Wednesday, December 31, 2003

High School Diversity Training

About 80 high school students in the Kalamazoo area attended a program providing training in diversity and leadership at Mattawan's Adventure Center at Pretty Lake. According to Lori Kurtzman of the Kalamazoo Gazette,
. . . they spent three days and two nights chatting about how to get along in school. They made long lists and beaded necklaces. They sang corny songs by the campfire and cried over their insecurities.
And, Kurtzman reports that results have been achieved.
Some have started pointing out when their classmates are being judgmental. A few students say they've stopped using the word "gay" when they mean "stupid."
It's important to make note when education projects prove to be effective. Of course, it's also important to note that the same results probably would have been achieved by showing the students a dictionary and devoting one class period to a sing-along. It would have been cheaper too.
Carnival of the Vanities Finale 2003

Just like a box of chocolates, the Carnival of the Vanities begs to be sampled. Alex has it posted at Hypocrisy & Hypotheses. Don't wait until next year.
Cincinnati Police and Racial Politics

(Cincinnati, Ohio) Rev. Damon Lynch, III, pastor of the New Prospect Baptist Church and President of the Cincinnati Black United Front, has spearheaded black activism in Cincinnati in recent years, primarily protesting the activities of the police department. Complaints of racial profiling, brutality, and lack of discipline have resulted in Rev. Lynch filing lawsuits and calling for economic boycotts.

Last month, Nathaniel Jones, a 41-year-old morbidly obese man high on alcohol and PCP, died after a confrontation with police and Rev. Lynch called for the city to fire Police Chief Thomas Streicher.

This past week, Rev. Lynch was given a new reason to complain about the police. His son, Damon Lynch, IV, 19, was indicted on felony charges of theft and possession of criminal tools. It seems that he and two of his friends were arrested for breaking into parked cars along Madison Road in Hyde Park.

Apparently, Rev. Lynch has spent so much time worrying about discipline within the Cincinnati Police Department that he's been somewhat neglectful with regard to discipline in his offspring.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Santos Reyes was convicted of perjury for trying to take the written portion of a driver's license test for his illiterate cousin. It was his third felony conviction and the court sentenced him to 26 years to life in prison in accordance with the California three-strikes law. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction.

Santos Reyes commits perjury trying to do a good deed and gets 26 years to life. President Clinton commits perjury to avoid responsibility for his actions and gets to walk away. It just don't seem right.
Schools Censor Internet Access

(Cleveland, Ohio) Under the federal Children's Internet Protection Act, the Cleveland school system receives federal funds to provide Internet access to schools with the stipulation that they shield students from "objectionable material."

Since what is objectionable material to one person is oysters on the half shell to another, it's understandable that the authorities are instituting a contentious program of censorship that lacks uniformity. According to Peter Robertson, the district's chief of informational research,
"This is not a perfect science, . . . It's a juggling act."
Local schools use a variety of commercial filtering programs which officials admit are at best arbitrary. Myra Stone, library and media specialist at James Ford Rhodes High School, believes that the current censorship policies allow people to impose their own moral code.

Any censorship is subjective and, therefore, common agreement within the Cleveland school system is unlikely. Expect an ongoing controversy.
Ohio Attorney General Sues Craftmatic Beds

(Columbus, Ohio) For violation of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act, the manufacturer and distributor of Craftmatic adjustable beds is being sued by the Attorney General. The companies are accused of using high-pressure sales tactics and illegal price comparisons in selling beds to elderly and incapacitated customers.

It appears that the Craftmatic sales force may be guilty of doing some arm twisting of people who are already flat on their backs.
Bestofme Symphony

Jim Peacock of Snooze Button Dreams has the 4th Edition of the Bestofme Symphony posted here. I'd like to encourage my readers to take a look since one cannot help finding a few gems. For example, this week Helen Adelaide of Everyday Stranger has a personal anecdote which discusses airport security, providing both the serious and silly sides. Good stuff!

Monday, December 29, 2003

Tobacco Traffickers Arrested

(Mason, Ohio) Three men in a 2002 Chevrolet van were pulled over by Ohio State Troopers for a marked lane violation, a minor traffic infraction.
Troopers then found inside the van large quantities of untaxed tobacco - nearly 166,000 cigars, 108 packets of chewing tobacco and 552 packages of cigarette tobacco.
So these guys started with a minor traffic violation that progressed to them being charged with a major felony for trafficking contraband. They are in jail awaiting someone to pay $50,000 each to bail them out.

There is nothing really unique about this incident since similar occurrences happen regularly. Seldom does a week go by that cops don't pull over a car for a minor violation like speeding or a broken taillight only to find a half ton of marijuana or 50 kilos of cocaine or something similar.

What is worthy of note is that within the massive American prison population is a definable subset of convicts that got arrested just because they were just too dumb to obey the motor vehicle laws.
Piranha Population Increasing

(Sao Paulo, Brazil) The building of dams on rivers in southeastern Brazil has been an ongoing project to reduce periodic flooding in downstream population centers. An unanticipated result of the slower moving waterways has been a growth in piranha breeding areas and, consequently, an increase in the population of the flesh-eating fish.

According to Professor Ivan Sazima, a zoologist at the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Sao Paulo, Brazil, damming of the rivers may cause a ten-fold jump in numbers of piranha. Logically, the numbers of piranha attacks on humans has risen noticeably in the past several years.
"Single bites are caused mainly by the people walking and wading in the waters nearby a piranha nest," says Professor Sazima.

The fish usually bite their victims once, ripping a chunk out of the person and leaving a round, crater-shaped wound with accompanying loss of tissue and bleeding.
More information on the piranha problem appears in the scientific journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine.
Carnival of the Capitalists

Sean Hackbarth has this week's Carnival of the Capitalists posted at The American Mind. Take a look.
Crowbar Robber Strikes Again

(Columbus, Ohio) Responsible for possibly seven crimes so far, the crowbar robber is terrorizing customers at ATM machines throughout Columbus. Yesterday, he hit an ATM on East Livingston Avenue. On Christmas Eve, a woman was attacked in her car while at an ATM on East Broad Street. Anyone with information is asked to call Columbus Police. Authorities have not commented on the rumor that gun control advocates are now pursuing formation of a separate crowbar control advocacy group.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

License Refund If Dog Dies

Here's a story from the Detroit Free Press which is an interesting example of responsive government. In Troy, Michigan, Mayor Matt Pryor requested a change to the city's dog licensing policy. If you dog dies before the expiration of his dog license, a partial refund will be given to the dog owner.
Christmas Gift Cards

Unlike years ago, a current popular Christmas gift choice is the gift card. According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated eight percent of total holiday retail sales in 2003 will be from gift cards, representing $17 billion. Since the cards can be redeemed at almost any time, they have a noticeable effect on (and represent a future growing trend) after Christmas sales.

Typically, most stores will offer large discounts on their merchandise after Christmas which attracts many shoppers. Added to that traffic now is the volume of customers with gift cards. And, the gift cards don't normally count as sales until they are redeemed. As a result, the week after Christmas sales volume is anticipated to be more than 10 percent of the total holiday sales.

What is generally unknown about gift cards is that they lose value over time. Most companies charge fees on their gift cards. For example, if a cardholder doesn't redeem their Barnes & Noble or Starbucks gift within a year, they're charged a monthly fee. Gift cardholders are advised to cash in before they realize a loss in value.
Environmental Protest in Russia

Alexei Kokin of the Russian Dilettante's Weblog reports on a recent protest by radical Greenies in Moscow.
A few days ago (I think it was Dec. 19), a radical environmentalist group called "Keepers of the Rainbow" picketed the building that houses Putin's Administration (it's actually an official body separate, say, from the cabinet), protesting the new Forest Code. The picket was technically illegal, since the protesters had not received permission from the Moscow city government. My guess is that there were more reporters there than eco guys, but a few minutes after the show started, the protest was brutally suppressed by the Federal Guard Service, responsible for the security of government officials. Brutally indeed: hitting journalists in the face falls under that category. Cameras and recorders were snatched (one lady was reporting live on the radio when they tore the microphone out of her hands), reporters and protesters detained. Apparently, the media people were freed soon enough; the eight detained environmentalists are facing fines for holding an unauthorized gathering.
Personally, I have no sympathy for the radical environmental groups since their goals are usually not in anyone's best interest and they have the nasty habit of regularly breaking the law. They should be treated harshly with fines and jail terms when they do break laws. Given that, however, I don't think they should be brutalized.

With regard to physically assaulting the media while they're doing their job, it should not occur. The media is quite capable of giving themselves black eyes in their normal reporting. They don't need the police to assault them.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

New Weblogs

Everyone should find the time to read this (extended) week's Showcase. Worth mentioning are:
First Amendment... What's THAT? from Right to the Point, and

Banning Smokers from Self-Composed.
Take a look.

I don't know what happened, but this site lunched itself earlier today and I'm slowly trying to put it back together. It may have been something I did while trying to make changes to my template. Whatever it was, it'll take a little time to get things back to normal.
Homeless American Protests Chopstick Use in Japan

This story delineates a biographical sketch of Vincent Dodson and it is odd. He is an American in Japan that is either the unluckiest or the most nonconformist person alive. Somehow he went from presumably being a cute toddler to being a troubled teenager who couldn't get along with his family. From there he went to the Far East to fail at marriage, teaching, and business and, now, he's a homeless man wandering around Japan dedicated to ridding the world of wooden chopsticks.

Frankly, I don't know what basis was employed by The Japan Times whereby they decided this was a news story because it really isn't. It's more of a thumbnail character study of a guy who has apparently taken the wrong fork on every road he's traveled. On a positive note, it can be said that Vincent Dodson is at the forefront of the anti-wooden chopstick movement. In fact, he may be the father of the cause.

Friday, December 26, 2003

ChiComs to Allow Foreign-run Schools

(Shanghai, China) According to this story, the Chinese communists have revised their policy of banning Westerners from educating their children. Last September, Chinese kindergartners and high school students began attending the nation's first Western-run school, although the ban continues for grade-school and middle-school students.
"We are the beginning of competitive private education in China," said Fritz Libby, a Walnut Creek native whose Global Education Information Consulting Co. helped negotiate and finance the school, known as Shanghai Dulwich International School.
Of course, Chinese authorities have placed certain restrictions on the curriculum. The subjects of Taiwan, the Falun Gong, and sensitive political issues will not be allowed.

Since there are about 230 million students enrolled in kindergarten through ninth grade, this first step in allowing Western educators in the country is viewed as opening a potentially huge education market.

My take is that it appears that the problems of American education have to be dwarfed by the massive number of Chinese that need to be educated. If you add in the high school and university students to the 230 million kindergarten through high schoolers, the total number of students exceeds the entire population of the United States.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Kucinich Eligible for Matching Campaign Funds

According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Congressman Dennis Kucinich has qualified for up to $18.6 million in federal matching funds. The action provides additional support for the contention that the FEC is one of the most effective government agencies charged with pissing away taxpayer dollars.
ATV Deaths

Another ATV tragedy.
(Dorset Township, Ohio) Two teenagers were killed when the ATV they were riding in either flipped over or was hit by a train or car.

Noah Addair, 14, and Caleb Weldy, 13, of Dorset Township, were found yesterday morning near the damaged all-terrain vehicle, said Rich Mongell, chief investigator for the Ashtabula County coroner's office.
It's obvious that the general public is not being informed well enough about the dangers of ATVs. I'd suggest the media pay as much attention to the problems of ATVs as they do with SUVs.
Malvo Gets Life in Prison

A Virginia jury decided that serial teen-sniper Lee Boyd Malvo did not meet the threshold number of murders required for the death sentence and decided on life in prison as his punishment. However, given the chances of parole, escape, judicial fiat, and political gamesmanship affecting any "life" sentence, Lee Boyd Malvo may have the opportunity to actually exceed the threshold level of murders necessary for a future jury to determine that he represents a danger to society as long as he is breathing.
2003 Dishonest Reporting "Award"

As one of the world's largest media watch groups, HonestReporting monitors anti-Israel bias and documents misleading definitions, imbalanced reporting, opinions disguised as news, lack of context, selective omission, and drawing false conclusions. Their analysis produced the following list of media giants who exhibit the most egregious bias in reporting during 2003.

- As a worldwide news agency, Reuters reports on every contentious international issue. Readers of Reuters reporting of world events probably expect absolute objectivity. They're not getting it. At least in 2003, Reuters has performed as a cheerleader for the anti-Israel crowd. One example is the outrageous and nonsensical assertion that Israeli forces have killed Palestinian suicide bombers.

DISHONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order)

Associated Press
The Christian Science Monitor
The Guardian
The Independent
Los Angeles Times
San Diego Union-Tribune
The Washington Post
Backing the determination of bias, cites many convincing examples which should be adequate for the more skeptical readers. Follow the link.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

A Young Man

From Joao of Valete Fratres! comes this inspiring post.
A young man whose father is a carpenter grows up working in his father's shop. He has no formal education. He owns no property of any kind. One day he puts down his tools and walks out of his father's shop. He starts preaching on street corners and in the nearby countryside. Walking from place to place preaching all the while even though he is in no way an ordained minister he never gets farther than an area perhaps 100 miles wide at the most. He does this for three years. Then he is arrested, tried and convicted. There is no court of appeal so he is executed at age 33 along with two common thieves. Those in charge of his execution roll dice to see who gets his clothing -- the only possessions he has. His family cannot afford a burial place so he is interred in a borrowed tomb. End of story? No, this uneducated, propertyless young man who preached on street corners for only three years who left no written word has for 2000 years had a greater effect on the entire world than all the rulers, kings and emperors, all the conquerors, the generals and admirals, all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who ever lived -- all put together. How do we explain that? ...Unless he really was what he said he was.
Merry Christmas!

Hat tip: Dissecting Leftism
San Diego Bombing

According to this story, a family in San Diego blew up their house to get rid of cockroaches.
They set off 19 roach bombs, sparking a chain reaction which ripped apart the 700 square foot house. The explosion was so strong it sent one of the walls into a neighboring home.
First of all, these folks were exceedingly dumb or, wait a minute, let's check to see if there's a warning label that says "Don't use 19 bombs in a 700 square foot house." If not, call a lawyer.

In any event, they must have had a lot of roaches.

Merry Christmas!
The Ten Best and Worst Books in 2003

USAToday asked Deirdre Donahue, Bob Minzesheimer and Carol Memmott to evaluate the year's best and worst in the book publishing field. I've read none of those listed, but probably will. I've had my eye on Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer for a few weeks. I just haven't picked it up yet.

One book listed as a worst of 2003 is Living History by Hillary Clinton. It's described as over-hyped (no surprise there) and a flat read. I won't be reading it.

Hat tip: Pstupidonymous
Dog Owner Almost Euthanized

(Via Dissecting Leftism) It's probably a good idea that the Canadians abolished capital punishment. Based upon the following story, it seems that there's a fair likelihood they would execute the wrong person by mistake.
A dog owner was almost euthanized yesterday when a veterinarian plunged a needle into the frail leg of the man's 15-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, Muffin, and accidentally pricked his [the pet owner's] hand.
J.P. Trottier of the Ottawa Paramedic Service, said he had seen and heard a lot of things in his 21-year career, but a pet owner almost being euthanized was a first.

William Livingstone, 68, is stable but "a little drowsy" and expected to recover from the unsuccessful accidental euthanization.

Dr. Berney Pukay, a veterinarian at the Altavista and Bayview Animal Hospital in Ottawa, performed the procedure. There's a rumor that he has acquired the nickname "Shaky."
Carnival of the Vanities - Christmas Edition

Focusing on the spirit of Christmas, Joe Katzman presents about fifty submittals in this week's Christmas Carnival of the Vanities at Winds of Change. Take a look.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

On Christmas two hundred twenty-six years ago, Captain James Cook guided H.M.S. Resolution to anchor at a coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean just north of the equator. He claimed the island as a discovery of the British Empire and named it Christmas Island after the date, Christmas Day 1777. The island was a tropical paradise. Weeks later, Cook would discover more tropical islands and these he would name the Sandwich Islands after a prominent benefactor, the Earl of Sandwich. They would later become known as the Hawaiian Islands.

At the same time Captain James Cook was enjoying tropical trade winds, General George Washington, along with 11,000 soldiers of the Continental Army, were fending off harsh winter winds in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The British had captured Philadelphia and defeated the Americans at the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. Washington's army was bedraggled, beaten, and some were barefoot. They were underfed, underclothed, and low on ammunition. Christmas 1777 was a time of desperation at Valley Forge. And, within weeks, fully half of the Continental Army was lost due to death, disease, and desertion.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2003

The 3rd edition of the Bestofme Symphony is posted at Snooze Button Dreams. Go look. There's an interesting entry posted providing some evidence that the feminist movement is dying.
Pennsylvania Ponders Prohibiting Spanking

Last year the Pennsylvania State Board of Education proposed to rewrite the School Code to allow high school principals or other administrators to limit what student newspapers can publish. Seen as an infringement on free speech, public outrage prompted the board to drop the proposal. Edith Isacke, school board member and a leader in the effort to curb student newspapers, expressed surprise, stating,
"We had no idea that people thought we were infringing on students' freedom of expression . . ."
Losing the battle to prohibit free speech did not break the apparent meddlesome stride of Edith Isacke since, soon afterward, she decided to solve another problem that didn't exist. Upon reading a magazine article which stated that Pennsylvania was one of 20 plus states that allow spanking in schools, she decided to get the law changed to ban corporal punishment. On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania House Education Committee was presented with Isacke's proposed changes and is expected to vote on January 7th. No specific problem is being addressed by the changes.

I wonder what magazine Edith Isacke will read next.
The Carnival of the Capitalists is posted at the Bejus Pundit. Next week's host will be Sean Hackbarth at the American Mind.
Five Israelis Denied Conscientious Objector Status

From comes this story of five Israeli high school students being convicted in court for failing to follow an order to report for duty in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Their refusal to serve was justified by claiming conscientious objector status since they were against being in "an army of occupation." In their ruling, the Jaffa Military Tribunal stated their objection to military service had to do with opposition to political policies and not personal conscience. Therefore, they broke Israeli law and can be sentenced to as much as three years in prison.

The five rejected the court's opinion and made some political statements. Why, I don't know nor understand. The case seems pretty clear to me. The laws of Israel dictate that the five are to serve for a certain time in the defense of their country. They broke the law, were convicted, and will probably go to prison.

I came upon this story via Amy Phillips of the Fifty Minute Hour and she discusses that somehow the free speech rights of the five were in jeopardy. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but I don't see the issue of free speech as a factor in their convictions at all. In fact, they said what they wanted without consequences. They were convicted because they refused to serve and justified their refusal on political grounds as opposed to "classic conscientious objection."

I had some experience with this issue during my time in the military and saw several people allowed CO status, but it was through very convincing personal moral and religious convictions and had nothing to do with the circumstances of what the military was asking them to do. To digress momentarily, when Cassius Clay, about the time he was changing his name to Muhammad Ali, was drafted, he refused to go, citing conscientious objector status. He claimed that he had become a devoutly religious Muslim and believed in peace and pacifism. In denying his case, the court stated that they didn't believe someone to be a pacifist who would routinely go into a boxing ring and beat the hell out of an opponent. Their logic was that if he could prizefight, he could serve and fight for his country.

In the case of the 5 Israelis, their objection was to the military and political policies of the government and, therefore, doesn't meet the definition of "classic CO."

Theoretically, given the Israelis' justification, no opposition party adherents should ever be asked to support their country if they disagree with the President. I don't think that would be workable.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

So Buddha walks into a pizza parlor and says,
"Make me one with everything."
Uh, don't blame me. I got it from Ingrid.
Yahoo! and Pornography

In their efforts to take advantage of the lucrative Internet pornography market while being inoffensive to advertisers, Yahoo! has made some management decisions that provide the company with some profit from pornography and, at the same time, go unnoticed by those groups that protest.

A couple years ago, Yahoo! was besieged with complaints from the American Family Association and other conservative groups about adult products and quickly reversed its policy. They removed ads from its US portal for pornography-related products and services and changed its Yahoo! Groups message board services by making it more difficult to find adult-oriented materials. This they did by deleting the Adult Groups Directory. These actions reduced the level of protest but Yahoo! was still in the pornography business via its international portals, in particular, the one in Germany.

Since 2001, Yahoo! has reentered the business of adult products and services through the acquisition of Overture Services in which they also acquired AltaVista and These two search engines provide a pathway for Yahoo! to sell to hard-core websites. By avoiding the US Yahoo! portal, their reemergence in the pornography business is generally unnoticed. Additionally, the adult ads appear on smaller websites not normally identified with Yahoo! and are also exported to websites outside the Yahoo! family. These include the search engines, Infospace, Dogpile, and Metacrawler.

Yahoo! is not the only Internet company doing everything they can to stay in the pornography business. Google and eBay also have special adult-oriented categories.

There is considerable money to be made in pornography and Yahoo!, along with other Internet companies, are trying to take advantage any way possible.
Christiania - Copenhagen's Drug Commune

This story seems to indicate that a modicum of conservatism does still survive in Denmark. It concerns Christiania, an 840-acre hippie commune in central Copenhagen.
Ever since local hippies, performance artists and homeless people seized a complex of old military barracks and refused to co-operate with the state 32 years ago, conservative politicians have sought to close Christiania down. Now, for the first time in Denmark's recent political history, an alliance of the commune's harshest political opponents has a majority in parliament. A law will be passed within months in effect ending the commune's de facto autonomy. Eviction notices will be issued shortly afterwards.
The eviction and general opposition to the commune is seen as a backlash to massive drug trading involving organized crime gangs. The commune has become a distribution point for drugs throughout Europe.

My take is that Denmark has minimum standards for law and order and, since Christiania doesn't observe the laws, it's way past time to act. It's also comforting to know that some conservatism has survived in largely socialist Europe.
Jackson Party at Neverland Draws 600 Supporters

Destined for the SMOKE-AND-FIRE-ARE-NOT-RELATED file is this story.
About 600 people have attended a lavish party in support of singer Michael Jackson at his Neverland Ranch.

[ ... ]

Friends, family, stars and sports celebrities turned out for the gathering, given the title "You are not alone", after one of Jackson's songs.

The guests included the tennis star Serena Williams, the former rapper M C Hammer and comedian Eddie Griffin.

Some of the guests hid their faces as they entered the estate, while others shouted out their support for the singer.
I don't believe for a second that the 600 attendees are of the opinion that Michael Jackson is innocent. My take is that the people at the party don't care if he's guilty or innocent. In the locale where the LAPD was found more guilty than O.J. Simpson, there is no guarantee on the outcome of the Jackson case and the partygoers are just hedging their bets.
Semen Taste-Enhancement Dietary Supplement

It's being reported by Scientific American that Lois Kay Myers and Brent Richard Myers of Apache Junction, Ariz., have been issued US Patent Number 6,485,773 for a dietary supplement formulation that enhances the taste of semen. The Patent Office Abstract states the following:
The present invention is directed towards a powdered dietary supplement formulation consisting essentially of a combination of freeze-dried fruits, vegetables and spices, wherein the formulation is prepared as a drink, tablet or capsule. The tablet may also be in chewable form.
About 75 percent of the ingredients listed in the text of the patent are freeze-dried powders of pineapple, banana, broccoli, celery, and strawberry or cherry. The patent also states that the product was formulated after a year of research and development, and no negative effects were experienced by thousands of customers during market testing.

Hat tip: Etoile's Journal

Saturday, December 20, 2003

The Legacy of Saddam Hussein

Found over at Le Sabot Post-Moderne is a detailed listing of some of the documented crimes of Saddam Hussein. It's informative reading, but should be avoided by the sensitively-natured. Go here for some genuine unpleasantness.

My take is that the apologists of Saddam should have to defend each item on the list as rational human behavior.
Politics of the Abortionists

The Center for Reproductive Rights is an abortion advocacy group which has been unlucky enough to have one of their internal political policy memos leaked and, subsequently, placed into the Congressional Record. Disturbingly, the memo sets goals of decriminalizing and normalizing child sex along with removing parental involvement and notification of children getting abortions. Mark Trapp of We Win, They Lose details the specifics here.

My take is that groups advocating "reproductive rights" are nothing more than lobbying and marketing arms of the highly lucrative abortion industry. Their primary goal is to assure that as many pregnancies as possible are terminated by abortion. The leaked internal memo appears to support this contention.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Friday, December 19, 2003

New PETA Terrorism Aimed at Kids

From the Boston Herald:
Animal rights advocates will single out small children at performances of "The Nutcracker" in the next few weeks by handing out fliers saying "Your Mommy Kills Animals" to youngsters whose mothers are wearing fur.
PETA plans on infesting "Nutcracker" performances in 20 other cities across the US with their traumatize the children campaign.

My take on this is simple. It's child abuse. Individuals involved should be arrested and prosecuted.
Gaddafi to Dismantle WMD Program

In an unexpected, but quite logical, announcement, Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi admitted to having a weapons of mass destruction program and stated it would be dismantled. Does anyone doubt that the images of Saddam and his rathole probably influenced Gaddafi's decision?
Fat Crisis in London Sewers

In London, England, authorities are warning everyone not to dispose of turkey, goose, beef, and ham fat leftover from holiday feasts down household drains. Thames Water [utility] has to clear about 50,000 sewer blockages per year caused by accumulation of fat.
The Path From Blog to Book Deal

Aspiring and veteran writers, take note. Blogger answers some questions on how to transition from being a mere blog owner to a published and paid book author. Go to How To Get A Book Deal With Your Blog by Biz Stone.
New Coffee Flavored Products

I'd like to try some of the New Zealand coffee flavored cereal, but, after reading the ingredients, I think it might be a one-time deal. There must be a trend, though, someone has found that the Italians have a coffee flavored toothpaste on the market.

Update your shopping lists.
France Today

Roger L. Simon recently returned from a visit to France and had a chance to jot down in his blog some impressions regarding the political and cultural climate. Boy, he paints a gloomy present and future for the country. The economy is nose-diving while there's a violent and unchallenged upswing in anti-semitism. French electoral politics is also being strongly and negatively influenced by a burgeoning, yet segregated, Muslim population. Take a look at his entry.

Possibly more engaging is the comment thread generated by the post. Numbering well over 100, the comments must be representative of everyone who has lived in or visited France in the past thirty years. It's very interesting.

Hat tip: Instapundit
My selections for this week's New Weblog Showcase are:
The Politics of the Lord of the Rings at My Word, and

Bush, Saddam, and Howard Dean at DAN K. O'LEARY DOT COM BLOG.
Good Luck!

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a euphemistic name for a radical animal rights front group. Their goals include the elimination of all meat, poultry, dairy products, and eggs from the menus of American schools, restaurants, and, now, airports. Their primary tactic is to present themselves as a legitimate group of professionals that evaluate the menus based upon nutritional needs. This is a lie.

PCRM evaluates the menus of school systems and other food providers first by deciding the amount of meat, poultry, dairy, and egg products they have. This is the primary criteria they use in any assessment. Then they make recommendations and publish results that support their goal of eliminating those products.

The second part of the evaluation process is the determination of healthfulness of the products one is forced to eat when meat, etc. products are eliminated. This results in telling the food provider what they have to do to make sure that the folks eating their nutrient-deficient vegetarian food receive supplements since they've eliminated the normal source of essential nutrients.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a euphemistic name for a radical animal rights front group.

Don't forget it.
Court Upholds Ohio Ban on Late-term Abortions

(Cincinnati, OH) The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the law banning late-term abortions is constitutionally acceptable and the state can enforce it. Protests are expected from the groups who make a profit by aborting fetuses.
I-270 Beltway Shooter Strikes Again

(Columbus, Ohio) According to Franklin County Sheriff Chief Deputy Steve Martin, two shots fired at an unoccupied house have been linked by ballistics to the gun used to kill Gail Knisley on the South I-270 Beltway. Five other shootings have been linked to the same gun.

An alarming development in the case was announced last night by South-Western City Schools Superintendent Kirk Hamilton who said that authorities have found that dents on two school buses were caused by gunshots. As a precaution, Hamilton ordered the closure of all district schools in Grove City, south of Columbus. They will be closed until after the new year.

This terrorist needs to be found quickly. The fear, paranoia, and potential for panic increases every day.

Trackback to the Beltway Traffic Jam at OTB.
Nobody Noticed Dead Man for Two Months

According to police, an elderly man sat and died in front of a downtown Osaka, Japan, department store. And there he sat, for two months, as shoppers passed by daily. A taxi driver finally called the authorities.

My take is astonishment. How a decomposing body could go unnoticed for two months is incomprehensible. The only thing I can figure is that the body must have been partially hidden or camouflaged in some manner such that the guy was mistaken as being just another neglected, dead-looking husband waiting for his wife to finish shopping.

This probably wouldn't happen in the US. I'm fairly certain that homeless, street-dwelling people are nudged awake every few days by Kucinich for President campaign workers. Even they would recognize the futility of trying to get the vote of a decomposing corpse despite the fact that it matches perfectly with the demographic profile of the typical Kucinich supporter.
Chinese Sentenced for Sex Orgy with Japanese

Over a three-day period ending Sept.18, about 400 Japanese men and as many as 500 Chinese women had a sex orgy at the Zhuhai International Conference Center Hotel. The sex party occurred on the anniversary of a 1931 Japanese attack in northeast China that many Chinese regard as the start of Japan's wartime invasion and occupation.

Talk about bad timing!

As a result, the Chinese were outraged and the organizers and employees of the hotel were charged with prostitution, soliciting, conspiracy and other offenses in Zhuhai Intermediate Court. More than a dozen individuals were tried, convicted and given sentences of two years to life in prison. Arrest warrants for three Japanese organizers have been issued.

Prostitution is illegal but normally not prosecuted in China.

My take on this story is that there's an element of real sadness involved. The Chinese are rightly very angry with Japan for not only not atoning for the brutality it inflicted on China during the 1930s and 1940s, but not even acknowledging that it occurred. A persistent undercurrent of distrust and hatred of everything Japanese is prevalent throughout China. Yet, the people who are being hurt the most are Chinese citizens who, in all likelihood, were just doing their everyday jobs working at the hotel.
Drunk While Taking Driving Test

High on the list of really stupid acts is showing up drunk for your driver's license exam. It's not a crime, but driving drunk for an hour to get to the examination location is. He finished his driver's exam and then was given a breathalyzer.
"The light went red as soon as he blew," said officer Ivar Hellene.
Being convicted of drunk driving will negate his exam result even if the man managed to pass it while intoxicated.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Ontario Marijuana Growers Overwhelm Police

According to a report released by the Criminal Intelligence Service Ontario, titled Green Tide: Indoor Marijuana Cultivation and its Impact on Ontario, it's estimated that the province's growers may have produced up to $12.5 billion worth of plants since 2000. Much of it is taken to the US by organized crime rings and traded for guns or hard drugs like cocaine.

So much for decriminalizing pot.
Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan Indicted

Last month, former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was honored at the State Capitol for his four years as governor. His official portrait was unveiled in a ceremony attended by both Democrats and Republicans.

Today Mr. Ryan was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of racketeering, mail and tax fraud, and other corruption that allegedly occurred while he was in office. Ryan's indictment is part of an ongoing criminal investigation called Operation Safe Road which has charged 66 and convicted 59 for corruption.
Wednesday's indictment alleges Mr. Ryan took illegal cash payments and gifts, vacations and personal services, and that his family received cash, loans and gifts worth about $167,000. The charges also allege Mr. Ryan funneled more than $300,000 in payments to Donald Udstuen, an associate and co-defendant in the Operation Safe Road investigation.

[ ... ]

"These transactions were allegedly concealed and disguised to prevent public exposure and possible criminal prosecution," according to the U.S. Attorney's office. The indictment also alleges Mr. Ryan "repeatedly lied to federal agents about facts material to the investigation."
As I recall, Gov. Ryan stopped all executions of death row inmates when he was in office. Hopefully, that action built up some goodwill for him among the prison population. It looks like he'll need it. His former top aide, Scott Fawell, in June was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for racketeering and fraud.
Governor Pataki Going Left

One would imagine that the following story represents good news for conservatives.
Gov. George Pataki said last week in Albany that he will "absolutely not" include tax increases in the 2004-05 budget, which he is scheduled to propose in January.
It would have been perfect if he had then just shut up. But, noooo! He went on.
The governor also told reporters that he would be open to proposals to raise the state's minimum wage, but says he would prefer that Congress increase the minimum wage nationally so as not to hurt the state's competitive position.
Okay, let's analyze this statement. First, he's trying his damnedest to bend over for the New York limousine lefties by advocating an increase in minimum wage. Second, he recognizes, acknowledges, and is quite ready to put the screws to the business climate in the state (i.e. minimum wage laws cause businesses to relocate). Third, he cowardly wants to hide his leftism by having Congress put the screws to all businesses in the country.

Personally, I think this type of stealth governance indicates that Gov. Pataki lives too close to Chappaqua.

Trackback to the Beltway Traffic Jam at OTB.
Affirmative Action Bake Sales

Affirmative action programs have enjoyed a successful run and should now be eliminated. Over the years, some positive benefits to society have been realized, but now, in their maturity, the programs have become institutionalized bigotry. As such, dissension is growing and will continue to grow. And, as long as it continues to be perceived by the public that affirmative action makes some people more equal than others, more and more citizens will become inflamed and the potential for lawless disorder increases. The scenario is predictable.

With that in mind, consider the fact that student protests of affirmative action are being shut down on college campuses nationwide. A common protest method of having a bake sale with cookie prices determined by the race or gender of the buyer has produced reactions that included physical attacks.

As long as there are affirmative action quotas, guidelines, targets, or -pick your own euphemism-, the episodes of protest will continue and, as they continue, they'll become more violent.

It is my belief that it's time to sunset institutionalized affirmative action programs. If not, future dissent will be predictably more violent. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reliably tracks the controversy and should be consulted by those having interest in the subject. Sooner or later, everybody will be interested. The issue is not going away.

It is also my belief that, with this post, I've used "sunset" as a verb for the very first time.

[Update] Hat tip to SCSUScholars.
This week's Carnival of the Vanities, the 65th Edition, has a tour guide provided at Drumwaster's Rants. Keep hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times and watch your heads. Next week's host will be Winds of Change.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

The Bonfire of the Vanities is posted at Wizbang.
Gore Crony Bashes Bush Plan

A) The Bush administration is proposing new standards for regulating mercury emissions from power plants.

B) The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty said the new rules would be an "economic blow and a public health disaster."

C) Kathleen McGinty was Vice-President Al Gore's environmental advisor.

D) Kathleen McGinty oversaw development of the law that Bush wants revised.

Based upon the above, it appears that Kathleen McGinty should refrain from commenting. It's obviously a personal and partisan political issue to her and her comments reflect hubris and dedication to special environmentalism. The citizens of Pennsylvania are not being well served by Kathleen McGinty on the mercury issue, or any controversial environmental issue.

This may seem to be a harsh assessment, but not when one considers McGinty's resume and history. McGinty should be well known as Al Gore's top environmental advisor and confidante, helping him shape his book, Earth In The Balance, and being only one of two staffers that could call Gore "Al" when he was VP. In 1993, Gore created the White House Office of Environmental Policy and put McGinty in charge. And, she was also assigned to represent the US at the UN in the development of the Kyoto Treaty, which was unanimously rejected by the US Senate when presented for ratification. Anecdotally, the following quote encapsulates McGinty's thinking quite well.
"There would be no higher priority I would have," McGinty said, "than to help or serve Al Gore."
In summary, if a McGinty blood test result came back green in color, no one should be surprised. Nor should there be surprise if McGinty is against any initiative that doesn't directly support environmental extremism or Al Gore. Anything she says should be placed in this context. Also, the citizens of Pennsylvania should take action to put her in a job where her extremist personal views are irrelevant. Completely out of public service would be my recommendation.

[Update] One other thing worth mentioning is that the media should be reporting the context in which McGinty's statements should be viewed, not some guy like me on the Internet.
Two PUCO Employees Lose Their Jobs

(Columbus, Ohio) Two employees of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio have lost their jobs for operating real estate businesses out of their state funded offices. Robert Moazampour, an $82,326-a-year utilities specialist, was fired and Sumonta "Sam" Jarupan, a $74,693-a-year utilities specialist, resigned.

My take on the subject is that it appears that the PUCO does not have enough work to do to keep their people occupied. It appears they're overstaffed. Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles should take a closer look at what the PUCO does. Ohio taxpayers should not be paying salaries to employees that are not working for the taxpayer benefit.

It would also seem appropriate that Moazampour, as a minimum, should be required to return the money he was paid to do the job he obviously wasn't doing. And, it appears that additional investigation of this type of corruption is warranted.
The Men's Movement

From the Bestofme Symphony, I found a site that advocates for an unusual cause, Men's Rights. Trudy W. Schuett oversees The DesertLight Journal which contains "News of the international men's rights movement."

It's worth a look if you're a man. It's also worth a look if you're a woman who doesn't believe that all men are slimy, violent pigs who are solely responsible for evil on the planet earth.

[Update] Trackback to Beltway Traffic Jam at OTB.
Best Line

Special Forces soldiers were seconds from pitching a hand grenade into the underground refuge when the fugitive dictator's hands appeared above ground in surrender.
"My name is Saddam Hussein. I am the president of Iraq and I want to negotiate."
A U.S. Special Forces soldier replied:
"Regards from President Bush."
I'm not sure what the criteria is, but that soldier deserves a medal.

Monday, December 15, 2003


Best of luck to Robert Koehler (The Marmot) and Solongo Galbadrakh who were married this past weekend in Korea. Readers who want send along best wishes, go to the Marmot's Hole.
2003 Weblog Awards final poll results have been posted at Wizbang. Interested-Participant is pleased to have finished in tenth place in the Marauding Marsupials category. Thanks to everyone who voted for me. Thanks are also due Kevin Aylward for his efforts in making the awards a resounding success.
Palestinian Family Planning - Intentionally Birthing Bombs

I'm having a hard time collecting my thoughts because of what I just read. One reader sent John Ray an email expressing outrage at the one-sided coverage by the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The reader's complaints concerned an ABC program which had a profile of a young Palestinian couple. I found the most troubling statement in the email was the following.

This young couple are planning to have eight children and want at least 4 to be suicide bombers.

It is beyond my capabilities to comprehend the level of evil that has infected the minds of these people.

There's more at Dissecting Leftism.
BESTOFME Symphony - Second Edition

The second edition of the BESTOFME Symphony is post at Snooze Button Dreams. Support for the project is growing with 33 entries this week. Readers are encouraged to visit, maybe submit their own work, and generally pass the word.
Kucinich on Campaign Finance Reform

Somehow I missed the recent speech by Congressman Kucinich where he praised the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform law, but stated that it was not a complete answer. He, instead, proposed that all elections receive complete public financing. Although it wasn't included in his speech, he historically pays for everything by taxing the rich so it's a safe bet that complete public financing of elections would be paid for in the same way.

Found via the Bestofme Symphony, Quibbles 'n Bits advocates that Kucinich be googlebombed as the Crap Weasel (see here).

I agree.
James Taranto On Sen. John Kerry

From Best of the Web Today (12/14/03), James Taranto offers his thoughts on what Sen. Kerry had to say on the "Fox News Sunday" program.
Kerry has a rather blinkered view of diplomacy; he seems to equate it to "making nice with your adversaries." Sometimes, of course, that's a wise thing to do, but this isn't one of them. This is a time for recrimination and finger-pointing! The French and others actively worked to obstruct the liberation of Iraq and keep this vicious tyrant in power. We didn't need their help, we did it without them, and rewarding them now would send precisely the wrong message to all the nations of the world. They must pay for their perfidy so that everyone else will know such betrayal has a price. That's diplomacy too.
Taranto's observations are fundamental and it's sad that a man who wants to be President is so completely wrong. It's nonsensical to share the rewards with those who actively obstructed your efforts.

With Kerry's logic, the $25,000,000 reward for the capture of Saddam Hussein should be divided among France, Germany, and Russia, along with the person who actually deserves the reward.
Democrat Candidates React to Saddam's Capture

Here's the reactions of the Democratic Presidential candidates to the capture of Saddam Hussein.
Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts

Kerry said the President's Iraq policy is "arrogant, inept and reckless," and that he would have caught Saddam sooner.
Interpretation: I'm a cry-baby and I'm jealous.
Former Governor Howard Dean, Vermont

Dean said yesterday was "a great day." Also, "We must do everything possible to bring the U.N., NATO and other members of the international community back into this effort."
Interpretation: George Bush needs to follow my advice and make every conceivable mistake so I can be elected.
Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina

Sen. Edwards voted for the war but against funding it and stated, "I hope President Bush will use this opportunity to chart a course in Iraq that will bring our allies in a meaningful way to achieve a democratic and peaceful Iraq."
Interpretation: I'm confused but I think France and Germany should be in charge.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut

Said "praise the Lord."
Interpretation: Praise the Lord!
Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, Missouri

"I supported this effort in Iraq without regard for the political consequences because it was the right thing to do," Mr. Gephardt said during Fox News' all-day coverage of the war. "I still feel that way now and today is a major step toward stabilizing Iraq and building a new democracy."
Interpretation: It's great!

No comment is readily available from Congressman Kucinich, Rev. Sharpton, or former Sen. Moseley-Braun since the major media are no longer providing continuous coverage of their campaigns.
World Leaders React to Saddam's Capture

Here's the reactions of several world leaders to the capture of Saddam Hussein.
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark

The New Zealand Government does not support the death penalty in any circumstances, nor does New Zealand legislation, and I won't make an exception, even for someone as gross as Saddam Hussein.
Interpretation: New Zealand is Leftist and I am Leftist and nothing that happens in the world is going to change that.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

Saddam Hussein caused horrible suffering to his people and the region. I hope the capture will help the international community's effort to rebuild and stabilise Iraq.
Interpretation: Award contracts to Germany now.
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov

We think the arrest of Saddam Hussein will contribute to the strengthening of security in Iraq and to the process of political regulation in the country with the active participation of the United Nations.
Interpretation: We want the UN to be in control so that we can get contracts to rebuild Iraq now.
Former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix

He ought to know quite a lot and be able to tell the story and we all want to get to the bottom of the barrel.
Interpretation: He ought to know something.
Syrian Information Minister Ahmad al-Hassan

Syria's position on Iraq is not based on the fate of individuals. We want an Iraq that preserves its territorial integrity, its unity and its sovereignty.
Interpretation: We don't care just as long as the US doesn't send their tanks to Syria.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda

I believe it is too optimistic to think that activities by the remnants of the Hussein regime and foreign terrorists, who have launched terrorist attacks in Iraq and elsewhere, would stop just because of his arrest.
Interpretation: Big deal. Nothing's changed.

Once the verbiage is boiled down to the essentials, it becomes much easier to understand their messages.
Microsoft to Retire Windows 98

Effective mid-January 2004, Microsoft Corporation will retire the Windows 98 operating system and will discontinue posting security fixes.
The problem with Windows 98 stems from Microsoft's product lifecycle. As of January 16, 2004, Microsoft will shift Windows 98 into what it dubs the 'non-supported phase,' which means that although online help for the operating system will continue, the company is not obligated to release security 'hotfixes' for uncovered vulnerabilities.
This action by Microsoft will create a significant vulnerability in Window 95 and 98 machines if a mischievous individual develops a worm or virus after the date of retirement.

A recent survey of 670 companies conducted by AssetMetrix Research Labs found that 27 percent of the businesses had at least one machine with an older operating system. These machines need to be disconnected from the Internet to avoid being infected after January.
Ecstasy Shipment Seized in Montreal

(Montreal, Quebec) The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canada Customs agents seized 260 kilograms of powdered ecstasy -- enough to produce 2.6 million individual doses. The largest seizure of ecstasy in Canadian history was found hidden in a container on a vessel from Belgium. The drug was bound for Vancouver.
Carnival of the Capitalists #11

The Carnival of the Capitalists #11 is posted at Samablog and I counted about thirty entries. It's interesting reading with a real nice presentation.

Next week's host is scheduled to be Ain't Done It, but it might be a good idea to check later in the week to make sure there haven't been any changes.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Mystery Virus Hits Toronto Hospital

The medical community in Toronto seems to be quite unlucky this year. In addition to the SARS problems from a few months ago, they now have an outbreak of a mystery virus that has infected about thirty members of Toronto Western Hospital. Patients needing emergency surgery have to be turned away.

Officials suspect that the Norwalk virus is the cause. Fortunately, it is rarely life-threatening.
New Weblog Showcase

My Showcase votes this week go to:
The Iraq war will be a success at Anti anti, and

"Pro my people"? at We Win, They Lose.
I enjoyed reading them.
Free Saddam Movement?

N.Z. Bear asks the question whether the anti-war crowd will now protest for his reinstatement as the legal ruler of Iraq who was removed by an illegal war? Excellent question! Will the Indymedia/NPR/ folks start carrying "Free Saddam" signs?

I bet some will.
Saddam Hussein Captured

Captured in Tikrit. Iraqis elated. Coalition forces elated. Media is reporting that this is going to cause additional guerrilla activity. Radio reports that DNA test confirms it's him.
George Lakoff's Gulf War Avoidance Plan

George Lakoff is a professor of linguistics and cognitive science at the University of California - Berkeley and, as such, it should surprise no one that he is an extreme Leftist in his political views. What is somewhat surprising is that, after three decades or so in academia, he can be so absolutely wrong in some of his assertions.

One baseless premise he espouses is that conservatives are tyrannical fathers and liberals are nurturing mothers in their approach to child-rearing. John Ray effectively disputes Lakoff on the subject in his paper, Lakoff "Deconstructed," pointing out statements that have no foundation in reality. One is even outrageously comical, the contention that a conservative man "tells his wife what to do." I challenge him, as did John Ray, to try it sometime.

My take on Lakoff's writings remind me of experiences I had with Moonies (followers of Sun Myung Moon) back in the 1970s. Invariably, I'd be asked something like, "Well, how do you know you are whole?" I'd answer, "Because when I decide to go somewhere, all my parts come along." I thought they spoke gibberish. The Moonies were believers, so they understood it. Lakoff's writings have a lot of gibberish in my opinion and, in most cases, it seems he takes relatively simple concepts and complicates them with lots and lots of words.

In the period leading up to the start of the first Gulf War, Desert Storm, in January 1991, Lakoff was very actively voicing his opinions and, apparently, no one was listening. In frustration, he decided to write An open letter to the Internet from George Lakoff in which he explains his ideas on the geopolitical situation in the Middle East. After many, many words justifying his thought processes, he concludes with his plan for solving the problems caused by Saddam invading and occupying Kuwait. Let's examine his plan. Lakoff states (paraphrasing):
War should be renounced on humanitarian grounds.

Troops should be rotated out of the region and kept at a minimum level to deter invasion of Saudi Arabia.

Institute a system of international inspections to prevent development of Iraq's nuclear program.

Provide a certain amount of "face-saving" for Saddam.

Kuwait monarchy can be sacrificed [Lakoff's exact words] and . . .
I'm going to interject here because the rest of the statement is nonsensical. So far, troops are on the border, Kuwait is in Saddam's control, the monarchy has been sacrificed, and now Lakoff says:
. . . elections are to be held in Kuwait.

Next, pressure is to be placed on the Kuwaitis to invest significantly in development to help poor Arabs. [Since there are probably no Kuwaitis alive at this point in his plan, I have no idea what he's thinking.]

Lastly, initiate efforts to disarm the region. This is to include the US and Russia refusing to give them spare parts.
That's it. George Lakoff's plan in an open letter to the Internet. If we had implemented his plan to prevent war, he apparently thinks that the world would be a better place.

I don't think a rational adult would agree with his plan and, to my knowledge, Lakoff hasn't come out with any statement after his open letter which indicates he thinks differently now. I also was disturbed by the offhand way he would sacrifice the monarchy of Kuwait.

Based upon the absurd war avoidance plan and the fact that his thinking is infected with a measurable number of wrong perceptions, I'm of the opinion that George Lakoff should not be an opinion leader and the attention given to him by the media and academia is unwarranted.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Headline Tour

Luciano Pavarotti, 68, married his personal assistant, Nicoletta Mantovani, 33, in Modena, Italy. Calamari and the other guy attended the wedding.

Killer whale and famous movie star, Keiko, died of pneumonia at the age of 27. Authorities haven't decided whether to bury him on land or at sea.

Mick Jagger was knighted by Prince Charles, standing in for Queen Elizabeth II. Henceforth, he shall be known as "Sir Mick."

San Francisco Mayor-elect Gavin Newsom stated his first priority is to end homelessness. Ha-ha. It's rumored that he's also working on a chemical process to turn lead into gold.

University of Oklahoma quarterback Jason White wins Heisman Trophy after losing Big 12 Conference Championship.

A 78-year-old woman claims she is Senator Strom Thurmond's daughter. The Senator died in June. One question: What took her so long?

Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland (R) says he lied about who paid for his cozy lake cottage. He's a politician. Why is this news?
Pair Convicted For Burning Gay-Pride Flag

(Columbus, Ohio) For burning a gay-pride flag during the Gay Pride Parade in September 2001, Charles Spingola and Thomas Meyer were convicted in Franklin County Environmental Court and fined $100 apiece.

Somehow I can't shake the feeling that they wouldn't have had a problem if they had torched the Stars and Stripes.
Cleveland Recycling Program

Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell, faced with a fiscal crisis, stated that all curbside recycling would be eliminated to save money. Between that announcement and now, she has modified her plan to leave 14 curbside pickup stations in operation. Yesterday, she found a hat with a rabbit in it. SHAZAM! Sometime in January, 21 new recycling pickup stations will be placed into operation.

It seems the better angels of her political nature improved her eyesight. She was able to see a festering Greenie protest recrudescing.

What's interesting about this obvious bait and switch is that the city will pay for the recycling by taking the profits made from the commercial collection section, which picks up garbage from businesses. So, in a nutshell, the city is going to gouge businesses in normal commercial trash fees and use the money to pay for the expensive recycling program that doesn't pay for itself.

So, instead of taxing the public to pay for the money-hungry recycling program, the city has decided to use jacked up commercial garbage fees as their revenue source. So much for being a business-friendly city.

It's just this kind of fiscal sleight-of-hand that encourages businesses to relocate in cities other than Cleveland. It also begs the question as to what other money-losing schemes are being paid for by creative accounting and the profits from hauling trash.
EU Constitution

Found over at Obsidian Wings is this post which discusses the pains that Europe, in general, is enduring in trying to finalize the European Union Constitution and, specifically, the impediments to equal representation being placed on Poland and Spain by Germany and France. In summary, Germany and France do not want there to be equal representation. They consider themselves more equal.

Another salient issue discussed in the post is a major difference that exists between the United States and France. That is, France has their own major media house organ and anything that is printed by Agence France-Presse should be considered a product of the French government. The US doesn't have such an entity. In fact, the content of the NYT, WaPo, and others sometimes looks like it's also been approved for publication by the French government.

[Update 12/13/03, 11:15pm] The EU Summit Conference collapsed after leaders failed to agree on sharing power within an expanded European Union.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Illegal Aliens Protest Not Getting Driver's Licenses

Mexicans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, and other Hispanic foreign nationals organized and protested in the streets of California because Gov. Schwarzenegger rescinded the law which would have allowed them the same rights as United States citizens to obtain driver's licenses.

Spurred by this activism, there's a story that a group of several hundred residents of Boston, Massachusetts, have organized a jammed bus caravan to Toronto to protest not getting free health care the same as Canadian citizens. The validity of this story is still being fact checked. [ref: OTB]
Driving While Smoking

The groups who advocate the legalization of marijuana have argued many times that it is no worse than drinking alcohol. This story indicates that smoking weed is also no better than drinking alcohol either, at least in one regard. That is, when operating a motor vehicle.

Richard W. Tribble II, 20, was arraigned and was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance, causing serious injury. According to the police, Tribble was high on marijuana when he drove through the front window of the home of James Harrison, who was on the couch in his living room. Mr. Harrison received third-and fourth-degree burns.

Tribble faces a possible five years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine for the felony.
Blog Review - Slimy Molluscs (and below)

Similar to my review of the nominees for the TTLB Best Ecosystem Flippery Fish category, this review addresses the Best Ecosystem Slimy Molluscs (and below) category. When I first started looking at the nominees, I found myself jotting down notes to remind myself which was which. It soon dawned on me that a good idea would be to create a blog entry of my notes. The benefits would be a ready reference to remind myself of their content and to provide an easy link to each site. The individual sites would see another link so I didn't think there would be any complaints.

Well, I was wrong. But, I guess it comes with the territory. My intention is to QUICKLY review the sites and put down some impressions. I'm not doing an in-depth critical evaluation. I don't have the luxury of infinite time.

What I look for primarily is readability, basically, how effectively does the site spit information into my brain. The faster, the better. Secondly, I try to generally pigeonhole the site's subject matter (i.e. political, cultural, technological, conversational, whatever) while pretty much ignoring the bells and whistles. Then I move to the next.

Here are the Slimy Molluscs (and below):
AllGuinness - conversational, esoteric, CA blog,

Alphabet City - conservative political commentary, MidEast focus,

Apropos of Something - cultural, conversational, commentary from GA,

Banana Republican - conservative female student, conversational,

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind - conversational, esoteric self-described "fun blog," - Alliance member, commentary from Marshall Univ., - conversational, esoteric, whimsy, CA female,

Just As I Thought - Leftist political commentary,

Lonewacko - Travel-America blog, conservative commentary,

Love in War - conservative political commentary, strong military focus,

Mel's Sanctuary - conversational, esoteric, cutesy,

RRBS Discussion Group - group bulletin board on cultural/political events,

G. Fishbone Homepage - web designer/lawyer, conversational, esoteric,

The Ministry of Minor Perfidy - group blog, conversation/commentary, political/cultural mix,

Walking Stick - conversational, esoteric.
Good luck to all in the 2003 Weblog Awards.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Kucinich's Breakfast Date With Gina Marie Santore

Gina Marie Santore won the contest for a date with Congressman Kucinich. They had breakfast. He talked, she talked, date over. Big deal.

My question would be why isn't the media all over the story that Gina Marie lives with her boyfriend? And why aren't they interviewing this obvious loser? Just think, he's so attractive that Gina's eye travels at the sight of studly Kucinich. If this worm doesn't kick hoochie-mama Gina's carcass out on the street, he has no backbone. We already know he has no brains.

[Update] This post linked to Toast-O-Meter (12/12 Edition) at PoliBlog.
Deal on Concealed-Carry Nearer

(Columbus, Ohio) While discussing other issues, legislators of the Ohio House and Senate moved towards agreement on a bill allowing Ohioans to carry concealed weapons.
Sen. Doug White, a Manchester Republican, declined to discuss details but said there was "a concept agreement" between House and Senate lawmakers.
A significant point of contention is how to address concealed weapons carried in vehicles. One proposal would allow weapons to be holstered while in a vehicle instead of having to place them in a locked glovebox. Captain John Borg, spokesman for the Ohio State Highway Patrol, expressed the position that troopers do not want concealed, loaded guns in cars.

I can understand the concerns of the state troopers, but there should be a way to satisfy them without infringing on the rights of citizens to carry concealed weapons.
Jelly Bracelets on Broadcast News

(Cleveland, Ohio) Exactly one month ago, a story about jelly bracelets, or snap bracelets, was posted on this site which described the phenomenon. The bracelets are alleged to carry sexual meaning and have been banned in schools in several locations.

Today, local broadcast television news from Cleveland (Fox8 News) reported the story of jelly bracelets, many weeks after it's been chewed on and spit out by the blogosphere. It never fails, when broadcast news programs cover a story, it's usually old news. A person can almost accurately mark their calendar. If it's high profile story, broadcasters will be a week late. Anything else, give it a month or more.
Ohio House Passes Bill to Outlaw Same-Sex Marriage

(Columbus, Ohio) The Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill last night to outlaw homosexual marriage by a vote of 69 to 23. The bill will now be sent to the Ohio Senate for debate.

The provisions of the bill would prevent homosexual marriages from being performed in Ohio and specifically state that those entered into in other states will not be legally recognized in Ohio. After passage by the Senate, Gov. Taft has stated he will sign the bill into law.
Amarillo Slim

In the world of gambling, Thomas Austin "Amarillo Slim" Preston is a legend. He's been a promoter, an organizer, and a bookmaker. Willie Nelson lost $300,000 playing dominoes with Slim. Minnesota Fats watched Slim beat him playing pool with a broom. At poker, Slim lightened Larry Flynt's wallet to the tune of $2,000,000. And, he's won the World Series of Poker held in Las Vegas at Binion's Horseshoe Casino. These accomplishments are popularly known, but what isn't widely recognized is that Slim would bet on just about anything.

In his recently published book, Slim describes some of the more interesting wagers he's made and won.
"I've probably run thirty footraces in my life for money - I've run barefoot, and I've run a lot of races where I started flat on my back and facing the wrong direction. I could run, and the novelty was that, since I'm a tall, lanky cat, no one thought I could run short races. But I was a dasher through and through, and anything beyond a quarter mile nearly killed me."

"I also have a perfect record in my career running the hundred-yard dash against a racehorse. Jesse Owens couldn't beat a Thoroughbred on the square, but I sure as hell did."
One thing that needs to be mentioned here is that Amarillo Slim is smart and he never takes a bet or makes a wager without an edge of some nature. Not cheating, call it the gambler's insider knowledge advantage. So, regarding the hundred-yard dash,
"The key to this bet is to make sure that the hundred-yard race is fifty yards one way and fifty yards another - that's a hundred-yard dash! Ain't nobody said anything about it being a "continuous" hundred-yard dash. I would always finish the race before the jockey could turn the racehorse around. Mind you, I'm not talking about a cutting horse, but a racehorse - a big, powerful Thoroughbred. Heck, it takes them big things so long to turn around that even Secretariat would have been drawing dead against me."
The title is Amarillo Slim in a World Full of Fat People and it's a good read.
Prison Is A Bad Place

Stop Prisoner Rape, a Los Angeles-based activist organization, issued a report of testimony from three former prison employees stating that sex is "common and condoned" at the Ohio Reformatory for Women.

Sex at a women's prison? Uh, excuse me, but why is this news? Also, the uncorroborated testimony of three people is probably insufficient to prompt any reform. Videotape evidence should be gathered to draw more attention to the issue.
John Demjanjuk Fights For Citizenship

The 6th United States Court of Appeals in Cincinnati is reviewing the decision of District Court Judge Paul Matia to take away citizenship from John Demjanjuk. If the ruling is upheld, Demjanjuk may be deported. Since 1977, Demjanjuk has been fighting charges that he was a Nazi concentration camp guard during WWII.

Since this and related cases have been going on for so long and the fact that he is now 83-years-old, the latest court proceedings seem counterproductive. If the ruling is overturned, Demjanjuk continues to live out his days in Ohio. If the ruling stands, Demjanjuk is no longer a citizen and thus qualifies for protection under the stealth federal policy of ignoring illegal aliens.

My take is that payments to the lawyers should stop.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

A Woman's Mood

Today was not good for me and the Mrs. It's something that happens periodically to her mood. I don't know if it's the tide, the moon, the female cycle or what. But it's noticeable, occurs over a period of a few days and, then, BLAM!

Big blowup. I do everything I can to ward it off. When I see it coming I tell her but she doesn't see it. Then, it finally arrives. There's a big blowup. Screaming for a while. Then it's over. Phew!

My analysis is that there is some sort of female composure relief valve that goes off. It's hard for me to explain. Fortunately, while I was doing some obligatory surfing, I discovered that Kelley at Suburban Blight has already provided the perfect description of what I have to expect periodically.
". . . a terrible mood today. A floor-stalking, ass-biting case of the Evils has descended on me, and no man is safe from my laser-guided beam of Bad Juju. I'm serious. I'm in a fight-picking kind of mood . . ."
And there's no known cure. It just happens like clockwork and the guys have to live with it. If I'm missing something, leave a comment. It's something I'd love to avoid.
Blog Reviews - Flippery Fish

I've been looking through the listings of blogs in the 2003 Weblog Awards and visiting those I've not been to before. My impressions on The Flippery Fish are as follows:
Red Ted Keeps a Diary - a conversational diary worth a look,

Kevin Walzer's Blog - introspective, commentary on culture and events,

Nasty Riffraff - Dean-loving, Bush-hating political blog,

Cavalier Attitude - Alliance member in good standing, worth a vote,

Listen, My Children... - a woman's cultural and political commentary, worth a visit,

Kevin Donahue - conversational, esoteric,

The Gagalac Style - sports, games, from Hawaii,

Ryan Reynolds' Weblog - personal keepsakes from Indiana newspaperman,

Pstupidonymous - Alliance member in good standing, worth a vote,

Me and Ophelia - conversation and cultural commentary, worth a vote,

Dead Man Blogging - religious blog,

On Beyond Azure - esoteric soul-searching without capital letters,

Obsidian Wings - political and cultural commentary,

Swanky Conservative - political blog with cultural commentary,

srah blah blah - multilingual female academician being esoteric,

Letters From Baghdad - no caps, no links, no punctuation in letters from Iraq,

Sweetness Follows - esoteric, strong sexual focus, no pix.
Of note is that my review was quick and the above results should be viewed in that context.

[Update 12/11/03, 12:20am] Jasmine Petal made the following clarifying comment regarding my admittedly perfunctory review of Letters From Baghdad.
While Letters From Baghdad does not utilize capitalization it most certainly DOES HAVE links and punctuation. I wonder if you made more than a perfunctory glance -- you may have mentioned the most amazing and intense love story and grueling days of an infantry grunt.
You wonder if I made more than a perfunctory glance. I don't know why you wonder since I clearly stated it was a quick review and the results reflect a quick review.

There was no desire to disparage the blog, however, in performing a quick review, without capital letters and paragraphs it is almost impossible to scan the content effectively. Therefore, I completely missed the love story. With a million or more blogs competing for visitors' time, you've got to expect that a non-reader-friendly format is going to work against getting your story read.

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