Monday, May 31, 2004

Baby Jessica Graduates From High School

(Midland, Texas) Last Friday, 18-year-old Jessica McClure graduated from Greenwood High School. To refresh everybody's memory, Baby Jessica fell down a well in October 1987 and it became a heart-wrenching international news story saturating all media over many days. A few words are appropriate.

Congratulations! You've come a long way, Baby!
Hatred Web Sites Increasing

According to the experts at SurfControl, the number of Internet sites spewing hatred and violence has increased by 26% since the start of this year to just under 11,000 total. The number of U.S.-based hate Web sites rose to 497 in 2003, a 12% increase compared with 2002. Not surprisingly,
Many sites disparage blacks and Jews, said Susan Larson, SurfControl's president of global content. But the company has noticed more anti-Muslim Web sites since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It's believed that relatively few people frequent hate sites, but they are considered a danger to impressionable children and teenagers. I think prudent individuals should be vigilant in making sure they don't add to the hatred. There's already much more than enough.
Policeman Claims Discrimination

(Chicago, Illinois) Police Officer Nail Majid, a Muslim Palestinian-American, claims he was discriminated against because other officers made derogatory comments towards him after September 11th. He has filed a lawsuit against the city and the police department.

I don't think it's a stretch to say that the events of 9/11 are worthy of a few derogatory comments. Unless there's a lot more to this story, I think that Officer Majid might be a bit too sensitively-natured for police work.
Drunk 14-Year-Old Girl

(Kittanning, Pennsylvania) Steven Frederick Fox, 43, and Shane Michael Dickey, 18, were arrested for sexually assaulting a drunk 14-year-old girl. The alleged incident occurred last Friday in the Five Points area of Washington Township, Indiana County.

Three individuals, alcohol, and no adult supervision.
Judge Frank Del Vero Quits

(Lansing, Michigan) Hounded by charges of sexual harassment, Michigan District Court Judge Frank Del Vero announced his retirement in a letter to Gov. Jennifer Granholm. He's been accused of making comments about sex and women's breasts in court hallways, in his chambers and in the clerk's office. One case brought against him by his former secretary, Susan LeuVoy, was settled out of court for $150,000.

Regarding his career, Del Vero, 61, stated that he has "many fond memories while serving."

My take is that the comments and behavior of Judge Del Vero would probably not have been considered harassment 40 years ago when he started his legal career. However, in the ensuing time, the rules of acceptable male-female interactions in the workplace have been revised dramatically. Frank Del Vero was probably playing by the old rules and got called on it.
Crime Spree

(Dearborn, Michigan) A big, 14-year-old boy was arrested for disturbing the peace after he yelled and swore at his mommy and a police officer.

To protect and serve.
Air America

According to this report, Air America is having persistent problems getting established. It's perilously near running out of reliable funding and some question whether it can survive past the November elections. Notably, the chief advertised on-air talent, Al Franken, is no longer receiving a paycheck.
N.M. Officials Face Drug Charges

(Albuquerque, New Mexico) Gov. Bill Richardson has expressed deep disappointment by the drug-possession arrests Saturday of State District Judge John Brennan and Patricia Mattioli, an official of the State Commission on Higher Education. They were apprehended after allegedly trying to elude officers at a DWI checkpoint and found to have cocaine powder in their possession. Brennan also failed a field sobriety test and was additionally charged with evidence tampering. Both Brennan and Mattioli have taken administrative leave from their government positions.

Since both the accused are chummy with the liberal governor, I suspect that the liberal media won't be giving the story much attention and that the charges will be downgraded to misdemeanors.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Greenie Dilemma

What to do? The cormorant droppings are killing the trees on Middle Island, south of Pelee Island in Lake Erie. Will the environmentalists tolerate the continued death of the pristine forest and kill the filthy murderous birds? Or, will they preserve the essence and beauty of nature's wild birds and allow the island's vegetation to vanish?

The problem has been taken under advisement.
Harry Potter Piracy Police

Staff at movie theaters in the UK will be using military-style night-sights to scan the dark for people making pirate copies of the new Harry Potter film, The Prisoner of Azkaban. It's reported that the pirates will be "hauled out of their seats and reported straight away to the police."

I suspect that this action will not be much more than an irritation to the bootleg DVD industry.
Best Restroom

For those people who like to spend their leisure hours in the bathroom, this story should be of interest. A restroom in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, has been voted the best in America. I'm personally more of a pragmatist when it comes to restrooms, opting for raw convenience and short stay times over frills.
Sex Offender Re-offends

(Columbus, Ohio) Convicted sex offender Kenneth Dixon, 32, has re-offended. He's in jail on charges of rape, kidnapping and gross sexual imposition. Dixon allegedly followed a 5-year-old boy into a restroom and sexually assaulted him in a stall. If convicted this time, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

I'll wager this guy's back on the street in less than 5 years and he will continue following little boys into restrooms. The justice system has a demonstrated blind eye toward the danger posed by pedophiles.
Anorexic Black Teenager

As mentioned in a previous post, researchers studying eating disorders have been trying to accumulate data on a representative sample of anorexic black teenagers. Apparently, there's been no success. If anyone knows of recent findings, please leave comment.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Britney Spears on Tour

(Oslo, Norway) The critics saw BS perform and were not impressed.
Britney sang and pranced around for 90 minutes, but critics called it little more than "erotic aerobics." The reviews were so bad, that one critic claimed Britney would have been booed off the stage if she wasn't so famous.
The 8,000 fans at the Oslo Spektrum, however, apparently disagree. It's reported that they enjoyed themselves.

I'm sure BS is primarily interested in the satisfying the fans. The critics don't buy anything.
Prison Population

According to this Associated Press story, almost 2.1 million people or one of every 75 men is living in prison or jail. The report also states:
"The inmate population continued its rise despite a fall in the crime rate ..."
I don't know how to explain that distorted logic. The crime rate is falling BECAUSE the inmate population is rising. The criminals can't commit crimes when they are in jail.

Justice Thomas' Father-in-Law

(Omaha, Nabraska) Donald Lamp's neighbors are complaining that he hangs an American flag from his balcony. Although he's the father-in-law of Clarence Thomas, I don't see this becoming a Supreme Court case.

Didn't I already see this on an episode of Frazier?
Medical Center Fined for Exaggeration

(Albany, New York) In order to improve the chances of 45 patients of finding suitable hearts for transplant, doctors at Albany Medical Center systematically misrepresented their conditions according to an investigation by the State Health Department. As a result, The Albany Medical Center has been assessed a maximum fine of $18,000 and two doctors, Dr. Lawrence Zisman, a transplant cardiologist, and Dr. Charles Canver, a transplant surgeon, have been suspended. The center's heart transplant unit has been shut down since October.

Hmmm ....
Cincinnati Boots COPS Show

Some Cincinnati City Council members complained that the FoxTV Cops program filming would negatively portray the city and affect tourism. Consequently, Police Chief Tom Streicher asked them to stop after two days.

Interestingly, several neighboring communities (Covington, Hamilton, Norwood) immediately requested that the film crew tag along with their officers.

My take is that it seems the Cincinnati City Council wants to hide something.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation Sputtering

Within the past week, the prestigious Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced that its vehicle sales for fiscal year 2003 shrunk by more than 33% in Japan and more than 50% in North America. Concurrently, MMC announced its plan to cut 11,000 jobs from the global workforce and to close two manufacturing plants, an engine factory in Australia and a car plant in Okazaki, Japan. To attempt to downplay the significance of these announcements by MMC would be disingenuous. The company's recent performance has been more than dismal and some have even suggested that MMC is trending toward collapse.

Naturally, one has to wonder how could a prestigious multinational corporation with a successful history be failing so miserably. The answer is an amalgam of inept, fraudulent, and, possibly, criminal decision-making. One incident, in particular, prompted MMC's performance to slope dramatically downward.
On Jan. 10, 2002, a wheel came off the hub of a Mitsubishi Motors trailer truck in Yokohama and hit a 29-year-old woman, killing her and injuring her two children.
The tragedy was blamed on inadequate maintenance by MMC. However, this is contrary to an internal MMC review which found that many similar failures had occurred, suggesting a generic defect in manufacturing. In fact, data showed that Mitsubishi hubs cracked despite the degree of abrasion, indicating they were inadequate to support the wheels. Instead of issuing a recall to inspect and correct the defect, MMC management allegedly compiled a false report to hide the defect. As a result,
Police arrested seven former senior Mitsubishi Motors Corp. officials Thursday for alleged professional negligence resulting in death and injury and the filing of false reports to authorities on vehicle defects related to a fatal truck accident in Yokohama in 2002.
It should be noted that MMC finally decided to recall trucks and buses for defective wheel hubs in March 2004, more than 12 years after the first reported failure in January 1992.

Compounding the negative publicity from hiding wheel hub defects and delaying their recall, MMC's reputation and sales had already suffered from a similar scandal in 2000 when it was discovered that the company for almost 30 years had been concealing customer complaints about vehicle faults that required recalls. In a nutshell, the public knew that MMC was selling a flawed product, hiding the deficiencies, and failing to correct the problems. So, naturally, sales plummeted.

Besides being responsible for poor sales, MMC's reputation has been soured to the extent that the company is also having great difficulty finding investment capital to implement its restructuring plan. DaimlerChrysler AG, MMC's biggest shareholder, nixed a plan to help fund a bailout and, subsequently, Standard & Poor's had MMC's credit rating lowered to CCC minus which is nine levels below investment grade.

In summary, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is closing manufacturing plants and laying off over 22% of its workforce. Sales figures are dismal, expensive recalls are ongoing, seven former company officials have been arrested, and no investment capital has been forthcoming to help the company restructure. If you currently own stock in Mitsubishi, it may be prudent to consider selling it.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Crackdown on Illegal Aliens

A standard has been established on how a democratic, free market nation should deal with foreign nationals that reside illegally inside its borders. The specific law that was passed yesterday has the following provisions:
- Illegal aliens who turn themselves in shall avoid detention, but shall be deported immediately.

- Illegal aliens apprehended shall face a potential fine in excess of $25,000.
The Japanese Diet enacted the law yesterday to address a rise in the number of crimes involving foreigners in Japan.

Of note is that the program to control illegal aliens in the United States is different. They are not systematically apprehended and deported, nor are fines imposed. The control program for illegal aliens consists of providing free education, free health care, food stamps, driver's licenses, social security pensions, and reduced or free college tuition. They also may soon be given voting rights in some jurisdictions.

Obviously, the Japanese achieve results that are significantly different from those achieved by the United States.
Victoria's Secret Admirer

A suspected panty thief, Remigio Abello III, 46, of Twinsburg, was arrested by Mayfield Heights Police after being seen stealing a laundry basket of women's underwear from an apartment building. He was charged with second-degree burglary and is in Mayfield Heights City Jail with bail set at $50,000.

For years a women's underwear thief has been burglarizing Mayfield Heights apartments and Abello is a strong suspect. According to Mayfield Heights Detective Sgt. Christopher Sonnhalter, a search of Abello's house found a cache of bras and panties, along with photographs that had been stolen during several recent burglaries.
PCRM Again

I've directed criticism toward the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) in the past due to the fact that the group is disingenuous about their goals. PCRM portrays itself as a nutritional advocacy group. They are not.
There is nothing produced by the PCRM that is not directly related to the liberation of animals. PCRM is extreme by any rational standard and its findings are predetermined to support its goals of freeing all animals and mandating strict vegetarian diets for all people.
For the past year, PCRM has been going after the Atkins diet with the latest ploy announced yesterday. They are funding a lawsuit against Atkins Inc. by Jody Gorran of Delray Beach, Florida, who claims Atkins gave him high cholesterol and harmed his health. It's sure that the only purpose for the lawsuit is publicity, which the elite media gladly provides, to promote radical vegetarianism and animal rights.

Remember two things. One is that PCRM is devoted to freeing all animals (including pets) and eliminating all meat, fish, milk, cheese, and eggs from the human diet. Two is that PCRM doesn't give a hoot about the cholesterol level in any person's bloodstream.
The Blogger Addiction

(via Instapundit) Katie Hafner of the New York Times filed this report which profiles some generalities of blogging, with specific anecdotes about several bloggers. Her primary focus is the contention that blogging is an addiction or obsession that can have a dramatic, and sometimes harmful, influence on behavior.

I generally agree with Hafner with one comment. The people who are presumed to be addicted or obsessed with blogging probably exhibited those character traits prior to the advent of blogging. I wouldn't blame weblogs and the Internet for their behavior.

For bloggers, the article is worth a visit.
Discipline in Preschool

With three weeks left in the school year, 5-year-old Maia Honeywell was expelled from the Roman Catholic Immaculate Conception School for lifting her shirt in front of another student. School officials also indicated that the girl would not be permitted to attend kindergarten next year.
"I really think she went overboard with this. Not even letting the kid finish out the last month of school is stupid. Do we think as a matter of law there is a violation? No. From what I've been able to gather I don't think this is illegal. Do I think it's wrong? Absolutely. Do I think it's unfair? Absolutely. And do I think it's ridiculous? Absolutely," said Julie Line Bailey Honeywell's Attorney.
While I'm not currently saturated with caffeine, I also think the school may have been somewhat harsh in their decision and would have let the girl finish the school year as a minimum. Of course, I only know what's published and the school has been tight-lipped about the whole situation. There's reason to suspect that the school officials have a strong case.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Wal-Mart Going to Chicago

By a vote of 32 to 15, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to allow Wal-Mart to build one store and conduct business on vacant, blighted land on the West Side. The debate was emotional.
The anti-Wal-Mart forces included about a hundred noisy demonstrators. One outburst got an activist kicked out of the council meeting, where aldermen gave fiery speeches about Wal-Mart's reputation for mistreating workers, bullying suppliers, and destroying communities.
I'm not sure how Wal-Mart could destroy vacant, blighted land, but the protesters are sure it will happen. For some reason, they are very critical of their aldermen when they succeed in bringing new businesses to Chicago.

Mark of Weapons of Mass Discussion posted the following review of a new book by White House Correspondent Bill Sammon. It's titled Misunderestimated and, based on Mark's comments, I'm picking it up.
Misunderestimated is the newest book by White House Correspondent Bill Sammon. It details the Bush Presidency after 9/11, and through March 20,2004. Mr. Sammon has unprecedented access and takes us inside some of the amazing historical events during President Bush's watch, including the secret Air Force One trip to Baghdad on Thanksgiving, and the moves to go to war with Iraq. It is an outstanding read and provides a very fair look at the Bush Administration, with key interviews and quotes from the major players.

What is really interesting, is the indictment of the Press by Sammon, one of their own, for lying and refusing to admit their lies about both the Afghan War and the Iraq War. Mr. Sammon gives specific examples of the media wanting to "sex up" stories and then blaming the Bush Admin. when the media lies were revealed to be untrue. Case in point-Jessica Lynch. It was a pair of uberfeminist reporters who created the super GI Jane image of Lynch, not the Pentagon. Why? Because they wanted to support women in combat, so they erroneously reported that Lynch was firing machine guns and gritting teeth while being wounded. When Lynch's own story did not go with this falsehood, did the reporters admit their mistake? Nope, they claimed the Bush Admin was using Lynch as a hero for goodwill for the war! Huh? The Bush Admin poo-pooed all the uber-Lynch stories. Yet, the press refuses to take the blame. This book is an outstanding read, not only for taking you inside the White House during key events, but also the true story about how the Press has lied about this war for its own agenda from one of their own.
Good review. Thanks to Mark.
Giant African Land Snails

Ohioans are being asked to be on the lookout for Giant African Land Snails after they were found in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Toledo. They ravage all kinds of plant life and carry diseases that can infect people, most notably, meningitis. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a public alert. Anyone seeing a Giant African Snail should contact the Ohio Department of Public Health at (614) 469-2110, or to call the USDA toll-free at 1-888-703-4457.

The snails are brown, striped, and a little larger than an adult fist. Follow the link for a picture (free reg.).
University Pornfest Canceled

(Bellingham, Washington) The public criticism was just too great. After 12 years, the seminars, films, forums, workshops, condom hunts, and self-gratification information booths of the annual Western Washington University Pornfest will now be things of the past. According to Hanako Lombardi, the Director of the Sexual Awareness Center at the university, the cancellation of the pornfest will cause the students to be deprived of the opportunity to learn more about sexuality.

Miss Lombardi, however, is being somewhat disingenuous since coincident with the cancellation of the pornfest was the Women Studies Program Student Colloquium which offered students ample opportunity to learn more about sexuality. Started in 1992, the colloquium gives students the chance to present papers on the results of their Women Studies research projects. These included presentations on radical feminist views on sex and the virtues of communism.

Western junior Sara Buettner-Connelly gave a speech addressing the purity of sex without emotional attachments, the one-night stand. She also advocated free love and having an open mind to homosexuality, masturbation and bestiality. Regarding bestiality, Buettner-Connelly said,
"Looking at bestiality, if the dog's consensual, why not?"
It sure seems the attendees were not deprived of learning more about sexuality as stated by Miss Lombardi. In fact, I'll frankly admit that I learned something. I was totally unaware that there are women in society who promote having sex without emotional attachments while, at the same time, being open-minded to consensual sex with dogs. If nothing else, this has got to be good news for the stray animal population.

Notably, Miss Buettner-Connelly also stated that many people don't understand what feminism represents.
"I think people need to know what feminism is really about. A general definition of feminism is that men and women have inherently the same worth," Buettner-Connelly said.
Sounds good, but I don't understand what "homosexuality, masturbation and bestiality" have to do with men and women having "inherently the same worth."

Another presentation of note was given by Western sophomore Joshua Evans on the goodness of communism. He showed video of happy children in Cuba, where he visited last summer. Consistent with promoting socialism and communism, he criticized capitalism and the United States. Lenin, Stalin, and Marx would be proud. Castro and Kim Jong-il are proud.

In summary, the annual pornfest has been canceled, but the amount of learning opportunities at Western Washington University continues to flourish. It seems there are enough deviants populating the campus to keep any student's notebook chock full of new stuff.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Student Sells Religious T-Shirts at School

(Berea, Ohio) It's probably safe to assume that we'll be hearing more about this story. Berea High School student Don Gaston is passionate about Christianity and shows it by selling religious T-shirts to fellow students at school. Thus far, school officials are not concerned.
"It's a non-issue because this is not a school sponsored activity, group or event," said Tammy Price, the school's Activity Director.
However, the issue prompted one Jewish student, Jack Reitman, to comment.
"I don't think pulling the Bible into it the issue of purity is a sound idea, especially in a public high school," he said.
Readers are encouraged to try and decipher what the hell that means.

Both Gaston and school officials have stated that they don't want the situation to become a political issue, however, I live fifty miles away from Berea and I can already hear the ACLU lawyers licking their moustaches.
God in Schools

(Columbus, Ohio) A bill to require schools to display "In God We Trust" and "With God All Things Are Possible" in classrooms, auditoriums, and cafeterias has been introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives. Sponsored by State Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina, the bill is expected to have a full floor vote next week.

I'm sure some leftists will complain. Hopefully, no one will listen to them.
Dead Dog

According to this report, a dog was found stabbed and drowned in a storm drain.

Real substantive news reporting, eh? What's next? The road kill report?
Spanky the Clown

(Jacksonville, Florida) Last October, the Jacksonville-based First Coast News staff was elated that one of its own employees, Thomas Riccio, had been selected by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to join the circus as "Spanky the Clown." According to this report,
The staff at First Coast News wish Thomas the best and are happy he's worked so hard to achieve his dream. Just think how many thousands of children will smile because Thomas has the gift of making people happy.
The news team members were looking forward to seeing him when the circus tour went through Jacksonville. Unfortunately, it appears that Spanky has ceased traveling with the circus. While in North Carolina,
Thomas Riccio, 23, of Jacksonville, Fla., was arrested Friday by Fayetteville police and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to face 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, the federal agency said Tuesday.
Riccio apparently was implicated in an international child pornography investigation and police found that he possessed thousands of images on his computer, many involving young children participating in sexual acts.

Consequently, Riccio has stopped putting smiles on children's faces, but I suspect there'll be some smiles on parents' faces now that Spanky's in the slammy.
German Security Report

On Monday, German Interior Minister Otto Schily released the annual security analysis by the German domestic intelligence agency. It states that Germany is likely to become a target for terrorism as opposed to just being a staging spot for attacks in other countries.
The greatest danger is posed by radical Muslims, the report says. "Islamists identify Germany with the so-called crusaders, the helpers of the United States and Israel, and with its support of Afghanistan," the report says. In Afghanistan, German troops are part of the International Security Assistance Force trying to stabilize the country after the fall of the Taliban.

But the report says such extremists make up only about 1 percent of the 3 million Muslims living in Germany. It counted 24 Islamic groups in Germany with a total membership of 30,950, compared with 30,600 in 2002.
The perceived elevated threat level has many government officials concerned that security is too lax even as federal talks are underway in writing Germany's first immigration law. It seems that actions are being considered which are similar to those taken by the US after September 11th, only without the immediacy.

Since the radical Muslims have shown a hatred for everybody, it's foolish for any country not to prepare for the worst. Avoiding is much preferable to experiencing a major terrorist attack.
Doctors' Ties Collect Bacteria

During a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, Dr. Steven Nurkin reported research findings which indicate that doctors' ties collect and potentially transmit infectious bacteria at a far greater rate than ties worn by other hospital workers. Almost half the ties worn by clinicians were found to harbor disease-causing bacteria, eight times the level found on ties worn by security personnel at the same hospital. The research results make a lot of sense since a doctor's tie is front and center during all patient examinations while customarily being an afterthought when it comes to doing laundry.

Because of the findings, some doctors believe that ties should not be required. I disagree. With cultural norms trending more and more toward informal and casual attire, doctors (and others with societal distinction) should maintain a minimum level of professional decorum. Wearing a tie is not too much to ask. Hopefully, frequently washing the tie is also not too much to ask.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The Nuclear Family

(Fayetteville, Arkansas) Mr. and Mrs. Jim Bob Duggar are celebrating the birth of their 15th child this past Sunday. Joining Joshua, 16; Jana and John-David, 14; Jill, 13; Jessa, 11; Jinger, 10; Joseph, 9; Josiah, 7; Joy-Anna, 6; Jeremiah and Jedidiah, 5; Jason, 4; James, 2; and Justin, 1, will be bouncing baby Jackson.

Let's see, that's 8 position players, 4 starting pitchers, and 3 relievers. So far. Jim Bob is only 39 and his wife, Michelle, is 38. They might have plans for more little ones.

San Francisco Anti-Panhandling

The voters of San Francisco passed an anti-panhandling law last November and it became effective today. Mayor Gavin Newsom has indicated that the city has every intention of pretending to enforce the law.

Interestingly, the new law doesn't do much more than reiterate the provisions of existing law which wasn't being enforced. The city's commitment to "gently" enforce the new anti-panhandling law indicates that the residents can probably expect no changes on the streets.

Is it me or does anyone else get the feeling that laws don't mean much in San Francisco?
Priest Caught in Sex Sting

(Warren, Michigan) Rev. Shamaun Beas, 35, a Roman Catholic priest at St. Patrick's Church in Portland was caught in a sex sting by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox's effort to crack down on Internet sexual predators. Beas traveled across the state to engage in sexual activity with what he thought was a 14-year-old girl. Beas faces eight felony counts, including child sexually abusive activity, using a computer to commit a crime and using a computer to distribute obscene material.

Chalk up some more evidence to indicate that the church is doing an ineffective job of policing themselves. Society needs to quit listening to the church's promises of reform and to start vigorously prosecuting these sexual predators.
Video Banned Over Nipple

(Dublin, Ireland) A video produced to encourage people to vote in next month's European elections has been banned in Ireland because it shows a bare breast. The video, made by the European Parliament's Audio-Visual Department, was intended to depict the elections as making choices by showing a baby deciding which breast to suckle. Although breast feeding is not offensive to most Europeans, it's considered inappropriate for the mostly Catholic Irish population.
In Britain, film advert regulators found the suckling shot racy, likening the image to "the sort of breast shot you would associate with a men's magazine".

A member of the four-man, four-woman Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) panel, which took the decision, said they found that they ended up looking at the breast and not the baby.

"It was literally the breast full screen size with an erect nipple side on and the infant gazing across at them," said Greg Lyons, a copy consultant at the CAA.

"The panel found themselves looking at something that was very difficult for them," he said. "The infant was contemplating the breasts in rather an adult way."
Now, how does an infant contemplate "in an adult way?" It seems like Mr. Lyons might be reading too much into a picture. Nonetheless, to me, the salient point to be made about this whole episode is the rather Freudian symbolism of having a political choice likened to choosing which breast to suck. How true it is!

Monday, May 24, 2004


This report indicates that the United States is not the only country with notable outsourcing of jobs in North America. Mexico has been a major provider of hot, beautiful strippers to Canada.
More than 100 Mexican dancers have obtained Canadian work visas in the past five years, making Mexico the No.2 exporter of dancers to Canada after Romania . . ."
Oddly, I've heard no complaints from Canadian women about loss of job opportunities because of the influx of Romanian and Mexican strippers. It's also worth noting that Mexican politicians do not consider outsourcing of skilled workers to be a problem. There's a rumor that a long-term unofficial program for economic growth consists entirely of pawning their population off on other countries.
Vermont Listed as Most Endangered Place

According to this report, the entire state of Vermont has been placed on the 2004 Most Endangered Places List because a nonprofit preservation group doesn't want Wal-Mart doing business in the state. Mr. Richard Moe, president of the preservation group, said that Wal-Mart stores would cause Vermont's "special magic" to vanish.

It's assumed that prior to making the decision to list an entire state as historic, Mr. Moe consulted privately with Mr. Larry and Mr. Curly.
Blogger Fired by Senator DeWine

From a report in the Dayton Daily News, Senator Mike DeWine fired one of his employees for her weblog which "included alleged sexual exploits with a married political appointee and other men." In the lady's website, Washingtonienne, she's been blogging about sex in high places, specifically, Capitol Hill. Wonkette appears to be closest to the story and has identified the mysterious blogger as Jessica Cutler. When interviewed, Washingtonienne stated,
I'm not naming names. I'm not ashamed of anything I wrote in the blog. And people are sad if they're interested in such a low level sex scandal. I wrote that blog not to ruin people's lives. It was just for the amusement of me and my friends. And none of this has been exacerbated by me... I've been chillin'.... I was thinking, I'll get another job in Washington, but it's going to be fun, not something stupid like working on the Hill. Now I'm realizing I may have to go back to New York. In New York, they love this kind of thing. They'll ask what happened at my last job, and I'll say I was fired for a sex scandal!
According to the DDN, Sen, DeWine's office stated,
"On May 18, 2004, our office became aware of allegations that an employee had been using Senate resources and work-time to post unsuitable and offensive material to an Internet Web log. After investigating these allegations, our office has determined that there was an unacceptable use of Senate computers to post unsuitable and offensive material to an Internet Web log. Other inappropriate material was found in the employee's work area as well. The employee has been terminated."
DeWine's office declined to name the employee or elaborate on the case. On the other hand,, aka Ana Marie Cox, is unreserved in its reporting. Interestingly, the DDN refers to Wonkette as "a sassy, often raunchy web log popular among Washington insiders" which is consistent with the remarks of others in the major media.

Anyone interested in the dirt in D.C. from an insider's perspective should follow the links.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Naked Roller Coaster Record

(Surrey, England) In cold, pouring rain, 82 students took off their clothes for a nippy, naked ride on The Nemesis Inferno roller coaster at the Thorpe Park theme park, establishing a world record. Pix and video at the link.

I guess congratulations are in order. Yeah!
Super Sized Baby

(Monterrey, Mexico) Because of a carbohydrate intolerance (?), a mother gave birth to a 13 pound, 6 ounce baby. Very large, but not the biggest. The record holder was a 24 pounder born in Ohio in 1879.

Being a guy, I don't have any first person knowledge, but I imagine that giving birth to a 13+ pound baby has got to be painful.
Homosexual Marriage - Technical Question

I'm intrigued by the question of how homosexuals consummate their marriages. Consummation would have to be defined differently than it is for heterosexual marriages which is a specific, recognized act of male-female coupling. The homosexual act of consummation would be something entirely different. But what would it be? Frankly, I'm not sure I really want to know.

Also, a female-female act of consummation would necessarily have to be different from a male-male act of consummation. They don't have the same equipment. Complicating things even more, I'm not sure there would be general agreement within the homosexual community on which specific acts of intimacy to use. Codification of homosexual consummation would also be troublesome.

The whole issue has me flummoxed.

Hat tip: All-Encompassingly
SAT Scores Used in Hiring

(via Joanne Jacobs) Attention! High schoolers listen up. Those Scholastic Aptitude Test scores you're submitting as a prerequisite for college are now being used by some firms as a basis for hiring college graduates. So, the same SAT scores that get you into a college will also possibly count toward being hired after college.
In a tough job market, businesses have the luxury of being more choosy about whom they hire. Firms have always had the ability to request SAT scores, but some may be likelier actually to do so as a way to sift quickly through an ever-growing number of applicants.

The practice is not necessarily new. When asked how long Goldman Sachs has requested high school test scores, Aaron Marcus, head of campus recruiting, quips, "How long have they been around?" Mr. Marcus says they interview about 4,000 to 5,000 undergrads per semester, which doesn't leave a lot of time to ask detailed questions about how many calculus courses each one took.

Since Goldman Sachs takes students from any academic background, Marcus says math scores of 700 (out of 800) or higher indicate "whether they're comfortable with numbers." Applicants initially self-report test scores and submit a r�sum� that highlights leadership and work experience. An official college transcript is not reviewed until the company decides to make an offer.
I anticipate that some liberal group will protest the practice, stating that it puts too much pressure on the students. Personally, having been in the position of reviewing stacks of resumes, I would liked to have known the SAT scores of prospective employees. In that capacity, a person wants to know as much as possible about job seekers. However, under no circumstances could I see the SAT scores being used as any more than an additional data point, among many, about an individual when assessing his/her capability to do a job.
Walking in High Heels

Recently, I was watching a cable channel that programs fashion shows almost continuously and noticed that the long-legged models prancing in high heels seem to walk peculiarly. They stride as if they are walking on a line, one foot directly in front of the other, similar to a field sobriety test. Thinking this was an odd and a seemingly unstable way to walk, I asked my wife if high heels cause a person to walk that way. She said it was just models that do it.

My question is simple. Why? It looks to me like they're liable to fall at any moment.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

International Football Challenge

There are some people on the other side of the world who are tossing insults at American football, the game and the players. One insult tosser states,
"[T]hey are such wusses they need to have two teams, one for offense and one for defence."
Another praises that statement as "such eloquence."

Such eloquence, hah! It's a challenge. It's Saddam Hussein warning of the Mother of All Battles. It's Gaddafi drawing the Line of Death across the Gulf of Sidra. It's a big, fat chip on the shoulder.

And, it needs a response. Therefore, I propose that the champion teams from both sports match up for a two game series, one with Australian rules, one with American rules. Final total scores from both games would be used to determine the winner. I'm fairly convinced that the contests would show the strength, intelligence, artistry and finesse of the American game and players are superior.

After it's been decided, the tossers will have to swallow their insults.
Revolving Door Death

(Tokyo, Japan) Within the past year, problems with automatic revolving doors have resulted in 32 accidents causing 10 injured people to be taken to the hospital and the death of a six-year-old boy. These incidents have prompted property owners to review current installations to make them more safe. One real estate developer, Mitsubishi Estate, has announced it decided not to use automatic revolving doors in new office buildings and is considering removing them from existing buildings.

Doors that eat people? What's in your nightmare?
Homosexual Quota for Democratic National Convention

Preparations are well under way for this summer's Democratic Party National Convention in Boston and it appears that the Democrats are aggressively courting the homosexual population. According to this report,
Democratic parties in 15 states and Puerto Rico are requiring that a specific number of their delegates be homosexual, bisexual or transgender.
Quota numbers and specific states are not identified, but one has to wonder why 35 states are excluded in this affirmative action requirement for assignment of delegates. Certain populations of homosexuals will be geographically discriminated against by not being included in the quota scheme. Within the Democratic Party, it appears that homosexuals in some states are more equal than homosexuals in other states.

Only a few sources have reported this story and, to my knowledge, none were the major media. Having observed the philosophical decay of the Democratic Party over the years, I have no reason to doubt the veracity of the story, however, it would be nice to see more information.

In my estimation, the Democrats at the grass roots level have to feel somewhat minimized in their importance when the national party dictates who they can have to represent them.

Hat tip: Between the Coasts
Be Nice and Get Free Plane Tickets

(Atlanta, GA) Probably everyone has now heard of the novel promotional scheme introduced by Delta Air Lines to give away tickets to "nice passengers" on their cattle-car subsidiary SONG. How nice! Aren't they just a wonderful company?

Of course, Delta is not revealing its researchers' assumed development of a secret Nice-O-Meter to be used in determining who should get the free tickets. Without an impartial Nice-O-Meter, the selection of recipients for the free tickets would be made by regular human beings who tend to decide based on self-interest. Oh, let's say, fifty dollars! Someone gets a free ticket and a less-than-saintly flight attendant gets a job benefit.

All joking aside, if one analyzes the whole scheme, it makes some sense. With 5,000 round trip tickets to be given away at an assumed average cost to the airline of $400, the total expenditure for the program will be about two million dollars, or approximately the cost of one commercial ad during the Super Bowl. In return, the airline will get widespread publicity throughout all media for weeks and an infectious word-of-mouth buzz for months. Already, just due to the novelty of the initiative, news websites from around the world (see BBC and AsiaOne) have reported the story. The value of announcing the names Delta and SONG along with the words nice and free tickets throughout the US and the world is incalculable. From an advertising perspective alone, any reasonable cost-benefit analysis would conclude that the free ticket program is brilliant.

Nonetheless, some skepticism has arisen about whether the program will result in more ticket sales or not and about whether the dollars couldn't be spent more productively elsewhere. Industry expert Terry Trippler commented "it would make more sense to reward employees who are nice as an incentive for better customer service." I can't argue with that logic.

My take is that the program will probably be successful as an advertising gimmick. As for the nicety aspect, it's hooey. I refuse to believe that airline management cares much about whether their customers are nice or not. Delta's focus is to get as many paying customers as possible to snugly place their back pockets intimately adjacent to the airline's upholstery. That would be their definition of "nice."
Putin Promises to Ratify Kyoto

Disregarding the advice of his own experts, Russian President Vladimir Putin has now promised to ratify the Kyoto Treaty in return for EU support for Russia to join the WTO. The Greenies are rejoicing.

Disturbingly, everything I've read appears to indicate that Putin still thinks like a communist.

Friday, May 21, 2004

New York Illegals May Lose Licenses

In an effort to identify deadbeat dads, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles is conducting a review of records to assure that all holders of driver's licenses have a valid Social Security number on file. According to DOMV spokesman Joe Picchi, the process has already resulted in finding many false Social Security numbers being used to evade child support, to commit insurance fraud, and to obtain multiple driver's licenses. Coincidentally, an estimated 200,000 illegal aliens are expected to receive notices that their driving privileges are suspended because they don't have valid Social Security numbers, which, before 1995, were not required for licensing.

Of course, advocates for illegal aliens are disturbed and believe that the laws should be selectively applied to benefit non-citizens. Democratic Assemblyman Jose Peralta, for one, stated,
"This is a serious problem. . ."

"They will take thousands and thousands of immigrants off the street if they don't show a valid Social Security number."
To counter the DOMV actions, Assemblyman Peralta has introduced legislation to prevent the department from asking for SSNs. There's probably little chance he'll be successful since the Homeland Security Department is behind the program to verify SSNs.

I do tend to agree that there is a serious problem, but not the one the Assemblyman sees. The problem is what to do with all the illegal aliens once they are identified and apprehended.
Vulnerable Tom Daschle

According to a report by Jim Lauck in the National Review Online, Tom Daschle is facing a strong challenge in his campaign to be reelected to Congress. Polling indicates Daschle is essentially even with former Congressman Jim Thune and some believe he's losing momentum. So, the very real possibility exists that Daschle may be defeated in November.

The loss of the election by Daschle would be best for South Dakota. Any reasonable analysis of Daschle's value system would indicate that it is the polar opposite of the amalgam of citizens of South Dakota, who deserve better representation.

Hat tip: Ipse Dixit

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Pigeon Bombers

(London, England) Recently released documents from the National Archives in the UK indicates there was a secret post-WWII effort by the War Office Intelligence Section, MI14, to use pigeons to fly into enemy targets carrying explosives or biological weapons. According to Wing Commander WDL Rayner,
"A thousand pigeons each with a two ounce explosive capsule, landed at intervals on a specific target, might be a seriously inconvenient surprise."

Unfortunately (or fortunately), lack of funding grounded the project during the discussion stage. Personally, I think the idea is absolutely reckless.
Vanity Plates on Getaway Car

(Kettering, OH) The robbery yesterday of the Provident Bank at the Woodland Plaza was uncommon. The robber raced off in a getaway car displaying easy-to-remember vanity license plates. Obviously, the heist was not well planned.
Two DUI Arrests in One Night

(Woodbridge, VA) According to Detective Dennis Mangan, Prince William Police arrested 29-year-old Reginald Williston Cook for driving under the influence twice in one night. Cook was first arrested at 2:10am, processed and released to the custody of a third party at 3:51am, and then arrested again at 4:20am by the same officer who arrested him the first time. Subsequently, Cook was held without bond and his car was impounded for 30 days.

Mr. Cook has been given the Abject Stupidity Award for today. Also, it seems the police should have confiscated his car keys when he was first arrested. Imagine the liability of the police if Cook had caused a fatal accident after being released. Lastly, it apparently is meaningless to release an offender to "the custody of a third party."
Student Throws Pie at Principal, Gets Expelled

(Lakeside, OH) A 15-year-old sophomore at Lakeside Danbury High School was expelled for throwing a pie in the face of Principal Karen Abbott. The incident was part of an American Cancer Society charity benefit in which students bought chances for 50 cents to win the privilege of throwing the pie. Apparently, the principal didn't share the feeling of charity and imposed the expulsion. The case has been referred to prosecutors.

Principal Karen Abbott is probably not known for her sense of humor.
21st Century Ambulance Chasers

Thanks to Nick Genes, I was pointed to a post at EMedConcepts which describes a recent innovation by the malpractice legal parasites community to increase business. It consists of a mobile office parked outside the hospital for trial lawyers to easily recruit potential plaintiffs for medical malpractice lawsuits. These lawyers have traditionally been called "ambulance chasers" and now they can actually do it while also providing a fully functional law office right at the scene of the accident. There are pictures at the link.
Oregon Primary Election

(Portland, Oregon) For those who missed the results of this week's Oregon primary election:
Presidential candidate John Kerry added Oregon to his string of primary victories Tuesday as he easily defeated the last-gasp challenge of his only remaining Democratic rival, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich. The Massachusetts senator was winning more than 80 percent of the vote, compared with about 16 percent for Kucinich, who spent a month campaigning in Oregon on the platform that the United States should quickly remove its troops from Iraq.
The fact that the presumptive Democratic nominee for president lost 16% of the voters to Dennis Kucinich must be at least a little troubling to the Kerry campaign. That bloc of Democratic voters will probably be easy pickings for Ralph Nader running as an independent candidate endorsed by the Reform Party.
Sarin Found in Iraq

According to a report in the Sidney Morning Herald, a bomb containing the nerve agent sarin exploded near an American military convoy in Baghdad.
"The Iraqi Survey Group confirmed today that a 155-mm artillery round containing sarin nerve agent had been found," said Brigadier-General Mark Kimmitt, the chief military spokesman in Iraq. "The round had been rigged as an IED (improvised explosive device), which was discovered by a US force convoy.

"A detonation occurred before the IED could be rendered inoperable. This produced a very small dispersal of agent," he said. The incident occurred two days ago, he said.
Interestingly, although it's big news in Australia, the report of finding evidence of a weapon of mass destruction apparently hasn't been very newsworthy in Ohio. A quick search of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Toledo Blade resulted in finding no mention of the story.

Maybe they just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Hat tip: G'Day Mate!

[Update] An excellent and detailed analysis of the major media burying the sarin story is posted at The Fourth Rail. Go visit.
Stolen EMT Certificates

This story is somewhat troubling. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has found that someone stole 124 blank Emergency Medical Technician Certificates that, when signed, would certify a person as a basic EMT, authorized to conduct lifesaving procedures. The theft follows other recent embarrassments to the department, specifically, allegations of cheating and irregularities in test scoring. Taken together, the problems place the validity of Colorado EMT Certifications in question. There's more at the link.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Slay the Whales

(Oslo, Norway) Norway is planning on slaughtering more whales than previously because they negatively impact the fish harvest from the sea.
"We want to increase quotas," Fisheries Minister Svein Ludvigsen told parliament, which unanimously passed a non-binding resolution urging Oslo to raise minke whale catches "considerably" as soon as possible.

[ ... ]

Parliament's resolution said that seals and whales eat at least 5.5 million tons of fish and krill a year, double the tonnage caught by fishermen. Killing one minke whale could enable a five ton hike in catches of cod or herring, it said.
Needless to mention, the animal rights and environmental advocacy groups are upset. However, they won't raise much of a stink since the country of Norway is jam-packed with their socialist buddies and they wouldn't want to alienate them.
Freeze-Dried Pets

Here's something new for me. Apparently, for an expenditure of a couple thousand dollars, anyone can have his/her dead pet as a fixture by having it freeze-dried. According to Richard Schwenn, owner of Anglers Taxidermy & Freeze-Dry in Milan, Ohio, pretty much any animal can be freeze-dried. He personally has freeze-dried weasels, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, guinea pigs, chinchillas, ferrets, and more.
Pet owners ship their deceased pets to a pet-freezing company, along with a photograph that gives an idea of how the pet looked on a good day.

Some of the organs are removed and the eyes are replaced with marble replicas. Then the dead animal is injected with silicone and placed in a pose of the owner's choosing.

Finally, the animal is put in a freeze-drying vacuum chamber. After two to 15 months -- again, depending on the animal's size -- all moisture is removed from the body.
The owner can then take Fido's lifeless carcass home and place it next to the fireplace as a permanent reminder.

One has to wonder to what extent this process is being done on human carcasses and do any people currently have a lifeless relative propped up in a corner of the living room?
Fatal ATV Accident

(Grove City, PA) Supporting my contention that ATVs are essentially suicide machines, Randall Hanford, 49, hit a ditch while riding an ATV and died at 2:45 a.m. at Allegheny General Hospital of blunt force trauma to the head.
Hillary Clinton on Health Care

The overwhelming majority of what I've read about or heard about Hillary Clinton from the elite media is that she is the smartest woman in the world. However, my tracking of her words and deeds indicates that she's not even close. Whether it's the spontaneous materialization of Rose Law firm documents, the firing of the White House Travel Office staff, suspicious commodity trading windfalls, the mysterious hiring of Craig Livingstone, or other missteps, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly exhibited less than stellar judgment.

While supporting my contention that Mrs. Clinton's prowess is less than advertised, Thomas Boyle at CodeBlueBlog has analyzed her Health Care Reform Plan, concluding that her logic and ideas are flawed. His evaluation is engaging and convincing. Go visit here.
Racial Harassment at Avon High School

(Avon, OH) The NAACP is investigating complaints of racial harassment at predominantly-white Avon High School.
Juanita Rouse said her son, Adrian, 18, who is biracial, has been the subject of racially tinged comments since moving to the high school last year.

Some students suggested that Adrian be designated as the senior "Most Likely To Go To Jail," Rouse said.
Principal Chad Coffman believes the problems have been corrected and Superintendent Jim Reitenbach said they were isolated occurrences. To help avoid similar incidents, the senior class designations for "Most Likely To Go To Jail" as well as "Most Likely To Have Babies" have been eliminated. And, of course, there will be more diversity and tolerance training.

Since the harassment doesn't seem to have progressed to anything more serious than name-calling, I suspect it's isolated. After all, kids will be kids. Nonetheless, it's prudent to emphasize to the student body that harassment will not be tolerated.

Another suspicion I have is that, if at all possible, the NAACP will make this situation out to be a much greater problem than it is.
Class Shown Berg Beheading

(Perkins Township, OH) Officials at Perkins High School are investigating an incident where students in a current events class were shown the video of Nicholas Berg being decapitated. Superintendent Sherry Buccieri stated that the decision by social studies teacher Tim Obergefell to show the video will be reviewed in light of district policies concerning controversial issues. Curiously, no students nor parents have complained.

Am I the only person that thinks the Superintendent is digging for a basis to discipline Mr. Obergefell?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Cynthia McKinney Lawsuit Rejected

(Atlanta, GA) Still chafed from their candidate's loss in the 2002 Democratic primary, supporters of former Representative Cynthia McKinney have suffered another defeat. Their lawsuit, which claimed the reason McKinney lost was due to "malicious crossover" voting and discrimination, was rejected by 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Personally, I think that Cynthia McKinney is a poor choice to represent any person's interests. She's too angry a person to help her friends or influence her adversaries. In other words, all she does is make noise without any positive result.
Tony Randall, 1920-2004

Tony Randall, a fine entertainer with a long and productive career, died last night at the age of 84, leaving a 7-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son without a father.

Rest in peace.
Transsexuals To Compete In Olympics

(Lausanne, Switzerland) The International Olympic Committee has ruled that athletes who have undergone sex-change surgery will be eligible to participate in the games.

This decision will undoubtedly be controversial. In fact, one of the pioneers in the realm of sex changes, Renee Richards, has stated:
"Basically, I think they're making a wrong judgment here, although I would have loved to have that judgment made in my case in 1976," she said.

[ ... ]

"In some sports, the physical superiority of men over women is very significant."
I tend to agree with Richards. I also want to retract my previous statements concerning the appearance of Eastern European female shot putters. My contention was that they couldn't get any uglier. With the IOC decision, they apparently can.
Tipped Employee Wages

(Washington, D.C.) I thought this story was interesting and it supports a belief I have that people who pursue careers as waiters and waitresses should never be denigrated as unskilled, low wage earners. According to a nationwide survey, the National Restaurant Association announced recently that, with tips, the average hourly wage for entry level waiters and waitresses is over $17.00 per hour. Experienced workers can expect to earn an average wage over $22.00 per hour. On a regional basis, experienced wait staff on the West Coast earn an average of more than $26.00 per hour. According to Lee Culpepper, the National Restaurant Association's senior vice president of Government Affairs and Public Policy
"These figures confirm what restaurant owners and employees already know � that wait staff positions are not just flexible, but well-paying as well. This underscores the fact that the restaurant industry is truly one of opportunity for everyone."
Other factors to consider are that workers in restaurants are customarily given their meals and, due to generally unexplained arithmetic malfunctions, workers usually benefit from not being taxed on all tips received.

Nationally, 1,000 restaurants, 763 of which were full service, were sampled in the March 2004 survey.
Twin Teen Girls Die In Crash

(Coventry Township, OH) Details are sketchy in the report of the deaths of twin 15-year-old girls, Bridgette and Brittney Abernathy. They were passengers in a speeding car, driven by 19-year-old Grant Rudd, that crashed head-on into a Cadillac Saturday night. Although a bottle of beer was found in the car, no charges have been filed. Occupants of the Cadillac suffered only bruises.
Champion of the Poor Sentenced

(Cleveland, OH) David Roth, founder of Cleveland Works, an organization which helped find jobs for the poor and the newly out of prison, faced a possible 160 years in prison on charges he used and sold cocaine and heroin. Under a very attractive plea deal, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty sentenced Roth to seven years in prison for organized crime and drug convictions. The defense was upset.
"David's credible contribution that rivals Mother Theresa, the last 30 years of helping the helpless and downtrodden in the community should have been considered for more," said Defense Attorney Nicki Schwartz.
Despite any perceived good done by David Roth, he committed major crimes. Comparing him to Mother Theresa is ludicrous. It's also questionable whether Roth, an admitted lifelong drug user and dealer, was helping more than harming the newly out of prison. The last thing ex-convicts need is an environment of substance abuse and drug trafficking in which to try and rebuild their lives.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Apple Martin

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin became the parents of a 9-pound, 11-ounce girl they named Apple Blythe Alison Martin.

The rumor is that they considered everything in the fruit basket before deciding on Apple. And, when will the apple turnover jokes start?
Nick Berg Video

Go here.
International Assistance Plea

In my email today:
I am , MUSA ABDUL the son of late CHIEF ABDUL USMAN My father was a very wealthy cocoa and gold merchant based in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast.He was wounded by the rebel on his way to a business trip to bouake and he was rushed to the hospital where he later died. Before the death of my father in Hospital here in Abidjan.,he called me on his bed side and told me that he has a sum of US$ 19,300,000 (NINTEEN MILLION THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) deposited in one bank here in Abidjan, that he used my name as the next of kin in depositing the money. My father told me that he deposited the money purposely for investment and he have never declared it to any body and he also explained to me that I should look for a foreign partner in a country of my choice where I will transfer this money and use it for investment purpose.
He then asks for help. Jeez! What should I do?
Always Lower Prices at Wal-Mart

Via this week's Carnival of the Capitalists I found an interesting site devoted exclusively to the best and worst news about Wal-Mart. Always Low Prices is worth a visit.
Kerry Rhetoric

(Topeka, Kansas) Presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president John Kerry spoke on the anniversary of the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Citing the fact that Hispanic and African-American students don't do as well in school as white students, Kerry followed with:
The answer, he said, was "letting America be America -- by reaffirming the value of inclusion, equality, and diversity in our schools and across the life of our nation."
Apparently to clear up the fogginess of Kerry's statement, DNC Vice Chair Lottie Shackelford said,
"John Kerry is more than political rhetoric."
Frankly, if I were assigned to reaffirm the value of inclusion across the life of America, I'd be lost. I honestly don't have any idea what his statement is supposed to mean. All I know is, thanks to Lottie Shackelford, that it's more than political rhetoric.
Powell Criticizes Arab Leadership

On a segment of Meet The Press yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell criticized the Arab world for their silence on the beheading of Nicholas Berg.
"There ought to be outrage. There is anger in the Arab world about some of our actions, but that is no excuse for any silence on the part of any Arab leader for this kind of murder.

"I would have liked to have seen a much higher level of outrage throughout the world, and especially the Arab world, for this kind of action," he said, calling the videotaped killing "unacceptable in anyone's religion, in anybody's political system that is a political system based on any kind of understanding and respect of human rights."
I'm afraid, Secretary Powell, that the leaders of the religion of peace disagree with you. They think killing Americans is okay, doubly so when the American is Jewish.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Oregon to Tax Vehicle Mileage

Proving once again that a primary function of government is the obsessive pursuit of finding new ways to bleed the public by confiscatory taxation, the State of Oregon will implement a program to tax the odometers on vehicles. According to the plan, the taxing of mileage will work by having high tech devices installed in vehicles communicating with GPS satellites to calculate distances driven. With this scheme, they believe that they can tax highway usage and not have to tax fuel. The program was initiated because revenue from the fuel tax alone continues to decline due to hybrid and higher-mileage cars consuming less fuel.

The idea might have some merit, but I don't believe for a second that there will be any attempt to change the existing fuel tax structure, other than to increase it. So, in reality, the mileage tax program is just another way for black-hearted politicians to get their sticky hands into the wallets of citizens. In the future, along with a tax on fuel, a separate tax on miles driven will be imposed. Note that the state denies that both taxes will be collected at the same time for the same vehicle. Their contention should be accompanied with a warning that it is an expensive mistake to believe any tax collection agency that states there will be no double taxation. History indicates that politicians and tax collectors have a particular fondness for double, triple or greater multiple taxation. I suspect that the sinister tax creation department is already allocating money for research to devise ways to tax the air used for combustion in automobile engines.
Danish Royal Wedding

(Copenhagen, Denmark) In a lavish ceremony, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark married Australian Mary Donaldson yesterday in Copenhagen. Afterward, in a speech to the new Crown Princess, Frederik said:
"The joy and the strength you give me is like the sun in the daytime which, with its radiance, melts all doubts and darkness on earth," he said at the reception dinner at Fredensborg Castle, 35km north of Copenhagen.

"And like the moon at night, you shine with a watchful and delicate beam of gentleness, which extinguishes the mischief and deceit used by the symbols of darkness."

He closed his speech calling for a toast from the 400 guests to his bride with the words: "I love you Mary. Come, let us go, come let us see. Throughout a thousand worlds, weightless love awaits."
This would seem to indicate that romance and chivalry do endure, contrary to the opinions of some. I'm personally not so sure about the weightless love, though. My experience is that you can count on about 10 pounds per decade of marriage. You can see it in the middle on men, on the hindquarters on women.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Finger Found at Jaguar Exhibit

(Albuquerque, New Mexico) According to this report, a 50-ish man has regularly visited the Rio Grande Zoo for more than a year to sit and stare at the cats and Manchas, a jaguar, in particular. On Tuesday, a groundskeeper thought he saw him run from the zoo with bloodied pants. The next day, a worker found a human finger outside the jaguar exhibit. Coincidence? You make the call.
Death From "Necromaniac Mutilation"

(Honolulu, Hawaii) Donald Marks, 40, has been charged with murdering prostitute Yoko Sanders, who was found by autopsy to have been strangled. Despite multiple stab wounds and her head in a plastic bag next to the rest of her body, the defendant's lawyer, Myles Breiner, contends that she died by accident during sex.

You know, I've read a lot of books about sex, but I sure don't recall any practice involving stabbing and decapitation. I think the defense has a solidly preposterous weak argument.
Reward Offered for "TB Tammy"

(Cleveland, Ohio) Crime Stoppers, (216) 252-7463, is offering up to $2,000 for information leading to the apprehension of a woman who goes by the name Patricia Johnson, but is known to the police as "TB Tammy." It's being reported that she's going around Cleveland intentionally infecting people with tuberculosis.

I doubt that she is, but I don't doubt the immediate need to check her.
135 Pairs of Stolen Shoes

(Westlake, OH) Police have accused Ann Bachna, 58, of stealing 135 pairs of shoes, valued at $6,700, from Stein Mart over a period of four months.

United States vs. Greenpeace

(Miami, Florida) As discussed in a post last October, the United States Justice Department obtained a grand jury indictment against Greenpeace on a charge of violating an 1872 law that forbids the unauthorized boarding of "any vessel about to arrive at the place of her destination." The case is due to start Monday and should turn into an entertaining contest. The reason is that:
The last court decision concerning the law, from 1890, said it was meant to prevent "sailor-mongers" from luring crews to boarding houses "by the help of intoxicants and the use of other means, often savoring of violence."
This 1890 interpretation of the law doesn't seem to apply to the circumstances of the current case in which Greenpeace boarded a vessel to protest what they thought was a load of illegally obtained mahogany from Brazil. Greenpeace is expected to vigorously try to paint the case as malicious prosecution by the Ashcroft Justice Department while emphasizing the mahogany issue.

My take is that any organization that encourages its members to break the law should be held accountable. We'll just have to wait and see if the jury agrees with me. Jury selection begins Monday in the U.S. District Court in Miami before Judge Adalberto Jordan.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Buddha Snot

(Nara, Japan) Buddhist priests have not been able to stop a candy from being sold as "Snot from the nose of the Great Buddha" with packaging that carries a picture of Buddha picking his nose.

It sure is easy to understand why some people would be offended.
Japan Prepares to Defend Against Chinese Invasion

From The Japan Times comes this story describing Japanese Defense Agency plans. Documents were found (leak? negligence? intentional?) that indicate 7,200 ground troops will be deployed to protect Japan's southernmost islands from invading Chinese forces in the event of a conflict between China and Taiwan.
The three southern islands targeted for invasion under the assumption are Miyako Island, Ishigaki Island and Yonaguni Island, according to the documents.

The documents reckon Miyako and nearby islands are likely to be targeted because an Air Self-Defense Force radar base and two airports are located in the area.

The office assumes China might invade Yonaguni Island, the westernmost part of Japan and 100 km from Taiwan, as a stepping stone to attack Taiwan.

It also assumes that China would attack the islands by sea and air, with marine forces landing from assault ships as well as airborne units and special forces attacking ASDF bases and airports, the documents show.
Sources said the documents were compiled in November as part of a shift in focus by the Ground Self-Defense Force to place more emphasis on security tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the Taiwan Strait.

The change in strategy will send a signal to the Chinese. It's unkown how they will respond.
Tobacco Control Act

I've been told that, in Ohio, breaking the law which prohibits the sale of tobacco to minors can result in a $500 fine. To my knowledge, the severity of the penalty has produced little complaint. For the sake of comparison, imagine the outrage if Ohio tobacco law was similar to the Tobacco Control Act imposed upon the native citizens in Northern Canada. According to a report in the Nunatsiaq News, the penalty for selling tobacco to anyone under the age of 19 is $150,000. And, if someone breaks up a pack of smokes and sells them individually, the penalty is $300,000.

Frankly, I just can't imagine that many eskimo shop owners would have the ability to pay that fine in a lifetime, even if it is Canadian dollars.
8th Annual Webby Awards

Two days ago, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) announced the winners of the 8th Annual Webby Awards honoring excellence on the Internet. The IADAS, or Academy, consists of 480 members who select the nominees and winners for awards in 30 categories.

Looking over the 30 categories, a few things stood out immediately. One is that I lacked familiarity with a good portion of the nominees and winners. I thought this was odd since I've been a frequent on-line interested participant of the Internet from the very beginning. Could it be that maybe I'm less informed than I thought or am I missing something?

After further study, I realized that I'm missing something. To wit, two of the five nominees for excellence in news reporting were Al Jazeera and the BBC. The members of the Academy picked the BBC to win. The other three news organization nominees were National Geographic, the Smoking Gun, and Rocket News. Being somewhat of a news hound, I was struck by the fact that I probably wouldn't have considered any of those five in listing the top Internet news organizations. The BBC has to be read with a keen eye to the leftist bias, Al Jazeera spews the Islamic party line, National Geographic and the Smoking Gun are limited in scope, and Rocket News is from Canada where a large portion of the population thinks they're French and everything leans left.

To further support the fact that I don't understand the Webby Award process was their selection of as the award winner in the Government and Law category. I guess HealthOntario was selected because it is an initiative of the provincial government of Ontario. But that's it. One would be hard pressed to look at the website and find any mention of government OR law. You'll find information on avoiding mosquitoes, getting rid of mold, and treating migraines but no "government" and no "law." Now, I have not formed an opinion about other than to notice that it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the category in which it was given the award for excellence in 2004.

A strong clue about my apparent lack of understanding was provided when I reviewed the list of judges for the Webby Awards. This compilation of people and organizations includes strong representation from the entertainment industry, the elite media, academia, feminist organizations, environmental groups, and public radio. I'm sure that I could find some conservative representation somewhere in the mix of judges, but, on quick review, they're hidden by the preponderance of liberals. Since it appears that liberalism is a predominant characteristic among the judges, the choices of the Academy make some sense. I shouldn't wonder why the lists of nominees and winners are devoid of any of my particular favorites.

Based upon my review and quick analysis of the Webby Awards, it seems there is an easily identifiable liberal bias. To me, that makes getting the award somewhat less special.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Reform Party Backs Nader

Founded by Ross Perot, the Reform Party, gasping for breath, endorsed Ralph Nader for president at a party leadership committee meeting yesterday.
"This endorsement shows that our independent campaign is receiving support from across the political spectrum from people upset with President Bush, and looking to shift the power back to the people so a solution revolution can take hold and solve many of the nagging problems and injustices in our society," Nader said in a statement.
A "solution revolution?" Hey, Ralph, don't you mean a "socialist revolution?"

Reform Party Chairman Shawn O'Hara said that if every nonvoting citizen votes for Nader, he'll be the next president. It's rumored he also stated that if every dead body springs to life, there would be no need for cemeteries.
Kitchen Manager Fired

(Lorain, OH) According to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer,
The kitchen manager at Lorain Southview High School was replaced after city health officials found mouse feces in a food-storage closet at the school. Inspectors also found feces in a food-storage closet at Hawthorne Elementary.

The manager worked for Aramark, a private food service company that has a contract with the Lorain School District to prepare meals for students.
It probably wasn't necessary to have a health department inspection to determine the presence of mice. Custodians stated that they regularly trap about 20 mice per week at the school. That fact alone would indicate there is a disturbing level of infestation.
Help Wanted - Scab Librarians

Excuse me for being flippant, but I had to chuckle at this announcement.
Wanted: temporary librarians.

Just in case - or make that in the likelihood - of a strike.

"We are expecting our union to go out on strike on May 18," says an e-mail from the Cleveland Public Library to students and graduates using an electronic employment network of Kent State University's library school. "We are interested in recruiting some temporary workers."

Hourly pay: $20.74 for librarians; $16.62 for assistants.

Benefits: none.
Pardon me, but do students need another excuse for not doing their homework?

The back story on this first ever library strike is kind of interesting. The union, Service Employees International Union District 1199, pushed a ballot measure last year that more than doubled the library's property taxes. The increased tax burden prevents the library from giving requested pay raises, so the union is threatening to strike. It seems to me that the problem is the union. If the union hadn't jacked up taxes, there would be funds for pay raises and no reason to strike.
John Kerry's Ohio Campaign

(Cleveland, OH) They're ripping down the Dennis Kucinich for President signs and posters at the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party headquarters and replacing them with John Kerry promotional materials. Some think it's about time.
"We are getting deluged with letters and phone calls from people who want to help, but it's hard to give them something to do without a field office here," said Cuyahoga County Party chairman Jimmy Dimora.
Although the Kerry campaign still has not named an Ohio campaign manager, paid staffers are setting up field operations in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Youngstown, Toledo, Akron and elsewhere.

Kerry's hired mudslingers include Jennifer Palmieri, Ohio communications director and former staffer for Bill Clinton and John Edwards, veteran Kerry campaign worker Crystal King, and Beth Leonard, who led Kerry's field operations in Iowa. Apparently, there are no plans to hire any out-of-work volunteers from the Kucinich bait bucket.

The Bush-Cheney mudslinging team is headed up by state campaign manager Bob Paduchik.
Invasive Alien Fence

A $6.7 million electric fence is being planned for the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Its purpose will be to stop invasive alien carp from traveling from the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes. According to this report,
Asian carp eat up to 40 percent of their body weight daily, grow up to 100 pounds and have no natural predators. They are working their way up the Mississippi River, where they have displaced other fish and now represent more than five out of every 10 fish in the river.

Officials from the federal level on down want to contain the fish so it does not cross into the Great Lakes through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the only direct link between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. The carp escaped from fish farms during floods.
Construction on the fence is scheduled to begin next month. About 50 steel rails will be secured to the bottom of the canal and electrified. A demonstration fence apparently worked well enough to justify building a more permanent installation.

I'll go out on a limb and predict that the fence will only impede the Asian carp, not stop them. In five years, the Asian carp will be in Lake Michigan, in ten, all the Great Lakes.

However, I could be wrong and the electric fence may work. If it does, maybe the US Border Patrol could use a similar installation to keep invasive aliens from Mexico out of the US.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Baby with "Mermaid" Syndrome

(Lima, Peru) This is odd. A baby was born with sirenomelia, also called mermaid syndrome, where both legs are fused together to look like a fin. There's a picture at the link.
Roger Clemens

Last night, Roger Clemens won his seventh game this season, striking out 11 batters in seven innings. He's 7-0, 41-years-old, and retired from the New York Yankees. If anyone finds out what he eats and drinks (and Ricky Henderson, too), I'd like to know the secret.

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