Sunday, February 29, 2004

Foodbank Discourages Donated Food

According to a story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cleveland Foodbank pretty much just wants your cash. The article explains that it's really hard work to collect and distribute food, so they prefer to collect cash, buy the food and have it delivered.
That's because the Cleveland Foodbank, which runs the Harvest for Hunger campaign, can do more with a dollar than you can.
This succinctly demonstrates the do-gooder liberal philosophy at its core. Liberals believe that American citizens are incapable of responsibly spending their money.
Commercial Names Have Legal Protection, Private Names Don't

(Via UnderReported) U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. has ruled that a person's private name, barring commercial significance, is not protected under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act of 1999. This means that, if there is no commercial significance, any individual can create a website named for another person and write whatever they want about that person with impunity.

So, let's see if I understand this correctly. My frustration with the head of the school board, a withered shrew named Dr. Marjorie Mungo [fictitious name], could be alleviated by creating a website, There I could state that it's been reported that Dr. Mungo spends her free time smoking cigarettes and drinking vodka while watching pornographic videotapes. I could write that her great great grandfather hunted and tortured runaway slaves along the Ohio River. There could also be rumors that she habitually cheated on her exams in college and only got away with it by promising to tattoo "Go Buckeyes" on her buttocks. This could all be done and she couldn't use the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act to stop me because no commercial interest is involved.

Do I read this right?
President Replaces Two on Bioethics Council

By Executive Order in 2001, President Bush created the Council of Bioethics to advise him on emerging bioethical issues caused by advances in science and technology. On Friday, the President removed two members and named three new ones.

The dismissed members were Elizabeth Blackburn, a biologist at the University of California at San Francisco, and William May, an emeritus ethics professor at Southern Methodist University. Both generally disagree with conservatism and the President causing the council to be troubled by internal contentiousness.

Newly appointed were Benjamin Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins University; Diana Schaub, Political Science Department chair at Loyola College in Maryland; and Peter Lawler, a professor of government at Berry College in Georgia.

Loud voices, led by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), are claiming the President is playing politics.

Really? Politics? In Washington?

I personally think it's less about politics and more about pragmatism. The President put together a team of people to get something done. After it became clear that the team wasn't producing as desired because of the composition, the President changed the composition. The moral of the story, if you want to be on the President's team, play ball.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

OOOPS ! ! !

Excuse me for not being surprised by incompetence.
The Arkansas state seal accidentally appeared on Ohio driver's licenses and state identification cards that were issued earlier in the week, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced Friday.
Quality control seems to be lacking whenever the Motor Vehicle Department is involved. In a related incident, I recall that several years ago the prisoners making the Ohio license plates got confused and sent out a batch of plates for issue that displayed OIHO.

Maybe it's just bad luck.
Day Laborers Fear Identity Theft

I had a chance to look at the local Indymedia site and found a rather interesting piece about day laborers in Cleveland. Apparently, there was a group of them working for the Minute Men Agency located at 9749 Lorain Avenue. The agency had the unpopular habit of posting a waiting list with each laborer's name AND Social Security Number. Somebody noticed and mentioned that the practice could lead to identity theft and destroy people's lives.

The Day Laborers' Organizing Committee (DLOC), a project of the East Side Organizing Project (ESOP), immediately took action and organized a protest. Workers were incited to start chanting "we're fired up, can't take it no more" and, although the article doesn't provide much follow up information, presumably everything was fixed.

What is difficult to understand is why these day laborers would be in the least bit concerned about identity theft. After all, they are hiring themselves out on a daily basis for minimum wage to perform defined short-term jobs as unskilled manual laborers. They typically don't possess a regular job nor a wallet bulging with credit cards nor a home with a mortgage. As such, theft of their identities would seem to be extremely low on their list of worries.

Don't get me wrong. Under all circumstances, I believe that a person's identity and personal information should be protected. In the case of the day laborers at the Minute Men Agency, however, the protest about identity theft seemed to be used more as a vehicle for the DLOC to make noise and get attention than it was to correct the problem.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Paris Hilton Tops the List

The most effective method of increasing visitor traffic to a blog is to write about subjects that are the most talked about at a particular time. To do that is easy. Consult the headlines. Currently, the headline grabbers are the Democratic campaigns of John Kerry and John Edwards, tension in Haiti, Catholic sexual abuse, Rosie O'Donnell's lesbian marriage, and many others. So, any of many popular subjects can be blogged to attract readers. Unfortunately, to research and write about an individual subject is time-consuming and only people interested in that particular subject will be pointed to your blog.

However, there is a shortcut.

By consulting any of a variety of lists which compile data associated with readers' interests and including within your blog the key words and phrases which reflect those popular interests, readers will be directed to your site. For example, the Lycos 50 Daily Report lists the 50 most popular key search words for the previous week. If I include the top five (Paris Hilton, Janet Jackson, Anna Kournikova, Britney Spears, and KaZaA) in a blog entry, there's a good chance that many people will be directed to my blog. By the way, it doesn't hurt to throw Instapundit and Andrew Sullivan into the mix.

Unfortunately, there's a down side. The people who are looking for Paris Hilton are probably not in the least bit interested in the content of this post. Therefore, although you would see an increase in visitation by this technique, the results are not necessarily an indication of the quality of your writing or your site. With this in mind, it would seem that a prudent blogger would concentrate on producing high quality writing and not be overly concerned about the number of visitors. Call it the "If you build it, they will come" philosophy made famous by the Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams.

In conclusion, any sly technique to boost readership in the short run won't necessarily have any lasting effect, but it provides promise of increased visitation if the site is sufficiently engaging. Hopefully, with good content, transient peaks on the traffic counter will translate into a general increase in the site's popularity. And it never hurts to be Instalanched.

With the name dropping I've done in this post, I expect some hits. Too bad that they're not here for my engaging commentary.
Toilet Flushed into Storm Drain

(Leominster, Massachusetts) A persistent problem with pollution of the city water supply has been traced to an illegal sewer connection from a single home to a storm drain which went to the Notown Reservoir. According to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Regional Director Martin Suuberg:
"The contents were being flushed down the toilet into the storm drain. . ."
The connection was found by a private work crew inserting small cameras into the storm drains last Friday. It was subsequently excavated and terminated Thursday afternoon.

There is some indication that the illegal hookup may have been there for 20 years. Understandably, local officials have never been accused of being rushed into doing a poor job.
Masked Jacko Pulled Over by Cops

(Glenwood Springs, Colorado) After leaving a Wal-Mart, Michael Jackson was stopped by police and asked to identify himself. He pulled his mask down and the officers were satisfied.

So!!!??? Why is ABCNews reporting this?
Iraqi Guerrillas Reveal �Post-US Plan�

Several Iraqi guerrilla groups, including the Jaysh Muhammed (Muhammed's Army), Ansar al-Sunna (Followers of the Sunna [Faith]) and the Muqawama al-Iraqi al-Islamiya (Iraqi Islamic Resistance), issued a joint statement vowing to take control of Iraqi cities once the United States and their allies withdraw. Distributed in leaflet form, the vow is considered by many Baghdadis as "no more than a display of bravado."
"It is a fantasy, an attempt to frighten the occupation troops, Iraqi [party] militias, and the so-called Iraqi police," said Sheikh Laqeen al-Qaisi, imam of the predominantly Sunni al-Sadiq al-Amin mosque.
Although the statement was signed jointly by the various groups, they have a history of not being able to agree and work together.
Pimps Using Internet

According to this story, police in San Jose, California, are investigating cases where out-of-town pimps have come to the city and advertised sex with underage girls over the Internet.

I must confess. When I glanced at the headline for the story, my first thoughts were that it was about the election campaign managers for the Democratic candidates.
Alison Krauss to Wear $2 Million Shoes at Oscars

Singer Alison Krauss will glide onstage Sunday night at the Academy Awards in $2,000,000 stiletto sandals, 4 1/2-inches tall, created by Stuart Weitzman and adorned with 565 Kwiat diamonds. The story doesn't mention anything about high heels causing foot pain and she doesn't get to keep them. Also, as a person in fly-over country, I don't even know what Kwiat diamonds are, but I don't think they're sold at Kmart.
Tucows Acquires

(via PRNewswire) To enhance the capabilities available in its Blogware services, making it more easy for webloggers and website managers to create and consume content, information and digital media, Tucows has acquired Tucows Inc. provides services to more than 5,000 resellers such as ISPs and web hosting companies. These include domain name registration and management, digital certificates, managed DNS, email services, and software.

According to Jason DeFillippo, president of,
" makes it easy for users to add interesting and useful content to their weblog or website. Blogware makes it easy for users to create and maintain their weblog. The two are a perfect complement to one another."
Anybody want to guess which other feature unique to the blogosphere is next to be acquired by some corporation?
Michael Moore's Fudge Factor

A review of Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine:
". . . the reason children shoot each other is because rich conservatives force poor minorities to work in confectionery shops for substandard wages in order to satiate the wealthy tyrants' obsession for fudge."

[ ... ]

"When the poor folk are slaving away making this chocolate divinity, the homes are left without a guardian, leaving free access to easily-discovered firearms and their weapons, which of course can only result in the children bringing these guns to school where they will inevitably fire at other children because that's what children do, when their parents work long hours in fudge shops."
Thanks to Bryan McAnally for explaining Moore's fudge factor.
United Way Fund Raising Misses Goal

(Allegheny County, Pennsylvania) The local United Way has failed to meet its goal for the second straight year and the reason given is the loss of designated donations, in which the donor directly selects the agency to receive funds. Last year, the United Way of Allegheny County established a 15% fee for all designated donations. This means that if I give the United Way $1000 designated for the Boy Scouts, the United Way would charge me $150 to take my money and give it to the scouts. So, for the Boy Scouts to get $1000, I would have to give the United Way $1150.

Obviously, it's easier and cheaper to just give the money to the Boy Scouts and bypass the United Way. Consequently, the 15% fee is causing donors to give money directly and the United Way can't meet their fund raising goal.

This is all fine with me. The United Way has become increasingly more of a political puppet than an organization exclusively for the collection and distribution of charitable funds.
H&R Block Tax Booths Allow ID Theft

At about 600 Wal-Mart stores, booths have been set up for H&R Block tax preparers to provide convenience to filers during the upcoming tax season. Although convenient, the booths have raised questions about privacy and security of taxpayer information. In fact, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Attorney Robert Chastain identified several instances where taxpayer information could easily have been stolen. Computer screens displaying a customer's address, Social Security number, date of birth and other personal data were in plain view of all passers-by.
Call For Child Safety Seats on Planes

The Association of Flight Attendants Union is calling for a child safety seat requirement for infants and toddlers on aircraft. Now, here's a pop quiz. Who didn't see this coming? And, who thinks that requiring child safety seats won't increase ticket prices?

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Health Department Report

The following is a compilation of findings and actions by state and county health departments in Northeast Ohio.
Mentor - The Best Friends Restaurant on Center Street was found to have vegetables contaminated with blood from raw beef that was being cut into portions. The inspector found a total of four pages worth of problems, including persistent mold growth on a kitchen wall.

Seville - An inspector visited the East of Chicago Pizzeria to investigate a complaint from a former employee that said there were two cats wandering around the kitchen. The owner removed the cats and denied that they were brought in to chase away mice.

Seville - Customers were disgusted and frightened by numerous rats nesting and burrowing by a dumpster adjacent to the drive-thru at the McDonald's Restaurant at West 150th Street and Lorain Avenue. Records indicate others have complained about the rats over a period of months.

Strongsville - A customer at Pizza Hut complained of seeing a mouse caught in a trap pulling itself across the dining room floor.

University Heights - In response to a flyer for a place called "Come Smash at da Kitchen" being run out of the Euclid apartment building, an inspector tried to place an order.
"That's my s---. I'm on the lease. Don't come to my door, get the f--- out of here," the cook said.
"Come Smash at da Kitchen" remains closed.

Wickliffe - At the Shanghai Express Restaurant, a customer complained to the health department that they found a cockroach in their food. An inspector found an infestation of roaches present in the food-service area.
These are just a few of the circumstances inspectors encounter while enforcing public health laws related to eating establishments. Although these occurred in NE Ohio, I'm sure that similar conditions exist throughout the nation and attest to the need for vigorous enforcement of health standards.

And, for some reason, I can't shake the image of that poor mouse dragging himself across the dining room floor attempting to escape.
Catherine Bosley Files Lawsuit

(Youngstown, Ohio) Most people recall the story (see here and here) of Catherine Bosley who took off all her clothes at a videotaped wet t-shirt event while on vacation. Since that time, her nude pictures have appeared all over the Internet and, now, somebody is distributing a video titled "The Naked Anchor." As a result, Bosley has hired Attorney Mark Colucci to file suit on her behalf. Today, papers were presented in U.S. District Court to stop Internet sites using her image and name without her written permission. Fifteen Internet sites have been named in the suit as having displayed her image.

My take is that she may be a little late in her filing. There's probably not too many regular Internet users that have not seen her pictures. Also, I still don't think she should have been fired (or asked to resign) from her job.
Pregnant Students Kicked Off Campus

(Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea) According to Dr. Musawe Sinebare, Vice Chancellor of the University of Goroka, pregnant students are being kicked off campus to avoid babies distracting others from their studies. It is a policy that had been in place for a long time, but it had not been enforced by past administrations. Dormitories have cubicles for two single students to share and it would be unfair to the other student if one had a child living in a cubicle.

Of course, this situation would be handled much differently in the United States.
Don't Take Drugs to Court

(Akron, Ohio) While entering the Summit County Courthouse to face a drug possession charge, Leslie Buchanan, 55, was searched. He was arrested after security guards found he was carrying a bag of hashish. It's stupid, yes, but also entertaining.
United Way Putting Squeeze on Boy Scouts

(Columbus, Ohio) The United Way of Central Ohio has instituted a policy designed to squeeze the Boy Scouts into admitting homosexuals under threat of loss of funding.
Misspelling Printed on Kent State Diploma

(Kent, Ohio) Ooops!!!

It has to be most embarrassing for an institution of higher learning to make a grade school mistake. Kent State University registrar Roberta Sikula had to admit that diplomas were sent to graduates with "privileges" appearing as "privilieges" in the phrase "all the rights, and privileges and honors pertaining thereto."

The school is asking graduates to write "VOID" across the diploma and return it for a replacement.

Hat tip: Colorado Conservative
Blog Madness - The Final Conflicts

The Blog Madness tournament continues and the voters have kept me in contention. Polls are now open for the 7th Elimination Round and Interested-Participant is matched up against Sixteen entries remain in the contest and the end is near. So, folks, if you have been able to maintain a modicum of interest thus far, I'd appreciate your voting this round. My matchup is here. Thanks for your support.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Adbusters Promotes Labeling American Jews

Thanks to Eugene Volokh, I became aware of a recent opinion in Adbusters Magazine by editor Kalle Lasn that advocates annotating lists of influential individuals to identify the Jews. In other words, Lasn wants Jews labeled.

As a result, Volokh provides apt criticism, as does Michael Totten. Since I previously wrote about the activities of Adbusters, I'm also energized to weigh in on the subject.

Based upon my review of their self-description and their tactics, I concluded that Adbusters is a communist organization, both in philosophy and actions. For example, they describe their aim as:
". . . to topple existing power structures and forge a major rethinking of the way we will live in the 21st century.We want to change the way information flows, the way institutions wield power, the way the world keeps the peace, the way the food, fashion, automobile, sports, music and culture industries set their agendas."
Some may disagree and call this group Marxists, socialists or something else. That's fine. It's my interpretation that they are a bunch of communists and, as such, they deserve maximum exposure and ridicule. And, they should be afforded a level of credence comparable to that given the Flat Earth Society.

Another interesting aspect of Adbusters is that they request donations to their cause to be sent to the Tides Foundation. So, it's logical to assume that the Tides Foundation bankrolls their activities. It's also well known that the Tides Foundation is a primary recipient of funds from the Heinz Family Philanthropies, in general, and Teresa Heinz Kerry, in particular. In connecting the dots, I don't think it's a stretch to state that Adbusters, while advocating that American Jews be labeled, is receiving operating funds from the wife of a candidate for the presidency of the United States.

In summary, it appears that Mrs. John Kerry tacitly supports the labeling of Jews and the toppling of the American way of life.
A Doubly Prominent Carnival

Readers cannot help but do themselves a favor by visiting this week's Carnival of the Vanities #75. A supple coterie has been assembled by Da Goddess to support the bold presentation of more than 70 worthy entries. Note that it may not be work safe.
Segregated School Lunchrooms

Of all the problems with the American educational system, I wasn't aware that racial segregation in the cafeteria was one of them. According to this story, educators are concerned that black kids eat lunch with other blacks and white kids eat with other whites. Let's hope this doesn't result in some sort of forced integration in the school cafeterias.
Ohio Military Needs Help

US Air Force LTC (ret.) Steve Lynch sent a letter to Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love calling for some help in getting the word out to Ohioans in the military regarding proposed legislation called the Ohio Patriot Plan. Here's a portion of the letter:
. . . "The legislation is geared to help active duty, reserve and national guard personnel assigned outside of the state, and to also help their families. Among other things, it allows children of parents who have been deployed to remain in their home school district, and enables college students who have been recalled in the middle of a semester to receive military leave from school - rather than forfeit tuition or be otherwise penalized for serving their country. It also allows deployed personnel to cancel cell phone contracts without penalty."
The bill may not pass committee vote so help is necessary. Representative Peter Ujvagi (, co-sponsor of the bill, should be contacted to offer support. More details are here.
Teacher's Union Wants Paige's Head

(Lansing, Michigan) While discussing the No Child Left Behind Act during the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, Education Secretary Rod Paige called the National Education Association a "terrorist organization." In response, Michigan Education Association President Lu Battaglieri said that Paige "needs to be removed."

Under fire, Secretary Paige apologized.
"It was an inappropriate choice of words to describe the obstructionist scare tactics the NEA's Washington lobbyists have employed against No Child Left Behind's historic education reforms," Paige said.
It would be nice if the NEA would apologize for the continued poor performance they promote within American public schools.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

A-Rod in New York

Everybody pretty much dislikes having to move and live out of a suitcase while waiting for their permanent house to become available. I'm customarily sympathetic towards people undergoing such a burden, however, not so with Alex Rodriguez. His temporary digs on the upper east side of Manhattan, with views of the river and the park, go for a swimmingly handsome $20,000 per month. There he'll have to tough it out while searching for that multi-million dollar permanent place.

He can expect no sympathy from me.
Putin Fires His Government

There is absolutely no way this story strikes me as positive. With less than three weeks left before the Russian national elections, President Vladimir Putin has fired Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and his entire cabinet.

Imagine the consternation of a baby boomer having his son come home and announce that he's a DDR Freak. Growing up during the Cold War, I fully knew that DDR stood for communist East Germany, the Deutsche Democratic Republic. Yikes! My son's a commie, I thought.

Subsequently, however, I learned that DDR stood for Dance Dance Revolution and it's not related to communism nor political revolution. DDR is merely a youth-targeted video-music dance system designed to take a person's heart rate from normal to over 10,000 beats per minute in less than 90 seconds. Starting in Japan, DDR is now distributed world wide and gaining in popularity. This is contrary to most youth fads which have a history of short extremely successful lives and quick ignominious deaths.

DDR provides this explanation.
"Oprah doing the macarena? Swing craze? Riverdance? Nope, it took a videogame to turn a legion of career wallflowers into hip-shakin', dancin' idiots--er experts. The DDR phenomenon may have started in arcades, but its combination of no-look dance routines and profuse sweating has since migrated to your living room, and even into some school PE classes. It's the new Jazzercise."
Currently, DDR tournaments are being scheduled and held in many locations with $1,000 + prizes awarded. DDR is also being offered to the public as an exercise tool.

For the sake of full disclosure, I personally have not experienced Dance Dance Revolution at the advice of my doctor. He stated that I should participate only on a DDR system that is adjacent to an operating room at the Cleveland Clinic. I checked. They don't have one.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Trees' Rights Group

(Onekama, Michigan) An apparently very sensitive group of individuals has discerned that trees have rights and one of them is the right not to be trimmed. Consequently, the Trees' Rights Equal Environmental Sense group is trying to stop Consumers Energy from cutting and trimming trees that have grown too close to electrical power lines.

This "trees have rights" movement must be an indigenous Michigan phenomenon and I don't think it will catch on in my location. But even if it did, I have a hunch that Ohio trees would exercise their right to be well-groomed.
Environmentalists Sue EPA Over Weedkiller

Acting almost ritualistic, an environmental group is using a we-can't-afford-to-wait legal argument to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over use of the weedkiller atrazine. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sued the EPA last August because a judge ruled in the previous January that atrazine was flowing into streams in Washington state and harming salmon. Therefore, the government was ruled to have violated the Endangered Species Act and the judge ordered cutbacks on the use of atrazine near salmon-bearing rivers and streams.

Since atrazine is an effective, inexpensive, and widely used weedkiller, any adverse ruling will have a dramatic impact on agriculture throughout the United States. When agriculture prices take a step jump upward with a noticeable decrease in product quality, we can thank the Endangered Species Act, astute environmentalist lawyers, fuzzy and inconclusive research data, and activist liberal judges.

And, if there is general public concern expressed about the use of atrazine, our thanks needs to be directed to the Toledo Blade and similar media outlets for reporting the story as:
Weed Killer Raises Health Questions
Living in Ohio, I would never know by the headline that the questions raised concern the health of salmon in the Pacific Northwest. It's not a stretch to state that the Endangered Species Act is being used maliciously by environmental extremists to harm American business. Also, the bend-over-to-liberals editorial philosophy of the major media has to be credited with keeping the public appropriately ill-informed and alarmed.

Companion post at eTALKINGHEAD
Anarchy in California

The blatant violation of California state law regarding marriage of homosexuals by the mayor of San Francisco has produced a situation where one has to wonder who is in charge. San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom says he doesn't have to follow the laws of California so he breaks the law. Governor Schwarzenegger says the mayor can't do that and directs Attorney General Bill Lockyer to take action to force compliance by the mayor. Lockyer says the governor can't tell him what to do because he was elected by the voters. But his job is to enforce the laws passed by the legislature and voters, isn't it? And Newsom says he won't follow the laws unless a court tells him to. But the mayor is not an officer of the court. It's confusing.

Encapsulated, according to the San Francisco Chronicle,
A governor cannot tell an elected attorney general what to do, and neither can he tell a mayor what to do.
If this is true, the governorship is ceremonial. The attorney general is an independent contractor responsible to no one. And the mayor is the highest official in the independent country of San Francisco.

The entire situation has gone well beyond the point of people breaking the law. It's now a complete breakdown of enforcement of the law . In a country based upon the rule of law, this situation is intolerable. Somebody needs a spanking.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Nader Announces His Candidacy for President

Today, on Meet the Press, Ralph Nader told Tim Russert that he is running for the presidency as an independent candidate. He'll start campaigning this week. I was only able to catch bits and pieces of his statements and, correct me if I'm mistaken, he used the words "workers" and "corporate greed" often enough to give the impression that he's advocating a socialist government.
Gender Targeted 3rd World Aid Enhances Growth

In providing international aid to developing countries, many different philosophies and techniques have been implemented and monitored. Food aid, small-scale loans, health care, and other programs are in progress world-wide with varying degrees of success. For example, food aid in Somalia in recent years was unsuccessful due to widespread corruption and assistance to AIDS victims in some African nations is blocked by cultural barriers in addition to corruption. Nonetheless, developed nations realize the need to provide assistance and will continue to do so even if the results are not always predictable.

Recent studies, however, appear to indicate that gender targeted aid consistently produces much better results than aid that is not portioned for specific distribution to women. According to research by the Institute for Policy Research and Analysis for Dialogue, although in developing countries women are disadvantaged due to traditional gender inequality, giving special attention to female-headed households and women provides significant economic benefits. In fact,
". . . if Sub-Saharan Africa had the growth in the gendered ratio of educational attainments of East Asia, economic growth would have been 0.5% points higher, and that the differential in education and employment opportunities between men and women served to reduce annual per capita growth by 0.8% points."
As controversial and contentious the findings may be, they clearly indicate that those countries that deny equal rights to women are tying themselves to a future of poor economic development. Gender-targeted international aid produces significantly more positive economic growth than aid provided without a gender focus.
Issue 31 - Cuyahoga County Tax Increase

Voters in Cuyahoga County will go to the polls on March 2nd to decide on Issue 31, a $21,000,000 property tax increase for arts and culture and economic development. It seems odd that the public is being asked to raise taxes for the arts when fundamental services are being curtailed in the county due to budgetary shortfalls. Recently, the city of Cleveland dramatically reduced their police force, emergency services, and trash pickup and eight county school districts need to repair or replace leaky roofs, drafty classroom windows and old school buses. Of course, it's up to the Cuyahoga County voters to decide on how to spend their money.
The Mucky Media

I happened to catch this weekend's Fox News Watch program on cable and thought I'd relate portion of the discussion. Appearing on the program were:
Eric Burns - Fox News Watch moderator
Neal Gabler - Media critic
Jane Hall - American University
James Pinkerton - Newsday
Cal Thomas - Syndicated Columnist
When discussing the lack of major media coverage on allegations of infidelity by John Kerry, it was generally agreed by the pundits that the major media (NYTimes, WaPo, are "tidy" and other media are "mucky." Their message was that the "tidy media" doesn't report on allegations. And, with Gabler, Hall, and Pinkerton being most vocal, several minutes were specifically devoted to denigrating the "mucky media." It's interesting that the only names mentioned as being part of the "mucky media" were Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, but it was clearly understood that they were generally referring to Matt Drudge and the blogosphere.

In fairness to Cal Thomas, his voice was essentially drowned out by the arrogant smooch feasting of Gabler, Hall, and Pinkerton in praising the tidy and slamming the mucky. Eric Burns, as moderator, just seemed to go with the flow.

As for the "tidy media" not reporting allegations, that's pure hogwash. Any allegation against a Republican is front page news to the "tidy media."

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Canada Denies Asylum to Defector

The story of Song Dae Ri is somewhat disturbing. Mr. Ri was a North Korean trade official working in their Beijing embassy in 2001 when he defected to Canada with his wife and young son. Since then, his wife was lured back to North Korea and executed for treason, his son was granted asylum, and Mr. Ri has been branded as a war criminal not entitled to Canada's protection. However,
No allegations of specific crimes against humanity have been made against him, and Canada's War Crimes Unit found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Since Mr. Ri was a commodities broker and not a prison guard nor concentration camp worker, there seems to be no basis for calling him a war criminal. Nonetheless, Mr. Ri is at real risk of being sent back to North Korea and my guess is that he would be shot within minutes of arriving.

The blame for this whole situation can be placed on the nightmare government bureaucracy. While a man's life is in the balance, Bonnie Milliner of the Immigration and Refugee Board, Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan, the War Crimes Unit, and Immigration Minister Judy Sgro are engaging in an ugly bureaucratic cluster caucus with no leadership. Isn't there anyone in Canada with the authority and moxie to stand up and do the right thing?

The bureaucratic sloth needs to be jolted to give Mr. Ri asylum and move on.

(Companion post at eTALKINGHEAD)
Smell Mail

A British company has developed a system for sending various smells by email. According to anthropologist Kate Fox, director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford,
"Smells trigger very powerful and deep-seated emotional responses, and this additional element to the internet will enhance users' online experience by adding that crucial third dimension."
Well, I can think of a few places I'd like to send a stink-o-gram and that would definitely enhance my online experience.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Civility Proclamation

(Green Bay, Wisconsin) In order to demonstrate their support for the need for respectful behavior, the Brown County Board has passed a resolution adopting a pledge and proclamation declaring February as �Civility Month.� Unfortunately, of the 24 board members voting, only 19 agreed that people should be civil towards one another. Five people apparently were against civility or preferred a different month.

My take is that board members crammed together in the same room during the long cold Green Bay winters tends to make them cranky. And wacky.
Baby Names

The following is a comparison of the most popular male and female names for newborns chosen by German and American parents.
Male Baby Names
United States (Germany)

Jacob - (Maximilian)
Michael - (Alexander)
Joshua - (Leon)
Matthew - (Paul)
Ethan - (Lukas)
Joseph - (Felix)
Andrew - (Luca)
Christopher - (David)
Daniel - (Tim)
Nicholas - (Jonas)

Female Baby Names

Emily - (Marie)
Madison - (Sophie)
Hannah - (Maria)
Emma - (Anna)
Alexis - (Leah)
Ashley - (Laura)
Abigail - (Lena)
Sarah - (Leonie)
Samantha - (Julia)
Olivia - (Sarah)
The list of American names is according to the Social Security Administration data for 2002. The list of German names comes from statistics released this week by the Society for the German Language.
More . . . Blog Madness

I've been having these weird dreams about selling door-to-door. Maybe it's got something to do with the round after round of voting that's required for Blog Madness. But as a contestant who desires to do well, I'm obligated to continue asking my readers to go and review my entry along with my competitor's entry. Then vote for the better. Your indulgence is appreciated. Thanks.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Toy Store Wars Revisited

Thanks to my referral log, I was able to find out that my post on Toy Store Wars was given a right proper hosing by two individuals at Crescat Sententia. Ben Glatstein starts the fun, stating
. . . Interested-Participant is probably unrealistically disappointed in the antitrust laws. Again, I refer readers to Judge Wood's opinion for a more thorough analysis, but I think what Interested-Participant is missing is that exclusive dealings are sometimes good.
It is not clear why Mr. Glatstein referenced the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision presided over by Judge Diane P. Wood (Docket No. 98-4107). The court ruled that vertical agreements with toy manufacturers by Toys "R" Us were illegal and this supports my statement that they seem unfair.

Also, as part of his argument that exclusive dealings are good, Mr. Glatstein believes they eliminate the problem of "free riding," yet Judge Wood's decision discounts free riding as being adequate justification for vertical agreements in the toy business. In fact, in the toy business, it doesn't even exist. All the costs for advertising, inventory storage, and stocking are borne by the manufacturer. So, not only is Mr. Glatstein's argument not supported, the court's ruling is diametrically opposed to it.

Beth Plocharczyk continues the fun by stating that I believe restricted distribution of toys is "insidious." That's not true. I think it violates antitrust laws. Her argument is generally critical of my "market sensibilities," however, her supporting discussion is lacking in that it relies too heavily on her emotional attachment to the products.

In summary, both individuals who criticized my post appear to support collusion between manufacturers and retailers in the toy business. I don't think it's a fair practice and stated so. Additionally, it seems rather discourteous to slam another's writing and not inform that person. A simple comment or email would have been polite.

Lastly, what's missing in all this discussion is that the major point of my piece asked whether it would be prudent for the manufacturers to take action which protects the specialty stores by denying Wal-Mart access to the market. It does not seem to be a wise business decision to anger the 800-pound gorilla of the retail world.
Pedophilia Going Mainstream

I found this interesting, yet most disturbing, post at the Midwest Conservative Journal. Christopher Johnson relates the story of a 35-year-old pedophile, Lindsay Ashford, who decided to go public. Apparently he feels that secular society is prepared to accept pedophilia as a genetic condition worthy of consideration as an alternative lifestyle. Ashford and others are following the path traveled by the homosexual community and are expecting similar success in breaking down societal barriers. For example, pedophiles now have their own special interest group, The Danish Pedophile Association, advocating normalization of their behavior.

The post is informative and worth reading.
Trolling for Tailgaters

Pete posted this interesting paragraph over at Suburban Blight and I think it deserves additional exposure.
I'm driving in stop-and-go traffic, and the car ahead has one of those bumper stickers that's just a bit too small to read at a safe distance. I edge up closer and finally can read it: "I break for unicorns." When I pull past the car, I look over. The woman driving is wearing a neck brace.
I guess some things are just self-explanatory.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Paroled Murderer Kills Again

(Cleveland, Ohio) In 1991, Eroge Thomas was convicted of murdering 23-year-old Charles Nixon and sentenced to 20 years in prison. After serving about 12 years of his sentence, for some reason the parole board decided that Eroge Thomas should be let out of prison. Once freed, Thomas got a job at a hotel restaurant, but seemed to have difficulty getting along with his boss, 29-year-old head cook Amy Brin. So, with a 10-inch chef's knife, he attacked her.
Twice the blade plunged through her right lung and cut the two most vital blood vessels, the aorta and pulmonary artery. In all, she was stabbed 13 times in front of co-workers, and left to die amid spatters and pools of blood in the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center.
It sure seems to me that the parole board should share responsibility for this murder.

Salvation Army Must Pay for Sex Abuse

(Kenai, Alaska) According to this story, a jury has awarded $427,000 in compensatory damages to the victims (four young girls) of incidents of sexual abuse by a Salvation Army Minister. Superior Court Judge Harold Brown presided over the civil case against former Salvation Army Capt. Troy Trickel, Trickle's wife, and the Salvation Army. A ruling on punitive damages is expected soon.

One has to wonder how many people are willing to give to a charity organization so that they can pay off court judgments in civil sexual abuse cases.
Trackback Added

As you may notice, a nifty and jiffy trackback feature has been added to this site. Woo-hoo! Many thanks to Haloscan and Pete Holiday. Other folks on Blogger may want to pay them a visit.
EZ Squirt Boxer Shorts

I must have some of that shopping DNA because it seems I can't leave the Country Store without picking up something. The EZ Squirt Boxer Short sure seems like the perfect item to make a fashion statement in the boudoir. All that's needed is a blue dress for a harmonious ensemble.
Proposed Dog-Friendly Dining

(Honolulu, Hawaii) To allow people to dine with their dogs at restaurants, Hawaii State Senator Fred Hemmings has proposed legislation to change state health regulations which ban pets from food establishments. The Hawaii Advisory Council on Food Protection Practices is scheduled to vote on the measure tomorrow. If approved, diners will be able to date their dogs.

My take is that this is a pretty loony idea, but I've never had, nor desired to have, a dog as a dinner companion. I have, however, dined with companions who lacked table manners. They were slobs but at least they knew the purpose of a knife and fork. Also, there was little concern that they would relieve themselves or sniff any crotches during dinner. Nevertheless, if the proposed changes are approved, I wonder how long we'll have to wait before someone complains that the law discriminates against cats.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Voters From The Outfield

(Lake County, Indiana) According to this story, voter residences are not always verified by poll workers.
Lake County voting records show there are 116 people registered to vote in the footprint of the U.S. Steel Yard stadium.

Ten votes have been cast by people claiming to live where the baseball stadium sits, even a year after it was built.
Fraudulent voting in Lake County has usually been conspiratorial in nature, but not this time. Chalk up this case to good old-fashioned volunteer incompetence.
Carnival of the Capitalists

Ryan has the Carnival of the Capitalists posted at Tasty Manatees with business-related articles from the best and the brightest on the web. Next week, the carnival visits Forgotten Fronts.
TTLB Going Back to Basics

NZ Bear has announced that he's shedding some of the time-consuming functions of The Truth Laid Bear to devote more energy to blogging. Of note is that the New Weblog Showcase is on indefinite hiatus.

Let's hear a round of applause.
Law Proposed to Regulate Tongue-Splitting

(Charleston, West Virginia) According to this story, the practice of tongue-splitting may soon become a procedure regulated by law in West Virginia. If the legislation proposed by House Majority Leader Rick Staton is approved, tongue-splitting in the state will be a crime unless it's performed by a physician.

My take is that this action is a good idea, but it doesn't go far enough. The very thought of impressionable young people intentionally mutilating themselves in this manner is disgusting. As a minimum, society should enact laws to protect the young and ignorant from splitting their tongues. I'd suggest a minimum age of 21 with violations of the law specifying harsh penalties.

There exist all kinds of things that can negatively affect an individual's employability, but I can't think of many that would be more damaging to a successful career than a forked tongue. Nonetheless, make a note. Sometime in the near future the ACLU will file suit on behalf of some idiot that couldn't get hired or advanced because of the grotesque appearance he/she projects.

I'll go out on a limb and predict a few other things. Expect medical researchers to develop and perfect an expensive procedure for forked tongue repair. When available, lawsuits can be expected to force health insurance programs to cover the cost of forked tongue repairs. In the interim, there's a good chance that a national group will be formed to provide psychological support for the depressed victims of forked tongue. The national group will seek taxpayer funding for their organization, citing public health concerns.

Hat tip: In High Cotton

Monday, February 16, 2004


Well, there's only about 24 hours left to vote in the current round of the Blog Madness Tournament. Interested-Participant is locked in a close race with a post from So, readers, if you have a few minutes, go here and vote for the better post. Thanks.
Osama Enters Paradise

Being President's Day, I cannot tell a lie. This story is purloined from GDay Mate.
After his death, Osama bin Laden went to paradise.

He was greeted by George Washington, who slapped him across the face and yelled angrily, "How dare you attack the nation I helped conceive!" Then Patrick Henry punched Osama in the nose and James Madison kicked him in the groin. Bin Laden was subjected to similar beatings from John Randolph, James Monroe, Thomas Jefferson and 66 other early Americans.

As he writhed in pain on the ground, an angel appeared. Bin Laden groaned, "This is not what I was promised!"

The angel replied, "I told you there would be 72 Virginians waiting for you! What did you think I said?"
All kidding aside, if the male martyrs of the "religion of peace" are met with 72 virgins in paradise, just what do the female martyrs receive? So far, I haven't been able to find the answer to this question.
Whites-Only Scholarship

(Bristol, Rhode Island) The Roger Williams University College Republicans (RWUCR) are offering a $250 scholarship for students meeting specific criteria. The application for the White Scholarship Award states the following:
Only students who can truthfully answer YES to the following question may be considered for this award: Are you a student of non-color, caucasian descent (white)? If not, the Intercultural Center has compiled a list of scholarships that are available just for you.
An essay is required with each application which describes why the student is proud of his white heritage. And, to confirm whiteness, a recent picture must be attached, however, "evidence of bleaching will disqualify applicants."

Roger Williams University Provost Edward J. Kavanagh stated that the White Scholarship is an independent action by a student group and not endorsed by the university, adding:
"All those members of the Roger Williams University campus have a voice that deserves to be heard should they choose to speak out."
However, not everyone agrees with Provost Kavanagh concerning free speech. Although the Student Senate hasn't made a decision yet, their President, Erin Bedell, thinks the scholarship "needs to be evaluated." June Speakman, Associate Professor of Political Science, openly disagrees with the tactics of the College Republicans. Curiously, the Faculty Senate seems to be taking a wait and see position, having tabled the issue for further discussion.

Jason Mattera, President of the College Republicans, indicated that they won't back off on the subject.
"They wouldn't be so stupid to mess with us," Mattera said. "We'll give out the scholarship no matter what they say."
Their dissent, in the form of parody, is directed at minority scholarships in particular and affirmative action in general.

The scholarship recipient will be announced on February 18 at an event featuring Reginald Jones, who will be speaking at RWU on the subject of "How the Civil Rights Movement Destroyed the Black Community."

My take is that the College Republicans should be able to say and do whatever they desire as long as no rules are broken. Their parody of minority scholarships and affirmative action may be unwelcome and discourteous. It may even be insulting, but nothing about it seems to be illegal or libelous. On that basis, the College Republicans are only exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech.

Stay tuned.

[Update 2/18/04] According to the Providence Journal (registration required), the Student Senate voted last night not to censure the College Republicans for the group's whites-only scholarship, stating it is protected as a form of free speech.

Hat tip: Loaded Mouth, The Trommetter Times
Repair Job

(via LOL)
From the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia comes this story of a couple who drove their car to K-Mart only to have their car break down in the parking lot. The man told his wife to carry on with the shopping while he fixed the car there in the lot. The wife returned later to see a small group of people near the car.

On closer inspection she saw a pair of male legs protruding from under the chassis. Although the man was in shorts, they had ridden up his legs, and his lack of underpants had turned his private parts into glaringly public ones.

Unable to stand the embarrassment she dutifully stepped forward, quickly put her hand up his shorts and tucked everything back into place. On regaining her feet she looked across the hood and found herself staring at her husband who was standing idly by. The poor mechanic under the car had to have three stitches in his head.
The story is unconfirmed.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Toy Store Wars

Specialty toy stores are in trouble. Last December, FAO Inc., owner of the FAO Schwartz chain of toy stores, filed for bankruptcy. It was the second bankruptcy filing in less than a year. Last month, KB Toys Inc., which operates more than 1200 mall-based toy stores, filed for bankruptcy protection. FleetBoston Financial Corp. will provide $350 million in financing to fund operations during reorganization, which will include closing about a third of its stores.

Also last month, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services downgraded the short-term and long-term corporate credit ratings for Toys "R" Us based on their expectation that the company will not show recovery in performance. Although Toys "R" Us is the largest specialty toy chain, they are not expanding their store base as are Wal-Mart and Target. Therefore, the S & P assessment is that Toys "R" Us is not going to fend off the competition effectively enough to warrant an investment grade rating.

These dramatic changes in the toy market have been primarily attributed to intense price competition between the specialty toy stores and discount rivals Wal-Mart and Target. The result was a drastic reduction in sales revenue during the last quarter of 2003 for the specialty stores and they can't pay their bills. More worrisome is that it appears specialty toy stores will continue to be unable to compete with the prices offered by discount rivals. To stay in business, they have to do something different and, according to this story, they're planning to.
To protect themselves and toy retailers they see as key to their profits, some manufacturers plan to deliver fewer hot toys to Wal-Mart and to have more exclusive launches at chains like Toys "R" Us Inc.
So, to counter the competition from discount giants, the toy makers won't be sending them any of their toys to sell. Instead, specialty stores will be exclusive distributors of the toys, thereby assuring survival of the specialty stores and continuation of elevated profit margins on their products. Jim Silver, publisher of the Toy Book, an industry mag, believes action is necessary.
"Whether it is exclusive launches or controlled product shipments, they are going to do whatever they can to keep other retailers healthy," Silver said.
Apparently, collusion on distribution of products is not illegal under antitrust laws. That's news to me because it sure seems unfair.

In summary, specialty toy stores cannot compete on prices, so they will agree to deny the product to their discount rivals. Legality notwithstanding, is this a good idea? Toys "R" Us does less than $4 billion yearly while Wal-Mart does over $250 billion yearly. From a pure business relations standpoint, toy makers are at risk of receiving a less than preferential rating from Wal-Mart which could have dire consequences for future business opportunities.
Nader Likely as Independent Candidate

According to the Detroit Free Press, insiders are saying that Ralph Nader will most likely announce his candidacy next week. The result will be a much more entertaining race for the Presidency.
US Marines Land at Subic Bay

About 700 US Marines from Okinawa have landed at the former US Naval base at Subic Bay, Philippines, for exercises with government military forces. Combat training is planned to help the Philippines fight Muslim and communist insurgencies and guard against terror attacks. More American troops are scheduled to arrive within the next week.
Student Muslims Disrupt Daniel Pipes Lecture

Invited to speak at UC Berkeley, columnist and Middle East expert Daniel Pipes was met with loud disruptions by radical Muslims and cheerleading leftists who jeered, hissed, booed, along with moronically chanting "Zionist" and "racist," throughout the event. According to Cinnamon Stillwell, writing for ChronWatch,
. . . the Muslim Student Association (MSA) was out in full force on Tuesday, acting like the thugs and bullies they routinely accuse Pipes of supporting. There were about 50-70 of them, amidst a crowd of 700, and after failing to prevent Pipes from speaking, they did their best to try and disrupt the lecture and intimidate the audience.
Amid the ugliness and chaos, Pipes maintained his composure and was able to complete his lecture on The War on Terrorism.

Of special note and particularly disturbing was the way the protesters reacted to his speech. For example,
When Pipes brought up the need to support moderate Muslims over those who subscribe to militant Islam, they booed.

When he brought up the need to improve the status of women in Islamic countries, they booed.

When he warned that peace in the Middle East would never be achieved as long as the Palestinians continued to subscribe to a ''cult of death,'' they booed.

When he mentioned Middle East Studies professors who have been arrested under terrorism charges, they booed.

When he discussed the need to combat Islamic terrorism, they booed.
The level of hostility and anti-Semitism displayed by the radical Muslims and their leftist supporters indicates that a real danger resides on America's college campuses. UC Berkeley is only one of many. Winning the War on Terror will require defeating these destructive forces at home.

(via Dhimmi Watch)

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Blog Madness Voting Continues, Again

Polls open just about now for the next round of voting. Granted, the tournament has been going on for a while, but the number of remaining contestants is greatly reduced. The end is in sight. Thanks for your vote.
Canadians Upset With Conan O'Brien

This story caught my eye.
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's government on Friday condemned a show by U.S. late-night television host Conan O'Brien that insulted people in French-speaking Quebec and seemed to suggest everyone in the province was homosexual.
Apparently O'Brien used his puppet, Triumph - The Insult Comic Dog, to blister Canadian sensitivities concerning homosexuality and hygiene.

My take is that the Canadians should occasionally expect to receive dirt from the US. They sure don't seem to have any reservations about dishing it out.
Another Columbus Interstate Shooting

A gunman shot and hit a vehicle on Interstate 70 early Saturday and the incident appears to be linked to previous shootings around Columbus. Witnesses said they saw:
. . . a white male about 30 to 40 years who was of average height and weight. He had dark hair and a dark hat and wore dark sunglasses. They described his vehicle as a small to mid-size dark-colored sedan. The vehicle was possibly a Chevrolet Geo Metro . . .
It seems the shooter is becoming bolder and much more aggressive since he is allowing himself to be seen by the public. A reward of $60,000 still remains to be collected for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the shooter.
Pig Fat to Deter Suicide Bombers

(Jerusalem) According to this story, Israeli police are planning to hang bags of pig fat on buses to deter Palestinian suicide bombings.
Authorities believe that the move could discourage Palestinians from carrying out attacks as pieces of their exploded body could come into contact with the pig fat, prejudicing their chances of entering into paradise.
Shopping malls and schools are also considered to be likely locations for bags of pig fat.
State Law Overrules HIPAA on Medical Records

(Dallas, Texas) The Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has ruled that state public information laws take precedence over the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA. According to Abbott,
"In Texas, government records are presumed open unless specific exceptions apply. HIPAA is not an exception to the rule of openness in the state of Texas."
The ruling will allow access to certain medical records and basic information, such as patient admissions and conditions, that were being withheld due to HIPAA. It's anticipated that the decision will face a court challenge.

The unfolding of this issue in Texas may have far-reaching consequences and will be monitored closely around the country. In Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, for example, the HIPAA requirements have prevented law enforcement personnel from conducting thorough background medical records checks on individuals applying for concealed carry permits. The Texas ruling may change everything.
Jimmy Carter to the Rescue?

The Discoshaman has introduced an idea that the Democrats may want to consider if John Kerry's peccadilloes become too much of a negative. What better candidate could there be than someone with experience at the job and a winner of the Nobel Prize? Jimmy Carter would be perfect.

He would appeal to some Southerners and evangelicals. The anti-war folks, along with the UN, the Europeans, and the Africans, love him. He could cite the Camp David Accords as qualifying him to resolve all conflict in the Middle East, all the while mentioning his Nobel Peace Prize. And, Carter leans left in just about everything and this is consistent with the Democratic leadership's stance on most issues.

When Senator Robert Toricelli got into trouble running for reelection to the US Senate in New Jersey, the Democrats pulled him for pinch candidate and ex-Senator Frank Lautenberg who went on to win the seat. Why not do the same if John Kerry stumbles? Put wizened veteran Jimmy Carter on the playing field and see if he can hit a home run.

Of course, a Carter campaign would be attacked by that picky group of voters that remember his previous administration provided 20 percent mortgage interest rates and 12 percent inflation.

Companion post at eTALKINGHEAD.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Educators Told to Help Children With Feelings

According to this story,
Randy Copas, director of the Hannah Neil Center for Children in Columbus, told eight school staff members at a workshop they should tell students that it's OK to be angry or sad, but what they do with those feelings is important.
It seems this workshop was devoted to teaching rudimentary common sense with a strong touchy-feely emphasis. More than likely, it's a beginning course in their professional development program. If tax dollars were used to pay for the workshop, I'd like to be reimbursed.

Hopefully, the lunch buffet was good.
US Launches Arab TV Channel

The US government has launched an Arabic language television channel to be broadcast via satellite to young audiences in Arab countries. Called al-Hurra meaning "The Free One," its role will be to promote democracy and influence public opinion.

Middle Easterners are critical. According to a Syrian newspaper,
"This station is part of a project to re-colonise the Arab homeland that the United States seeks to implement through a carrot-and-stick policy," it said.
Yeah, folks, the United States needs a television station to impose its will and colonize the Middle East. I guess the tanks, missiles, and airplanes are just too ineffective.
High School Students Accused of Selling Porn

Two students at a prestigious Catholic high school face possible criminal charges for allegedly selling pornographic DVDs for $10 each to students on school grounds.

Thirteen other students of St. Xavier High School, who allegedly purchased the DVDs, could be disciplined for having them at the all-boys school. The school had 28 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists last year and is considered one of the best high schools in the region.

I suppose it would be ridiculous to draw a correlation between high scholarship and . . . uh . . . never mind.
Elecia Battle Changes Plea

Elecia Battle of the lost lottery ticket fame was convicted of filing a false police report after pleading no contest. She has now changed her plea to not guilty. A court preliminary hearing is scheduled in anticipation of a jury trial.
Dems Request UN to Monitor 2004 Elections

(Bangor, Maine) According to this story, some Democrats in Maine have formally requested that the United Nations provide oversight on the 2004 election. With the UN involved, they hope to "avoid the legal and political turmoil surrounding the 2000 presidential election, the outcome of which was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court." [Excuse me. The outcome was determined by vote totals, but the Bangor Daily News apparently thinks otherwise. Of course, this may explain why some of their readers are tipped toward the wacky side.]

It comes as no surprise that, of the group of Democrats requesting UN involvement, the largest percentage voted for Dennis Kucinich in the recent caucuses.

Hat tip: Move Along, There's Nothing to See Here...
Sun Dogs

(Via Mike Media) I thought this was interesting.
�Sun dogs, also called mock suns, are colored, luminous spots caused by the refraction of light by six-sided ice crystals in the atmosphere. These bright spots form in the solar halo at points that are 22 degrees on either side of the sun and at the same elevation as the sun.�
Here's an image.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Toxic Spill in St. Clair River

According to this story, a Canadian company, Imperial Oil of Sarnia, discharged approximately 40,000 gallons of oil solvent into the St. Clair River which separates Ontario from the state of Michigan. The oil company apologized.

Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality and Ontario's Environment Ministry are reviewing the incident. Any assessment of penalties would have to be by action of the Ontario Environment Ministry. They have two years to complete their investigation.

Two years! Helluva job!
Alleged John Kerry Infidelity

Looks like Matt Drudge has scooped the elite media again. Apparently, TIME magazine, ABC NEWS, the WASHINGTON POST, THE HILL and the ASSOCIATED PRESS are reluctantly investigating the story of a woman who approached a reporter last year claiming fantastic stories about John Kerry.
Today's Health Emergency

In the interest of maintaining the American public in a constant state of alarm regarding health, the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, in conjunction with the elite media, has called for drastic action to reduce salt consumption. This action is considered supportive of a dedicated agenda to limit future availability of processed and snack foods which generally have high sodium content.

While elevating the health emergency level to "Drastic" for salt, the Institute's report also revises the previously issued alarm for water consumption. No longer is it necessary to assure that 91 to 125 ounces of water are consumed daily to force flush the human body of waste products. This change comes from the realization that too much water intake may be life-threatening. Consequently, the health emergency level of "Urgent" for water has been revised downward to "Oops!"

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Today's True Story
A couple goes on vacation to a fishing resort in Northern Minnesota.

The husband likes to fish at the crack of dawn. The wife likes to read.

One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and continues to read her book.

Along comes a game warden in his boat. He pulls alongside the woman and says, "Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?"

"Reading a book, she replies. (Thinking, "Isn't it obvious?")

"You're in a restricted fishing area," he informs her.

"I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing, I'm reading," she says.

"Yes, but you have all the right equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up."

The woman pauses, then says, "If you do that, I'll have you charged with sexual assault."

"But I haven't touched you," says the game warden, incredulous.

"That's true," says the woman, "but you have all the right equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment."

The game warden looks at the woman. "Good day, Ma'am," he says and leaves.
Many thanks to Brent at Cop Talk.
Building Code for Dog Houses

(Olmsted Falls, Ohio) The City Council approved a law that requires dog owners to waterproof all doghouses and equip them with bedding and self-closing doors or flaps. Along with confiscation of the dogs, a penalty of $700 fine and 90 days in jail may be imposed for violations.

Trackback to Beltway Traffic Jam at OTB.
Blog Madness Elimination Bracket - Polls Open

Well, it was a race to the finish. Unfortunately, my Blog Madness Third Round entry, Media Bias, lost by a vote of 19 to 17. I want to thank everyone who supported me. The tournament is double elimination so Interested-Participant is not out yet.

In order to make it to the finals, continued support of my readers is solicited. Click here for the Fourth Round in the elimination bracket and review the entries. If determined worthy, your vote for Media Bias would be appreciated.
Father Arko Being Investigated for Molestation

Along with being indicted on drug charges, Father Richard Arko is now being investigated on a claim he molested a teen-age boy over several years.
Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Mary Ann Kovach said Tuesday that she is in the process of scheduling a meeting with Norton police detectives to determine if sex charges should be brought against Arko.
It seems that every day that goes by, the story of Richard Arko gets more complicated. Besides being a Roman Catholic priest charged with drug offenses and under investigation for molestation of a teen, he additionally is a radical vegetarian, a yoga instructor, a licensed massage therapist, and a stray animal rescuer.
"Physicians" Blast Dr. Atkins

The late Dr. Atkins is being smeared by a PETA-backed radical animal rights front group called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). I wrote about these extremists a couple months ago. Here's an excerpt:
"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." (See the rest here.)
Generally, the PCRM should be ignored, unless there's an opportunity for biting ridicule.

Hat tip: Random Nuclear Strikes
Carnival of the Vanities #73

About 60 entries are posted in Carnival #73 at On The Third Hand, providing a quick and easy overview of the variety, creativity, and diversity of the blogosphere. To see the insights of others, expose yourself to the Carnival.

Next week's carnival will be hosted by Four Right Wing Wackos.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Number of Priests Molesting Minors

According to this story,
". . . 1,341 clergy members have been accused of molesting minors, with more than half the dioceses yet to report."
Society cannot allow this problem to continue. Unfortunately, I haven't heard of many priests being convicted and marched off to prison.
Schoolgirl Makes Bong During Show-and-Tell

(Darwin, Australia) This story is disturbing.
A FIVE-YEAR-OLD girl shocked teachers when she showed her class how to make a bong out of a Coke bottle during a 'show and tell' session.
Now that she knows how to make a bong, one has to wonder how long it will take her to use it.
Associated Press Report Inaccurate

Here's an example of how inaccurate reporting can completely mislead the reader. At issue is former weapons inspector David Kay's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The AP reported:
. . . David Kay, who has said that U.S. intelligence was "almost all wrong" about Saddam's arms . . .
This statement indicates that David Kay assigns culpability directly to the US intelligence community for being wrong about WMDs in Iraq. But, it's not what David Kay actually said. According to the transcript, Mr. Kay stated:
Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here.
Kay then mentions the French and the Germans as being included in his definition of who was wrong.

David Kay's assertion that everyone was wrong in assessing Iraq's WMDs is not translated into the AP report. Instead, readers are told that the US intelligence community bears the responsibility.

As to whether the inaccuracy in reporting was through intent or incompetence is not known. However, given that the elite media has a reputation for being generally anti-American and consistently anti-Bush, it would be hard to dispute the contention that this is just one more example of the insidiously stealthy manner that a bias is inserted into a presumed objective news story.

Hat tip: Low Earth Orbit
John Glenn's Presidential Campaign Debt

Twenty years ago, John Glenn ran against Walter Mondale to be the Democrat candidate for President, taking out a series of loans to finance his campaign. Unfortunately, poor showings in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire and Alabama primaries prompted him to withdraw from the running. Mondale went on to run against and lose to President Reagan. Except for one thing, none of this is news. The one thing is that John Glenn has yet to pay off his campaign loans.

According to this report, former Senator Glenn still owes $2,610,000 and it doesn't appear that there are any plans to repay. Larry Noble, Executive Director of the Center for Responsive Politics, stated that the campaign debt could continue indefinitely.
"This is always a problem with candidates who lose who borrow a lot of money. It's hard to raise money after you've lost," he said.
There's a moral to this story. Don't loan money to a politician. If he's not popular enough for people to donate money, chances are he's not going to be popular enough to get elected. And, if he's not elected, chances are slim that money will be available to retire the loans.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Latest Beltway Shootings Linked

(Columbus, Ohio) The two shootings of vehicles yesterday along Interstate 71 in Fayette County have been linked to 21 others since May, including one that killed a woman, Gail Knisley, in November. Fortunately, no one was injured in the latest shootings according to Franklin County Sheriff's Office Chief Steve Martin.

A $60,000 reward is available for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the shooter responsible for Gail Knisley's death.
VOTE NOW - Polls Close in 90 Minutes

My opponent in Round Three of Blog Madness is leading with 90 minutes to go. Interested-Participant needs your vote, however, will not stoop to outright bribery like my opponent. All I've got is my ability to beg. So, please vote here for Media Bias.

BTW, my begging skills are unpolished.
Pain Relief During Abortion

This story has me shaking my head in dumbfoundedness.
A bill is gathering support in the Virginia legislature that would require unborn children be administered a painkiller before abortions are performed.
What is this lunacy?

Imagine this scenario.
"Okay, Ma'm. Pursuant to the laws of Virginia, I have to administer a painkiller before I suck out your baby's brain. Hold still."
If it's not done, the doctor would be subject to criminal penalties.


Hat tip: My 2 Cent
Question About Adoption

With the Massachusetts Supreme Court strongly mandating that homosexual marriages become normal practice in the Bay State, questions are now being asked about peripheral effects of the court's ruling. As an example, John Ray has posted an email he received from a reader, Eleanor Spreitzer, who asks:
"Are women who give up their children for adoption given the opportunity to chose [sic] that their children be adopted only by heterosexual couples or do they have no say in the fact that homosexual couples may adopt their children?"
Since there are fifty states, it wouldn't be surprising to have many, many answers to the question depending on the location the adoption took place. There also is a high level of confidentiality maintained throughout the process, so there's a possibility that not only would a person not have a say, but they additionally wouldn't know that their child was adopted by a homosexual couple. This would seem to be particularly true if the adoption was arranged through a private agency.
Vote in Blog Madness

Voting in Blog Madness Round 3 continues with the polls closing in about 22 hours (Midnight Monday). So, readers, please take the time to visit here, review the entries, and cast your vote. Hopefully, the Media Bias post will be most worthy. Thanks.
Carnival of the Capitalists

Jason has this week's carnival posted at The Trommetter Times. Next week, the host will be Tasty Manatees.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Australia, US Sign Free Trade Pact

(Washington) In a deal requiring the approval of Congress and the Australian Cabinet, President Bush and Australia's prime minister, John Howard, agreed to eliminate duties from more than 99 percent of American manufacturing exports to Australia and vice versa. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick and Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile stated in a news conference that the agreement could boost trade between the two countries by billions of dollars.

Australian farmers have long desired to tap into the large US market and will now be able to, but not completely. According to Peter Corish, President of the National Farmers Federation, the agreement benefits Australian dairy producers, wool, and other agricultural industries, but it specifically excludes sugar, which is a highly protected US market. Although Australian opposition leader Mark Latham remarked that the deal was rushed by Bush and Howard because this is an election year and that it "doesn't appear to be in Australia's national interest," the farming and manufacturing sectors will benefit considerably.

To prevent a flood of beef and dairy products into the US, the agreement calls for lengthy phase-in periods to protect jobs on American farms and ranches. Meanwhile, Australia can anticipate a flood of American manufactured goods, in particular, light commercial vehicles.

Most observers consider the agreement a first step toward continued opening of markets. It's also considered to be a strengthening of economic ties between the US and Australia along with providing some reward to Australia for being a noble ally of the United States in the Iraq War.

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