Saturday, January 31, 2004

Baby Starved to Death

(Canton, Ohio) Weighing only a little more than 10 pounds, Joshua Rumph was found dead in his crib, starved to death. Charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangering, Joshua's mother, Juanita Johnson-Millender, is in jail.

It is beyond my capability to comprehend how someone could starve a baby to death.
Kucinich in South Carolina

Even though he engendered only minuscule support in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, Congressman Kucinich may have peaked. Based upon the following report, his South Carolina campaign must be considered embarassing.
Kucinich's appearance yesterday at a student political forum at South Carolina's oldest historically black college was so sparsely attended that its organizer urged attendees to sit in the front row to avoid spoiling a video of the event.
And, most of the journalists who questioned Kucinich after a candidates forum in Columbia were kids reporting for children's publications. Yet the Congressman is undeterred, stating:
"My plan is to continue to run and gather delegates wherever I can. I think this election is going all the way to the convention. If nobody gets to the convention with half the delegates, it will be anyone's election. I think the war will be a bigger issue by then, and my consistent and clear challenge to the White House will be in demand by people in the party. That is the issue that will take me to the nomination."
We'll see. Although his political philosophy resonates with very few people, he appears sufficiently dedicated to continue in the campaign.

Here's something new for my readers. Dustin Frelich of eTALKINGHEAD has reformatted his site and sent out the following announcement.


--- January 29, 2004

In an effort to create a new kind of political blog, a team of dedicated writers has joined eTalkinghead Founder Dustin Frelich in forming an online community focused on political commentary. eTalkinghead's new staff members hold broad backgrounds in politics, journalism and activism, each writing from their own unique political perspectives.

Since commencing its test relaunch period, the readership of eTalkinghead has grown greatly, as have its links from some of the Web's most recognized blogs.

The new will serve as a collaborative clearinghouse for the ideas of some of the Internet's most prolific writers and bloggers.
Yours truly will be providing occasional political posts to eTALKINGHEAD. My readers are encouraged to visit.
Armored Humvees

According to Maj. Gary Tallman, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, a 4,000-vehicle requirement has been established for armored Humvees in Iraq and Afghanistan � 3,200 for Iraq alone. These Humvees will have heavily armored skins, bullet-resistant windshields, and reinforcement on the undercarriage to protect against mine explosions. To meet this requirement, General Motors is building a new factory specifically for up-armored Humvees.

Last fall, despite the efforts of anti-war legislators, Congress passed the 2003 defense supplemental bill, which included $177 million in funds for armored Humvees.

My take on Washington's allocation of resources to American forces can't help but relate to a previous post which discusses the lack of fundamental resources (bullets) given to Canadian Forces by the government in Ottawa. The opposition of Canada to be allied with the US and Britain in the Iraq war may have derived from a fear that they would have had to buy real bullets for the Canadian soldiers.

Friday, January 30, 2004


(Dillsboro, Indiana) According to this story, a pack of six wolves has escaped from a nature center in southeastern Indiana.
The white-colored animals range in age from 2 to 4 years and weigh up to 90 pounds, said Paul Strasser, owner of Red Wolf Sanctuary. . .

[ . . . ]

Strasser said he realizes the wolves being on the loose could cause fear among area residents, but said the animals likely would run if approached.

"The bottom line is, realistically, these animals don't pose any threat," he said.
One question, Mr. Strasser. What if they're hungry?
Cats and Dogs

Some believe that big cats are the obvious choice for hunters who wish to hunt big game with dogs. This story answers the nagging question of whether Missouri coon dogs can tree a Colorado mountain lion.
Michigan Civil Rights Initiative

To counter last year's Supreme Court ruling that allows affirmative action in school admissions, a group named the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative was formed to put the issue before the voters. Names are being gathered on a petition to amend the state constitution to prohibit discrimination. A little over 300,000 valid signatures are needed to put the proposed amendment on the November 2004 ballot and a recent poll indicates that in excess of 60 percent of the voters favor no discrimination in government hiring and school admissions.

Advocates for affirmative action have formed a group called Citizens for a United Michigan to encourage voters not to sign the petition. Recently, the Citizens for a United Michigan has been joined by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) to help stop the addition of an anti-discrimination amendment on the November ballot.

The affirmative action advocacy is against having the measure put on the ballot because, in all likelihood, it would pass. Polls show that most Michigan residents are strongly opposed to discrimination of any kind. Be prepared for this issue to become significantly more prominent in the near future. National figures are sure to weigh in.
Red Underwear Craze in Poland

For some reason, schoolgirls in Poland think they'll have good luck on tests by wearing red underwear. The source of the superstition remains a mystery but it's not a mystery that lingerie stores are having a problem keeping up with demand.
Forlorn? Miserable?

To end your despair, eBay is selling online imaginary girlfriends.
80-Year-Old Arrested for Dealing Crack

(Grand Rapids, Michigan) Gray-bearded Curtis Beeks, Sr., slowly shuffled his way to the judge in Grand Rapids District Court for arraignment on felony charges of delivering crack cocaine and maintaining a drug house. Wrinkled, stiff-jointed Beeks is 80-years-old and, if convicted, faces a possible 20 years in prison.

Mandatory minimum sentencing requirements would probably not apply to the Beeks case, but it sure is an example where judges would like some wiggle room.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

BLOG MADNESS 2003 Round One Results

The first round of the tournament has been completed and Interested-Participant won its first match. Thanks to everyone who voted and, hopefully, we'll see your votes in the second round.

Blog Madness 2003 Round Two voting starts tonight at midnight. Interested-Participant is matched up against an entry from The Epicenter. Study both entries closely and choose the best.
Canadian Forces Need Bullets

According to this story, Canadian Forces have no bullets to conduct regular military exercises so they play paintball instead. Some senior officers believe that adequate training can be conducted using simulated conditions while others insist that the soldiers need to practice with real guns. However, due to lack of funding, they have no real bullets to use with their real guns. Without real bullets, Major Atheling Seunarine of the Hamilton Argylls stated that his regiment is beginning to specialize in urban warfare.

My take is that the Canadian government ought to occasionally snap out of their starry-eyed liberal utopianism and devote some resources to assuring the defense of the nation. That would include buying some bullets.

Hat tip: Common Sense and Wonder
eBay Horror Story

The Internet boasts some pretty impressive successes and few are comparable to online auctions. Unfortunately, not all experiences with online auctions have been pleasant. Amy at Rants in my Pants provides an example, writing of her family's unpleasant experience buying and selling on eBay.

In a nutshell, a product was ordered and paid for, but the product received, although similar, was not what was advertised. It was also damaged. Attempts to resolve the issue through eBay were unsuccessful. Read Amy's account of the whole episode here (scroll down to 1/23/04 entry).

From an anecdotal and logical perspective, online auctions have to be considered a crapshoot. Since buyer and seller are typically separated by hundreds, if not thousands, of miles, and, since the value of most transactions is minimal, conflicts between the parties are seldom resolved through outside intervention. After all, if I'm in Ohio and I buy something from a California seller for $10 and don't receive it, what possibly can eBay, or any auction company, do? The whole system of online auctions is predicated on the assumption that both buyer and seller are fair-minded and reasonable. Sadly, that's not always the case and there is no shortage of crooks in society.

The best that any online auction participant can expect when they have a complaint is that it will be documented.
This Coffee Tastes Funny

The organic-only farming crowd rely only on "natural" pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides to produce their crops and many enlightened progressive Americans buy their premium-priced products. One market product that's particularly appealing to the liberal "environmentally-conscious" consumer is coffee and thousands of businesses are profiting from the sale of exotic, organically-grown blends. The organic coffee growers sometimes must be quite innovative in protecting their crops from harm and one example is particularly noteworthy. The natural fungicide preferred by organic coffee growers in Guatemala is fermented urine.

So, the next time you order a $5 cup of that special international blend, it would be prudent to remember how innovative those organic coffee growers can be.
Premenstrual Syndrome

For all those young men who believe that perpetual bliss and joy results from successful marriage to a beautiful woman, here's a clue. There has not been full disclosure on the part of marriage advocates. Perpetual bliss and joy do not exist. They are only part-time aspects of marriage, regularly and predictably interrupted by in-laws, of course, and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).

PMS is a nightmare which primarily affects husbands. It is assumed that single women experience PMS, but accurate documentation of these events isn't readily available since single women customarily go into isolation. So, the results are not observed. However, married women do not go into isolation and the full measure of hate and contempt is directed toward the husbands.

Future husbands need to know this information and it's not taught in school. To avoid the ill effects, men only need to remember two words. Run away!

Some make jokes about PMS. I try to avoid doing so, but one brave soul has a PMS joke worth passing on. Live From The Guillotine is an appropriate name for a site that's brave enough to tackle the issue of PMS. So, how many women with PMS does it take to change a light bulb? Go here for the answer.

Hat tip: King of Fools

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Carnival of the Vanities

Totaling almost 60 entries, this week's Carnival of the Vanities is presented by Sean Hackbarth at The American Mind. Next week, Carnival #72 will be at A Perfectly Cromulent Blog.
Death of a Whale

Last month, the killer whale Keiko, star of the "Free Willy" movies, died from pneumonia. He was then buried "in a snow-bound pasture during the deep darkness of Nordic winter in a ceremony kept secret from the public." Some have wondered why only seven people were present for Keiko's quick and peaceful burial. The following story may help explain why Keiko quickly disappeared.

Fishermen found a 50-foot, 50-ton sperm whale beached on the coast of Taiwan last Saturday. Still alive, emergency help was summoned. Sadly, the whale died before help arrived. While being transported through Tainan City on its way to a research station, it suddenly exploded, splattering cars and shops with blood and guts.
"What a stinking mess! This blood and other stuff that blew out on the road is disgusting, and the smell is really awful," said one resident.

The news also showed one section of the street along with several parked automobiles and pedestrian walkways covered in red with copious amounts of splattered whale blood.

Lying on the trailer-truck was the dead whale - underbelly exposed with a large elongated tear where the biological gaseous blowout took place. Besides the shocking red bloody mess, large piles of whale intestines and guts were strewn along the road, leaving an unpleasant and ghastly scene for startled residents.
Based upon this occurrence, the quiet burial of Keiko is understandable.

[Update] Robert Sama has a picture of the exploded whale at SamaBlog.
The New Hampshire Grannie Awards

Will Durst, writing in Working For Change, makes sure that the best Democrat performances in the New Hampshire primary are praised adequately by naming the recipients of this year's Grannie Awards. The series of awards recognizes notable performances this year in the Granite State. So, without further ado . . .
The I Can Spin the World Award
Joe Lieberman who called his fifth-place, single-digit New Hampshire finish a victory, referring to it as a "split decision for third place."

The Your Sense of Humor is All You Got When You Look at Yourself in the Mirror in the Dark Award
Dennis Kucinich. Speaking of his 1 percent vote in the Granite State on Fox News, "the battle for sixth place continues."

The Shoot Yourself in the Foot Award
General Wesley Clark. Speaking of John Kerry, "He was only a Captain, I was a General." Fine win in a very competitive category.

The In Your Face, You Liberal Weenies Award
Former Treasury Secretary and confessed gambling addict William Bennett. Disparaged Kucinich's optimism with an obscure reference to Poker Tournament odds.

The Pull Out All the Stops Award
Joe Lieberman. Trotted out his 89-year-old mother to campaign for him in sub-zero weather.
There's more of the article and Will Durst at this link.

Hat tip: Asymmetrical Information
New Hampshire Democratic Primary

James Joyner of Outside The Beltway outlines the vote counting, the punditry and provides commentary of yesterday's primary election in New Hampshire where voters expectorated John Kerry double-digits percentage-wise ahead of Howard Dean. The Command Post has a comprehensive overview of who said what. Take a look.

This week's Bonfire of the Vanities is warmly presented by Southern Musings. Next week, Outside The Beltway hosts.
MyDoom Virus

Even as I write, the MyDoom virus (w32.mydoom@mm, also known as Novarg, Shimgapi, Shimg, and MiMail.r) is attacking Windows machines. Mike Grace has good overview on actions to take to protect your machine. There's additional information at CNET Labs.

As always, don't open any email that's the least bit questionable.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

BLOG MADNESS 2003 - Round 1

It's easy to see that Pete and Manny have done an absolutely stellar job of organizing the Blog Madness 2003 Tournament. Round 1 is underway in four brackets. Take the time to vote. I did and I'm glad for it.

While you're there, take a look at the Interested-Participant entry in the Work Bracket. A vote would be appreciated.

Round 1 voting ends tomorrow.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Girl Auctions Her Virginity

(Bristol, England) Proving that just about everything is for sale, an 18-year-old girl is auctioning her virginity to the highest bidder to pay for a university education. According to the Evening Post, Rosie Reid,
. . . who started a Bachelor of Science degree in social policy at the University of Bristol three months ago, said she was prepared to sleep with a stranger rather than face years of hardship.
Her ad on eBay received more than 400 offers before it was removed. Alongside cars and furniture, the ad stated:
"Eighteen-year-old student looking to sell virginity. Never lost it due to lesbianism. Will bung in free massage if you are any good. Picture on request."
With continued support of family and friends, Rosie now has her own website and continues to take bids.

Wouldn't Rosie's activities be defined as prostitution? And, if so, isn't prostitution illegal in the UK? It seems to me that there is adequate justification for taking her into custody and prosecuting her.
Domestic Partner Registry Inaugurated

(Cleveland Heights, Ohio) Considered to be a major, although symbolic, victory by the homosexual advocacy, the nation's first voter-approved domestic partner registry has been inaugurated. Twenty-four homosexual couples and two heterosexual couples signed up for the notarized registration.
Catherine Bosley - Latest Discussion

As a follow up to a previous post, I posted an entry at eTALKINGHEAD (see here) which suggests that Catherine Bosley should not have been forced to resign from her television news position for frolicking onstage in Key West while nude. Although, no common agreement is probable concerning whether she should or should not retain her newscaster job, Dustbury has chimed in with a post and comment thread that raises a new issue. Do the nude photos of Catherine Bosley exhibit evidence of prosthetic fullness through surgical intervention?

My take is that it's hard to tell. The photos contain insufficient detail. However, it must be noted that Catherine Bosley does appear to be immune to the force of gravity. It also appears that she is meticulously adept at removing unwanted follicular effluents.

Despite the contentiousness of her vacation behavior, it is still my opinion that she should have been allowed to continue as a newscaster in Youngstown.
Homeless Win Lawsuit

(Covington, Kentucky) Eight homeless men filed suit for damages in US District Court because their belongings were removed from the Ohio River bank by Covington city workers. The lawsuit was based on the fact that the city gave no warning or notice that they would be cleaning debris from the riverbank. Although the lawsuit was settled with no admission of wrongdoing, each of the homeless will receive $1,000 for their lost property which was reported to include "a litter of kittens, family photos, a cooking stove, and the complete works of William Shakespeare."

The settlement establishes some legal precedents. One is that, prior to removing accumulations of garbage, local officials must ascertain whether any vagrant claims ownership of the garbage and, if so, they must give notice that garbage collection is going to occur. Another precedent established by the settlement is that accumulations of garbage by homeless people have a nominal value of $1,000.

Additionally, according to Attorney Bob Newman,
". . . homeless people are human beings just like everybody else and they have the same constitutional rights as a homeowner . . ."
Wait a minute, Newman. They can't have the same rights as a homeowner because they don't own a home.

My gut feeling is that $1,000 is a very generous valuation for the scourings of vagrants and I don't believe for a second that men in riverbank hovels sit around reading Shakespeare while playing with kittens.
Blog Madness 2003 - First Round

The First Round of the Blog Madness 2003 Tournament is underway. It's time to vote for the Interested-Participant entry called Media Bias. As one of the better posts on this site, it's worth your vote. So, if you've the time, feel kind-hearted, love puppies, hate taxes, go here and cast a vote for Interested-Participant.

Less than 40 hours remain to vote in the first round.
Carnival of the Capitalists

Joe Katzman at Winds of Change is hosting the Carnival of the Capitalists this week. Take a look.
The Legality of Cannibalism

Micha Ghertner has an interesting post at which discusses the legal aspects of cannibalism. Specifically, the debate focuses on whether the person eating can be charged with murder of the person eaten. Also, if the cannibalized individual gives consent, has a crime been committed? I don't know the answer.

However, the post generated some discussion in my household whereby it was generally agreed that if only a part of an individual was eaten (with consent), then no crime has been committed. Therefore, a scenario was envisioned where a person could be invited to Larry's house for a Sunday dinner of roast leg of Larry.

Obviously, there are no legal experts in my house.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Schools Quit Posting Honor Rolls

(Nashville, Tennessee) This story is disturbing. Lawyers have advised officials of the Nashville School System that Tennessee privacy laws prohibit releasing academic information (good or bad) without permission. Therefore, the schools will no longer post honor rolls for fear of lawsuits from parents of students who didn't make the required grades. Since spelling bees and academic challenges may also cause poor performers to be ridiculed, they are also being canceled. Accordingly,
School officials are developing permission slips to give parents of the Nashville district's 69,000 students the option of having their children's work recognized. They hope to get clearance before the next grading cycle - in about six weeks at some schools.
The problem can be traced to a 1970s privacy law that's unique to Tennessee.

I suppose they won't be able to name a valedictorian unless they name every student as a valedictorian. This is absolutely ridiculous.
New Weblog Showcase

Catching my attention in the Showcase this week is Why Special Forces Weren't Used Prior to 9/11 at Democrats Give Conservatives Indigestion.
Professors Paid Better for Good Looks

It's clearly recognized that success in a high profile career is affected to a great degree by an individual's physical appearance. Good looks equates to faster advancement and higher salaries. What's not clearly recognized is that good looks also appears to have a significant impact on the salaries in academia, typically a less than high profile career.

According to a study by Dr. Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas, good looking professors are perceived as better teachers, receive higher evaluations, and, therefore, are paid more handsomely than less attractive individuals. The research analyzed 94 teachers for individual attractiveness which was compared to results achieved in the classes they taught. From Beauty in the Classroom: Professors' Pulchritude and Putative Pedagogical Productivity, Dr. Hamermesh concludes:
To the extent that teaching is an important component of job performance, and to the extent that teaching evaluations accurately measure performance, basing salary on measured teaching performance implies a significant wage premium for beauty, even for college professors.
Although not stated but implied by the research is that actions taken by teachers to maintain their appearances can be directly correlated to job performance. Additionally, actions taken to enhance one's appearance can be easily justified by increased rewards in stature and salary.

In conclusion, more research is warranted on the subject of beauty and its affect on job rewards. There's a possibility that additional studies may contradict Dr. Hamermesh's findings. My own experience has been that the most beautiful teacher I ever had was Mrs. Stubblefield in the 10th grade. Unfortunately, I don't exactly recall what course she taught.
Spirited Snarking

Fortified with pharmaceutics and distillers secrets, Venomous Kate is getting well with a collection of entries that give 'em hell. Check out this week's Snark Hunt, poetically produced and published in paradise.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Priest Arrested for Growing Reefer

As reported previously, Father Richard Arko was taken into custody when police found marijuana growing in the Rectory of the Prince of Peace Church. Additional information indicates that, along with being an ordained Catholic priest, Father Arko is a radical vegetarian (vegan), a yoga instructor, a stray animal rescuer, and a licensed massage therapist. It should be noted that there is no confirmation to the story that he prefers to be called "Father Fingers" when administering massage therapy.

My take is that Father Arko has one full plate. However, most of his time and energy seems to be devoted to activities other than Catholicism.
Abortion Coverage for Union Workers Only

(Cincinnati, Ohio) On Thursday, the Cincinnati City Council voted to continue to provide abortion coverage for unionized city workers while non-union employees will be denied the benefit. Officials have not commented on the contention that their action would create a disadvantageous ratio of pro-union children to non pro-union children in future generations.
Kucinich in for the Long Haul

Congressman Dennis Kucinich had a pathetic showing last Monday in the Iowa caucuses, garnering a puny 1 percent of the votes cast. He now is struggling for a better result in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. Polling, however, indicates that he can expect about the same support in New Hampshire that he received in Iowa. Minuscule.

Not to be deterred,
Kucinich maintains he's in for the long haul, and that he's the only candidate who can beat President Bush in November.

Unfortunately, according to Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University, Kucinich is at risk of being "the guy who stayed at the debate too long. The man who came to dinner and wouldn't leave."

My take is that Kucinich should be working his way toward a graceful exit from the campaign and avoid becoming a joke (or maybe, more a joke). His political philosophy is viewed as solidly radical and quite unattractive to the majority of the voting public. If he stays for the long haul, he'll become a laughingstock.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Throat Slasher Gets Shock Probation

(Cleveland, Ohio) Having never been comfortable with my understanding of what "shock probation" means, the following story provides some welcome explanation.

Miriam Robinson, 42, was given shock probation by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Daniel Gaul because "she had made considerable progress addressing her mental illness and alcoholism." Her "considerable progress" allows her to walk free after serving only one-third of the sentence imposed for attacking her children (ages 6 and 15). That attack occurred on May 7, 2002, when
". . . she drank a bottle of whiskey and swallowed pills. Then she gave her son an elixir of soft drinks and prescription drugs. As he slept on her couch, Robinson bent over her daughter as she played a video game, kissed her, then slashed the girl's throat with an 8-inch knife. Then she cut her sleeping 6-year-old son's throat."
So, now I fully understand the meaning of "shock probation." It means that just about any individual in society who can distinguish right from wrong will be absolutely shocked that this woman was given probation.
Priest Arrested for Growing Marijuana

(Barberton, Ohio) Yesterday, Father Richard A. Arko, a Roman Catholic priest with the Prince of Peace Church, was arrested for illegal cultivation of marijuana in the church rectory. Jensen J. Powell, 24, who lives with Arko, was also arrested and charged with drug trafficking.
Police say they found a marijuana growing system in a spare bedroom and confiscated about 35 potted marijuana plants, along with drug paraphernalia.
Bond was set by Judge Michael McNulty at $3,000 for Arko and $10,000 for Powell.

This is a logical result of ineptitude in the management of the Catholic Church. The random drug testing program for priests has not been effectively implemented. There should be little surprise that people are losing faith in the church when the priesthood is populated with pedophiles, homosexuals, and, now, potheads.

On a positive note, the faithful can be confident that contemporary priests are well qualified to hear confessions without being alarmed, shocked, nor too judgmental. They've been there, done that.
Wisconsin Moves Toward Concealed Carry

(Madison, Wisconsin) Yesterday, the Wisconsin State Senate voted to override Gov. Jim Doyle's veto of a concealed carry bill by a tally of 23 to 10. Next, the issue will be taken up by the state Assembly. Advocates of concealed carry are optimistic.

I am directing full telepathic mojo towards the Wisconsin Assembly to do the right thing and override the Governor's veto.

Hat tip: Drumwaster's Rants

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Death Linked to Pot Smoking

According to this story in the Telegraph, a 36-year-old man's death has been attributed to cannabis poisoning from marijuana smoking.
Lee Maisey smoked six cannabis cigarettes a day for 11 years, an inquest heard. His death, which was registered as having been caused by cannabis toxicity, led to new warnings about the drug, which is due to be reclassified this month as a less dangerous one.
That's right. Effective January 29th, marijuana possession and use will be reduced from a Class B to a Class C drug. Class C drug violations do not normally carry power of arrest so it will be like getting a traffic ticket.

This whole scenario with decriminalizing marijuana while making it illegal to smoke tobacco is absurd. Smoking is smoking and it doesn't make a difference what is smoked. Just imagine the ridiculous circumstance where two bills are debated concurrently in a legislature, one banning tobacco, the other legalizing marijuana. Sadly, it's possible.

Hat tip: Common Sense & Wonder
Cure for Hiccups

If ever there were a bit of worthy information to document on this blog, it has to be the following recipe for curing the hiccups.
Infallible Hiccup Cure

One slice of lemon
One half teaspoon of granulated sugar
About a half-teaspoon of Angostura Bitters

You take the lemon and dump the sugar on top, then shake enough bitters out of the dropper-style Angostura bottle to kind of soak the lemon. Then you bite and suck. DAMN if it doesn't work, too!
Many thanks to Kelley at Suburban Blight.
Required Community Service

(Deerfield Township, Ohio) For the past 14 years, Kings High School has stipulated that all students must perform 100 hours of community service to graduate. Other schools in the Greater Cincinnati Public School System require lesser amounts of community service which has prompted the school board to consider reducing the requirement for Kings HS.

Review of other programs indicates that the imposition of 100 hours of community service is not inconsistent with that which is required elsewhere. For example:
Russell Warren Blassingame, 28, needed to complete 100 hours of community service to satisfy the requirements of the sentence imposed for a drug conviction.

Lee T. Kashiwamura needed to complete 100 hours of community service to satisfy the requirements of the sentence imposed for theft and criminal property damage.

Charles Perry Scott needed to complete 100 hours of community service to satisfy the requirements of the sentence imposed for assault and battery with a deadly weapon.

Paul Belser needed to complete 100 hours of community service to satisfy the requirements of the sentence imposed for felony theft and computer crime.

Nicholas E. Chambers needed to complete 100 hours of community service to satisfy the requirements of the sentence imposed for three counts of indecent exposure.
Based upon this review, it appears that it's quite common for 100 hours of community service to be imposed in meeting governmental requirements. For those progressive school board members that believe punishment indentured servitude somehow enhances the education experience, the review of other programs indicates that 100 hours is not unreasonable.
Today's Thought

Habitat for Humanity is evidence that Jimmy Carter knows how to use a hammer. The Iraq War is evidence that George Bush knows when to use a hammer.
Bill Clinton Awards Kofi Annan

This story has got me bamfloozled. Yesterday, ex-President Bill Clinton presented the German Media Award 2003 (see here or, for translation, here) to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Baden-Baden, Germany. Annan got the award because:
". . . [he] represents the basic idea of the United Nations, searching for a better organized and more peaceful world . . ."
So, he got the award because he was looking for something. Not for finding something or, for that matter, doing something, he simply searched for something. And, what does this have to do with the German media? Kofi Annan is not German nor does he work in the media.

Also not German is Bill Clinton. And he also does not work in the media. So, why is Bill Clinton presenting a German media award?

With all the logic involved in this event, maybe we can now anticipate ex-Prime Minister John Major of Britain presenting a Pulitzer Prize to the Maharishi Mahesh Yoga because he searched for inner peace.

[Update] John Dunshee has an interesting picture of the event at Just Some Poor Schmuck.

Hat tip: Dissecting Leftism
Martha Stewart Trial Begins

Surrounded by restless camera crews and fans, Martha Stewart entered federal court in Manhattan Tuesday to face charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and securities fraud. She was followed by Peter Bacanovic, her former stock broker and co-defendant. Juror selection then commenced before Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum.

Probing every possible news angle, the New York Times reported:
Ms. Stewart's blonde hair hid her face as she exited the car, but she pushed it back as she climbed the steps, wearing a dark wrap-around coat, brown trousers and high-heeled brown boots. Mr. Bacanovic arrived five minutes later, emerging from a black GMC Denali sport utility vehicle wearing a green tie and navy overcoat.
The interviews of prospective jurors were closed to the media, however, unconfirmed reports indicate that the defense lawyers were particularly interested in knowing whether anyone in the jury pool thought that the brown high-heeled boots made Ms. Stewart look slutty.

All the news that's fit to print.
Downloadable Music From Coca-Cola

Targeting primarily British Internet users, Coca-Cola launched an online music site on Monday. Accessible at, the site promises exclusive content such as bonus tracks and the availability of singles up to six weeks before general release.

Unfortunately, the webmasters are having difficulty getting the site to work properly due to "minor technical" problems. One of the "minor" problems is that, so far, they can't get the site to work with Macintosh machines.

I only have one question. Whatever happened to New Coke?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Technorati Beta Test

Announced at Sifry's Alerts, the new Technorati Infrastructure is up and being tested. While they're fixing bugs and grooming its capabilities, it's available for trial runs. Go kick the tires and leave some feedback.

My take is that the improvements are noticeable and likable.
Another "Jackass" Stunt Kills Girl

(Marysville, California) This story is about kids, inspired by MTV programming, just having some fun.
The teens attached a rope to a merry-go-round and tied the other end to a pickup truck. When the truck went forward, the ride would spin.

Bobbi MacKinnon, 16, was killed when she was thrown 75 feet from the ride and landed in the street.
I guess you've just got to expect kids to be kids. And I guess MTV and the producers of "Jackass" can put another notch on their camera stand.
Homosexual Marriage Ban

(Columbus, Ohio) Earlier today, an Ohio State Senate committee approved a bill that would prohibit Ohio from recognizing homosexual marriages performed in any state. The bill would also ban some state employees from getting benefits for their domestic partners.

Next, the bill goes to the Senate for approval and then, having already been approved by the Ohio House, to Gov. Taft. After legal review, the Governor has stated he will sign it.

Today is the last day to submit an entry in Blogmadness 2003. If you have a post from last year that you're particularly proud of and would like to join the contest, go here now. Midnight tonight is the cutoff time.
Explosion of the Vanities

What does one get when one combines the good and the bad? A carnival and a bonfire? An explosion, of course.

Both the Carnival of the Vanities #70 at Poliblog and the Bonfire of the Vanities #29 at One Fine Jay have been posted on the same day.

Follow the links and see no better proof that the blogosphere has something from and for virtually everybody.
Prowling PETA

I was glad to see Heather Noggle's PETA post at Angelweave. Called PETA Pirouette, it provides a fine sampling of recent PETA lunacy as documented in the blogosphere. A visit will be time well spent.

In addition, Kevin Aylward at Wizbang has posted about an incident of comical disharmony between Hillary Clinton and PETA. It concerns a fur coat. I'm still chuckling.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Police Must Speak PC

According to this story at, new guidelines prohibit certain words and phrases from being spoken by the Lothian and Borders police force. For example, Scottish officers are banned from referring to the elderly as "old" and from calling women "love", "pet" or "dear." Homosexuals cannot be called "homosexuals" and female colleagues shall not be referred to as "one of the boys."

Speaking of the changes, Deputy Chief Constable Tom Wood stated:
"We live in very sensitive and dangerous times in terms of language and attitudes and people are very quick to take offence.

"This is not about being PC, it is about common sense and making our members aware of the concerns so they think before they speak."
Constable Wood is a liar. The speech guidelines are nothing but political correctness in its most basic and ugliest form.
Prayer for Internet Pornography Users

Shlomo Eliahu, chief rabbi in the northern Israeli town of Safed, was approached by Orthodox Jews worried about the lure of Internet sex sites. In response, he composed a prayer to help devout Jews overcome guilt after visiting porn web sites. Here's some of the prayer:
"Please God, help me cleanse the computer of viruses and evil photographs which disturb and ruin my work..., so that I shall be able to cleanse myself (of sin) . . ."
The Rabbi recommends that the prayer be recited when logging on to porn sites either intentionally or by mistake.

Um . . . does this make it okay to look at porn? Or does it just get rid of guilt?
Kroc Estate Gives $1.5 Billion to Salvation Army

Joan Kroc, the McDonald's heiress who died last October, left $1.5 billion to the Salvation Army to build community centers across the country.

Splendid. The donation also makes up for the $200 million Joan Kroc left to Liberal National Public Radio.
Fatal Crash Driver High on Marijuana

(Traverse City, Michigan) A head-on crash caused by a 39-year-old California woman killed one woman and injured seven, including four children. Police say she admitted to smoking marijuana before the crash.

Advocates for legalizing marijuana have consistently stated that its use is no worse than alcohol. This fatal crash provides support for the contention that it's also no better than alcohol.
Social Security Pensions

This story caught my eye:
Six of 10 Norwegians have no faith that their state-funded pensions will meet their economic needs after retirement. Old beliefs in the 'cradle to grave security' of the social welfare state are quickly eroding.
It should be noted that the entire population of the country of Norway is less than five million people and the number receiving state pensions is much smaller. Nonetheless, 60 percent of the citizens have no confidence that the government can effectively administer their pension program.

For the sake of comparison, there's about 300 million people in the US covered by social security and there has been discussion about also giving pension checks to illegal aliens.

What a country!
Dozens Arrested in College Town

(Athens, Ohio) This normally quiet college town has recently seen an eruption of crimes necessitating the police department to call in all available officers. Over the past weekend, four people suffered stab wounds in one bar fight and a firearm was discharged in another. More than 50 arrests were made.

The crime wave has been attributed to the arrival of out-of-town troublemakers, the fathers of Ohio University students. It was Dads Weekend at OU.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Court Orders Retroactive Pensions for Homosexual Partners

When the Canadian government decided to redefine marriage to include homosexual partners, all possible ramifications may not have been considered. A fairly expensive consequence recently surfaced and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Ellen Macdonald has ruled that homosexual couples have been denied survivor benefits under the Canada Pension Plan. The ruling made the pension benefits retroactive to April, 1985, with accrued interest on payments since February, 1992. If the judgment is not reversed when appealed, it's estimated to cost taxpayers at least $400,000,000.
Carnival of the Capitalists

Stephen Hodgson provides appropriate commentary for each entry in this week's Carnival of the Capitalists at Unpersons. Next week, Winds of Change is hosting.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

ACLU Files to Continue Panhandling

(Albuquerque, New Mexico) Mayor Martin Chavez got an ordinance passed to prohibit panhandling in certain parts of the city and during specific hours in the entire city. The ACLU contended the ordinance violated the free speech rights of the panhandlers and convinced State District Judge William Lang to issue a temporary restraining order.

Somehow, I just don't think the framers of the Bill of Rights were thinking of beggars when they wrote and passed the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Payday Loans

Frequently called deferred presentment, payday loans are very expensive, short-term (7 to 14 days), small-dollar loans that are primarily marketed to society's poorest citizens. Due to the exorbitant rate of return, storefront operations by companies with names like "EasyCheck," "Cash Advance," "Check Into Cash," and others are now legally doing business in two-thirds of the fifty states and are growing faster than flesh-eating bacteria. A case in point is the state of Oklahoma which legalized payday loan stores in September 2003. Since that time (140 days ago), around 300 payday lenders have exploded across the state. That's more than two stores per calendar day.

These companies are able to prosper for two primary reasons. They operate as out-of-state businesses to avoid state banking laws and they charge a "fee" when they loan money as opposed to "interest" which would be subject to rate caps. As a typical example, a $100 loan for 14 days would be secured by a post-dated, personal check and a "fee" around $15 would be assessed. This translates into an effective finance charge of about 400 percent per annum. With money invested in a typical certificate of deposit (CD) generally earning less than 10 percent, it's easy to see the attractiveness of investing in payday lenders earning 400 percent or more.

Although they offer a convenient and expedient method of obtaining a handful of cash, there is a significant downside to the business. Unfortunately, the people who avail themselves of the quick cash customarily have already maxed out their credit cards and other loan alternatives and are unwisely incurring additional, unreasonably high-priced debt. Consequently, they are extremely vulnerable to defaulting on a loan payment, placing themselves at risk of lawsuits, property confiscation, and fraudulent schemes for repayment. Citizens and lawmakers are only starting to take notice of the logical negatives associated with payday lending.

Worthy of specific mention is the impact of payday lending on US military personnel. As a conclave of low-paid people with government guaranteed paychecks, military bases are natural targets for the predatory lending practices of payday loan companies. More and more servicemen and women are realizing the burden of unmanageable debt. Besides the basic stress from worry, job performance has been affected due to challenges to a person's security clearance. After all, high debt equals high irresponsibility to some.

A generation or so ago, what is now known as payday lending was called "loan sharking" and it was illegal. It was against the law because of the negative impact that resulted on communities from having an unreasonably high debt burden. Since that time, loan sharking in the form of payday lending has become legal. Unfortunately, the reasons loan sharking used to be illegal have not changed. I suspect the subject of payday lending will become a much bigger issue in the near future.

And, hopefully, something will be done to ease the burden on the US military. They protect us. We should do what we can to protect them from being preyed upon by payday loan sharks.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Arguably the Worst Job in Science

Everybody experiences attitudinal highs and lows associated with their job. Hopefully, the good days outnumber the bad days. Nevertheless, no matter how bad a person feels about their job at any one time, there are jobs that most would agree are much worse. The October issue of Popular Science has compiled a listing. Here's an example:
- Odor judges are common in the research labs of mouthwash companies, where the halitosis-inflicted blow great gusts of breath in their faces to test product efficacy. But Minneapolis gastroenterologist Michael Levitt recently took the job to another level - or, rather, to the other end. Levitt paid two brave souls to indulge repeatedly in the odors of other people's farts. (Levitt refuses to divulge the remuneration, but it would seem safe to characterize it thusly: Not enough.) Sixteen healthy subjects volunteered to eat pinto beans and insert small plastic collection tubes into their anuses (worst-job runners-up, to be sure). After each "episode of flatulence," Levitt syringed the gas into a discrete container, rigorously maintaining fart integrity. The odor judges then sat down with at least 100 samples, opened the caps one at a time, and inhaled robustly. As their faces writhed in agony, they rated just how noxious the smell was. The samples were also chemically analyzed, and - eureka! - Levitt determined definitively the most malodorous component of the human flatus: hydrogen sulfide.
Pretty disgusting, eh? And, there are many others on the list that are just as unattractive. Read some of the others.

My take is that there is therapeutic anti-depressive value in knowing that there are some people who have a worse job. Call this a lift-your-spirits blog entry.

Hat tip: The Eyes Have It
Burger Proposed as Official Ohio Food

A constituent of Ohio Senator Kevin Coughlin of Cuyahoga Falls has advanced the idea of an Official Ohio State Food to the point where it's to be debated in the Ohio Statehouse next week. Coondog O'Karma wants the hamburger officially designated since legend has it being invented in Ohio at the Summit County Fair by the Menches brothers.

Expected to be in competition with the hamburger for the state food honor will be "country-fried tofu" which is supported by the vegetarians.

There's an unverified report that, if the burger is selected over the tofu, the vegan crowd will retaliate by forcing the Statehouse to consider morbid obesity as the Official State Disease.

Your tax dollars at work.
Gov. Taft Reduces Sentence for Baby Killing

Gov. Taft decided that a woman who killed and threw her baby in the trash was sentenced too harshly. The 15 years to life in prison sentence given to Rebecca Hopfer was reduced Thursday by Gov. Taft to 11 years. Consequently, she is immediately eligible for parole.

The Governor is also being requested to reduce the sentence for another baby killer, Carin Madden, who is serving a life sentence.

My take is that the Governor's actions seem to be trending toward making infanticide a misdemeanor and there's nothing is going to convince me that this is a good trend. Murderers should be treated harshly.

Friday, January 16, 2004

The Versatility of the US Marine Corps

The Marmot reports:
". . . a group of U.S. Marines have ridden horse patrols in the Mongolian steppes alongside native troops."
This has to be considered fairly extraordinary.
Swiss Cuisine

In the interest of cross-cultural awareness, here's a provocative story from Europe. According to the Rheintaler Bote, a weekly newspaper in Switzerland, human consumption of domestic animals, like dogs, is acceptable, however, sale or trade of such animals is prohibited. In fact, two communities in the Alps, St. Gallen and Appenzell, have traditionally enjoyed dogmeat at the dinner table. As expressed by one farmer, the typical attitude is that:
". . . meat from dogs is the healthiest of all. It has shorter fibres than cow meat, has no hormones like veal, no antibiotics like pork."
It is also generally accepted by the local population that dog lard has medicinal "health benefits," in particular for the treatment of rheumatism.

After a German television crew reported on the Swiss dog eating tradition, many people were shocked.
Letters of protest were written from different countries to the regional and federal governments. A petition was signed by 7000 people and handed to the commission of the Cantons [the political subdivisions of St. Gallen and Appenzell]. It was rejected and not passed on to the Federal Council. The reason? It would not be the duty of the state to watch over the eating habits of its citizens.
The Swiss should be applauded. No government should intrude on the dinner tables of its citizens. I'm sure there are many politicians in the US of a different opinion. By the way, this writer has no strong opinion on what other folks eat. It's none of my business.

Robert Koehler has more on this subject at The Marmot's Hole.
Proposed Amendment to the Michigan Constitution

A group called the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative has been gathering signatures on a petition to amend the state constitution to prohibit discrimination by banning the use of race, gender and other physical characteristics in government hiring and school admissions.

A counter movement called the Citizens for a United Michigan has been formed to encourage voters not to sign the petition so that some citizens may continue to receive more equality than others.

For the proposed amendment to appear on the November ballot, about 318,000 signatures need to be gathered in six months.
eBay Halts Bids on West Virginia

Auction item number 2372779353 was described on eBay as:
. . . the ENTIRE STATE of West Virginia. Please note that this auction does not come with governing rites, nor the inhabitants of said property. You also may not change the state flag, bird, or so on. This is merely for bragging rights, or to hang a sign in your garage that says, 'I own West Virginia.' Also please note, you will have every right to succeed from the union, but that has been tried in the past without much success.
Starting at $1, the bids reached almost $100,000,000 before eBay officials stopped the auction. A spokesman for eBay stated that they finally realized that the seller did not have the goods to sell. Some frequent eBay buyers stated that the opening bid was too high which accounted for a low number of bidders participating.

Hat tip: Wizbang
Muslim Writes How-To Book on Wife-Beating

(Fuengirola, Spain) In recent news from the "religion of peace," Imam Mohamed Kamal Mustafa wrote a book called Women in Islam which describes methods of wife beating that men should use to avoid leaving incriminating marks on the body. To discipline a disobedient wife, the Imam specifies:
"The blows should be concentrated on the hands and feet using a rod that is thin and light so that it does not leave scars or bruises on the body."
The book's message created such outrage that the Imam was charged with and found guilty by a jury in Barcelona of inciting violence against women. He was sentenced to 15 months in jail (suspended) and fined about $2,700.

In his defense, the Imam stated he was just interpreting the Koran. Also, the Koran apparently doesn't sanction any smacks up the side of the head nor POWs right in the kisser.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Social Security Records Dumped in Trash

People who advocate that the federal government take over the health care systems in the US should make note of the following story.
The inspector general's office for the Social Security Administration confirmed Wednesday that documents discarded by employees of contractors hired by the Social Security Administration in Chicago came from files belonging to residents in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati.

The workers were supposed to weed out duplicate documents while assembling the files for hearings, but they also got rid of other documents in the process.
The "other documents" included medical records and other information from hundreds of Social Security disability applicants in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota. Presently, there are over a thousand (not hundreds) people awaiting hearings for benefits with files of incomplete or indeterminate status.

It is not thought that anything criminal was involved in the dumping of the records. That's unfortunate. Uncorrectable bureaucratic ineptitude should be criminal.
Free Fishing in Michigan

On February 14 and 15, 2004, the State of Michigan will waive all fishing license fees for residents and out-of-state visitors alike on both inland and Great Lakes waters. Michigan's Winter Free Fishing Weekend will celebrate Michigan's world-class freshwater fishing. Special events and fishing clinics are planned throughout the state.
Elecia Battle Found Guilty

After pleading no contest to the charge of lying on a police report, Elecia Battle was found guilty today by South Euclid Municipal Court Judge Patricia Ann Kleri. The judge ordered a presentence investigation and set sentencing for February 19. See here for previous posting on Elecia Battle.
Lewis Williams Jr. Executed

As he begged for God to save his life, Lewis Williams, Jr., was dragged, kicking and screaming, and strapped onto his execution gurney. Streaming tears, he cried out: "I'm not guilty, I'm not guilty. God, please help me. I didn't commit these crimes." Four guards struggled with him as the needle was inserted into his vein. The end came shortly after 10am.

Williams spent 21 years on death row for the killing of 76-year-old Leoma Chmielewski in Cleveland. All of his appeals had been rejected, including the last, to God.

Rest in peace.
New Weblog Showcase

Take a look at the showcase contestant Cowcatchers Anonymous; Interview with a Terrorist at The Temporal Globe.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Today's Pop Quiz

The Coffee Achiever provides today's perplexing puzzler.
"According to the 2000 Census, there are 60,720,716 currently married women (Not divorced. Not separated. Not widowed. Married.) in the United States. According to the same census, there are 59,510,557 currently married men in the United States.

So who are those other 1,210,159 women married to?"
It's got me stumped.
Mixed Reaction to Imam Damrah Arrest

Cleveland area Muslims have been jolted by the arrest of Fawaz Damrah, Imam of the Grand Mosque, for violating immigration laws by concealing ties to terrorist organizations. Some civic leaders in the Arab-American and Muslim communities, usually defenders of Damrah, are now silent. Some feel that the Muslim community needs new and moderate representation.

But, not Haider Alawan, a member of the mosque's council of elders, who believes that Damrah is "being framed by Zionists for supporting a Palestinian homeland and perhaps inadvertently supporting groups wrongly labeled terrorist." He says he doesn't know who or where the Zionists are, but he loves the Hezbollah.

It might be worthwhile to take a good look at Haider Alawan.
69th Carnival of the Vanities

Jim Peacock has Carnival Number 69 posted at Snooze Button Dreams, consisting of about 40 entries. Next week's edition will be at Poliblog. Go visit.
Recycling - Turning Tax Dollars into Thin Air

A few weeks ago, this blog reported that the city of Cleveland finally realized that recycling is a giant waste of taxpayer dollars and decided to stop curbside pickup of recyclables. Consistent with Cleveland's experience, The Smallest Minority has a post with some additional examples of municipalities who have learned that recycling programs are fiscally irresponsible. Hopefully, as more and more locales change their policies toward recycling, the politicians will quit listening to the eco-utopian alarmists and start being prudent with taxpayer dollars.

Hat tip: Les Jones Blog
Carnival of the Canucks

I found some interesting reading in yet another blogfest. Called the Carnival of the Canucks, it's hosted at Discount Blogger this week. Apparently, it's open to Canadian writers only.

One has to wonder what would stop a non-Canadian from having an entry posted. After all, this is the Internet and there's no real way of knowing if someone is or is not Canadian. Eh? Nonetheless, a visit is recommended.
Russell Means Speaks at the Total Liberation Fest

(Erie, Pennsylvania) This past weekend, the Total Liberation Fest 2004 was held in Erie and was billed as "a revolutionary conference on state repression, political prisoners, social justice, and earth and animal liberation." About 200 attended to hear Russell Means of the American Indian Movement speak. He indicated he used to advocate militancy and violence, but now he encourages people to know the Constitution and their individual rights. Means addressed the young attendees.
"This is the world your folks and their folks have given to you, a world of graft and corruption at every level of leadership," he said.
To counter his gloomy assessment, Means advocates replacement of patriarchy with matriarchy. He said "thousands of years of history record that men are incapable of leadership." Given his current perspective, it is strongly recommended that he revise his reading list to include a history book or two.

The festival also featured Steven Best, a philosophy professor at the University of Texas, who talked about animal rights. Citing that billions of animals die in the name of "so-called" science, entertainment, and fashion, Best said:
"Animal rights is the next step in human moral evolution . . . ."
It's a safe bet that no person was capable of standing after listening the extreme leftist spewing of Means and Best. And, one has to wonder what philosophy Best teaches at the University of Texas.

Hat tip:

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Imam Fawaz Damrah Indicted

(Cleveland, Ohio) Imam Fawaz Mohammed Damrah, 41, was arrested at his home about 8:30am today by members of the FBI joint terrorism task force and charged with providing false or fraudulent information on his citizenship application. The "religion of peace" leader apparently concealed his affiliation or membership with several groups, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad which has been identified as a terrorist organization.

Damrah was born in Palestine and has been a permanent US resident since 1988 and a naturalized citizen since April 1994. If convicted, Imam Damrah faces a possible five years in prison, a $5,000 fine and loss of citizenship.

My take is simple. There's no surprise here. Time and again, the practitioners of the "religion of peace" have been nothing more than henchmen for Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. And, no surprise here either, it took way too long for the authorities to make an arrest.
Baghdad Bob's New Job

(Abu Dhabi) The former Iraqi Minister of Information, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, AKA Baghdad Bob, has been hired by Abu Dhabi TV as a news commentator.

Finally, the Arab world gets someone with the objectivity of Ralph Nader and he's more entertaining.
Ecoterrorists Plead Guilty

(Richmond, Virginia) In accordance with the tactics of the Earth Liberation Front, three young men vandalized more than 25 sport utility vehicles at a car dealership, construction equipment being used to build a mall and other building sites, and three fast-food restaurants. Adam Blackwell, 20, and Aaron Linas and John Wade, both 18, pleaded guilty to a federal criminal conspiracy charge, it was announced Monday. They will be sentenced in April and face a possible five years in prison. As part of the plea agreement, they must pay restitution of $200,000.

One has to wonder if these three young men would have become convicted felons right out of high school if they hadn't been inculcated with radical environmental theology throughout their entire student lives. The adoption of tree-hugging curricula within public school systems has to bear some responsibility for developing the mindset that resulted in these crimes. I suspect that there are a number of similar-minded fellow domestic terrorists in the same and other school systems.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Hat tip: Right-Thinking from the Left Coast
Man Leaves Jail, Steals Car in Parking Lot

(Atlanta, Georgia) After being released from the Fulton County Jail at 3:20am Saturday, Nathaniel Lee Stanley, 20, carjacked a woman's vehicle from the jail parking lot. He was being held on charges of violating the state's controlled substance laws, having a suspended driver's license and an expired tag. For some reason, a magistrate dismissed all the charges and Stanley was released.

It would have been nice if the magistrate's car had been stolen.
News Anchor Catherine Bosley Resigns After Wet T-Shirt Contest

(Youngstown, Ohio) Local TV news anchor Catherine Bosley and her husband went on vacation to Key West last March and apparently had a real good time. Such a good time that she decided to enter a wet T-shirt contest at a local bar and ultimately stripped down to nothing. Unfortunately, the festivities were videotaped by someone who later allowed the images to be broadcast on the Internet (Sorry, no link). Realizing this, Bosley resigned.

Many people have contended that the typical news anchor (male or female) is usually large on looks and small on intellect. Bosley's actions add fuel to that contention.

[Update: Catherine Bosley photos here.]

Trackback to Beltway Traffic Jam at OTB

Monday, January 12, 2004

Global Warming

According to Melanie Phillips's Diary, global warming is a scam. In an excellent post, Melanie shows that the primary arguments for the existence of man-made global warming are flawed computer projections without verifiable supporting evidence. This post is a must read.
Racial Abuse Claimed at Guantanamo Bay

Apparently there are guards at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that are racially abusing the terrorist prisoners. The (UK) Guardian reports on the alleged racial abuse:
Guards at Guantanamo Bay are racially abusing inmates by calling them "ragheads" and "camel-riders," the family of a British detainee claims.
A spokesperson for the base said the issue would be raised to the camp commander.

Amnesty International has taken an interest and stated that, if the allegations are true, it would be "totally unacceptable and alarming." And,
"It's important that the American authorities do a thorough investigation of these alleged comments."
Officials have not commented on the existence of a prohibited word list for the guard force, but an anonymous source believes it is being revised to include "camel-rider," "raghead" and, also, "poopie face" and "cootie breath."

I can't help but believe that things are pretty good for these prisoners if their primary complaint is that someone called them a name. Of more concern to me is that it appears that the guard force is being too polite. From my experience in the military, I would have expected much saltier language from American servicemen.

Check out The Daily Ablution for more on The Guardian and its reporting emphasis.
Carnival of the Capitalists

Over at Ensight, I like Jeremy C. Wright's presentation of the Carnival of the Capitalists this week. Along with a description of each entry, Jeremy adds some of his insights and humor. He also encourages his readers to take a look at the eBook The Cash Register Principle by Jon Strande. I'm planning on it.

Dollar Stores is this week's entry from Interested-Participant.
Hepatitis Outbreak Chi-Chi's to Reopen

(Center Township, Pennsylvania) The Chi-Chi's restaurant at the Beaver Valley Mall, closed since November 2nd due to a hepatitis outbreak, has been authorized to reopen by state health officials. Mark your dayplanner. At 4pm this Thursday (1/15), the restaurant will once again be serving customers.

According to health officials, Chi-Chi's was not responsible for the spread of the virus which sickened 660 people and caused three deaths. Contaminated Mexican green onions have been identified as the cause of the outbreak.

It is against the law to transport contaminated cargo into the US from Mexico, however, once across the border, illegal cargo is normally allowed to stay indefinitely and frequently provided free health care. Officials have not commented on whether the millions of illegal onions will be sent back to Mexico or just require registration.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

St. Clair River - Pathway of Human Smuggling

(Port Huron, Michigan) The Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge visited Michigan yesterday to review and discuss border safeguards on the St. Clair River and to inaugurate a system to shorten delays for commercial trucks crossing the Blue Water Bridge between the United States and Canada. Named the Free And Secure Trade (FAST) system, it speeds movement of authorized cars and trucks to border checkpoints.

Along with Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and Representative Candice Miller, Sec. Ridge also toured the river by helicopter. The 40-mile river, watched by about 40 U.S. Border Patrol agents, is "still a pathway of human smuggling," said Ridge.
He said networks that move illegal aliens into the United States or create false identities can be threats to the nation's security.

"We know when it comes to human trafficking there is an organized network that can be used to smuggle terrorists and weapons as well," he said.
In 2003, the Border Patrol detained 118 aliens trying to enter the US by crossing the St. Clair River.
While the number is small compared to activity along the border with Mexico, "It's pretty substantial for the northern border," said Dan Hiebert, spokesman for the Border Patrol at Selfridge Air Nation [sic] Guard Base.
Let's check the math. One hundred eighteen coming across the St. Clair River as compared to, uh, maybe a gazillion coming from Mexico. Yeah, it's small.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Dollar Stores

Dollar stores operate on the principle of high volume and low margin. Once called five-and-dimes, they've been doing business continuously for many, many decades. Always popular, but never more so than in recent times.

Family Dollar Stores, Inc., opened forty-one (41) new stores in fourteen (14) states in a four-week period last November. Do the math, that's ten new stores a week. They now have more than 5,000 stores in forty-three (43) states.

The Cincinnati-based grocery giant, Kroger, has recently entered the dollar store market, opening stores in Houston, Texas, which offer up to 15,000 items at $1 or less. Although operated in retail space owned by Kroger, they have separate entrances and signage. Product staples include food, clothing, greeting cards and party supplies.

According to Chuck Gilmer, editor of the Shelby Report which monitors the grocery industry, grocery store companies, in general, have taken notice of the success of dollar stores and are incorporating the concept in various manners in their stores. Sub-sections offering $1 items are common within large grocery outlets. However, the ability to compete with dollar store chain stores will be difficult since people do not normally associate groceries with dollar stores.

Recently, I was talking to a neighbor about this subject and he said, "You know, there's probably more than a dozen dollar stores within a few miles of my house. They're everywhere and that's good. They sell all the crappy cheap stuff everybody needs." He mentioned that he tried to buy a deck of cards at the mall and he couldn't find anything for less than $2. At the dollar store, he got two for a dollar.

In summary, the convenience of dollar stores, coupled with the availability of all kinds of inexpensive everyday items, gives them a comfortable corner of the American marketplace. Some people have suggested that their success is dependent on a slow economy. This writer disagrees. They may do better in a slow economy, but they'll still do well in a robust economy.
Child Abuser List Declared Unconstitutional

(Jefferson City, Missouri) The Missouri state registry of suspected child abusers has been declared unconstitutional by Cole County Circuit Court Judge Richard Callahan. Apparently the Division of Family Services had the nasty habit of placing people on the list who had never been convicted of any crime.

Somebody buy Judge Callahan a beer.

Hat tip: Wince and Nod
Iowa Caucuses

Dan Savage has an op-ed piece in the New York Times where he discusses the absolute lack of systematic control of who participates in the Iowa caucuses. He writes:
I was appalled when I learned that you didn't need a valid voter registration card or proof of residency - any identification at all - to take part in Iowa's caucuses. All you had to do was show up at a caucus site and fill out a voter registration card.
And, he describes his actual experience from the 2000 election.
So I went to a caucus site, gave the address of my hotel in Des Moines as my "residence" when I registered (no one asked how long I intended to reside in Iowa), and took part in the caucus. As it turned out, I didn't even need to register - when it came time to indicate whom we supported for president, slips of scrap paper were passed out to everyone in the room. There was nothing to stop someone who hadn't signed in, or even registered to vote, from grabbing a piece of paper and jotting down a name.
To determine if the requirements have changed since 2000, Savage contacted the Polk County Election Office in Des Moines and found that the process was the same as before.

Based upon his review of the controls imposed over the caucuses, he concluded that it would be exceedingly simple to adulterate the process by transporting a few busloads of supporters from another state into Iowa. More important, unless someone confesses, there's no way to determine if the results coming out of the caucuses just included Iowans.

Stuart Buck of The Buck Stops Here pointed me to this story and makes the comment that he can't understand "why it should be easier to get away with voting illegally than it is to rent a video from Blockbuster."

I agree.
Animal Abortion

Zee over at Spiced Sass had a conversation with an abortion advocate recently. Here's some of it:
. . . she got down right upset as I proceeded to speculate on the best method for yanking the fetus puppies from my dog's womb and suck their tiny little brains out of their little puppy skulls. I mean, after all, the poor mama dog doesn't even know she has a "choice."
After I read this, I drew a complete blank trying to figure out which animals, besides human females, regularly have the abortion procedure performed on them. There must be something, but I don't have clue. If anybody knows, please leave a comment.

After all, it just don't seem right for humans to be the only mammals regularly aborted. If animals have rights, they should have a right to an abortion. Don't ya' think?
Intruder Shot by Man With Expired Gun License

(Wilmette, Illinois) I read this story early yesterday and I couldn't get it out of my mind. It gnawed at my conscience all day. Not because of what happened, but because of the way it was reported by the Chicago Tribune. The basic story is about a burglar being shot and wounded by a homeowner. He escapes and is later apprehended. Unfortunately, a reader wouldn't know that by this headline:
Wilmette enforces gun ban
Nor would they easily digest the basic story by reading the article. Its focus is on the homeowner not having renewed his gun license. In fact, twenty (20) of the twenty-five (25) paragraphs in the article primarily address the expired gun license. Only five (5) touch on the actual series of felonies committed by the burglar. The disproportionate level of emphasis on the expired license as opposed to the felon and his crimes provides a basis for concluding that the Chicago Tribune has a strong anti-gun ownership bias.

For the benefit of the editors of the Chicago Tribune, your headline should have read:
Homeowner Stops Burglary
The content of the article should have concentrated on the burglary, the burglar, and the aftermath. The expired license should have been an afterthought.

I can't shake the feeling that the people in the newspaper's offices would be most satisfied if the homeowner gets assessed a large fine and goes to jail for the expired license and that they really don't give a hoot about what is done to the burglar.

Hat tip: Spoons Experience
No Communion for Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians

(La Crosse, Wisconsin) Bishop Raymond L. Burke of the Diocese of La Crosse has issued a decree that priests must withhold Communion to Catholic lawmakers who support abortion or euthanasia.
"I just don't know where this will go, and, frankly, I'm shocked by it," said La Crosse Mayor John Medinger, who describes himself as an active Catholic.

"If they're going to tell Catholic politicians if they vote in a certain way, are they also going to say that Catholics have to vote for certain politicians or they can't receive the sacraments," he said. "I just think it's very dangerous ice they're walking on."
The mayor's comments might be an exaggeration, but one thing is sure, the bishop's decree is contentious and it will put a spotlight on Catholic lawmakers. And, according to Rose Hammes, communications director for the La Crosse Diocese, the decree is binding on priests.

My take is twofold. First, priests may or may not comply with the binding decree. Recent experience with pedophile and homosexual priests indicates that they frequently ignore the edicts of the church.

Secondly, the Catholic Church historically has not been forceful when some terrible events transpired in society (the Holocaust is an example). I view it as positive that they are taking a strong public position. There is no possible benefit if the church has no effective voice.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Duct Tape Festival

(Avon, Ohio) Mark your calendars, folks. Much excitement planned for Father's Day weekend, June 19-20, at the Avon Heritage Duct Tape Festival.
"Hey, we're the duct tape capital of the U.S.," said Avon Mayor Jim Smith. "It's true. Sixty percent of the duct tape goes through Avon."
As the world headquarters for Henkel Consumer Adhesives, the largest manufacturer of duct tape, Avon is the logical venue for the celebration. Planned activities include:
- A parade with floats of duct tape-sculptures,
- Duct tape fashion show,
- Crowning of the Duct Tape Dad of the Year, and
- Traditional food booths, rides and a car show.
The festival is the first of the planned annual event and I suspect it will be a popular general interest news item.
Elizabeth Smart Kidnapper Ruled Incompetent

(Salt Lake City, Utah) Certainly everyone recalls the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart and her 9-month captivity by a self-styled prophet and his wife. Since last March, when they were found, Smart has returned to her family while the abductors have been in jail awaiting trial. A trial which may not occur.

Today, Judge Judith Atherton ruled that the wife, Wanda Barzee, 58, is incompetent to stand trial. Her "prophet" husband, Brian David Mitchell, 50, will have a competency hearing April 15. A similar result is expected for the husband.

This doesn't smell right to me. How many times has a court been duped into putting criminals into a mental hospital and thereby avoiding trial and punishment for their crimes? Don't be surprised if these two scum criminals are walking free in five years after having been "cured" of their mental illness and never having been prosecuted for kidnapping, sexual assault, and burglary.

My take is that sanity, mental illness, and competency hearings should have an achievable outcome of "too stupid to live" followed by immediate execution. Otherwise, justice is evaded.

Hat tip: Suburban Blight

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