Saturday, July 31, 2004

Horrifying Death

(Granton, Scotland) According to this report, Daniel McMillan died after being handcuffed, doused with gasoline, thrown into a grave with a metal cover, and set afire. The Lothian and Borders Police are certain he committed suicide.
U.S. Army Accused of Taking Hostages

(Jalandhar, India) According to this report, two truck drivers who were detained and later freed by militants in Iraq are accusing the U.S. Army of forcibly taking Indian truck drivers to Iraq and mercilessly beating them if they resist.
"Over 5000 Indian truck drivers and labourers are still in the custody of the American army ...," Lakhwinder Singh and Harnke Singh of Bhangala village said.
I don't believe for a nanosecond that the United States Army is taking Indian laborers as hostages. Forgetting momentarily that taking hostages is not something the U.S. Army would do, anybody with a pea-sized brain would know that it would be impossible to hide 5000 hostages and, if the elite leftist media had the slightest hint of anything of that nature, they would be all over the story. We would see the front pages of the NYT, the WaPo, the UK Guardian, and others plastered with the story, followed by a Congressional dog and pony show lasting months.

The report from Lakhwinder Singh and Harnke Singh is bogus.

Fat and Smelly

Italians Offended by Poster Campaign

Fat and Smelly

(London, England) Apparently bowing to complaints from some less-than-complete-diversity-minded travelers, authorities for London's crowded and hot subway system instituted a poster campaign encouraging people not to eat smelly foods. Each poster depicts a fat Italian surrounded by hams, salamis, and strings of garlic. Oddly, the Italians are offended. Imagine that. Somehow the authorities thought there wouldn't be a problem if they depicted an entire nationality as fat and smelly.
"We consider this poster to be very offensive to the Italian image, Italian products and the Italian company that is clearly identified," the Italian Embassy's economic counselor Guido Cerboni told Reuters. "It is a caricature of Italians."
A spokesman for the London Underground has apologized and agreed to remove the posters.

It's obvious that the authorities believe that "smelly" Italian foods don't meet the high British standards for cooking and cuisine. Strangely, I'm drawing a blank. Other than Beefeaters with a twist, I can't think of anything British that I'd like to see on my dinner table.
Pope Attacks Feminism

Today's UK Guardian reports:
The Pope will call on leaders of the Roman Catholic church today to attack feminist ideologies which assert that men and women are fundamentally the same.

The Vatican is concerned that this belief is eroding what it regards as women's maternal vocation. But a paper on the subject which is due to be published today - the Vatican's third major pronouncement on women's role in the quarter century of John Paul's papacy - has drawn scornful criticism from feminists and academics.
The church is concerned that the feminists are blurring biological differences between men and women.

I imagine we'll all be entreated to some less-than-lady-like comments from the not-so-feminine feminists regarding the Pope's statements.
Mike Tyson Clobbered

(Louisville, Kentucky) Fighting in Muhammad Ali's hometown in front of a large friendly crowd, Mike Tyson lost by fourth-round knockout.
Unheralded British heavyweight Danny Williams landed a flurry of punches that sent Tyson sprawling into the ropes, perhaps ending his career with the same kind of fury that Tyson once unleashed on other fighters.

The fighter once called the baddest man on the planet went down from a final right hand, then laid helplessly along the ropes, blood streaming down his face. He tried to get up to beat the count, then fell down again and the fight was waved to a stunning close at 2:51 of the fourth round.
Tyson may want to consider embarking on a new career. Still, he earned about $8 million while losing. Hell, for $8 million, I'd get into a ring and let someone beat the hell out of me.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Council on Foreign Relations

This story is most troubling.
A report by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations urged the Bush administration to stop any Israeli attempt to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. The council warned that such an Israeli attack would be blamed on the United States and hurt its interests in the region.
I'm astounded at the arrogance of these people on the CFR. First of all, they proclaim to know better than the nation of Israel on how it should protect itself. The Israelis should rightly tell the CFR to "shove it!" I'm confident that the people most qualified to determine what's in the best interest of Israel are the Israelis.

Secondly, President Bush should also tell the CFR to "shove it" and remind them that he doesn't work for them. The CFR should also be reminded that the nation of Israel is independent and the Israelis don't take orders from President Bush. And it should also be refreshed in the minds of the gilded glutei of the CFR that, as a sovereign nation, Israel has the right to act as they deem necessary for their defense and safety.

The report also states that if Israel acts against a threat in Iran, the United States will be blamed and our interests in the region will be hurt. What a stupid statement! The U.S. is always blamed for everything. Whether Israel acts or doesn't act has no bearing on whether the U.S. gets blamed. The U.S. is the world's blame receptacle. If anything happens, the U.S. is to blame. And if the international leftists forget to blame the U.S. for something, the home-grown American leftists will pick up the slack and make sure their accomplices in the media direct sufficiently emphasized blame on the U.S.

Lastly, it has to be mentioned that the interests of the U.S., Israel, and the world would be greatly helped if the theocratic leadership in Iran wasn't toying with nuclear weapons. I have no idea what you guys on the CFR are thinking. In any event, Interested-Participant thinks you should take your report and "Shove it!"

Hat tip: Allah Is In The House
Arrows for Andrew Sullivan

Spoons has gotten a few things off his chest and instituted the First Annual Anti-Andrew Sullivan Pledge Drive Out of Spite (F.A.A.A.S.P.D.O.S.). I agree with Spoons in his goals, philosophy, and criticisms of Andrew Sullivan. Interestingly, Sullivan is also getting mocked by others in the blogosphere.
Communists Endorse Kerry

I apparently missed the news that the Communist Party is supporting John Kerry for President. If there was anything that could put a final crowning stink on the John Kerry candidacy, it's being in bed with the communists who were directly responsible for the murder of over 100 million people during the 20th Century.

Historically, the Communist Party has offered up their own candidate to push forward their murderous philosophy, but no longer. Sadly, the Democratic Party has mutated to the point where it apparently mirrors the communists' agenda.
Claritin Maker Fined $340 Million

The Justice Department announced today that:
Schering Sales Corp. has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $52.5 million fine for violating the Anti-Kickback Statute for paying a kickback to a customer in exchange for the preferred treatment of Claritin; Schering Plough agreed to settle its False Claims Act liability and to pay the United States, 50 state Medicaid programs and certain Public Health Service entities $292,969,482 for failing to report its true best price for Claritin; and Schering Plough will enter into an agreement to correct its government pricing and Medicaid rebate reporting failures.
Simply put, if you lie and cheat, you'll be fined. Personally, since the kickback scheme is a criminal offense, I think someone should be doing jail time.
Shrimp Prices Going Up

The Commerce Department issued a preliminary ruling to impose import duties on shrimp from Brazil, Ecuador, India, and Thailand because they sell their products in the United States at unfairly low rates.
The preliminary decision quickly puts up duties, though a final Commerce Department decision is not expected until December, followed by an ITC ruling that could lock in trade barriers for at least five years and funnel the tariff revenue to the companies that brought the complaint.
Exporters in the four nations will face tariffs ranging to 67.8 percent and the tariffs follow duties previously imposed on shrimp exported from China and Vietnam.

The ruling is expected to help preserve U.S. shrimp businesses, protecting some 70,000 jobs in the United States. Opponents, such as Wally Stevens, president of Slade Gorton Co., claim:
"This is a case of the current administration imposing a new food tax on millions of Americans."
Those that have a particular fondness for shrimp can anticipate a bigger bite out of their food budget.
Triple-Dog Dare

(Scottsbluff, Nebraska) Someone "triple-dog dared" two men to walk into Wal-Mart, buy thongs in the women's department, put them on, and walk out of the store. After taking all their clothes off, they put on the thongs and casually walked out of the store where they were arrested.

It needs to be mentioned that these men were ages 35 and 36. I think the last time I recall a triple-dog dare stunt was in grade school. I was 12. What is in the water out in Western Nebraska that would prompt men in their mid-thirties to do something so juvenile?
Ban on Alcohol Ads Overturned

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Pennsylvania state ban on alcohol ads in college newspapers is an infringement on freedom of speech and, therefore, unconstitutional. The student-run newspaper at the University of Pittsburgh, The Pitt News, challenged the law.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Psychologists to Endorse Homosexual Marriage

According to this story, the meeting of the American Psychological Association in Honolulu will result in adopting a policy supporting homosexual marriage. This doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It's like the American Dental Association endorsing increased agricultural subsidies for sheep ranchers in New Zealand.

Leave it to the psychologists to be a bunch of leftists trying to throw their two cents into a political issue that doesn't have anything to do with them.
Jesse Jackson Wants UN Oversight of Elections

Along with Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), several members of the Democratic Congressional Black Caucus, and radical feminist groups, Jesse Jackson is asking for United Nations observers to monitor the November elections.

How utterly ridiculous and insignificant is Jackson trying to become? The United Nations has demonstrated abject corruption time after time and cannot even monitor themselves, much less anybody else. One thing is sure, though, Jackson has made a very hard and undeniable left turn in his thinking. Just look who he's teaming up with.


North Korean Defectors


The story is worthy of being portrayed in a major motion picture. Shrouded in secrecy, hundreds of North Koreans, mostly women and children, escaped into China, traveled to its southern border, and entered an undisclosed Southeast Asian country to reside and wait for permission from the South Korean government to defect. And then they finally arrive in Seoul and are carted off to a defector training center to become acclimated to freedom, democracy, and capitalism.

North Korea has condemned the South for "an organised and planned kidnapping as well as a terror crime." But this is to be expected from a country that builds a fence to keep people from fleeing brutal Stalinism and starvation.

With appropriate commentary, Robert Koehler provides an overview and running account of the drama at the Marmot's Hole.

From a personal perspective, I'm old enough to recall the images of East Germans being shot and impaled on barbed wire fences trying to escape communism. The North Koreans' flight to freedom pulls at my heart.
Mayberry Sheriff's Department Girlfriends

Current rankings in the Most Attractive Mayberry Sheriff's Department Girlfriend Contest are:
Thelma Lou - 2 votes
Helen Crump - 0 votes
Ellie Walker - 0 votes
Miss Peggy - 0 votes
Juanita (at the diner) - 0 votes
Polling continues.
Potential Migraine Cure

(Cleveland, Ohio) A local plastic surgeon, Dr. Bahman Guyuron, has developed a method to end chronic migraine headaches by surgically trimming or eliminating nerve branches. His research continues in order to acquire conclusive data, however, many people are already convinced of the effectiveness of the procedure.
"The skepticism of what Dr. Guyuron does is because it's new and the scientific community is always skeptical until they see enough numbers to make the statistics and the end values as big as they need to see," said neurologist Debra Reed, of the American Migraine Center.

As soon as his next round of research is published by the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2005, Guyuron expects his findings will become universally accepted.
If Dr. Guyuron's discovery proves to be valid, I'm confident that it will be considered a significant medical advancement.
Imus Being Sued

Chef Ron worked for radio star Don Imus for two years and claims that his recipes were stolen by Imus and his wife, Deirdre, and subsequently published as "The Imus Ranch: Cooking for Kids and Cowboys." Yesterday, Chef Ron was fuming:
"I guess there's about 80-some recipes - 64 are mine . . . [Deirdre] can't boil a pot of water . . . She didn't cook . . . Then you see Don. He comes out in his pink pajamas and his cowboy hat."
Chef Ron plans to sue.

Imus could be accused of just about any underhanded scheme and I'd believe it. The man does not exude honesty nor integrity. And, the pink pajamas don't help his image and they surely must clash with the cowboy hat.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Stolen Loot

(Lockport, New York) This story needs no explanation.
Authorities say two men in Lockport showed up at a tractor supply store at closing time and demanded the night bank deposit bag. Police say the two grabbed a blue bag from one employee and got away.

It turns out the bag was the employee's lunch bag - not the deposit bag. The men were arrested a little while later on robbery charges.
Civilized society always benefits when criminals are stupid.
Today's Advisory

If you find yourself at a party where Kim of Bacon and Eh's is in attendance, keep an eye on her. There's something particularly unusual about this lady. I'm not sure what it is but every time I visit her site, I ask myself, "How in the world does she come up with this stuff?"

All my visits to her site result in me shaking my head and chuckling.
Company Creates 150 New Jobs in Cleveland

As a follow up to a previous post describing positive aspects regarding the business climate in NE Ohio, this story fits.
A San Diego company will be making its new home in downtown Cleveland, bringing 150 new jobs to the area.

ELSC, or Education Loan Servicing Corporation, will cut the ribbon on their new offices in Ferguson Plaza Wednesday, NewsChannel5 reported.
ELSC is the largest new company to locate in downtown Cleveland in a decade and supports my contention that there are numerous reasons to be positive and optimistic about the job situation in NE Ohio. Be apprised, though, the politicians and delegates attending the Democratic National Convention in Boston won't be mentioning this news.
Rabid Raccoon in NE Ohio

Not too far from my home in Lake County, a rabid raccoon was captured after attacking a family pet. Four people in the Szuhay family had to be vaccinated as a precaution. Other animals are undergoing testing at present and state and county health officials are initiating a program to drop vaccine-treated fishmeal bait from planes to immunize other wildlife from the rabies virus. According to this report,
The disease is almost always fatal in people and animals.

This case has officials worried because the virus in raccoons has not been found before so far west of the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, although rabies is discovered in a few Lake County bats each year.
Officials anticipate that more rabies cases will be found this year.
Canadian Immigration Control

Unlike the United States, Canada is trying to shore up their immigration controls to keep out undesirables. According to this story,
Immigration officers are having to pore through naked pictures of hundreds of exotic dancers to keep impostors out of Canada. Foreign strippers planning to table dance in clubs here must now provide photos of themselves with no clothes on to qualify for a visa for Canada, immigration officials say.

[ ... ]

The potential dancers have to prove they can dance in the nude, immigration lawyer Mendel Green said yesterday.

"They can't be partially nude," he said. "If they don't have pictures in the nude, they are not going to wiggle their bottoms in Canada."

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said the women have to show nude pictures to ensure they're not abusing the system.
Another fine example of Canadian tax dollars at work, preventing foreign bottom wigglers from abusing the system. Of course, one has to wonder how a nude picture could provide evidence that a woman can dance. Fred Astaire was a great dancer but I doubt you could tell by looking at a naked picture of him. This makes about as much sense as looking at a picture of a person's feet and determining that he/she could ride a bicycle. (via David Janes)
Canadian Socialized Health Care

John Hudock pointed me to this piece by Walter Williams who discusses at some length the Canadian health care system. Williams makes several salient points and they must be disturbing to the Canadians.

First, waiting periods before diagnosis and treatment are astonishingly long and, according to a recent survey, increasing in length. For example,
[T]he average time a patient waited between referral from a general practitioner to treatment rose from 16.5 weeks in 2001-02 to 17.7 weeks in 2003.

[ ... ]

[H]ip-replacement patients often end up non-ambulatory while waiting an average of 20 weeks for the procedure, and that's after having waited 13 weeks just to see the specialist. The wait to get diagnostic scans followed by the wait for the radiologist to read them just might explain why Cleveland, Ohio, has become Canada's hip-replacement center.
That's waiting over four months just to get treated after seeing a GP! And, there's a 33 week wait to get a hip replaced. The durations are unfathomable.

It's also reported that Canada is losing doctors in droves. During the 1990s, about 10,000 doctors left the country and set up shop elsewhere. That equates to about three doctors leaving the country every day for the entire ten year period.

Compounding the health care problems is legislation which makes it illegal for a patient or doctor to opt out of the Canadian health care system. Citizens are not allowed to pay for their own surgery and doctors can be fined $20,000 for accepting any form of private payment.

The current situation is troubling and the fact that it's getting worse is more troubling. As an agenda item at this week's Annual Premier's Conference at Niagara-on-the-Lake, the provincial and territorial leaders have proposed that the federal government give the provinces and territories a blank check without any strings attached. The bottom line is that there are too few dollars available to provide acceptable free health care to every Canadian on a timely basis.

Lastly, while the Canadian health care mess gets messier, realize that their experiment with socialism is subjected to a population of about 30 million people. Now multiply their problems tenfold and one gets the idea of what a national health care system would be like in the United States with a population of 300 million people. Nonetheless, even as I write, Michael Moore has started planning his next mendacious film. It will be called Sicko and it will be a direct attack on the American health care system. So, expect new calls for socialized medicine to be mandated in the United States.
Ivy League Supports Kerry

Max Jacobs of Common Sense and Wonder documents the results of a survey of Ivy League schools' employee contributions to President Bush and candidate Kerry which is hardly surprising but informative. In summary, more than 90% of the employees are contributors to Kerry's campaign.

I found it interesting that, of all the employees at Dartmouth College, only one supports President Bush. He/she is one brave and probably lonely person.
Building Blog Traffic

Wayne Hurlbert of Blog Business World has put a lot of study into cataloging a variety of methods and techniques which help build traffic volume to blogs, in general, and business blogs, in particular. His post, Extra Visitors: Finding Them details a compilation of his ideas, all easily workable. It's informative and worth a look.
Hawaiian Cigarette Controversy

Residents of the island of Kauai are disturbed by a national advertising campaign for a new cigarette named "Kauai Kolada." Their complaints relate to the use of the island's name with a hula girl on the package of pineapple- and coconut-flavored cigarettes. Anti-tobacco advocates accuse the company of trying to appeal to children.
"I am appalled that this company has chosen to use the Kauai name to market a product that kills," Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste said in a written statement.
Seldom do I agree with the anti-tobacco crowd because I think they go too far in demanding restrictions on tobacco while ignoring the problems associated with smoking marijuana. In fact, sometimes I get the feeling that their singular goal is to replace tobacco in society with marijuana. Nevertheless, I tend to agree with the residents of Kauai regarding the issue of Kauai Kolada. And, I agree with the anti-tobacco advocacy in that the product surely is being marketed with kids in mind.
Scarlet "J" Foods

In the true spirit of leftist save-the-world utopianism, a prominent doctor has proposed that all junk foods (It's not clear who defines or how) be labeled with a scarlet "J" to alert eaters to the danger of obesity. Dr. David Katz proposed the idea because he believes that Americans apparently have too many freedoms, need more labeling on foods, and the food industry lacks a sufficient level of government intrusiveness.

There's been no confirmation of the rumor that Dr. Katz also proposed tattooing all HIV patients with a scarlet "H" on their forearms to warn others of the danger of having intimate relations with the individual. Other unconfirmed food nazi proposals include the scarlet "E" for all beef products to remind consumers of Elsie, the cow of Borden fame, and the scarlet "W" for pork products to remind consumers of Wilbur, the fantastic pig in Charlotte's Web.

Yes, readers, this is America where, given enough time, nanny state socialists just seem to percolate out of the woodwork.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Homeless in Key West

Several months ago it was reported that the city council in Key West, Florida, decided to implement an aggressive program to help vagrants. They offered air-conditioned housing, bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities and, at the time, I predicted that they would become inundated with homeless people as soon as word got around that Key West was paradise for vagrants.

As predicted, Key West has seen a massive influx of homeless people looking for handouts at the time of the year when the city traditionally sees the fewest homeless people. Yet, even though they are close to capacity in the existing homeless facilities, they've decided to offer a cafeteria-style selection of benefits based upon the individual desires of each homeless person. A postcard-size checklist is to be completed by each vagrant to identify the specific benefits they want. In addition to existing handouts, vagrants can choose from a list of new options of receiving free dental care, employment assistance, and substance abuse counseling.

It's hard to understand what the authorities are trying to accomplish, but it's easy to see that it's not working and neither are the homeless. The homeless population in Key West have it made. Everything is provided for them so there is no motivation to find a job or do anything but bask in the sun.

City authorities are perplexed. They're providing so much help and conditions just get worse with more homeless showing up daily. Writing for the Key West Citizen, Mandy Bolen says it best by starting her article with the following quote:
"If you build it, they will come."
Mandy Bolen seems to understand what the problem is and I understand the problem. I'm also fairly confident that the homeless population in Key West are praying that the city council remains clueless.

Mention needs to be made that the saga of idiocy displayed by the authorities in Key West has not, as yet, included action to pay the homeless. Failing to do so precludes the city from taking over the No. 1 spot on the Best Cities for the Homeless List. San Francisco will continue to be No. 1 as long as they maintain a generous cash giveaway program for vagrants.
Barney Frank Wants Kerry's Senate Seat

At a gala event at the U.S. District Court, Congressman Barney Frank stated he would run for the Senate if John Kerry wins the presidential election. Frank, who attended the gathering with his entire family and companion, declared:
"I will run for the Senate unless we (Democrats) take back the House of Representatives, which at this time seems unlikely."
Congressman Edward Markey, also in attendance at the event, said he too would likely run for Kerry's open seat.

It must be comforting to the voters in Massachusetts to know that they don't have to look far for a leftist politician to represent them in Congress. They've got them lined up. Along with Frank and Markey, Congressman Martin Meehan would also be a likely candidate in a Senate race.

I do wonder about the U.S. District Court becoming a party house. Prior to this story, I would have thought a gala event at the U.S. District Court would be the sentencing of a mobster to life in prison. I guess I was wrong since it appears the court is available for parties. So, parents, listen up! When it's time for the little one's birthday party, forget Chuck E. Cheese and book the U.S. District Court.
Paper Made From Dung

(Colombo, Sri Lanka) It's been reported that the Millennium Elephant Foundation is producing and selling stationary made from elephant dung. The paper is available in a variety of colors which is determined by the diet, age, and dental health of the elephant that produced the excrement. No information has been provided regarding the odor of the paper.

Interestingly, there's a rumor that when this news plopped on the desks of the editors of the New York Times, serious discussions were held about using the new paper for the print editions of the NYT. Some believe that the dung paper coupled with the usual NYT content would result in a refreshingly honest journalistic presentation.
Teresa Heinz Kerry Flip-Flops

Candidate John Kerry has been rightfully accused of being on both sides of every issue and it apparently is contagious. His wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, has been found to display the same behavior. According to this report,
Teresa Heinz Kerry, years before becoming a Democrat, railed against the party's "putrid" politics, said she didn't trust Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and angrily called the liberal lion a "perfect bastard."

In comments published in a little-known 1975 book about political wives called "The Power Lovers: An Intimate Look at Politicians and Their Marriages," Heinz Kerry lashed out at the senator she'll share the primetime convention stage with tonight.
Now, years hence, she campaigns with Ted Kennedy and says she has a good relationship with him. The "perfect bastard" has become a good guy. She seems to have the ability to love or hate a person based entirely on the political party she belongs to. She also seems to be able to switch political parties based entirely on who wooed her on a dinner date. The superficiality of her behavioral preferences indicates that she doesn't possess any core character traits.

Most interesting about the story, though, is the statement by Marla Romash, a senior adviser to Teresa Heinz Kerry. Referring to Heinz Kerry statements made years ago, Romash said that the "quotes' age makes them irrelevant." Based upon her superlative logic, we shouldn't be quoting William Shakespeare, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Will Rogers, Mark Twain, and many others because their quotes would be irrelevant.

To paraphrase Marie Antoinette, "Let Romash eat cake!" I think that's relevant.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Man Dies in Hospital Waiting Room

Robert Johnson entered the Southwest General Health Center in suburban Cleveland and sat down in the waiting room. Seventeen hours later, a nurse found he was dead. Police say he died of natural causes, whatever that means. The only thing I can figure is that he died from old age while waiting to see a doctor.

There's something seriously wrong if a health care facility has someone in the waiting room for 17 hours before somebody checks on him. I surely wouldn't recommend Southwest General Health Center for any emergency treatment nor any other treatment for that matter. Dying of old age while in the waiting room has been a running joke for decades. I didn't know that it really does happen.
Ohio Sex Offender Database

(Columbus, Ohio) Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro has announced that citizens can now access a state database of 11,000 registered sex offenders and they can also receive email notification if a sex offender moves close to their homes. The database shows maps of offender addresses within one mile of an address. Naturally, the ACLU objects.

Personally, I think the database is a good idea for two reasons. One is that citizens will be able to be on guard protecting themselves and their family by knowing that a sex offender lives close by. And two is that the database provides an easy way for convicted sex offenders to make contact with other perverts in their area with similar backgrounds and interests.
Ohio Jobs

Since the onset of the sluggish economy many months ago, no region has seen job loss statistics comparable to the Rust Belt, in general, and Northeast Ohio, in particular. Listening to candidate John Kerry over the past year, however, one would think that just about everyone is unemployed and there is no hope unless a Democratic administration is elected. The theme is heralded by the major media, most notably the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which consistently headlines negative job news while burying the successes and positive signs deep within. On balance, the negatives have been greater than the positives with regard to jobs, but the overall picture being painted by the media and the Democrats is all black when, in reality, it should have a smattering of bright colors.

Without breaking a sweat, I recently found the following positive business news sprinkled, buried, or largely ignored by the media.

Medical device manufacturing and engineering is the specialty of Astro Instrumentation LLC of Strongsville and the company has seen consistent growth and increased revenue over its 4-year operating life.
Since opening a 40,000-square-foot plant last year in Strongsville, Astro Instrumentation LLC has almost doubled in size by adding 42 employees to its manufacturing, engineering, testing and customer service departments. More new jobs are expected before the year's end at Astro, which now has 90 employees.
Roy Rodgers, Astro's co-founder, has stated that the company hesitates to announce how many jobs will be created since expansion plans have not been completed.

Looking to bring 300 jobs and a new research laboratory to Northeast Ohio is Clinical Research Management Inc. of Hinckley, home of founder Victoria Tifft. The company conducts clinical trials for bioscience companies and, according to Joanne Abbott, vice-president of business development,
[T]he company plans to expand in the next five years and sees Northeast Ohio as an untapped market with huge growth potential because there are many researchers here and a large patient population at the area's many hospitals. New jobs for the region could include statisticians, data analysts, accountants, marketing personnel, information technology experts, volunteer recruiters, lab technicians and physicians.
Ms. Abbott also stated that the company plans to build new facilities, including a research lab, on five acres it owns in Hinckley.

Strong demand for aluminum manufacturing has prompted several companies, including Indalex Aluminum Solutions in Girard and Exal Extrusion in Warren, to open and expand aluminum production facilities in the Youngstown and Mahoning Valley region. According to Walter Good, director of the Youngstown/Warren regional economic development action team, there are currently 18 aluminum extrusion operations employing over 1,800 workers in the region. With the aluminum industry profits soaring, it's expected that many new people will be hired from a regional labor force that has proven itself to be adaptable to new machinery and production methods.

Striking and impressive is the latest report from Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc. of Euclid which manufactures welding products and sells to the entire world. In the last quarter, Lincoln's sales were the highest ever in the 109-year company history. As a result, 200 new workers have been added to local operations bringing the total to 2,900. In addition, Lincoln spokesman Roy Morrow stated that:
[T]he company has added a fourth shift at its Mentor plant, which now runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He said some Lincoln workers are putting in 45-hour work weeks.
Strong demand in the domestic and international markets pushed Lincoln to a 67 percent higher net income and the sales record, according to John Stropki Jr., president and CEO.

A few months ago, I reported on the success of KraftMaid which is expanding its operations in Northeast Ohio. The KraftMaid story is heartening as are the stories I report today. Critics would have everyone believe that they represent dribs and drabs and I would strongly disagree. Collectively, the successes in Northeast Ohio represent a vibrant and creative business community going through transition, replete with opportunity and a promising future.

Two important facets of the business situation in NE Ohio are worthy of emphasis. First, each case outlined is a success because of the innovation and entrepreneurship of the owners and managers and has little to do with any direct government involvement. In fact, businesses generally do better if government just stays out of the way.

Secondly, a most precious theme of this week's Democratic National Convention in Boston will be the dismal job situation across the U.S. with special emphasis on the Ohio job situation. Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones has already scripted her speech for tonight to describe how miserable life is in NE Ohio. Congressman Dennis Kucinich will be given time to echo her sentiments. Expect from neither the whole picture. They'll cherry-pick all the problems and ignore any positives. Al Gore and John Kerry are also sure to pound their fists in the air about jobs, jobs, jobs.

What can be believed is that the job situation in NE Ohio is in transition and not nearly as gloomy as it will be (and has been) portrayed. There are successes and there will be more despite what is said from the podium at the Fleet Center. There are reasons to be optimistic.

And one last thing, don't believe for a second that raising taxes (or, 'roll back the tax cut' - the way the Democrats disguise the tax increase they desire) in any way is beneficial to business.

[Rev. 7/27] Changed title.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Firemen Rescue 4-Year-Old Chained to Crib

(Coshocton, Ohio) Gerald L. Stewart, 33, and Ridgley A. Allington, 36, escaped from their burning home with pleas for the firemen to rescue their little girl.
"The girl was chained in the crib and could not go anywhere," according to an incident report filed by the Coshocton County Sheriff's Office.
The girl was rescued and Stewart and Allington each face a charge of endangering a child. There's obviously more to this story. Even so, it already makes me sick.

[Update 7/26/04, 2130] Bond for Stewart and Allington has been set at $25,000 each by Coshocton County Municipal Judge David Hostetler. The little girl, Karen Stewart, remains in critical condition at Children's Hospital in Columbus.
Animal Rights Leader Says 'Kill Scientists'

Trauma surgeon and prominent animal rights advocate, Jerry Vlasak, told the UK Observer that scientists and researchers should be assassinated to protect animals' lives. Specifically, he stated:
"I don't think you'd have to kill too many [researchers]. I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives."
Dr. Vlasak has been linked to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a shill organization for PETA, but even they have disavowed any affiliation with him due to his radicalism. Legal experts have warned that if he continues his call for assassinations, he may be charged with inciting violence.

Society needs to be informed about the animal rights activists. They are a cult and, as expressed by Vlasak, they are dangerously anti-human. The animal rights leadership has shown that they value the life of a rat more than a human being. Know that your contributions to PCRM and PETA are funding a cult of anti-human radicalism.

Regarding animal rights extremism, it should be noted that Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder and president of PETA, stated during an interview for New Yorker magazine that "the world would be an infinitely better place without humans in it at all." I don't think it's a coincidence that Jerry Vlasak calls for murdering people.

[Update 7/26/04, 0500] According to this story, Mr. Vlasak is claiming his words were taken out of context. Specifically,
"I am not suggesting anybody kill any other human being, but I am saying that historically violence has been used on both sides in struggles like these. If you look at other historical movements that seek to end grievous violence perpetrated on innocent victims - including fights such as that against apartheid in South Africa or against black slavery in the US - violence has always been used as an arsenal in those struggles and I do not think the animal rights liberation movement is any different. It is unfortunate, but it is true. I am not advocating the killing of anybody - any human or non-human."
The best I can figure is that he thinks violence is inevitable because people like to eat animals. And, he correlates 'animal rights liberation' to the emancipation of slaves. I personally don't see the connection. In fact, just trying to understand how Vlasak thinks gives me a headache.

Nonetheless, one thing about Vlasak seems to be quite clear. He is perfectly comfortable with and expects the animal rights movement to use violence to achieve its goals in society.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Business in Europe

After 50 years of encroaching socialism in Europe, some leaders are beginning to recognize that free market competitiveness is impeded by social programs and policies. Both France and Germany are gasping with chronically sluggish economies while sporting unemployment rates comfortably above 9%. Yet, for those that are working, both countries provide exceedingly generous entitlements. In Germany and France, one can look forward to a very comfortable pension as average retirement ages are falling. For those that aren't working, unemployment benefits are enticing.

Europeans have also instituted federally mandated vacations, as much as six weeks per year, which sounds good but hardly contributes to maximization of productivity. Couple extravagant vacation time with fewer average hours worked per week and business is greatly impeded in generating sufficient revenue to pay all the bills. If no one is at work, nothing is produced to sell.

In summary, the prevalent European socialist philosophy has helped stagnate the economies and prompted companies to rethink how they are going to conduct business. As reported last week, DaimlerChrysler announced that they needed relief from the demands of the labor unions and asked for some concessions to cut labor costs. This caused work stoppages and a national day of protest in which 60,000 participated. Undeterred, the company said they would move a portion of their Mercedes production to South Africa with a loss of 6,000 jobs in Germany if concessions were not granted.

The threat was taken seriously and DaimlerChrysler got concurrence from the trade unions to expand the work week from 35 to 39 hours. Jobs were saved in Germany but, more importantly, a precedent has been set for establishing a standard work week of longer duration. DaimlerChrysler's success with the trade unions piggybacks nicely on the success of Siemens AG who won similar concessions last month in saving 2,000 jobs they threatened to move to Hungary. These occurrences will undoubtedly embolden other companies to challenge the status quo and allow them to follow DaimlerChrysler and Siemens AG to a more competitive position in the marketplace.
PETA and 'Chicken Torture'

Federal compliance officers are investigating allegations of chicken torture at a chicken processing plant in West Virginia after PETA videotaped episodes of stomping, kicking and slamming chickens against walls.

Personally, I couldn't care less whether a chicken was stomped, kicked, or slammed against a wall before it showed up in my sandwich. I've eaten thousands of chickens and, for the life of me, I couldn't tell you which ones were sad, morose, frightened, in love, forlorn, or mad by the taste. Frankly, as long as it doesn't affect the taste or nutritional value, the chicken processors could subject them all to Chinese water torture such that they committed suicide and I wouldn't care.

Interestingly, I was on a plane conversing with a PETA enthusiast a few years back about the treatment of pigs on a pig farm. She explained to me the horror of how they were treated and said PETA was on a campaign to make the pigs lives better. In an offhand manner, I happened to mention that it would be nice if aborted fetuses were accorded the same consideration. She informed me that the treatment of animals was an ethical issue and abortion is not. It's important to be concerned about the 'happiness' of farm animals but abortion is a private matter between a woman and her doctor.

PETA is a cult of radical vegetarians and animal rights activists. Their goal is to forcibly increase the cost and limit availability of animal products so as to normalize their radicalism within society. So, anytime you see a PETA stunt, know that their goal is to limit the choices people have in society.

If you end up in a cafeteria line hoping for pizza or chicken fingers and all that's available is leaves, grasses and sprouts, thank PETA.
Sobriety Checkpoint - Lucas County

Between 9pm and 3am, EDT, tonight, Oregon police, the Lucas County DUI Task Force, and the Ohio Highway Patrol will man a sobriety checkpoint in the 2000 block of Woodville Road in Oregon.

Some people will be apprehended in the checkpoint and they'll deserve it.
Toledo Smoking Ban Opposition

A petition drive is underway this weekend to replace Toledo's existing smoking ban with a new ordinance which would allow smoking in bowling alleys, bingo halls, restaurants with fewer than 10 employees, and bars that receive less than 35 percent of their gross revenue from food. About 9,500 signatures need to be collected by Aug. 2.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Woman Surrenders 1,300 Weapons

The Brazilian program to take guns away from the population resulted in one woman giving up 1,300 guns that her father had collected. She was paid $65,000 for the weapons which was probably not even close to being the true value of the collection.
Germans To Ban Religious Symbols

A bill has been introduced in Berlin that will ban the display of any religious symbols by public sector employees, including teachers, members of the police force, and workers in the city-state's judicial system. Head scarves seem to be the primary target of the legislation since pieces of jewelry, such as crosses on chains, are exempted.

Expect some protest.
Rock & Roll John Kerry

Apparently, while John Kerry was in high school in New Hampshire in 1961, he was a member of a surf-rock group called the Electras.
The Electras played in the instrumental surf-rock style of The Ventures and, in 1961, cut a record in the school's band room and pressed 500 vinyl copies.

The original liner notes indicate that the Electras were "a highly original and refreshing group to listen to. They subscribe to the theory that rock and roll should by rights be made an art ...."
It's not clear how many copies of the Electras have survived, but those that are available are being offered on eBay for substantial sums. One copy sold for more than $2,500. The aging members of the Electras have joined forces to reissue the record on CD.

One odd note about this story is that saxophonist Lee Scarbrough told Newsweek, "I didn't know John Kerry was even in the Electras." So, it appears that even as a teenager John Kerry was not worth remembering.
Employer Drug Screening

The country's largest drug testing company, Quest Diagnostics Inc., reports that their data indicate a troubling rise in methamphetamine usage among job applicants and randomly-tested workers.
The report - tallying the results of more than 7 million workplace drug tests performed last year by Teterboro, N.J.-based Quest - shows the methamphetamine positive rate jumped, along with a smaller rise in positives for opiates like heroin, even as the overall number of workers failing tests stayed nearly unchanged at 4.5 percent.
The number of workers and job candidates testing positive for methamphetamine remains small compared to marijuana, by far the biggest reason that people fail employer drug screenings, the Quest figures show. About 3 of every 1,000 workers now test positive for meth, compared to about 3 of every 100 workers testing positive for marijuana.
Based upon these results, it seems the rallying cry for the drug legalization crowd should be "Get high, not hired!"
Glove Found With Frozen Chicken

Tyson Foods has told the Hayden family to return the package of chicken that included a white glove and the company would send them a double refund and some coupons for chicken.

What's the big deal? It's not like there was a hand in the glove.
Chris Matthews Blog

It has come to pass that more and more journalists are starting blogs and MSNBC's Chris Matthews has joined the fray. Chris and a dedicated lineup of leftists plan on providing objective (cough ... cough) coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. All those readers who enjoy watching cheerleaders posing as journalists can follow the link.
Wolf Pack Killed

(Boise, Idaho) This story should come as no surprise. Federal authorities have exterminated an entire pack of nine wolves because they were a continuing menace to ranchers. Just this summer which, by the way, isn't over, the wolves have killed about 100 sheep.

Undoubtedly, killing of the wolf pack is most troubling to the animal rights crowd. Personally, I am incapable of understanding the philosophy of being neighborly to any animal that considers all other animals, including humans, as food.

Diego Garcia

Diego Garcia

Diego Garcia

In the middle of the Indian Ocean, a few degrees south of the equator, 3000 miles from Afghanistan and Iraq, and it's home to a squadron of B52s. Diego Garcia is part of the British Indian Ocean Territories.
Kucinich to Speak at Convention

Having collected a few delegates and weathered the entire primary campaign, Congressman Dennis Kucinich will be given time at the speaker's podium during next week's Democratic National Convention. Oh, goody! Also, during convention week, Kucinich plans on conducting workshops on how to find world peace. I imagine this effort will entail more Kumbaya than substantive dialogue.

It seems the Democratic party leaders are bending over for Kucinich just to keep him and his delegates in the fold. They reasonably fear that, if they don't, Kucinich will flip over and support Ralph Nader. Even though Kucinich was a fringe candidate, he did engender some loyalty from fringe Democrats and the party doesn't want to lose those voters.

As a side note, there's one aspect of Kucinich's campaign which reveals volumes about his attractiveness as a candidate and as a person. Kucinich, the bachelor, spent a year in the media spotlight hobnobbing with the elite while vying to become the most powerful person in the world. Yet, with all that attention, by my count, he was only able to get one date with a woman. And she already had a significant other. Compare that with the Clinton campaign which probably included some dress-stainings between speeches.
Child Smuggling in Chicago

Several Chicago residents have been charged by federal authorities for their involvement in a child smuggling ring. Carmen Hernandez, husband and wife Efrain and Joanne Rendon, and Henry Bolivar Rendon-Arizaga allegedly obtained false passports and other illegal documents to smuggle children between the ages of 6 and 14 to the U.S. from Ecuador. Apparently, the trafficking of children has been occurring for at least the past ten years.

What happens to the children once they are in the U.S. has not been disclosed but the story hints that their lives are not good. Authorities are continuing their investigation.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Starbucks To Raise Prices

On their apparent march towards setting a new record by charging $10 for a 50-cent cup of coffee, Starbucks announced today that it's likely to raise prices for all their beverages. Understandably, the company reported increased earnings for the past year.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Canadians Get Dopier

According to this report in The Globe and Mail, the liberal political agenda in Canada is producing the desired result of turning the electorate into a bunch of mind-numbed followers. The Canadian Community Health Survey found that the use of marijuana and hashish almost doubled in the past 13 years and the highest usage rate is among teenagers. The study also found,
... [M]ore people were taking five other drugs: cocaine or crack, ecstasy, LSD and other hallucinogens, amphetamines (speed) and heroin.

Overall, 2.4 per cent of Canadians 15 or older reported using at least one of these drugs in the past year, up from 1.6 per cent in 1994. An estimated 321,000 people - 1.3 per cent - had used cocaine or crack cocaine, making it the most commonly used of these other drugs.

When it came to pot and hashish, 6.5 per cent of Canadians reported using the drugs in 1989 and 7.4 per cent in 1994. By 2002, that proportion had reached 12.2 per cent.
The dramatic increase in drug usage has to be of some concern to the country's leaders. A not insignificant and growing segment of the population admits to chemically altering their mentality on a regular basis. One has to wonder how many individuals are altered when they perform significant tasks such as child-rearing or driving a truck.

It's probably not unreasonable to assume that, at the current rate of growth, drug usage in Canada will soon have a noticeable destabilizing effect on society, in general, and the economy, in particular.
Policeman Shoots At Jaywalker

According to this report, a policeman in the Western Czech Republic city of Pilsen shot at a jaywalker who refused to cross the road with the light. Fortunately, the not-too-sharp-witted policeman was also not a sharpshooter. He missed and is under investigation for being stupid.
In The Crystal Ball

According to this story, Yasser Arafat is losing power and influence among the Palestinians. The militants are acting without his direction or concurrence and, based upon circumstances, it has been predicted that Arafat will be dead within six weeks.

That would surely stir the pot.
Illegal Alien Sex Workers

As a followup to a previous post which described the human trafficking of Asian sex slaves across the U.S. - Canadian border to work on the West Coast, here is another story of Asian sex slaves being smuggled into the U.S. to work on the East Coast.

After a year-long investigation by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, arrests have been made in various "health spas" in Burlington, Vermont. The businesses are alleged to be brothels with non-English-speaking illegal alien employees from Korea and China. Authorities made the apprehensions for immigration law violations, not sex crimes.

So, Asian sex slaves are on the West Coast, in New England (in the modest-sized city of Burlington, Vermont, no less), and probably in many other communities. Check your local yellow pages under "health spa" or "massage" and pick out the Asian-named establishment.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


For those bloggers with notable traffic, Blogads is prepared to pay to advertise on your site. Les Jones provides an overview of the subject of Internet advertising and takes a serious look at the rates, history, and the future. Dan Drezner explores the subject in this post and accompanying comment thread. Take a look.
Boston Police Strike

Data from 2003 indicate that the average salary of a police officer in Boston is $83,000 per year. It's not enough and the police union is on strike to demand that officers be given a 17% raise over four years. Mayor Thomas Menino and his administration have offered 11.9%. The 1,400-member police union remains unsatisfied. It has established picket lines around the Fleet Center and has sent letters to the delegates to next week's Democratic National Convention asking them to honor the picket lines and not cross them.

Mayor Menino has announced that the picket lines are "informational" and not official strike lines.
"It's very shortsighted by anybody to take that letter they got from the patrolmen's association at face value," Menino said yesterday. "It was a self-serving letter."

Police union officials derided Menino's attempt to depict their planned protests as something less than an official picket line.

"This is a picket line - it's an economic picket line," said Jim Barry, the association's legislative agent. "What does Menino know about a picket line anyway? He's never walked one."
So, the mayor is trying to poo-poo the significance of the picket lines while the police union wants them to be honored. Whether John Kerry and the convention delegates will respect the picket lines next week is unknown.

My guess is that Kerry will cross the picket lines while voicing 110% support for the union.
Evidence of Web Pedophilia

A UK Internet service provider, BT Retail, with 2.5 million customers, instituted blocking technology three weeks ago to prevent users from accessing child pornography. Since that time, the company has documented nearly 250,000 attempts to view web pages containing images of child pornography. That equates to more than 10,000 attempts per day, providing the first solid evidence of the extent of the problem of pedophiles trolling the Internet.
The Internet Watch Foundation called the figures "staggering" and said children were being abused in order to supply the hardcore images.

Police officials said the extent of the online porn problem was "extremely disturbing."
In summary, there are a lot of deviants in society and everything possible must be done to protect our children.
Kerry Touring Into Boston

This Friday, John Kerry will start a tour of six states, ending in Boston on the third day of the Democratic National Convention. The candidate will start in Colorado.
Kerry then will hit several swing states, starting with a Saturday rally in Sioux City, Iowa, to talk about "America's can-do spirit" in a place where Lewis and Clark stopped on their journey west. In Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, Kerry will focus on the economy and his plan to create new jobs.

On Monday, as the convention gets under way in Boston, Kerry will be in Cape Canaveral, Fla., to talk about affordable health care. Highlighting his military service, Kerry will be joined Tuesday by former Swift boat Capt. Skip Barker in Norfolk, Va., where there is a large Navy base.

He will make a final stop in Philadelphia next Wednesday before entering Boston.
Interestingly, according to the Boston Herald, at least one member of the Kerry campaign staff may need a refresher course in American history. To wit:
"We think Boston is a fitting place for the freedom trail of this campaign to end," said Kerry campaign chairwoman Jeanne Shaheen. "It's the birthplace of the country and John Kerry's hometown."
Boston may be Kerry's home town but I'm fairly confident that Independence Hall is in Philadelphia.
Blogs Around The World

After considerable work, Oscar Jr. now has updated and enhanced the Blogs Around The World with its own page. On several occasions, I've used it to develop contacts in various countries. I recommend a visit. Also check out the Blogs Around The U.S.A.
Salmonella Sickens Dozens

According to health officials, over 100 people have been sickened by eating salmonella contaminated food at Sheetz Convenience stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia. Contamination may also be at stores in Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and cramps, but is seldom fatal.

Tomatoes and lettuce supplied by Coronet Foods of Wheeling, WV, are suspected to contain the salmonella and Sheetz has pulled the products from all of its 300-plus stores. Coronet Foods has been aggressively investigating and taking corrective action.
"As a produce supplier for Sheetz, Coronet Foods is concerned for the health and safety of consumers," a news release from the company stated. "We understand that the Health Department has identified javiana as the salmonella strain, and has narrowed its investigation to Roma tomatoes, though Coronet Foods has not been officially notified."
Interestingly, some mystery continues since the strain of salmonella that sickened people doesn't seem to be the strain identified in samples taken by the health officials. The investigation continues.

Stan Sheetz, president of Sheetz Inc., and other company officials visited some stores in Western Pennsylvania to meet with customers and provide assurances. The effort seemed to help since one customer was overheard to say that she wasn't worried about the food at Sheetz. She stated that "she gets diarrhea from her own cooking all the time." Ah! The perfect customer!
Stronger Dope Raises Fears

The United States is seeing a rise in the number of individuals who are in need of treatment for marijuana use and the reason is blamed on the strength of the weed. Accordingly, officials are seeking to change policies to shift some of the focus in research and enforcement from "hard" drugs such as cocaine and heroin to marijuana.
The number of children and teen-agers in treatment for marijuana dependence and abuse has jumped 142 percent since 1992, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reported in April.

According to the report, children and teens are three times more likely to be in treatment for marijuana abuse than for alcohol, and six times likelier to be in treatment for marijuana than for all other illegal drugs combined.

[ ... ]

According to the University of Mississippi's Marijuana Potency Project, average levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, rose steadily from 3.5 percent in 1988 to more than 7 percent in 2003.
Understandably, marijuana's place and status in society is a contentious issue. My opinion is that marijuana makes people generally stupid through reduced attention span and memory and, for this reason alone, I'm against decriminalization or anything that would increase its availability.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Huge Diamond Found

(Conakry, Guinea) A 25-year-old miner has made his whereabouts a secret after finding a 182-carat diamond in southeast Guinea, bordering Ivory Coast and Liberia.
"It's a quite brilliant diamond, of good enough quality despite having numerous veins. One thing is certain it's worth millions of dollars," a top official with the Aredor mining company, Guinea's biggest diamond operation, told The Associated Press.
The stone is roughly the size and shape of a computer mouse and is four times the size of the world famous Hope diamond. I'm sure it would make a fine anniversary gift.
Tasers Linked To Deaths

(Phoenix, Arizona) According to medical examiners, tasers may have contributed to the death of as many as five people. As a result, Taser International Inc. stock closed down about 10% Monday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Shares of Taser closed at $36.33, down $3.84.
Cheese-Drenched Nude Man Arrested

(Maryville, Tennessee) Early yesterday, police arrested Michael P. Monn, who was covered with nacho cheese, and charged him with burglary, theft, vandalism, public intoxication, and indecent exposure. Apparently, the 23-year-old genius got hammered on vodka, took his clothes off, scaled a fence, and broke into a snack bar to steal snacks. Maryville Police Officer Scott Spicer arrested Monn at 5am.
Schwarzenegger Calls Lawmakers 'Girlie Men'

(Los Angeles, California) At a mall rally on Saturday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger insulted state Democratic lawmakers by calling them 'girlie men' because they cater to special interests in delaying action on the state budget.
"If they don't have the guts to come up here in front of you and say, 'I don't want to represent you, I want to represent those special interests, the unions, the trial lawyers ... if they don't have the guts, I call them girlie men," Schwarzenegger said to the cheering crowd at a mall food court in Ontario.
According to spokesman Rob Stutzman, the governor does not regret his remark. And, he shouldn't. Any rational assessment done by any rational person has to conclude that California politics is greatly influenced by girlie men. However defined. (via Wizbang)
Sun Burning Hotter

Expect the environmental doomsday believers to denounce scientific research that found the sun is burning hotter than usual.
"The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures," said Sami Solanki, the director of the renowned Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen, Germany, who led the research.

"The sun is in a changed state. It is brighter than it was a few hundred years ago and this brightening started relatively recently - in the last 100 to 150 years," Mr. Solanski said.
I sure hope this information gets out to the general public. The hysteria over global warming needs to be tempered with knowledge.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

John Kerry's Convention Speech

I just caught John Kerry on NBC news discussing his planned speech, currently being written, for the Democratic Convention. He mentioned to reporters that he feels no pressure concerning his speech. Specifically, he stated,
"I feel completely calm and very excited about it."
Doesn't this statement perfectly illustrate the enigma that is John Kerry? He's 'completely calm' and 'very excited' at the same time. One sentence, nine words, and he still can say two different things. What a guy!

Personally, I don't think he pays too much attention to what he says. Words just seem to fall out of his mouth.
Young Iraqi Journalists

In Northern Iraq, children and teens are now writing journalistic articles for various publications and parents and teachers are not happy. Why? Because the young people are providing descriptions and criticisms of family child abuse, violence against children in the schools, and the ineffective educational system. Adults, generally, are being embarrassed by the words of the young journalists but, other than name-calling, no actions have been taken to stop the writers.

They have a trainer, whose identity is secret, that suggested the children write about their own lives and problems.
So they did. They wrote about child abuse in the home, violence against children in the schools, and of an antiquated and ineffective educational system.

So far about 17 articles have been placed in local publications written by children from 6 to 14 years of age. They generally receive about 10,500 Iraqi dinars, or seven US dollars, per story.

Many of the child writers are drop outs - forced to leave school to work.

The children and their journalism teacher meet casually in the market place for short sessions, and they agree on a different location for the next meeting.
This story just warms the cockles of my pea-pickin' heart. Not only is there a free press in Iraq, but there is also a group of young journalists with integrity. In Iraq? Journalists with integrity? How rare is that?
Another ATV Death

(Greensburg, Pennsylvania) Nine-year-old Joey Cline was pronounced dead by the coroner at 12:30am Saturday morning about an hour after he was injured riding an ATV driven by an adult male whose identity wasn't disclosed.

Why wasn't Joey Cline at home in bed at 11:30pm on a Friday night?
Homemade Tattoos

(Columbus, Ohio) City health officials have expressed concern over an outbreak of tattoo-related skin infections which are highly contagious and antibiotic resistant. Apparently people are using guitar strings to puncture their skin under unsanitary conditions to make the homemade tattoos. The result is painful bumps and boils which allow the staphylococcus bacteria to spread.

On numerous occasions, I've written my opinion that tattoos don't generally make a lot of sense. In the current culture, it's trendy and many young folks are getting visible tattoos to be fashionable. Well, fashions change and many will ultimately decide to undergo a painful and expensive tattoo removal process. Either that or endure a lifetime of explaining who "Martha" is.

I figure there are two categories of tattoos that make some sense, and I'd welcome any input on this subject from my readers. The first category includes such tattoos as "101st Airborne" or "USS Permit SSN-593" or "Guadalcanal 1942." The tattoos are commemorative, are largely self-explanatory, and are generally not offensive. The second category consists of medically-prescribed tattoos necessary for reconstruction of an individual's appearance.

The last time I wrote about tattoos, I received considerable comment. It's a hot button issue and just about everyone has a strong opinion.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

DaimlerChrysler Strike

It seems that the murmuring drumbeat threatening to cut jobs and to move industries outside the country is not a uniquely American phenomenon. According to this report, DaimlerChrysler is trying to cut labor costs and have threatened to move some of their Mercedes production to cheaper locations, most notably South Africa. The company is asking the unions to agree to 500 million euros in economy measures and threatened to cut as many as 6,000 jobs. Undeterred, 14,500 workers took part in stoppages at two Mercedes plants in Southwest Germany and more than 60,000 workers took part in a national day of protest causing stoppages around the country on Thursday. One specific concession the company wants is for the workers to give up a five-minute paid break time they accumulate for each hour worked. By my math, DaimlerChrysler would see an immediate 8% increase in productivity. However, it appears the workers aren't listening to the drumbeat.

The effort by DaimlerChrysler follows last month's success by electronics and engineering giant Siemens AG who won concessions from the unions on working hours by threatening to move 2,000 jobs to Hungary. We'll have to wait and see whether DaimlerChrysler is similarly successful or if they will have to follow through on their threat.
Video of Paul Johnson Decapitation Posted by al-Qaida

According to this report, three days after the search for American hostage Paul Johnson's body was called off, the al-Qaida cell in Saudi Arabia has posted a video of his beheading.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Saudi government state that they had killed all the terrorists involved?
America's Most Wanted

Congratulations to John Walsh and the staff of America's Most Wanted. Tonight, they announced that they achieved the milestone of aiding in the capture of 800 fugitives.

AMW is providing a solid public service on commercial broadcast television and, in my opinion, it accomplishes more and earns more respect from a one-hour weekly program than PBS accomplishes and earns in 168 hours of programming supported by taxpayers and contributors.
Bring Ohio Back

A new left-leaning special-interest group has been formed to campaign against President Bush, specifically targeting Northeast Ohio. The group is called Bring Ohio Back or BOB and it will fund grassroots campaigns and political commercials.
The group's honorary co-chairs are actors Chad Lowe and Fisher Stevens, who plan to use their entertainment industry connections to bring actors, musicians and comedians to Ohio to raise money, knock on doors, greet voters at fairs, and possibly appear in political ads.
Actor Martin Sheen, a Dayton native, is scheduled to arrive Aug. 14 in Northeast Ohio to raise money for BOB. Organizations such as BOB have been formed to receive and distribute soft contributions from wealthy donors. New federal campaign finance laws prohibit political parties from accepting unlimited contributions.
"Considering the cast of characters involved, the evidence continues to mount that this group is part of a long list of Kerry campaign shadow organizations that are using soft money to supplement his campaign," said Kevin Madden, a Bush campaign spokesman.

"As far as their message: It's the same tired song and dance. The John Kerry celebrity set parachutes in from out of town and bad-mouths Ohio's economy, preaching doom and gloom, and they think that that anger can serve as an agenda."
I've got to agree with Mr. Madden. The past several months of campaigning by the Democrats has been more than I need. They have pounded on the economy, jobs, and tax cuts for the rich. They've hammered Bush relentlessly with ads about Halliburton and oil, about lying, and about America's tarnished stature with respect to world opinion. Everything is absolutely negative and, based upon my reading, largely false.

Republican ads have been better but they, too, have their moments going negative. They pound away at Kerry's liberalism and inability to give an answer without changing it. Even so, the bulk of the Republican messages I've seen has been positive.

Although there's still about 15 weeks until the election, I've pretty much made up my mind on how I'll vote, barring a force majeure. Know one thing for sure, I'm already sick of hearing "I approve this message."

Friday, July 16, 2004

Obesity Illness

Just imagine it happening.
"My kids have asthma, my wife is diabetic, and I have obesity illness."
This will now be the norm. According to this report, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will change the classification of obesity in the Medicare manual. The change, announced yesterday, will allow obesity to be considered an illness. Oddly, I must have been inside at the time because I missed hearing America's trial lawyers collectively lick their chops.

I suspect that soon the PC crowd will latch on to this change and take action to get words such as 'fatso' and 'blimpie' labeled as hate speech.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Nude Feminists Protest

(Imphal, India) In far eastern India, female activists stripped in front of the Assam Rifles anti-terrorism unit to protest over the alleged killing of a woman by paramilitary troops. They tried to storm the headquarters and failed.
"Rape us, kill us, take our flesh," the activists screamed....
Apparently the woman died in a gun battle after being identified as an insurgent.

A couple aspects of this story are worth note. One is that there apparently is a viable feminist movement in eastern India. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the idea of feminism started in the U.S. So this story indicates that American leftism has been successfully exported to eastern Asia. However, feminists in India are not only focused and highly-charged women trying to change the political and social order, they are also women who allegedly use guns to do so.

The other aspect to note is that it appears the goals of feminists on both sides of the globe are the same. The only difference is that the Indian feminist movement is possibly linked to the use of weapons while the American feminist movement isn't. Of course, each movement operates in a totally different environment.

(Cleveland) A custody battle for Maynard, a 225-pound English bull mastiff, has been decided. A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court jury awarded the dog - cough, cough - to ... Who cares? Just keep it away from me.
Ditka Declines

The report that Mike Ditka has decided not to enter the race for U.S. Senator from Illinois is disappointing. I'm certain that it's a missed opportunity to produce an exceptionally entertaining campaign. After seeing Ditka in action as a football player and coach, I'd wager that he would probably cold cock his opponent on the run up to the election. And, let us not forget his pirate's vocabulary, probably actionable under FCC rules.

Too bad.

To recap the last ten days or so, I got a boo-boo, went to the doctor, who looked at me and said, "You'll be 100% in a couple of weeks. Here are some painkillers and, oh, don't forget to use the donut." Well, I'm about 80% toward complete recovery now and anxious to blog. That's the news. Here's the commentary.

First of all, the donut is a cushioning device that closely resembles a toilet seat and is about as large. It's designed to be used when sitting to take pressure off of the coccyx to help minimize pain. I was instructed to carry it around with me. Uh ... Regular readers of this blog would probably wager that I'm not someone who would walk around with a toilet seat tucked under his arm. And, they would win their bets.

Secondly, no single adjective can describe the pain associated with having a broken coccyx. It's excruciating, it's debilitating, it's sharp and enduring, it's mind-numbing, and, worst of all, it's sneaky. Yes, like a sneaky snake, it strikes unexpectedly without any obvious provocation. Standing is a partial mitigator and forsaking tasks altogether is another. All in all, I have been standing around, doing nothing, and swallowing lots and lots of pain pills.

Thirdly, I learned the injury is not uncommon. I am somewhat surprised because this fact is not regularly mentioned in the media or elsewhere. A notable group affected is all the world's women who have given birth. As I understand, during birth the coccyx is vulnerable and injury sometimes occurs. Therefore, the pain of the childbirth experience has been rendered somewhat understandable to this Interested-Participant.

To close, I'm not completely healed but will be soon. Unfortunately though, since EVERYTHING was left hanging when I was injured, it'll take me a while to catch up with all my obligations. For instance, I haven't even looked at my email yet. I'll be doing that next and posting as I can. Thanks to those who sent well wishes. They were much appreciated.

By the way, the experience is not recommended.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Broken Coccyx

I fell over a chair and bruised my tailbone. Big time. There are many things I'd like to report, but I'm pretty much handicapped right now.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Wild Guess

Be it known that I was forced into documenting my wild guess concerning the identity of John Kerry's running mate. Senator Mary Landrieu.

"When in the course of human events" weekend, holiday, and celebration is now. I've a question. Of all the Americans we collectively single out, why doesn't Thomas Jefferson have a holiday like other worthy forefathers. George Washington has a holiday. Abraham Lincoln has a holiday. Thomas Jefferson should have a holiday.

Hold the presses! I've just been informed that neither George Washington nor Abraham Lincoln are worthy of an individual holiday. They are teamed up for President's Day, so neither is important enough by himself. They're clumped into a somewhat generic President's Day which dilutes their importance even more.

The only American to have a holiday is Martin Luther King. Excuse me for evaluating, but I personally believe that Martin Luther King would never have had the ability to broadcast his dream to the public if Thomas Jefferson hadn't written the words "When in the course of human events."

Thomas Jefferson deserves to be recognized.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Scott Peterson Trial

This is not an entry describing the current status of the Scott Peterson trial. Believe it or not, until there's a verdict, I don't care one whoop. Call me insensitive. Even with a verdict, I don't see myself giving it a full whoop.
Homosexuality and Fascism

Johann Hari is an award-winning journalist, playwright, and a columnist for the UK Independent. He is also self-described as a progressive gay person. With these characteristics in mind, it's interesting that he should write at some length about the very close historical and present-day relationship between homosexuality and fascist movements. In Mr. Hari's words,
Fascism isn't something that happens out there, a nasty habit acquired by the straight boys. It is - in part, at least - a gay thing, and it's time for non-fascist gay people to wake up and face the marching music.
Hari details the prevalence of homosexuality in the leadership of fascist organizations in Europe throughout the 20th Century. And, being a proud homosexual himself, Hari's argument has substance. Via John Ray, who adds some of his own research on the subject of rampant homosexuality in the Nazi Party. Take a look.
Bill Cosby Criticizes Black Community, Again

(Chicago, Illinois) During an appearance at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund's annual conference, entertainer Bill Cosby lashed out at the black community for not blaming themselves for many of their problems. He criticized the foul-mouthed behavior that permeates black society, the inability of children learning to read and write, and the brutal relationships black men have with women. This latest upbraiding follows harsh criticism he directed toward blacks in May.

Bill Cosby's prominence and celebrity will undoubtedly put these important issues at the forefront of the national dialogue. Only good can result. With adult guidance, the black community can turn things around.
Hotmail and PayPal Scam

Josh Cohen at explains his experience with some scam where his Hotmail and PayPal accounts were hacked and funds were transferred without proper authorization. Take a look.
Marlon Brando 1924-2004

At the age of 80, Marlon Brando died last evening at 6:20pm at a Los Angeles hospital. The cause has not been disclosed.

Rest in peace.
AIDS Conference

In about a week, the 15th International AIDS Conference will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, and preparations are well underway for the biggest international cultural show ever for an AIDS conference. Describing the July 11 to July 17 event, Chumpon Apisuk, the chief coordinator of the cultural program, stated that,
"We would like to energize the conference with art and culture, to bring color, to bring it alive."
The six-day cultural extravaganza will be displayed on the streets of Bangkok, the main railway station, and in the exhibition halls and corridors of the conference venue. Highlights will include week-long discounted Thai fashions and salon services and performance art featuring Brazilian Adriana Bertini's condom dresses and a traditional Indonesian dance show in drag. Actor Richard Gere will make a special appearance at the opening of a dance performance by Silabha artists.

Sounds like everybody is planning for a fantastic party, sort of like the Super Bowl or Academy Awards. Excuse my furrowed forehead, but it sure seems to me that a conference on an epidemic terminal disease is probably not the most appropriate venue to party and celebrate.

It's also notable that thus far no mention has been made of any anticipated protests. I can't help but feel that an International AIDS Conference in New York or Chicago would draw every leftist moonbat protester that could travel. Bangkok doesn't seem to have the problem. Maybe all international conferences should be held in Bangkok.

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