1993 interview with the Modesto Bee. "I shot a baby to make it dance, and I killed everybody in the picture except Tyrone Power and Susan Hayward. That's bad."

[ . . . ]

Elam's portrayals of sinister thugs, gangsters and gunslingers were aided immeasurably by his squinty, wandering left eye. He had lost vision in the eye at age 12 when a fellow Boy Scout jabbed him with a pencil during a scuffle at a troop meeting.

Mr. Elam had no control over his wandering eye. "It does whatever the hell it wants," he said in one interview.

The memorable opening sequence of Italian director Sergio Leone's 1968 western "Once Upon a Time in the West" is dominated by a close-up of Mr. Elam's eye as it stares sideways while a fly buzzes around it.

[ . . . ]

Mr. Elam appeared in about 100 feature films, including "Vera Cruz," "Kiss Me Deadly," "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," "Rio Lobo," "Support Your Local Gunfighter" and "The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County."

He appeared in dozens of TV series, including "Cheyenne," "Bonanza" and "Gunsmoke," on which he had 14 guest roles.
He is survived by his wife, Jenny; three children, Jeri, Scott and Jacqueline; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Rest in Peace.

Since there seems to be a Wal-Mart just about everywhere, people who live just about everywhere probably have a passing interest in this story.
Federal agents raided Wal-Mart's headquarters and 60 of its stores across the country Thursday, arresting more than 300 illegal workers in an immigration crackdown at the world's biggest retailer.

The workers were members of cleaning crews hired by outside contractors, but federal law enforcement officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Wal-Mart had direct knowledge of the immigration violations. They cited recordings of meetings and conversations among Wal-Mart executives, managers and contractors.
When the story broke, all the local broadcast stations sent their reporterettes out to interview customers at stores around Cleveland. I had to weed through the heaps of obvious lefty media bias to conclude that all the people they interviewed said the scandal would not inhibit them from continuing to frequent Wal-Mart. In fact, they all left me with the impression that they plan to continue to be enthusiastic and loyal customers. However, you can bet that the unions will use this latest scandal as fodder in their propaganda to get the employees to unionize.

And, if the unions ever get a foothold in the store, those same people will display less enthusiasm and less loyalty. When Wal-Mart has to pay somebody $19.50 an hour to sweep the floor, the price advantage the customers enjoy at present will be history. I've seen it happen time and again. Unions have forced companies into noncompetitive positions and they had to move (usually outside the US) or raise prices considerably. It would be nice if more people realized that every time the unions expand, everybody's cost of living is increased.

There's more from a former Wal-Mart employee at Overtaken by Events.

(Painesville, OH) Previously living out of his Chevy van when he filed for candidacy for the Painesville City Council, Michael Padula has found a home (see previous posts here, here, and here). Mr. Padula has moved into his new girlfriend's house and, although the address is not presently known, one has to assume it's in Painesville Ward 2 since that is the section of the city he claims residency.

Thursday, October 23, 2003


I looked over the entries for this week's New Weblog Showcase and had an easy choice in this post at Irreconcilable Musings:
Defending the Blogosphere Front in the War on Terrorism.
Blogger Wally has put together an informative discussion on recent denial of service attacks by terrorists/terrorist sympathizers.

(Anderson, CA) From the Record Searchlight:
Federal investigators issued an alert across the West Coast Tuesday for a man seen removing bolts from a major transmission line tower, apparent sabotage that one official said "smacks" of an act of domestic terrorism.

Lugging large wrenches, the man on Monday pried off at least 18 bolts - each more than an inch in diameter - before witnesses intervened, said Anderson Police Chief Neil Purcell.

The witnesses chased the suspect onto Interstate 5, where he sped south into Tehama County and disappeared.
The FBI stated that the description of the man is similar to that of another person who was seen removing bolts at another tower near Klamath Falls, Ore., earlier in the day.

There is only one way to deter these radical eco-terrorists and that is the imposition of long, long prison sentences.

Even with concerns about employee privacy, many employers are resorting to electronic monitoring of their workforce. One reason is that:
Two-thirds of human resources professionals say they've discovered porn on company computers. In an online poll, more than 40 percent said they've found X-rated stuff more than once. conducted the poll.

(Lebanon, KY) Matthew Cooper of Elizabethtown pleaded guilty to 50 counts of child pornography related to carrying images across state lines, and 50 counts related to possession of obscene images. Warren County Common Pleas Judge Neal Bronson sentenced Cooper to three years in prison.
Cooper was arrested in May after he contacted an Akron-area woman through a chat room on the Internet and encouraged her to bring her children to his Monroe hotel room for sex. The woman, whose children were under 12, instead contacted police, who arrested him using a photo profile maintained by the chat room.
Here's an example where the justice system fails. Three years in prison will not rehabilitate (this writer does not believe pedophilia is curable) nor adequately punish this pervert. Once released from prison, he'll continue his criminal fetish and there will be future victims. You can count on it.

(Springfield, OH) Almost two months ago, over Labor Day weekend, two pigs escaped from the Fair at New Boston in George Rogers Clark Park. One fugitive pig was caught, but the other remains at large, having outsmarted the Ohio Highway Patrol, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the humane society. The searchers are evaluating various plans for capturing the other pig. It's been rumored that state administrators in Columbus are putting an ad in the Yellow Pages under "Escort Services," believing it to be the best way to get a pig.

(Update 10/24/03) There might be something unique in the genetic makeup of farm animals in Southwestern Ohio that is worthy of scientific study. Not only do pigs have the escape-at-all-cost gene but this story from Cincinnati (dated Feb. 2002) indicates that cows may also possess it.
Since escaping from a local slaughterhouse by jumping a 6-foot fence at Ken Meyer Meats in Camp Washington Feb. 15, the 1,200-pound cow has become daily fodder for radio talk shows, TV newscasts and office chatter.

Dubbed Moosama Bin Laden by one DJ, the cow has evaded police and officials from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals while crossing Central Parkway and entering Mount Storm Park in Clifton, where it was last spotted by one TV station's helicopter "Cow Cam."

"The problem is, this is a free-range cow that isn't going to come to any human," said SPCA general manager Harold Dates. "And when you weigh 1,200 pounds, you can pretty much go anywhere you want to go."
Ultimately, the cow was caught and, due to the publicity, famed artist Peter Max donated artwork valued at $180,000 so the cow "could live out her life in the cow world's equivalent of Palm Beach."

Hat tip to Overtaken by Events.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003


Jeff at Repatriate posted an entry reflecting on his experience reviewing resumes and put together some practical advice for those people looking to get an interview. Here's an example of one complaint.
This is another one of my pet peeves. So I'm reading a resume' - "hmm, looks good so far, experience mhmm, college grad, mhmm, unexplained six-year gap in work history from 1997 to NOW." Don't make me have to guess which state prison or mental institution you were just released from to make the puzzle complete. Don't worry, we have a BIG shredder.
Anyone who has had to wade through stacks of resumes knows what a tedious and frustrating task it can be. Jeff has a colorful way of explaining some of the problems he sees. Read the rest here.

The 2nd Edition of the Carnival of the Capitalists is up at Jay Solo's Verbosity. As a minimum, it should be skimmed through. I tried but kept getting interested in reading the entries.

For the Detroit Free Press, Desiree Cooper writes this column which defines and provides some reasoning behind the word "phat." She grew up in a black community and was culturally influenced to appreciate ampleness in body size. She states:
My grandmother would always greet her grandchildren, big and small, with the same observation: "Baby, you're so fat!" Grandma, who stood on tree-trunk legs with arms akimbo on her ample hips, meant it as a compliment: Fat as in rosy and healthy, strapping and strong. . . .

[ . . . ]

There's a lot about slang and hip-hop culture that mystifies me, but when I first heard a young person exclaim, "Man, that's phat!" there was no need for a translation. I knew it was a compliment about something that was buttery rich, deliciously opulent and lip-smacking cool.
So, phat means fat and it means it in a complimentary manner. Desiree also includes in her column an analysis of the conflict between the cultural bias for fat by the black community and the desire for thinness by the fashion industry. Her conclusion is that there has to be some sort of healthy middle ground. I agree.

Other points brought up by Desiree are worth mention. She writes "that black women seem to have fewer esteem problems associated with their weight," which is something, frankly, I've never even thought about. And, she states that "researchers are hard-pressed to find an anorexic black teenager," and, again, something that has never crossed my mind.

The column is thought provoking. Consider for a moment. Would a truly culturally integrated society have equal percentages of black and white anorexics? Or is it desirable to have all women suffer from esteem problems because of their weight?

After a period of inattention, Eric Berlin has spiffed up his place for this week's Carnival of the Vanities. Stop by and tell him how nice it looks.

(Austin, TX) The Texas 3rd District Court of Appeals has ruled that it is perfectly legal to display the middle finger as an offensive gesture of contempt. The court reversed a lower court ruling where Robert Lee Coggin was convicted
. . . under an obscure state law that says "a person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly makes an offensive gesture or display in a public place, and the gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace."
Coggin was convicted and fined for 'flipping the bird' at John Pastrano to express displeasure with Pastrano's driving skills.

Coggin appealed based upon his right to free speech but the court ruling stated that there was insufficient evidence to prove that his action would "incite an immediate breach of the peace."

Tuesday, October 21, 2003


(Niagara Falls, Ontario) Kirk Jones took the plunge over Niagara Falls yesterday. He survived, was arrested and now faces a $10,000 fine for the stunt. Jones will remain in custody until a bail hearing.

Fifteen others have gone over the falls since 1901 resulting in five fatalities.

(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) This story concerns a Pennsylvania jail guard named Eileen Mayfield who was charged with violating the state's institutional sexual-assault law for bribing male inmates with candy and cigarettes in exchange for sex. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned a lower court ruling that dismissed charges and ordered that she stand trial.

This case seems somewhat odd in that men in jail usually do not need to be cajoled, much less bribed, into spending time with a woman. In fact, one could assume that they would display frothing-at-the-mouth eagerness to be with a woman while incarcerated. But somehow it was necessary for Eileen Mayfield to bribe them for sex.

The article didn't have a picture of her but she's got to be one award-winning, industrial strength skanky hosebag.

(Traverse City, Michigan) Judge Thomas Gilbert gets paid $138,000 per year to make rulings in the Michigan court system and has sentenced at least 50 people for controlled substance violations in the past two years. But not now.

The Michigan Supreme Court has suspended Judge Gilbert for repeatedly smoking marijuana. The suspension is for six months and he intends to return to the bench at that time. Gilbert has apologized and said he did it because of alcoholism.

Jeez! Does this mean that alcohol is a gateway drug for marijuana? And how in the hell does an alcoholic dope-smoker become a judge?

(Canandaigua, New York) It's been suggested that smoking marijuana has a dramatic negative impact on reasoning ability and this story would support that contention. A woman was called for jury duty and had to submit to an obligatory security search prior to entering the courthouse.
Breanne Pogue is facing charges after authorities say they found pot in her bag at the Ontario County Courthouse in western New York. Deputies searched the bag when they saw something suspicious on an X-ray scan.
Obviously, she was excused from jury duty.

Since she was dumb enough to try to enter the courthouse with illegal drugs, one has to wonder if she was also dumb enough to think that it would be a good way to get out of jury duty.

Monday, October 20, 2003


(Lorain, OH) Similar to events held in other cities, about 70 men, followed by a handful of women and children, demonstrated yesterday in support of legalizing concealed weapons in Ohio. They wore sidearms or shoulder holsters as they walked through neighborhoods.

This story appears on the Cleveland Plain Dealer website under the heading "Men walk for right to hide their weapons" [emphasis mine] which, IMHO, puts a negative spin on what the marchers desire. Some may say it's a matter of semantics, but I disagree. To have an item concealed does not necessarily mean that it's hidden.

For example, vanity panels are placed on desks to conceal the lower part of the bodies of men and women while they sit. The legs are concealed from view, but everyone knows the legs are there. Therefore, I maintain there is a subtle bias in stating,
". . . to hide their weapons"
as opposed to,
". . . to carry concealed weapons."
Terrorists 'hide their weapons.' Detectives 'carry concealed weapons.' Like I said, a subtle difference. Call me picky.

I stopped in at Madfish Willie's for some foamy refreshment and, as usual, the guys were talking about the gals and vice versa. It doesn't seem that a clear winner in the battle of the sexes will be determined soon, but there was a lot of interest regarding a recent research study which appears to indicate that the guys may have a tactical advantage over the gals.

Females may disagree.
SHAKIRA JOHNSON, b. 1992 - d. 2003

(Cleveland, OH) Based upon DNA analysis, the Cuyahoga County Coroner Elizabeth Balraj has determined that the remains found last week are from the missing 11-year-old Shakira Johnson.

Let's pray that the evil son-of-a-bitch who killed her is caught and made to suffer.

Sunday, October 19, 2003


At no time throughout my life have I thought for a moment that nursery rhymes needed to be revised and I really wonder what type of people dwell on such things. Well, whoever they are, they are the reason for this story and here's an example of their stupid obsession fine work.

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn't know what to do.

She gave them some broth, Without any bread, Whipped them all soundly, and sent them to bed.

There was a young man from the social work team.

He asked all the children what they had seen. He quizzed the old woman, Then took her away, And found all the children new places to stay.
It's nice to know that, after a couple hundred years of nursery rhyming, mankind has mutated matured sufficiently to have jello-brained do-gooders intellectuals screw up a good thing provide needed revision.

Hat tip to Tongue Tied.

For this week, my head nods toward I Am The Penguin at Vox Popoli.

My son has repeatedly been told by me that, probably more than any other factor, his success in life will be determined by his ability to read, write, and speak the English language. Apparently some Korean folks feel the same, however, they are willing to take action that I more than likely wouldn't. Like tongue surgery.

This story describes the practice.
Driven by a desire to give their kids an edge in an increasingly competitive society, a surprising number of South Koreans have turned to the knife in a seemingly drastic bid to help their offspring perfect their English.

"Those who have a short frenulum (a strap of tissue linking the tongue to the floor of the mouth) can face problems pronouncing some characters due to a disturbance in lateral movements of the tongue," said Bae Jung-ho, an oral surgeon at Seoul's Yonsei Severance Hospital . . .

Bae said it takes about five minutes to complete the operation, called a frenotomy, which slices 1 to 1.5 cm (about half an inch) off the frenulum to make the tongue more flexible.
It seems the procedure is intended to allow Koreans to speak English without an accent.

This is somewhat puzzling. If a person can speak English correctly and be easily understood, I fail to see why having an accent is negative. The entire English speaking world is saturated with different accents. Hell, right here in the US, travel from Boston to Houston and you'll hear accents so different they'll sometimes border on being a different language.

It must be a Korean cultural trait.

Via Outside the Beltway.

Many folks are unaware that, as of November 24th, a new federal law goes into effect which allows for a person to keep the same cell phone number when the service provider is changed. At present, people must stay with one provider to keep a particular number and, even in cases where the customer is sorely dissatisfied with their service, they are reluctant to change to a different company. Changing the cell phone number causes such great inconvenience and disruption to personal and business relationships that keeping the same poor service provider is a less painful alternative.

With the change in the law, however, people will be able to dump their poor provider and keep their number with a new provider. Unfortunately, the public is largely uninformed about the coming change and service providers are making the most of the lack of knowledge.
Wireless carriers are hoping that they can take advantage of that absence of awareness to make an 11th-hour hard sell. "They are trying to sign people up for multiyear contracts," said Patrick J. Comack, a telecommunications industry analyst with Guzman & Company, an investment banking firm. "They've significantly upped the incentives, and it's going to get crazy going forward."

By signing customers to longer contracts now, the companies will be able to keep more of them after portability takes effect � or at least force customers to pay termination fees if they do jump services before their contracts expire.
It is recommended that consumers avoid signing any new or extending any existing service contracts until the new law becomes effective on November 24th.

Thanks to James at Outside the Beltway for pointing me to the story.

Saturday, October 18, 2003


(Toledo, OH) Henry Hardin, director of the Sherrill Harden Funeral Home, was convicted in Lucas County Common Pleas Court of eight counts of abuse of corpse and one count of theft. The corpses were found in the funeral home in various states of decomposition and dated back to 1996, except for one which is mummified and remains unidentified.

Yesterday, while family members of the deceased dabbed tears from their eyes, Judge James Jensen sentenced Hardin to 60 days in jail.

Is it only me that thinks the punishment is somewhat too lenient?

In several previous posts, I've discussed at some length the occurrence of human trafficking and sex slavery in Europe and Asia (see SEX SLAVES IN CZECH REPUBLIC, BALKAN CHILDREN SMUGGLING, SEX TOURISM LAW, and BALKAN SEX TRADE). Logically, it would be of interest to me when a United Nations expert in the field of human trafficking appeared recently as the guest speaker at a City Club of Cleveland luncheon.

Sister Clare Nolan's speech was sponsored by the International Partners in Mission, a small, faith-based foundation, headed by Executive Director Joe Cistone. The audience of about 150 was mostly female and, according to Mr. Cistone:
"Guys don't want to hear about this. It makes men uncomfortable. The way men view women is part and parcel of the problem."
I'm sure many men would disagree with that statement, however, it perfectly illustrates the general tenor of Sister Nolan's speech and the attitude of the essentially female audience.

After describing the nature and extent of human trafficking and sex slavery world-wide, Sister Nolan and the attendees pointed their fingers at and discussed the cause of the problem. Men. Men are the cause of human trafficking and the gathering focused on their collective hatred for men.

Whether those present arrived with a seething hatred of men or not is immaterial because they left with it. Sister Nolan gave everyone ample reason to hate men. And, seemingly off the subject, she included:
Simply challenging a bachelor party, and its sex "entertainment," can be an important step . . .
Agreed, the elimination of bachelor parties would be an important and necessary step in the hate campaign to emasculate men. I'm sure castration, female hormone injections, and the banning of all male-dominated sports would also help them achieve their goals.

This writer sees no credence in the correlation she makes between human trafficking and bachelor parties. This writer also doesn't believe that it made a difference what subject Sister Nolan presumably chose to speak on. Any subject chosen would probably be overshadowed by the anti-male theme.

This story could not have been predicted by me. Jimmy Walker, famous as JJ saying "Dyn-o-Mite" on the popular television sitcom Good Times, is now writing opinion pieces for the Jewish World Review. In a recent column, he weighs in on Rush Limbaugh's departure from ESPN and subsequent entry into a drug rehabilitation program.
There were no "racial overtones" in what Rush said on-air. He was just reporting the facts - as troubling as they may be.

[ . . . ]

Like the odor of a dead skunk, Affirmative Action has floated its way into the NFL. The Left has a double standard. When someone on the Left says something about race, they're standing up for "the people."

But if someone on the Right dares to opine about race, he's a racist.

Of course Rush's comments had nothing to do with race and everything to do with the NFL's obscene policy. And what happened to the Right of Free Speech? Rush isn't entitled to it? But of course, the libs are. They've called Rush everything from a racist, an idiot, an imbecile, and vile. And don't forget the book titled, "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot." Imagine if someone wrote a book titled, "Al Roker is a Big Fat Idiot."

Rush Limbaugh surprised his radio audience on Friday by announcing he was checking himself into a drug rehab facility. Rush has to be taken to task for a certain amount of hypocrisy because if he were Howard Stern or Al Franken, he would've been all over them. That, however, is but a single demerit in an otherwise stellar career.

I've got one thing to say: Long Live El Rush-Bo!
For a black entertainer to express a conservative point of view is rare. For a black entertainer to support and applaud Rush Limbaugh is astonishing.

This story out of the UK caught my eye because it's novel and it shows how creative people can be when they feel their health is being compromised. A woman, Trizka Litton, was so dissatisfied with the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain that she invented a fake blood and used it to convince emergency workers that she needed immediate care. She called the 999 emergency number and said she had vomited blood and was admitted on that basis to the Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry. She underwent surgery to correct a serious hiatus hernia which doctors afterward told her was life-threatening. The woman had waited for three years for the operation since originally diagnosed.

Considerable dissatisfaction has been voiced regarding the long waiting times associated with Britain's socialized medical system and a recent study indicates that the NHS waiting policy actually contributes to a higher death rate of surgical patients when compared to the United States.

It should outrage the citizens that trickery is a necessary element of timely health care in Britain. History has proven that the adoption of socialism as public policy is usually a bad decision. Sounds good but it don't work.

Hat tip to the Cracker Barrel Philosopher.

Friday, October 17, 2003


Yesterday, at the University of Akron, television host Jerry Springer told students that he was open to the possibility of running for the Ohio governor's office in 2006. Over 300 students listened to Springer talk on becoming more politically active. There's more story here.

(Columbus, OH) A woman, Linda Conley, 38, has been indicted for child pornography because she took several picture of her naked, 10-year-old niece and sent them to her imprisoned husband for his sexual gratification. Her bond has been set at $50,000 and it would be nice if a judge throws the book at her.

(Los Angeles, CA) A recent issue of Men's Health Magazine displayed a picture which has created some controversy. In the September 2003 issue, the magazine promoted an article with a picture of a poodle in a microwave oven. Cham Wike, a television personality and animal protectionist known as "The Pet Pimp, Superhero of America's Pets," expressed offense and disappointment in a press release. His website states:
In addition to being morally objectionable, the photo in Men's Health is an insult to those humans who dedicate their lives to the safety of pets.
No comment on the demand for apology is readily available from the magazine.

It should be noted that the article displayed a disclaimer of the "don't do this at home" variety. No information was provided, however, on proper cooking times for various breeds. Readers are directed to consult the "Oriental Cooking" section of their public library.

Using various data sources, Men's Health Magazine calculated the relative healthiness of 101 United States cities. Many variables in health, fitness, and quality of life for men were used to determine city rank in 26 categories. Look at the Overall City Ranking Scorecard to see how your hometown rates.

Madison, WI, came in 1st as the best place for men to live. Memphis, TN, came in last. My neighborhood here in Cleveland ranked 76th which isn't too bad since Cincinnati (80th), Pittsburgh (82nd), and Baltimore (84th) are considered shitty in comparison. Football fans will understand how important that is.

The magazine also rated the top cities in the US for women based on beauty and population density. The top city was Honolulu not Madison (sorry ladies) and the others are listed here.

(Cleveland, Ohio) Eleven-year-old Shakira Johnson was last seen at a neighborhood party on September 13th. Since then there has been an intense region-wide search with no results . . . until Wednesday. A small, decomposed body was found in a weedy field about two miles from where Shakira disappeared.
"It's not a positive identification," Coroner Elizabeth Balraj said. "But as of now, everything points to her being Shakira."
The family and the community are fearfully awaiting the coroner's determination.

Upon noticing the increasing median age of its members, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has initiated a program to recruit new and younger people to its ranks. The program consists of eight performances called a "college freedom tour" to campuses from Miami to Seattle throughout this fall season. Attendees must endure a couple hours of lectures before being entertained by hip-hop artists, comedians, and slam poets. At a recent recruiting program at Harvard University's Sanders Theatre, the students listened to a lecture by smut king Larry Flynt and were entertained by the hip-hop group Dead Prez.

If I remember correctly, I think Harvard was one of several schools that banned the US Armed Forces from recruiting on campus. Apparently no similar restrictions apply to the ACLU.

Also, once people age a few years and are no longer burdened by adolescent idealism, they become less liberal. It would seem that having an increasing median age in their membership would be good news for the ACLU.

I have decided to include in this blog a recurring feature whereby I document the going advertised prices for selected consumer goods and services on a regular schedule. There are a couple of reasons.

First, the regular visitors to my site are all over the US and across oceans and, just out of curiosity, I think they would be interested in knowing what the price of gas or milk or beefsteak is in my corner of the world. As a big seafood lover, I'm forever wondering how much cheaper it would be for me to live next to the ocean.

Secondly, I'm interested in keeping a running tabulation of prices for comparison of the local cost of living from one time period to the next.

The following item prices were gleaned from the 10/12 through 10/18 local Giant Eagle advertisement.
Milk (gallon) - $1.78
Sugar (5 lbs.) - $1.38
Pepsi (12 12 oz. cans) - $2.68
Red Seedless Grapes (pound) - $0.89
Fresh Asparagus (pound) - $2.99
Budweiser Beer (24 12 oz. bottles) - $16.99
Martini & Rossi Asti Spumanti (750 ml) - $12.99
Ribeye Beefsteak (pound) - $7.99
Top Neck Clams (dozen) - $4.92
Swordfish (pound) - $8.99
The best recent price for gasoline is $1.65 9/10 per gallon.

We'll see how well this idea holds up over time.

A lawsuit against IBM Corp. has been filed in United States District Court in San Jose, CA, on behalf of 135 ex-IBM employees who claim they were discriminated against because of age. The law firm of McTeague, Higbee, Case, Cohen, Whitney & Toker in Topsham, Maine, represents the plaintiffs. Research data indicate that a much higher proportion of workers 45 years-old and older were laid off than younger workers in recent years. The suit claims this violates laws banning age bias.

The court is being asked to require that IBM reinstate the laid-off employees as well as payment of back pay, lost benefits and lost future wages.

IBM has not commented yet.

Two years ago the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the importation of Chinese herbal products containing aristolochic acid since they were found to cause rapid kidney failure and cancer of the urinary tract. The product had been used as a diet supplement and, although banned in the US, is still readily available on the Internet. According to University of California, Berkeley, researcher Lois Swirsky Gold, FDA Regulations on the Internet sale of herbal products is needed.
"Aristolochia and aristolochic acid are known human and rat carcinogens," Gold said in an interview. "What is also disturbing is that the recommended dose for at least one product on the Internet is the same as the dose that gave cancer to rats. These products should not be available."
Gold notified the FDA earlier this year when she found over 100 herbal products for sale on the Internet that are known or are suspected to contain aristolochic acid. Since substitution frequently occurs in Chinese medicine, buyers can't be certain what a product contains.

In her letter to the FDA, which was co-authored by Thomas H. Slone, it was stated that:
. . . herbal medications containing Aristolochia species were banned in Germany 20 years ago, and they currently also are banned in Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. In Australia, products known to contain aristolochic acid were canceled, "and all manufacturers are required to ensure that herbs which are likely to be used interchangeably with Aristolochia are free from AA (aristolochic acid)," she wrote.
Some names of the products (including the names of the retailers) known to contain the carcinogen are as follows:
Cold Away - Sunrise Herb Farm
Cramp Relief - Sunrise Herbal Remedies
Formula 208 - Web Vitamins
Mother Earth's Cough Syrup - InterNatural
PMS-Ease - InnerLife Wellness Center
Wild Ginger Tincture - Crucible Catalog
Aller Relief - Spanda
Note that this listing is only a small number of the products that contain the aristolochic acid. For a complete listing, go here. Documentation of the Gold and Slone findings appears in the current issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (subscription required).

My only comment on this subject is that I've known many folks that swear by the herbal supplements to their diets. They many times are the trail mix, back-to-nature crowd who are trusting of all things natural. Based upon the foregoing, that attitude may need to be reassessed.

Thursday, October 16, 2003


(Jakarta, Indonesia) At the 8th Indonesian Language Congress, noted legal expert Harkristuti Harkrisnowo suggested that long sentences and foreign terms be avoided in legal documents to make legal language easy to understand for ordinary people. Harkristuti Harkrisnowo, from the University of Indonesia, also stated that legal language can only be understood by lawyers and it has been separated from the Indonesian language.

Long sentences, foreign terms. I agree, but I don't think it's exclusively an Indonesian attribute. Legalese in any language is difficult to understand and I don't think it will change. I do have to mention that if Harkristuti Harkrisnowo's name appears more than once in a legal document, it could be part of the problem.

As a public service, I'll pass along this information concerning the unofficial deer crash season, the months of October, November, and December. According to the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition (MDCC), the largest percentage of crashes occur between the hours of 3am and 6am. Of note is the following statement:
If you do find a deer in your headlights, the MDCC reports that it's safer for you to hit the deer than to swerve away from it.
Well, they're the experts. Obviously, the MDCC is not concerned about the deer's safety.

No segment of the media has failed to report on the current American crisis of obesity. With almost malevolent emphasis, newscasters snidely tell us that we're too fat, citing facts or pseudo-facts from this institute or that institute. Salivating predatory Dedicated trial lawyers have pounced initiated actions in support of obese people. Just recently, lawsuits against McDonalds were filed on behalf of some obese New York City kids on the basis that McDonalds sells food to kids, the kids get fat, therefore, McDonalds is responsible.

But wait! According to Marion Nestle, head of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University, the problem of obesity has a root cause.
"We have too much food in this country," said Nestle. Thanks partly to this, "food is cheap" -- close to the cheapest in the world relative to average income, she said.
There you have it, folks. A senior member of the nation's Food Police has officially linked large amounts of cheap food to obesity.

It is only a matter of time before the food cops start initiatives to have less food produced and made available and to have much higher prices. Remember, the food police is a clever group. Their job is to control what every American eats. Hold on to your wallet when they appear.

Hat tip to Bidinotto Blog.

John Ray of Dissecting Leftism and PCWatch received the following email regarding political correctness within academia. It needs to be widely read.

I teach mathematics at Glendale Community College, AZ, in the Maricopa Community College District and recently protested the "Dia de La Raza" event that a Latino group was hosting. Of course, "Dia" is the Hispanic subversion of Columbus day where Hispanics celebrate the idigenous peoples of America. I posted an email district-wide challenging the event, asking the legitimate question of why such a blatantly racist event was permitted. Of course I received all sorts of ridiculous email on being racist, a bigot, "I'm offended", "La Raza isn't really racist." etc. This was last Friday, the 10th. On Monday I posted district-wide a email acknowledging Columbus Day. My email included essays by Lowell Ponte and David Yeagley and a few others. Today, when I attempted to respond to postings like "Maybe we should have a Hitler Day" (This by what seemed to be a White woman. She should realize what's really at stake, but obviously doesn't have a clue.) I found that my posting is now blocked! I can no longer post district-wide but La Raza, Feminists, Gay and lesbian organizations, etc. will still be allowed free rein in posting district-wide. I have been censored for airing politically incorrect views! The situation may change since I intend garnering support for the right to post district-wide. However, you may post this letter to your PC Watch or Dissecting Leftism web site if you want. Maybe it'll help.

Walter K. (
In my opinion, the insidiousness of political correctness cannot be overemphasized. It is a euphemism for "loss of freedom."

Captain Steve of the United States Air Force writes of his experiences in Iraq. The following is an excerpt:
We do engage in our share of grousing. We describe our little oasis here by saying things like, "All the benefits of incarceration without the inconvenience of a trial" and we fuss at the little indignities forced upon us by close quarters. It's a fine tradition among American fighting men and women. It strikes me though, that it stops the moment we step to our jet. When we're working long hours and flying in harm's way - when you'd expect to hear complaints - there are none. Absolutely none.

That makes me wish America could see her sons and daughters as I see them here. We depend on a well-educated professional corps of enlisted people. They carry the draft horse's share of the war, and they do it with a quiet competence that fills me with hope for America's future. If you could see them here your worries about generation X, the effects of MTV and Hollywood, all these would be replaced by a sense of pride and confidence. They are so smart and so good at what they do. If at their age I'd had their work ethic, their understanding of the world, and their willingness to make it better, I'd be a far better man than I am today. I at least have the privilege of witnessing it in them.
It is so easy to become cynical and disillusioned when the major media harps on the sensational and the negative. Capt. Steve's words are an antidote. There's more at Front Line Voices.

Hat tip to Meryl Yourish.

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